The Uniqueness of Uniqueness

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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

 

Shuffle and Skip

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The music industry has transformed at an inconceivable rate over the course of the last few decades. The MP3 player, the iPod / iPhone and all manner of streaming music services have completely changed how we listen to and consume music.

Gone are the days of buying an album and listening to it all the way through, carefully listening to every new note and nuance by an artist you loved. It would sometimes take several listens for you to appreciate an album; you might not have liked some tracks at first, but through an investment of repeated listenings they would grow on you in time.

Now we live in a world where everything is on constant shuffle. We are all too quick to skip a track, hoping something better will come along. Quick! If a song hasn’t grabbed you in the first ten seconds, skip and move on.

The advent of music streaming services exposes us to music that we wouldn’t previously have committed to purchasing. It presents opportunities to easily discover and explore different performers and genres. But for the artist it also becomes a tougher world. As listeners and consumers we can all sit like judges on a talent show panel, ready and able to dismiss with one click of a button if we’re not instantly impressed. What if this mentality seeps into other aspects of our lives?

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Choosing The Right Container

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“Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion”

– Parkinsons Law

When you consider Parkinson’s Law, it makes work tasks sound like gas, which expand to fill whatever container you put it in. Essentially our work, our tasks and activities will take as much time as we give them. This is the power of having a deadline and it is a deadline that turns a dream into a goal.

In the same why that it’s hard to capture gas, it can be hard to capture the tasks and activities that we have to do to turn our dreams into tangible outcomes. When trying to capture gas, the thing you have greatest control over is the vessel in which you intend to store it. When it comes to the tasks for our goals, the vessel is time, so it’s crucial we choose the right sized container.

If you allow too much time the task will expand to fill the time given. But this could lead you to a sense that the task is bigger than expected, or that it will take more time and effort to complete. This can generate a feeling that your dreams are too big; the work that lies ahead seems overwhelming. The years will roll by whilst you feel as though you’ve made little or no progress to living a fulfilled life.

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10 + 10 = ?

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I’m sure that even those of you who profess to be terrible at maths came to a pretty quick answer to the above equation, right? I mean, 10 + 10, you can’t get much simpler than that. You have an answer.  And when we have an answer our minds stop. Answers represent endings, they represent winning, concluding, game over. No need to think about it anymore – problem solved!

It’s how we’ve all been taught; our education system teaches us to find the correct answer and move to the next question. Remember something, repeat it under test conditions and you are good to go. Well done! A gold star!

The current education system was developed over a century ago to provide industry with competent workers – people know how things work, they know right from wrong, they know what fits in the box. That was great, then, but not now.

Now, more than ever, businesses need people with creativity because change is the new norm. You never know what the competition will come up with next or what new products will emerge that offer the customer something easier, better, different. Something that doesn’t fit in the old box.

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Opinions

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Opinions. There are a lot of them about. Seems like everyone has one these days!

We live in a time where it is easier than ever to share our opinions with… well, pretty much the entire world. Social media makes it possible for us to express our opinions about anything at anytime… to anyone.

Highly-charged, emotive events occur around the world and reach us through news channels and media feeds. Each and every story accompanied by a flurry of passionate opinions and commentary – some which align with our viewpoints and some which do not.

But which opinions are right, and which are wrong? When it comes to opinions is there any such thing as right or wrong? After all, an opinion is just an opinion, right? It’s just a way of looking at the world, isn’t it?

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The Currency of Imagination

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Cash, reddies, wonga, big-ones, dough… there are many words used to describe the life blood of our economic world. Whilst money mainly flows through the arteries of our economy in electronic form, when you look at those digitised numbers on a bank statement or on a computer screen what they represent is cash.

And, whatever you call it, or wherever you live, we all know what cash looks like and what it feels like… possibly even what it smells like! Whilst there has been much written about how money can’t buy you happiness, it can certainly cause a lot of stress if we feel we don’t have enough of it.

So, what is money actually worth? Of course those numbers we see on bank statements, computer screens and our receipts all represent cash, but what does cash represent?

The intrinsic value of cash is next to nothing: the actual value of the metal or paper used is very small. But once shaped, cut, engraved, printed or embossed with certain words and images it suddenly becomes worth the designated amount printed upon it.

All cash is in essence an “I Owe You”, a promise to pay the bearer the amount stated in gold. In days of old, you could do just that – exchange your cash for the equivalent amount of gold. But since central banks don’t allow that anymore, we’ve all come to believe that the cash itself is actually worth what is printed on it.

But whilst gold is often referred to as being a place to store value, it is ultimately just metal. A rare form of metal, but metal nonetheless. We have had to collectively imagine and agree that gold holds a certain value for it to be worth something, beyond it’s classification as a type of metal.

Which to me suggests that it is actually the power within the human imagination that is the true store of value…

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The Gift of Not Knowing

“The more I learn, the more I realise how much I don’t know”.

– Albert Einstein

If you were to consider all the knowledge attained throughout human history, all that is available to anyone who has an internet connection, you realise how very little each of us actually know.

Even the world’s most learned professors, scientists and polymaths can only lay claim to a small portion of the total knowledge in the world.

When I was younger I didn’t know that I didn’t know… 

I remember a feeling I had when I was younger – a feeling that I needed a sense of ‘knowing’. I needed to know that I was right or wrong.

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We All Speak a Second Language

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If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.

Nelson Mandela

On a recent business trip to Hungary, I was dining in a Budapest hotel and, as is often the case on such occasions, the restaurant was quiet and I was eating alone.

I was sitting on a table next to another person who was also eating alone.  His first language wasn’t Hungarian as he was speaking English to the waiter, but it was clear that English was also not his first language either.  With no other distractions or company, I found myself observing their conversation; an interaction between two people, neither of whom were speaking their native language.

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