Already in our childhood we are confronted with the social, cultural, economic and ethical expectations of our society.
We grow up in a world whose focus is based on external frameworks and opinions. Anyone looking for advice or critical inquiries will find it in countless places.
- “What do you want everyone else to think?”
- “How are you going to explain that gap in your resume?”
- “It doesn’t look so good in the eyes of…”
- “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
- “That’s just the way the rules are.”
- “You better do that first.”
are not only familiar to us, but have always shaped our thoughts and actions. We are guided more by other people’s views than by our own feelings and needs.
This usually degenerates into us simply “functioning” in a variety of situations. For fear of making the wrong decision, we either make no decision at all or follow the recommendations of others. Of course, this is the easier way and, on top of that, the blame can be placed on someone else in case of failure.
I have already explained in detail how to arrive at a good decision-making process in my article “Decision Making“.
Today I am concerned with something more subtle, and that is the distorted perception of one’s “self.”
What story do you tell yourself about yourself?
Our society has succumbed to an error, and the fatal thing is that this error is continually being developed and perpetuated.
While in earlier generations the view prevailed that success was due to those who excelled in “hard work and diligence”, nowadays it is the fairy tale of “eternal happiness”.
I have never understood this approach. As a coach and mentor, I understand the state of “happiness” as something temporary. If we don’t feel pain, fear, anger, and sadness in the meantime, how would we know if we are happy? The analogy of light and shadow always comes to mind. The two cannot exist without each other. If I always have only light in me, my inner self gets out of balance at some point, because I ignore the possible shadow (sadness, self-doubt, fears, etc.). However, we can only emerge stronger from this interplay if we learn to accept both as equally important parts of ourselves.
The further development of the museum concept
So why not develop an extension to John Strelecky ‘s common museum concept?
His work The Big Five For Life mentions the so-called “museum day”: a beautiful metaphor for keeping important life events in an imaginary space, which you can walk through and create at any time. The aim of this picture is to practice mindfulness in one’s (professional and private) everyday life and not to let one’s life simply pass by. Instead, one should strive daily to transform valuable experiences into “treasures of experience” which one can subsequently add to one’s life museum.
I like this image, as it points us to the finite nature of our lives and the abundance of precious and value-creating moments.
However, I always found that there was an important train of thought missing here and that was the “moments of non-fuckery” as also mentioned in the book The subtle Art of not giving a fuck by Mark Manson.
Due to the recent increased attention around the topic of personality development, we have completely forgotten that the self-image and the image of others do not have to match. So while we are busy chasing after the external image (successful, good-looking, educated, etc.), we stumble more and more often over this very expectation.
For a while this works excellently, at least until the moment when we are thrown back on ourselves due to a positive or negative life-changing event (dismissal, loss, marriage, birth, or the like).
Accordingly, my coaching and mentoring sessions are not only about taking the next steps in professional or entrepreneurial development or working on one’s own personal development. Above all, it is also about returning my clients to their inner richness with targeted methodical application.
But how can you go inward even before a professional accompaniment process?
Coaching questions that can help you
- Which personality trait do I find particularly good in myself and how can I specifically strengthen it?
- What have I learned about myself during difficult periods in my life? What strengths have I identified for myself from this?
- When I get into a challenging situation, what voices become particularly loud within me? When did I first encounter these inner voices and for what reason might I have invited you to dialogue?
These are only a few selected questions from the coaching areas of resource work and the inner team, with which one can already initiate important insight processes in the beginning.
To return to my basic idea, I also always recommend cultivating the counter concept to Museum Day and this is what I call the “I Don’t Give a Fuck” Hall of Fame, in reference to Mark Manson.
The “I Don’t Give a Fuck” Hall of Fame
Here, imagine that you have the unique opportunity to talk to your 90-year-old self. So they are sitting comfortably on a park bench, the sun is shining warmly and soothingly, and they hear some birds chirping softly in the background.
Suddenly, her older self turns to you, smiles mildly and says:
“I brought you a list today to make your life a little easier. On this list are all the things, statements, events, and people that you could care less about in the years to come, because their opinions won’t matter to your existence, your consciousness, or your life.”
Her older self unrolls the list, takes one look and says:
“Well, let’s take a look. The first thing it says here is:”
Finishing this sentence is up to you.
Whenever you feel powerless, frustrated, angry or sad, think of this list. Place the indicators on it in your extended “anti-museum”. The feelings, events and people that are reflected here will no longer have any meaning for you in a few weeks, months or years.
Do not be limited, because the world inside is limitless. Accordingly, it is not for anyone to tell you how to be, work or live.
Just say to yourself, “Okay, I accept that there are feelings, the person, the event, etc. right now, but I don’t get caught up in it – I don’t give a fuck.”
About the author
Kinga Bartczak advises, coaches and writes on female empowerment, new work culture, organizational development, systemic coaching and personal branding. She is also the managing director of UnternehmerRebellen GmbH and publisher of the FemalExperts magazine .