One Apple A Day is my morning writing practice. It started as an experiment a few years ago, and it is now my daily anchoring practice. Fifteen minutes each morning that help me recenter and ground me.
On this page, you can read a new post every weekday.
Have you ever felt dried out? As if you have squeezed out the last drop, and if you have nothing left to give?
It happens to me once or twice per year.
The amount of time I spend staring at the screen before I find something to write about gets longer. Words become harder to find, and I feel like I’m repeating myself over and over.
My morning practices, despite being the usual duration, require way more time.
That’s when I know I need to pause.
Every few seasons, farmers leave a piece of land without sowing for a while. It’s a technique called fallow. It allows the land to recover and replenish its reserve of nutrients, so plants will grow stronger.
My creative field needs a few weeks of fallow.
A time in which I’ll rest, relax, read, have conversations, explore, learn and allow for my body, mind, heart and soul to restore their reserve of creativity.
See you in a few weeks with new apples.
Step forward, make yourself available. Commit.
I picked this BeTheChange card this morning. With it, I sat down for a few minutes in silence, and I let the thoughts flow.
When I opened my laptop to write today’s apple, a word came up: motivation.
So, now I’m here asking myself what comes first.
Do I need to find the motivation within me to make the first step forward? Or will the motivation emerge from committing to something?
Honestly, I don’t know.
But a third word, all of a sudden, comes in this space.
I was discussing this word with my co-author Sujith only a few days ago.
To cross the departure threshold, a pivotal moment in the Innovator’s Journey when we fully commit to our journey, we must feel that the transformation we are aiming for is inevitable. Even if we don’t know what it will look like once achieved, we just feel that it’s inevitable with every cell in our body.
How convinced are you of the inevitability of the change you envision?
However, to feel that something is inevitable is not enough to step forward. We must also sense that our destiny is intertwined with that change. That we are called to do something about it.
To what extent do you know that your destiny is intertwined with this change?
If you feel that something is inevitable and it’s your destiny to do something about it, then you have no choice but to step forward and make yourself available. The motivation to commit will surge from within.
Sometimes I start from the title, but often it comes last.
Sometimes I have the whole post in my mind before typing the first word.
Other times I have an idea or at least one word to start with.
Sometimes I have nothing but a blank page and an empty mind.
Some mornings I have so many thoughts running in my head that I couldn’t pick one to start.
Some mornings I feel inspired and eager to start writing.
Others, I feel dull, and I’m worried nothing will come up.
There are mornings in which I know what I want to say, but I can’t find the words to say it.
Others in which I have the terms, but I can’t find a way to glue them together.
Some mornings I write things that I didn’t know were in me, and I surprise myself.
Some days these fifteen minutes fly, and when the timer goes off, it feels like being awakened midway on a nice dream. And then there are those days in which it feels like an eternity, and I have to push myself to keep writing.
Some mornings I am pleased with what I wrote, others not so much.
Every morning is different.
This morning, for instance, I sat to write about something that came up in my yesterday evening walk. Instead, this post came out of my fingers, and I have no idea where it is coming from.
I’ve learned to appreciate everything that emerges in the process. And share it, no matter what.
Even when, like this one, I’m not sure what I’m trying to say.
Our beliefs and conditionings are like glasses with coloured lenses.
They are so close to your eyes that you don’t see them, but they coloured everything you see.
We all have beliefs, conditionings and biases. Somes come with the package we are born in: our body, culture and environment. Others are added while growing up. Through our experiences, successes and failures, we add shades and colours to the lenses before our eyes. They make us blind to some things while they make others pop up with plenty of details.
Obviously, they influence our choices, words and actions. They percolate in the outcome of our work.
Nowadays, being aware of this is more important than ever because the technology created in one corner of the world is used everywhere.
That’s why many organizations do their best to create diverse teams. Teams in which there are people with different lenses to include as many perspectives as possible.
With many different lenses, there are more possibilities to create an unfiltered and unbiased outcome. However, the most important result of this approach is its side effect. By working with people with different lenses than mine, I may become aware of the filters I see the world through. And subtract them.
There is where the focus should go.
Because in such a global and connected world, the number of different shades is growing exponentially. It is already impossible to create a team that include all possibilities. However, the more we help people become aware of their filters and subtract them, the more they will see the world in all its kaleidoscopic beauty. That should be our primary goal.
Most of our relationships are transactional.
I give you this, and you give me that.
It doesn’t have to be a tangible thing.
We exchange time, sweat, attention, power, love, affection.
The currency may vary, but the principle is the same.
Do ut des as they used to say in ancient Rome.
How would the world look like if we move beyond this transactional mindset? Is it really the only way to live?
