Self Improvement · Uncertainty

What We Need More Of

What we need a lot more of is exuberance, enthusiasm, and elation. The world around me and the one created by media is vitriolic, spiteful and polarized. I find the atmosphere draining and depressing so I am calling on all my friends, family colleagues, readers and any strangers who happen to encounter this challenge to step into the world today, tomorrow and the next day – Until October 1 with the 3 e’s on your face and sleeve.

Be exuberant. Be ebullient, buoyant, cheerful, jaunty, lighthearted, high-spirited, exhilarated, excited, exultant, euphoric, joyful, cheery, merry, jubilant, vivacious, enthusiastic, irrepressible, energetic, animated, full of life, lively, vigorous, adrenalized; be full of life and optimism. Smile when you are walking down the street, down the hall or through the park. Smile a ridiculously big smile at every person you encounter. Laugh, giggle, snort when something tickles your funny bone. Don’t suppress it because of some imagined social convention.
Sing along with the radio, cd, or mp3. Listen to uplifting, inane, silly songs and join in. Try Mary Poppins, Frozen, or Weird Al for inspiration. Sing loud and like you mean it (even if you don’t).

Stand up with your back straight and your shoulders back as you skip, march, prance and dance through your day. Be an invitation to exuberance for the world that sees you and wonders, sees you and smiles, sees you and joins in.

Be enthusiastic. Be eager, keen, avid, ardent, fervent, passionate, ebullient, zealous, vehement; excited, wholehearted, committed, devoted, fanatical, earnest; go hog-wild, can-do, gung-ho, rah-rah. Cheer on someone who is trying, be first in line to accept responsibility or to try something new. Wear your passion on your sleeve by celebrating a great idea, a small victory, a valiant effort, a team success. Share the victories with others and include them in the credit.

Be Elated. Be thrilled, delighted, overjoyed, ecstatic, euphoric, very happy, joyous, gleeful, jubilant, beside oneself, exultant, rapturous, in raptures, walking on air, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven, jumping for joy, in transports of delight; on top of the world, over the moon, on a high, tickled pink. The other two e’s are easy to see and easy to demonstrate – they exist outside of us and are on exhibit for all to see and experience. Being elated is inside of us and is more difficult to hold on to. But like most things, elation is a choice. I get to decide, you get to decide, we get to decide to feel joyful in difficult times, to be delighted by the blessings we have not dejected by any perceived deficiency and tickled pink with the privilege of relationships we have.

As I reach the end of this post, I do a twirl and laugh out loud. Will you do the same? As I step away from my computer, I commit to smiling and celebrating with those I encounter this morning. Will you do the same? In the moments between my desk and the door, I simply choose joy over anger, glee over anxiety, and appreciation, love, and mindfulness over the messages and images that will likely bombard me this afternoon. How about it, are you ready to be exuberant, enthusiastic and elated?

Make Today Remarkable,

B

Self Improvement

5 Ways to Intentionally Scare Yourself

Do something that scares you a little. Step into your reality and out of the humdrum by trying something for the first time. Push outside your comfort zone as far as you can and then in a week try something that is even farther away from the complacency and convenience of day-to-day. I am not suggesting that you do anything that is truly reckless, dangerous, illegal or immoral but try something that doesn’t leave your face pressed tightly against the current cozy box. Inside the box you feel safe, sufficient, and sane but life is meant to have tensions, tests, trials and treasures that don’t fit well inside a tight frame.

scare

Here are 5 things to try that shouldn’t shock you but might bring some trepidation.

1. Talk to a stranger – engage with someone on the bus, in a line, at an event, in a park. Someone that you don’t know, someone that you might not meet except in this moment, someone that you aren’t trying to impress. Start the conversation with an easy introduction – hand extended say ” Hi, My name is …” They will reflectively respond with their name. Ask ” What brings you to the … park, store, event?’ or any easy open ended geo-based query. Listen to their response and then ask a third question that their response piqued. The door is open and your challenge is complete – watch where the conversation goes and stay curious.

