Do­ing is in­ter­ac­tion

The Prince George Citizen - - Opinion - CASEY MILLER

Ihave been think­ing a lot about how much I do. Not in some ag­gran­dized “Look at me and how much I get done” kind of way, but in­stead in the “there are 24 hours in a day and I spend an aw­ful lot of pre­cious hours do­ing lots of stuff” kind of way.

And there’s noth­ing special about this. All of us spend lots of time do­ing things. Get­ting things done. Mov­ing the dial.

On do­ing

We live in a do­ing-driven cul­ture.

Do­ing is how we in­ter­act with the world – our ob­serv­able, ex­ter­nal, nor­ma­tive, be­haviour­driven, mea­sur­able, of­ten­times lin­ear im­pact. In our do­ing-driven cul­ture, ini­tia­tive (and com­ple­tion) is val­ued.

A sense of ur­gency pre­vails. In our do­ing-driven cul­ture, do­ing is what we pro­duce, what we achieve and how we per­form.

Not sur­pris­ingly, do­ing is also a mea­sure of our West­ern iden­ti­ties. The time we spend at work is mag­ni­tudes more than the time we spend with our fam­i­lies, prac­tis­ing our spir­i­tu­al­ity or, frankly, any­thing else.

Not sur­pris­ingly, when we meet some­one new, one of the first ques­tions we ask is “What do you do?” And why wouldn’t we? What we do is a sub­tle cul­tural sig­nal of our clout, our in­come and, ul­ti­mately, our worth.

This has al­ways both­ered me – the no­tion that I am what I do. We aren’t called hu­man do­ings, af­ter all. In­stead, I’ve al­ways much pre­ferred Pop­eye’s wisdom: I am what I am.

Which leads us to be­ing.

On be­ing

Be­ing is what’s un­der­neath all of the do­ing. It’s our thoughts, our be­liefs and the col­lec­tion of ex­pe­ri­ences that shape our world view.

Be­ing is the pause be­tween our think­ing, the space in which in­ter­nal shifts come and go.

It is the un­der­neath, non­nor­ma­tive, feel­ing-driven, im­mea­sur­able, non-lin­ear in­ter­nal pro­cesses that ul­ti­mately in­form what we do.

Re­cently, I have been a lot more mind­ful of my be­ing. In­deed, I have been dili­gent about it. One sim­ple ques­tion has per­me­ated my mind over the past sev­eral months as I do things: who do I want to be in this very mo­ment?

And while my an­swers to this ques­tion change from ex­pe­ri­ence to ex­pe­ri­ence (be less as­sertive, be more com­pas­sion­ate, be more quiet, be way more imp­ish, for ex­am­ple), the per­va­sive last­ing feel­ings in this ex­er­cise of self­de­ter­mi­na­tion and mind­ful­ness have been re­mark­ably con­sis­tent: more ac­cep­tance, more open­ness, more cu­rios­ity and, ul­ti­mately, more joy.

How I choose to be in any given mo­ment in­flu­ences what I feel. That, in turn, in­flu­ences what I do.

Not rev­o­lu­tion­ary stuff, I know, but still pro­foundly life-al­ter­ing at the same time.

What if we all paused at mo­ments dur­ing the day and asked our­selves not what we had to get done, but in­stead what kind of per­son we would like to be?

What im­pact would that have on our de­ci­sions, our re­la­tion­ships and the qual­ity of our lives, both at work and at home?

What if we started ask­ing our­selves at any given mo­ment dur­ing the day: right now, who do I want to be?

— Casey Miller ([email protected] sixan­da­half­con­sult­ing.com), pres­i­dent of Six and a Half Con­sult­ing, is a lead­er­ship and team

de­vel­op­ment spe­cial­ist

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