Time, clothes, food, body, tasks, and influences.
Have you ever spilt a glass of water? Walked into a glass door? Tripped on your shoelace? Sent an email to the wrong person? Eaten too much? Had a pot of soup overflow with bubbles because you were busy chopping vegetables? Not that last one? Then you’re doing better me…I’ve done all of those!
Carefulness is an extremely important virtue, and it is not talked about enough. Carefulness is not just about doing things slowly or paying attention to details, it is about having respect for the person you are doing the task for, whether that is someone else or yourself. As the saying goes,
"How you do anything is how you do everything."
According to the DISC personality test, around 30% of the population is naturally very detail-oriented, so carefulness is their strength. Around 29% of people are big-picture focused, and attention-to-detail is their weakness. The other 41% are somewhere in the middle when it comes to carefulness.
Personally, I am actually the type whose strength is carefulness, which is why my classmates always loved studying my detailed notes in school. I used to think I was a very careful person, but then I read the book Guide to A Happy Life and realized there were so many things I was not careful about.
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The book says:
Get up early and go to bed at a reasonable time. Knowing how time flies, we should treasure every day.
When it comes to clothes, care about cleanliness not extravagance. Whether at work or at home, wear what is appropriate for the situation.
Towards food and drinks, don’t be picky. Eat enough, not excess.
When turning corners, leave ample space. Hold empty containers as if they are full.
Don’t rush things. Haste makes mistakes. Don’t be afraid of difficult tasks, and don’t be careless with easy tasks.
If I can get close to virtuous people, the benefits are limitless. If I get close to non-virtuous people, the harm is limitless.
From these teachings, we can see that we need to be careful towards six things: Our time (#1), clothes (#2), food (#3), body (#4), tasks (#5), and influences (#6). If we are not careful with these things, how can we possibly have a good and happy life?
I started practicing carefulness over a year ago, and I made many changes that greatly improved the quality of my life.
Time and Influences:
Before I quit video games about a year ago, I used to think "I'll just play for 15 minutes", and then next I know an hour has passed. That was a lack of carefulness towards my time and mind. Now, I use my spare time to either improve my mind (e.g., learning, meditating) or improve my health (e.g., rest, exercise). I also deleted all negative influences on my social media and followed healthy and inspiring influences.
Like many, I started working from home due to Covid. At the beginning, I wore very comfortable and casual clothes since people aren't watching what I'm doing. But I noticed my clothes influenced my mood, and I wasn't as focused as I wanted to be. Later, I decided to wear proper work clothes as if I were in an office, and I even sat more upright as if there were colleagues nearby. That made me much more focused and productive while working at home.
I get hungry pretty easily, so I used to eat a lot to avoid snacking in between meals. But later I learned that eating too full is bad for digestion. Plus I used to eat really fast, which meant I didn't chew properly, which led to bloating. Later, I learned it is best to eat to 80% full, and to eat more consciously and slowly. After doing these two things, my digestion improved a lot, and interestingly, I don't get hungry in-between meals nearly as often as I imagined.
I go to the basement when I have online video calls, and I used to go downstairs five minutes before my meeting would start, so then I would rush, and many times I hit my laptop against the door or almost tripped on my laptop charger. A big lesson: never allow myself to feel rushed. If I feel rushed, calm down first, then act. Now, I go downstairs 10 minutes before meetings, and thanks to that extra time, I naturally move slowly and calmly.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your carefulness for
Based on your ratings, how can you improve your carefulness?
Weekly Wisdom Newsletter #168
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