The Uniqueness of Uniqueness

stocksnap_cdwigkiiv2

We are all unique, in almost every way. From our DNA, to our fingerprints, our eyes, our hair, our personality, our dreams and desires – our uniqueness defines who we are.

Funnily enough, uniqueness is completely ubiquitous, it is present throughout the universe. Everything in the universe is unique. There are no two snowflakes, no two grains of sand, no two clouds in the sky that are exactly the same.

Even manufactured items produced by machines with incredible precision, and which may appear uniform at first glance, contain small differences – albeit microscopic – that make them ultimately unique.

I find this infinite variation in our universe awe-inspiring. Everything should be appreciated for its unique beauty in its own time and place.

The fleeting manner in which we encounter so many elements in our lives – the uniqueness of the human experience – should make it even more precious. Whether it’s a friendship which makes a difference when you need it, a chance moment that pushes your life in a new direction, or the simple crunch of leaves under foot on a crisp autumn day, our lives are filled with uniqueness every single day.

And of course, each day is unique in its own way. We can be guilty sometimes of forgetting this; it can be too easy to forget the unique awesomeness that each day brings, and the endless possibilities contained within it.

It can be easy to brush aside a day as just another day – the same, hum-drum, monotony. We wish away the days so we can get to the weekend or the next holiday, when we can feel alive!

To truly appreciate the gift of the possible, to embrace the uniqueness of our lives, of our experiences and of our potential, we have to take ownership for what can be done, what could happen, what we make possible.

Every day, month and year of your life offers unique opportunities to live life on your terms, to seek happiness and fulfilment. It doesn’t mean it’s easy, but what other option have you got?

Something as unique as your life shouldn’t be wasted, wished away or spent in a rut of unhappiness. Do what you want. Live your life. Be you.

Embrace your uniqueness.


Image credit: Jude Beck | stocksnap.io

 

When We Can We Will

stocksnap_erxxbahyv4

We all have things we want to do, things we want to achieve. Changing career, learning a language, clearing out the spare room. Some of them are big, some of them are small. Some are dreams, some are goals, some are just “stuff”.

We all also have reasons we don’t get round to doing some, or all, of these things. We seem to be under some sort of illusion that there is a time in the near future when we will “get round to it”, a magical time called “when we can, we will”.

I couldn’t count how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of “when I can, I will”; there are a couple of things on my goals list that seem firmly entrenched in that position. No one is perfect, right?!

Continue reading “When We Can We Will”

Unplugged…

stocksnap_6kkr2x9mgv

I’m sure many of you will have encountered this situation: you leave the house without your mobile phone. For many this induces a palpable sense of panic and fear. Many people will turn around, even if it makes them late for work, to go back and get their phone.

How could we get through the day without it? Our mobile devices have become much more than just a phone. In fact the phone ‘application’ on your mobile device is the part that most use the least.

Our mobiles help us feel connected to the world, help us get our work done, help us record and document our lives. It’s amazing how, in conjunction with social media apps, they allow us to connect with old friends, discover unknown connections that make the world seem smaller, more joined up. Somehow friendlier.

Our mobiles are also a portal to the collective knowledge of the human race. Our history, our humour, our desires are all just a few clicks away and can be carried around in the palm of our hands. They contain so much information for us and about us.

They have literally transformed our lives.

So it’s understandable that we feel panicked when we leave them behind, or when we can’t put our hands on them immediately. But there is also a darker more uncomfortable relationship we have with these devices…

Continue reading “Unplugged…”

Happy Endings!

stocksnap_97ol3qozwu

Everyone wants a fairytale-style happy ending, right? Everything turns out as planned, for the best, everyone’s happy, dreams are achieved. Movies are great at creating the perfect happy ending, against all odds, where it all just “comes together” in the closing scene.

In real life we too want happy endings, our dreams achieved, challenges overcome, happiness secured. However, real life is not the same as a movie; we have two big stumbling blocks:

How do you define happy?

When exactly is the ending?

Happiness tends to be far more complicated and elusive in real life than in a movie. Nothing is ever really perfect; there will always be some lingering issue or concern. The stuff the characters presumably have to deal after the credits roll and the movie theatre gets cleaned up ready for the next showing.

And what is an ending in our lives? The end of the week, the month, the holiday, the wedding, the big event…?

