What will your verse be?

Ever read poetry ?

Probably not… is what I’m guessing will be the answer. Most people, once they left grade school would have long forgotten poetry. I can’t say that I read much of it any more, but on occasion I’ll go and find a couple poems. I recently stumbled upon this classic piece.

O Me! O Life!

BY WALT WHITMAN

Oh me! Oh life! of the questions of these recurring,
Of the endless trains of the faithless, of cities fill’d with the foolish,
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light, of the objects mean, of the struggle ever renew’d,
Of the poor results of all, of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me,
Of the empty and useless years of the rest, with the rest me intertwined,
The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer.
That you are here—that life exists and identity,
That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.

What do you think of this one ?

I read this one and it got me thinking…

So, what will be your verse ? What will be your contribution ? I find the poem very interesting. I love the way Walt Whitman talks about how we or, more specifically you are one of the masses, but in the final line he asks … what’s your verse, or What will you be remembered for ?

Remember when you were young ? You had these lofty ideas. What were some of yours ? Were they far fetched? Have you pursued any of those ideas ? I think that for some of us, our ideas will change over time. Some of the things I thought were very cool when I was younger were really just a fad. Of course those fads fade over time. Some of the ideas I had are still very much solid ideas today, some are not… So what happened ? Why am I not pursuing those ideas. For some of them, life got in the way. Ya, I know that sounds like a big cop-out. I really need to look no further than, say, a person like Richard Branson. From a young age he continually pursued his passions. I’m sure that he has made his mistakes along the way and he has also had his fair share of failures too. Although it’s pretty hard to fault the guy for being passionate about his ideas and ideals. I’m sure you can go google him and find a litany of information that will chronicle his successes and failures. I’m sure that from every mistake that he made there were numerous successes or is the other way around with every success there are numerous failures or set backs. Which ever it is, I’m thinking that he didn’t let a small setback get him down. Nor did it deter his resolve.

So what about you ?
What will be your verse ?

I get that not every single one of us can be a Richard Branson. But that shouldn’t make our verse any less important.

In a number of my yoga classes I hear a line. “Set an intention for your class”. Let me ask you this… every day when you leave your home and you walk out the door to go to work, Do you have a goal ? An objective ? An intention ? I do. I have an objective or intention.

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Try this… Set an intention as you go off to work tomorrow. Or better yet, set an intention for your weekend activities. Your intention can be simple. A single word. A thought. An attitude. Make it whatever you like. Say for instance, if you are heading to the mall, maybe think of being calm in all the chaos. Sometimes your objective or intention can be pretty simple. Will you always obtain it ? … Not always, but you tried, and there is merit in the attempt. There is also self-realization in the attempt. You can look at yourself and think why your intention/objective either worked or didn’t work. Kinda like turning the spotlight back upon yourself and doing a bit of self examination.

I think that as you get to understand yourself, you will be better equipped to know and define what your verse will be… Oh me, Oh Life

!

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…and it’s from the mistakes that the really interesting things happen

Ok, so tell me this… think back… what do you think has been your biggest failure ?

Ya, I get it. Not the thing you want to think about.  Nor is it likely something you want to dwell on.  So tell me, what happened after this epic failure ?  Or don’t tell me…

I’m betting that it was something fairly large.  I’d go so far as to say, life changing.  Agree ?

So whether or not you want to agree with me on this one.  Likely every failure you have encountered, every mistake you’ve ever made, you have likely rebounded from that failure to move on to something much grander.  I can tell you that every single failure in my life has lead me to something bigger and better than before.  It’s almost like fate is giving you a kick in the ass, to say, get moving, and if you aren’t moving fast enough or in the right direction, then fate will throw a road block in front of you to make you do something better or different.   I’m using fate as an example, don’t get me wrong I’m not a strong believer in fate.  So call it what you will, fate, faith, divine intervention or just dumb luck.  Pick whatever works for you.

