Monday, 2 June 2014

The Quest for Quality

The ebb and flows of daily life have, for quite some time, been dictated by an unequal number of highs and lows that have often left me shaking my head, wondering that is, how I may step away to appraise with poise and calm, before continuing on toward improved outcomes.

This pressing need to develop all-round, has been thrust upon me by the challenges brought on the family by growing children that are highly mischievous (especially the female) in addition to, obtaining pleasure from their newfound individuality of the adolescent kind and therefore, demand greater say, for better or worse, over their lives and ours, as parents. This gradual and unrelenting power shift is a natural process but obviously differs in intensity amongst families; in my case, it has been particularly challenging and at times, brutal.

Of course parenting has not been the only challenge however, I am satisfied that its demands have become the single most taxing issue that has brought me to this place of searching. At times, I find myself in a setting so foreign and menacing, that it leaves me still, not to be taken literally, chasing my tail as it were when in the past, the default stance was quite the opposite, being centred on continual growth and development. Moreover, I now occasionally frequent a place of unwelcomed darkness. 

Just occasionally, in the midst of chaos and anarchy, I have managed to find the pause button, an achievement in itself, and critically sought avenues for improvement from within. I am not sure if this newfound reaction is mere coincidence or merely an unconscious reaction for the better; whatever it got me thinking about my capacity to construct change, in response to my circumstances. Which brings me to quality, a term that lifts my spirits when considered in terms of excellence and fineness associated with personal attributes, but one component of its common definition. 

Quality is hardly ubiquitous, a fact that I find comforting in one way, unsettling in another. In my case, I cannot afford anything but, so with this in mind I recently set about to extract quality outcomes in all endeavours born out of a need to deal with matters pertaining to parenting with greater success. Quality I have decided, is a conscious act or choice, and something that ought not to be left to chance rather, it should be indoctrinated deep within, in a manner conforming to one’s personal style. Since I like digesting words, I created some short written notes, a personal doctrine if you will that I visit daily to help instil the design, within my psyche. 

However, before I present my very simple creed, I feel compelled to outline an immediate problem with this methodology. One cannot be very conscious of anything in all present moments. In the real world, I may unexpectedly find myself disturbed, irritated and/or frustrated by let us say, “Something” and, instantaneously that is, automatically (being analogous to instinctively), the reaction revolves around behaviours and thoughts stemming from the source in addition to the negative emotions triggered as a result. I, we do not; in the first instance mechanically hit some magical pause button within before being besieged by a plethora of negative and detrimental reactions in both thought and action. I am human and this is the challenge, for I must strengthen my awareness of whatever it is, that precipitates the undesirable such that, I almost reflexively recognise and acknowledge the emerging normal (negative) patterns, and do an immediate U-turn by interrupting the usual train of destructive actions and instead asking myself: 
Does this or, is what I am about to do think or say, reflect quality? 
The above representing a short excerpt from the notes. I am certain that anyone would agree, easier said than done. Nevertheless, I am actually succeeding in small measure. So what is that doctrine? Before I outline it, permit me to list a few triggers (some unrelated to parenting) that send me down the path I seek to avoid. 
“… In spite of my protestations, children continually exceed their smartphone data limits by a squillion megabytes resulting in  humungous monthly phone bills, children decide to stay home from school often for no apparent reason and turn the home into a pigsty, daughters floor-robe (as distinct to wardrobe), now occupies every available square centimetre of her bedroom and spills into hallway, daughter cuts into her arms for the most frivolous of reason in addition to threatening suicide, daughters actual suicide attempts land us in the hands of police, paramedics, hospital emergency staff and psychiatrists, family pressures result in wife deciding to suspend all forms of intimacy for months and months on end, (am I wrestling with monogamy? You decide!), impatient drivers toot their horns unremittingly for taking an few extra milliseconds to depart when lights go green at intersections, power company bills me twice in one quarter and then threaten to cut supply if I don’t pay twice, daughter that, for all intents and purposes, tells her mum and I to go and “ f ” ourselves whenever we address or merely attempt to speak to her, daughter that has soured life, made me hate, curse the creator -God- in favour of the beast who I feel, has opened a portal to my very core… ”  
I have aptly titled the doctrine “Professional Growth” it reads:
Quality is a conscious act!
Professional growth is about quality, therefore for all personal exchanges, choices, actions and inactions, endeavours, thoughts, decisions and outcomes think and seek quality in each and all. Accordingly, always ask:
Does this or, is what I am about to do, reflect quality?
Some specifics, about what quality entails:
Accuracy – Quality through mindfulness in all moments
Moderation – Quality through self-discipline
Health – Quality through good diet, weight management, exercise and intelligent pacing through better planning and time management. 
Knowledge - Quality through reading (fiction and non-fiction, news and Op-Ed's) 
Creativity - Quality through writing (blogging), critical thinking, expression and personal marketing and compartmentalisation
Financial - Quality through and via work, superannuation management, stocks management, and adherence to all financial planning
Family - Quality through guidance, discipline, respect, growth, trust and acceptance of what cannot be changed
Extended family – Quality through acceptance, accurate, effective yet respectful and confident communication
On the surface, one could be excused for viewing this as a feeble exercise as it amounts to nothing more, than written instructions in order to cope with present challenges. I assure you, I am smarter than that and completely understand the limitations of the exercise, nevertheless, how am I travelling with this strategy? Better, though not quantifiably so, in the scientific sense. I am only going based on how I feel, and if this is the guide then I am comfortable with ‘better”, because how one feels is very real, feelings reflect truth, in any event, wish me luck.

Comments most welcomed ... 

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