One Apple A Day #811 – the smallest thing

Not all morning I’m inspired to write. Sometimes I have no idea, and sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, or I have a rough night or, and this is the worst, the thoughts about the day ahead have already taken hold of my mind.

Whatever the reason, when I drag myself to the desk, I’m tempted to let it go. I can clearly hear that small voice in my head whispering “who cares? You can do it another day.

However, I just need to do the smallest of things, and magic happens. 

I start a 15 minutes timer on the Tide app with a relaxing music loop. That tiny gesture is enough to silence that voice in my head and take me into my little morning creative space.

It happens over time without me realising it. Day after day, the small action of starting the timer with the music became a sort of a trigger or switch activating my morning writing ritual.

When I realised it, I began observing my habits and the way I do things during the day. And I discover there are plenty of such triggers and switches. Associated to both positive and negative habits. Some are really tiny and subtle, others are more evident.

The cool thing is that, when I want to activate a process, habit or ritual, I don’t have to focus on the whole thing. I just need to find the switch and trigger it. The smaller, the better.

Like for this ritual, writing for fifteen minutes seems a lot some mornings, and it may hold me from doing it. But starting a timer is such a quick and simple action that it’s easy to do it every morning.

If you want to install a habit or behaviour, it may help you to identify a tiny thing that can work as a switch and just focus on that.

P.S: I just realised I messed up with the number on the posts; somehow what was supposed to be the apple 763 became the 673. So, I updated the titles (not the URLs) to fix this and I realised that I crossed the “800” milestone. Now I’m heading full throttle for the “thousand” mark.

One Apple A Day #810 – we are all in

This morning I picked a card saying “everyone has the power to affect the direction of an organization“. And in my mind that “organization” immediately became humanity as a whole.

How many times we feel powerless before the big challenges humanity is facing. From climate change to inequality, from poverty to wars.

Yet, we often do nothing even when we care because we feel powerless.

What can I do? I’m just a person, it won’t change anything. It’s our leaders’ fault, they are the one who should do something.

And then, while I was thinking about all of this, a thought came up from nowhere. 

There is no such thing as doing nothing.

In some way, what we do or don’t do today will contribute to shaping the world of tomorrow.

If we are in this world, we are part of the game of life, and we can’t call ourselves out. We can stand there, or we can actively play. It doesn’t matter for the game, we are in. Together.

One Apple A Day #809 – dare to suck

A few days ago, I was scrolling through the stories on Instagram or I was watching a video on youtube, I can’t remember. What I remember is that on my screen started a video about Masterclass, this program in which famous people teach you stuff. Usually, I skip these videos, I consider them a kind of fee I have to pay to enjoy wasting my time on the screen of my smartphone. For some inexplicable reason, this time, I decided to listen to Dan Brown, the famous author of The Da Vinci Code.

To promote his class, he talks about a conversation he had with Steven Tyler, the lead singer of Aerosmith and one of the rock legends from my teenager years. 

So, Tyler said that the band has, or used to have, a weekly ritual called Dare to Suck. At these meetings, each one of the members brings an idea that they think is probably so terrible to be embarrassed only for having it. But they present it to the others anyway. According to Tyler, nine out of ten of those ideas are actually awful. But, here’s the magic, the remaining one becomes a good song, sometimes even great.

That sparked a few thoughts in me.

The first one is that you never know where the inspiration hides. This time it was within a commercial that I would typically skip as quickly as possible.

The second one is that rock bands are an incredible source of creative stories and ideas.

Then there is a third one; I love the Dare to Suck ritual, so I need to find a way to bring it in my work.

Finally, there is an opportunity to learn in everything. As an example, this little story made me want to understand why we used the verb “to suck” with this negative meaning. It’s a long story, and you can read it here. But my favourite explanation is this one from urbandictionary.com“The early Jazz musicians would say that a guy could really “Blow” if he had a good sound when playing the horn. If he couldn’t play very well, then they would say that he was “Sucking” on that horn.”

One Apple A Day #808 – the wisdom in me

Have you ever had the feeling of knowing something without knowing how and when you’ve learned it?
I believe there is more wisdom in everyone that we can imagine.
I always thought that knowledge is the stuff that I acquire and store in my brain through life experiences.
But I’m becoming more and more aware than my body knows a lot more than I thought.
My heart knows a lot more.
My muscles and my guts know a lot more.
Every cell in me has wisdom in it, beyond what my mind can grasp.
My soul is way wiser than me.
I’m just blind and deaf to all this wisdom.
I’m so used to think through everything that I forgot how to tap into this wellspring of knowledge and creativity.
Yet, it is there.
I know it’s there, I don’t know how I know, but I can feel it’s there.
A few times, when the situations pushed me to the boundaries of what my mind could grasp and understand, I sourced from that wisdom.
I just need to keep listening deeply, until I’ll be able to hear its whisper.

One Apple A Day #807 – my voice

“Raise your words, 

not your voice, 

it’s rain that grows flowers, 

not thunder.” 

Jalal al-Din Rumi

These words keep coming back in different ways and contexts. So, there must be something they are trying to tell me. 

Maybe it is something about my tendency to step back and hold my words to avoid confrontations. I struggle to share my opinion and to speak my truth outside my family. Perhaps because I know that, no matter what, my family will always love me.

Out there, however, it’s different. 

It’s crowded, messy and noisy. 

Many are shouting; some only to cover the voice of others, others just to be heard once. Unfortunately, like with my old stereo, when the volume is too high, the sound comes out distorted, until it’s not music anymore but just noise.

So, maybe this is the invitation that Rumi has for me. 

To make it rain.

To find my voice.

So my words can be heard.