The cycles of life: A metaphorical tradition

//The cycles of life: A metaphorical tradition

Many countries celebrate a “Festive season break up” in December or January/February. It may be the financial cycles of the organisation, the tradition of Christmas or Chinese New Year or any of a range of other natural cycles. I sometimes wonder whether we celebrate surviving another cycle or we are celebrating the beginning of the next cycle. We even count the cycles in terms of our age, they year of the XYZ, anniversaries, the decade of ABC, person of the year, annual champions (and “wooden spooners” – those that come last for those lucky enough to not be familiar with this term). We even make (mainly without any commitment) resolutions for the next cycle through annual strategic reviews, personal commitments and promises. If I lost that 10 KG I promised I would every year I would have dieted into oblivion by now- thankfully I am not great at keeping such commitments through multiple cycles. I can argue that it is like recycling. I promise to lost 10 KG, lose 5 them put it back again so I am in a position to promise to loose 10 again next “silly season”.

This cycling is something that humans have retained from their mainly outgrown animal instincts. Sometimes we don’t even realise we are on the treadmill and would be uncomfortable if we were to have the luxury of getting off and stoping for a while.
Nooooo!!! Mustttt stay up wiiiitttthhhh the Paaaccce!” we exclaim as we rush through life as if rushing to the end faster is a good idea.

Perhaps this festive season we should take a little time to rethink how we engage and what cycles to extract ourselves from. I am convinced that we can be more productive and happy by consciously challenging which cycles we choose to remain in and which to jettison. What metaphor would you apply to your ideal life? Would it reflect calm and ordered or aggressive and chaotic or some other style. What image comes to mind when you consider how you would like to live and what cycles would be there and which ones gone? A tropical island where the daily cycles reflected eating, drinking and sleeping and there are no annual cycles? Have some fun with this – give yourself the time to play in your imagination and then think about what you have to DO to achieve that. Persist! Nothing ever changes until you make a decision and act on it. Don’t be too busy to think about what you really want and what truly makes you happy. It can’t happen if you don’t dream about it and motivate yourself to go and get it. Create the metaphor, reflect on it and then do what needs to be done to get it!

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Arthur Shelley

Arthur is collaborative leader who engages stakeholders to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. His professional success record spans over 30 years of experience across the international corporate, government and tertiary education sectors. Internationally recognised as a knowledge and capability development thought leader, equipped with a diversity of skills and achievements including being the author of two books, a regular international conference speaker, award winning tertiary teacher and a volunteer student mentor and career advisor. Creator and leader of the Organizational Zoo Ambassador Network, an international association of professionals interested in sharing and innovative application of metaphor based behavioural learning and development to improve personal and team outcomes and build relationships.

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