Be Cognizant. Make Your Perfect Salad

September 23 2008 – 12:40am

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.

Until I was introduced to edamame years ago, I wouldn’t have sought it, because I wasn’t cognizant of it.

Until I moved to San Francisco, ended up working with a bunch of hippies, got a complementary massage, and subsequently learned about essential oils, I never would have known the joys of owning a French Lavender plant. I wasn’t cognizant of that option in life.

Until I got the opportunity to live in Silicon Valley, I wasn’t cognizant about corporate structures, option packages, venture funding, entrepreneurship in general. The critical mass in my environment just wasn’t there to release the entrepreneur in me. I was surrounded by a cloud of interest in job security, buying houses, raising families.

Lack of cognizance can poison our social fabric

The inner-city child may never consider technology as a way to make a living because his surroundings – the people around him, the businesses in his community – may never make him cognizant of it. He’s surrounded by a cloud of crime, poverty, violence.

I wish I was cognizant of something better to do.

The kid brought up in a homogenous suburb may get caught in a cycle of loneliness, lack of authentic stimuli, expression of the self – unless something makes him cognizant of a lifestyle that may better suit him.

Make it a point in your life to have cognizance-building experiences. Travel. Live in different cities. Drive through a part of town you haven’t before. Eat a food item from the ethnic section of your Safeway without knowing what the heck it is. Plug a random keyword into Flickr and browse around.

Uht oh, another food analogy

I am so fucking sick of eating the same salad...

Imagine the only salad you had your whole life was just iceberg lettuce, a couple of slices of onion, and a slice of tomato and ranch dressing. Then one day a friend makes an amazing salad for you. It has six different kinds of greens, walnuts, craisins, balsamic vinagrette. WOW! Now this is a salad!

But you go home, and you can’t make that salad. You don’t even know what the ingredients in it were. You had never even seen walnuts, craisins, etc.. What are you to do? Well, at least you’re cognizant that a better salad exists.

Go spend alot of time in the supermarket (well, a healthy one, anyway). Spend the night if you have to. Grab everything you can find, and make lots and lots of salads, until you finally figure out that perfect salad.

You’ve gained cognizance. You know what you want in your salad, and you know where to get it. If you had to sit at home, drive to the supermarket, try to make a salad, realize you don’t like the ingredients, drive back, repeat, repeat, repeat, until you finally made a decent salad, you…hell, you wouldn’t bother. You have to go live in the supermarket first. You have to bring every food item imaginable into your sphere of awareness to know what you want on your salad. Then, if you want, you can move out of the supermarket. Make a list, and drive back there once in awhile to get the things you need to make your perfect salad.

What the hell are you talking about David Kadavy!? Get it, silly? The salad is your life. The ingredients are your experiences. And living in the supermarket was a cognizance building experience.

So build your own cognizance, and if you see someone who might benefit from some, save them a trip to the supermarket and share with them something that makes your life great.

Salad by Laurel Fan. Swing kid by plasticrevolver. Bug by Mike McCaffrey.

P.S. I’m teaming up with some all-stars to make something that will help you manage your mind. Stay tuned. You’ll learn about it in early 2014.

This post is filed under Ideas, Life Hacks, Productivity, Society.