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Life! Thursday July 2, 2015

"There are no short cuts to any place worth going" Beverley Sills

I often use this quote as people say things like, "Do I really have to do this?" or
"Can't I just skip this?"

All too often in this instant gratification, short-term world people seek a short cut to so many things they desire...a healthy body...a good career...good 'living'...a gold medal...a mindful state...a balanced life...maybe even a normal life!

Needless to say all the usual media adverts and papers/web sites that sell such awful 'instant' stories enhance this desire for short cuts.

I believe that if you truly want to be happy and gain some real sense of achievement you will have worked hard for something that you personally thought was worth it. A relationship, a healthy physical body, a healthy mind, a good job, a positive disposition, a happy home, good friends etc.

Now for sure some people, due to their parents or luck (of which there is very little) may 'have' something that most people desire - even winning the lottery - but the very name gives it away - the challenge is, will they actually be able to enjoy it or feel a real sense of achievement or even better sustain it?

The answer almost always will be no!

People who have not had a real desire to achieve their dream and then go out and work hard to achieve it, usually fall right back to where they were before they 'won' that lucky 'prize'.

I remember a story of one of the UK's most inspirational sportsmen Chris Hoy. Chris was asked that during all his focussed training that there must be one night that he goes out and has a good drink or eats something that is tasty but unhealthy. His answer was short and clear:

"If I did go out, even for one night and not adhere to what I know to help me in my dream and agreed plan and lost the final by 1,000th of a second, which can easily happen, I would never forgive myself. If you want something enough, you have to be prepared to totally commit to a plan that will achieve that."

There is no try in commitment, either you do it or you don't. (Even Yoda said that in Star Wars.)

In mental health we will often stray from what we know helps us, maybe even stopping doing Moodscope when we know our score gives us an indication. Maybe drinking, maybe eating the wrong foods, maybe drugs, maybe sex, maybe simply not practising being mindful each day?
Most of our problems are self-inflicted through a lack of self-control.

What can you do today to start to commit to what you know WILL provide a better life for you?

Who can you ask to support you – we rarely do it alone?

A Moodscope member.

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Mary Blackhurst Hill Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 8:06am

Challenging stuff Les! Consider me duly challenged, sitting back and taking a long hard look at how I'm managing my stuff (stuff substituted for the word that immediately came to mind).
Yes, I constantly slip into bad habits; I drink too much, I eat sugar. I don't sleep enough, I miss going to the gym, I miss my daily meditation practise. I miss logging into Moodscope.
Am I really committed to being healthy? Or am I just playing around?
Oh Les - you're not a comfortable person to know - but I'm grateful for you. Thank you for writing this and issuing this challenge.
Game on!

The Entertrainer Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 8:08am

Interesting that committing to mindful health takes effort - hadn't really thought of that because it is, in some ways, intangible... and yet Moodscope measures the results. Can't see the wind but can see its effect on the fields of gold.
Timely reminder, Les, though discipline is not my natural state!

crafty wee midden Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 8:12am

This....."Most of our problems are self-inflicted through a lack of self-control".......
Sweeping generalisation : I really dislike it when someone speaks for me(as in 'our', rather than 'my').....I would not presume to speak for anyone other than myself, as I don't know enough about anyone else to make such judgements. So, please, speak for yourself, but I ask, with respect, that you not speak for me.

And sincere apologies for the brusqueness, but this is something which really affects me, and I have had - and still do - problems with people who think they know me, both online, and in real life.


Rupert Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 8:28am

Les for me the problem is that one of the few things that provides a temporary escape from my depression is something that I shouldnt be doing! Even thinking about it in a way forms part of my rather amateurish mindfulness regime. Without that I find it even harder to battle against the condtion. Not sure if this makes sense! Rupert

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 8:53am

Hi Les. So much to ponder on here. Thankyou.The level of control shown by such high achievers as Chris are incredible examples of what humans are capable of when they put their mind to it. Super human almost! I suspect however that such extreme self control could have negatively impacted on other areas of life (relationships perhaps... although I know nothing of Chris in that regard....?). Just a thought. You have helped to generate many in me today! Jen xxx

Julia Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 9:26am

Depression makes us lack motivation. I would suggest that even if we were paid unbelievable sums of money to stop being depressed or knew we would hear Olympic cheers from an adoring crowd if we succeeded,we just couldn't do it. This sounds like resignation on my part but actually I am not resigned to being depressed all my life. However I am trying to be more accepting of my depression, moods etc. I know exactly what you mean though Les and my immediate thought was, yes you are right, I am so lazy and neglectful of mindfulness practice; even 3 x3 minutes a day I find difficult some days. I guess if I was an Olympic athlete, I would exercise self control for the season to get my body and mind into shape: the world and my nation are watching! However even top athletes have a rest period each year when they let loose and eat those burgers, drink alcohol,have lie ins, party and don't go to the gym. I am not one for self control; despite being depressed I do enjoy life, just wish I could enjoy it more in lots of ways! A thought provoking blog as usual Les. Thank you.

