Are you familiar with ‘accidental discoveries?’
One of the most famous is Penicillin, which according to the inventor Alexander Fleming was discovered by a serendipitous accident.
Throughout history there have been many other serendipitous accidents that have created many of the products you take for granted today.
Corn Flakes for a clean healthy diet.
The Slinky was supposed to hold equipment on naval ships.
Coca-Cola was supposed to be a medical remedy.
Post-it Notes were supposed to be a super adhesive.
Potato chips were the result of an angry chef.
Play-Doh was supposed to be wallpaper cleaner.
These are just a few, but you can find many more that are now multi-million if not billion dollar products.
The thing about serendipitous accidents is that you have to be continuously creating and experimenting for the accident to happen.
Now there’s no guarantee that you’ll have the next million dollar idea but the next time you find yourself using a product in a way that is not what it was designed for, ask yourself, is this a serendipitous accident?
Do you constantly assault your mind with steady stream of inputs without taking any time to digest and think about all the information you’re consuming?
Are you mindful of your activities or is your mind full of activity?
Mindfulness has become quite popular recently but there is still much confusion as to what it is and how to practice it.
I don’t have all the answers but can share what works for me and others that I have spoken to.
Being mindful for me is nothing more than being attentive and consciously focusing my attention on an activity. And I found the easiest ones I started with were driving and eating because I could do them alone. Just focusing on these simple activities without any additional inputs gave me ability to really appreciate them for what they are.
Practicing mindfulness during your day can also relieve stress, because each time you consciously focus is like mental speed bump, it slows down your day.
Being mindful doesn’t mean you have to spend hours on a yoga mat or take long walks in the woods, although neither one of these would hurt you. All mindfulness means is that you allow your mind to take a break. You give your mind the opportunity to breathe and to fully exhale.
When was the last time you really expressed your true feelings about a sensitive subject?
How often do you let out unfiltered, non-politically correct, uncensored commentary?
What would your relationships look like if you always said what’s on your mind?
If you decide that you’re always going to say what’s on your mind then know this, you are not in the friend making business, you are in the being true to yourself business.
The good news is that some will respect your honesty and accept you for who you really are. Others might find you rude, offensive or impolite because from their perspective other priorities outweigh honesty.
If you want to learn from experts that always speak their mind then spend some time around young children, the ones that haven’t yet learned what’s proper to say and what’s not. You’ll find their honesty entertaining.
Speaking your mind can be refreshing feeling, especially if you’re not used to doing it. And if you choose to do so then good luck and watch out, life’s about to get a little bumpy.
What is FOMO?
It’s the Fear of Missing Out.
You know that feeling of anxiety you have when you can’t go to the party that all your friends are going to, and you know that they’ll all be talking about how much fun they had? Well that’s FOMO
How do you get it? You have an internal emotional hole that you’re looking to fill by an external activity.
How do you get rid of it? You take FOMO for a walk in to the woods and you bury it. You learn to fill your own emotional hole.
FOMO is you experiencing emotions that you might feel based on a future activity. I know, it sounds confusing and that’s because it is. You see, almost everything you do is driven by how you think you might feel or the reward you’ll receive once you do it.
The problem with FOMO is that it causes you to overcommit, because you don’t want to miss anything. It also prevents you from being present in what you’re doing because you’re thinking about what you’re missing.
Learn to accept the fact that you can’t be everywhere and that you should thoroughly appreciate, enjoy and leverage the opportunities you do have. Remember YOLO so why waste it living in FOMO.
P.S. this one’s for you CO.
Do you know that there are currently 28 different sports represented in the Olympics?
Can you imagine what it would look like if the gymnasts were asked to power lift? It would probably be entertaining but I doubt any new powerlifting records would be set.
Now I’m sure that there must be some mutual admiration, respect and perhaps even some envy amongst the different sports because of the attention and money associated with them, but the athletes know that they are going to perform their best at the sport that they are good at.
What about you?
Are you performing at something you’re good at and have natural talents for? Or are you pursuing endeavors because of the attention and money associated with them?
So how do you know what you have natural talents for? You try lots of things. And you learn that some come to you easier than others.
This is not to say that you don’t pursue things because they are difficult, because being great at anything is hard.
What I am suggesting is that when you find something that really resonates with your natural abilities then double down on it, and if you’re a power lifter then so be it. Don’t waste your time envying the gymnasts.
Did you know that you already lost?
That’s right, and I won.
My house is bigger than yours.
My spouse is better than yours.
My children are smarter than yours.
My bank account is bigger than yours.
It’s so unfortunate that you spent all your time and energy trying to compete with me, and you still lost.
Wait! What did you say?
You weren’t competing with me?
But I spent my whole life thinking you were, and all I focused on was being better than you.
I sacrificed my own happiness and was never content because all I thought about was you.
