One Thought: Transition

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Change is a dread all of us feel many times in our lives.  Whether it’s changing a job, dating someone new, or graduating school, change comes during all phases of life.  No one can control change or prevent it from coming, but we can control how we approach change.  It just takes a focused mind and some practice.  Let’s think through a few examples together.

You’re at work.  An email comes through telling you about some new software that is being rolled out.  You LOVE the old software, but your bosses don’t like it and decided to get rid of it.  It’s pretty easy to get upset or just rebel against it altogether.  Who needs the new software?  You’ll be more productive anyway, right?  Maybe, but maybe you’re missing out on a feature you didn’t know existed.  Maybe you can spend even less time on this new software, even if it seemed difficult at first.  But how can you know unless you commit to it?  Here’s a hint, you can’t.

You just graduated high school.  Maybe you had a great time in school, maybe you hated it, maybe you are indifferent. Regardless, maybe you’re nervous about college because you’ve heard of the long papers you’ll have to write, the long chapters you’ll be required to read, the new friends you’ll have to make.  It can be daunting.  But what is the benefit of avoiding the change and sulking into the past?  While that may be a natural reaction, making a conscious decision to dedicate yourself to this new life can have irreplicable benefits.  Those new friends you just made, they’re your friends for life.  That knowledge you forged, that’s the basis for the job you’re about to earn.  None of which would be possible without a commitment to change.

You just had a brilliant idea.  This new business could make it BIG.  Or, it could fall on its face.  Here’s the catch.  You need to quit that cushy job with reimbursed travel, lots of free happy hours, and a great set of coworkers. Interested?  Maybe, maybe not.  A big part of the hesitation is not wanting to deal with the change.  Change in lifestyle, change in people around you, etc.  But without embracing change, you could be forgoing an even greater sense of purpose in building something from the ground up and creating a new team that will do great things.  All foregone because of that pesky resistance to change.

Would we have different reactions to these circumstances if any details changed?  Unfortunately, probably not.  Change, though initially painful, is the breeding ground of all progress and growth.  The next time you find yourself in a state of resistance, remember that the next best version of yourself is just beyond the horizon of revolution.

One Thought: Memories

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Anniversaries have long been a source of nostalgia, remembrance, and reasons to celebrate.  From Christmas to July 4 to the passing of a loved one, anniversaries are our way of acknowledging a significant event some number of days or years ago.  This week happens to be the very week that I quit my job and took off on a journey I’ll never forget, one short year ago.  It is the anniversary of the birth and death of tangential chapters in my life.  But I look back on that time with a fondness irreplaceable, despite its ever lengthening depth in my memory.

The same memories that vibrantly ring in our minds during the moments, hours, and days that follow something memorable will sink back over the weeks, months, and years thereafter.  And so the Andean ridges and mountains and whispering oceans ring heavily in my mind like the echo of a cavern.  I miss those memories as I recall them but I don’t live in them.

Living in the past is not advised, but if we can look to our past to dictate our future, reminisce onward.  In fact, reminiscing is known to give some health benefits if done in the right fashion.  So maybe its flipping through an old yearbook or photo album, reading through your facebook stories of years gone by, or just daydreaming of youthful summer days.  Whatever your memories are, don’t be afraid of them.  Embrace them and make them into greater tomorrows.

One Thought: Positivity

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Optimists, dreamers, idealists, unrealistic, impractical, etc.  Those are a few thoughts some may have applied to those flooded with that positive personality gene.  Positive people can easily be disregarded for their seemingly ungrounded position.  But if you’re a positive person you’re certainly not worrying about these things, because they aren’t…well…positive.

But therein lies the true beauty of positivity.  It’s not about ignoring the important things in this world just to put the mind at ease.  It’s about the focus on what matters in a positive light.  It’s also about putting a higher priority on making life more enjoyable by making the best of even the bleakest situations.

In this world we can be confronted by a range of provocations.  From that guy (or gal) cutting us off on the highway to the roommate who doesn’t change the damn toilet paper when it runs out.  There are so many opportunities to have the negative voice shout louder.  Change the script.  Think different.  Wave to the driver, hug your roommate with a smile, change the interaction.  More often than not that you’ll be surprised by the reaction.  Especially when they wave a smile back.

One Thought: Breathe

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Going to start a channel here to organize different thoughts on improvement and growth. Welcome to the inaugural One Thought!

If you’re anything like me, you enjoy filling every nook and cranny of the calendar with dinners, excursions, etc.  While that can be a great way to expand your friend group or try new things, each wonderful ambitions alone, it can be a choking hazard on your own life and happiness.  Making time for others takes away time from yourself and in the end, that is what keeps you going.

On one of those rare weekends when time to breathe miraculously does appear, don’t be wary of the emptiness by filling it in with a last-second wine and paint night.  Take a walk.  Or a run.  Read a book.  Or write one.  And most importantly, breathe.