It’s easy to tie together hopeful words about the advantageous outcomes of unknown situations, but when it comes to living out those words, the story becomes a bit more laborious. Here I am, teetering at the edge of the board, about to do a leap first dive into a very real, very unknown situation.
There will always be a reason not to do something, but what makes it worse is when that reason is 5 foot 7 with 2 gorgeous green eyes and a smile that makes your melt on the inside. Sometimes, all you can do is smile back at the satirical mystery of life’s intentions. Timing was never my thing.
I had a gym teacher who used to say life’s like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the quicker it goes. Hoping I’m not yet close enough to the end of my life to fully grasp the meaning of that metaphor, I can apply that analogy to a similar paradox of time.
A leap that was once months away, has now arrived. 7 days seems to be my only shield. And as each passes, the next goes by quicker. Until there I will be, defenseless. No more moments to inch myself nearer to the edge. The next one is it. And although today comes with the comfort of knowing that the leap is yet to come, a week from now it will be a moment in the past.
Five days from now, I will be packing a box of clothes and shipping it off to Reno, Nevada. Seven days from now I will be getting on a plane to Dallas, Texas (slight detour) and then Reno.
Joined by several of my co-workers of the semi start-up Be Legendary, we will be working under one roof to try and bring the company to a new tier of success. This is no doubt, very exciting. The move, the work, the experience. Which is why it’s almost funny that in the midst of all this excitement I can’t get my mind off of a girl.
It’s like one movies from the 80’s, where romances are setup to be bowled down by the wake up call of the real world. But if you look through the eyes of those teenage heartthrobs, odds mean very little when it comes to matters of the heart.
So perhaps there’s some hope. When Ione Skye says to John Cusac in Say Anything that “nobody thinks it will work.” He responds by saying, “No, but you’ve just described every great success story.”
I try and remind myself, that we cannot connect the dots looking forward. If I find myself becoming detached from that idea, I find that I am removing myself from the current moment.
The dots will connect, we just haven’t seen the line yet. And things that seem difficult or unlikely seem to be the key ingredients to any great success.
It’s funny how the most cliche advice can be the most comforting, but the one hue of inspiration that has been keeping me going is the idea that if things are meant to happen – they will happen. You cannot push a stop button on your life to wait and see. Jump off that board and see what happens. I’ll let you know what it feels like in a week!
Editor’s Note: This is a Guest Post written by Hugo Martins
Recently I’ve discovered a folk named Christopher Hitchens, a British journalist, essayist and modern day philosopher born in 1949. He has written books attacking Mother Teresa, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Princess Diana and even God.
Polemic as one can be, Christopher writes with confidence and a self-assurance that could only be acquired by years and years of constant scrutiny, and challenge to the common sense. He is also a well-known debater, having debated celebrities such as Tony Blair.
In the midst of all the debates and interview’s I was watching on YouTube, I couldn’t help but notice that he was getting older and looking sick. I did some research and found out that he was dying of a stage 4 cancer. There’s no stage 5.
It got me thinking. How would someone who said religion was the root of all major humanitarian evils deal with having a terminal disease that would most likely kill him? Would he change his opinion? Would he resort to God? Would he restore his faith? I guess that was the answer everyone who knew him was searching for.
The answer came during a ‘60 Minutes’ interview. In that interview he said “I ought never to say that there’s nothing that would change my mind. So, should I just say that no evidence has yet been presented that would change my mind. But I like surprises!” He has clearly not changed his mind then but the way he presented his affirmation stuck with me.
He had not changed his mind but wasn’t ruling that out if evidence were presented that he was wrong.
I believe in today’s society, there’s a huge prejudice towards people who change opinions. I’ve felt that there have been numerous times in which I’ve said something and then, after some reflection, concluded that I actually believed in the opposite. Therefore, changing my viewpoint on what I had previously looked at with disbelief.
Why is that? Why do people assume that you are only following the herd just because you changed your opinion? When someone is able to change his thinking parameters and reach a new conclusion with solid foundations, and creative, functional, valid arguments, I call that evolution.
What if Christopher, now, all of a sudden changed his opinion and said God actually exists? You’d possibly say he was desperate and wanted to find an answer to his illness but what if he presented valid arguments? How could you be sure that this opinion change was not a matter of philosophy rather than a matter of necessity?
