Turn more stones

The more stones you turn, the more you learn.

Digging up and finding out everything you can about something is the path forward to really becoming an expert in our day and age.

Most of us pretend to be an expert in everything but it is impossible. Instead, we look to experts to tell us how we should react.

It also doesn’t take much effort, thanks to the internet to be better informed either.

Shifting your locus of control

You don’t need validation for the work you do.

You don’t need others to tell you that what you bring to the table is valuable.

In fact, you don’t need to make other people responsible for your happiness.

You’re in charge.

Act accordingly.

Bowling alone

I meet a lot of teens who express they don’t have any friends, want to make friends but don’t know how to make friends.

Learning how to say hello, and introduce yourself is a skill. But it starts with looking up from your phone, and perhaps most importantly, having the courage to put yourself out there.

It isn’t just teens. As Robert Putman has pointed out, there has been a decline in social capital since the 1950s.

Bowling alone just isn’t as fun as it could be.

Happiness when shared.

Manufactured or authentic

One thing social media understands is our inherent need to be remembered. We all want to be missed when we are gone. That what we did here, it mattered. As a result, we document. We want to show everyone the highlights. That our lives were a journey–to make others jealous and raise our status in the process.

Except, we can certainly say that Facebook will not last forever. We can say that because nothing lasts that wrong. When we spend all this time digital scrapbooking our lives, we miss out on doing things that would enrich us and others. The irony is we should be doing the very thing that makes us interesting not working to craft a story to convince everyone else we are.

Turbulence

You are afraid to fly and your plane hits turbulence. You grab a hold of the armrest as tight as you can and focus all your mental energy keeping the plane aloft. Five minutes later, you fly out of the storm, and the Captain informs everyone it is smooth sailing from here.

Good think you were there.

It seems silly to think about but too often we think we can just avoid every bump in the road in this life with enough wishful thinking.

The arena–where is the fight won?

Spending too much time on Facebook or Twitter? How about Netflix or Reddit?

When I catch myself distracting myself, in these moments, I realize one of two things:

  1. I am tired and need to get more sleep. I also need to do a better job managing my day so I can make it to the end with some gas in the tank.
  2. What am I afraid of? What should I be doing right now instead? Am I afraid to write the next chapter of my next book? Am I telling myself don’t pick up the guitar because “Why bother? You won’t be as good as Jack White.”

There can be a physical reason or an emotional reason holding you back from doing the thing you should be doing. Something is holding you back from perfecting your craft or your art.

Often the story we inform ourselves makes us more tired. And then we sabotage ourselves by staying up later than we should. The battle starts within.

Going along for the ride

Something happens, a rock is thrown into our pond, causing ripples. Then it happens again. And again. Our thought patterns are ripples upon ripples.

We can react to each rock that is thrown in or we can instead just observe it.

How much of our stress and anxiety is really just caused by something we think is going to be the end of the world for us?

Everything we do is related to avoiding that stress. Instead of avoiding the discomfort, we can choose to lean into it.

Singing in the rain

The rain has come and it has ruined your plans. You are now stuck, livid that you can’t do the thing you wanted to do.

Except the rain didn’t force you to have a bad mood. That was your mind at work.

A brain is a tool. It can solve math equations, pay bills, remember directions, and so on. The mind is different. The mind runs wild. It wanders aimlessly. A genetic flaw. You can’t control your mind if it decides to have a bad mood because of some rain. But you can choose to sing in the rain, and we all know how much better that sounds.

It’s called Singing in the Rain. Not stomping our feet wishing things would be different.

Total cost

Sitting through a timeshare seminar for a free lunch isn’t the best use of our time when we think about all the other things we could be doing.

Signing up for Facebook seems like it costs nothing when you sign up until you realize how many hours are spent wasting our time.

Netflix is eight bucks per month but could be 100 plus hours of your attention after.

Cost is more than just price. It is the time spent deciding on a purchase or the attention it steals after. There’s maintenance. There is an opportunity (if I spend money here, I can’t spend it somewhere else). Keep in mind a dollar also represents your time too.

Echoes

I don’t imagine Johannes Guttenburg inventing the printing press thinking, “I am going to change the world.”

Maybe he did. More likely, he was too deep into tinkering with the device, marketing it, getting it into the hands of those who can spread his work, arguing with scribes who were upset they were losing their job…

We often times don’t really see the impact we make until farther down the road. And even then, there are echoes of what we do that are felt through the generations.

There are more people we impact than we realize. Act accordingly.