“Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
—Voltaire, 16th Century French Writer
Image of Voltaire from Wikiquote
Voltaire lived to be eighty-four years old. Considering he was born in 1694, that is practically a miracle, given the poor sanitation levels and lack of healthcare available in Europe at the time.
Perhaps it was his considerable appreciation for the world around him that had him experience life with a sense of greater abundance and awe. With such a healthy and robust view of life, who wouldn’t keep reaching for one more day, and then another?
How might you experience and more fully appreciate everything and everyone around you in the coming days? How would such a mindful practice lead you to a richer, more fulfilling life?
“Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a Cha-Cha.”
—Robert Brault, Freelance American Writer
Image from Unsplash by Isaiah McClean
As an optimist, I see life as a dance in which we all play a part in the magnificent miracle of living.
If we slow down a bit to observe our surroundings, and even our inner worlds, we will note different rhythms and cycles of give and take, up and down, back and forth. Perhaps it is these cha-cha’s of life that keep things in balance and simply bring workability to our world.
Where and how can you more fully recognize and appreciate the steps backwards in life as integral and important aspects of a happy life?
“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.”
—Pliny the Younger, lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome
Image from Unspash by Ryoji Iwata
I recently saw the film Puzzle, in which Kelly Macdonald plays a woman living a dull and predictable life. One boring day, she finds a puzzle on the shelf and decides to give it a go, only to discover a wondrous joy in putting it together with great speed and mastery.
Consider life as a puzzle we piece together over time, sorting the variety of colors, straight edges, and of course, those all-important corners, to frame our picture of an extraordinary life.
For some reason, there seems to be far more interest and attraction to fitting in the new pieces that come our way, and a bit of taking for granted what we have already accomplished and put into place.
How would a greater appreciation for who you are and what you have provide more satisfaction as you purposefully pursue the pieces needed to complete your picture of a wonderful life?
“There is just as much beauty visible to us in the landscape as we are prepared to appreciate – not a grain more.”
—Henry David Thoreau, 19th Century American essayist, poet, and philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Ron Dauphin
We have all heard the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” For whatever reason, I and perhaps many of you simply glance at this phrase and give only a passing nod of acknowledgement.
In August, my wife Wendy and I took the trip of a lifetime to Africa, Iceland, and Ireland with two good friends. Three weeks and thousands of mouth-gaping experiences and photographs gave us a new and expanded appreciation of the beauty of our planet and its people.
How and in what ways can you enhance your capacity to see and appreciate the beauty all around you by looking more deeply into your own communities – and of course, booking your next bucket list adventure?
“When your feet start to hurt, place yourself in someone else’s shoes.”
—Demi Lovato, American Singer-Songwriter
Image from Amazon.com
I recently finished reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The book’s subtitle really grabbed my interest: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – and Why Things are Better than You Think.
Through the latest socioeconomic data he challenges the reader to find themselves along the continuum of low, middle, and high income countries. What Lovato’s quote suggests is a day walking in the shoes of others when our lives seem so difficult.
The wonderful news is that compared to 20 or 50 years ago, we are phenomenally better off today.
Where could putting yourself in other people’s shoes help you be far more satisfied and appreciative of your life?
“The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.”
-Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
Image of Milford Sound from Flickr by Bernard Spragg
What do the following places have in common?
Bay of Islands
For those who wish to travel more, these are wondrous destinations in New Zealand.
I visited these amazing places as part of my 60th birthday adventure. Getting out into the world can be transformational! In just a few weeks, I felt I took a quantum leap in my awareness and knowledge of geography, history, culture, plants, animals, and many other subjects.
How and in what ways can you investigate and explore your world more fully to add and expand to you awareness and knowledge? Consider scheduling one of your most exciting “Bucket List” travel adventures soon.
“Some books are undeservingly forgotten. None are undeservingly remembered.”
-W.H. Auden, 20th Century English Poet
Image from Flickr by UNCG Research
Do you love books, as I do? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Regardless of your choice, take a moment to recall the books that told a great story or taught a profound lesson that has stayed with you to this day.
What percentage of the books you’ve read have you forgotten completely – perhaps undeservedly – due to a less than optimally open and receptive mind?
How would a far more open mind and receptive attitude toward seeking value and benefit from the books you read support you in living a fuller and more prosperous life?