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February 3, 2020

How I Shifted My Attitude Towards Work

This is part 2 in a series, you can read part 1 here.

Something miraculous is happening to me. As I described in my last post, I’m trying to shift my approach to life, specifically regarding work and productivity.

To my amazement, when I mentally gave myself permission to write before my ‘real’ work, all the pressure I had been creating for myself surrounding work evaporated. The simple act of allowing myself to write for an hour in the morning fulfills my need to creatively express myself, and now that I’m choosing when to work, rather than forcing myself, my interest in my job is suddenly rekindled. It no longer feels like this arduous task I must complete, and it’s been much easier to stay present and engaged while working.

I should mention that I’ve also been learning a new skill for work, programming in the python language. I love learning something new, and the new skills enable me to work on a greater diversity of tasks. But I started this learning a few months ago, and it wasn’t until now, after adjusting my priorities, that work no longer feels like a burden. New tasks, plus a new attitude, this seemingly random convergence of beneficial factors is another happy coincidence telling me the universe wants me to grow, to transform my life from drudgery into engaged presence.

It’s only been a week since this shift occurred, but the effect has been nothing short of stunning. I reminds me of how I felt when I started my first life experiment, a little over a year ago. These initial investigations utterly revolutionized my existence, but the struggle with work has been a constant little carbuncle breaking my stride. It’s was liberating to leave the 9-5 corporate morass for part-time, remote work while traveling, but the limitation of my freedom imposed by work has been a nagging irritant the whole time.

Now I’m discovering that the work itself wasn’t the problem, it was my attitude towards the work. I turned it into this onerous task that stood between me and my freedom. Because I was forcing myself to do it, I grew to resent it.

When I allow myself to write first, to let out these pent-up thoughts and ideas, I feel settled, relieved. And after sixty minutes of writing, I’m ready for a break. The logic-based, scientific data curation provides a nice complement to the nebulous activity of writing. It’s similar to how surfing and yoga exercise different muscles and create balance in my physical body.

This second experiment is off to a brilliant start, I’m already seeing massive shifts in my mental patterns. The Elephant Academy (the name given to Elephant Journal’s writing program) is definitely a help. The introductory learning materials, a series of videos and articles featuring the founder, Waylon Lewis, are inspiring and motivating. I suspect this supportive environment of fellow writers will be just as important as the technical guidance on the craft of writing.

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