Friday, January 19, 2007

Positive Guilt

I am looking forward to a highly productive day. Started early. Already have done much.

"Guilt is anger directed at ourselves."

Peter McWilliams

I feel guilty for not posting lately.

I have been thinking - might guilt have a positive purpose? Of course in extreme cases, it is conscience which makes us act with integrity. But that's not the type of guilt I am talking about. I am talking about the nagging guilt I get when I do not eat quite right or when I don't post often enough. Not big things - little things.

One downside to being a student of efficiency and time management is I know how I should be spending my time. So when I am not as efficient as I know I should be, I beat myself up (feel guilt).

It is a learned skill to be able to turn off and relax and not feel guilty. Another one I can beat myself up over. I have not yet mastered that skill well.

The positive in guilt is it helps me to strive more towards what I want to do. In a sense, it keeps me on track. The lesson I am trying to learn is to not feel guilt when I am doing the best I can. But until then...


At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I don't know you well enough (yet) to know whether you might be a perfectionist or not. But, I believe, I know enough about you that your confession regarding your guilt feeling for not posting lately, makes me wonder if you might have at least a streak of perfectionism. If you do, you may wish to take a peek at the following web link:
entitled: Perfectionism: A Double-edged Sword.

P.S.: Getting older, will help, too :)

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...


I am a recovering perfectionist. I recognize our company cannot grow if I am too much of one. i also see many more people fail from perfection than speed (and that tends to be the trade off).

As for getting older. I will fight that one all the way.


At 10:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The royal road to guilt-free relaxation is to tell yourself that you need to de-stress and to recharge your creative/visionary engines.

Learn to see Mind as renewable, capable of refreshment, and the "nose to the grindstone" drive of all true and passionate leaders must be put into Park or Neutral or Hibernation mode FOR IT'S OWN GOOD and rejuvenation.

The logical side of your zeal will follow the appeal to self interest.

Speak mentally to the reasonable part of your psyche, and coach it to take advantage of all refreshing things: sleep, healthy food, clean water, fresh air, exercise, and, yes: goofing off, spacing out, playing games, being silly, and "wasting" time in an "unproductive" manner.

"unproductive" is to be replaced by "rejuvenating"

Mind as rechargeable battery.

Frank and vulnerable confessions like this are highly recommended in a CEO blog. I have to keep telling myself that anything I do to prove that I'm a real, caring, imperfect, heroic, experimenting, fallible human being is another blow against the empire of anonymous cyber arctics.

Rehumanizing the machine world, one remark at a time.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...


Intellectually, I agree with your points completely. Working on internalizing it.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger steven edward streight said...

Perfectionists exist as the universe's way of balancing all the mediocres, retirement coasters, sandbags, ne'er do wells, goof offs, dysfuncts, lazies, good-for-nothings, scammers, under-achievers, blase slinkers, and spiritual sloths of this world.


Imperfectionism: it's not all it's cracked up to be.

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the "G" word. . .GUILT is probably one of the most detrimental human feelings. Although, as you said, it can be motivating, it is always associated with resentment like a perverse yin/yang. This is because we only feel guilt about the things that we "should" have done and didn't or "should" do and probably won't. The human nature part of the equation then is to blame the person, culture, system, or entity that imposed the "should."

The only way to lose the guilt is to lose the "shoulds." Replace the "S" word in "I should do X,Y,Z" with "I choose/choose not, will/won't, would like to, etc. etc." This puts the decision firmly in our court.

This coming from someone who felt "guilty" for not sending out a newsletter as often as promised! After berating myself and still not doing it, I sent out a quick email saying the frequency would be quarterly. A smack on the side of the head with a "now how hard was that one?" as I laughed at myself yet one more time.

Thanks for stimulating the ideas.


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