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is Latin for “after this, therefore because of this,” and is a type of fallacy that we often commit. We admit that something happened based on temporal sequence instead of logical reasoning. In this case we are admitting that Christopher’s prospective change of opinion would be due to his diagnosis of a terminal illness. But what if he presented valid arguments?
Should we not ignore external factors such as his terminal illness and focus only on the valid facts for the case in matter? I believe there’s no importance whatsoever in the reasons for one’s change of opinion as long as they present reasoned, valid arguments for such change.
Isaac Asimov once said: “A subtle thought that is in error may yet give rise to fruitful inquiry that can establish truths of great value.” And that represents the message I want to convey – let people change their opinions as much as they want, and change yours too because from a small subtle change a higher truth might arise!
So I think it has finally clicked. The allure of travel has planted its roots. Like stars after sunset, once you see one a whole sky begins to illuminate before your eyes.
I was in San Francisco, for a work event and decided to stay out a couple of extra days. I see now why travel is so highly sought after by growth bloggers and adventure seekers, like Steve Bloom at Do Something Cool. It has been written about as a form of therapy or some scripted antibiotic, fighting off the listlessness of inhibition.
I currently live in New Jersey. A stone’s throw away from New York City. My commutes are surrounded by residential streets and city bridges. On highways I expect trees on either side or perhaps some mercy air as you drive past the industrial buildings breathing out a steady stream of white fog from the tall sky raised chimneys.
And although my trip to San Francisco stayed within the domestic domain, I discovered that coastal differences stretch further than the 3,000 miles that separate them. I was driving down highways of endless rolling hills, gazing upon mountainous peeks and grassy orchards of trees, and watching the sunset behind a perfectly straight horizon where the lands endless stretch out before you with no buildings or towns to get in the way.
The views I was seeing I had never perceived before. And so I was witnessing completely new experiences. For a guy who lives and breaths the challenge of thinking differently, this was certainly an eye opening avenue.
It suddenly made sense why so many people wrote passion-filled pieces on traveling and the difficult times you face when you are not. World traveler Lauren Rains wrote a great piece on The Traveler Who Isn’t Traveling.
Traveler or not, not exploring leaves a certain sense of unease as we scurry around in limbo.
For me, I found myself in a rut. Doing the same things every morning when I wake up. Having the same thing for breakfast. Driving the same way to work. Watching the same news podcast. Buying the same things from the supermarket. Watching the same TV programs. Eating what I normally eat. Dressing the way I normally dress. Thinking the way I normally think.
And so my 5 senses are recording the same thing day after day. The same sites. The same feelings. The same sounds. And yes a new sensation would intermittently creep its way through. But for the most part, my inputs were relatively constant.
But in San Francisco, I hiked up these god-forsakenly steep hills, witnessed walls of fog crawl down mountainous peeks, ate my first crepe at a sidewalk cafe where I saw the worlds oldest moving landmark, the trolly, pass me by. I witnessed entirely different landmarks, interacted with people who held entirely different viewpoints, and was surprisingly stunned by an entirely different climate, one slightly cooler than I had anticipated for a summer in California.
In New Jersey I was in a rut, but my trip across the country seemed to hit the refresh button on that. It wasn’t until I actually experienced something new, till you see that very first star after sunset, that you begin to realize there is an infinitely vast amount of new experiences to be had, a starlit sky that continues to grow.
And so what has finally clicked into place is that traveling creates more inputs, more sensations, more experiences. I’m not prescribing it as the sole way to reinvigorate yourself. No, it’s merely an avenue.
The real amazement over travel is the novelty it brings. When I was over on the West coast I was talking to people who wanted nothing more to come to the East coast. It isn’t about places its about original experience.
Original experiences can take any number of forms from making pancakes for dinner to learning a different language. From going to lunch with someone new to listening intently to music you don’t like.
There are a wealth of inputs surrounding us, but our awareness naturally focuses in on the ones we already have. But travel has a knack for disconnecting all your old inputs and forcing you to plug into some new ones. And original thoughts have never felt so good.
What are some of the awesome places you have been? What do you do when you feel stuck in a rut? How do you expand your inputs?
Apple just launched their newest operating system, Lion OSX, last week. Like any new idea, people are excited about the change, but weary of its unfamiliarity. Just like people who are fretful about the idea of switching from PC to Mac, the unknown holds an unsettling feeling for the potential of both positive and negative consequences.
