“The stars we are given. The constellations we make.”
—Rebecca Solnit, American writer
Image from Unsplash by Robson Hatsukami Morgan
The night sky has been watched, enjoyed, studied and interpreted since the dawn of mankind. Today we look up into the sky less often — perhaps because there is less to see. The lights from our cities are easily seen from space, and our preoccupation with looking down at laptops and phones has stopped all but a small group of us from seeking and finding the constellations seen just generations ago.
Examine how and in what ways we may be limiting our own view and appreciation of the cosmos. How can we continue to seek, find, and even make our discoveries more meaningful for ourselves and for future generations?
“Attack issues, not people.”
—Liz Wiseman, Author of Multipliers
Image from Unsplash by Photos Hobby
With the U.S. elections only six weeks away, the frequency and intensity of personal attacks are at a fever pitch. We are clearly not united.
Through the media and in our own local communities we can observe many types of attacks, including those leading to serious injury and the loss of life.
Even when an attack is not specifically physical, harsh words and verbal assaults cause great harm. Take a minute to look specifically at your own world — examples you have observed over the past week or two.
Mother Teresa once stated that she would never attend an anti-war protest, but would gladly participate in a rally promoting peace.
Instead of attacking what we are against, perhaps a shift to what we stand for could be a critical pivot. We could all come together to solve our most significant collective issues.
Where in your life would attacking issues — not people — be the best approach to bettering our world?
“Don’t wait for inspiration.”
Image from Unsplash by Alex Sheldon
Waking up this morning, I was not particularly inspired to leap out of my warm, cozy bed to meditate, take my daily walk, or for that matter, begin writing today’s Quotable Coach post.
I did all those things anyway.
Consider counting the times in the past week that you felt the urge to take on a particular task or activity.
Take this little test: On a one-to-ten scale, rate each of the activities on this list as “inspirational”:
- Making your bed
- Daily hygiene efforts
- Preparing (hopefully healthy) meals
- Household chores such as laundry
- Mowing the lawn & other yard work
- Paying bills
- Daily exercise
- Going to work
Given your responses, is it a wonder we ever get out of bed at all?
If you have children and ask them to help with some of those activities – or simply to do their homework and clean their rooms – what responses do you get? What seems to mobilize us to action is our commitments and not our comfort.
How might a shift from “I have to” to an “I get to” perspective help you achieve a more inspired life?
“Perspective is worth 80 IQ points.”
—Alan Kay, American computer scientist
What would be the value of adding 80 IQ points in your professional or personal life?
What would be the value of being more focused and creative in your thinking?
What benefits would occur if you could significantly improve your communication skills and decision making?
If you would like to progress in these areas, challenging our habitual ways of thinking, which often limits us, is a good place to begin. For new worlds to emerge, perspective-shifting exercises and tools can open up far more possibilities and progress.
One of my favorite perception-shifting resources is the book, Six Thinking Hats by Edward DeBono. If you reply to this post, I will happily provide you with a one-page document to help you add a few more IQ points.
“Deal with the faults of others as gently as your own.”
Image from Unsplash by Matt Collamer
Fault-finding is something we humans do best. The media, in its many forms, feeds on stirring up drama, playing off our desire to be right and making those who think and act differently wrong.
What is the payoff of such a perspective? More importantly, what is it costing us physically, mentally, and emotionally?
How might a gentler approach generate more harmony, acceptance, and unity?
Consider making a positive intention, demonstrating greater openness, and looking more closely for the good and value in others.
Where and in what ways can and will you bring your very best self in word and deed to others in your communities?
Where would simply being nicer make the biggest difference today?
“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are an entire ocean in a drop.”
—Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet & Sufi mystic
Image from Unsplash by Greg Rakozy
How often do you see yourself as small and insignificant? Depending on your perspective, you may see yourself as:
- one vote among millions
- one person among seven+ billion
- one creature living on a tiny planet in a small solar system in one galaxy among trillions
If you are a fan of physics, you may also note that we live in one universe in a multiverse of infinite numbers.
Perhaps with those descriptions, you think I proved that we are even less than a drop in the ocean. But I suggest that instead you consider this:
Your body is composed of more cells than there are grains of sand on all the beaches in the world, and all the stars in our Milky Way galaxy, combined.
We are all made from star dust from super novas, and we possess the consciousness of knowing that is so.
How can you more fully embrace the miracle of you?
With this far bigger and more powerful perspective, how can and will you relate to your place in the world and from the world within you?
“Every silver lining has a cloud.”
—Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics
Image from Unsplash by Jacob Mejicanos
Living in Michigan for over 30 years, I have come to fully appreciate all four seasons. For many who live here, the joke goes that there are only two: Winter, and Construction.
I also see the down side of this perspective, yet most Michiganders are a pretty hearty, upbeat bunch.
Folks around here seem to find a good number of silver linings on a day-to-day basis despite those cloudy days and episodes in life. We are pretty good at making lemonade and of course experience gratitude for all the good things around us.
How can you more fully notice and appreciate the silver lining moments in your life? Looking for clouds may be a good place to start.
“It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.”
—Carl Sagan, 20th Century American Astronomer
Image from medium.com
Who in your personal or professional life do you consider the most closed minded and stubborn? If you are like many of us, you might say, “Where do I start?” and be able to create a reasonably long list in mere minutes. What are the benefits and down sides of having such a closed-minded view of things?
On the other hand, who are the most open and receptive folks you know? Who are those who will try on the views and perspective of others, easily and fully? What are the benefits, and in the case of today’s quote, the downside of seeing the world primarily through the lens of those around you?
Imagine your mind is a screen door or window. How would the flow of air on a summer day be similar to the healthy flow of new ideas with a wider perspective foster more quality relationships and life success?
“Not enough people in the world, I think, carry a cosmic perspective with them. It could be life-changing.”
—Neil deGrasse Tyson, American Astrophysicist
Image from mountainx.com
Perhaps no single person since Carl Sagan has excited the public more about the wonders of science than Neil deGrasse Tyson. His recent work as host of Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey goes steps beyond Sagan’s 1980 version, Cosmos: a Personal Voyage.
Learning about how our universe works and taking a cosmic perspective has me appreciate equally my smallness and my connection to the whole of everything. This perspective has given me a passion for learning and self-development. That, in turn, has provided me much joy and satisfaction, and permits me to embrace the impermanence and the miracle of being alive.
How would taking a far more cosmic perspective of your life provide you access to living an even more extraordinary one?