Julia Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 9:34am

Hi Alex. How are you these days? I was terribly irritable yesterday, no accounting for it. You are just speaking your mind; if we can't do this here on Moodscope with supportive friends,where can we? Your point about people thinking they know you is an interesting one. You may not feel like writing this up as a blog but it would be interesting to read more about this subject. For me anyway and I guess many others. Could you write a blog about this do you think? Meanwhile..keep well Alex. I hope you are living in a part of Scotland which is having lovely summer weather right now. Will you manage a holiday this year? Love xxx

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 9:35am

I agree with Les - although trying to compare ourselves to Chris Hoy is raising the bar a bit. I agree that there is always something you can do. One aspect of depression is that it wipes the solutions from your brain. You have to rediscover the things that help you. Remember that ringing a friend for a chat helps, remember a gentle walk somewhere green gives you a boost. Remember those fish oil supplements giving your brain the omega 3 it needs. Remember to get out in the daylight. Remember to meditate, remember to rest. Remember that drinking and eating sweet food makes you feel worse in the long term, That the social occasion you're dreading will probably be fun - and it's not the end of the world if it's not. That filling in your moodscope questionnaire will help. Remember to have compassion for yourself. It's a struggle that is worth the effort.

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 9:47am

Hi Mary

And importantly the game is your your level.......

For those that are depressed.......when I was in a bad state....the game was actually to simply get up and move....and ideally simply go outside the front door and feel the breeze or listen to the birds.

To commit to 'get better' or 'move'

The key thing for me is which direction are we moving in.......? Away or towards where we or what we want to be....and the level of that commitment will determine the outcome.

To stick with bad habits takes you more and more away from what you decided you wanted....and will likely be more challenging to in the end achieve your desire......

Your life is in your hands at whatever level that is....for some it may just be to work again....its all relative to your own 'game' and the legacy you want to leave, especially if you have children.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:03am

Oh Rupert! Am I the only one who wants to know what it is you want to do but shouldn't? Karen ;)

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:06am

Hi Lex

My sense is that the more we can achieve what we want through committing to do something and thus having that crucial sense of achievement the more we know we can do it.

It's also why teams work so well - as different people have different 'gifts' and thus can achieve more......just look at the richness of the Moodscope comments and replies each many gifts from people.

In depression, I know I retreat from all contact and have to work VERY hard to go out and do things and ask people to make sure I go.....even asking them if I need to go at the last minutes....yet I KNOW I will feel better.....and I will be in the moment for a brief period.

For me - that is a commitment to myself....I know I will get better quicker if I move into discomfort......

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:07am

Here, here, bravo and well done you Anon 9.35 am!
Karen :)

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:16am

Hi Alex

I too also dislike being 'included' in a sweeping generalisation and sometimes make the mistake of writing in such a way.....

Maybe in this instance it would have been better writing 'many' rather than 'most'......?? As I believe the generalisation to be dare I say generally true ;-)

At least I didn't write 'all'.......that would have been worse!!!

I know for me, it is also the case that I rebel against such statements the most....when they are often true...I simply do not want to accept it.....especially if there is something else I don't agree with in the piece!

And no need to apologise for brusqueness......although for sure it makes your comments more you explain why you feel the way you do......we all learn from each other as long as we are civil.

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:20am

Hi Rupert

My offering would be what can you find to do that is positive to distract you or help you escape your mind?

I know for me its any TV programme with a storyline I have to follow and I record them so I can skip the adverts - as at that point the reality of my depression kicks straight back in......awful.

I HATE TV normally - yet for me, it is a positive distraction when I am so it stops again as soon as I pick up?

And don't tell that cheeky Karen what you get up to :-)

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:27am

Hi Jen

Aye - for sure Chris is extreme....yet what an inspiration to a nation!

He is also a big family man....and the thing there is to discuss and agree what is acceptable for both of you in that joint life.

He will now for sure be absolutely financially secure and able to enable his family to follow their dreams.

His commitment at that level will in the end be a small, but significant part of his while life.....

In a way - like maybe my own commitment to exercise in some way each day - at my level in terms of physical health and prowess.