But to ignore a source of innovation because of the possibility of misuse would be senseless. In Mihaly Csikszentmihaly book on the psychology of optimal experiences, Flow, he writes, “If mankind had tried to ban fire because it could be used to burn things down, we would not have grown to be very different from the great apes.”
Embracing the unknown has been civilizations igniting force continually pushing it forward. On a smaller scale, the very same ideology can be broken down on an individual level. What is common and routine now, was at one time unfamiliar and unknown.
Using what was once a part of our tactics to crawl, lead us to stand on our two miniature legs for the very first time. Entering a building full of classrooms, friends, and considerably taller, unfamiliar adults was our first experience of structured learning.
Growing up was full of firsts. And although the idea of walking could lead to the very realistic possibility of falling, it wouldn’t stop of us from taking hold of our latest ability to explore new surroundings.
Entertaining new possibilities is a visceral drive. We look back and view a child learning to walk or going to school as a natural part of growth. It is because growth is an innate drive. Breaking through to new areas of our life is a state of being and it does not end with childhood abilities.
We constantly drive to push ourselves forward. But we also establish a frame of reference and a list of habits to go with it, and so breaking into new areas becomes risky.
Fresh life ideas contain learning curves, time, consequences, and chances of failure. But does that mean we should ignore them? And even if we do, growth is our state of being. To ignore possibilities would create a dissonance as our beliefs and our actions would not align.
To act would evoke fear, while not acting would create dissatisfaction. I find we are better fear facers then dissatisfaction creators.
If life is a an array of dots, the ones behind us connected, the ones in front of us an unpredictable sequence – then we must learn to trust that the dots will connect. Our first day of school might have been our scariest challenge at one time, but now we see it as a connection to what has brought us to where we currently are.
The same can be said about the future. Although those dots may seem like leaps and bounds away right now, they will connect and make the intricate and extraordinary sequence of the life you have the potential of living.
To worry is to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. It is a keen focus on the adverse, instead of an open acceptance of the unknown that makes it so limiting. It evokes emotions that match it’s destructive desires and suppresses our more constructive thoughts.
In his psychology book Emotional Intelligence Daniel Goleman writes, “The mental resources expended on one cognitive task, the worrying, simply detracts from the resources available for processing other information.”
It shifts our attention from figuring out answers to being preoccupied with worries. These worries then become self-fulfilling prophesies, revealing the very reality they predict.
Worrying also removes us from the current moment. A night with friends, family, or just some of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream, turns into flagrant anxiety and overwhelming stress. This chaotic tag-team certainly has a knack for taking the funky out of Chunky Monkey.
Knowing that I need not go on talking about the destructive tendencies that surface when we worry, the question that still remains to be answered is, “What can we do?”
Let’s say you want something fantastic to manifest in your life. You sit down and come up with possibilities that would allow this amazing idea to unfold. You may even get a little rambunctious, partly from the Chunky Monkey ice cream, and begin to think of reasons why this could come fast and easy.
Slowly but surely you are developing a list of your character strengths. This is the perfect combatant against that disastrous tag-team of stress and anxiety.
The commonality among every instance of concern, is that it is over a particular something. Projects, meetings, travel, interviews, dates, speeches, indigestion, there is always something we worry about. But instead of focusing in on 100 reasons why that something might go wrong, what if we thought about why it might come easily?
This might seem too simple of a fix, but like anyone who has swung a golf club knows, the slightest adjustment of your grip, can make the most significant difference in the trajectory of your ball.
Thinking about why something might come easily forces us to think about how our strengths will leverage our worries. Now instead of words like incapable or unpolished infiltrating our minds, our focus hones in on the positive aspects of ourselves.
In any and every situation, what can you bring to the table? Each and every one of us hold extraordinary potentials. Don’t worry yourself with daunting incapabilities of events that have yet to transpire.
Instead, focus in on where your greatest aptitudes and passions lie, and discover your unique path for fulfillment. That is what you bring to the table, that is the pathway to positive outcomes, and that is the essence of your potential.
What are some of your worries sneaking their way into your daily life? What do you do to overcome them? Do you think any good can come from worrying?
A moment is valuable. Some more then others, but if we start to chuck them out the window like worthless pennies, we will most definitely neglect some of the most worthwhile ones.
Life comes at us in waves. Literally, giant, oceanic, swirling waves. Heaps of water crashing down, each with different breaking points.
