Monday, August 30, 2010

10,000 Hour Rule Post-Divorce

The high performance literature tells us that you have to work hard to excel. Recently popularized in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, I think it’s useful for considering the post-divorce learning curve.

Although the 10,000 hours rule is discussed as several hours a day over 10 years to build a business or master a sport, I think it's a good post-divorce rule.  Consider that you practice being a divorced person 24-7. Or at least during your waking hours. Okay, quite possibly while you’re asleep as well. By my calculations, it would take just a little over a year to be an expert. How long do you think it would take to be a talented amateur? I’m thinking it would take only half that time, give or take.

High performance requires a few things which I think are relevant for excelling in your post-divorce life.

1. Pursue your passion. You’re divorced, so being single better be your passion, right? Embrace it.

2. Develop and focus on goals. Breathe, exercise, meditate or do whatever you do to create and focus on your goals. You may have a goal of the day (e.g., getting through this day without snapping at anyone) or a goal of the week (e.g., getting me out to socialize two times) or a 6 month goal (e.g., finding a new house or job).

3. Pump yourself up. Music, fist pumping, dancing or getting a pep talk from a friend, all serve to get you excited about your goals and go for them.

4. Develop routines. Athletes, performers and creatives all have routines. They help us focus, stay on track and waste less time. If I deviate from my getting-ready-for-work routine I’m sure to forget my watch, take too long to get out of the house or otherwise start the day in a bit of a frenzy. Make new routines and follow them.

5. Use affirmations. I think I can I think I can I think I can. You can! Tell yourself in whatever way that works for you that you can do this, and you can do it well.

6. Take breaks to renew. Sometimes you just need time alone. No commitments, no plans, maybe just a good book or a few movies. But not for too long. It’s just a break and then you get back to your routines and goals.

208 days is not so terribly long. That’s my prediction for how long it can take to achieve talented amateur status in the post-divorce world.

Pump up with Put Your Records On – Corinne Bailey Rae

Monday, August 16, 2010

Post-Divorce Dating Online

It’s official. According to a story today on NPR, more than half of modern couples meet on-line. That doesn’t include the people who meet in bars but actually met first on-line. So for you post-divorcees, consider the possibility of getting your dating going via the internet. It worked for me.

As the psychologist quoted pointed out, no one knows what you want the way you do. And you can screen for things important to you via on-line dating services. Sure you’ll meet some people you’re not interested in seeing again, but that’s always true of dating. It’s still a lot quicker than traditional meets.

Shop as many sites as it takes to find one you’re comfortable with. Look for sites that capture your interests if the biggies like don’t appeal. You can date by ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, geekiness, profession, wealth, politics, athleticism and probably anything else you’re interested in. Consider free sites if you’re not sure about the commitment.

Other tips for on-line dating:

- Tell the truth and present your best self, but there’s no point in saying you’ve got an athletic body type or college degree if you don’t.

- Consider different options like speed dating and matchmaking services.

- Be safe, i.e., use your head.

- Do not personalize everything; if someone doesn’t get back to you there are a million reasons why.

- Be ready to move on if something doesn’t feel right or isn’t working right.

- Consider anyone who meets your criteria. You can always ditch them later and it’s good practice.

- Have fun!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Look So Good Without You

More than one person said to me post-divorce, you look great; divorce must agree with you. If we think of strengths as the flip side of weaknesses, and opportunities as the flip side of threats, maybe that explains it.

Athletes learn how to recovery from injury and get over bad performances. There’s a lot to be learned post-divorce from their advice.

Wallow, briefly. You may have to act out, isolate, eat, starve, sleep, or whatever your particular I’ve-hit-bottom strategies are. But you’ve got to set a time limit and move on. That doesn’t mean you don’t get to spend evenings now and again watching tear-jerkers or playing videogames all night while hanging out with your pet. You just don’t get to do it every night.

Cross-train. What? You’re not in training? Yes, you are. You’re in training for being a divorced person. Find new things and try them out. Everyone has something they’ve put on the back burner for when they have more time. The dance class they’ve wanted to take, the triathlon they’ve wanted to train for. Even if you’re a single parent, you probably still have more time, since you’re not devoting all that time to your spouse.

Find a positive or nix negativity. Notice when you’re getting into negative self-talk and work hard to turn it into something positive. Just as athletes have to get over the fact that they’re injured or didn’t make a personal best, you have to get over the fact that things didn’t turn out as you’d hoped. Decide right then and there that the next relationship is going to be healthier and happier. Listen to Jessie James who will perk you right up.

Come back with care and reasonable expectations. Don’t expect too much from yourself and take things slow and easy. This applies to new relationships and goals for new projects you may take up. Give yourself some time to get back to speed.

And remember the the words of Billy Crystal:  You look mahvelous.