I recently had a minor accident which left me spending a number of days at home. Fortunately it was nothing serious, but still my mobility was restricted as I could not sit, stand or move around too much for a few days. I had to give up on my daily fitness routine, cancel my group fitness classes, postpone a number of in-person appointments… and be on sick leave for the first time in my life. I had no idea how I was supposed to spend even a day of inactivity. Now, a week later, I can say that it had been a surprisingly positive learning experience. And here’s why:
– It made me realize (once again) how mobile has been transforming our lives.
We keep on hearing and talking about mobile and how it’s changing our everyday lives. I have spoken myself about the power of mobile technology quite a few times, but I had never felt it more than I did this week. In the days after my accident my mobile devices made all the difference. I was able to talk, work, present, write, read, share, comment, watch videos… without leaving my bed. I was doing that before when I was on the go, but not even having the option to use desktop brought a whole new dimension to it. It has been an eye-opening experience of how technology enables us to do more and truly changes lives. Speaking of change, it was exactly this week (after months of waiting) that I received my Fairphone (a smartphone endeavor putting social values first and trying to change the way smartphones are made – if you haven’t heard of it, I encourage you to read the story). What a coincidende, uh?
– It showed me (once again) that it’s all about people and purpose.
This one sounds very trivial, I know. Nonetheless, I believe it’s always worth pointing it out. The people I am surrounded with and the sense of purpose have been the two main sources of motivation and inspiration for me, even more so in the last days. While technology is a great enabler, it is really the people and our purpose that move and inspire us to action.
– It made me take time for other activities.
I couldn’t exercise for a few days. I couldn’t teach my group fitness classes. I couldn’t commute to work. Yes, all of this was unpleasant, but it also left me with a whole lot of time. A sudden surplus of time was somewhat scary so initially I struggled figuring out what I could possibly do with it. Then, it just happened naturally… I focused on my nutrition, spent more time reading, talking with my family and friends, thinking about what matters to me. Now, feeling almost fine and about to go back to my usual schedule, I am determined to make more time for exactly this.
While the cause for my inactivity was disstressing, this week has taught me more than I could have imagined.
What was your last eye-opening experience?
Surrounded by tons of pieces of content around handling New Year’s resolutions, I was reminded of my first New Year’s eve party after moving to Germany. It was more than 11 years ago and I still vividly remember one particular scene: a fellow student asking me what my New Year’s resolutions were. It seemed something natural to her which would keep the small talk going, but I was baffled. I had never been asked this question before (let alone at a student party). I found it difficult to respond not because I didn’t have any plans or didn’t know what I would like to achieve in the following year, but because I couldn’t figure out how this could be a topic of such a conversation started by someone I hardly knew at all…
Looking back at this short story, I realize once again what a crucial role culture plays in shaping our behavior. Even when it comes to something as (in)significant as New Year’s resolutions. By the way, the word used in Bulgaria is ‘promises’… and New Year’s promises as I experienced them there were nothing more than illusory statements quickly forgotten and easily re-vamped twelve months later. While the latest seems a rather universal attribute of New Year’s resolutions around the world, I found out that in some countries the process of creating and talking about them is taken more seriously.
What has your experience with New Year’s resolutions been? Did your attitude towards them change after immersing yourself in another culture?
P.S. One of the reasons I dislike talking about New Year’s resolutions is that I consider building habits more important than an exercise of putting together a set of ‘promises’ every twelve months. I couldn’t express that better than Les Hayman, so I highly recommend his post “Build Rituals Rather Than Set Personal Goals”.