Posts Tagged With: Gary Lockwood

Day 146: To boldly go where no Ann has gone before

My son, my bf, and I saw the new movie “Star Trek Into Darkness” last night. (I originally thought there MUST be a punctuation mark in that title — perhaps a “:” or a “,” or even a “.” But no. Nada.)

My son had one major question after the movie: “Why was it called ‘Into Darkness?'”

I said, “Maybe because of the way the movie was lit?”  Now that might sound like I was being all snark-y and Film School-y (and I did go to Film School, when I was in my 30’s), but I thought the movie was fine.

Regular readers of my blog may know that I love Star Trek, The Original Series (or TOS,  an acronym which is NOT immediately obvious to me, whenever it pops up). Even if readers don’t know of my feelings about TOS (The Original Series, for those of you who couldn’t hold on to that non-intuitive acronym even for a moment, like me), they may remember that I have written several posts referencing that TV show (here, here, and here).

I’ve used Star Trek (I’m dumping the whole TOS acronym for the rest of this post, people) in this blog, mostly to illustrate an experience I’ve been having, during this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally:

Accelerated Learning,

as illustrated by this Star Trek “villain” (played by Gary Lockwood):

gary-lockwood (1)

who became too smart and powerful, too fast, (with too shiny eyeballs), for his own good.

I just re-read that first post about Accelerated Learning, and you know what?  There’s a lot of Good Stuff in that post, to the extent that I thought, “I wonder if I have anything else to teach them?” (or more to the point, anything else to blog about, for the rest of the year.)

(I’m actually not worried about that, in the moment, although I AM feeling a wee bit … conceited, right now, having essentially “bragged” about how helpful I think that post might be, as well as having put myself in the role of “teacher.”)  (Okay, I’m letting go of any guilt about THAT, right now.)

Better.

Another thing I’ve been experiencing, this year, is a LOT of Synchronicity.

Here’s a definition of synchronicity:

syn·chro·nic·i·ty  (sngkr-ns-t, sn-)
n. pl. syn·chro·nic·i·ties
1. the quality or fact of being synchronous.
2. the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung.

Note the reference to Carl Jung, who is one of my Therapy Heroes.  (Another Therapy Hero was the gentle and wonderful Michael White, from Narrative Therapy.)

(Note also that the first definition, above, is essentially useless, as it refers to another form of the same word.)

Something else to note: another word for the concept of synchronicity is “coincidence.”

Here’s something I’ve noticed. I get really excited about coincidences, and not everybody does. 

Sometimes I think: there are two kinds of people in this world. People who get excited about coincidences and people who don’t.

Sometime I think:  there are two kinds of people in this world. People who think there are two kinds of people in this world and people who don’t.

So where was I, before all those digressions in parentheses AND italics?

Oh, yes.  Star Trek.  And Synchronicity.

So, right around the time that I was blogging so much about the shiny-eyeballed, scarily-smart Gary Lockwood character from Star Trek, rumors were swirling around the internet about the new Star Trek Movie, to be released in May.

And one of the rumors I read was this:

The villain in the new Star Trek Movie will be some version of the Gary Lockwood character in The Original Series.

I thought, “Wow!  How cool is that?  I’ll have to tell my dear readers about THAT little piece of synchronicity!”  Then, that turned out to be an old, outdated rumor.  Oh, well.

But, here was a “true rumor”:  the villain was going to be played by THIS guy:

a_610x408

Benedict Cumberbatch.  Who is known, these days, for playing somebody else: another hero, who is important to me.

Sherlock Holmes.

I remember, when I was about 13 years old, spending one whole summer reading this book:

513Pg7BCS8L._SY300_

I spent an entire summer reading this book, not because I was a slow reader (I wasn’t), but because there was SO MUCH information in this book.  Yes, people, there’s a reason why the word “ANNOTATED” is the biggest word in that title.  OMG.

But I loved reading  every word, every minute detail, as I made my way through these wonderful stories, starring the World’s Greatest Detective.

