“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” Epictetus
I like to think I am an organized and goal-oriented person… but I’d like you to meet my friend Wina, a woman on my team in China with whom I’ve been working for years.
I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Wina when I was in Beijing a few weeks ago and was inspired, yet again, by how she approaches life.
Let me share a few of the things I have learned from her:
Wina has a broad scope of interests ranging from Philosophy to Digital Innovation to Home Decor and General Fiction. She has a curated list of things she wants to read or classes she wants to take so that she is always prepared when she has available time.
Wina has spent time understanding what her brain likes to do or has capacity for at different times of the day.
For example, she knows she does her best thinking in the morning. So, she reserves challenging reading, learning and work assignments for that time of the day. She will listen to a podcast or an audio book on the way to work and then when she has reached her destination she will document her learning from that session. She reserves the simple reading or social media for the afternoon or evening when she knows her brain doesn’t like to work very hard.
I read about a book per week but never thought about why a book might be riveting at some points of the day and then bore me to tears at others. Or, why my brain tends to wander (or hurt) when tacking a new subject. And, taking notes on what I just read? Might be what I need to do to retain what I am reading!
Taking a cue from Steve Jobs, Wina doesn’t waste time deciding what to wear to work in the morning. But black turtlenecks do not clutter the closets of this fashionista!
Wina has planned her outfits and has taken pictures of herself in the ensembles she has designed. She organizes her outfits so that she does not see a particular item of clothing for 3 weeks. The timing is by design as she has researched the time it will take for your brain to forget about an item of clothing.
After 3 weeks it feels like you are wearing something brand new, so you never get bored with your wardrobe!
This also allows her to justify spending more on her clothing – she purchases fewer, higher quality pieces. And she has pictures of all her beautiful designer hand bags and shoes so she can store them properly yet not forget about them.
I’ll have to remember this the next time my husband recognizes that I have on some new purchase – “Don’t you remember honey, I wore this three weeks ago!”
What I love most about Wina is how she views her husband.
We all have those moments in our personal relationships when we wonder who is this person we are living with and why did we choose to be with him (or her). Wina and her husband went through a rough patch several years ago when they were trying to have a child.
But Wina carefully thought about what was happening in her life and recognized she had a choice – to invest or to divest.
She began to look for at least one thing she liked or loved about her husband everyday. Sometimes she forced herself but overtime, her list began to grow and after a while, it was not so hard to find things that she loved about him.
When you see them together, you are confused – on the one hand they seem like newlyweds, on the other, like a couple who has just celebrated their golden jubilee.
How about you?
What kind of friendships do you have?
Do they lift you up like Wina lifts me an all those she knows?