Continue reading “Happy Endings!”

Do I Have Your Vote?

marking_ballot

The freedom to vote is a freedom I cherish. For me it’s not just about the freedom to vote, it represents a wider set of freedoms that accompany living in a democracy. You only have to switch on the news, or look at what is being shared on social media to recognise the value of democracy.

In the UK, and many other countries around the world, we have an amazing level of freedom, and it grows all the time. I am grateful every day for the freedoms I enjoy which allow me to live my life on my terms and pursue my goals and dreams.

Yet I have friends, some very close friends (you know who you are), who don’t exercise their right to vote. It’s not something they cherish. And I guess, when I think about it, the freedom to vote also includes the freedom not to vote; after all if it was compulsory to vote it would probably not feel like a democracy at all.

And my friends are not alone. Many people feel completely disengaged with politics, and feel that there is very little point in voting. What does it really change? Aren’t politicians ultimately all the same? Does it really make a difference?

Continue reading “Do I Have Your Vote?”

The Hidden Cost Of Simplicity

qtq80-J0UNgN

We used to think the earth was flat. We thought that the sun rotated around it. We used to believe that it was uneccessary for surgeons to wash their hands before they began operating – it was pointless, they were about to get covered in blood!

Our minds have progressed, our knowledge has expanded, our understanding has grown. And still the questions keep on coming; our minds are clearly built with a need to learn, to develop, to discover.

Yet as the world around us becomes more and more complex, we are also driving for simplicity, which is a good thing, especially as consumers. We want things to be simple, and straightforward, easy to interface and use. We want to pick up and use without the need of an instruction manual. We want service that is easy to access, simple to understand and that delivers it right.

There is a hidden cost to such simplicity. Human’s require a degree of complexity in their work for it to be engaging, and yet, as the world becomes increasingly complex we are finding new ways to outsource that complexity to tech solutions.

Continue reading “The Hidden Cost Of Simplicity”

We Are All Gamblers

al0uo6fvis

I’m sure some of you will disagree with the statement in this blog title. Many of you will maintain that you have never gambled in your life; and by gambling you mean putting down some money on a bet or the outcome of a game. Many people consider it morally wrong. Others consider it a silly way to throw away money.

Some people, only a few, manage to make a healthy living from it. Casinos certainly do well out of it.

But what is gambling? Most of us think of gambling as an activity which involves exchanging cash, placing a bet, putting money on a prediction of what will happen next.

And, in reality, we all do that a great deal of the time. We all have a sense of what will happen tomorrow, and based on these assumptions we build our lives. We build our sense of who we are, of where we are going on an assumption that we are pretty certain what will happen tomorrow, and next week and even next year.

This is not a bad thing; we buy houses, take loans, plan holidays. Like gamblers in a casino, we sometimes lose. Things go wrong that we didn’t expect, and sometimes these things can have far reaching consequences.

Like gamblers in a casino we are subject to ‘gamblers fallacy’. This is the notion that the odds change over time: if your number hasn’t come up in the last hour, maybe that means it’s ‘due’. It is the primary reason many people play the same lottery numbers each week; it’s the belief that over time the odds will mean that their selection of numbers is ‘due’, when in fact there is no increase in odds compared to playing completely random numbers every week.

In life, with our goals and dreams, it’s easy to fall into the trap that given enough time you are ‘due’ a win, a breakthrough. Surely you’re bound to achieve what you want, given enough time. And as more time passes, as those goals and dreams continue to grow, a sense of urgency develops that a bigger win is needed.

It’s like trying to lose weight in time for the holiday of a lifetime – when you’ve got 12 months to lose 40 pounds it’s perfectly achievable. As time passes it becomes less and less achievable, but the desire for that goal doesn’t dissipate. In many circumstances it increases, with the insane belief that 6 weeks before the holiday you can drop 40 pounds!

In just the same way that the gambler in the casino needs a bigger win the more time that passes.

One of the problems many of us face in our lives is falling into a trap of thinking that ‘time’ actually does something. When in fact time does nothing, other than relentlessly march on. The only thing that will move you forward is action – doing more.

The wins are small, and sometimes barely seem worth the effort, but the compound impact of the regular actions make the big difference. No one will notice if you’ve lost a pound in weight over 2 weeks, you won’t feel a difference in your clothes and may still be unhappy with what you see in the mirror, but the pounds over the course of 12 months will be noticed.

