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Reap Joy from this Thanks – Giving Holiday

Reap Joy from this Thanks – Giving Holiday

Today is Thanksgiving for the United States of America, and that includes us here in my home of Hawaii as the 50th State of the union. We’ve only been part of America since 1959, yet according to the kūpuna here (our elders) we’ve celebrated this very American holiday for much longer; we Hawaiians are quick to jump into most new excuses for celebration! Thanksgiving is but one example for us; we have such a melting pot of cultures here in our islands we celebrate holidays thought of as European, Asian, African, Canadian, Australian — you name it. People in Hawaii love food and drink, and we love to party.

As you read this, I can guarantee you that if I’m awake right now, I’m in a party and I’m snacking. Food, and lots of it, is always the common denominator for holidays celebrated here. With the blessings of nearly always pleasant weather, we’re big on outdoor picnics and barbecues, even for the Thanksgiving turkey, for we were cooking food in the imu (underground oven) surrounded by ti leaf and intensely heated rocks long before stoves and ovens were even invented.

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With the day of the holiday itself so completely concentrated on the preparation of food and simply having a good time with friends and family, there’s usually not much done the day before the holiday either — that ends up to be the time you do anything else associated with the reason for the holiday in the first place (or you shop for the food).

So yesterday, I spent nearly my entire day writing thank you cards and notes, both electronic ones and hand-written ones. I made some phone calls, but they were almost all about the same singular thing: Saying thank you, and taking full advantage of the fact that Thanksgiving was forcing the issue with me. I say mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian) quite a bit, but I realize I will never ever be able to say it as much as people should hear it from me. I have an awful lot to be grateful for, and living with an attitude of gratitude is good for me in so many ways.

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A friend in Europe wrote back to me, “Thank you for the card Rosa, it was nice of you to think of me too although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” Well, today, you can give thanks no matter where you are; Drop the capital T if you must, and just think of it as thanks – giving day. Use this as your excuse to party hearty in the pure joy of appreciating all you have, and all who are a part of your life. Say “thank you” whether the word for you is Talofa (Samoan) Salamat (Filipino) Muito obrigado (Portuguese) Danke (German) or something else. (For more ways to say thank you in other languages, click in here.)

There is something about that sentiment, thank you, that people love hearing; saying it softens your tone and gives a fullness and richness to your voice. I have never heard someone say thank you genuinely and from the heart and have it sound anything but wonderful.

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Mahalo nui loa; thank you very much for reading today. I fully realize how much in this life can vie for your attentions, and I sincerely do appreciate that you have shared this brief moment with me. Now, are you hungry?

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog.

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Related Article References: 1. Write Your Joy. 2. Be Grateful and Be Happy.
Previous Thursday Column: How to Drive a Customer Crazy.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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  • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
  • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
  • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
  • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
  • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
  • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

1. Realize You’re Not Alone

Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

2. Find What Inspires You

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Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

3. Give Yourself a Break

When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

4. Shake up Your Routines

Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

5. Start with a Small Step

Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

More to Help You Stay Motivated

Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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