One Apple A Day #705 – 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 #704 – Disruption

Disruption is quite a buzzword. 

For many, it’s almost a mantra, something to seek to grow, innovate and stay ahead.

The word itself comes from the Latin disrumpere, meaning “break apart, split, shatter, break to pieces.” 

A disruption is then a disturbance which interrupts an event, activity, or process. Something that alters your balance and forces you to find a new one.

Everyday life is full of disruptions. Some are very small, others are bigger, but they all alter the course of your life.

You can try to predict them. But if you can predict them, they are not really disruptions, are they? 

What you can do is to prepare yourself, so when something knocks you off your balance, you know how to find a new one. 

And if you fall – because let us be honest, we all sometimes fall – then have the compassion to acknowledge your humanness so you can learn how to improve your balance. 

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 #701 – 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.

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?