Friday, 5 December 2008

Bellwethers and self-awareness

I was interested to discover the original meaning of bellwether – it’s the leading sheep of a flock, with a bell on its neck. So now you know too!

Of course it’s the other meaning that we tend to focus on nowadays – the indicator of a trend concept.

Why was I thinking about any of this in relation to self-awareness and developing daily disciplines? Well, over recent years I’ve identified a few triggers that indicate that I’m a bit off form. I don’t mean anything dramatic, just little things that happen ordinarily when I’m OK, but somehow slip away when I’m not. I use them as wee warnings that I need to take some time to work out what’s going on. Sometimes it’s simply physical (for example, I’ve had a cold recently), but it’s harder to recognise when it’s emotional. Of course, the change in demeanour doesn’t (usually) happen overnight. Hence the bellwethers, the wee things that might show you that everything’s not quite hunky-dory.

Some of the things that are indicators for me include:
- Reading the newspaper every day
- Trimming my beard regularly
- Polishing shoes

There are others, but it’s quite a dull list – those three are the highlights!! The point of this entry – if there is one – is to suggest that developing these bellwethers might just help you to spot that things are heading south, as early as possible.

Of course, once you spot it you need to do something about it!

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