I know I have a metabolic age 15 years younger than my chronological age....and will have a far greater chance of a long and healthy life....adding life to years rather than just years to life.

For sure like anyone else I could be 'struck down' chances are however FAR less.

In general...we get out of life what we put in!

Karen (bearofliddlebrain) Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:32am

Les, I like this quote..."There are no short cuts to any place worth going" Beverley Sills
and quotes of the day often help me on my way the day I have read them....then they go straight out of my liddie brain!
I absolutely agree with nearly everything you have blogged about today! Which is not like me at all...! I often don't understand all the 'Q's' of the e and i variety!!

I do feel you are correct in saying many people don't want to try as hard to get the things they want or need these days especially in comparison to years ago:

when growing up, my parents instilled in us, that if we worked hard enough, we could achieve many things; if we saved, we could buy the things we wanted/needed...but these days so many people want everything now...
...our daughter moans because she isn't in the 'right' job and she's been to university! Well, whoopedoo! It IS hard to get a good job, but she has to put herself out there, maybe even out of her own comfort zone to get a better job! We can't do it for her but we do try to encourage her.
...friends' children don't want to use second-hand furniture when moving to a flat or house...they want it all new but they cannot pay for it, so it's on HP!
...and don't get me started on all those wannabes who I think instant fame on TV is the be all, and end all...!
Even I know that if I keep sticking to my diet, the pounds are slowly but surely, coming off...and when I don't stick to it, it's my own fault and that glass of wine I had wasn't really worth it!!
But down to our minds here, on Moodscope: perhaps we ought to do as
Anon 9.35 am says and rediscover the simpler methods of helping ourselves with the encouragement of our fellow Moodscopers, and hopefully, with family members or friends who can help us too.

We can't all be Chris Hoy, a member of Coldplay or Lewis Hamilton, but I bet most of us can cycle, sing in the shower and drive a car quite well, thank you very much!

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:36am

Hi Julia

Yup...all at our own level of what we 'want to' achieve in life not are told we 'need to'.

As I say above - when depressed its simply getting up and showering and one foot in front of the other for as long as I can....

So I believe its the same challenge, simply at a different whatever mental or physical state we are in.

My gut feel is that you have the potential to enjoy it you can actually say that phrase....and often we can write down almost immediately what that would be.

What would that be for you?
Have you the commitment to go and achieve it?

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:40am

Hi Anon

Spot on.........all at your own your own long as you are moving towards what you want......and not away from.

To repeat......'its a struggle that is worth the effort'

Children also only really learn from example....rarely words.....your example IS the lesson.

80% of children born to obese parents WILL become obese.

Elizabeth Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:45am

Oh, I would be sooooo carefull here! Not being able to keep ones commitments and getting guilty over it is one of depressions biggest traps, a very dangerous downwards spiral reinforced each day over and over again. Also, being overly controling of oneself can contribute to the problem, since excessive self-control may mean not allowing oneself to show emotions, to relax, to let go of anything... and is often fear based.
I would be so very carefull telling depressed people not to relaese control thus adding to the fear of being a failure if not being able to achieve their ambitions.

There is sure something right in what you say, that everything worth it needs commited work, and I am deffinitelly a person, who sucks at it in the most areas of my life. But you know ... with my depression ... there was that first step, which ment letting go of most of the control I thought I had and the fear of lossing it, and I trust that it was the only way to regain at least some control in the important things.

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:46am

Hi Karen own level as I say above......

All development however takes place at the edge of our comfort zone......its just up to us where we want to move 'towards' and what we wish to achieve for ourselves or maybe more importantly for our children is we have any....

To grow and develop - we have to become comfortable with discomfort.

A child wants to matter how long it takes for those first steady matter how many times they fall.....they will walk if all else is normal...........and how many parents sit and encourage that achievement with smiling happy faces....

We all need support in some way....

What gets rewarded gets repeated............

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:55am

Hi Elizabeth

That is taking it to extremes I believe

And maybe the example of Chris Hoy was not the most ideal......but it sparks this wonderful dialogue.

You use the word control.......often a negative word.

I use 'commit' and the control (or not) is up to you.

Although I do talk about self-control.....and that is whatever control you wish.

In emotional intelligence (EQ....oops slipped out) being able to show your emotions and feelings is long as it is appropriate level to where that moments is.

Mental health is THE thing that is SO personal and my guess is that the word control 'triggers' you bit.

Which is why generalisations as pointed out by Alex above....can be taken so personally.....even if not meant that way.

To have good friends that we can speak though what may or may not be too much control, especially when we are depressed.....will hopefully find the balance that is 'healthy' control.......