A gambler in a casino puts down cash that they will more than likely lose, with nothing they can do to influence the outcome of their bet. By contrast, you’re gambling with something worth far more than money – your goals and dreams, the very purpose of your existence. But the great thing is, you can do something to influence the outcome, through the actions you undertake every single day.

You have no choice on whether you place a bet, you’re already doing it, every day. But you do have a choice about whether you win or lose, through the actions you choose.


Image credit: Michal Parzuchowski | stocksnap.io

I Don’t Know If I Like It Or Not…

 

SWRREC0K3A

We all have a tendency to play it safe. We don’t want to take risks. We only go to restaurants we know we will like. We only going to the cinema if we are absolutely certain we will like the film. We prefer to engage with like-minded individuals with whom we share similar views or experiences.

If we think there is a risk we might not like something, all too often we don’t take the risk.

In many respects it makes sense to avoid things that you don’t like. But the problem is that when we don’t even try, all we risk is that we might not like something. Perhaps the cost of a meal or a cinema ticket, but in the scheme of your life that’s not a huge expense.

By not doing something because we think we might not like it we could wind up leading a very bland life…

Continue reading “I Don’t Know If I Like It Or Not…”

The Attraction of The Highly Unlikely

Vrsta_pred_Loterijo_dan_pred_žrebanjem_1956

Last year the UK’s National Lottery organisers changed how the game worked and, in doing so, they decreased the odds of winning from 1 in 14 million to 1 in 49 million. They took this decision as, over the course of some years, ticket sales had been on a constant decline.

But the decision to increase ticket sales by decreasing the odds of winning seems counter intuitive to most. After all, why would people be more inclined to buy a ticket if they knew their chances of winning had significantly decreased?

The truth – one that the National Lottery’s organisers factored into their decision – is that we tend to be more attracted to bigger wins, even if the odds of winning are increasingly unlikely. As the odds of winning decreased significantly the amount of “no win” jackpots leads to bigger roll-over draws and much bigger prizes.

It seems that the attraction of winning 1 or 2 million pounds is not as big a draw as winning 30 or 50 million pounds, regardless of the odds. Perhaps these days people dream more of being a billionaire than a millionaire!

Continue reading “The Attraction of The Highly Unlikely”

Can You Hear The Music?

FRMYNQBRB2

The other day on a flight home I saw a man reading. But rather than a book, magazine or newspaper he was reading sheet music. I’ve never seen someone read music like that. As his eyes moved across the notes on the page, he moved his hand to the rhythm of the music and hummed along. He hummed to the music that he could hear in his head from what he saw on the page.

As someone without any musical training I found this fascinating. Physically there was no orchestra playing, and yet he could hear the music.

An experienced chef can read ingredients and almost taste what the flavours of the dish will be like. An accomplished mountaineer can read coordinates on a map and understand the challenges of the climb, long before their hands touch the rock face. Sheet music, recipes and maps can all have complex, sense-related information encoded within them, which can be read and experienced.

We live life through our senses. What we hear, see, touch, taste and smell tells us what we need to know about the world. These amazing senses help us survive – there’s a reason we react so quickly when we touch something hot: our senses are helping us to stay alive.

But they do so much more than that. When you taste an amazing meal, or get lost in a beautiful symphony our senses are helping us feel something that goes beyond just the need to survive. They are helping us thrive. They are enabling us to live enriched and fulfilled lives. The same senses that steer us away from danger also allow us to experience the view from the top of the mountain.

But to be successful we have to learn to read the code. We can then unlock the information contained in the notation, recipes and maps that surround us. If you wait passively for your senses to be engaged, then maybe you won’t be in the best position to succeed in your endeavours. Your senses have the ability to visualise the climb, to anticipate the taste of the meal before you’ve made it, to hear the music before it starts playing.

A successful mountaineer climbs the mountain before he reaches it.

Whatever your goals, visualise them, make them real in your mind before you start out. Feel them, hear them, see them, touch them and taste them in your mind. Making it real in your mind gives you more chance of making it real in your life.

Climb your mountain, hear your music, taste your success.


Image credit:  Dayne Topkin | stocksnap.io