When we operate from this mindset, what really matters is what we have and what we don’t have.
I have this to give, and I want what you have.
We do things only when we feel that the balance of the exchange is even or in our favour. We apply this principle to work relationships but also to personal ones.
How would a relationship look like if we build it on the “being” instead of the “having”? If what matters is who we are and not what we have?
I know it’s possible.
I experienced the unconditional love of my family.
I don’t know where I am going with this reflection, but I have a strong feeling that the more we move beyond the “do ut des” mindset, the better life would become for everyone.
What is your craft?
Last Sunday, I went to visit the river near where I grew up.
Rivers are an incredible source of wisdom.
If you have the patience to listen to them long enough, you’ll hear the water whispering.
So, I sat on the riverbank, and I waited in silence. And after a while, I heard that question in my head.
What is your craft?
My first answer was, “I don’t know”.
I do many things, but how do I know if all or one of them is my craft?
So, I asked the river, “what is a craft?”
She (for the local, this river is female) echoed back the question to me. As rivers often do.
I took out my small notepad, and I began writing.
My craft is something I love so much doing that I’m never tired of finding ways to become better at it.
My craft is what helps me makes everything and everyone I meet better than I found them.
This moment is my sanctuary.
Every morning, when I sit here to write, I feel safe and protected.
Within this sanctuary, I can be me.
I write whatever I have in my mind, heart and guts without any worries.
In here, I feel no shame, fear or judgement.
Right now, while I’m writing these words, there is only me and a silent white page.
Out there is different.
“Will they understand, or will they think I’m crazy?”
“Who am I to talk about this or that?”
“What would they think about me if I say this?”
“Is it worth the risk?”
Out there, all these questions crip in and chip away my confidence.
But little by little, the guy in here is getting stronger.
I thought these fifteen minutes, daily practice was about writing.
Truth is, in here, I’m practising being me.
Until one day, my whole day will be like these fifteen minutes, and the whole world will be like this white page.
This morning post has been inspired by something my dear friend Peter shared on Linkedin: “Learn to focus, not on WHAT you are but THAT you are.” from The Book of Privy Council
I love to read the stories of remarkable people. Not to learn what they did so I can do the same. But to remind me what we are all capable of.
Mechanically doing what they did, it’s pointless.
We are not them, and we are not in their circumstances.
How often do you read articles saying, “do what her or his has done and become successful”?
Did it ever work?
There are so many variables involved in the success of someone or something, many of which we don’t know.
The belief that by mimicking some of them, we can get the same result is a comfortable lie.
The biggest lesson we can learn from the lives of remarkable people is that they didn’t have a model; they created their way forward.
If you give children some colouring drawing, they will probably do a great job. They will use their creativity to pick up some original colours, and by staying within the lines as much as they can, they will produce the expected artwork. Very practical and efficient.
If you give them a blank sheet, you don’t know what you’ll get at the end. You may get something really messy, but it could also be the most creative and fantastic piece of art.
It’s great to read the stories of successful people to find inspiration. But if you colour between their lines, you’ll get only a good copy if you’re lucky. Instead, forget the lines, take a blank sheet and create your own unique piece of art.
To have clarity about what we need is crucial to set our priorities.
However, for many people I know – myself included – it’s one thing to know what they need, but it’s an entirely different game to say it to someone else.
We live in a competitive society that praises the winner, the achiever, the ones who beat the competition and comes out on top.
As a result, in many contexts, relationships are continuous negotiations.
In such a culture, you can’t show your weaknesses.
And expressing your needs can make you vulnerable.
If I tell you that I need something, you can use that information as leverage in our negotiation.
How many needs remain unmet because they are not expressed?
I grew up with that kind of pride that makes it difficult to express my needs or ask for help. Yet, any time I find the courage to do it, something incredible happens. I always found someone happy to help; they just didn’t know I needed their help.
It’s still hard, but I’m practising.
I don’t know where I am going with this.
The last 24 hours have been rough and painful.
This morning, I woke up with no desire to write or do any of my morning practices.
Somehow I managed to train a little, and that removed a bit of fog from my head. Then I sat down, and I let the rhythm of my breath take me somewhere else.
And these words came.
Don’t save it for later.
I don’t know if you have or had pets, by that’s what they do.
They don’t save energy, love, joy, irritation or affection for later.
They give it all in the present moment.
How often do we hold back?
How often do we apply the scarcity mindset to something infinite as love or happiness?
How often are we transactional, and we give only in exchange for something?
How do I do that? What am I afraid of?
For sure, there’s no risk of running out of love or joy. Not in a lifetime.
So, maybe that’s my lesson for today; do not save love, joy, kisses, hugs, kindness, grace, laughter for later.