Clouds and sun

When the sky is cloudy, is the sun still there?

That’s a powerful lesson by Daniel Sá Nogueira, coach and trainer.

That is to say, when you have problems and life seems grim, can you still be happy? Problems are problems, and happiness is happiness. They are separate things, and we should try to not mix them. And when we succeed, we will find ourselves pondering our problems while being, at the same time, happy.

In distress

When others are not at their best, we unconsciously start a balancing act between our best self and our lazy self.

What can I do to help? is a question that comes from our best self. We feel for the other person and we want to see if there’s a way for us to help them get back on track.

Of course, the answer to that question is often vague or undefined. People who are not at their best tend not to know what they need. And that’s when our lazy self kicks in. We quickly fall into old habits, we fail to keep the distress of the other person in mind, and we eventually resorts to habits that make us comfortable and safe. Our lazy self will always end up helping ourselves.

When others are not at their best, skip that question, even if well intended. Instead, keep the fact top of mind, and avoid asking the other person a favor, don’t put additional stress on them, forget about a rule or a habit that might be making their life more complex, praise them more often and say thank you to them at any possible occasion, bring them or buy them food, invite them out for a coffee or a tea, make them feel heard and listened to.

It’s a lot of hard work, but that’s how you make your best self prevail in these delicate circumstances.

Sit with it

To ensure that intention is behind what you do every day, every moment, you need to be able to sit with what makes you feel sad, scared, uncomfortable. You need to be able to accept that and avoid making decisions that will make those feelings go away temporarily. You need to embrace that inevitable part of life so that you can also welcome the exact opposite, equally inevitable, at the appropriate moment.

It sounds so counterintuitive that almost nobody does it.

Intention

There’s a difference between doing something because it’s what makes most sense, here and now, and doing the same thing because the opposite makes you feel sad, scared, uncomfortable.

Being with someone because you enjoy their company instead of being with someone because you dread being alone.

Being in a job because it’s what better serves your purpose instead of being in a job because you need to pay the bills.

Going out every evening because that’s how you feel you are contributing to your well being instead of going out every evening because that’s what everyone else does.

Intention is the difference. And we can all benefit from claiming some of it over our actions.