In his book, Stillness is the Key, Ryan Holiday tells the story of a world-famous athlete who was inducted into his sport’s hall of fame. His speech, according to Holiday, was basically a list of all the times he’d been overlooked or shortchanged in life.
Now I admit I did not look up his speech on the internet. It just made me sad to think of someone who had such a wonderful career still focused on the times that he had not been noticed or appreciated.
But the story gave me an idea. Since it’s the holiday season, why not give yourself a gift? Give the gift of letting go of one old hurt or grudge that you’ve been carrying around.
This is not about letting anyone off the hook. It’s about not being weighed down by what others have done or didn’t do in the past. It’s about moving on and enjoying life in the present.
It just might be the best gift you ever give yourself.
Last week, a friend of mine told me some great news; she is going to be inducted into a hall of fame in her home state. She was embarrassed to tell anyone; she didn’t feel worthy. “No one knows who I am,” she said.
But here’s the thing. I have a degree in English. I am an avid reader. Yet, when I eat dinner with my some of my literary friends, they often talk about writers whom I’ve never heard of. I’ll read about inductees to the Country Music or Rock and Roll Hall of Fames and not know some of the names. The world is a mighty big place, and no one is truly world famous.
Seriously, I have a friend who can name every opera in history but had never heard of Beyoncé until I enlightened him.
So it’s a fool’s errand to think you only deserve an award if the whole world knows who you are. If any of your peers think your work is worthy of praise, then don’t worry about whether you deserve it. Say thank you. Show up for the award. And then dance the night away.
The end of the Thanksgiving weekend means one thing to those of us in college. We are careening toward the end of the semester. Students and faculty are under a lot of pressure. There are papers to write and grade. There are tests to make, tests to study for, tests to take, and tests to grade. And all of this has to be done in two weeks. So stress is the order of the day.
So how do we get through such a period? We have to take care of ourselves. And how do we do that? Here are some suggestions:
- Acknowledge that it’s a stressful time, and it’s unrealistic to expect anything else.
- Cut back on extraneous activities . Take it from a person who has been in school most of her life; there is nothing more enticing during a busy time than some outside activity. There’s a saying that a person’s house is never cleaner than when she or he is supposed to writing a dissertation. So don’t be distracted by Netflix or a clean house, or that new book that just became available in the library. Stay focused on the task at hand. All of these things will be waiting for you when the job is done.
- Still, don’t be a martyr. A few treats should be in order. After a few hours of work, watch a YouTube video (don’t binge a series!), eat a snack, or take your dog for a walk.
- Talk to a classmate or a colleague for support and a quick laugh.
- And keep in mind, that no matter how stressful this period is, it will be over in two weeks.