Why is Sherlock Holmes one of my heroes?

  • He is really smart.
  • He pays attention, all the time.
  • He doesn’t care what other people think about him.
  • He takes in all the details of all his senses, to solve problems.

It’s occurring to me, for the first time, that Sherlock Holmes is somebody who is REALLY mindful, in each moment.

Now I understand, in a new way, why he’s one of my heroes.

Thanks for reading, everybody!  (And I’m wondering about YOUR thoughts — regarding heroes, villains, synchronicity, Star Trek,  punctuation, or anything else you got out of this post.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Day 69: To Do Lists (How NOT to get overwhelmed)

So!   I’ve been learning a lot lately about managing tasks and ideas, almost as quickly as this guy:

gary-lockwood

(For previous references to this Star Trek episode in this blog, see here and here.)

Here are some things I’ve been learning (and re-learning) about getting things done, without feeling overwhelmed.  (By the way, if you feel overwhelmed by the length of this list — or by all the links  in this post —  see #1, below.)

# 1. You don’t have to do everything immediately.

Often, you don’t even have to do anything immediately.

When I think of something I have to do, sometimes I act immediately for fear that I’ll forget it or I won’t do it.  And sometimes that immediate action is not only unnecessary, it’s not advisable.  (For example, lately I have been fighting the urge to record an idea or make a phone call on my cell phone while I’m driving.)

Have faith that if an idea is important, it will re-occur to you in the future. When you think of a task you need to do, even if it feels urgent, take a breath and allow yourself to ask a few questions about it — How urgent is this, really?  How should I prioritize it? When might I have time to do it well enough?

In general, have faith in your process. Try  telling yourself “I have all the time I need” (even if you don’t really believe it).

# 2. It can help to write things down.

To Do Lists for tasks and lists of ideas can be very helpful, especially for actions or ideas that (1) you can’t act on it on the moment or (2) you are likely to forget.

I have mixed feelings about To Do Lists.  They can help me remember things, but I’m concerned they might become Dreaded Lists of Shoulds and Proof To The Universe about What I’m Not Doing.

Also, I might lose a To Do List, and then spend precious time looking for the friggin’ thing.

However, I do have a big notebook at work where I write down my Really Important Things To Do, and that seems to work.  I’ve been trying to use my various electronic devices, too, as additional Ticklers, Reminders,  Updates, Notifications, etc. etc.  but haven’t quite mastered those options yet.

A Digression (and short Temper Tantrum) about Tasks and  Technology

There are SO many choices of how my cell phone, my lap top, and work computer can  remind me about stuff!!  Eeeek! That gets  overwhelming.  It’s like technology is getting better at helping us keep track of things at the same exact pace that technology is making us need to keep track of more things.

End of Digression

#3.  If there is an idea or a task that you CAN act on in the moment, consider doing it in the moment.

This may sound contradictory with #1 above, but there you go.

Letting go of shoulds and the anxiety about “I have to do this NOW!” can help you act in the here and now (and procrastinate less).

Here are some thoughts that can make it difficult to act in the moment:

  • This is important, so I have to do it well (or perfectly).
  • I don’t have enough time!! (Hint: there’s never enough time for perfection.)
  • There’s a chance for failure here, and that would make me feel worse.

To deal with paralyzing perfectionism, fears of failure, and too-much-to-do,  practice giving  yourself some slack.   Try doing something  that’s Good Enough, within a short period of time.  Making some progress will help (and you can always go back to it later).

#4.  Set limits with other people.

If other people are involved in the tasks you need to do,  it’s very helpful to set their expectations.  This can do wonders in reducing future anxiety — it’s like an anti-anxiety inoculation!

Here’s how it works.  When somebody is making a request of you (verbally or implied), respond with some version of this:

I can do this. I cannot do that.

An expanded version  of the above is:

I can do these things  (by this time).  I cannot do these things (unless I get more resources). 

