One Apple A Day #702 – drop the stones

It looks like that being behind the wheel of a car is my new inspiring place. I don’t know why, but often while I am driving words or images came up. Sometimes they are connected to something that I’ve been pondering for a while, other times, they are entirely out of context. All of a sudden, something appears in my thought, and I have to decide what to do with it.

Luckily for me, I have this small practice every morning when I can process some of these random thoughts.

Yesterday, while I was driving home from some errands, this sentence from the bible came up.

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

It is what Jesus said to the Pharisees who wanted to stone a woman who made adultery. 

So, know I’m left with this sentence trying to understand what the universe is telling me. Sure, there is an undeniable invitation to avoid judging others. I’m quite sure that Jesus was also implying that no one is faultless and that, therefore, no one has the right to pass judgment on somebody else.

But is it just that? Why is it coming up for me now?

I can’t remember casting stones to anyone lately. 

But that doesn’t mean I’m no carrying them.

So maybe that’s the message. 

A reminder to drop the stones I’m carrying in my pockets because it’s just weight slowing me down.

A reminder that I am as broken and imperfect as anybody else. That I have made mistakes and I had hurt others, sometimes even if I thought I was doing the right thing. 

And many of these events became stones that I carry with me.

Life is a messy journey.

One in which it is essential to accept our imperfections, acknowledge the times when we stumble, learn to apologise and to forgive, and in the end, drop the stones and keep moving forward trying to be a little better every day. 

One Apple A Dy #700 – how do I feel now?

ou know or can know so much about yourself. 

You can measure your performances, check your heart rate anytime, get every possible health check, ask experts and know everything about your body and your health. 

You can play memory and logic games, do intelligence tests, assess your personality, your behaviours or your emotional state, discover your learning style and learn everything about yourself, your abilities and traits.

You can know almost everything about yourself.

But do you ever ask yourself “How do I feel now?” 

I’m a motorsport nut. In the last years, I’ve read many stories of tensions between the riders or drivers and their engineers. While the formers talk about feelings, the latter rely only on the numbers. When feelings and numbers go in different directions, tensions and conflicts arise. Unfortunately, because numbers are objective and easier to rationalise and explain, too often, they trump human feelings and sensations, even when results are poor.

In a way, we are trapped in the idea that if it can’t be measured, it’s not worth our attention. That famous quote from Peter Drucker, “what gets measured gets managed“, unfortunately, expanded beyond business and in all aspects of life. 

Ironically, Drucker never said that. And more ironically, those words are the first part of a sentence with which the journalist Simon Caulkin summarised a paper published by V. F. Ridgway in 1956.

“What gets measured gets managed — even when it’s pointless to measure and manage it, and even if it harms the purpose of the organisation to do so.”

Some things can’t be measured, yet they really matter.

The challenge is to accept to know a little less and begin to feel a bit more every day. Just asking a simple question like “how do I feel now?

One Apple A Day #691 – we are all human beings

I know people who are loving parents, kind colleagues, supportive friends, helpful community members and yet, they can quickly turn into violence and hate towards other human beings like immigrants, politicians or just people with a different perspective of the world. 

How is it possible? I know for sure they would never use the same language or even have the same thoughts towards people they know. But, they can quickly attack someone on social media, or spit harsh words against people they’ve never seen or met.

Then I read this article, and I discover that we all have this program wired in our brain that gives us the ability to see fellow men and women as less than human. It’s a process called dehumanization.

Most of us would never say or do such terrible things to another human being. But what if we don’t see others are human beings? 

What if we see them as something else, something less then human?

Anytime we dehumanize others, we loosen our ethical values and principles. So we don’t feel bad for what we say or do. It’s a lie we tell ourselves so we can still feel good people even while we say hateful things. 

And we all do that very often. Anytime we look at people, and we see only the surface; the job they do, the role they have, the place where they are from, the group they belong and so on. If we can’t see the human being, we are permitting ourselves to relax our ethical principles.

We are all human beings. 

One Apple A Day #686 – focus on the process

Most of the environments in which we grow, we live, and we work are result-oriented. We are incredibly focused on who wins, who gains, who gets on the top, who gets the best numbers, the promotion and so on.
It’s not a bad thing per se. Being ambitious pushes us to become better, and having our gaze set on a goal gives as drive and direction.
However, there is a risk.

When all our attention is on the result, we overlooked the process. We forget to pay attention to what we are doing to achieve what we aim for.
I observed this behaviour on myself and others at an archery experience. We were entirely focused on hitting the target, and we ignored what we were doing. As a result, we didn’t know what to change to improve our performance. We kept going on trying and trying, hoping to find a way to hit the target.

It is even worst if, by chance, you hit the target. At that point, you just try to replicate your movements without any idea on why they worked. You can imagine the results.

When we shifted our focus on what we were doing, instead, we began to understand. We became more and more aware of our body, sensations and feelings. And things improved.

Plus, when the focus is all on the results, it’s easy to get disappointed. And after a while, to lose motivation. But when we shift the attention on our selves, we can notice and appreciate all the little improvements. The whole experience becomes way more enjoyable.
And in the end, the results come.

One Apple A Day #680 – complexity and interconnectedness

I love simplicity. I love when I discover simple ways to explain or solve complex situations.
However, I feel that the first step towards simplicity is to acknowledge the complexity and interconnectedness in and of everything.
Every person is an infinite universe. Everything is connected in countless ways with everything else.
We will never be able to see and know something in its entirety. Being it a human being, life or the whole universe.
Including myself.
Even if I spend the rest my whole life exploring myself, I’ll never fully know me. And that makes the experience even more exciting.
Acknowledging this intrinsic complexity is helping me in my own process of simplification. Once I accepted that I’ll never be able to know, understand and explain everything, I felt simplicity began to emerge.