One Apple A Day #667 – do not hurry

“It takes the whole of life to learn how to live, and–what will perhaps make you wonder more–it takes the whole of life to learn how to die.” ― Lucius Annaeus Seneca

In my experience, transformation is a journey. Often a long one. One made of thousands of small steps. 

Sometimes I feel that getting there is less important than the journey itself. Because when I focus on the journey, rather than the destination, the sense of hurry disappear and I can really savour every moment.

Yet, too often, I got anxious and eager to get to the end. To discover what awaits me at the top of the hill. 

I remember when I was a pilgrim a year ago with a group of men. Oh, how fulfilling it was to slowly walk during the day. No place to be but where we were. We walked in harmony within and without ourselves.

Until one day it was late, we were hungry, and it was raining. Darkness was closing upon us, and we knew that the place we were supposed to have dinner was going to close soon. The quality of our steps changed all of a sudden. We were all focus on getting there, we forget to wait for the slower ones or to pay attention to the nature around us. We just wanted to get there in time.

This post is a reminder to myself, to have faith in the journey I’m in. To let go of the hurry to get anywhere. To get the best from every step.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu

One Apple A Day #660 – Living on the edge

Learning new things, discovering new ideas, unearthing new connections. Can you think of anything more exciting?

Though, to expand our known world, we must learn to walk on the edge of it. Because there is where the change and the growth happens, at the boundary. Between what you know and what you don’t know, the familiar and the different, your past and the future.

I’ve been reminded of the importance of living on the edge of our knowledge and perception a few days ago in the mentoring programme I’m attending.
While we were examining the importance of networking and creating interactions that expand our world, I’ve learned about Mark S. Granovetter, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University, and his work.

His theory is that weak ties, the connections with people at the boundaries of our “relationship bubble” are the most important. Because those are the connections that can open us to new learning and new networks. They are the one that can bring new perspectives in our lives.
On the other side of the spectrum, the strong ties that connect us with the people close to use, physically and emotionally, give us strength, safety and confidence. But they can also wrap us in a safe bubble, where we can surely feel good but we won’t be able to grow.

Obviously, walking on the edge is risky. But can you think of anything more exhilarating?

P.S. the title of this post is a clear homage to my teenage years.

How do you want to be remembered?

Alfred is a wealthy inventor and businessman. He has built a fortune thanks to his inventions. But he is also a tormented man. His inventions have been used for good and, unfortunately, for evil actions too. It’s 1888, no Internet or television yet. News travels a lot slower than now. Alfred has just lost his brother Ludvig in a tragic accident in Cannes. You can imagine his surprise when he read the obituary in a French newspaper.

“Dr Alfred Nobel, who made his fortune by finding a way to kill the most people as ever before in the shortest time possible, died yesterday”

They mistook the death of his brother for his. The title of the obituary was even harsher.

“Le marchand de la mort est mort”

They called him the merchant of death. Probably this is the reason why he established the famous Noble prize. He wanted his legacy to be about something good and positive, not about death.

This made me think of my father. He passed away unexpectedly in 2013. He was a good man. A man of strong integrity and with a big heart. He was also a little stubborn, but in that good way that makes you achieve your goals. Most of all he was my dad. I knew him mainly for our relation inside the family boundaries. A relation with its highs and lows, like any father and son relation. He was also active in the local community so I was aware that the whole small town was touched by his departure. What I didn’t expect was the hundreds and hundreds of people that came to his funeral. There wasn’t enough space in the church for everyone. Most of the people had to stay outside. They blocked the road, and we had to place loudspeakers outside. It was overwhelming. During the weeks after the funeral, I met countless people who told me how their life had been touched by my father. I didn’t know. He wasn’t just my dad. He was much more.

Both these stories speak about legacy. About the impact our lives can have on others and how they’re going to remind us.

In the months after I lost my father, I started thinking about my life, about what I was doing. What I was becoming. I started my inner journey to understand what I want to achieve, who I want to grow into and what is my purpose. I’m still traveling and for now, I have gathered questions more than answers. But I always prefer a good tough question to an easy answer.

One of those questions is “How do I want to be remembered?”.
I want to be remembered as a man who left his world a bit better than how he found it.

Like my father did.

The fact about Alfred Nobel is true. It’s uncertain if the wrong obituary is the reason that leads to the creation of the Nobel Prize, but it has most likely contributed. You can read more about him in this article.