By Casey Grey
"Do you find it's helping you become a better writer?" A question my brother asked me the other day.
It may be helping me become a better writer but, more importantly, it's helping me become a better thinker. It's forcing me to go through my days with more curiosity. To ask better questions.
Schools, for example, are set up to teach how to do things a certain way. Although I enjoyed math, I really did not like how I had to show all the "right" steps in order to get full points. If I had a question, I had to put up my hand (and I may not even get picked). They were teaching me how to do things but they were not teaching me how to think for myself. And if I got an answer wrong... Well... No happy face sticker for me!
The goal was to get 100% but in life this is impossible. There's no such thing as perfection. Even the best in the world fail more than 50% of the time. The ultimate achievement for a batter in Major League Baseball is to have a batting average over 0.400. That means they're aiming to get over 40%! The league wife average generally ranges under 0.300. These are the best in the world!
So this blog is teaching me something different than what I thought it would but the results are much better than I expected.
The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny …”
Life is about the unexpected. In order to experience the unexpected, we need to take action. We need to be willing to fail. We need to do something different.
The unexpected is what stands out.
It's been an awesome weekend with the boys. Now it's time to spend some time with my wife.
I am exactly where I’m suppose to be right now.
I am doing exactly what I’m suppose to be doing right now.
I am with the people I’m suppose to be with right now.
As a parent I find myself saying and doing a lot of the same stuff my parents did. I really appreciate the experiences I had. As a kid, I had no idea how great they were.
Take camping for example. Yes, I loved camping but I never appreciated it the same way I do now. I especially did not appreciate the silence out on the water in a canoe or kayak.
Now, I’m creating some of those memories with my son. I know he does not notice the same things I will but I know he’s having fun. And I’m having fun watching him.
I’d like to say those were the good old days but I have a feeling I’ll be saying the same thing about the memories I’m creating now.
Every day is an opportunity to create new memories. It’s up to me to decide if they will be good, bad or worse... forgotten.
"Hopefully I'll be able to turn my brain off this weekend."
That is what I said to my friend, Urooj, yesterday when we picked our kids up from school. He responded with the best possible response I could have asked for.
"Don't turn it off, elevate it!"
This shows the power of words. Elevating my brain is way more fascinating than turning it off. Ultimately I just want to be able to focus on what's in front of me and enjoy the long weekend with family without thinking too much about all the stuff I feel I "have to do".
I want to be present as much as possible.
I'm committed to elevating! I was not committed to turning my brain off.
How will you elevate your brain this weekend?
Never underestimate the power of keeping it short and to the point.
How much information is Too Much Information (TMI)?
We live in a time where information is everywhere. From seminars to podcasts to videos to information sessions to summits to trade shows and everything in between. If we have a question, we just pull out the device from our pocket (or purse).
I believe the best thing to do is figure out which information is relevant to us right NOW.
Information is great... If you can do something with it. There's no point in knowing about how to sail if you don't plan on sailing any time soon.
Unfortunately I find myself consuming useless information all the time. I just walked out of a presentation because there was no need for me to take in the information they were giving me. It was not going to make me better or help me in any way at this point in time. Perhaps I would need it later but I can always look it up later.
Every time we take in information and process it, it takes energy. That's energy that's not being used for something else. Energy that now needs to be replenished.
Funny enough, as I write this in a coffee shop, there is a couple beside me reading cards and asking each other questions about random things. It sounds like Trivial Pursuit questions. They seem to be having fun, so perhaps that's the point... Or does it just feed our ego and need for certainty? Having the answer feels good. We feel smarter. Or maybe for them it's connection.
For myself, I feel the need to be conscious of the information I'm consuming. I will conserve my energy for what's important to me.
We recently put Sullivan into piano lessons so I figured I would take lessons at the same time. It's been something on my bucket list for a while.
I did play instruments while I was growing up but I never took it seriously meaning I never really practiced. I would show up and play what I was suppose to but I was never committed.
So what makes it different now?
The difference is I WANT to do it. When I was younger I felt like I HAD to do it.
I want to be able to play for friends and family whether it's around the Christmas tree or around the camp fire. How cool would it be to have a special storage location in the Westfalia where I roll a keyboard out!? And then Sullivan pulls out his guitar!
Alright, I was a child once so I'm not counting on Sullivan being committed at this point in his life but it would be cool if he did.
In either case, I have found my WHY. I'm having fun and there's no pressure. I'm paying for it with my own money now so it's up to me whether or not I want to make the most of it.
Before I know it, I'll be playing the outdoor pianos around Manotick! Tickets will be free :)
How much do we actually remember?
I've read numerous books and every time I read a book I think to myself "That's good! I'll remember that!"
Chances are I won't and when I do forget I'll never know... Because I forgot.
As humans we have terrible memories. Even the stuff we do remember we may not remember accurately. Just think back to an event that happened with other people and all the difference perspectives of the event.
So how do we remember?
For myself, I make notes for everything and put everything I can into my calendar. Siri and the reminders on my phone are my best friends. Instagram stories are great to look back on too!
The most important thing of all though...
I write down ALL the fun things I have done and my accomplishments as I go through the year. This one exercise alone is powerful and a great reminder of how amazing life is (and how much I actually forget).
Being a parent has made me realize how much my mom did for me as a kid.
It also makes me think back to my post titled You Can't Do That. There's no replacement for experience.
You can read all the books you want in the world on parenting and none of them will prepare you for the real thing. Try to remember "what to do" when you're going on 4 hours of sleep a night, building a house, running a business and going through a lawsuit. Yes, this is what I was doing at the beginning. But I know I'm not the only person with a lot on my plate.
Being a parent is the greatest gift but also the greatest challenge. It brings some of the greatest teachings but also some of the greatest rewards.
Being a mom is the most important "job" of all.
Happy Mothers Day.