You might worry that the person you are setting limits with will take offense at that.  If you are clear, direct, and specific, they will probably appreciate knowing this information.  And,  they will be more likely to leave you alone while you are getting things done!

You might not set limits or manage expectations perfectly. You might  promise something initially which you can’t meet. (I’m getting better at setting limits, but I tend to over-promise and under-estimate the time I need to do something.) If you over-promise or under-estimate,  let  the other person know as soon as possible,  thus reducing your future anxiety and guilt, as well their potential pissed-off-ed-ness. 

#5. Allow yourself the room to be “not perfect.”

You may think you need to be perfect, but nobody else expects that from you. (If somebody does expect perfectionism from others, they will be disappointed. If they don’t learn from that disappointment, they will be disappointed — and ineffective at dealing with people — their whole lives.)

You  don’t  have to get things right the first time — whether it’s managing expectations, writing, or anything else. You can recover from most “mistakes.”

Do you believe that?

Try believing it, and see what happens.

#6. Set limits with yourself.  

Give yourself a time limit to work on something. Limit the number of tasks you are going to try to accomplish.  

For example, I find it helps me to set a time limit on how long I spend writing my blog posts during the week days, and also limit myself to one blog post per day.

#7. Take care of yourself.

If you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Consider the possibility that you don’t HAVE to do anything right now. (I wrote a long post about that, here.)

If you are physically uncomfortable, change your position or adjust the heat.

If you need food, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

If you need sleep, get yourself some (as soon as you can).

#8.  Prioritize.

Recognize that you might have too much to do, and  choose one task to do next.

Let go of guilt and judgment about what you’re not doing. (I wrote more about that, here.)  

Notice and compensate for distorted priorities.

(Here’s some typical distorting prioritizing from me, which I’m doing less these days:

I need to do this NOW, because if I don’t, this person will be ANGRY, and I’m afraid of that person or I’m afraid I will lose that person.)

Where I work, everybody has too much to do, and that seems to be getting worse as time goes on.  People are coming up with creative ways to deal with this.

A  nurse I really like came into my office the other day to share how she manages having too much to do, without becoming overwhelmed.

One of the things she told me was, “I ask myself,  ‘Which is the task and which is the interruption?’  If I  can’t tell which is which, that means I’m overwhelmed. Then, I choose one and proceed with that one. And …. I cannot  choose incorrectly.”

I thought that was great.

#9. Recognize that there are some tasks you just don’t want to do.  

Allow yourself to have some sort of tantrum about that, if that would help.

 (I DON’T WANT TO WORK ON MY TAXES TODAY!!!!!! It’s not fair!!!)

(Better.)

Then, break that task into small steps and take the next one.

(First, I have to locate my documents. How about one document?  That seems do-able)

Consider giving yourself a reward for doing a task you don’t want to do. 

(I’m going to see the movie “Argo” at 4:30!!)

Also, try to reduce the pain of the actual process.

(Somebody at a group last week suggested working on taxes while listening to music you really love. I’ll listen to music on my headphones while looking for these friggin’ documents.)

Let go of cognitive distortions and the resulting guilt or shame about this:

( What’s the matter with me?  This shouldn’t be so hard!  I’m such a weird-o about doing taxes. Other people don’t have this problem. I probably shouldn’t even be writing about this in the blog. People are going to think I’m strange!  There is NO reason why I haven’t been able to get to this before today!)

(Hmmm. Actually, all of those statements above are false.)

(Better.)

#10.  Figure out short cuts and save them, for future easy access and use.  

Figure out short cuts that work for you, and try to make these short cuts easy- to-access, especially when you’re in the midst of being overwhelmed.

I’ve been trying to figure out short cuts at work lately, because I have way too much to do. (Like everybody else there.)  For example, I’ve been making templates of the notes I need to write,  giving myself prompts and choices for information I need to include. 

I’ve been trying to figure out short-cuts here, too, so I can blog more quickly and efficiently. For example, I looked for a short-cut, yesterday, for inserting a copyright symbol at the end of a blog post.

