Lately I’ve been fascinated by cognizance. With the increased freedom of what we have to do with our time and money these days – so much of what we do with those things is limited by our cognizance of them. We don’t become cognizant of something until our surroundings and experiences that envelop us introduce it to us. What we are cognizant of drastically dictates what we do day-to-day.
Remember when I told you to…remember…how adaptable you are? Do it. Really. When you remember how adaptable you are, and put confidence in yourself to make it through changes in your life, you are exercising your process. Huh?
I just read a very important post by Merlin Mann. He very humbly and candidly spoke about how something that he had created so genuinely became a marionette to control his actions. He started writing a blog. A real blog. about the stuff that interested him, and it became huge. It started to make money, and what was once authentic, at times dictated his actions. I think that sometimes, the need to be successful at something can help us do a better job. If we have a blog that suddenly gets read, we start to refine our posts. We want to package our thoughts into little, easily digestible, tidbits full of newly-coined vocab words that will hopefully be used in the future as a bunch of webgeeks half a world away talk about our blog. keep on reading »
Sometimes we have goals, and when we finally achieve them, we just aren’t satisfied. This can be caused by having those goals for the wrong reasons. Are these things that we truly want for ourselves, or has someone told us this is what we wanted? If you’re lucky enough to achieve the goal, but fail to feel a lasting feeling of fulfillment, maybe you can save yourself from cooking up more Sweet and Sour Chicken dishes in your life. keep on reading »
The one app I use more than any other on my iPhone is the timer. It’s great to be able to fully concentrate on the task at hand while waiting for a future task to be ready for action. Here’s just a few things you can use your iPhone timer for:
There are the ways we want to live our lives, the things we want to achieve, and the things we would like to do better, and the things we need to do. It’s important to make distinctions amongst these things, not only in understanding them, but in managing them.
I’ve noticed that lots of people like to fill their iPhone screen entirely with icons. If they have more than one screen’s worth, they make sure to put the icons of the applications they use most on the first screen. This poses a couple of issues with me: 1) it makes it harder to find the apps that you really need to use at a moment’s notice, and 2) it turns your iPhone into a sort of black hole, with some of those time-wasting apps seducing you into doing things you don’t need to be doing, or accessing information you don’t really need to have.
So, I take the approach of putting those apps that aren’t big time wasters, but that I often need to use at a moment’s notice, on the first screen. Here’s an overview of the first screen of icons on my iPhone:
I put the key communication functions on the grey bar at the bottom. There’s really just two of these in my opinion, SMS messages, and Phone functionality.
And what’s up with the ones on the second screen? Well, more than anything, since I use my iPhone for an alarm, the last thing I want to do before I even get out of bed is check e-mail, stocks, or Facebook on impulse.
The one wish I have is that my iPhone could default to that first screen, so that the second one doesn’t show up next time I wake my iPhone after an e-mail session. Adopting this strategy will save you time keep you sane, give it a shot.
Thomas Jefferson reminding his nephew to walk. Found in his Life and Selected Writings. I think it’s ironic to look at this today, seeing that he smites the Europeans for the horse.
“…Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. The Europeans value themselves on having subdued the horse to the uses of man; but I doubt whether we have not lost more than we have gained, by the use of this animal. No one has occasioned so much the degeneracy of the human body. An Indian goes on foot nearly as far in a day, for a long journey, as an enfeebled white does on his horse; and will tire the best horses. There is no habit you will value so much as that of walking far without fatigue….”
There are two sorts of people in the world, who with equal degrees of health and wealth and the other comforts of life, become the one happy, the other unhappy. Those who are to be happy fix their attention on the pleasant parts of conversation, and enjoy all with cheerfulness. Those who are to be unhappy think and speak only of the contraries. Hence they are continually discontented themselves, and by their remarks sour the pleasures of society, offend personally many people, and make themselves everywhere disagreeable. If these people will not change this bad habit, and condescend to be pleas’d with what is pleasing, it is good for others to avoid an acquaintance with them, which is always disagreeable, and sometimes very inconvenient, particularly when one finds one’s self entangeld in their quarrels.
An old philosophical friend of mine, grown from experience very cautious in this, carefully shun’d any intimacy with such people. He had, like other philosophers, a thermometer to show the heat of the weather, and a barometer to mark when it was likely to prove good or bad; but there being no instrument yet invented to discover at first sight this unpleasing disposition in a person, he for that purpose made use of his legs. One was remarkably handsome, the other by some accident crooked and deform’d. If a stranger at the first interview regarded his ugly leg more than his handsome one, he doubted him. If he spoke of it, and took no notice of the handsome leg, that was sufficient to determine my philosopher to have no farther acquaintance with him.
I therefore advise these critical, querulous, discontented, unhappy people that if they wish to be loved and respected by others and happy in themselves, they should leave off looking at the ugly leg.
It’s funny that one of the most vital of all of our activities is, for many, one of the least considered. Few of us take the time from our hectic lives to think at all about how we breathe, or to even learn how to do so properly. The best ways to master the art of breathing are by practicing Yoga or Meditation. If all of that sounds too complicated and new-agey for you, just start off with this simple exercise:
Sit “Indian Style” with a pillow under your bum. Sit up straight, with your chin bent slightly forward so that the back of your skull feels like it forms a vertical line with your spine.
Close your eyes and press your left nostril closed with your left thumb. Inhale gently through your right nostril. Be patient and calm – it may be very difficult at first to breathe in, especially if you are prone to being congested, but if you are patient, you will be surprised at how your airways will start to open up.
Once you have inhaled, let go of your left nostril, and close your right nostril with your left index finger. Exhale slowly through your left nostril.
After you finish exhaling through your left nostril the third time, start inhaling through that same nostril, reversing the sequence: inhaling through the left, and exhaling through the right. Do this for three breaths as well.
As you breathe in, concentrate only on the sensation of your breath, and it’s effects on your body. You may be able to feel the blood vessels in your nostrils and face start to pulse as your heart beats – this is a good start, so concentrate on this sensation. After you have mastered this exercise, continue on after it simply breathing through your (unobstructed) nose.
Once you get used to concentrating on the sensation of your blood vessels pulsing, start to concentrate on your belly as you breathe in and out. You may even start to feel the food digesting in your very stomach!
Concentrating on your breathing will not only clear your mind of all of the inconsequential gunk that has built up in it, it will also stimulate blood flow through your whole body.
Not only is concentrating on the sensation of your breath important, but how you breathe can effect how you feel, as well. Feeling depressed? You may need to breathe more with your chest. Overly anxious? Maybe there isn’t enough belly in your breath. If you lie on your back with a hand on your belly and a hand on your chest, both of them should rise when you breathe, your chest slightly less than your belly.
Breathing is a simple – yet vital – life hack indeed. Next time you’re cussing out the Escalade that beat you to the closest parking spot to the door of your favorite strip-mall supermarket, just remind yourself that breathing is way more important.