We can be telescopes or microscopes. We sharpen the mind through focused attention.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jeff Nissen
Compared to other creatures in the animal kingdom our natural abilities to perceive our world can appear less than remarkable.
- Dogs have 300 million scent-seeking receptors compared to six million for humans.
- Bats navigate in the absence of light by sending out ultrasounds and can analyze the signals that bounce back.
- Spiders construct sensory nets where their webs can capture the slightest vibrations.
- Snakes and other reptiles are sensitive to infrared.
- Bees and many birds are sensitive to ultraviolet.
Fortunately, we humans have a solid mix of sensory abilities and the wonderful capacity to expand them through the development of amazing technological innovations.
How and in what ways can you use your mind and focused attention to expand your perceptional abilities and interact more successfully with the world around you?
“How can you break out of old patterns and learn to look at life anew?”
Image from Unsplash by Simon Launay
Today’s quote is cousin to one of my favorites, by Tuli Kupferberg:
“When Patterns, are Broken, New Worlds Will Emerge.”
Examining these nuggets of wisdom may have some shortcomings if we use them only as thought exercises. Shifting our paradigms, altering our mental models, and simply looking through different perceptional filters is not enough.
We must also act in new and different ways if new worlds are to be realized.
An intention to act without action leaves us where or how we are—or perhaps worse.
As you look at life anew, what do you plan to actually do?
Feel free to reply to this post regarding the actions you took today.
“We see the same events through different lenses. We live in the same country but in different worlds.”
—Ted Koppel, British-born American broadcast journalist
Image of Ted Koppel from Wikipedia.org
When Ted Koppel speaks, people usually listen.
As a 42-year veteran of ABC News, he became the anchor and managing editor of ABC News Nightline in 1980 — one of the most honored broadcasts in television history.
As a member of the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, Ted has won every major broadcasting award, including 40 Emmys. In the United States, he has received over 20 honorary degrees from well-regarded universities.
How are you and others seeing current events? Where are your lenses the same or considerably different from others in your communities? Where are people treating one another like aliens from different worlds? What are the answers to help us come together as one country?
What steps can we all take to be a more united country? Ted Koppel might suggest we start with a new pair of lenses to look for all the things that unite us.
“Look for the miracles within you and others.”
Image from Unsplash by NASA
As a former science teacher, I have always been fascinated by the natural world. Whether it involves looking through a microscope at the very small, or a telescope at the vastness of our universe, the idea of taking a different and deeper look at things always inspires me.
The same may be true when we look at each other.
How often do we examine only the surface layers of one another with our limited mental models and biases? What miracles might we discover if we took the time to refocus our life lenses on ourselves and one another?
Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles” is a book you may wish to explore to discover and create a few more miracles in your life.
“If you blame it on someone else, don’t expect it to get better.”
Blaming and making others wrong is like a black hole in the world of relationships. Nothing good ever comes out of it.
Unfortunately, we each view the world through our own perceptual filters. On many occasions, our views do not agree or align with others. This is not bad in itself, except that we often go a step further to prove our point or to undermine those who think and do otherwise.
How and in what ways can you reduce or eliminate playing the blame game, personally or professionally, to improve your life?
“Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
—George Bernard Shaw, 20th Century Irish playwright
Image from Flickr by Jason Bain
It is early spring here in Michigan. With increased daylight, warmer days, and a few more birds chirping, many of us are embarking on some spring cleaning.
Two activities that are often on the list are cleaning or replacing the furnace filter, and washing the windows, to clean our air and brighten our views.
How can and will you clean your own perceptual filters and brighten your windows on the world to lead a more fulfilling and satisfying life?
Consider doing this exercise with your family or work community so that you can engage additional social support and increase the likelihood of success.
“We are sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we’re not getting any sunshine!”
—Ram Dass, American Spiritual Leader
Image from Flickr by Kat Northern Lights Man
On a hot, sunny day we all enjoy being in the shade, perhaps with a frosty beverage. It’s cooler, and just more comfortable.
Our own thinking often plays the role of a shade tree in that we are literally blocking out new, more creative or innovative input, which might enlighten us.
If, for some reason, you feel stalled, stuck or plateaued in your growth and development, take a hard look at how often and how much you are sitting under your limited thinking canopy.
How can you let in more bright ideas and alternative perspectives by welcoming the light of other people’s input, personally or professionally?
“Examine everything as though you had just taken off blinders.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation
Image from The Bittersweet Score
Imagine losing your sight for 24 hours. Perhaps you had a surgical procedure and were required to wear blinders to protect those sensitive windows into the world.
What would that be like? What would be the impact on your other senses? Perhaps most interestingly, what would you observe and appreciate even more when you removed the blinders?
Although this is an extreme example, consider that fact that we all wear blinders or at least perceptual lenses by which we view the world. Some are particularly dark and negative, doing a number on our happiness and overall life satisfaction.
Take off your blinders or at least your perceptual sunglasses today and look deeper and completely at the people and things around you.
Feel free to reply to this post to share what new, brighter, and surprisingly different things you observe.
“Invite people into your life who don’t look or act like you. You might find they challenge your assumptions and make you grow.”
-Mellody Hobson, Chair of the Board of Directors of DreamWorks Animation
About a month ago, my wife Wendy surprised me with a 60th birthday trip to Australia and New Zealand. During our three week trip, I had the opportunity to expand my world view and perspective by meeting dozens of people from other countries.
Among these interesting individuals were a kiwi farmer from New Zealand, an Academy-Award Winning sound designer who worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and a Naturalist about to start working with a non-profit in Hawaii.
How can you arrange – sooner rather than later – a “Bucket List” adventure so you can invite more new and interesting people into your life?