Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just Thinking...

Geraldine, at Take a Happy Break today, has a great post, regarding "to-do" lists, and ways we might motivate ourselves to accomplish the boring jobs we all have now and then. I've had my mind on this since reading her post this morning, and wonder sometimes if my method, is to avoid the boring jobs until they become unnecessary in some way, and I can just remove them from my list. I much prefer to do the fun things on my to do lists - find a book recommended to me; get together with someone I've not seen awhile for tea - two examples.

So, while on vacation, I was able to reconnect with several lovely people I don't see enough; and I've borrowed a few books from the library which I've been wanting to read; and I've been walking more. On my walks I've been making sure to stop and talk with people out in their gardens, and it's been so nice to get to know some of my neighbours, something I hadn't gotten around to since moving here last year. I do think most of us may find summertime a good time to reconnect with neighbours, as we're outside more.

Today, I was enjoying a cup of chammomile tea, at a coffee shop, and reading the newspaper, and found  an interesting quote which has some relevance to the "to-do lists" many people make. This was in the Globe and Mail, and was a "Thought for the Day" - a quote of William James (1842-1910) who was a psychologist and philosopher, and brother of the novelist Henry James. I think William might be considered one of the fathers of modern psychology.

Here is the quote:

"Everybody should do at least two things each day that he hates to do, just for practice."

I wonder what would be the reasoning behind this idea, although perhaps as a way of developing character, and also as a way of becoming strong and then more capable of meeting adversity? These days I think many people might not like this idea, our society seems pretty much interested in seeking pleasure and ease. But perhaps there are some good points to his suggestion.

What do you think?


sandy said...

I agree with William James! There are jobs that nag, and really, you can't enjoy putting them off, when they are there staring at you!

sparksinshadow said...

Hmm... I think there are good points to William James' suggestion. Adversity can come at us so unexpectely, that it can be good to have a steady experience with some of the things we hate to do-- to give unpleasantness less power to knock us down. It's good for us to keep our emotional muscles as strong as we can. It may be all in how we look at things. (I realize this is pretty much what you already said, so I'm just agreeing with you!) :)

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Sandy, and Re - Thanks for checking in here.
I appreciate your comment, and taking the time to think about this quote.

The Boston Lady said...

Although I understand his point, I think a better way of wording it would be to do something nice for yourself at least once a day. Then some of the more unpleasant tasks will not seem so bad. I like how you are spending your days - the other things will always be there... Ann

Mullin Avenue Workshop said...

Ann, Thanks for dropping in, you make a good point here.
James was writing in another era from ours, and yes, I think we have learned to be kinder to ourselves in some way now. Encouragement and gentleness go along way.

I think in terms of unpleasant tasks, that it does help to get them out of the way, and thinking of a pleasant reward to have at the end of the task - a cup of tea, and a good book; a walk; a visit with a friend can be a good motivation. And there are some days when we can forgo the tasks, knowing there we will be there later.