Tranquility Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 11, Q3

Tranquility: “Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

Personal notes:

  • Learn to accept certain behaviors from people, you’re not going to change them;
  • It’s not cancer, it’s not bankruptcy;
  • Focus on what is in our control.

For this week I wrote a piece all about the dishwasher. You see, the mere sight of my wife loading the dishwasher sent me into a panic. She must be terrible at Tetris, I thought. The misplaced dishes and wasted space evoked a physical response, a claustrophobic punch to the stomach. No one likes being punched in the stomach. So I decided to write about the trivial dishwasher. A perfectly clear observation of disturbing trifles. I liked what I wrote. I liked it a lot. Then I threw it away.

I threw it away because at the end of the week I had a terrible two days; I let all of life’s trifles run wild. I was angry about everything and it ruined the otherwise happy week. It was all my fault. I spent too much time reading the news, staring at my investment portfolio, constantly checking my phone and sitting alone in a dark, gray room. A storm festered and darkness rumbled.

Friday morning, the day most people are happy for the weekend, I lit into my daughter – she’s two. I made her cry, and as I grabbed her for a time-out, I noticed my wife cry too. Sure I can rattle off a list of excuses, but at the end of the day, my daughter is two. I lost my cool. When my anger broke, I felt guilty and sad, and threw out the dishwasher. I had to write something else.

Today’s mood is angry. Anger is infectious. It has the capacity to distort and denigrate the here and now. I allowed the love between a parent and a child to become a nuisance. The two year old who was sick and hungry became a trifle. The trifle triggered my anger. My anger hurt what I love. It was the very opposite of Tranquility and I felt terrible. It was time to step back and reset. I put down the technology and picked up a book. I turned my attention back towards the children instead of away from them. The reset was helpful and the weekend ended happy. Luckily, I caught myself before falling too far.

==

Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 12, Q3

Chastity: “Rarely use venery but for health or offspring. Never to dullness, weakness or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.

Personal notes:

  • Everyone’s favorite week is back;
  • My wife’s talking about more kids;
  • Oh boy.

My wife keeps talking about having a third child, at least this week will help delay the inevitable. If you’re not exactly going to be chaste, it’s not a bad week to reflect on the subject.

Hope you have a great week (and good luck)

Order Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 3, Q3

Order: “Let all your things have their place; let each part of your business have its time.

Personal notes for the week:

  • Busy week ahead, plot it out;
  • Do not over plan, keep it manageable;
  • Each task is usually composed of several steps, list them out;
  • Provide cushion; fill it if needed, enjoy it if not.

Procrastination is how I get things done; every week I write a relaxed schedule and every week I finish writing this blog at 5am. Some weeks flow smoothly but most have their interruptions. Like on Wednesday, when I lost my wallet rushing my daughter to the dentist; interruption accomplished, Order eviscerated.

If there’s a benefit to procrastination, it’s complete laser focus at the finish line. But the drawback is that any interruption is a spark to gasoline; anger burns with the slightest agitation. How we handle ourselves during this moment is hardest because we are at our weakest: tired, stressed and anxious. It took a lot of energy to keep from yelling at my daughter as we looked for my lost wallet – a lot of energy.

Truthfully, I enjoy Order; plotting vacations, streamlining expenses, cooking foods; cooking is one I enjoy most. The prepping of food, the mapping of time, helps create hours of quiet. The mind put at rest and the body at ease, the moment wrapped in the comfort of Order. With each thing in its place, Orderliness stirs contentment – if only I could do this all the time.

Order breeds quiet; slowing down the world and letting appreciation sneak in. How often do people complain their train is on time? With the day over-packed and over-scheduled I lost a wallet and almost lost it on my daughter. Thankfully, a kind stranger left the wallet untouched with a gracious subway attendant and saved me hours of worry and misery. In this crazy time sometimes Order still finds its way, and wallets are returned, and people remind you that there is good in the world.

==

Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q2

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Personal notes:

  • Determine key tasks this week;
  • Focus on these tasks;
  • Dutifully and purposefully complete each.

I’m traveling this week, and when I travel it’s always a bit difficult to get work done. Getting it done will be especially hard with good food and great friends; it’s going to take a lot of resolve.

Good luck this week,

Patrick

Silence Q3

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 2, Q3

Silence: “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.

Personal notes:

  • Shut up and cut the sarcasm;
  • If angry, do not say anything, it’s a losing proposition;
  • Practice listening;
  • Limit the gossiping;
  • Get away from useless conversation.

Sometimes I’m quiet too much; sitting and sulking and degrading everyone else’s mood; benefitting no one. The mind inflating insignificant thoughts and ballooning them into anger. The pressure would ease if only the words could escape, but they’re stuck; trapped within.

The annoyance lingers, sometimes it disappears, but mostly it sticks around, and grows, and inevitably hurts the very ones I hoped to shield. That is the worst silence, the one where anger simmers underneath, waiting for the right amount of tension and irritation to erupt and catch loved ones by surprise; it’s almost always loved ones. The contradiction between intent and result is stark and firm.

What’s the correct action here? Certainly not Silence; burying down anger until it boils over is a wrecked path to failure. Communication is key, and I remember that each time I fail because I was silent. “Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself” is about Communication. It’s reminding us to not waste time on fools; for that practice Silence. But for the ones we love, for the people who are close and meaningful and worthwhile, practice communication; it will benefit everyone, including yourself.

==

Next Week

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 3, Q3

Order: “Let all your things have their place; let each part of your business have its time.

Personal notes for the week:

  • Busy week ahead, plot it out;
  • Do not over plan, keep it manageable;
  • Each task is usually composed of several steps, list them out;
  • Provide cushion; fill it if needed, enjoy it if not.

Order is not about planning each minute of the week; I’ve done that before and it is folly. Order is about navigating a flexible path, one sure to survive calm waters and thrive in turbulent storms.

Have a great week