While I’ve been working on reducing my phone time over the past few months. Over the past few days I noticed a behavioral pattern that wasn’t resonating with my goal. When I wake up in the morning I reach over to the night stand, grab my phone, and spend a little time looking at my screen. It starts with a quick check of the weather and can go sideways from there. The time I spend on it like that doesn’t benefit me at all and goes opposite of my goal.
I did something different last night. Before I went to bed I set my phone two feet away on my dresser. Where my phone would normally go I laid my copy of Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
The alarm went off, I groggily reached for my phone, and I ended up with Meditations in my hand instead. Smiling, I turned back a couple of pages to a line that’s been stuck in my head for the past couple of days:
Beautiful things of any kind are beautiful in themselves and sufficient to themselves. Praise is extraneous.The object of praise remains what it was – no better and no worse.
This thought has been firmly planted since I re-read it a couple of days ago. In some ways it reminds me to put my ego aside. When I see something beautiful enjoy it, don’t attempt to label it, just savor the moment. Kind of like that line in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty that I love so much:
Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
I’m also reminded to check my ego. When I do something that’s special, or that I’m proud of, or that’s the right thing to do – remember that I don’t need praise or appreciation. The act in of itself is the reward. Sure, appreciation is great, but it should come from inward. This one really hits home when I write a blog post that I feel is one of my best and is only read by a few. Why do I get frustrated? I thought it, I wrote it, and I was transformed and better through the act of it. Why be frustrated or rely on the feedback of others to make the moment better?
Throughout the day this thought was running through my head I looked for ways to live into it instead of accidentally having it happen. All that from one little behavior change!
Quick fun side note – when I’d re-read that line and thought on it for a moment I went back to my book mark, opened it up to the beginning of Chapter 5 and read the following:
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself, “I have to go to work – as a human being.
How funny is that??? It did the trick though. I immediately got out of bed and got moving.