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Monday, July 7, 2014

Barking Up Eric Barker's Tree

This morning I read a wonderful post, written by Eric Barker.  Barker is the Blogger we all want to be when we grow up.  His posts seem to be written exactly for me on the day I happen to read one of them.

 Eric's blog is called: BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE  How to be awesome at life.  (

Eric's blog that I read today is entitled "How to Be Resilient: 8 Steps to Success When Life Gets Hard".  I reproduced his summation below; but I highly recommend you read the entire post.

Sum Up

So when life is daunting and we need resilience, keep in mind:
  1. Perceive And Believe
  2. Manage Your Emotions
  3. Be A Quitter
  4. Be Delusional
  5. Prepare… Even If It’s Too Late For Preparation
  6. Stay Busy, Busy, Busy
  7. Make It A Game
  8. Get Help And Give Help
To live full lives some amount of difficulty is essential.
Richard Tedeschi, a psychologist who treats post-traumatic stress, said that “to achieve the greatest psychological health, some kind of suffering is necessary.”
In my opinion, there is no way to improve upon what Eric has written.  This is, however, the July Ultimate Blog Challenge, and some of this blog requires my input other than to point you in Eric Barker's direction.

The following sentence really jumped out at me, screaming my name. You can read it under #3, Be A Quitter:

 You can do anything — when you stop trying to do everything.

Reading that sentence made all the bells and whistles in my head clang and caused red warning flags to billow in wind.  How many ways does one need to be told that before it sinks in?

The distaff point of view

I speak from a purely feminine mindset about this particular sentence.  The first question that comes to my mind is:  Where is it written that every woman needs to be "Super Woman"?  Who decreed that it's the "woman's job" (and that little phrase is a topic all by itself), to be all things to all people? 
Sadly, it was a must have been a woman.  Who else would pass along this particular legacy to each generation of daughters?  You may ask why I believe this to be true, and the only reply I can give is "history".  It may have begun in the very first matriarchal society, the first time one's heritage was based on the lineage of the mother.  (I am not an anthropologist, this is just my personal opinion.)

Suffice it to say that in general, every female I know has at some point in her life felt that she has to be a "superwoman" to be taken seriously.  It doesn't matter where a woman lives, (the term "steel magnolias" is not just a movie title), women the world over have had this thought thrust upon them.

Whether or not you believe this doesn't matter.  The point is that the women I know all seem to have an instinctive belief that they must do everything at once to be successful at anything.  Many of the women I know are also mothers and have learned to multitask just to get through the day.  

Multitasking:  aye or nay?

Recent studies have been published indicating that those who multitask actually accomplish less during the day than those who focus on completing one task at a time.  I can see the validity in such studies, realistically I also see that I often need to multitask. Multitask or ask for help; or adjust my expectations/standards.  Ah, yes, now we get to the truth of the matter.  

What if I really can't do everything?

That question will paralyze you because it comes from fear.  Are you a perfectionist?  That question will kill your spirit.  No one person was designed to "do everything"; doing "everything" is not humanly possible.  It's okay, that is how life is supposed to be.  

Take a few minutes each day to decide what must be done.  When you have your "must be done" list, look at it again with a realistic eye. Then, look at the list with the intention of determining who or what can be done to make your participation in that task less than 100%.  What would happen if you delegated one or more of the tasks to someone else?  Would the sun still set today?  Would that sun rise again tomorrow morning?

Perfection is in the eye of the beholder

Will the world cease to revolve if everything is not perfect? It's turning now, right?  I mean gravity is still in full force and effect, right?  Are things perfect? No way! Guaranteed, this is not a perfect world and yet, here we are.

What's perfect?  We each have our own version.  Perhaps you need to draw a new picture of what you consider to be perfect.  Perhaps you really need to accept the fact that no one and no thing is perfect.  Perhaps you need to take a deep breath and give yourself permission to not do everything.

I am learning to lower my standards (which all seem to be perfectionist-based and impossible to uphold), to expect less from others and to give myself permission to make mistakes.  I have learned that although I might think I need to "do everything",  it is okay, even advisable, to ask for help.  It is a good thing to do what I am able to do.  I believe that is what makes me a super woman.