One Apple A Day #826 – where do you point your attention?

When a problem or challenge arises, and you become aware of it, you have to make a choice.
There is no way out because even not choosing is a choice.
You have to decide where to point your attention.
You can close your eyes and act as if the problem doesn’t exist. After a while, you may even convince yourself of that.
You can stare at the challenge hoping that somehow it will sort out on its own.
You can point your attention to your feet or up to the sky, waiting for someone or something else to sort everything out for you.
You can look backwards, hoping to go back to life as it was before you became aware of the challenge. When the grass was greener, and everything was better.
You can point your attention forward, beyond the challenge to find a way out or a way through.
Or you can make your unique mix of different nuances of all those choices.
There are not good or bad choices, per se.
It’s your choice, it will reflect who you are and where you are in your life journey.
However, be aware that the decision of where you point your attention will inform the outcome. My wish for you is for your choice to be a conscious one.

Picture from BeTheChange cards by Vanessa Jane Smith.

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 #795 – wait a little longer

I am a problem solver.

Or at least, I was.

Not in the sense that I can solve any problem, far from that.

But I used to look at things in life with a problem-solving attitude.

Something not working as expected? Let’s find a solution.

Is there a confrontation? Let’s find a way out.

Do you have a question? Let’s find the answer.

And any time I couldn’t find the solution, the way out or the answer I felt it as a failure.

I don’t know if it’s a natural attitude or if it’s something taught. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one. In my career, I met many people with the same attitude. Some of them are way better than me in solving problems.

Lately, however, maybe because I’m getting slower, I began to slow down. Who knows, it may because I’m not as quick as I was before in solving problems. Or perhaps the challenges are getting too big and complex for my skills.

Whatever the reason, I’m learning to stay with the issues, problems, confrontations or questions that emerge in my life.

In my rush to solve and answer, I wasn’t giving enough space for the challenge to teach me its lessons or to show me a different way.

It isn’t easy. Sometimes it can be scary and even painful to stay.

Yet, there is an opportunity there for something to emerge. A shift of some sort that goes beyond any solution that our knowledgeable mind can conceive.

“When the confrontation is held for what it is, has been given the space it demands without our interference, then something shifts, something opens, and the light returns.” 

from Be The Change by Vanessa Jane Smith

One Apple A Day #768 – the sense-making compass

“Can you remember trying to understand the world as a kid? Because everything was new, nothing made sense. And because nothing made sense you had to find the sense in everything.” 

I extract the opening quote from the text that accompanies the card Kidfulness, part of the Be The Change cards created by my friend Vanessa.

While I was reading those sentences and looking at the card, a question emerged.

How do you make sense of things?

Where is the centre of your sense-making compass? Is it in your mind, your heart, your guts or maybe your whole body? 

I believe we all have our own unique combination of all these elements.

And if it works for you, that’s perfect.

If you’re happy with your life, with your choices. If you can perceive the meaning in everything that you do. Then, probably your compass works very well.

Mine sometimes is not so precise. When it comes to making sense of things, my mind has the tendency to take over. And that can create some inner tensions when heart and guts are not aligned.

But hey, it’s a journey, isn’t it? 

The sense-making compass is a tricky one because it keeps changing with us. What made sense yesterday may have no meaning tomorrow, and vice versa. However, I find it helpful to take some time during the year to check my inner compass and tune it.

One Apple A Day #715 – beneath the layers

For almost two decades, I worked in the digital industry. Over the years, I observe the same pattern in many products or services.
It starts with a smart and simple solution. Sure, usually it’s not perfect, a bit rough on the edges and with some small bugs, but it works.
So people love it and use it, and the product gets traction. Users ask for improvements and new features, and the software begins to grow. The developers add new layers of code. Maybe they are even new developers, hired to keep up with the success of the solution. Every now and then, someone wants to leave a footprint on the product, so new pieces are added. Even if they weren’t asked for.
All works fine until, all of a sudden it doesn’t. It may be because a new competitor enters the arena disrupting the game. Or something turns the industry upside down. Or maybe it’s just a nasty bug that compromises the whole product. Whatever the reason, a radical change to the core of the product would be needed. The problem is that there are so many layers that nobody knows what to do. They all worried that even the slightest change, would crumble everything.
Some stick to what they have until they slowly become irrelevant. Others rebuild everything from scratch because it’s easier than changing what is.

My feeling is that something similar happens to people. While we climb the ladder of success, moving forward in our career, we add layers over layers. Success and failures, experiences, knowledge, skills. We keep adding following a linear path. Until something disrupts our journey to the top, or maybe we get to that top, and we discover that our core is covered by so many layers, we can barely remember who we are.
I guess it happened to me at least once or twice. Likely for me, I always found people who helped me clear out all those layers and see what wanted to emerge from my core.