Edit your life
#managing_yourself What's up with the "great resignation" and should you join in?
In the second summer of the COVID-19 pandemic, much ink has been spilled about the Great Resignation, which refers to the secular phenomenon of people choosing to leave their employers. While we may not really understand the reasons for this phenomenon for some time if ever, I don't see the phenomenon as a plague that needs to be cured, but instead, palliative for all those people who existed too long in their existing roles and wondered why their work, which some described as a rat race, was making them unhappy. By choosing to resign, people are choosing to re-evaluate what they want out of life and career.
In Stephen King's book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he says:
To write is human, to edit is divine.
He suggests further in the text that it's one thing to write, and wholly something else to edit a work and it is in the editing process that the writing takes on meaning. It occurred to me when I came across this idea, that this notion of editing - choosing what you keep and remove - applies not just to writing, but to work and life not unlike the phenomenon of the Great Resignation.
The Anu Garag definition (from A.Word.A.Day fame) describes the rat race as
A repetitive competitive activity, such as the modern working life in which one constantly struggles to attain wealth, status, etc.
Do you find yourself relating to this definition? Are you busy, exhausted, and yet feel like you are running in a place? You don’t need to take the extreme position of resigning from your current role, but you can take stock of what you’re doing in both work and life and assess what you choose to do and what you choose to avoid - in short, edit your life.
To get started, my advice is to find ways you can be less busy. When you're busy, you're too focused on the tasks in front of you to be able to look up and think, and by doing the same thing day in and day out, you are assured of the same outcomes. You can work very hard without making the progress you want out of life, so it’s important to separate the two concepts.
A novel doesn't become great because it has more words, and you won't be able to have the life you want by just working hard. Choose what you pursue and what you avoid to have that beautiful life that we all seek.
Your article reminds me of this David Foster Wallace quote:
Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliche about “teaching you how to think” is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: “Learning how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.
Our time and energy are limited; where we choose to spend it matters.