It’s even simpler than I expected. You can simply type a copyright symbol. On a Mac, it’s Option + G. 

#11. Let go of judgment about how you’re doing.

Tell yourself “I’m doing the best I can” in managing tasks and ideas (whether or not you believe it). Cut yourself some slack, especially if you’re doing something new (or something that feels new, because you haven’t done it enough times or recently enough to feel practiced).

#12. Be aware of your strengths and limits.  

Use your strengths whenever you can, and let go of judgment about your limits.

#13. Ask for help, especially regarding your limits.

This may be hard to do, but try this, please.

#14.  If  you are stuck, choose something easier to try.

If you are having trouble getting things done, choose one task that seems the most do-able in the moment.

#15. Consider editing your list. 

Change priorities and even delete things that just aren’t that important to get done.  Consider making things simpler.

#16. Pad your list, to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.  

Put things on your list that you’ve already started. Add  routine tasks. This will give you  a sense of accomplishment when you cross them off..

#17. Notice your resistance, letting go of judgment.

If you’re resisting doing something, assume that — on some level — that resistance makes sense. See if you can figure that out.  Even if you can’t, try to let go of judgment about the resistance.

Also resistance may mean that you don’t yet have what you need (data, support, completing something else first) in order to continue with your task.

Wow!  That list included a LOT of what I know, about a lot of things.

I wonder if there’s anything I have left to tell you  for the rest of this year?

Hmmm. Maybe I should do a To Do List about writing future blog posts.

  1. Start a list of ideas for future blog posts.  (Pssst!  I’ve already done that!)
  2. Keep adding to that list.
  3. Remember that I don’t have to come up with completely new topics.  I can keep writing about similar topics, in different ways (hence role-modeling the importance of “practice, practice, practice”).
  4. Consider spending the rest of the year posting more scenes from that Star Trek episode with Gary Lockwood.

That’s a good enough list, for now.

Thanks for reading.

© 2013 Ann Koplow

(Note:  I just want to let my  regular readers know that my test results came back and I do NOT have endocarditis. Yay!)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Day 61: Accelerated Learning (Part 2)

Okay!  Here’s another in what might be a continuing series of things I’m learning this year — at such an accelerated pace, that I’m reminded of Gary Lockwood’s character in “Where No Man Has Gone Before” from Star Trek (The Original Series).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xeEDtF0bbE

Damn!  I still can’t find a clip that shows Gary’s character learning so rapidly that he speeds through pages he’s reading, really fast. (Although the clip which I ‘ve linked to, above, does show his rapidly acquired mastery of levitating a Cup of the Future, which is probably especially tricky.)

Since I can’t show you the clip I want right now, I’m searching for a good descriptive metaphor for how quickly that Star Trek character learns new things. Like wildfire?   Like Tom Cruise flying some jet in “Top Gun”? ( I’ve never seen “Top Gun”, but that still pops up when I’m trying to think of a metaphor for speed.)  Like some political party member talking to the media about things that are wrong with the other party?

No matter what the metaphor, here’s the deal, dear reader: (1) Gary Lockwood in Star Trek learns really quickly, (2) I’m learning lots of things (although not quite as quickly as him), and (3) you can read more about all that  (with a different clip from that Star Trek episode)  here.

Without further ado, here are more things that I’ve been learning lately, although not quite as rapidly as a Scary, Too-Smart-Becoming Guy on a 60’s TV show:

  1. Projecting fears and critical self-judgments onto other people really screws up a connection in the moment.
  2. Fears about other people’s reactions (anger, envy, fragility) can restrict you, big time.
  3. Worries about whether you’ll be able to sustain or hold on to a current situation, feeling, or thought can really get in the way of appreciating the current moment.
  4. Feeling depressed seems related to focusing on regrets about the past; being anxious seems related to focusing on fears about the future.
  5. It’s really difficult to calibrate and figure out How Important You Are to somebody else (or to a system or an organization).
  6. Taking any action related to How Important You Are can feel very risky, because of #5, above.
  7. You can often do a good enough job at a current task without access to more knowledge or the perfect tools (or the perfect clip from a TV show).
  8. If you don’t have the knowledge or tools to do a job that’s good enough, you can say so, and then find out what you need to complete the task.