It’s my opinion that your failures don’t define you.  It’s what you do after you fail that defines you and your character.  After you dust yourself off, assess the damage, dust off your pride, and gather yourself.  What comes next is the truely remarkable part.  You look at what happened.  Maybe you think to yourself “How did it all go so sideways?”  As I hear in my yoga class, falling out of a posture is normal, its what you do after you fall out.  In other words, get right back in and try again.  Failing is just part of life.  Mistakes are a part of Life.  Did you think that early hominids were able to hunt successfully every time.  I doubt it.  But they learned from their mistakes, they figured out how to do it better, and eventually with enough attempts they had successes.  I can say that reassuringly because otherwise I wouldn’t be here now speaking to you.  They figured it out by learning from their mistakes.  The old Trial and Error method.

So what have you learned from your mistakes ?  Do you make mistakes ?

I would argue that if you aren’t making mistakes, then you aren’t really living.

Oh !!!! There’s a statement that will not be liked by everyone.  However, if you aren’t making mistakes, then you likely are not taking any risks either.  Taking risks, puts you out there.  Beyond your flexibility, beyond your comfort zone.  It’s the taking of risks is where you make mistakes, and its your mistakes and what you do after those mistakes that you really begin to learn…

And it’s from the mistakes that the really interesting things happen.

What mistake do you want to make in order have something really interesting happen ?

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Please tell me what there is to complain about ?

“Please tell me what there is to complain about ?”  This line comes from a song that I just love.  The song is called “Good Life” by OneRepublic. If you haven’t heard the song, here is the video for it.  Good Life.

onerepublic_good-life-20I love the lyrics in the song. It reminds me that, really it is a good life.  I know that this statement/opinion will likely fly in the face of a number of people’s opinions, and will definitely fly in the face of pretty much every newscast I watch.  Hence, I’ve pretty much stopped watching the news.  I’m not saying you should be disconnected from society, but sometimes the application of a good filter on what you watch is required.  There’s an old adage, “You are what you eat”.  I like to say you are what you consume.  Consuming can have a broader meaning, and your consumption of food or any other stimuli is no different.  Watch the news and you may become the fear monger that you see so much of.  Should you live your life in fear… well if that’s your prerogative.

A friend of mine used a term call “First world problems”.  I appreciated the light in which this was used and delivered to me.  So many of what we think are huge problems are exactly that, first world problems… The following is a pretty apt description: “First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.

Think about what it is you have to complain about.  Often times it takes a different perspective to understand what exactly the problem is, and the magnitude of said problem.  Is it really just White Whine ?  I’m not saying that every problem you have is nothing more than some trivial little issue.  Some have very legitimate issues.  This is the point where I make no judgements on your issues or the emphasis you place on those issues.

The problems you face… I know they seem almost insurmountable.  But are they really ?  Let’s try an experiment.  What is the largest problem that you face today.  Write it down.  Put it in an open place, ie: the fridge door, or post it on your home notice board or, some place that you’ll see it.  Leave it there for 1 week.  In one week, I want you to go back to that problem.  Has anything changed ?  Has the problem gone away, or has your perspective on the problem changed ?  Has the problem been replaced with a new problem ?

Whatever your answers were to the above, I am almost certain, that the problem you identified previously is weighing less on your mind than what it was one week prior.  Does that make the problem trivial.  Not at all, but it does say one of a couple of things; one, that you will either get over it, or two, you make efforts to resolve it.

So what did that little exercise tell you ? I think it should tell you that the things you think are worrisome today, may not need to be as worrisome as you think they should be.  Should you change your attitude towards your problems and throw up your hands and say, no I’m not going to do anything about these problems.  Not at all.  What I’m saying is that stressing over the problems may not necessarily be the best thing either.  Instead, be observant towards what is going on, know what things are important, and know what you truely have to be thankful for.

Which brings me back to the lyrics in the song  “This could really be a good life….” and  “…I feel like the window closes oh so quick ”

Don’t let your windows close without making the most of it.  Make it a good life.

Please tell me what there is to complain about ?

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One good turn…

Ok, so recently I was watching the local news.  I used to do this all the time, sit down have dinner and watch the news.   Due to changes in my schedule and the basic horrid-ness of the broadcast (or the way its reported), needless to say, I haven’t been watching the local news.

artistic-graffiti-292581Alright, so one recent evening I was watch… there was an interview with one local police officer and he was discussing graffiti.  His comment was that it needs to be erased immediately.  He said one thing that has stuck with me… “Crime begets crime”.  In other words, more people would be influenced to do graffiti if there already some there.  To some degree I’ll agree with this officer, however, you would still require motive and means as well.  Just because I see graffiti, doesn’t mean I’m going to unload a spray paint can from my back pocket and have at it !

