Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mental Fitness is the X-Factor with Julie Wong (#PNSQC2021 Live Blog)

Photo of Julie Wong

One of the biggest challenges I think many of us have faced in the past year and a half plus is coming to grips with whatever "new normal" means. For me, working from home has been a reality for an extended period. I made my last visit to a formal office setting back in October of 2017. As such, I have actually been home at least twice as long as many others have had to be. That has been both a blessing and a curse in a sense that, while I have a work environment that allows me to work from home and has done so for an extended period, I was just as much hit with how my reality changed during the COVID pandemic.

Back in 2019, I had the ability to go many places, I played shows in nightclubs, I performed at festivals, and I had many options to go places unhindered. Today, while there are more opportunities than there was last year, that still has not returned to anything at all feeling like normal. Thus, even people like me who are the veteran work at home people still finds himself dealing with mental oddities because of the pandemic. It's taken a toll on me as well.

Thus it is with great interest that I find myself listening to Julie Wong and looking at how I might be able to better handle my overall mental fitness and where I actually am at this point in time. Mental Fitness is more than just thinking a lot or being "in shape". Physically in shape is easier to quantify, albeit the fact is we have at times a messed up vision of exactly what physical fit looks like and the number that that can play on us. trying to get a bead on what it actually means and looks like to be mentally fit is even more challenging.

Mental fitness is, effectively speaking, how we deal with stressful situations and the ability to being able to do so with positivity.  We currently live in a hurry-up-and-deliver culture where we have to aggressively perform for arbitrary times and reasons. 

Julie shares this idea that there are 10 saboteurs that we deal with and 5 sage powers. If we get to understanding who and what those are, we can better work with and talk down those areas that hold us back while allowing us to work with them to succeed. 

The Judge is one saboteur, and these are the nine others that work alongside The Judge

To be clear, each of these areas is not necessarily "bad" by itself. There are good elements to each of these as well, but for our mental fitness in this context, each of these can be saboteurs to our mental health and happiness. In moderation, these can actually be good for us but in excess, each of these can absolutely sabotage us (though I'd argue playing the victim is always a saboteur behavior).

By contrast, we also have Sage Powers that we can uncover to help us. These are more right-brain-oriented areas, where we exercise empathy, curiosity, creativity, compassion, serenity, and laser-focused action.


Ultimately, what we put out attention and focus on is what comes to pass. If we feed our negative side, we reap negative consequences, even if the result could objectively be seen as good. By focusing on positive outcomes, we can be in a better place, even if we don't necessarily achieve what we hope to. That's profound and quite neat. It's wild to think I could succeed and be miserable and by contrast not achieve but still be happy. Ultimately, though, I think by focusing on the positive I can ultimately achieve (note to self: while the saboteurs can be good if not applied in excess, consider the sage powers working oppositely. You can achieve them but you have to focus on them more directly and almost try to get them in excess).

This was a nice way to end this conference. Thank you very much for this, Julie :).

No comments: