“What’s in it for me?”

No one hesitates to help a person who’s drowning in a pool.

We don’t stop and ask, “What’s in it for me?”

When someone needs our help in an emergency, we are quick to act.

So, why is it difficult to help someone when it isn’t an emergency?

When we have time to think about if we are in the mood, we are less likely to take a posture of generosity.

Emergency or not, it is no different. Either we are someone who solves problems or consider it to be is someone else’s.

Where do ideas come from?

Some suggest it comes from the ether. Others say from the muse.

But I think we are asking the wrong question. A better one: Have you ever told a funny joke?

Of course, you have. Everyone has! So, if you are capable of telling a funny joke once, you can do it again.

Good ideas (like jokes) come to us all the time. The problem is we don’t know where to put them.

I publish one blog post per day for several years now. Since I have committed to this practice, I am always looking for more content. The ideas come and I know where to put them.

To circle back to the beginning, we first commit to a practice then we will have somewhere to put the ideas to good use.

No practice, no placement.

The voice in our head

The voice in our head is strong. We’re excited to go to an event and now we’re stuck on the escalator.

That feeling is tension. Tension isn’t easy to push away. Especially, when we are waiting for others.

And yet, tension is so powerful it changes how we feel about the event. We worry that we are not going to make it. The whole day is now ruined. The world is going to come down crashing.

Despite the best efforts of the rational part of our brain, it is slow to react. The irrational part doesn’t know that this temporary delay is that–temporary.

The voice in our head has and continues to keep us alive. It’s what we count on to swerve out the way when a car cuts us off. It also betrays us.

The lizard brain is this: Perfect as a tool to help us react but never to bargain with.

Always short

We all wish we had more money, time, energy, motivation, education, reassurance…

The things we don’t have can’t help us solve the challenges before us.

Instead of spending our finite attention on wishing things to be different, we can turn our focus on seeing the reality of our circumstances and how we are going to push through.

What we don’t have makes us grateful for what we do.

If it bleeds, it leads

The industrial world has never been safer. But that isn’t what our brains are telling us.

Our anxiety is higher than ever. Many, if not most, believe the world is heading in the wrong direction.

To offer some perspective:

Our brains have a filter. That filter is pessimistic by design. It is how we have survived for as long as we have. To seek out what doesn’t fit in. To look for danger.

Next, good news doesn’t sell papers. The old adage, “If it bleeds, it leads” is what keeps us tuned in to see what can happen next. If we believed the world was safe, there would be no reason to keep scrolling.

Add in our social media/doomsday 24-hour news cycle, we are not designed to be flooded with this much negative news. Our heightened state causes us to fear what we can’t imagine.

And finally, most of us haven’t actually been to the other side of the world but that doesn’t stop us from being afraid of it.

“What could have been?”

We mourn for people/things/experiences that we have lost.

Part of the reason why grief takes time to process is because we end up spending quite a bit of it filling a hole that can’t be replaced–trying to replace the irreplaceable.

Sometimes we try to numb the pain. Sometimes we avoid it all together. The answer is perhaps different for everyone. But I think what snaps us back quicker is a great awakening of some sorts. A purpose. A call to action. Call it the spirit or a moment of clarity.

Despite what you’ve lost, the world still needs you and your contribution. To fill a need or solve a problem for someone else.

The hole we are in

Let’s be clear:

The hole we are in is not too deep to climb out of.

Doesn’t matter if we are talking about relationships that we believe are beyond repair or climate change or what the 24-hour dooms day news cycle says…we can climb out of this.

The problem is our desire to climb out of it.

Because each of us has a story. A story of fear, anxiety, lowered expectations, the avoidance of failure.

After a while we believe it. That this is as good as it gets. “It’s really scary out there. Don’t risk making things worst.”

It’s a choice to stay put. Another to move forward. Simply taking action is enough of an antidote to change our narrative.

What we do is who we are.

How to become a creative person

Deep down everyone wants to paint a picture.

And that is what Bob Ross taught us for 31 seasons. That with some guidance and practice, anyone can paint a picture and become an artist.

Yet…

It’s believed that 90% of those that tuned in to watch The Joy of Painting never actually picked up a paintbrush.

It’s difficult to change our narrative about being a creative person. It has been drilled in us for so long to color within the lines.

The way to be creative is simply to do creative things. That’s it. And when you commit to this practice every day, you can’t claim you are not creative anymore.

Action is a force in changing our narrative.

[Check out all 31 seasons of The Joy of Painting for free on YouTube.]

To scale

In order to understand something that is large at scale, we have to compare it to something familiar. The same goes for something where the distance is far away or imagining what the world will look like in the future.

We need concrete examples but our brain can’t process the scale.

Scale is only as good as our comparison.

That’s why they say a death is a tragedy and a massacre is a statistic.

The truth is not only our scope of comparison off but we also amplify our feelings to be larger than life.

It feels like the end of the world when our heart breaks but it isn’t actually the end of the world. If we haven’t experienced heartbreak before, what we are missing is something to compare it to.

Think about it.