One Apple A Day #519 – get out

“If you’re part of the system you want to change, you’re part of the problem.” — Dave Gray

Gray is mainly talking about organisations, but I believe it can also be applied to your life.
When the system you want to change is your life, personal or professional, you’re not only part of it, you are it.
So, it’s even harder to see the solution because we are fully wrapped in the problem.
Many of my coaching clients begin their journey saying that what they need is clarity. The feel that they need a change, but they are unable to see what that change is and where they want to go.

Most of the time, once they can see the problem, the solution emerges naturally.

To be able to see the problem, you need to step out of it and find a new perspective. One that allows you to see your situation from the outside.
Working with a coach is like having someone holding an honest mirror before you so you can look at yourself from different angles.

If you can’t get a coach right now, then you can try to walk out of your bubble.
Take a walk in nature.
Change your scenario, disconnect from your network for some time.
Not to find the answers, but to tune in to yourself.
When you go back to your life, you will have new eyes.

“The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” — Marcel Proust

One Apple A Day #518 – step by step

Sometimes I catch myself stuck in the “outcome” mindset.
The typical sign is the feeling that I’m pushing hard, but I’m going nowhere.
It is like trying to walk while keeping the gaze locked on the destination. As a result, I’m not paying attention to what’s around me and where I put my feet. I begin stumbling even on small obstacles, and I lose the joy of walking. It’s all about getting there.
Ironically, I’m not getting where I want.
It looks like my destination moves with me.
In those moments, frustration kicks in.
In the past, I’ve quit some projects due to this attitude.

Over the years I’ve learned that when I catch myself in that place, I have to shift my focus. I must redirect my gaze from the final outcome to my next step. Once the direction is set, I focus only on the next thing to do.
Even better. I design a new habit. Something I can do every day knowing that if I am consistent, it will take where I want to go.

Lately, I’ve been feeling that sense of frustration with some of the projects I’m working on. Today’s card reminded me that I need to stop thinking about the outcome and focus on “how do I show up every day“.

One Apple A Day #515 – escape forward

“I agree with Schopenhauer that one of the most powerful motives that attract people to science and art is the longing to escape from everyday life.” — A. Einstein

I’d be curious to understand how “everyday life” was for Schopenhauer or Einstein. But I can relate to their point. We all go through many moments and situations that we don’t like. When it looks like things are conjuring against us and the only thing we’d like to do is to escape from our present reality.

We may decide to escape backwards or hide from reality, losing ourselves in mindless entertainment or using substances to disconnect from reality.  Unfortunately, this route only brings temporary pleasure as it doesn’t really change anything.

As Schopenhauer and Einstein suggested, we can choose to escape forward by creating a new reality through art and science, learning and growing. The good news for me is that we don’t need to do what Einstein or Schopenhauer did to change reality.

We just need to focus on our own craft because when we change, our reality change.

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” ― Anaïs Nin

One Apple A Day #514 – Within You

At a conference about sustainable development, climate change and human rights that I attended a few weeks ago, one idea was shared in different forms by many speakers.
One said that “all wars start in our head“, another that “borders exist only in the human mind” and someone else said, “without peace at the individual level there can’t be peace in the world“.

It all starts within you.

Every change, every transformation.
The world that you want begins within you.

This unique superpower exists within you.

I’m writing this as a note to myself too.
Sometimes I got heated thinking and debating about things I’d like to change in the world, in my community, in others.
And I forget about the one thing I can always do; I can change myself.

One Apple A Day #510 – free, love, fear

I’ll be honest. This morning I couldn’t find anything to write about.
So, I started by looking back at the conversations I had in the last few days. Since I started this project, I discovered that there are always a lot of hidden nuggets in-between the words shared in every conversation.
Sometimes these gems kept lingering in my mind without me being aware of it.
So, this morning my mind went back to a conversation I had with two friends while we were walking back to our cars. We started by talking about “Free Solo”, the documentary about Alex Honnold climbing El Capitan without any ropes or other protective gears. We ended up talking about fear.
How can someone do something so risky?
I mean, fear would paralyze anyone else.
So, this morning I thought I could write about fear, but I couldn’t find the spark and 15 minutes ends quickly.
Luckily for me, I always have the Be The Change cards with me.
I pick the card “Power + Love”.
And I remember that a dear friend and mentor once told me that fear is the opposite of love. So I did a quick search, and this is the first quote I found.

