What State Are You In?
Part of the art of living is understanding and being able to manipulate your state, so that you're always in the right one for the job. We've all had 'meh' days, and we always will (I think most of my life has been spent in a 'meh' state), but when you learn to manage yourself and your states you can put yourself into a much better position to deal with what life has to throw at you.
Being able to do this can give you a sense of control over your life, which is especially important if, like me, you spent a long time under the misapprehension that life is something that merely happens to you and is beyond your control. Being able to manage your state also enables you to manage your frame of mind, which is vital if you want to dig yourself out of a rut, start a new project, or even just get by on a daily basis.
You're probably wondering when I'll cut to the chase and explain what this whole 'state' thing is all about. Well, it's not rocket science, which is possibly why it's so easy to overlook. It's simply about making a practice of doing things - actions - that are beneficial to you and your ability to get on, and get ahead. And if you do it right, it can increase your productivity, your effectiveness, your self confidence, sense of identity, and help you reach goals.
It's nothing complicated, but it comes under self-awareness. It's about knowing what foods make you sluggish if you feast on them at lunch, and knowing to avoid them if you want to be switched on in that afternoon meeting. It's understanding that tiredness can affect your effectiveness at getting stuff done, and has a massive impact on your mental health. So if you're planning on announcing something to the world that might make you feel vulnerable, maybe wait until you've had a good night's sleep.
Managing your state means knowing what you've got coming up in the week ahead, and knowing if you need to watch what you eat, or what time you go to bed, or what you drink. And then it's about rewarding yourself with a little smug slap on the back when you sail through your to-do list on peak form because you were in the peak state to do it.
Managing your state is fundamental to the art of living. Manage it well and you will own life. Ignore your state and go for instant gratification instead, and you'll struggle. So try it - look at your week ahead, see where you need to control your diet, get a power nap, get up early, or be extra sharp, and plan ahead. And then recognise whether being in a better state resulted in better outcomes.
If you have any ways to hack your state, like drinking coffee, or having a ginseng smoothie, or a cold shower, let me know (firstname.lastname@example.org) - and similarly if this is new territory for you but you fancy giving it a go, drop me a line to let me know how you got on.
Being in the right state can be incredibly powerful if you get it right. And there's no reason not to. But one you start enjoying the benefits you'll find yourself looking for other ways to maximise you abilities to perform in different situations. So do it, enjoy it, and explore where it takes you.