Life is to be lived
I am purposely not taking myself too seriously and yes the above statement can be both profound and eye rolling depending on how it is received. However it lands, you cannot deny its truth. We are here a very short time and in that time, whatever hand you have been dealt, life is to be lived. Many of us, however, do not know ourselves well enough to live the life of our own. We fall in line, follow cultural norms or sometimes too afraid of being different or not different enough that we don’t even know how we are original. In other words, we are not free. As Ralph Ellison said, “When I discover who I am, I’ll be free.” That kind of discovery is in the heart and mind and is expressed through small and bold actions. This discovering of yourself doesn’t happen all at once. Even if you experience a life changing, enlighten moment through psychedelics, god or even a life threatening experience, you still have not reached a destination, because you never really arrive. You keep exploring, discovering and finding ways to come back to yourself, wholeheartedly. Life is to be lived ― and then you die. This is not to sound morbid, it is to give it the importance it deserves.
Self discovery happens over and over again, in new ways, through new insights to yourself and how you relate to the world. Don’t get me wrong, new realisations are still powerful and can have lasting impacts. Learning about yourself can happen alone, with others and through occurrences that only you experience. Which is why your journey is yours alone. Your unique way of being in this world is original, unless you are letting others direct your attention and your actions are not born of your own. Which is where the tricky bit gets more subtle. It is not always easy to know who is in charge unless you cultivate the self. Self-cultivation or personal cultivation is the development of one’s mind or capacities through one’s own efforts. The cultivation, integration and coordination of mind and body and will look different for everyone. What is most important is finding a practice that works for you and that you will continue to do.
Schedule your deep work. It’s easier to put off work that requires concentration. So build time in your daily calendar to focus on your most important long-term project. Having a regular pattern each day will make it less challenging and help make progress feel automatic, rather than cumbersome. Deep work can be complete thinking time, no stimulation whatsoever. It can also be reading, writing, moving, mediation. Play with it and make it the most important work you schedule into your diary regularly. Keystone thinks about a wellbeing economy in terms of how everything and everyone is connected. If you appreciate the interplay of all things, you understand that economic wellbeing improves societies.
“Life is to be experienced, not fought against, run from, or engaged halfheartedly. Though we may wish to make changes in the future, to be conscious is to be with an experience as it’s unfolding, rather than thinking about how we would like to change it. Taking charge of our life so that we alter the quality of our experiences in the future comes after an experience.”
― Shefali Tsabary
So how can we be free and work? No small question, no small task. In this post pandemic space, we are in new territory, so take the opportunity to make up your own rules where you can. Employers have been forced to be more flexible and even better, many more employers really do work hard to provide a working environment which supports their employees’ wellbeing. In your work, identify what is working, what is not working and from there you can see what needs to shift. If you can dream it, you can plan it- you just work backwards from the dream. You can then implement daily steps towards that ultimate dream.
In Scottish news, if you are keen to start something new, the Scottish Government is committed to the most radical reforms of the Scottish entrepreneurial system since devolution. Their ambition is to establish Scotland as one of Europe’s leading start-up economies. Furthermore, the Scottish Government has committed funding of £50m over the course of the next parliament to support women in enterprise. Scottish entrepreneur and investor Ana Stewart will chair the Scottish Government-commissioned Women in Enterprise Review says,
“It’s not all about monetary or numbers, it’s about what are we trying to set out here, because it is a wellbeing economy…It’s about mental health and everybody being included. I’m very sensitive to that.”
We are very pleased to read this commitment from the Scottish Government as it aligns with our dedication to getting women’s voices heard, championing wellness in work and ultimately contributing towards a wellbeing economy. More than ever before, success in our careers is going to be determined by humans understanding the unique aspects that we bring to our work, individually and collectively. The future of work is people-shaped and furthermore, the future of your working life is perfectly shaped like you.
Embody all that you are and pursue a working life that reflects your values and integrates your wellbeing.
“To be human is to become visible while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others. To remember the other world in this world is to live in your true inheritance.”
― David Whyte