Mid-Week Observations: Mindset

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Perhaps my brain has been wrapped too tightly around finals these days, but I have been having a mental block on work. Everything I attempt, everything I go to for stress relief, and everything I should be getting done get lumped into the same unpleasant association in my mind. There is something negative about taking time off and there is also something negative about working on something for a number of hours because it is due the next day. Where is that coming from?
This post is going to sound a little bit preachy, considering that I already do a Monday Muse about these sorts of things, but I think it deserves to be restated. You are influenced by your mindset towards situations and what you choose to think about something.
I have been testing myself on a small scale this semester: treat everything as an opportunity rather than a stresser. It has worked with limited success. When it comes to thinking about the zine library work I do, I treat it less like work, which has a negative connotation, and rather like an opportunity to read a bunch of zines. But with things that I don't want to do, it gets a little harder. Who wants to write an analytical paper for class if it's not an intriguing subject to you? I know there are researchers and people who enjoy writing analytical papers, but for me that's not a mindset that I can put myself in easily. So, I have to come up with a new challenge.
What could that be? Brainstorming ideas for it even gives me a headache. What could make work like that seem more fun when we are so close to the end, so close to not having to do it any longer?

I think it has to do with brain science.

Now, I'm not talking about the brain science of memory function or re-wiring your neuron connections so that you become some sort of cyborg worker - I mean stimulating a very primitive part of everyone's brain: the reward center. For me, that is perhaps the only way that I can get through these troubling times. Reward, reward, reward yourself for your accomplishments. Even if they are little, even if they seem like they aren't chipping away at that mountain of tasks that you have to complete, give yourself something that you love. It could be a shower or it could be a few hours of extra sleep, but give yourself those opportunities to supplant the opportunities that may be "lost" in doing the drudge work that you don't necessarily want to do.
Good luck with finals, college kids, and know that you are every day inching closer to the point where you will be doing something you love and that will not seem like work at all.

Check out some other lessons I've learned in this lifetime.