“E” is for Effortless

Last week, I was Effortless in Twitter. I checked out this tool called the Social Effort Scale that measures your effort in social media; they can measure your profile in Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

I had achieved a score of 150 in Twitter, which is a score of Effortless. Go me! This week, I stumbled. Here’s my latest score:

But my Effortless marks are still high! I scored bonus points for sharing Neil Gaiman's tweet.
But my Effortless marks are still high! I scored bonus points for sharing Neil Gaiman’s tweet. Ignore Facebook.

Your score is based on the following:

  • Number of hashtags
  • Percentage of capital letters
  • Amount of emoticons
  • Exclamation marks
  • Punctuation

The resulting score gives you an overall view of how hard or how little you’re trying on social media, plus individual scores for each of your updates. Here’s some advice for an Effortless score: Don’t ever mention yourself (even in a link), keep exclamation marks and hashtags to a minimum, and don’t use capital letters. I repeat, do NOT use capital letters. And, if you retweet someone with lots of capitals, down you go. Or, in this case, up.

Trust me, I don’t take this too seriously, but I’ll admit I got excited when I got the “Effortless” score. Typically, I know I try “too hard.” A visit to a tarot card reader came to mind. It was many moons ago, and a friend suggested it after we walked past the tarot card reader’s window. After turning over the first tarot card, she took hold of my hands, and simply said, “You try too hard.” Maybe it was because I had PMS or that I was planning a wedding on little money, but I broke down and cried. I knew she was right, and it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I really don’t know what I was expecting. A “How-to Guide” to life? Rainbows? I just didn’t like what she was serving.

My wedding plans had gone haywire; no one was performing their role as I saw fit, asking the wrong questions because they weren’t about me. They didn’t worry about the same things that I did, and believe me I worried; I wrestled with each decision until I could bear the weight of it no longer and released it to fate, a sort of passive-aggressive approach to decision-making. Sometimes it worked, but most of the time I second-guessed my decisions, or lack of decisions, anyway. Oh, how agonizing I was.

Little did I know at the time that I was marrying “The River.” It’s taken me a long time to embrace my husband’s “Que Sera Sera” approach to life. Now perk up. Here’s when my post will take a decidedly more cheerful turn. Enter “The River.”

I thought a visual might help. Feel the flow of the river...
I thought a visual might help. Feel the flow…

Let me tell you a more recent story of my husband’s ability to be “The River.” My husband registered for a conference for Union Educators in Los Angeles, one that required travel and hotel arrangements. He signed up at the last minute, and when he received an itinerary, he simply made a mental note of his travel date and that he would leave for the airport right after work. He never knew the time of the flight, his airline, or the name of his hotel. All that he knew was that he needed to arrive at the airport, which he did, ticketless, of course. Luckily he remembered his I.D., and the airline figured out the rest.

He had hoped he might see a colleague on the plane he knew; he saw no one. So, there he is up in the sky on his way to his conference, having no idea whatsoever where he would go once the plane landed, besides getting his luggage at the carousel. (It’s important to not get too ahead of yourself when you are The River. One step at a time.) At the carousel, who does he see, but the Union President. Oh, what luck! The President ushers him into a shuttle; it’s doubtful my husband expressed any confusion about their next destination. It was now in the hands of the Union President; what better person to run into? Did I mention that the Union President’s flight was delayed, so that it was a complete fluke that my husband should run into him at all? Double luck.

And it continues….

The hotel overbooked the “packaged deal” assigned for his group. Not to worry. There’s an available room in the penthouse. And guess what? My husband is bumped up to the penthouse with a slick view of the city and a balcony! Here, room service delivered free breakfast each and every morning; no phones calls necessary. Unbelievable!

I laugh at this, but then I also think it probably would not have happened this way if I were with him on this trip. I would have stressed, and consequently, caused him stress. We probably never would have ended up in the penthouse.

You have to ask yourself how willing you are to embrace the flow of the river, to indulge in oblivious forgetfulness, to just be in the moment…to be effortless.

Of course, by asking, you defeat the whole purpose of being The River altogether. It’s really a life philosophy and one that is not easily mastered.

I sense that a bigger part of it is letting go of self-absorption and being aware of others first. By letting go, the world around you is invited into your life, and just maybe they will set it on a smoother course. If you’ve broken all your New Year resolutions already, you might try the effortless route. You may be better off. You may even end up in the penthouse.

What about you? What end of the spectrum do you fall…The River or on the side of worry and indecision?

photo credit: Jezz via photopin cc

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40 thoughts on ““E” is for Effortless

  1. I am definitely a River Amy. Only today I thought I had better ask my Spanish neighbour to take me to the cash point in the next village. Before I could do so I had an email from an English friend who lives nearby saying that he was going to the next village tomorrow and did I want to come ? I find the more you try to force things, less happens. So it’s the River for me ! xox ❤

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      1. The River rarely works when others are involved, ie. got to get the kids to this or that, work schedules, etc. that’s why you’re rarely a River my friend. Great post with hubby’s story ! 😀

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  2. “embrace the flow of the river”—I love that analogy. Sometimes I can do it, but many times I can’t. And yet it’s so liberating when we do embrace it.

    Thank you for the info on the Social Effort Scale. Looks so cool. I want to check mine out, but the terms and conditions (which I don’t always read but for some reason did today) freaked me out when they said they can use our scores for marketing purposes. What a wimp I am. Maybe I’ll get braver later.

    Wonderful post.

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    1. I want so much to be the river, Carrie! I think I at least have river days, and for that I’m proud. In many ways, I am just who I am. On the plus side for worriers, it is said that are worrying is a sign of intelligence. I read that somewhere. 🙂

      Ooh, I didn’t see the fine print. Thanks for telling me. I think it’s interesting to see each tweet evaluated and see what they think is of value. I don’t know if it will change my ways or not.

      Thanks! And thanks for sharing it. I appreciate it.

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  3. In all the big things I am a river but I worry too much really especially for the little things. It’s with good reason of course as I am one of the unluckiest people going, the sort that people don’t want to fly with incase of disaster but mind travelling to less dangerous places as they know they will be ok as the bogey man has his eyes on me!

    Also E is for effortlessly entertaining as you are 🙂

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    1. I don’t consider you unlucky at all, Stephen, considering all your many accomplishments. Of course, that’s no luck, is it? Still, so many good things! I think it might be easier to be the river in a dangerous place. The less control you have, the more chance for the river to come into play. 🙂

      Thank you, kindly!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, how kind of you to say that I make everything seem effortless. Nothing could be further from the truth. But, it’s all about making it look easy, too. I think of the ballerinas and the figure skaters who make it look so easy. I’m not much the river, but I wish I could be! So, I understand.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It sounds to me that you married quite a Zen Master, Amy. That “take it easy” approach in New York City would be called “asking for it”. I’m a Type A personality, so I blend in well where I live.

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  5. Great read! Your husband sounds funny, and just a tad frustrating for a fellow worrier/ planner/ Type A like myself. Good thing my boyfriend is also a river in his own way – balance is important.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading, Jhaneel. I think me and my husband are practically polar opposites and maybe we do have balance in that way. He is funny, and sometimes I just have to remember we’re just very different before I get frustrated. He can help me relax too. I guess it just depends on the situation. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That’s great, Amy. It sounds like being “The River” is like a secret superpower. I tend to be laid back, much more than my wife, but I also plan meticulously, so I’m not really a river, I guess. 🙂

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    1. Ha ha. A secret superpower. My husband would love to hear that one. It might as well be for me, since it’s nearly impossible for me to do, although I have my moments! I’m like you, laid back with a lot of planning in the background. I can never reveal this to my husband either. I have to keep it secret. 🙂

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  7. Amy, I love this post. I think you know which side of the spectrum I’m on….however, I love the river idea, and the visual. Now, when I feel myself deep in planning mode, and feel the stress coming on, I will look for opportunities within that moment to just let some things flow. Fantastic idea! (sort of like the contract and expand approach to life 🙂

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    1. Oh, hi miss! So good to know you’re alive. Hmm…what side do you fall on. Gee, I don’t think I know….NOT!! Maybe a picture of the river at your desk…Yes! I think this is a fantastic idea. Contract and expand approach to life…is this your current approach? Embrace technology. That’s always a good approach if this one doesn’t work. I missed you at New Year’s.

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  8. If you don’t mind my saying so, The River seems a little too detached to me. It sounds like he lets other people figure it all out for him. Your “stress” is, in fact, a mature and healthy response to the circumstances.

    My social media score would be zero because I don’t have a facebook or Twitter account. This, coming from a person who is desirous of a larger audience and more comments. What do I do to instigate that? NOTHING. My river is a dry bed.

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    1. Oh, I just so love your comments, Mark. Ha ha. Hmm….why yes! This thought has occurred to me on more occasions than I can count. As relationships are complex, I cannot explain it all here. I do a lot of heavy lifting, and it’s not lost on me. It’s interesting though to me that things work out when I’m not there. It reminds me of the Sliding Doors movie. It’s a different reality when we’re together and when we are apart. But thank you for backing me up!

      I’m not sure if my audience has grown from Twitter or Facebook on the whole. Sometimes, I have a few posts that get a little more attention, like the bullying post. People get behind a post like that. Otherwise, there is so much noise on these channels. I feel like it’s pretty hard to be heard.

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  9. I think like a lot of people I can be both. If I’m generally a bit tired and stressed then I can be controlling and anxious about every little detail, but if I’m generally happy and relaxed then I go with the flow. In a relationship I think it’s important to have both types of people, or at least for both people to be both things at different times! A couple that I know are both total rivers, and they often miss flights and things like that because neither of them is worrying about it!

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    1. That’s true, Vanessa. It’s so much easier to go with the flow if you feel relaxed and happy. That makes perfect sense. And, if you’re not confined to schedules or deadlines! But the River set seem to rise above that or simply ignore. 🙂 Like your river friends! They would make a good story. I think you’re right in having one offset the other probably helps balance things.

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    1. Hey Ken! I imagine living in Bangladesh would be optimal for “be the river” training. 🙂 How can that not sink in? I think if I had the proper environment, it could work for me. But, I’m much better at being the river now than I was in my twenties. Kids have lead me on a different path where I must live more in the moment. Good for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so jealous that you are married to the River! (oops capital and exclamation mark) Mine tries to act all cool but he’s busy overthinking and trying to control the outcome. Let it go right? Be present and mindful and open. Good luck with that when you have two hungry kids and a traffic jam to get through, actually or figuratively. Loved this piece Amy!
    Love,
    Shalagh

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    1. Oops. Watch those capitals, missy. I couldn’t decide whether or not to capitalize the river. If I was just going with the flow and being effortless, I wouldn’t capitalize any of it, but lo and behold, I asked The River and he said I should capitalize it. Now what should we make of all this?! There’s the flow and then there’s detached responsibility. Don’t you like my phrasing? All relationships are a challenge. Dynamics, etc. But hard as I might, I’ll never be the river probably. It’s not in my DNA. Yeah, and good luck with kids. The river only flows in one direction then: their way! Their way is the only way. Am I right? Thank you, Shalagh. xox

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    1. I think the capitals refer to ALL CAPITALS, like such. The shouty kind! although I just have a sense of their method, but it seemed as though this is what they were referencing in their analysis.

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      1. I think comedian Aziz Asari used all-caps at one point on his twitter, when he became momentarily obsessed with “evil” Rupert Murdoch over predictable comments.

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      2. Oh, it’s not so much anything that anyone out there in the public would get or know about. I think it’s more the best practices, etc. Who really knows what those are?! Apparently, someone is keeping track of these things and has ideas about it….

        Liked by 1 person

  11. This is so interesting presentation – Effortless Meditation is a householder practice which has has been designed with busy Western lives in mind.

    “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
    I am haunted by waters.”

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    1. Indeed, Mihran. I’m sure there are some cultures where this wouldn’t even be discussed because things happen in such a different way.

      I love this quote. Thanks so much for including it here. Whenever I think of a river, this one comes to mind. It’s marvelous!

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  12. I am not a river (although I admire those who are), as I always want to know exactly what will happen and when. The irony, of course, is that such things are unknowable. However, there is a grand tradition of pursuing knowledge of the unknowable. Some call it “faith,” but I just know it by its shorthand name, “art.”

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    1. Thanks, Uncle Guacamole. Love that name!!! That is the irony I suppose. That as much as you want to “know” things and control how things will pan out, you never can. So, you might as well just be the river. But, why is it so hard to do? Is it something in our genetic makeup? Art is what makes the world a fascinating place and what outlives us. What a lovely comment. Thank you.

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