Breath of Fresh Air

A Breath oh Fresh Air

One Life

on June 12, 2015

Our minds can get caught up in considering only the extremes.

I decided that in conjunction with my efforts to (try and) stay present and live a life of intention that thinking in extremes is counterproductive. Seeing only two ends to a spectrum of possibility narrows my chances for successfully becoming a better person than I was the day before; it’s like living life for a pass / fail grade. An all or nothing lifestyle is an oxymoronic if you are in pursuit of one full life.

You can’t live a full (one) life without a middle.

So why the all or nothing – where’s our something? Why can’t we see the benefits we are bound to get from scaling down our scopes?

Some examples:

Experts agree (this week anyway) that exercising for 20 minutes three times a week is what we should aim for – minimally. But here’s the thing – if we can’t do 20 minutes three times a week, why is doing nothing at all often where we end up? Why aren’t we instead negotiating a better fit for ourselves? If you are looking at not exercising at all versus considering what is realistic and sustainable for you, maybe even just for today, then what can you counter with? Forget the minimums and an all in commitment. It doesn’t have to be a program, or a routine, or a gym membership. All we are talking about is something versus nothing. Isn’t any exercise, for any amount of time, better than nothing?

Let’s set smaller goals and work up as we can and when we are ready; life on our terms doing the best we can with what we’ve got. Whether it’s exercise or something else, if you are at an all or nothing, redefine the rules and do what you can, what you like, when you want, for as long as you want – do it in a way it works for you if that helps you do any of it. I am not challenging the experts; I am suggesting that if you go from nothing to something you will likely feel better that day (and you might even like it enough to try it again).

Translating this same theory from the body to the brain – those of you reading this that have toyed with the idea of going back to school might be stuck in the all or nothing mindset as well. It might seem like too much of a commitment – time wise and money wise. But there are options for you too. It doesn’t have to be a Masters, it could be a certification. And it doesn’t have to be in person – online courses and self-study courses allow you to do the work when it is best for you. And you don’t have to commit to going all the way if that seems like too much; it’s not like you pre-pay or sign away your life in blood. It’s one class or workshop or whatever at a time. And again, one is better than none – right?

Beyond the mind and body activities is applying this philosophy to daily life (and [my] spirit!). One of my goals is to create pleasure, engagement, and meaningfulness in my day where there isn’t any. If I tried to incorporate this into all of my minutes of this one life, the idea would become daunting and likely be dismissed (all or nothing). But, by targeting just one thing I am doing each day and turning it around, I make it tangible and find fulfillment.

In an all or nothing mindset we miss out; we give in (or up) and go about our business just trying to get to Friday while life flies over us. And because all was too much, we end up with nothing instead of something.

So in looking between the all or nothing, I found a new space. I realized that I (WE!) can choose to do it differently and find more of the full life in our one life.

It may be their all or nothing, but it’s my middle, and my one.


2 responses to “One Life

  1. amy kularski says:

    I fell like I have fallen into the all or nothing phase since graduating in 2013 from an online MBA program focusing on HR management. I feel this because I poured my brain power, heart, soul and goal mindset into my learning and achieved a 3.8 gpa with 5 children girls I may add, but since then I have not succeeded yet of finding my career instead I have taken on jobs that are dead ends and will never fulfill my once dream of being successful. I feel that I have let my depression set in and take over my upbeat happy personality of achieving anything. I worry everyday how I am going to pay back my loans, care for my family and most of all climb out of this hole of depression. Every time I interview I get told ” you’re too over qualified or your under qualified since all I have done for work over the last 15 years is sales, customer service and management. I am currently working in a training program dorm for the government which is not where I saw myself but, instead fulfills my heart with the meaning of helping others until I can be helped. I have gone to my local library for hints on how to operate a hr computer system to advance my learning, I have joined a lot of social job hunting networks to seek out how others have made it to their rainbow of finding their lifelong careers. I am beginning to think I am not going to make it. Even though others around me tell me different.


    • jpearl19 says:

      Hi Amy,
      Sorry it took me so long to respond. In addition to working full time, I am getting my Masters too – which is something I know you can relate too! Anyway, it’s been busy. I also wanted some time to reflect on what you wrote. And, just so you know, your reply helped inspire my “Share the Ride” post that I published yesterday.
      I am not a professional or expert. You do mention that you might be suffering from depression, and just being able to admit that tells me you are a strong person. It also compels me to ask that you consider talking to a professional in your area about what is going on with you; someone who has the professional skills to guide your mind back to your happy place. I see someone and even sometimes when I am feeling just fine it still is helpful to have a listener to get things out of my head.
      I do relate to your career frustrations. I too am at a job that is just a job because I am not yet qualified or have the experience to work at my potential (which sounds crazy and I know you can appreciate). I have learned some things that have helped me along my road that might be of value to you. But remember, I am not an expert, just someone who has been (and kind of is!) where you are at.
      1. My husband recently read a book called the Two Hour Job Search. It helped him structure his search and learn new tactics to get him more exposure and be proactive in his recent search. He too was transitioning careers and wasn’t getting the right attention because his experience, while translatable like yours (and also in management, sales, and customer service), didn’t have the right job titles to get him noticed. I am thrilled to report thought that after a year plus of being told no, someone finally told him yes and he started a new job with lots of growth potential a couple weeks ago. The book helped him and mostly taught him a level of confidence and assertiveness that I think helped him land out of his box.
      2. Linked In – there are tutorials / webinars (or maybe your library has something) about using this tool. This is what the employers are looking at. Mine is in need of an overhaul as well, but if you are spending your energy somewhere, that would be a good place.
      3. PHP – this is an HR certification that may help you get noticed. Of course, it cost money to get, but an HR position these days usually requires this (and with an MBA to boot you would stand out I would think)
      4. Professional services volunteering – this is a good way to get experience. Look for local community groups that want volunteers to work on HR related things. This can go on your resume and help round out the “experience” you are lacking but can’t get because you don’t have (that double edged sword).
      5. Your college – you might check out what resources they have for grad students to help you with your resume, linked in, cover letter, etc.

      I hope some of this is valuable to you. I can if you want me to but it seemed more personal. It sounds like you have a wonderful and supportive family, and having that will go a long way. Thanks for reading and for writing. Best of luck to you and God Bless you and your family.



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