“The opposite of love is not, as we many times or almost always think, hatred, but the fear to love, and fear to love is the fear of being free.” — Paulo Freire, a Brazilian expert on education.

I think the quote above closes perfectly the loop of my thinking this morning.
All the words I need for today are there; free, love, fear.

I love how things connected if we just stay with the flow.

Oh, I haven’t watched Free Solo yet, but I’ll do it soon.

One Apple A Day #500 – who are you voting for today?

Too often we underestimate the power of the small choices and actions we make and do every day. Most of our time in life is made of small acts, sometimes apparently insignificant. But, each one of them contributes to building your identity. And, most importantly, while you may not have control over the big events that happen in your life, you surely can choose how you want to show up every day.

I love how James Clear explains the power of the daily action in his book Atomic Habits.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity.”

So, who are you voting for today?

This post is inspired by the Be The Change card I pick this morning; “How do I show up every day” and by the realisation that the writer within me reached 500 votes this morning.

One Apple A Day #495 – we are one

“Everything in Life is Vibration” – Albert Einstein

Yesterday I wrote about our natural frequency.
This morning in my meditation, this idea of vibrations came back to me. I remember reading on Rupert Spira book, The Nature of Consciousness that “The body appears in the mind as a series of sensations and perceptions, and the mind is a vibration of awareness. As such, the body is not something solid made out of matter but a condensation or localisation of and in awareness.

If everything I experience – myself, others, the world – are different and unique modulations of the same awareness, then to hurt anyone or anything means to hurt myself.
I believe that when this awareness grows in us, then peace is the natural outcome. It is so simple, yet not easy.
To most of you, this thought may sound naive.
Though, I believe that only if we realize that we are one, a sustainable transformation will be possible.

“If we understand and feel that every animal, person and object is our very own self, we cannot go wrong. That is the experience of love.” — Rupert Spira

One Apple A Day #489 – it starts within

I just came back from a conference where incredible people and leaders discussed how to make the world a better place. Last week millions of students all over the world walked together on the streets to ask adults to do something instead of just talking. A terrorist attack in New Zealand reminded us of the fragility of peace.

Before all these big challenges it’s easy to feel small and powerless.
What can I do? What can a single person do?

One of the speakers at the conference said that “without peace at the individual level, we can’t create peace in the world“.
We cannot change the world without changing ourselves before.
So, the question shifts from how can we make the world better to how I can make myself better.
It all starts within.
A friend reminded me that the best gift I can give to the world is to fully express my potential.  And love.

This is what I can do.
This is what I will do.

One Apple A Day #488 – chaos

Our brain is a fantastic predicting machine.
It is continuously assessing the environment against what it already knows to find patterns to apply. Anytime an action creates pleasure, it contributes to the creation of a pattern. When anything generates pain, the brain puts an alert label on it so to be ready to recognise the threat in the future. It is part of our natural survival instinct.

This process makes us very efficient. Being aware of it we can use it to our advantage to create patterns that help grow and become the person we want to be. There are plenty of good books and programs on how to develop positive habits.

Once I watched a video of a personal trainer, explaining that our body works in the same way. Every muscle is designed to obtain the maximum result with the minimum effort. When we do the same exercise over and over, our body learns how to perform it using the minimum energy possible. As a result, we experience a peak in muscle development. This is why is a good thing to change often the exercises you do. To confuse your body, so it has to break the pattern, learn something new and grow.

It works the same way for our brain. Sometimes we need to create chaos and unpredictability to force our mind to be creative, to find new connections and patterns. In short, to grow. When we don’t have references, when we cannot use what we know to find a way forward, we are forced to create new connections, explore new possibilities.
It is scary, I know.
But once our creativity is released, the reward is incredible.

One Apple A Day #483 – just listen

Listening is a tough job.
I’m talking about deep listening. With intention.
I spent the last two days listening to many amazing people talking.
I wanted to be sure to capture the full essence of what was shared in the room, so I had to be deliberate in shutting down everything unnecessary, to keep my thinking at bay and create enough space within to hold everything.
I had to learn to turn off the noise and tune into the signal.

It’s exhausting.
No wonder nobody listens nowadays.
Yet, I realized that to start real and meaningful conversations, the first vital step is to listen.
Because everyone has something to share, but if nobody listens with intention, all those beautiful words will be lost.

That is why artists are fundamental.
They listen, they see, they sense with intention, and then they distill the essence into their artworks.
So we can feel listened and seen.

And because we are all artists, we are called to practice the art of listening with intention.