“He never chooses an opinion, he just wears whatever happens to be in style.”
—Leo Tolstoy, 19th Century Russian, regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time
Image from Unsplash by Hermes Rivera
Wendy and I recently saw the film AIR — the story of how Nike pursued Michael Jordan to wear their basketball shoes.
One of the companies also competing for this sponsorship opportunity was Converse. At Creighton Elementary in the sixties and early seventies, having a pair of Chuck Taylors was a must. Any alternative sneakers were called Bo-Bo’s and this meant certain school yard ridicule and razzing.
To what degree can you relate to similar types of peer pressure and the need to conform? How does this influence your thoughts, beliefs, and social norms? Where do you find yourself going along to get along?
Where and how did you develop your current thinking about life?
How often do you stick with popular opinion and what’s in style?
Where do you feel the tug to go in another direction and still hesitate?
“With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States 1933–1945
Image from Unsplash by Dyu-Ha
A few weeks ago my wife, daughter, and grandchildren took a road trip back to Michigan to reconnect with some of our closest friends. Even with a rooftop carrier there was simply no room for me in the little SUV.
This “bachelor time,” as they called it, allowed me to do as I pleased, including binging a Netflix show called Alone.
Now in its eighth season, this reality program places ten expert survivalists in some of the most remote places on the planet to carve out a way of life without any human interactions except for periodic medical checks.
It was surprising to note how with all their adversities including loneliness, starvation, and many real dangers—including grizzly bears—most participants held out far longer than even they expected.
How does waking up each morning help you think and act with new strength and optimism about the day ahead?
“Your thoughts are bubbles waiting to be popped.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, American professor emeritus of medicine
Image from Unsplash by Alex Alvarez
The other day I was refilling a soap dispenser at the kitchen sink. While pouring the liquid soap carefully into the opening a bubble formed, creating a dome-shaped barrier which caused the soap to spill over the counter. Until this bubble popped my efforts to continue filling the dispenser were thwarted. This happened a few times and given my level of impatience, I used my finger to pop these bubbles to get on with my task.
This routine chore got me thinking about how I used to read the comic strips in the Sunday paper, or eat a piece of Bubble Yum gum in my youth. How are your thoughts like bubbles of awareness? How long do these bubbles last and guide you successfully through your days?
How aware are you of your inner voice? How many of your thoughts bubble up without your awareness? Where would greater mindfulness help you sustain the bubbles you want and pop the ones that don’t serve your best intentions?
“If your mind were a suitcase and could only hold five things, what would they be?”
Image from Unsplash by Amy Shamblen
About 10 years ago we bought a set of luggage from a local warehouse store. It was a good value, the right color and the set of three pieces conveniently fit inside one another for easy storage. This was actually a second set and we justified it because we packed heavy for some longer trips to address all contingencies, and our desire to not use unfamiliar laundry facilities.
Prior to our recent move from Michigan to Pennsylvania we amusingly donated more than two thirds of our luggage and about a third of our possessions, realizing that traveling lighter had many advantages.
Keeping our most essential items was a step in the right direction to reduce both our physical and mental loads.
What size mental suitcase are you carrying around? What are the five most important things packed inside? A small backpack may actually be all you need.
“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.”
Image of Albert Einstein from Public Domain
When we think of great minds, few people top the list more often than Albert Einstein.
If you investigate his life through a wide variety of sources, you will see that he was fond of what he called “thought experiments.”
I guess you could say that he thought a lot about thinking!
What about your own mind?
How much do you think about your own thoughts and how they influence your view of others and life in general?
What prejudices, biases, mental models, and paradigms have you ingrained that support and in many cases limit what’s possible for you?
How can and will you conduct some of your own expanded thought experiments to realize a less common and more extraordinary life?
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 19th Century German Writer & Statesman
Image from wordandspiritministries
What is it to live a good life?
How does one measure a life well lived?
What intrinsic and extrinsic factors are your gyroscopic guides on this great adventure?
Many people are giving more thought to this, particularly as they look in the mirror and see the aging process in effect, or pine on what they were once able to do years earlier.
Many experts, happiness gurus, and people who live “in the moment” encourage all of us to explore our emotions and feelings in order to tap into these trustworthy cornerstones of how to live.
Where and how can you more fully tap into your thoughts, emotions, and feelings to assure yourself that you are indeed on the right life path?
“Our words are our thoughts with wings. We open our mouths, our minds fly out.”
—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Author of Self-Meditation
Image from A Place to be Encouraged
We humans have a superpower not shared with any other creatures on Earth.
Given today’s quote, you would be correct in labeling language as our superpower.
With it, mankind has literally shaped and manifested all kinds of wondrous things, and some horrid things as well.
I’ve been watching a National Geographic Channel series called Origins: The Journey of Humankind, which points to a wide variety of moments that have shaped our society. Consider the impact of language on technology, medicine, government, monetary systems, and even war and terrorism on our world today.
Consider your inner voice and the words you choose to let fly into your personal and professional worlds. Be sure you are giving only your best when you decide to give others a piece of your mind.
If you check out the Origins series, let me know your thoughts!