“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”

“The absence of alternatives clears the mind marvelously.”

—Henry Kissinger, Former U.S. Secretary of State

Image from Unsplash by Victoriano Izquierdo

Over the past several years I’ve been fascinated by people who live a sustainable lifestyle. Many live in remote parts of the world, spending the majority of their days focused on providing the essentials of water, shelter, and food.

These hunter-gathers take whatever nature offers, or they go to bed hungry. On many a day they go to bed hungry anyway because nature’s food isles are empty.

Somehow these rugged individuals remain remarkably happy with their lives and limited alternatives. It is also very common that they thank some higher power for providing them sustenance for another day.

EXERCISE:

Where has a life with far too many alternatives cluttered up your mind and caused you distress?

Consider eating a very simple meal with only a few ingredients for one or more of your meals today to see how this might clear your mind a bit.

How might dramatically reducing your choices in other areas of your life offer you greater peace of mind?

Write the Other Way

“If they give you lined paper, write the other way.”

—William Carlos Williams, 20th-Century Puerto-Rican American Poet

Image of the 9 Dot Exercize

The “Nine Dot Exercise” is a classic. The objective, if you’ve never seen it before, is to connect all the dots with four straight lines without lifting your pen or pencil.  I’ve seen many people grow frustrated or give up in attempting to solve the puzzle.

I will not provide any of the possible solutions. You can Google it if you wish, but I will simply suggest that the solution is in approaching the exercise in a way that is not obvious at first glance.

EXERCISE:

Where would an alternative or even contrary approach be the way to solve one of your more pressing professional or personal problems?