The Landscape Has Changed

The landscape has changed and we are still adjusting to its surroundings.

We live in an inter-connected world that has allowed us to conquer many of the challenges we once faced alone. It has also opened us up to new challenges we didn’t know existed.

It’s possible to obtain mastery over skills completely by virtual mentors.

To be ignorant of what is happening in the world is now a choice.

We know more than enough in how to keep ourselves healthy.

Every voice has the potential to reach the entire world.

The price of entry into most fields is almost non-existent.

You can publish stories, essays, articles, podcasts, music, videos and art using tools that are free and almost indistinguishable from traditional professional ones.

We have the ability to get more done in significantly less time.

Yes, the new landscape has its challenges… including old ones that never seem to go away.

However, the greatest stumbling block we have today – is laziness.

Alone With Your Thoughts

It was said that people have a bigger fear of public speaking than death.

I think that fear has shifted.

We no longer have an issue with speaking to a large audience, as the ease of our digital tools has broken many barriers in that regard. It’s no surprise to see someone taking a video of themselves and posting it online for the world to see.

Instead, the fear today has shifted to being alone with our thoughts.

Asking someone to spend time alone, in solitude, without the companionship of phones, paper or even the white noise of others (aka a coffee shop), strikes terror.

However, this practice is the most important breakthrough for human creativity.

When we learn to be alone with our thoughts, allowing them to simmer and letting our mind wander along with them, we unleash powerful thinking.

Part of the problem is we never learned how to be alone. We’ve never practiced constructive ways to let our minds wander. Hence, when we’re finally alone, our thoughts immediately spiral towards the negative.

This can change if we’re willing to learn.

Sure, there are some where, from a medical standpoint, being alone with their thoughts is actually a detriment.

For the rest of us, we need that time.

We need to learn to be bored and we need to learn how to be alone with our thoughts.

Giving Up Control

At best, we can only find firm grounding in the chaos that is life.

Attempts to control it is fruitless because it cannot be tamed.

We can make all the plans, schedules, connections and great efforts to get what we want… and all it takes is one deterrent to have it all collapse.

The harder we try, the more we end up burning the candles at both ends.

We become perpetually exhausted, burnt out and defeated.

To find peace, we must give up trying to tame our lives because the only thing we can control is our reaction.

Giving up control is hard at first, but eventually it becomes the obvious choice.

Who Does it Serve?

The most passionate person is the convert.

This is the person who has discovered something that works exceedingly well in their lives and commit to it completely.

You see them in Religions, diets, exercise routines, technological tools and anywhere else that somebody could be convinced to shift elsewhere.

They dive into the waters, exploring all its benefits… possibly ignoring all its shortcomings… and begin to share it with others.

It becomes a must for all those around them. It’s helpful and it’s proven – after all, look at what it did for them!

However, when the energy put into the work begins to become self-serving under the guise of helping others, it’s time to step back.

There’s a difference between serving others and serving yourself through others.

Always question who it’s serving.

Life’s Instruction Manual

If only it existed, right?

How many times would we appreciate being able to reference the appropriate page when we’re completely unsure… or completely mess up?

It would be wonderful to have a well-thumbed section on, “When everything breaks all at once in your house.”

There would be numerous sticky tabs and post-it notes all over the section, “What the person really means when they tell you something.”

How many of us would appreciate the section, “When everything seems to fall apart?”

Or the mythical section, “The instruction manual for your child: from newborn to adulthood.”

Some would sigh as they flip back to, “Everything you’re doing right and wrong in your relationship.”

A few would even crack open the section on, “Authentic spirituality: life is more than material goods.”

Life’s instructional manual is impossible to write, but possible to live each day.

Less Decisions, More Freedom

I made the decision a few months back to get rid of most of my wardrobe.

I’m down to five “work outfits,” a few casual outfits and some shirts. It’s a take on the capsule wardrobe, which I wanted to take it to its end.

On the outset, this seems like a nonsensical idea to some for two reasons:
1. My clothes will wear out faster.
2. I will have to do laundry more often.

To combat number one, I stuck with my higher quality clothing that doesn’t wear as fast.

As for number two, I’m still doing laundry once a week, but there’s less of it to do. Same goes for the ironing… and I hate ironing… really hate it.

The benefits, on the other hand, have been tremendous. I don’t spend any time thinking about what to wear for the day. There are less decisions for me to make in the morning, which frees me up to move on with my life.

I have a ton more space in my closet and my dresser and at this point, I could probably merge the two together and call it a day.

It’s freeing to have to make less decisions in the day. We often think more decisions are better for us, but they end up being paralyzing. For instance, just go to the grocery store and look at the selection of bread crumbs. The fact there even is a wide array to choose from is baffling.

When you are in charge of your own decisions, you might find freedom in trying to make less of them.

It seems counter-intuitive, but it works.

All Hope is Lost Moment

It’s the most climactic part of any book, television show, or movie.

It’s the scene where the hero has lost everything and everything that has gone wrong, did.

There’s no way out – it’s just impossible.

Then, by sheer will and genius thinking, a breakthrough happens. Luck finally comes the hero’s way, or they remember a skill that could be useful, or they manage to exploit a weakness that has just come to light.

If only our lives were like this, right?

The reason we don’t experience this is because we’ve rarely been in a situation where all hope is lost in the world.

Our lives may seem that way at times, but the world is still cheering you on.

You are the hero of the story.

Find a way.

What’s Really Going On?

It’s one thing to assume you know what’s going on with a person, but it’s different when you get in their head.

The simple word for this is empathy.

When you reach that point, the way forward isn’t to merely re-state what the person is feeling… that’s the beginning… the connection point… and a critical step.

It shines a light on the blind spots in your own perceptions.

The next step is to begin to shine a light on their blind spots that will help them in a way they cannot see.

Following this route, you will see what’s really going on and both of you can be changed by the experience.

No One Wants the Real Answer

If you ask someone how they got to where they are… whether it be for money, career, health, or otherwise, it’s rare they will tell you the real answer.

It’s not because they’re withholding it because people are more than willing to help those seeking it.

The problem is no one wants to hear it.

It’s easier to digest, “I worked hard and took advantage of opportunities,” rather than, “I spent my every day, including weekends, immersing myself until it became an obsession. I gave up my social life and every other distraction that kept me from my goal… etc.”

We expect to hear, “I watched what I ate and worked out a few times a week,” because if the person were to tell the whole truth about their training and diet regiment — we would shut down.

The real answer is out there if you’re willing to hear it…

and do the work.

Where Our Focus of Worry Lies

We can’t seem to find a target for our worry.

Everything seems equal and we place equal emphasis on all of it without considering what just isn’t worth our energy. The end of the world won’t happen with most things we like to worry about in our daily lives.

Sure, it gives us something to do, but it won’t get us anywhere.

If you think back on your own life about what you worried about, much of it would seem laughable. Other things, however, was where the focus should have been.

How do we focus our worry in this world?

We focus on the most vulnerable among us. If we worry about them and take action when needed, two things happen:

Our own worries diminish and the bigger problems of the world move closer to a solution.