So much in life is about gaining perspective.
The impact of redefining your mental outlook as a result of this occurring can be staggeringly strong.
Consider this. Even as an adult, it’s deceptively easy to label your own habits and behaviors as the “right” way, and to deem everyone else’s as “different,” but “not for me.” And yet, everyone’s mindset is relative. If you had grown up in a different country or culture, many of your current habits and behaviors would never have developed in the first place. In fact, the ways of being that are now completely foreign to you would have been second nature!
The person you are today stems from what you were surrounded by as a kid: your family, your culture, your environment. For instance, you’ll find that the phrases generally used (or not used) around you when you were younger seem to make their way into (or mark a conspicuous absence from) your adult vocabulary. And although the knowledge you have or don’t have – how to use chopsticks, how to do mental math, how to send texts – may be acquired or enhanced at any time, it still holds true that the very existence of this knowledge hinges on your having been exposed to it in the first place. For knowledge that takes the form of a particular country’s customs, where you may have grown to love the culture and its behavioral norms if they had been yours, the simple truth is that in most of these cases… they weren’t yours. And as a result, you may not know what you’re missing. The cultures we grew up in may be great, but it’s humbling how many are out there. So remember…
Everyone’s childhood was different. Everyone’s life is different. Think before you judge.
Continue reading “The Beauty of Different Perspectives”
In our daily interactions, we all betray our likeness to onions.
Below the layers of our clothes we wrap ourselves in our own layers – layers that are internal, inherent, and invisible. These are the facades that we put on when we interact with strangers, or acquaintances, or even sometimes our loved ones.
They are both our blessing and our curse.
Let’s take the first time you meet someone. Usually this conversation starts out polite and non-invasive, like a toddler dipping her toe in the pool to gauge the temperature. Such a conversation may transpire as follows: Nice weather today, don’t you agree? I do. So, where are you from? Where do you work? I like doing that too; what else do you like to do?
Continue reading “Authenticity, Through the Layers”
The clothes we wear tell a story. They tell our story.
Let’s take shoes as an example.
For those of us who tend to find ourselves in a shoe-clad state, we busily go about living our daily lives, balancing our work and play, while below us our indefatigable shoes roam the earth, striding where we stride, stumbling where we stumble, idling where we idle. They hang out on our feet, waiting to uphold our next bidding, as we wait in line at the store, or take our twenty-minute walk to work, or run our first 10k.
The soles of our shoes meet the rainy ground on the day we hurry through the streets, our minds elsewhere. Or the gravelly hiking path on the day we linger at the breathtakingly majestic view. Or even the carpeted floor where we proudly ace the challenging interview that really gets our career going.
All those times, our shoes are there with us.
Continue reading “Where Our Shoes Take Us”
You know, probability is an interesting thing. We always want it to work in the way that benefits us, despite it sometimes balling up its fists and insisting quite the opposite.
Winning the lottery? Ultimately, very unlikely. However, how many hopeful dreamers buy lottery tickets? Loads of us. Maybe this will be the time…
Applying sunscreen? Getting seven to eight hours of sleep? Ultimately, very important for our health. However, how many people consistently maintain these habits? Fewer people than logically makes sense, given the proclaimed benefits. I’ll make do without, just this once…
Continue reading “Probability and its Perplexities”
“After I finally learned the ropes, they changed all the rules.”
This statement, from this Humans of New York post, is a no-frills, boldly honest declaration that defines so many life experiences. It sits there and bides its time, waiting patiently as you struggle to adapt to the circumstances you’re in. At some point you do adapt, and then, and only then, does it pick its moment – and bam. The old rules no longer apply, and new ones sneakily take their place.
As I am currently coming to terms with the results of such a transition-filled experience, this quote resonates with me in an especially relevant way. Let me explain why…
Continue reading “Real World, New Rules”
I am a huge advocate of the phrase, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way.” If you know me well enough, you’ve heard me say this at least once.
Do you remember those self-assessments that you may have taken when you were younger, which asked, “Would you get up at 5 in the morning for the fill-in-the-blank activity?” If you answered no, you were said not to care for it enough. If you answered yes, you had found something you loved. When I thought the question through, I came to the conclusion that I loved my sport, but was burned out of playing my musical instrument. It is by no means a perfect test, but I think it gets at an important point.
What you would get up for really goes a long way to defining something you deeply care about, and by extension, this feeds into who you are.
Continue reading “No Excuses”
She was the only one that looked up.
That’s how I noticed her. At the health-kick food joint that I was standing in, my fellow waiting customers were on their phones. I counted one, two, four, seven. Seven inhabitants, clueless of the world except for the glue that connected them directly to the magical little devices they were holding in their hands.
But she wasn’t. She stood close against the banister leading to the downstairs room, looking around quietly and objectively while taking in the restaurant, the people, the waiting. The others existed, but she lived. She glowed in her silent observing.
She looked up.
And I looked back.
Isn’t it amazing to think about what the world was like before? Before… technology?
Nowadays, on public transportation, people are on their phones. In movie theaters before the movie starts (or sometimes, at points during), people are on their phones. During group or solo lunches or dinners, people are on their phones. At work, at home, at stores, at the pedestrian crosswalk, in the pedestrian crosswalk… people are on their phones.
What did people do before?
It was so different.
Continue reading “The Tradeoffs of Technology”
Have you ever had something you loved and couldn’t live without turn into something that just…wasn’t? Maybe your environment changed. Maybe your life changed. Maybe you changed. You’re not really sure. What you do know is that something changed, and it makes you sad. Because that thing you used to do – a hobby, a passion, an activity – has lost some or all of its fire, and you feel lost without the spark. You can’t even find the drive to locate the match and strike it. So you let life go on, wondering what happened and reflecting about what could have been. Because that, and the dreams, and the living present and the laden past and the empty future, are all you have. So life goes on, and you think in passing about what changed. And then that, too, you forget about, because time dampens memory, and people change and adapt. That thing is gone, only a part of the past you, and it hurts. But, slowly, that pain goes away too.
And then you move on.
Ah, change. Some people love it, some people hate it. As for me, I am definitely in the inertia crowd, but I make a huge effort to recognize that. I think that being aware of our weaker tendencies, so to say, is a good thing. Continue reading “Change”