Stepping Aside


One of the things you notice if you have health problems, is that maintaining health is a matter of balance. When you lose it, returning to the previous state isn’t all that easy. This applies both to a general condition of well-being and to specific issues (e.g. skin condition, blood pressure). If something goes wrong, medicine strives to force an equilibrium, but the usual result is that you have to take more and more drugs to keep a tight rein on other “side-effects”. This reminds me of children building miniature embankments out of sand – whenever a wall breaks in one place, they make it bigger, stronger. But then the leakage starts somewhere else. The whole situation goes on and on.

We find something similar in our lives. Areas of interest, roles, objectives, commitments. Change is an inherent state of now. And it’s good. But it makes things more difficult. To maintain an inner equilibrium becomes the ultimate goal – not to forget about things that matter. Figure out things that matter most. Not to neglect things that became quite pressing, even though we hadn’t thought them important at first. Deal with those we’d rather live without…

At some level, the best thing we could do is stop for a moment. And try to look at ourselves from a different perspective. In “The Back of the Napkin” Dan Roams lists four cardinal rules for better looking:

  1. Collect everything you can
  2. Lay it all out where you can look at it
  3. Establish fundamental coordinates
  4. Practice visual triage

Stepping aside is like “laying it all out” so that we can see the big picture. How to do it? Go to a different place, set out on a mini-journey. A day, sometimes even a couple of hours will suffice. Take a pen, a notebook and… yourself.

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