One Apple A Day #695 – being the next something

“I firmly believe you never should spend your time being the former anything.”

Condoleezza Rice

I read this quote yesterday evening, and I feel it’s the perfect follow-up for yesterday post.

When I introduce myself, I usually speak about what I’m doing or about the things I’ve done, my past works or achievements. I define myself by everything that took me where I am now. 

Like most of the people I know does. I can’t remember anyone introducing themselves as the next something.

And rarely in conversations among adults, we ask “who do you want to be?” 

That’s a question for children. As if, once we grow up, we should be already arrived or defined.

As I wrote yesterday, we define our present through the lenses of our past. Imagination is something for kids.

However, as the study of Professor Gary McPherson showed, our actions are an expression of how we see ourselves. If we see ourselves as former something, we will keep repeating what we have done. If we see ourselves as the next something, then we are setting ourselves on the path to get there.

That’s why I like to call myself an author even if I haven’t really published anything yet.

One Apple A Day #684 – write first

Here’s a new little story of mine.

This morning I sat for my writing practice. Yes, the one that created this post that you’re reading right now.

I was there at my desk and, as it often happens, I had no ideas whatsoever to start with.

So, I closed my eyes, played some relaxing music and breathed. 

I allowed my mind to wander freely among memories from the days before, fragments of conversations, words from books or articles, anything that may become a seed from which I can grow my daily apple.

Eventually, one idea came up. More than one, to be honest, but only one spark my desire to explore more.

It’s something that emerged in a conversation just two days. We were talking about the need to define something, a collaboration in that case, and two questions arose. Questions that looked a perfect starting point for a morning writing session. In the end, nothing is better than a question to begin a journey of exploration.

Do we have to define something to fully experience it? Does something exist even if we can’t describe it or give it a proper form?

To be honest, when I decided I was ready to begin writing, those questions weren’t fully formed yet. The idea was still blurred in my mind, but still, it looked good enough to start writing.  

So, I opened my laptop, created an empty document and began thinking of what would be the best opening point before I started the timer.

I remembered a quote from Nietzsche I read a while ago.

“It is this way with all of us concerning language: we believe that we know something about the feelings themselves when we speak of trees, colors, snow, and flowers; and yet we possess nothing but metaphors for things – metaphors which correspond in no way to the original entities.

I felt I needed something more to start, and then it’s when I made a big mistake. I opened the browser and search something more about that quote. I ended up on this long article on one of my favourite website. Only halfway through the reading, I realised I was consuming all the time for my morning practice without doing what this practice is all about; writing.

As a result, my time is over, and I haven’t really worked on those questions. At least, I can share with you a small piece of advice; write first, search second. In particular, if you have limited time for writing.

One Apple A Day #675 – glimpses of me

“First is an intention. Then a behaviour. Then a habit. Then a practice. Then a second nature. Then it is simply who you are.”

Brendon Burchard

After a few days without my morning apple, this morning, I woke up feeling incomplete. As if I left out a part of me for too long and now I can feel a hole. This small thing of mine is no more a practice or a habit. It is who I am. Or part of it at least.

These fifteen minutes are a way to remind me every morning who I am. Like looking at the mirror so I can recognise my face. 

This post wasn’t planned.

I felt my creative wellspring was drying out, so the plan was to take a few weeks off from this practice. To recharge the batteries and refill my ideas’ reservoir. You know, to write something more appealing or exciting to read. 

Then this morning, I sat here, and without even thinking, I found myself tapping on the keyboard. It just makes me feel more connected, more in tune with myself. Some go out for a walk, others meditate or pray. I do this. It’s less about the results and more about the practice itself.

Now I’m ready for the day.

One Apple A Day #674 – a shift

Lately, I feel I have the same ideas over and over. The same thoughts.
I don’t know if my creative wellspring has dried out or if I’m cup is so full that nothing more can get in.

I’m writing this post on my laptop, as I do almost every morning.
The same laptop on which I do almost everything else.
I write, read, watch, and talk.
All these things happen in here.
This 13-inches space before me is where my eyes and ears are most of the time.
A small area compared to the world.

Maybe, that’s it.
Maybe I’ve spent so much time before this screen that I’ve boxed my creativity in it.

I picked a card this morning. It has a big word on it.

“A shift”.

Maybe this is what I need.

A little shift on the side, so I can see the world behind and beyond this small screen.
Nothing is more inspiring than reality.

Time to go out.

One Apple A Day #741 – not perfect

I took a short break from this practice.
Not from the writing, only from the publishing.
Last week I kept writing every morning without posting on this blog.
And it makes all the difference in the world.
Without the self-imposed pressure of posting immediately whatever I wrote in fifteen minutes, I easily get lost in research.
Knowing that my time is limited and then I have to put something out there, pushes me to focus on what I already have.

Another valuable lesson is to avoid the trap of chasing perfection. After fifteen minutes, I post what I have. That’s it. I don’t have the time to rewrite, refine and polish. So, I’ve learned to be content with the words that I found. Some days the post is inspired, some days not so much.
But it’s ok.
Knowing that I have to write and post in fifteen minutes frees me from the need to be perfect. As a result, my writing is more authentic. Maybe less chiselled and refined, but indeed more real.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

Leonardo da Vinci