That’s all, for now. I hope you enjoyed reading this so much, that it went by as quickly as (fill in your favorite metaphor for speed, here).

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Day 58: Accelerated Learning

There has been a lot going on, in this Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.

By taking a lot of new risks and by letting go of self-judgment, I feel like I have been learning A LOT.  Sometimes I feel like that learning is proceeding at a really accelerated rate — probably because new learning begats new learning, which begats more learning, and so on and so forth.

From that biblical reference of begatting,  I’m going to skip some millennia for another reference re: Accelerated Learning, jumping to “Star Trek” (The Original Series), one of my favorite shows when I was growing up.

One of the first episodes of Star Trek was “Where No Man Has Gone Before” with Gary Lockwood and Sally Kellerman, wherein Gary Lockwood’s character gets struck by something radioactive or something else futuristic  (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, folks), and he acquires new knowledge (and powers) at an increasingly rapid pace, until his eyeballs get all glow-y and he eventually thinks he’s God.  Of course, this episode did not turn out well for Gary (or Sally, for that matter).

I looked for the clip from that episode that shows how quickly Gary is learning, but I can’t find it on YouTube.  But here’s the trailer, which gives you an idea of what I’m talkin’ ’bout:

Anyway, imagine watching that episode, where that guy with the glow-y eyes is learning new things by viewing them on an electronic reader (essentially, the 1960’s vision of The Kindle). Imagine, dear reader, being horrified as the pages whip increasingly quickly, until they are just a blur!

I’m not saying I’m learning quite that rapidly, but I have been thinking about that Star Trek episode lately.  And while there is little danger that my eyes will go all glow-y or that I’ll end up in a fight-to-the-death with another glow-y eyed person on an abandoned planet, I’m not sure what to do with all this new knowledge.

Therefore, I have decided, for today’s post, to present a Semi-Random list of New Things I’ve Been Learning (or re-learning, in new ways).

New Things I’ve Been Learning (or Re-Learning in New Ways)

by Ann

  1. Hellos and goodbyes are both important.
  2. Telling people what you can and cannot do in a situation is a helpful way to set limits and manage expectations.
  3. You can ask somebody else if they love you, as risky as this may seem. (This is especially handy if you are dealing with somebody who does not tend to verbalize such things).
  4. You do not have to understand technology perfectly in order to use it.
  5. If you make mistakes while using new technology, this does not prove that you are incompetent, stupid, or too old to learn new things. It just means that new technology is complicated and takes practice.
  6. The less shame and self-judgment you are experiencing, the more present you can be in the moment and the more effective you can be with other people.
  7. The more you avoid doing something, the more likely you will be confronted with having to deal with that very thing.
  8. The more time you spend focusing on a mistake you’ve made, the longer it will delay your solving the current situation and moving on.
  9. If you forget something, it doesn’t necessarily prove that you are (a) too self-absorbed, (b) incapable of taking care of yourself in the world or (c) in a catastrophic, age-related memory-loss spiral. It just might mean that there are too many things to remember.
  10. The more you act out of defensiveness, the more you will put other people on the defensive.
  11. People (in the US, anyway) have too much to do, every day, and this can have a profound effect on how they interact with you and other people.
  12. Negative actions or thoughts are not more powerful than positive ones, they just get more attention.
  13. If you are self-conscious about doing something  — for fear of appearing foolish or whatever — you might as well try it. Because (to quote a good friend), YOU’LL LIVE.

Okay, that’s all I’m going to include in this post, dear reader. I don’t want your eyes to go all glow-y, or anything.

Thanks, everybody!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.