Control is a tricky word......for sure.

Julia Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 11:23am

:-) I'll write it down, look at what I have written and think about whether I have the commitment to go and achieve it. A great idea.

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 1:01pm

Lolilol! Karen x

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 2:01pm

Hi Les, and everyone;
Excellent as always; so true; yes, and challenging too.
What helps me to commit?
A plan made the day before, so I don't overthink in the morning - but just "do it" ...
Constant reminders to myself that things take time - at every level - and that I need to be patient with myself;
Remembering not beat myself up for failing to achieve unrealistic expectations;
Being more accepting of myself; of where I am at and where I have come from ...
Who supports me? This wonderful community of honest, caring, fellow-travellers on the road to self- awareness and self-acceptance.
Step by step, piece by piece - or even peace by peace ...!
And I love this quote:
"The journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step"
Thank-you Les - and all of you, for helping me more than I can properly say ...

Les Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 7:23pm

Hi Frankie

As always you have to find your own way to what you want to do.

It does take discipline and move forward in over come your challenges.

The key thing about challenges - is that each day / month / year should bring new challenges.....if they are the same ones (same wrong partner / same issues at work / same health issues / same weight issues)....then you are not moving are stuck.....and if that is not where you want to be in'll have to commit to doing something different.

And hey.....acceptance of this stuck place is OK for a while....may be alright for you..........its you life.....and your future......unless of course its affecting your kids (if you have any)!

As Frankie says......the discussions are often more valuable than the blogs... ..dare I say - the blog is the single step for each discussion...

Anonymous Thu, Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:46pm

Mixed feelings about this one. Yes, there are things we can do that will help. And, I did not like the comment "in general we get out of life what we put in". I know so many people who put in huge energy, time, effort, over years, into struggling with effects of other people's actions, and start off in life at a major disadvantage (e.g. having been poor, abused, ill or disabled) so they do not get out what they put in, they are working against big barriers. And so many others who do have a relatively easy ride, without such major setbacks, who look down on (and cannot understand) those who struggle with life because they are poor / homeless/ disabled / hungry / addicted (often due to abuse) and blame it on their weakness of will. At the same time, yes, usually with someone or many to "hold your hand" then yes, we can make changes that will help us.

Les Fri, Jul 3rd 2015 @ 12:00am

Hi Anon

Huge assumptions on your part........

Also - as I say in mine.....generalisations......generally for me true.

Of course there are disadvantaged people......they will still - at their own level - get out what they put in........even if it simply good is all relative.

For me - too many people attempt to prove things wrong by stressing for the 'poor'....we can as Alex pointed out, only speak for ourselves.....especially on such a web site and not campaign for others........the richness is our own experiences.

I'm not sure all those who 'get an easy life' are often happy....they are often unhappier than many who in your words 'are working against big barriers'.

For me - your generalisation is based around money or supposed 'good health'....

I Chair a charity for 7-18 year olds whose parents are possibly in prison, on drugs, on alcohol, in care.....and to be honest - the same thing applies.....those who make an effort gain a better life.

No matter what our level in society.........if we want the world to improve....the only person we can change is ourselves ......speaking as an only child left on his own after his mother died of cancer without anyone mentioning that possibility - after we had already left a violent and alcoholic father..........

There are so many people who love to point out as you do - the struggles others have and make it out as a them and us kinda society....its not one I personally believe in.

Poor, abused and disabled people who are making an effort and who are making a difference would not welcome your comments......

Are those people who are putting in an effort and coming across those barriers you speak of......better just laying down and giving up......? I don't think so....

Glad you end on the positive note about the fact that we all need a hand to hold....and 'generally all people have to do is help take that first step of 1,000 miles.

Anonymous Fri, Jul 3rd 2015 @ 1:28am

I am frustrated as can be going along feeling really happy and then something relatively small happens and I feel like it is the end of the world.

Les Fri, Jul 3rd 2015 @ 8:16am

Hi Anon

How can you build in some resilience?

What is it you do that makes you feel ood?

What is it that riggers you that you have to avoid?

If you are that easily triggered.....for me - medication used to give me a buffer.......until I learned a bit more about myself - or - got out of wjatever it was that was pulling me down.

I began to see my life as a jug which would eventuakly overflow and thus trigger me into depression. My job - was to start emptying the jug of things e.g. relationship / work / bad habits......

Then I could more easily simply moved past what would have tipped me over before. are the only one who can change have to work on and find the way to live a more balanced life

Good luck................

Elizabeth Sat, Jul 4th 2015 @ 8:36am

Yes of course, my topic, sorry if that was too negative.

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