My experience with New Year's Resolutions has always been lackluster at best. The reason? Without any constraints, I'd typically create several dozen goals, which would result in feelings of overwhelm. Worse, it was hard to keep each goal front and center within my mental RAM, particularly when life got busy. When I reviewed my goals at the end of the year, I would typically discover that I forgot at least half of the goals I set out to achieve. Needless to say, this was a discouraging way to end and start each year.
I've always loved this quote by Caroline Myss because it was a key insight for me as to why our bodies can become injured or deteriorate until we heal the trauma in the stories we tell.
A few examples from my history.
About a decade ago, I learned a powerful healing technique called EFT (emotional freedom technique). What fascinated me the most was how often a physical injury that lasted for years would miraculously improve in minutes.
Imagine being a freshman in college and finding out in the newspapers that one of your classmates (allegedly) locked herself in her dorm room and set it on fire. The death of Elizabeth Shin was a horrific reminder of the ongoing mental and emotional health issues faced by MIT's student body. Her (apparent) suicide served as a cautionary tale to other students that were either 1) white-knuckling their way through the pain or 2) unable to find the help and support that they needed.
Before iPhones, I used to wear my backpack wherever I biked in Boston because my brain would never stop, and I wanted to have everything necessary (laptop, notebook, and camera) to quickly capture these curiosities before their vividness because as foggy as a forgotten dream.
Not every idea was useful. Most ended up in the trash can. But many did serve as a substrate for something more. Maybe a poem. Maybe a hobby. Maybe some new creative endeavor.
Kevin is a MacGyver-like technologist. During our five years of working together, he had this knack of pulling rabbits out of hats and coming up with solutions and workarounds that blocked others. When describing him, I would tell people that if someone were to drop him off on a deserted island, he'd find a way to build a server by the close of business that day. Now, of course, there was no real way for him to melt sandy beaches into silicon chips. Still, it was more a statement about the overall resourcefulness and tenacity by which he attacked problems.
What we choose to look for can significantly improve our moment to moment experience.
The ordinary person searches for and points out defects.
The effective person searches for and discovers the occasional diamond.
The extraordinary person is constantly seeing the diamonds in the defects.
Ducking Siri! If you get the joke, then you are probably used to the wonderful world of autocorrect fails, which can range from annoying to hysterically funny. Autocorrect fails can also offer little gems of insight for self-reflection. Take the title of this article as an example...