Ideas that Matter: Part I

Ideas matter. They have consequences. They lead to great civilizations doing great things or to human depravity on monumental scales. They also change us on a personal level as we discover what they are and apply them to how we live, how we think, what we do, what and how we believe. The following ideas are some of those that can change your life. Forever.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change!” ~ Betsy Henry

Our perceptions of things creates the reality of the things we experience – even if that perception is wrong. Reality becomes almost unimportant against the power we have to shape our experience of life as we perceive it. To the degree I perceive an experience as positive, I will experience it as positive. That same exact experience will be experienced negatively if I interpret it that way.

The implications are truly amazing. We can construct the life we want by doing work inside our own heads, reconstructing the perceptive framework by which we view the world. We can quite literally construct the world of our choosing by starting in the area of our imaginations.

“Today my life is about savoring every moment; it’s about appreciating exactly what I have.” ~ Alex Blackwell

The only moment anyone ever has is the present one. The next moment is a heartbeat from never arriving. The last moment has already lost its shape and form but in our memories.

Right here, right now, is the only time we can possibly experience. Even the sensations we have as we remember events and people from even decades ago are still experienced right now.

So why not be fully, wholly, totally here, present, all focus and attention and energy on the exact moment being lived. Have you ever played with your kids while thinking about a big project due in two days? Could they tell you weren’t fully there with them? Did it affect the way they felt?

Stop living in two worlds, the now-world and the then-world. You will end up resenting one and those in the one you resent just may end up resenting you!

“Kicking perfectionism essentially comes down to setting priorities. Not every project needs to be done to perfection. Not every assignment deserves 150% of your attention.” ~ Melody Fletcher

There are sometimes an overwhelming degree of expectations and demands placed on our time. Some of those things require us to be outstanding.

Mediocre parents, for instance, don’t just raise mediocre children.

Their mediocrity sometimes produces children who never learned the Golden Rule, who never picked up on the whole compassion thing, never learned that sharing was good, that honesty was the best policy, that anger was to be controlled, that lust grows when fed.

But not all activities are as inherently important as parenting. Some activities simply don’t require as much time and effort.

Aiming at perfection in the relatively trivial areas of our lives means squeezing out more critical priorities.

It’s been said that the good is the enemy of the best. Sometimes more gets done when we choose not to do everything perfectly that needs doing. A tidy-enough home is indeed tidy enough. Now go play with your kids!

“Have a ‘Yes’ so big it allows you to say ‘No.’” ~ Tess Marshall

So much of life is finite. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many days in a life. The more stuff in life we say “yes” to, the fewer hours we have left to fill life with things that truly matter.

Besides, if our lives are filled with meaningless time-fillers, we will not likely come to value our time as the precious gift it is.

It’s not so much the quantity of activities that adds meaning to life as the quality of those activities. Fill life with meaninglessness and life will be relatively meaningless no matter the number of such activities you cram into each moment.

“By saying yes, you start improvising your life. It’s an optimistic, courageous act that opens your experiences to people and places you’ve never seen.” ~ Fran Sorin

Life is filled with “Noes.” Don’t do this, Can’t do that. No U-Turn. Stay off the Grass. Slow Down. Quiet Down. Don’t get involved. Stay out of it. None of your business. Too dangerous. Be careful. Get off. Get down. That’s not for climbing. Stop it.

“Noes” proliferate. Governments ban, regulate and restrict. Schools ban, regulate and restrict. Parents ban, regulate and restrict. Cultures ban, regulate and restrict.

Everywhere we turn, someone else is telling us to be careful and beware and behave according to custom and expectation. “We don’t do things that way, here.” “Conform and comply.” “Sit down and shut up.”

It can be difficult to scream “YES!” in the face of all the “Noes.” But life rewards the Yeses much more frequently than its negative counterpart.

Certainly there are offers we should reject. I wish Whitney Houston had that sort of resolve to say “NO!” the first time she used.

But so many other opportunities to experience the positive things of life are so often rejected. Learn to say “Yes” to life, to opportunity and possibility. Open your eyes and your life to the constant call to learn and challenge yourself to do new things, to step far away from your comfort zone, to imagine the impossible and then figure out a way to make it possible.

Say “Yes” more often to life and your life will change. Perhaps dramatically.

“I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but at some point I had an ‘aha’ moment and realized that ‘okay’ was not going to cut it anymore.” ~ Sibyl Chavez

Mediocrity is the pull of the average. Okay is the siren song of the almost. It is the journey half-traveled, the yawn in the middle of the sentence. It is the couch instead of the door. It is the treadmill set at low while the mountain is left unclimbed. It is lukewarm and mush and stale bread in the smorgasbord of life.

And it leads to the middle of the pack.

Most people have average jobs in average homes raising an average family doing average things.

But why not have spectacular and amazing and extraordinary?

Such conditions require much more than sleepwalking through life. But oh the rewards for those who open their eyes and shift their lives into a steady jog uphill.

Life can be truly amazing … if, however, and only if, we choose to live amazingly.

“If you’ve never failed – You haven’t tried hard enough to succeed.” ~ Angela Artemis

I remember when I first took up snow skiing (back when there were no such things as snow boards). For the longest time I was able to ski without falling down. But the thing is that I didn’t progress as a skier much either. In the meantime, my older brother would tell me all about his wipe-outs.

But you know what? All his wipe-outs were done while trying to do things on his skis I never dreamed of doing. I never fell because I never tried anything but the easy slopes doing simple turns, hardly challenging myself at all.

And so I slowly became a mediocre skier and my brother quickly became an awesome skier, working winters on the ski patrol at a local mountain.

Enough said.

What do you think?

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay