One Apple A Day #676 – the wisdom of curiosity

“Words are the representations and symbols we use to view, think about, and process our perceptions of reality and they are the means of sharing these perceptions with others.” – Judith Glaser

Words are powerful; they shape the reality we experience. 

One word can trap you into a life you never wanted. One word can break the walls and liberate you. 

Just yesterday, I was reflecting, with one of my mentors, about my struggle in picking a label for what I do. But that’s for another day.

Last weekend I read an interesting article on how schools are killing curiosityMaybe this is why that word came back this morning in my meditation.

I did a quick check online, and learned that “curious” comes from Latin curiosus meaning “careful, diligent; inquiring eagerly, meddlesome”. The word is akin to cura, “care”. 

What really kindled my curiosity is that the word “care” comes from Latin “cura”. Modern linguists believe that “cura” derived from the root ku-/kav- meaning “observe”. From the same root comes the Sanskrit word “kavi”, meaning “sage”.

In my mind, all of this means that being curious is the way to and a trait of wisdom.

Being curious is better than being smart. It is desire, not intelligence, that prompts behaviour. – James Clear

One Apple A Day #675 – echolocation

I’ve always been fascinated by bats and their ability to fly around and find food in total darkness.
Their secret is known as “echolocation”. In short, bats use sound waves and echoes to identify and place objects in the space. They emit ultrasonic sound waves from their mouth and then listen to the echoes generated when the waves bounce back from an object. Analysing the echoes, the bat can understand the size and shape of the object.

Isn’t it incredible?
Scientists got the inspiration for sonar and radar navigation from bats.

Even if we, as human, can’t create ultrasonic sound waves and use them to move around, I feel we can learn something from bats.

I believe that conversations can work as an “echolocation” system to help us navigate through life. Every time we have a conversation with someone, we are sending signals, both verbal and non-verbal, visible and invisible. Those signals generate reactions, and if we listen carefully, they can tell us a lot not only about the other person but also about ourselves. They can tell us where we are, where we are going, and how.

That is why the quality of our conversations is so important.
They are our “echolocation” system.
If my values are my compass, conversations are my radar.


I took the info about bats and echolocation from here.

One Apple A Day #674 – comfort, change and curiosity

It was a rainy and misty day. One of those days when the best thing to do is to stay home, before a fire.

Instead, we were out walking in the woods. Nobody around, just us and the silence of nature. The light rain was making everything so soft that we couldn’t hear our own steps.

Not the most comfortable way of spending a morning, maybe. But undoubtedly, very inspiring. It was, then. When we were walking down a slight and slippery slope, that Andy asked one of his powerful questions.

How come that we call it comfort zone, yet so many people seem unhappy when they are there? If it’s a place of comfort, you should be happy. Or not?

By the way, I did a quick check online this morning. These are a few definitions I found. 

“The comfort zone is a safe place where you feel the most comfortable.”

“A psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and (perceive they are) in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”

“A behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.”

“Where our uncertainty, scarcity and vulnerability are minimized—where we believe we’ll have access to enough love, food, talent, time, admiration. Where we feel we have some control.”

Indeed, your comfort zone should be a happy and peaceful place to be.

While we were out there, our boots deep in the mud, we came to the conclusion that the reason for that unhappiness is probably due to the assumption that the comfort zone is a fixed thing. 

Change, another word starting with C, is natural. Everything is constantly changing, moving and transforming. When you got trapped in the idea that the comfort zone is a static thing, you cling to what you have and consume all your energy resisting change. Stay in your comfort zone becomes an exhausting effort. One that drains your happiness until you feel miserable in that same space you use to feel at ease.

This morning, while I was thinking about this conversation and about the boot that I still have to clean after that walk, a third word starting with C popped up. Curiosity. Curiosity is what inspires us to make questions and to embrace challenges. It is what allows us to push, shift and reshape the boundaries of our comfort zone, so it can grow with us.

One Apple A Day #673 – discern your uniqueness

“On one level, as humans, we all have the same purpose: to develop and realize the infinite potential of consciousness. Yet we are all also particular manifestations of the creative life force and as such have unique contributions to make. Our task is to discern our uniqueness, use it as a source of creativity and then manifest it in the form of something new and innovative.” – from The Way of Nowhere

To discern our uniqueness. What a beautiful way to describe the quest to discover our purpose. 

To discern is to walk through life with my senses open and receptive. It reminds me to observe myself while I chase my goals and aspiration looking for signs that reveal my uniqueness.

It also reminds me that purpose is not a statement. Something I find out and hang on the wall. It is a never-ending quest within and without. 

It’s something I grow into, and something that grows within me at the same time.

Sometimes this process generates tensions. Between the urge for clarity and direction and the desire to explore the connection with something more profound.

I am in one of those moments of tension. And it’s from within this tension that I found this inspiring advice.

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms, or books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – from Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

One Apple A Day #672 – love + discipline

I was very, and I still am, deeply shocked by the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. He was undoubtedly a giant whose legacy goes beyond basketball and sport in general.

His uncompromising dedication to his craft, playing basketball, has always been a trademark of his career. There are so many stories about his commitment and relentless pursuit of excellence. 

Yesterday, I was reading this one particular story, and I was trying to understand what can motivate someone to put so much work into something. It can’t be just the discipline or willpower.

I believe I found the answer in the letter he wrote in 2015, to say goodbye to basketball.

“I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —

From my mind & body

To my spirit & soul.”

It was love, then.

A deep, fulfilling love for the sport. A love so mighty to give meaning to all the hustle, the struggle, the pain, the sweat.