In the midst of all this chaos of crashing, it becomes increasingly difficult to hone in on a single molecule of water. Each is part of a chain of events created by ripples and wind speed. In the midst of a wave, it is tough to appreciate a single drop of water. But it is the change in air pressure flickering across the individual molecules of water that gives birth to this massive swell – this unstoppable movement of change.
Ever find yourself hanging on to the good stuff in life? We just don’t want certain things to stop. Whether it be an amazing movie, a beautiful symphony, an exciting date, or some quality conversation, all share a common fate – we don’t look forward to them ending.
I catch myself doing this all the time. In the midst of something good, I think, “Gee, I really don’t want this to stop.” Now, instead of continuing to enjoy this pleasurable event, I find myself in this paradigm of temporary good versus inevitable discontinuation. I have directly withdrawn from maximizing optimization, by taking my focus off enjoying the moment, and placing it on worrying about it ending.
How many of us hang on to our weekends, fearing that blaring alarm clock Monday morning?
The beauty of life is change. Being trapped in a two day weekend would be a living purgatory. Change is what makes life so extraordinary. The ending point for one moment is the start of another. It gives meaning and worth to our life while making each moment unique and memorable.
There was an Indian tribe residing in the Shuswap region of British Colombia. This specific region was considered by the Indian people to be a rich place. There was plenty of salmon and game, vast amounts of below-ground resources, and plenty of fertile land. They built village sites and had elaborate technologies to effectively cultivate the resources. The Indians looked at their lives to be rich and good.
Yet, over time the elders began to find predictability throughout their days. With everything so readily available, challenge began to go out of life. Without challenge, life had no meaning.
So the elders gathered and discussed what they should do. Through discourse and in their wisdom they decided the village should move. Every 25 to 30 years, the entire population would move to a different part of the Shuswap land, and there, they found challenge. There were lands to fertilize, new game trails to learn, new areas to navigate. Life would regain its meaning and everyone would feel rejuvenated and happy. Incidentally, it also allowed resources in one area to recover after years of harvesting.
Ever want to do something? Yet, your lack of motivation is significantly more evident than the to-do list you taped to your TV screen. It’s a good looking list too. Lots of stuff to be done yet none of it is getting any closer to earning that long desired check mark.
But it’s tough. Why should it be a mental struggle to do these things? Why is it so difficult? Then, rationalization sets in and suddenly you begin to think if it is so tough to get these things done than maybe you never really wanted them on that to-do list in the first place.
Like the epic battles of the angel and devil sagas, you have a mental discourse over which side you should listen to. Now getting things done is not your only problem as your vague remembrance from psych 101 has you worried that your becoming schizophrenic.
People always want to make a difference, but it is tough to really take the time to make one. Take that thought and throw it out your metaphoric window. It doesn’t take some grand gesture to have an impact and it does not require some master plan that inevitably comes with the lure of procrastination. It can be very simple and can occur at any moment, like now! Make the difference and start it now. Here are some ideas to get started. From there you can really go anywhere you desire, but just know the only thing really necessary to make a difference is you. Read more..
Success seems to be a fleeting entity. Like dangling a carrot in front of a horse, sometimes we feel like we are never really getting any closer to succeeding. It is at these times that failure taunts us, seducing our ambition and disarming our drive.
Talking about thinking in impossible ways and seeing the world in unique perspectives opens up possibility, but believing and acting consistently are two tools that can help us navigate possibility and transform it into reality.
The precursor to success is hope. Hope is the belief that this is attainable. Latching onto hope can serve as a buffer against failure. And even in the face of failure hope remains dogged and steadfast.
If there was anything in this world that you could do, what would it be? Any impact you desire to make could be had. The lens of impossibility has been lifted. All you see now are possible outcomes. What extraordinary outcome would you want? Anything is on the table. Think in the most unimaginable and unpredictable terms. What is it that you really want?
What if I were to tell you that something existed, something that would enable your most extraordinary fantasies to transform into your current reality. I actually have this something. It is a toolbox. I have seen it transform people’s lives. Like rubbing the side of a lamp awaiting a mystical genie, this toolbox contains indistinguishable powers.
Just like a carpenter’s toolbox helps him build something that previously did not exist, this toolbox works on the same idea. It creates a reality that previously did not exist. For that is what all your wishes, desires, and hopeful impacts share, the existence of a reality that currently isn’t so. Any wish lies on this premise.