2. Eat something new – try something ‘unusual’ for the first time or something that you have a bias against because you didn’t like it as a child. You aren’t a child anymore and tastes change. I love Brussel Sprouts, especially in February, but detested them as boiled poop when I was in middle school. Your something new could be fruit, veggie, meat, exotic or simple. It could be prepared at home or purchased from a grocer, cafe, food truck or shared off a friend’s plate. If you expand your palette, you open a window to expand your mind.

3. Take a venturous journey – the world is your oyster so get out there and see her. This could be as simple as riding a bike, public transit, Uber, or walking. It could include flying to Ulan Bator or visiting a farmer’s market that you have ‘wanted’ to get to. You could travel with a group or take a solo sojourn to a mountain, a beach, a lake, a museum. If self propelling your journey (bike/food/blades/paddle) be sure to pause in places that seem interesting or places that seem unusually dull and take in the sights, sounds, smells.

4. Make something – choose to be creative and you are. Bake a cake from a new recipe. Write a poem or paint a picture. Memorize and recite a passage from a play or a quote from a good book. Build a sandcastle, stack rocks, plant a flower, learn to knit, play the ukelele and then as Seth Godin would say ” ship it to the world’ by showing it to someone else. Don’t let the conformity of reality TV like “The Voice” “Idol” assuage you. The road to creativity isn’t necessarily through mimicry, although it is an easier place to start. The real road begins in finding something that makes you smile when you hear it, see it or think about it. Don’t wait for a muse – just color a picture, draw a stick figure, share a ‘crazy’ idea and make it public.

5. Act as if – Take a moment and discover a frivolous indulgence for yourself. You have likely wanted to do something for a long time but have dismissed it as a ‘waste of time, money effort …’. You might want to learn to dance the tango, rock climb or parachute. You could aspire to speak in public, run for office or get a new job. Sailing, singing, sightseeing, flying, fishing, fasting, meeting someone special or making something important. If you take a moment and discover, without debating yourself, what is of interest in this moment it offers a list to begin drawing from. Don’t start with bucket list level stuff (do write those down) but begin with something, just for you, that is just outside your reach. Stretch to start it and then grasp it with both hands and make it the best, the most fun, and the most important activity that you take in that moment. Let yourself enjoy it without judgement or guilt.

The list of 5 isn’t comprehensive but suggestive. Your 5 will be from the sum of your experiences. The key is to begin now and when you check that box begin again.

Make Today Remarkable, by scaring yourself a little,
B

Uncategorized

Intentional Foolishness

“Foolishness is a twin sister of wisdom.” –Witold Gombrowicz, Polish author

Choosing to be foolish is a difficult task. Allowing the fear of embarrassment to confront you and then push it away can be daunting. Yesterday was one serious conversation after another and it wasn’t until I was Skyping with my grandkids that I felt ‘safe’ to be foolish. We made faces and told silly stories and we all smiled (a lot).

“The point of living and of being an optimist is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come.” –Peter Ustinov, English actor and writer

Some of the tension around  the potential discomfit is the perceived response from others. Will they shake their head and roll their eyes? Will they snort in derision? Will they laugh at you or with you? Why should I care? I am an optimist who believes in the capability of all people. I have been disappointed and surprised when my optimism is unwarranted or exceeded. When I have had the courage to intentionally inject silliness into my day, I feel joy and I see relief and happiness on the faces of those around me. I am not silly all the  time ( likely not often enough) but when I am I choose to be optimistic about the impact.

“Superstition is foolish, childish, primitive and irrational–but how much does it cost you to knock on wood?” –Judith Viorst, American author and journalist

I will pay the small cost of knocking on wood, telling a joke, dancing in the street because the return on that investment might be the best one I am making.

foolish face

With a Silly Grin and a Weird Tune in My Heart,

B