My friend Mark once told me that when you infuse love into your work, it becomes your craft.

That’s the recipe we can learn from Kobe. Love plus discipline.

Because discipline without love is sterile and hollow. Love without discipline is anaemic and fragile. But it’s when love meets discipline that the magic happens.


Photo: Kobe Bryant, Lakers shooting guard, stands ready to shoot a free throw, source

One Apple A Day #671 – the power of AND

The conjunction “and” is so common that you would never think it carries such a powerful and transformative power.

It is definitely not as cool as many of the buzzwords we use in our conversations. 

Probably, because it is so short and so frequent, it doesn’t feel so rewarding for our thinking minds. Or maybe it’s because it’s scary in its simplicity. It’s easy to hide behind complex words and well-thought solutions. But a tiny word like “and”, can make you feel exposed.

I had a first glimpse at the power of AND during a coaching conversation with my mentor. I was struggling to make a decision between two alternative options. She asked a straightforward question. 

What would change if that OR becomes an AND?

That little change in the way I was phrasing my challenge, opened up a wellspring of inspiration and ideas.

“Co-creation sits in the space between freedom and constraints.” — The Way of Nowhere

The word AND is the key to unlock the creative power of the space in-between. To transform the tension between polarities in creative energy.

One Apple A Day #670 – close the book

Over the weekend, I had a few conversations about the ending of things.  

We give a lot of attention to the beginning. We remember and celebrate the first moment of something; a relationship, a job, a project, life.

I feel we are not as good at dealing with the end.

I’ve been taught how to start something, but I can’t remember anyone teaching me how to end anything.

Though, the end of anything is a crucial moment. One that will have a defining impact on anything that will come after. 

The destination plays a vital role in giving meaning to a journey.

I see so many people, and I am one of them, doing their best to avoid the end. Sometimes running away, or ignoring it. But mostly just jumping on new things. And in doing so, they drag the unfinished old ones with them. 

But how can you live fully what you have in the present when part of your energy is spent carrying the past?

The end of everything is so important. There should be classes at school on how to properly end or deal with the closing of something. So we can take all the value from the experienced that we lived and use it to nurture the present and build the future.

“A wise man once said; When you come to the last page, close the book.” — Mr Wu from The Love Bug

I was this movie when I was a kid, and this scene at the very end is the only thing I remember. There are really lessons in the most unexpected places. The space on my desk is limited. So, if I don’t close a book when I get to the last page, after a while, I won’t have enough space to open a new one.

One Apple A Day #696 – the magic is in the question

Yesterday I was writing an article about “the daily question process” created by Marshall Goldsmith. It’s a straightforward yet powerful practice to improve ourselves based on a set of active questions answered every day. You can read how and why it works here from Goldsmith himself.

This morning, while I was meditating and creating space for the seed of this post to emerge, I had a small Aha moment when my thoughts went back to the daily question process. Goldsmith does not say anything about what he does with all the answers he collects. 

Every day he asks, or better he has someone asking him 32 active questions to which he answers with a yes or a no. That’s a massive amount of data, but he never talks about it when he describes the process.

All that really matters are the questions. Just by asking the right questions in the right way, we can trigger a series of constructive thoughts and nurture our self-awareness. The answers are merely incidental in this process. The thoughts and the emotions that the questions spark are the real gold in this process.

And as Goldsmith says in his post, “even the process of writing questions will help you better understand your own values and how you live or don’t live them on a daily basis.

One Apple A Day #695 – my little book of questions

A few weeks ago, I went to this coffee place nearby for the first time. It’s a lovely place, perfect for morning conversations. When I went to the till to pay, there was this little black book laying there over the counter. Quite thick, with a leather cover and the title “The book of answers” engraved in gold on the cover.

It’s a delightful book to play with. You probably know how it works. You think about a question, open it randomly and read the short answer on the page before you. 

Then, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with the answer you get. You can laugh and dismiss it. Or you can take it as a sign.

To me, the best next step is to take the answer as an inspiration to an even better question.

“Creativity rarely begins with an answer.” — from The Way of Nowhere

I’ve been thinking about the magic of questions lately, and about how much, when I encounter a challenging one, I feel the pressure to find an answer. However, it is only when I let go of that urge to answer, and I stay with the question, carrying it with me and allowing for it to do its work, that magic happens.

So, I’ve decided to carry a small notebook with me. I’ll call it my little book of questions

One Apple A Day #694 – where is the energy coming from?

“It is therefore important to look at our own energy and the energy of those around us so we can discern its true source. It is cellular, arising from our excitement at meeting the challenges that life is gifting to us? Or is it adrenaline fuelled, a fight-or-flight response which is unsustainable in the medium or long terms and is in danger of undermining the health of the individual and the community?” – from The Way of Nowhere

Sustainability is too often seen from the perspective of resources. Do we earn enough to keep the business growing or do I make enough to sustain my family? 

We rarely approach sustainability from an energetic point of view. Maybe it’s because that same fear of not having enough resources triggers our adrenaline and gives us an energy boost. But how long can we sustain this energy fuelled mainly by adrenaline?

I’ve experienced this in the past. I remember being in a new and rising company, working hard and pushing for exponential results. The level of energy in the group was incredible. I remember the feeling of moving forward at ludicrous speed. 

Until I run out of steam. That same energy was consuming me until I had to leave. 

When I come across a new project or idea, I often feel the surge of energy triggered by my curiosity. In the past, I used to jump on board and ride whatever wave came in my way. 

I’m now learning to take a pause and check where that energy is coming from. Is it just the adrenaline for something new, or is it something deeper fired by a resonance with my essence?