All Time is Free Time

You don’t pay for time because it’s given to you every day.

It’s considered the great equalizer because we’re all given the same amount of it.

However, what you do with that time is a whole other story. Sometimes circumstances dictate how it will be used, but there never seems to be enough of it.

We strive to get rid of commitments just to have more free-time for ourselves.

We regret the time we’ve wasted and the time we used on worrying about things that don’t matter.

We wish for more time for the things we love.

We’re bitter towards others who seem to have more of it than us.

With all of this going on in our heads, maybe it’s time to change the way we look at time.

Try this mindset change:

Instead of, “This is what I have to do,”

try, “Here is how I’m choosing to spend my time.”

Keep saying it enough and you might start appreciating the time you have… and choosing to do something different with it.

Is Discussion Possible?

Social media, a microcosm of our need for self-validation, has made us hyper-aware of what’s happening in the world.

It has also given us a place to connect with others, share our findings, encouragement and opinions.

Unfortunately, it still has not pushed us to have real discussions. Everything turns into an argument where people shut down and become defensively aggressive.

This could actually be pointing to a bigger issue, which is our inability to listen.

We forget that listening is a skill and one that takes time to develop. Even in our face to face conversations, our listening skills can be relegated to waiting for the other person to finish talking just so we can get our turn to speak.

Our online conversations are merely transpositions of our personalities (real or perceived).

Are discussions on the Internet possible?

Only if we’re ready to actually listen and respond accordingly.

Learning About Food

The first time I saw the price of pesto sauce in a grocery store, my jaw hit the floor.

My dad was the typical Italian immigrant gardener (he was a farmer back in Italy as well), who grew all our vegetables in the summer and preserved them for the year.

He grew bushels of basil to make pesto sauce. It didn’t occur to me how much of a pain it would be for others to make their own from scratch.

There is a ton of conflicting (and sometimes erroneous) information about the healthiest type of diet.

Here’s the crux: the one thing all diets have in common is they cut out processed food.

Learning about where your food comes from will teach you everything you need to know about eating healthier.

Just like growing basil, it’s a lengthier process, but it’s much cheaper on you and your health.

Bathing in Nature

I’ve always considered myself the great indoorsman.

Sure, my mom constantly kicked me out of the house as a kid and I would stay out until dinner, but I never found a lure with camping… or any of its related activities.

While people of my generation, and older, would read that with some amount of disdain, I do find solace in bathing in nature.

It involves spending time during the day to enjoy the home this Earth offers. Taking walks along trails, bike riding along paths, visiting gardens, going to the water… whatever is available.

Bathing in nature is akin to actual bathing. Instead of cleaning yourself of dirt and horrible scents, you’re cleaning yourself of the anxieties of urban isolation.

It’s like taking a vacation for your mind.

The Japanese even have a term for it, shinrin-yoku, and the results speak for themselves.

Getting people outdoors today, especially the younger generation, is proving to be a challenge. There’s just too much temptation to keep occupied inside.

However, there’s a stigma when you tell someone they need a bath. They immediately get self-conscious and want to remedy the situation.

Perhaps if we start telling people they need a nature bath, we might see a resurgence of people wanting to stop what they’re doing and head outdoors.

The Hesitation Before a Decision

Right before you make a decision, no matter how minute, pay attention to any hesitation that happens.

It could be an indicator of uncertainty, of unwillingness or fear.

It can be paralyzing.

The hesitation can prevent us from ever deciding because we get stuck in an endless cycle within our heads. We’re asking ourselves whether we’re making the right choice.

You can never eliminate that hesitation… or be certain it’s helping you make the right decision… but you can grow comfortable with it.

Then, it will stop paralyzing you.

When There’s No Finish Line

Imagine a race with no finish line.

You just keep racing until eventually your entire body gives out and you die. Sounds pretty morbid, right?

Isn’t this what we do with our lives?

We don’t set a finish line for ourselves, constantly seeking “just a little bit more,” and end up getting to the end of our lives without appreciating what we have.

It’s not completely our fault as we’re bombarded with messages about “having it all” and “achieving more.” Yes, we should try to achieve, but we should also be realistic with ourselves.

When there’s no finish line, no gratitude for what you’ve achieved and no parameters set, your entire instincts are out of line. It’s the reason billionaires commit suicide and professional athletes go broke.

Unless you’re willing to sacrifice everything for what you want… and I do mean everything… setting boundaries will be the better course of action.

Set the boundaries, choose a finish line and stick to it.

Then, and this is the tough part, be happy with what you have.

Who Can Forecast the Future?

We all can if we take a look at the present.

If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’ve always been getting. On a personal level, this is easy to digest.

On a global scale, there are an incredible number of moving parts — most of which we cannot see. It’s hard to gauge what will happen because all it takes is one wildcard to completely change the course of human history.

We can account for behaviour if it’s consistent… but when anything could happen at any point… for any reason… who can really predict the future?

We still can based on our actions because they are a reflection of our values. Even when the wildcard happens, we will know how humanity will respond.

We’ve seen the way we’ve responded in the past.

Will we respond the same way in the future?

How much have our actions changed?

Circle of Competence

If a baseball player wants to have a high batting average, their goal is to wait until pitches come into their “sweet spot” before swinging. That sweet spot, or area, is known as their circle of competence.

As long as they keep doing that, ignoring the other pitches, the player will bat really well.

Of course, it’s the pitcher’s job to never throw one in that sweet spot. They’re always trying to lure a batter out of their zone and get them swinging at everything else. A good pitcher is one that can sell you on the “can’t hit” pitches.

What is your circle of competence in life?

If you can identify what your sweet zone is, ignoring everything else, you might find yourself batting a much higher average.

However, if pitches just aren’t coming your way, it might be time to expand your circle of competence… or move it completely.

At the End of Every Day, Be Grateful

We like complaining.

Some of us even make a sport out of it, constantly complaining about everything in hopes of out-complaining the person next to them.

The problem is when you’re always complaining about something, you’re always looking for something to complain about. The worldview you hold becomes a negative one where you expect the worst out of any situation.

It becomes difficult to live a fulfilling life, one where you even have a crumb of happiness, when there’s always something wrong. This eventually leads to other issues and can lead to a point where others start distancing themselves.

Instead, if you can take the time at the end of every day to find a few things you are grateful for, your outlook begins to change.

You start to look for the best of a situation and become grateful for the things you do have in your own life. It’s a small, subtle shift where you don’t feel bogged down by everything that’s wrong with the world.

Spend just a few minutes to write down five things you were grateful for today. Then do it again tomorrow.

The complaining will never go away, but it will be relegated to a minor activity that you quickly get over.

Let Go of Yesterday to Change Tomorrow

Our past has this wonderful ability to tie us down and convince us it’s who we are.

It won’t allow us to transform and makes us feel guilty if we think about trying.

It’s the reason we hold onto so many mementos from our childhood, or our early years, or even just earlier years than this one. We feel our identity wrapped up on it.

If we are serious about becoming better people, we have to be willing to let all of that go. The past has already stuck with you enough and made its mark, even if you can’t see it.

Whatever help you need, go make it happen because you can’t move forward while still holding on — something will break.

It might be the rope… or it might be you.