Although the concept is something that is simple enough.  This little phrase lead me to think that the idea can be applied, but applied differently.  You can pretty much substitute almost any word/phrase for Crime, for example, you could put in there Irrational Behavior and take that into a busy mall before Christmas…. and guess what, you’d have a pile of people starting to behave irrationally.  Now, try this… turn it around.  Smile at someone in the grocery line.  Allow someone to go before you at the coffee shop,  or better yet, buy their coffee for them.  See what happens.  Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard of this, it’s called Random Acts of Kindness.  It’s pretty simple, you do something nice for someone else, some complete stranger, and you do this for no other reason than to be kind to others.

I’ve heard from a very young age, “one good turn deserves another”.  I admit, I don’t do this nearly as often as I’d like to or should, but I can tell you one thing.  If you do this, you sure feel good about it.  If you want to give this a try, and you’ve never done this before, then go to the website above and take a look at  some of the ways you can do this.  Read the stories too.  They are real and heartwarming.  Be a bitch/bastard/douche-bag and you will likely get that in return, be open, honest of genuine with people, and for the most part, you’ll get that back.

tumblr_lyu48s6Dk91r6khwmo1_500_largeIt’s not overly difficult to, to be nice to people that is.  Often times it’s just a change in attitude… changing the way in which you approach a situation.  So instead of “Crime begets Crime”, why not “Happiness begets Happiness”… seriously, give it a try, it works.  Ever heard the phrase, “Smile and the whole world smiles with you” ?  Of course you have.  So, if you give off the vibe of being happy, you will find that people around you will pick up on that.  You will find that many people will join in with you… Of course you are going to have your Nay-sayers.  There are always going to be people that are negative and want you to come into their negative domain.  The call is yours whether or not you want to follow them.

As an experiment, give it a try, while you are out running your errands.  Try going out and being negative, and see what reaction you get from those around you.  Later on, or the next day or whenever, try but go and do the same things, or similar things…  go out with a happy stride in your step, smile at people, hold the door open, and joke with people.  See what kind of reaction you get.  I would guess its a very different reaction than when you were a negative Nellie.

For bonus points, give the Random Acts of Kindness a try… I think the thing you’ll find here is,  that it makes you feel better knowing you did this.  And in reality, that’s what it’s all about.  It’s about having a good sense, a good feeling in the space between your ears.

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Six shots or only five…

What is it about perception, attention and focus ?

If you haven’t seen the movie “Dirty Harry” with Clint Eastwood, then go watch it.  Not because its Clint Eastwood at his best, not because its a fabulous movie, but because its one of those classics, and because it’s,well,  Clint Eastwood.  And also because it helps support my arguments in this entry.

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So recently there have been a number of random ideas floating around on my head. Kind of like bits a pieces of ideas and concepts. My logical or scientific side is trying to organize these ideas into some rational or coherent path. But there is definitely a disconnect there.

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The ideas/concepts are varied,  one of the ideas is from the movie Inception; and it’s to do with dreaming and how we rationalize our world.  Of course the movie inception was about building wonderful/perfect worlds to live in and how sometimes those worlds can come crashing down.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil the movie, but again, if you haven’t seen it, go watch it.   Regardless if you seen the movie or not, you definitely dream.   Whether you dream the same or similar dream, or if you only seem to remember your dreams in bits in pieces or if you are the type that remembers your dreams in exquisite detail or not.  Your dreams are personal to you.

I know that I’ve definitely dreamt of problems that I’ve encountered at work… and how I can solve those problems.    In my dream state I’m able to clearly think through the problems or situations that plagued me through the day. I have no idea on why that my brain does this. Some times when I dream, I think that I build this dream world where I can see people, places and/or events. Often times I’m confused as I wake as I try to make sense of this and struggle to figure things out. Figure out the situation, figure out what people are doing, or struggle to figure out who the people even are !!! Oh, the joy of dreams.

