Freedom

Freedom: It’s an app! (kindof).
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Last week Michael Hyatt suggested that many of us are too easily distracted by blogs, TGIF (twitter, google, instagram, Facebook), and even email. We interrupt ourselves flitting from one to the other, and then attempt to justify it by calling it ‘multi-tasking’. To focus on one thing at a time, it was suggested, creates clarity and discipline as well as freedom in thinking and creativity.  Some of my friends have  no problem with social media distraction – they just go and bake something (its called Procrasti-baking) or hit the garden or gym.
It turns out there is an app for the social media version! Its called Freedom. Now I’m not selling software, nor am I yet sold on this app. But I’m using it as part of my discipline. Freedom enables me to shut off any website (or group of websites) for a fixed period of time. I can do it adhoc (30 minutes starting now) or schedule it (no social media access after 9pm!) I can set it up on my computer, and at the same time control the same accessibility on any of my devices (iPhone, iPad, etc). So when freedom is activated and I go to Strava, I get a beautiful message – “You are free from Strava.com”.
My fascination in this exercise is to see if I can generate my own discipline of focus.  But I know myself well enough – I need help to get started!
The Lifehack article from Vironika Tugaleva at Urban Spiritual (http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/freedom-self-control.html) gave me more insight.  “… self-control means soul-in-control. It means allowing the most authentic, pure part inside all of us to lead. …  We all deeply crave to live life doing what we want, when we want. I think the reason that self-control seems to be the opposite of that is that many people are not in touch with their deepest desires.” Vironika’s insights about taking time to know our deepest selves, about Mindfulness and the reality that our (shallow) addictions are connected to our deepest desires, give a lead to how we discover more freedom.
However sometimes consistent changes to single behaviours are the best starting point. Like forcing ourselves to click “start session” in Freedom!

Hard work!

Rant Alert: In 1987 Rick McKinney (US Archery champion) sat with a group of us over lunch at the NZ national archery championships. I asked him what it took to become an Olympian. He said, “It’s lonely. You have to give up everything that’s not your sport – social, eating what you want, nights out with your mates and sleep-ins on cold mornings. And there are no guarantees you will achieve your dream. But you will do something you can be proud of – your very best!”
So here’s my thoughts about the current debate on medal tallies.
It is shamefully disrespectful of any athletes to hang national medal expectations on them. They have worked hard for very little reward to get to Rio (most train on the back of full time jobs or study); they have given their best, training in heat and cold and rain when most of us are still in bed; given up social opportunities night after night for several years; they compete for their country with pride – in spite of drug cheats, selfish IOC and event officials, and insensitive reporters. Many achieve personal bests and new national records against other athletes who have themselves improved over the past 4 years. There are no guarantees of medal or even competing in finals.

Yes there is disappointment at a collective drop in performance – but please be sensitive to the women and men who have given and done things that none of us can imagine.