It’s been a long time since I actually stopped reading
a book midway through. Actively stopped. Took my bookmark out, and then sat on the train contemplating if I should have invested another five hours, along with the previous five I had already clocked up.
The book was called Insanely Gifted by one of the founders of Faithless (one of my favourite groups) but the reality was I bought the book in Waterstones based on the book cover, a rather cute axolotl on the cover, read the summary, and the reviews on the back. Sale.
It’s more a biography of a miserable life and how well he’d done now, I think it was supposed to be a book about developing your skills – I just found it incredible smug. When it does share these ‘skills and tools’ with descriptions on meditation and advocacy for being agnostic just took me to despair rather than enlightenment. I get he had mental health issues, and well done “mate” working through them but quite honestly, I got bored, and I should have stopped reading long before I did.
It did get me thinking, see everything has a silver lining.
Feel The Faith
It reminded me of how important my own faith is. Faith in whatever you believe in is very important to our wellbeing, success and outlook to life.
I am an atheist – a proud one. So how can I have faith?
We are nothing more than a very complex test tube of chemicals – and I am glad to be alive. But I have faith. Faith in those other complex test tubes that walk the earth, humans. My faith in other humans, and that they will do the right thing, at the right time for, the right reasons.
I have in faith myself, my values, and faith in my own faith – that my faith will take me through whatever challenges I face in life, until I die.
Bullsh*t Doesn’t Add Value (unless you’re a rose bush)
If it looks like sh*t, smells like sh*t, it probably is sh*t. And life is full of sights and smells that we often don’t want to be near or associate with. But sometimes we can’t avoid it – we have to have our eyes open, and we have to breath in the stench to be alive even though sometimes we are choking.
And as much as we don’t like the sights and the smells – we have to experience them to call them out for what they are. If they are bullsh*t – we say so.
And if you see values that fall short of what should be expected of every human that walks this planet we must do so. Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, unfairness, bullying, harassment you call it out.
There is a lot of that going on right now!
At the same time you use our own faith in humans to help others do better, and help others do more than what they think they are capable of; encourage and inspire.
Just like the book was trying to do for me, but it fell short. I lost my faith in it because of the bullsh*t it contained. It was adding no value to my life.
Divesting Is As Important As Investing
So my latest divestment was putting the book down, but also reflecting on the first few chapters. As Tony Soprano once said “The only wrong decision is indecision”.
Stop doing things. Just stop.
Not everything, but things that are not adding value to your life anymore, things that are not “strategically important”, or at the very least give you happiness. That book was making me angry, not happy – and it certainly wasn’t offering me any strategic value.
It got me thinking about my commitments. It could be someone you have coffee on a regular basis that has just formed a habit rather than added real value to either of you anymore. A meeting or committee at work or with a charity that just repeats the same agenda and never makes a decision. Or it could actually be some money sat in account earning no interest (that would be nice).
I looked at my diary for the last four weeks.
Every night had something on. Many with friends, others with organisations I am involved with, sometimes just with people I think will be interesting to meet.
Which add value and which do I do as a sense of obligation that add little value to me (or to them). I am a busy woman but I do enjoy everything I do and everyone I meet (apart from the douche-bag on Thursday night!), but is it adding value to my life?
But doing lots of things because you feel you should, is just as bad for you as doing nothing. You just exist. It adds no value to your life. You lose the reason for doing it in the first place. You might as well do nothing. Moreover, when I witness people doing things just because they can, I can see they often actually take opportunities away from other people – their egos (maybe my own ego) restricting the growth of other people.
So have faith in your decisions to do less, and less is really is more when you focus on what is important to you.