Other ideas that I have ruminating in my head are those of some of the shows I’ve recently seen. I have to admit, most of the TV programs I’ve been watching are Discovery or Nat Geo programs.   Programs on attention and how our observation skills are pretty much all the same. I used to think that I was one of those that could multi-task. Turns out that I’m no different than the general masses. I can be easily deceived or my attention can be redirected. I found it interesting to watch a program, and even thought I was watching a TV screen with a narrow view and a limited field of focus, there were things going on in the background that I completely missed. Yes something where my field of vision is already very narrowed and yet I could easily miss something floating across the background. Ya, go figure. Before you judge, I encourage you to try these exercises/games first. Let’s see how well you do.

Programs like this make me realize that the lucidity that I think I live my life with, can be severely questioned.  The ability to hone in, or focus on a specific task at hand has lead us to become very good at single things, but is turning us away from being a generalist.  Is this the way evolution has intended us to evolve ?  I think that in our society we are bombarded by sensory input.  I think we do our best to focus on what we think is important.  Everyone’s ideas of what they think are important are very personal… just like your dreams.  The way you slice up your day to focus on the things that you think are important is similar to that of your opinions.  They are purely yours, and yours to be justified to you and you only.

fluidic-lucidity-laura-swinkI find it interesting to listen to others and what they find as their priority for their attention or focus.  I can’t say I always agree with it, but it’s really not for me to say.

Let me ask you a question… have you ever questioned how you focus your attention, and what drives your focus ?

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Adventure is out there !

Do you have one of these ? p10108001

Firstly, Do you know what it is ?  Or,  do you know where it comes from ?

Its from the movie “Up”.  The movie is a Pixar animated film centered around a character named Carl.  Well the Adventure book wasn’t Carl’s, it was actually his friend Ellie’s. Ellie later becoming the love of his life and then his wife.

I’ve tried to go to see most Pixar movies in the theatre, and I remember very clearly seeing this one in the theatre.  If you’ve seen the movie, you will know exactly what I’m talking about… within the first 8 minutes of the movie I heard people openly sobbing in the theatre.  Yes, the creative people at Pixar can engage you so fully into an animated movie that you can be crying in the first 8 minutes of the movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it.  Just take a couple of tissues with you as you watch.  And not to spoil the movie, only the first 8 minutes are sad, the remainder of the movie will play on other emotions.

Ok, back to the Adventure book, if you know what it is, and you’ve seen the movie, then you get the significance of the book.  The idea behind the book is that its a plan, a wishlist, a “here is what I’m going to do when I grow up” book.  Did you ever have an Adventure book ?

Do you remember as a kid, dreaming of that sports car, or to travel the world, or that special thing that you were going to do, be a doctor, or an explorer or whatever it was that your imagination could dream up…Trip1

Maybe something that you could do that would change the world.  You likely viewed the world with a fascination, and a naiveness.  You probably set goals and expectations for what you wanted to accomplish in your life.  You had these huge dreams and aspirations… Ok, so here comes reality…  so where are those plans now ?  Are you living the life you thought you should ? If you aren’t and likely most of us aren’t, then why ?

I’ve had the fortune of meeting a large number of individuals and getting to see first hand some very interesting perspectives.  Case and point.  One evening when I was out with a few of my co-workers, I had a young guy on my team, and we also had some senior management at the table at the same time.  One of our senior managers asked the young guy how the dating scene was going (as he indicated he was single).  The young guy replies that he is interested in both his dentist and the dental hygienist.  Our senior manager encouraged him that if all things are equal, go for the dentist… “Aim high and don’t settle” was the phrase that was used.  Interesting words, but in the course of the evening it became very apparent that those words didn’t have the backing as it sounded like there was plenty of compromise and ‘settling’ from our manager.  Hmmmm.. So, do as I say, not as I do.  I didn’t curry any favours when I pointed this out…. but that’s a different story.

I get we all have our reasons for where we are in life, and likely there are a few that will squarely place blame on others.  Oh, sure I could blame others for my inadequacies, but in reality, it comes back to me.  Me and me alone are the reasons why.  With every step up/forward, it means a step away from something else.  You want to rise through the corporate ladder, let me tell you, you are going to have to give some things up along the way. What are you prepared to give ?

