One Apple A Day #854 – Self-Control

You can’t control emotions.
They are energy shockwaves moving at lightspeed through your body.
It’s energy in motion.
Whatever triggers it, when you become aware of the emotion, it is already there. You can’t really control it.
What you can control then, is what you do once you become aware of emotion. What do you want to do with it?
Will you react and let that emotion to drive your choices, words or behaviours? Or will you take care of it, understand what it is telling you and choose your response?
Self-control is rooted in self-awareness.
You can’t control something you’re not aware of.
Often, just recognizing and acknowledging our emotions, defuse their impact and allow us to create the space we need to choose our response.
To me, this was a massive realization. I was beating myself for not being able to control my emotions, and in doing so of making things worst and giving up my power. When I accepted that I can’t control emotion, and I shifted my focus on the response, I found new strength, and with it more freedom.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

Viktor E. Frankl

One Apple A Day #811 – the smallest thing

Not all morning I’m inspired to write. Sometimes I have no idea, and sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. Maybe it’s because I’m tired, or I have a rough night or, and this is the worst, the thoughts about the day ahead have already taken hold of my mind.

Whatever the reason, when I drag myself to the desk, I’m tempted to let it go. I can clearly hear that small voice in my head whispering “who cares? You can do it another day.

However, I just need to do the smallest of things, and magic happens. 

I start a 15 minutes timer on the Tide app with a relaxing music loop. That tiny gesture is enough to silence that voice in my head and take me into my little morning creative space.

It happens over time without me realising it. Day after day, the small action of starting the timer with the music became a sort of a trigger or switch activating my morning writing ritual.

When I realised it, I began observing my habits and the way I do things during the day. And I discover there are plenty of such triggers and switches. Associated to both positive and negative habits. Some are really tiny and subtle, others are more evident.

The cool thing is that, when I want to activate a process, habit or ritual, I don’t have to focus on the whole thing. I just need to find the switch and trigger it. The smaller, the better.

Like for this ritual, writing for fifteen minutes seems a lot some mornings, and it may hold me from doing it. But starting a timer is such a quick and simple action that it’s easy to do it every morning.

If you want to install a habit or behaviour, it may help you to identify a tiny thing that can work as a switch and just focus on that.

P.S: I just realised I messed up with the number on the posts; somehow what was supposed to be the apple 763 became the 673. So, I updated the titles (not the URLs) to fix this and I realised that I crossed the “800” milestone. Now I’m heading full throttle for the “thousand” mark.

One Apple A Day #806 – becoming

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”

Henry David Thoreau

I always loved this quote. It reminds me that if I focus on the who, both momentary failures and victories become life lessons. They are all steps on the never-ending journey to realise my uniqueness. 

But to me, it is also an invitation to fall in love with the process. If all your attention is aimed at the final result, then a failure will make you feel you’ve wasted your time. And a victory may feel hollow due to its fleeting nature. But when you are in love with the process, failures and successes are just moments. Handy ones, indeed, as they help you check your journey and maybe make some adjustments for the future.

One Apple A Day #793 – You are the Art and the Artist

I love this TEDx talk by Laura Hollick.

She says that art is about making our imagination real. It is a bridge from the inner world and the outer one.

The first step of the artistic process is to imagine our new reality, our new world, our new self. 

The second step is to go for it. To move forward until the imagined becomes real. Using Laura words, “until you make your imagination so real that it is undeniable.” 

Unfortunately, most of the time, our imagination is crushed by reality. We look inward, and we see all this potential, our creative power generates such a compelling future for ourselves. Then we open our eyes, and it doesn’t seem to fit with the reality around us. 

Yeah, maybe it’s possible, but it’s such a long and uncertain journey that most of the time, we give up before we begin. 

We convince ourselves that it’s just a dream. 

We will never get there.

And you know what, it’s true. 

We may never get there.

But that never stop an artist from going for it.

And you are an artist.

If you’re alive, you are an artist.

You have the power to imagine your future self.

Hold on to that vision and every day take a small step towards it.

Like Michelangelo did with its David. For four years, he patiently chipped away all the unnecessary material until he revealed to the world the remarkable statue that he imagined within what was just a massive block of marble.

Will you get to the end? 

Maybe not. But that’s ok as long as you keep moving forward.

Because in the end, you are both the art and the artist.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo da Vinci

One Apple A Dy #791 – You reap what you sow and take care of

I was quite a lazy student. But luckily for me, the way school worked was a good fit for my inclinations, and that convinced my younger self that he was a smart guy.

It was my second year at university, and I was still sure I could carve my way out of almost every exam just by being smart. I was sitting before my physics professor for the second part of the exam; the oral test.

Physics was not one of my favourite subjects, but the professor taught very well, and I managed to score a good result in the written test without studying much.

I thought I was doing quite well when he came up with a question that left me speechless. I had only a vague idea of what he was talking about, so I started talking hoping that, if I keep putting words out there, I could find a connection that works.

After a few minutes, he smiled and stopped me.

You don’t know the answer, right?

Before I could say something, he continues “You remember me when I was your age. You think you’re smart, and that that is enough to carve your way through anything. But let me tell you, at some point, you’ll have to put in some work. Better sooner than later.

At that time, I paid attention only to the first part, and I took it as a compliment.

Later I realised that it was a wake-up call.

Having a gift is not enough. 

We need to do the work to make that gift grow.

They say that you reap what you sow. 

But that’s half of the story.

If you don’t water the seeds and take care of the plants every day, you won’t have anything to harvest.

You reap what you sow and take care of.