I heard this term used the other day and it both amused me and made me angry. The term, when used definitely had a negative connotation to it. It basically spoke to the fact that there was more effort being spent in trying to organize, communicate, and re-verify than was actually spent doing something productive or moving forward. It also referred to the fact that decisions and direction that had were made previously were now being re-examined. Some have called this Analysis-Paralysis. Whereby there is so much effort in just analyzing (basically shit) that nothing really productive is being done.
This lead me to start thinking about the churn in our daily lives.
How much time and effort do you spend daily just churning ?
I like to think I spend very little time and effort in the churn. Sometimes it’s necessary to spend the time and effort as it becomes an investment. Kinda like the old adage “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime“. But often I think that the personal churn is quite unproductive. So why is it that this is done ? Why do we do this ? Well to be honest, I don’t have the foggiest idea. However, let me qualify, if you think you may be churning, you may in fact not be. Say for example you are evaluating something, for example purchasing that new pair of shoes, and whether or not they will work for you… that is not churn. If you are rethinking your decisions from the days events and are wondering if what you did was correct, you may be churning. If you are re-thinking your days events and learning from them… that is not churn. If you are thrashing in your emotions… that’s a different story.
There are times I will look at my day and wonder if I made the correct choices, but it’s usually in an effort to learn from the things I’ve done. Hence, I’m skeptical on whether I’d call it churn, but instead, I like to think of it as productive work. Productive in the sense that I’m able to better myself. Learning from my mistakes or seeing what I could do differently to have a better impact.
When I examine my decisions that I made throughout the day, I don’t think of as churn, but more of a making sure I did the right thing… have I made the right decision or if I’ve done something incorrect. I like to think that my thought process is more of a Karmic process versus a guilt process. A while ago I had said that I don’t believe in any one religion. So after being raised Christian, I find that I have quite a few Buddhist beliefs. Ya, I know… go figure. But that’s another discussion. Hence when I say that I think that my processes are more Karmic, I am thinking, have I done something that Karma would come back to haunt me on this one? Case and point… did you know there are very few litigation lawyers in Thailand… wonder why ? Because the Thai people believe in Karma, still trying to figure it out… well, The Thai people think that if you have wronged someone, that Karma will come back to you. Hence this governs their actions. Noodle on that for a while…
Anyway, back to the churn. I think the lesson here is to try avoid the churn and make sure that your time is productive. It’s ok to be introspective, and to analyse ones actions, but stewing about those actions is (in my opinion) a waste of effort. Here is a challenge for you, When was the last time you got a chance to be introspective ? If you can, take a few moments for yourself, to be with yourself and discover the things that are going well as well as the things that are not going well.
I get that taking time out of your very busy and already over-committed day may be difficult and finding the time to do a bit of “Navel-gazing” may seem superfluous. But stopping to smell the roses is worth it. I think that with some practice you can actually turn your introspective time into a time where you can focus on what is important in your life. Focus on the good things that you have to be thankful for. May be after a bit of focus, you can see how really unimportant the churn really is.