Mind over managing: Roll away the stone

At the time of writing, I am ensconced in the few days between Christmas and New Year. The packed streets on my cycle journey through the city to our office at Nyhavn illustrate one of the many absurdities of this time of year: namely the rush of shoppers to exchange gifts that cost half of what they did the week before.

Reflection with Janus
It’s also a strange time to be at work, with so many people still on their festive vacation. It does offer, however, a good time to reflect on the 12 months just gone and the undoubted highs and lows of the coming year.

I must confess to a tendency to find this rather daunting: the constant need to start up again, finding the energy to do it all over again …

Inspection by Camus
I found unexpected solace in Camus’s ‘The Myth Of Sisyphus’, his examination of an absurdly long, seemingly endless slog.

I was drawn to the story of the figure who, according to Greek legend, was cursed by the gods to endlessly push a rock up a mountainside, only to witness it roll back down just as he reaches the summit, condemning him to a life of unending futility. I’m not saying that I felt that bad, but it did strike a chord.

Acceptance by Sisyphus
Yet far from interpreting this negatively, Camus asserts that when Sisyphus acknowledges the futility of his task and the certainty of his fate, he is freed to realise the absurdity of his situation and reach a state of contented acceptance.

Rather than full of disillusionment, he imagines Sisyphus’s walk back down the mountain to be full of enlightenment, and there is always the view from the top to enjoy in its magnificence.

Perception duly changed
All of a sudden, my mood improved. As is so often the case, all that was needed was a change of perception.

Yes, life is absurd and daunting, but there is a joy to be found in both facing up to and revelling in the freedom that this realisation brings.

So bring on 2016. I’m off to Magasin.