Posts Tagged ‘inaction’

Embracing Personal Change: How Katherine Russell Rich Makes the Most of the Unexpected

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

You may or may not have heard of Katherine Russell Rich, who is an American author, memoirist, and cancer survivor. But chances are that you’ll recognize the good sense of her strategies for embracing drastic personal change when it comes to your doorstep. She’s widely published and read, but in an article she wrote entitled “10 Ways to Embrace Change,” she opens up about how the loss of her job affected what she knew about herself and the world, enabling her to pursue her true life goals. The following are some of the most poignant points made by this inspiring author.

Engaging in Personal Reflection    

In Rich’s words, this idea can be encapsulated simply: “Don’t just do something; sit there.” It’s counterintuitive, it drives us crazy, and that’s the beauty of it. Instinct isn’t always the best compass in stormy waters, since it often browbeats us into multitasking ourselves into the background of our own lives. When change happens, it’s important to learn what it means to you personally, which is a process that requires time and active reflection. So sit down, be quiet, ignore that fight-or-flight stress going on in your brain, and centre your thoughts on the change that’s occurring in your life. Learn to understand it before you embrace it.

Switching Off the Savant

When change happens to you, don’t sic your big IQ on it or things will just get messier. Rich once interviewed a prominent linguist, Alton Becker, who said that “smart people don’t like having their minds changed.” This statement resounded with Rich, who knew from personal experience that it was true. If you’re going to embrace change, you can’t over-think it. This may seem contrary to the reflection advice above, but reflecting doesn’t necessarily entail brainy analysis of the situation. The change in your life has something to tell you, so just listen and keep your overeager brain cells to yourself. Another dimension of this “no-brainer” approach is to assume that you don’t know anything about yourself or the world. Just keep repeating the “don’t know” mantra, which will help you allow change to wipe your slate clean. If you look at everything with eyes that see only newness, you’ll be surprised at what you can learn.

Downsizing Across the Board

Objects and habits hold a lot of significance for us as humans. That said, you probably need to get rid of as much of that mental and physical weight as possible if you’re going to embrace change. This is part of insisting that you don’t know anything: if you don’t recognize your old familiar stuff, you can get rid of it if it doesn’t fit the change that’s happening in your life. Getting rid of familiarity, even though it’s comfortable, can enable you to become the true context of your own life. Change won’t happen to you; it will happen within you.

Bio: Alexis Bonari is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education, researching various accredited online degree programs. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Lost & Found

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

We all have the experience of misplacing something; that bunch of keys or those spectacles that we have put somewhere safe and sensible and now they seem to have been teleported to a parallel universe.  It is very frustrating, possibly irritating but we usually get over this quite quickly, in my case, usually once I enrol the help of one of the ladies in my life who seem to be able to see things differently and can just go straight to the lost item, raise their eyebrows and say “Here they are..”

The thing is that it isn’t only things that we lose, sometimes we lose our way, and that is both more distressing and more serious.  We feel lost, unsure of our decisions, not knowing which way to turn or who to talk to.  I think everyone experiences this, but when you are running a business if feels deeply threatening.  Particularly in times like these, when the environment in which we all operate is in state of flux or chaos.  Who you talk to at times like this?  Who do you trust?

It is one of the roles I fill for my clients who value an external perspective, and who find my questions helpful; in fact, I always seem to be doing this for friends and family too.  However, we all need someone we trust, someone who can challenge and support.. who do you turn to?

If you can’t answer this question, one strategy is to:-

  • Recognise your state,
  • Stop,
  • Avoid making key decisions,
  • Take some time for yourself, do those things that feed your inner person, and
  • Just wait till ‘normal service is resumed’. 

I know this is hard advice to follow, but few good decisions are made in this place, and recognising that you have lost your way is the first step to finding it again…  If you are in this uncomfortable place today, I wish you luck!!

“Stand still. The trees ahead and bush beside you are not lost.”   Albert Einstein


  1. The Value of a Sounding Board
  2. Mentoring

Pressing the "Pause" button

Friday, August 15th, 2008

We have hit a point in our refurbishment plan where for the first time in weeks we have no workmen here, no mess, no noise, no strangers… Not only that but it is that time in our business cycle where many of our clients have gone off for the summer, it feels as if some great cosmic digit has pressed my ‘pause‘ button. That is no bad thing.  It is a bit like the amber traffic signal, which gives us a moment between the two binary extremes of Stop & Go.

The Buddhists believe that one can experience God in the gap between breathing in and breathing out. Winter can be considered the time between Autumn’s fruitfulness and Spring’s new growth. 

Just being in this paused state is quite restful if one doesn’t feel obliged to fight its energy and try to make things happen. 

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”   Mark Twain

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”   Guillaume Apollinaire

Much ado about NOthing

Friday, April 11th, 2008

I suspect that America’s cultural imperialism and the power of Hollywood may have seduced us thinking that the answer to every problem lies in… Action! I say this whilst recognising that men are far more enthralled by this notion than women, or perhaps we are just victims to our yang energies. Whatever the reason, it leads to way too much busyness.

There are times when, truly, nothing works; when all that is required is to do no thing. I woke this morning very aware of the call of this state. For me it consisted, at that moment, of just lying in bed, literally not moving a muscle, just letting my mind float wherever it wanted. When I am in this ‘space’, even moving a finger is the wrong thing to do. I suppose it must be a personal version of a meditative state, though frankly, I never got anywhere that good when I have meditated!

I have been aware of needing to create some personal space for a while now, and the need to slow down, but have done a pretty poor job of doing so. This morning I awoke at 5’ish to the sound of the dawn chorus, my day’s activities cancelled by others’ choices, and the sun shining. So, today, I shall surrender to the Power of Nothing.

You may not be in such a lucky place, but I commend it to you both for the sake of your health and wellbeing and also as a philosophical response to some of the problems in your life. There are many times when our most positive response to a situation is to do nothing, and this is often the hardest ‘act’. So today, before you act, ask your self if nothing might not work better?

“Nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” Oscar Wilde

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein