A while ago I was having trouble working. I had just begun a new workout regimen, which was taking up a lot of my focus and willpower, as well as leaving me more tired with the same amount of sleep. I felt as useless and helpless as I can remember, staring at a todo list with very simple items on it, and being all but unable to get myself to finish them.
Thoughts tend towards permanence. As I sat there staring at my list of things to do, I noticed a thought cross my brain: I used to be so productive and now I'm not.
In these situations, I find it helpful to remember that everything passes. My least productive days will yield to more productive days, and my most productive days will be followed with less productive days.
Knowing that I will be productive again when I'm unproductive helps me put things in perspective. Rather than wallow in the doom of "losing it" and being unable to work efficiently again, I see my failure as a temporary valley. This enables me to keep a good attitude about it and focus on crawling my way out of that valley.
On the other hand, when I'm operating at my peak, I try to remember that I won't always be like this. That helps me appreciate the work I'm doing, focus on keeping the ball rolling as long as possible, and deriving enjoyment from my performance, soaking in the view at the top of the mountain.
There are very few things that are permanent in life, and clinging to those things or even hoping for them is counterproductive. It's better to develop strategies that account for life's variance and capitalize on it.
Dating is another example. I think it's always better to assume that it won't be permanent rather than to assume it will be. Taking this attitude will allow you to fully experience relationships while they last, fully appreciating the other person. When single, it allows you to enjoy the benefits of being single, knowing that it won't last forever. Contrast this to someone who takes their partner for granted, assuming the marriage will last just because of a half-day ceremony, or someone who complains about being single, ignorant to the benefits of being so.
As a rule of thumb, it's usually helpful to understand how the world really is and to plan around that. Almost everything in life is transient, so enjoy it while it lasts, and plan for what may come next.
Photo is Shibuya, Tokyo at night. Some awesome videos from the recent Japan trip: