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Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

Feng Shui Dilemmas: Put Empowerment First

    In feng shui the goal is to create environments that are utterly comfortable, spaces with a predominance of positive energy and few sources of negative energy. There are times when environments present insurmountable energy challenges and a choice must be made between two options, neither of which is optimal. It’s then a matter of determining which solution has the least negative effects.

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    This past weekend I ran into that type of situation in a meeting room in a hotel. “You won’t believe what this room looked like when I got here,” said Mark LeBlanc of Small Business Success, the presenter. “There was a sofa bed and large black chairs in here. It looked like a storage room.” In Mark’s new arrangement the chairs were arranged in a U with Mark’s flip chart positioned at the open end of the U. He was immediately visible upon entering the room.

    “It looks nice,” I said, “unfortunately you’re not in the power position.” When he looked at me quizzically I explained, “To be fully empowered, you need to have a solid wall behind you and a full view of the door. In your current position you are facing into the room, not toward the door. And, the energy coming through the door just slams right into you. You would be more empowered if we flipped the U and had you present from the other end of the room.”

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    “That’s how I initially had it set up, but then I noticed that the large light fixture is at this end of the room. The only light sources at the other end are those two side table lamps. Do you think that would be enough light?” Mark responded. I agreed with Mark that the light was rather dim. So, now we were at a choice point. Was it more important that Mark be well lit? After all, light would stimulate his thinking, inspiration and energy. Or, was it more important that he be speaking from the power position?

    “Well, you could speak from this end today and then tomorrow we can rearrange the room for you to speak at the other end. That way you can compare and decide which works best for you,” I suggested.

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    Mark agreed to that plan. The next morning we rearranged the room and Mark spoke from the other end of the room for the next day and a half. As I was driving Mark to the airport I asked him whether moving him to the power position in the more dimly lit end of the room had been a good decision. He said, “I definitely felt better at that end of the room, away from all the distractions near the door. And, though the light was dim, it was preferable to the light at the other end. That light was just too bright (it was lit by a high power fluorescent fixture). At the end of the first day (3 hours of presenting), I was exhausted!”

    We talked about the fact that in some circumstances you just cannot get a perfect feng shui solution and must make choices. In this case Mark and I decided that putting him in the power position was the priority with lighting being a secondary concern. Though the lighting in the power position was not optimal, as it turned out, it was preferable to being in the path of energy coming from the door, the noise and distractions at the door end of the room, and being drained of energy from the bright light of a fluorescent fixture. Mark and I also noted that he is a strong, compelling speaker with a powerful message whose inner light of passion for his message was bright enough to offset the light deficit.

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    When you find yourself at a feng shui choice point when no solution is ideal, remember to look for the arrangement that has the least negative impact on the people that will be affected by it. When ever possible, place yourself in the most empowered position possible and minimize other sources of negative energy.

    Image: Ben Tanabata

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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