I’ve written dozens of times on this blog, life is suffering.

It is not a matter of pessimism or optimism, it is a matter of reality. The natural way of life is the senescence of body and mind. If nothing is done to the contrary, this effect occurs in 40 days due to lack of food, 7 days due to lack of water or 5 minutes due to shortness of breath.

The endeavor of life

From this point of view, life is a continuous endeavor. A voluntary and incessant movement towards the maintenance and permanence of the living state of matter. And, with one of the few living beings known to be aware of their condition, their needs, and goals, human beings are also among the few who take responsibility for maintaining their own lives, individually or collectively.

Leia aqui em Português: https://raulbuchi.ch/uma-coisa-de-cada-vez/

Therefore, in order to fulfill the responsibilities related to maintaining and expanding the state of life, tasks need to be performed. An infinite checklist that, in the first moments of life, is taken care of by those responsible for the child, and then, as the right training, he starts to assume (or should assume) each one of these tasks.

Due to the way that human life was organized, initially in function of cultural space, nowadays in function of capital and cultural space, the maintenance of the vital state does not depend only on the five basic elements: eating, sleeping, evacuating, drinking and breathing .

But, yes, it is also linked to more complex elements: knowing how to read, write, count, speak, use the card and know how to access the account online.

Super tasked life

We transform seasonal hunting and gathering periods and an uninterrupted resolution of small, bureaucratic and redundant daily tasks. From absolutely simple and important things, like checking the alarm clock (ahhhh !!!! it’s not from your era), to tasks of unimaginable magnitudes, as did the Chinese government that bought 9 billion dollars of chicken meat from Brazil at once.

The number of small and large tasks that need to be performed daily, weekly, monthly and annually is huge. It is so big that our brain quickly learns to perform most of them without even being aware of these processes. Much of the most mechanical tasks are done by pure conditioning, without having to think or spend extra energy to solve them.

On the one hand, the brain is responsible for mechanical and repetitive processes. On the other hand, we can dedicate this energy to the most complex tasks or that are not yet 100% conditioned.

So, at the end of the equation, we don’t have much left. And, whether for pleasure or pain, all tasks require a sum of small tasks to be completed: to wash the dishes, you need to turn on the water, using detergent in the sponge, rubbing plate by plate and rinsing. Even if you have a machine to facilitate the process, you need to organize the dishes inside.

Then each task, or each small goal that needs to be achieved, is actually to develop, or it can be broken down into a bunch of small tasks that together achieve or form that larger task.

Psychological point of view

We can put this in more psychological terms and say that, a final behavior is the result of several antecedent behaviors, stepped in a certain order of results.

This seems obvious and howling. But, as these processes are triggered automatically, most of the time, we end up losing that perspective.
In times of tiredness, depression or discomfort in the face of tasks, we tend to mentally dismember each of the subtasks until it seems like a network of endless activities. Making everything more difficult, heavy and long.

In routine moments, we tend to go through everything without paying much attention and, when we see it, the day is already over and life is going blank.

So we end up on one edge of the knife, or we are overwhelmed by the overwhelming view of reality, or we pass through it.

Self-help groups

I spent a lot of my time in contact with Alcoholics Anonymous. I gave many lectures to the groups and A.A. and to other A.A partner entities. For this, I read and studied the vast, realistic and functional literature used by these self-help groups a lot. In the literature of A.A. we find a very useful resource: the mottos of A.A ..

They are a compendium of small sentences that form a set of values ​​and beliefs that gradually, as their repetition and practice in life, gradually replace the dysfunctional beliefs and values ​​that led the individual to bankruptcy.

The phrases are absolutely simple and functional: “one day at a time”, “each thing at its time”, “just for today”, “one thing at a time”, “first things first”, “the secret is in next meeting ”etc. Almost all mottos lead to a more realistic and present relationship with life. Taking the individual out of an excessively mental and anxious life and leading him to experience the present reality in a more cozy and confident way.

The two slogans that fit this text well are: “one thing from each

time ”and“ first things first ”. Understand and accept that any task is performed from the sum of infinite minor tasks that are being performed sequentially. But, also realize that these micro tasks are also composed of infinite nano tasks, it can be a double-edged sword if there is no clarity that it is necessary to do “one thing at a time” and that, “first things first” should be done.

Life is not easy

Living is not an easy activity in itself. When we break up this mega activity in its macro tasks, in daily tasks and micro-tasks, anxiety, fear and the very discouragement resulting from the realization of the size of the effort and time that will be necessary to accomplish all of this, can lead us to a not very positive outlook on life.

The suffocating perspective of reality leads us to give up. “I won’t be able to handle it”, “it’s not worth it”, “what is all this for?”, “Where will it take me?”, “It’s worthless”.

A brief example:

During college, I had a teacher, a psychologist who often repeated: “depression: any trip to Paris cures depression. Nobody is depressed in Paris ”.

The reality cannot be more different. Infinitely I have accompanied patients with depression who were looking to travel to try to alleviate some depressive symptoms. But, the list of tasks linked to a trip, even if it is short or to the nearby ones, made the leisure of the tour become a torment: “I need to solve the tickets”, I need to find a hotel ”,“ I will have to pack “,” I can’t forget … “,” I don’t know how to do it with the car at the airport “,” I won’t have anyone waiting for me on the way back “,” I will have to take two suitcases because of the weather “.

Phew! How tired.

Not even when I emigrated to Switzerland, did I have such a heavy perspective on tasks. Try to do the first things first. What are the most important or urgent things? Let’s start with them.

Passages: “My God! I have to call the agency and check the dates ”- Okay, but do one thing at a time.

The Hotel: “It needs to be close to the beach, I want to go for a walk, and I need to research prices !!” – Great, let’s do one thing at a time.

After 3 phone calls and 35 minutes, all problems were solved.

This effect generated by the volume of tasks involved in solving the tasks themselves is called maximization. It is as if the perception expands, maximizes the problems involved in carrying out the activities. They gain a magnitude far beyond what is necessary, making them seem impregnable obstacles.

So, solving one thing at a time, and putting the first things first, we give our perception a more favorable view of the confrontations that lie ahead, reducing fear and anxiety.

Raul de Freitas Buchi