At numerous times, this week, I have allowed my emotions to take over. Trying to complete a workload befitting several people is challenging enough, but a woeful Internet connection just exacerbates things. I screamed aloud several times in sheer frustration, causing people to stop tapping their keyboards and conversations while they stared at me. The eyes were on me for no longer than a second, but it seemed like minutes. At the time I didn’t care, but now I am sat wondering why? The occasional outburst is bad enough, but what if you allow the experience to affect your entire fortnight? Is that really a good use of your time? What about those who share your life – how are they affected?
In my blog post Why Am I So Miserable? I shared with you a list of situations that cause me misery. You may recall that one of them was a lack of adequate Internet connection when working at a poker tournament. This week I spent 14 consecutive days working at a poker tournament in Vienna, Austria. I have to write continuously, sometimes between 12-15hrs per day, delivering the tournament action to the reading public. It is important that the computer systems that send my work to the world can keep pace. If the machines can’t cope, I can’t cope. It isn’t just the lack of a quality connection that bothers me; it is the fact that the situation presents itself at all. People rocket to the moon but we cannot supply an adequate Internet connection for an event we know is going to take place in advance?
But is it really the Internet connection that is causing my misery and anger? In the blog post Why Am I So Miserable? I talked about the need to understand root cause and stop wasting time worrying about symptoms. When I carried out my own Five Why analysis of this predicament this is what I found was at the root of my misery and anger.
Problem: There were business process failures that led to a sub-standard Internet connection.
Problem: There were business process failures that led to inadequate levels of manning.
Problem: I have an ego.
One of the reasons that I left the rail industry was a conflicting belief over business systems. I tried really hard to put my constructive points of view over to those in positions of power, but alas my words fell on the wrong side of Vincent Van Gogh’s face. So I decided to quit and create my own business – a business built on my own beliefs and convictions where I answered to no one. Somewhere along the way I found myself working as a freelancer and providing services to other businesses. I feel like Groundhog Day is approaching fast. I am working at the rock face and can see what changes need to take place to provide a quality product, but it’s not my business. All I can do is provide constructive assessment and hope that my words are heard. So the business changes are beyond my control, which begs the question why worry about them? Will worrying or screaming at the top of my voice make the situation better? Of course not and this understanding just makes the illusion of worrying both annoying and intriguing in equal measures.
So I can’t control the business that is hiring my services, but I can certainly control my ego. Or can I? After all my ego has been growing for 37-years so I guess it isn’t going to quit without a fight. My ego is making assumptions that the readers of my work think that the content is poor. This may or may not be the truth, but at the moment it is an assumption. I am also making assumptions that my employer is not happy with my work. The feedback I receive is always excellent, so why does my ego keep making me worry about it? Why am I behaving in this way when I know it offers me know benefit whatsoever? In fact if I tried to ignore my ego, stop worrying, and just get on and do the job I am paid to do, then the outcome would be the same. Nothing would change. The worrying accomplishes nothing except to drive me slightly insane.
So when you strip away all of the bullshit, what you are left with is not a faulty Internet connection or a lack of manning, but instead an ego. If I continue to serve the needs of my ego then it will continue to make me worry. But how do I cut off the supply to the beast within? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer to that question but I am going to have some fun finding out. The simplicity of it all is mind-boggling. If worrying really does make me angry and miserable then just stop worrying. If it is my ego that is causing me to worry then just learn to watch and control my ego. I can provide constructive feedback to my employers to help them improve their product but I can do that post-event. During the event I need to remember this wonderful quote: -
I am not going to worry about it today; I will worry about it tomorrow.
In the meantime let’s get reading about this thing called an ego and try to learn what I can do to control it?
I am becoming increasingly aware that my ego is the cause of many of my consternations in life. In my blog post Take Responsibility For Your Life I spoke about the importance of understanding that the buck stops with you. You create everything that happens to you. Know one else. YOU. Worrying is a classic example of this preaching and I suppose I am on a voyage in search of a cure. I don’t want to stop worrying because I think it serves an importance purpose, but I do want to control when I believe worrying is good for me or not, and also when to switch if off.
Photo courtesy of mbtphoto (CC @ Flickr)