For some, they love this stuff, for others, they rebel and choose a different path.  They look at the norm and think, it’s not for me and they do things differently (similar to John Galt).   Ultimately, you get to choose your destiny, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”.  Regardless of which way you think your life or career should go, you can go out and make the difference you think you should.  There is no barrier to say you can or can not do something.  The barrier is in your own mind (or the space between your ears).  What is it that you want to do, and what do you want to sacrifice along the way.  Of maybe its simply a matter of changing the way you think about things…

Is it time for your adventure to start ?

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What ever happened to….

There are always a number of different ways to look at things, there are different ways to staircase-man-dog
approach a problem and an almost limitless number of ways to solve any given problem.  The one interesting thing I find in my work is that I constantly deal with folks that have a very narrow approach to solving or viewing any one issue.  Well, that is the way I see it anyway.  In light of the limited amount of communication that I receive from those individuals (both verbal and non-verbal), there seems to be this void of creativity.  Maybe it’s not a matter of being creative, but for me, it’s always looking for a different way.  I get that sometimes it just takes some observation and a bit of concentration to achieve this.  I also get that some people feel that instead of saying something, saying even half a composed thought, would rather stay silent, for fear of being ridiculed.  That aside…

I think for me, it all started when I looked at things differently.  I looked at them differently because I didn’t necessarily believe everything that was handed to me.  Don’t get me wrong here I do trust people, but there is a bit of defiance or just plain old stubbornness in me that drives me to do things a little bit differently than the norm.   I get there are some that will immediately believe whatever it is that they see or is handed to them… well, someone typed it, it must be true, right ?  Maybe to the author !  However,  I prefer to make up my own mind about things, thank you very much !  I really don’t do it to be stubborn either, but I’m sure that some of my friends will think otherwise.

One thing I do see is that, more often, people will just take whatever is in front of them.  I don’t know why it is changing, but I’m definitely seeing a pattern.  More and more, I’m seeing that some will immediately take what is in front of them for truth.  I think there are a number of reasons for this… our lifestyles, and the ever present need to try to compress more and more into an already busy day.  A day that sees us rushing from one task to another, often times getting interupted (multiple times) along the way.  Hence if someone presents a compelling or even logical explanation, you can take their opinion at face value.  And don’t get me wrong… not everyone in this world is out to screw you, but certainly there are a few.  But I also think that it’s the easy way out too.  Hence the, ‘I really don’t want to form an opinion on this, and I don’t necessarily want to have to research the topic, when in reality… I don’t give a shit about it that much’ attitude.   In a recent conversation I had with my dad, I asked him his opinion on this teacher that was getting fired for giving out a zero for a mark.  It was on the front page of the newspaper… The article went into details about the teachers large number of years of service, how he was close to retirement, how he was going to be fired for doing this, and even though the school policy was to not give out zero, and school grade-fail
and the schools system and how they are focused on raising the students self-esteem, etc <insert all the politically correct crap in here that you want, and any other opinion you want about it… and cue P.C. outrage in 3, 2, 1…>  My dad, being a retired teacher simply responded to me.  “The teacher knew the policy and decided to go against it anyways”.  Yup, let’s wade through all the bullshit, and call a spade a spade on this one !  Good call Dad !  I get that there are times to be a hero, and then there are times when you so firmly believe that something has to be done.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m completely for people standing up and doing something that they believe is right. But clearly this teacher understood the ramifications of his actions.  I’m behind this teacher, but kind of in an underdog sort of way

So what ever happened to just saying what you think and believing what you think ?

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One reason why I think that some people don’t communicate their ideas or their opinions is that they don’t want to be made fun of, or feel that their opinions don’t matter.  Maybe they are simply private and don’t really feel like letting others in, or maybe its a case that their opinions are personal and don’t want to share those.  Whatever it is, I encourage everyone to express their interests.  I find that the sharing of interests or opinions can often lead you to thinking about things, not only differently, but also things that maybe you hadn’t considered.  I admit that I have some friends where their ideas are simply that… Theirs !  But it’s the difference in the ideals that makes us unique.  In it’s simplest form, it’s the small amount of electricity generated between your ears, that separates you and makes you unique amongst everyone else…  Here’s to celebrating those electrical pathways.

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