I now wish that for every moment I wasted thinking about you I would have instead been grateful for all that I had.
In retrospect looks like I’m the one that lost.
How can I get you to care less?
To care less about your own life and also give you a sense of hopelessness that things might never improve.
I think I’ve found a way.
I’ll continuously bombard you with bad news so that at your subconscious level you’ll think that nothing you do will make a difference. And I’ll constantly show you people that have ‘special’ gifts and talents so that you lose confidence in yourself, hold them in high regard, and believe you can never be as good as them.
What do you think about my ideas?
Do you like my apathy cocktail that’s designed to make you care less?
You see, when you care less then I’m free to do whatever I want because you no longer care. You’ll just go on from day to day caring less, while I do whatever I want to.
If this sounds terrible that’s because it is. But you don’t have to participate.
You can foil my master plan by carefully choosing what you watch, listen to and engage in. And I sincerely hope you do.
What do you really want?
When I say want, I mean really want. Want to the point of deep down commitment, stop at nothing want.
Recently during a conversation I mentioned that I used to weigh 260lbs and dropped 60lbs in one year and have managed to keep it off for 20+ years and the person I was speaking with asked me how I did it. My answer was that I wanted to and still do.
My answer sounded flippant and almost too simple but it’s the truth. And it’s also true that my want is not temporary but daily, long term and continuous.
Your want can apply to anything you’re willing to commit to, forever, because just like weight loss, every accomplishment is temporary. There is a doing phase and a continuous maintenance phase, there is no stopping. If you decide to stop it will go away.
So what is your want?
Decide, commit, pursue, learn, and make changes as needed until you get there. And once you’re there you’ll need to figure out a way to stay there, if you still want to.
How many times have you heard any of the following warnings?
Don’t, you’ll embarrass yourself.
You’ll look foolish.
Stop acting that way people are watching.
I wouldn’t if I were you.
You’ve probably heard some form of these statements in your life and usually from well-meaning people that care for you, the ones that are closest to you.
But, are they concerned about you embarrassing yourself or how it will reflect on them?
These are the same people that line up to watch others fail at things, and are entertained the world over by artists, actors and business people that continuously risk embarrassing themselves in the name of entertainment and commerce.
What are you stopping yourself from doing because you might look foolish?
Are you playing it so safe because people are watching?
In the grand scheme of life, your failures, embarrassing moments and mishaps will be forgotten by others in a blink of an eye.
However, if you keep worrying about embarrassing yourself every time you think about trying something new then you might lead a ‘safe life,’ but where’s the adventure in that?
What do you do when it’s inconvenient to?
Fulfill a promise
Stick to a diet
Wake up early
Finish a project
Not abiding by commitments not only creates issues with others but it also erodes your own view of yourself. Even if the commitment is internal and no one will ever know, not staying committed will affect your confidence to accomplish in the future.
The ability to execute especially when it’s inconvenient gives you a sense of pride and confidence to not only take on future endeavors but also know that when things get difficult you have the mental fortitude to see them through.
When you find yourself making excuses because it’s inconvenient to do something, stop and consider if this kind of person you want to be known as, not to others but to yourself.
What do you really own?
And if you do think you own what you have, then for how long?
The illusion of ownership is powerful yet false. Even your body is on borrowed time.
Since everything is temporary then why the constant feeling of wanting, holding on to and controlling.
The feeling of ownership is driven by the ego, which causes you to have the feeling of ‘it’s mine.’ But the reality is that nothing is and it can all disappear in a moment.
Release your self-worth from what you own, your titles and who people think you are and remind yourself that you only have temporary custody over these things.
Is your life on an infinite loop?
In the world of software development an infinite loop is when a computer program loops endlessly and occurs because certain conditions will never be met.
According to software developers the infinite loop is usually caused by a bug in the program.
Do you have a bug in your software that keeps you on an infinite loop?
For you does one day roll into another day and on and on because you haven’t set any conditions to be met?
You’re probably familiar with the idiom of ‘stop and smell the roses,’ but do you?
Do you take pause to appreciate, to think, to relax?
Knowing when to stop is just as important as knowing when to start.
Get in the habit of actively stopping, even if just for few minutes. Step away from the computer, the phone, the TV, and the continuous inputs. Give your software the opportunity to reset and stop the infinite loop.
Are you familiar with the business terms Gross Profit or Top Line revenue?
Essentially the terms mean the amount of money a business made before any expenses were subtracted.
When you hear that a company has earned billions in revenue, there’s also the possibility that they are losing money because their cost of doing business is higher than the amount of money they earned.
The same principal can apply to people.
When you see people that you consider to be super successful and have everything together, all you’re seeing is the top line, you don’t know if they are operating a net loss in other areas of their life.
It’s human nature to compare ourselves with others and social media has magnified the comparisons a thousand fold because all you see is top line constantly bombarding your mind.
When you find yourself comparing your life to others, try to stop for a minute and be grateful for all that you have, because I can guarantee you that there’s someone out there comparing their life to your top line.
Are you disappointed or surprised when?
The diet and exercise program didn’t’ work for you.
The get rich quick program didn’t work for you.
The fast growth program didn’t work for your company.
The 10 tips to a great relationship didn’t work for you.
You see, how to’s, tips and tricks are not a one size fits all solution. They are guidelines that worked for someone else in the past.
Now I’m not discounting certain fundamentals and principles that stand the test of time, what I am saying that you will have to experiment and find your own unique solutions to your challenges.
Continue to learn and take in new information to apply to your own personal endeavors, just keep in mind that you will always experience a different outcome from the one you expected.
Have you ever worked on a puzzle only to realize that some pieces are missing?
That’s essentially how life is.
When you were born you were given a certain number of pieces like your gender, your parents, where you were born, and perhaps a few others but the rest of the pieces are missing. And it’s now up to you to find or make the rest of the pieces.
It’s up to you to determine what you want the picture your life to look like and then get to work making it a reality.
It’s up to you to find the resources and develop the skills you need to complete the puzzle.
You might wish that you had all the pieces up front but that would mean that everything in your life would have been pre-determined and you wouldn’t have the opportunity to create your own.
The missing pieces of your life are the ones where you get to choose what you want and how you want your life puzzle to look when it’s finished.
P.S. Today is very special to me because my blog just passed 50,000 words. To put that in to perspective the Great Gatsby novel is 50,061 words.
I sincerely appreciate all your kind words and your support as I continue on the is journey.
Have you ever traveled to another country?
If you have then you’re probably familiar with the temporary visitor visa form. The form is essentially a list of questions that the country asks you in order to determine whether or not you will be allowed legal entry in to that country.
The first question that is usually asked on the visa is what is the purpose of your visit?
Countries ask this question because they want to ensure that you will do the country and its citizens no harm, and that ultimately your visit will be a net benefit to country.
What if in order to continue to living you had to answer this question today?
Are you living in way that brings no harm to others and benefits society?
What would your answer be?
Consider yourself living here on a temporary visitor visa, and live in a way where the purpose of your visit is not only for your own benefit but also for the benefit of others.
What happens next?
What happens after your next breath, your next step, your next thought?
Do you know for sure?
Where in your life are you looking for certainty before you decide to act?
There in only certainty in what has happened up to this very moment, yet so much of our lives are spent in attempt to place a safe bet on the future. And ‘need to know’ how it will turn out before moving forward will cause you to live in constant hesitation.
Seeking security in your decisions feels good in moment but often prevents you from experiencing new opportunities. Now there are times when prudence in decision making are required and can be helpful, but even then there is not real certainty.
Learning to live with uncertainty will allow you try new things and explore more of what life has to offer. And if you don’t enjoy living with uncertainty, you can always go back to your illusion of certainty.
Who are you trying to impress today?
What if you only worked on impressing yourself?
I know this can be difficult because there is a natural survival tendency to be liked and wanted, but what if just for today you asked the following questions.
How do I want to look? Vs. How will they think I look?
What do I want to say? Vs. What do they want to hear?
What do I want to do? Vs. What do they want me to do?
What do I want to own? Vs. What will they think about what I own?
What do I want to be better at? Vs. What do they want me to be better at?
If you have the courage to ask these questions on regular basis then over time then you will attract more people that like you for who you are, but there is also the danger that you will lose the people you’ve been trying to impress.
Have you ever seen a ‘you are here label’ on a map?
It doesn’t tell you how you got there or where to go; it just tells you where you are at that moment in time.
Now imagine a’ you are here’ on a blank canvas. No map, no direction, just a dot indicating you are here.
What if how you got there didn’t matter and you only focused on what you would do next? What would that look like?
Quite often we get so caught up in what happened and anchored in the past that we neglect to see what is possible and where we can go.
Right now, at this very moment, you are here and it doesn’t matter how you got here. What matters is what you’ll do next.
Have you ever been to an event with someone and you both have totally different memories about the experience?
The reason for this is that we all have different filters. We don’t see, hear and experience objectively, it is all subjective to our previous experiences and beliefs.
So, what if your experience isn’t what really happened but only your version of it?
What if you’ve misinterpreted what was said or done to you because it’s the story your brain told you?
What if your brain is using inaccurate information to create your world view?
Your experience of the world happens through a very narrow window, it’s as though you’re looking at the world through a keyhole and your brain is constantly filtering and using information from the past to evaluate what you are seeing and experiencing at any given moment.
Make it a habit to check and re-evaluate your world view and beliefs often. Explore information that is contrary to how you think. Listen to opposing world views with as open of a mind as you can. Change your filters and experience a different life.