Going Beyond the Box

Think outside the boxBoxes are great for containing things. Whether moving or just trying to clear the clutter, a box comes in very handy.  You might even choose a box with some character, scratched out handwritten labels, shipping stickers and ancient yellow packing tape.  Yes, the box is a great thing.

But a box can also describe the perspective we live in.  Along the lines of “stuck in a rut,” living inside the box is a familiar place.   The box is the universe we live in, not only the physical space of home, work, the grocery store and the coffee shop, but also the mental world, the thoughts, the emotions, and the perspectives on the world.  By this definition, the box can start to take on a different feeling.

The life you live is the sum of the decisions and actions you make.  These decisions have many different types of influences, be it from your friends or networking group or from the thoughts which pass through your mind.  While many of us are quite content with the box we’ve built for ourselves, others may not be.

Change is how your box changes shape, color, and even location.  “Think outside the box” is a phrase we often use to set loftier goals for ourselves.  In fact, personal growth happens most when we step outside the box we’ve come to love.  A life of learning, new places, and new people is a great way to keep your box changing forever.

Here are some ideas to go beyond your box:

  • Take an online course – many are free and cover a wide variety of topics.
  • Join a book club – Sure, Oprah comes to mind, but reading is a great way to expand your box, as is engaging in discussion.
  • Invite a peer out to lunch – Not only do you get to experience a new atmosphere, but you share the experience with someone and bond with them.
  • Learning a new language or instrument – Learning to speak German or how to play Pachelbel’s Canon on the piano, the process of learning something new stimulates brain activity and makes you feel good.
  • Meditate – breathe, let your thoughts go, and relax.  Reflect on the thoughts which come up naturally and be prepared to write them down afterward so you can take action.
  • Take a vacation – it does not have to be an exotic place like Thailand, but a change of scenery is enough to get you thinking differently and open your horizons
  • Take a different route home from work – this is one tip I love and practice daily. You never drive home the same route day after day.  This opened me up to new routes and I found some places to visit at the same time.

While the box is a really cool thing, it is okay to think about life outside the box.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

It is with great pleasure that I say farewell to 2010 and greet 2011 with open arms.

2010 was a very exciting year for me:

1) I finished 5 sprint triathlons! Read more at http://aricintraining.com

2) I set the foundation for my triathlon training dashboard. More to come later.

3) I survived a near death experience thanks to being stung by a bee while riding my bike!

4) I am the author of one of the top not for profit flight simulator blogs in the world. Check it out: http://arealityofmyown.wordpress.com

5) I learned the value of what it means to be honest and sincere in a good friendship.

6) I was able to help a leading cloud computing company understand their business better with some creative analytics and visualizations.

7) learned that I still have a lot to learn.

8) Universal Studios Hollywood is a much smaller park than I expected.

9) I learned how wonderful it feels to have someone by your side through thick and thin.

10) I know that for all the wonderful changes that occurred during 2010, I know 2011 will have many more to come.

11) Learned that there is never a perfect answer to anything.

Overall, I think 2010 was a year of challenges that truly tested my devotion to achieving my goals. I know that I will only achieve them if I am consistent with my perseverance.

Cheers to an awesome 2011!

One Shovel Load at a Time

Successful companies don’t appear overnight.

Dreams are not reality simply by getting out of bed in the morning.

Losing weight does not happen overnight. 

One thing we need to remind ourselves of constantly is that big, hairy audacious goals (bHAG) are the fruition of many small actions (MSA).   If we focus our attention on the baby steps that lead to the bHAG, dreams are a reality. 

When I took the attached photo, I thought, “my gosh, that guy is going to be there for a long time!”  I was going to post it on Twitter with some crazy, humorous caption.  But then I realized what it represented.

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Sure the guy has a bHAG of loading the sand into the truck with just a tiny shovel.  But each shovel full tossed into that truck is an action (MSA) toward the bHAG.  Life is about taking one shovel load at a time and tossing it into the truck.  Enjoy each toss, because that goal gets closer and the pile smaller with each one; enjoy it while it lasts. 

What are your bHAGs? Are you aware of each MSA that you need to achieve them?  

Approaches to Life: Quantity

As one experiences life, there are many buckets or personas that life sceintists can place people into.  The buckets include efficient precision (those who plan carefully), sponteneity (people who live in the moment only), and quantity (those who are more concerned with sheer volume than quality).

There are people that require many years of observation to place them into the correct persona.  On the other hand, some people only take seconds and leave behind many clues.  Take the photos below:

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Clearly this individual used A LOT of duct tape and after watching the recent Mythbusters Duct Tape Hour, I couldn’t let this one go unnoticed.  If you notice in the second picture, the lack of precision in regards to the placement of the mirror, precision and planning probably was not used in this project.   While the end is functional, the quantity approach definitely fits here.

Cheers!

How to Live Given the Certainty of Death | Yale Philosophy Lecture

Came across this lecture by Prof. Kagan who addresses living life with certain death through value, immortality, and balance. Really interesting lecture that has sparked some inspiration. The value of life on a chart! If goals have value, then each goal increases your score… if you lie, your score is docked. You might even get bonus points for immortality in the form of a book. Hmmm… this could be interesting. Perhaps even touches on my concept of life effiiciency.

The Start to Today’s Journey

Started the day off with my espresso machine.

Then moved to pushing/pulling/flipping a limp, falic looking punching bag around in my own sweat.

Then it was time to dodge stoplight/stop sign runners while retrieving my long lost phone from home.

Finally, work… where horns honk, lights flicker, and its just me and the Macbook Pro.

Yep, it is the journey that counts… perhaps more so than the end result.

Popping In, Popping Out of Life

Lately, I have been absolutely amazed at the number of people I met earlier in life and lost contact with, but who have recently made contact again.  It seems that the notion of people popping in and out of your life is very really, sometimes permanently.  As I listen to a friend talk about losing a friend of his and seeing friends from my past popping in and out, I used this as inspiration for the text below: 

In life, there will be people popping in to your life that will make an impression upon you. Then they pop out of life and you wonder about what happened to them.  Then, one day, you are walking down the street and you find them again, hoping to keep them popped in for a little longer than when they popped in before.

But then, they pop out permanently by death.  Knowing that they will never pop back into your life, makes you sad.  But did they ever really pop out of your life in the beginning.  In fact, a little piece of them is with you, in your heart, in your thoughts and you will always have them with you.  Popping out permanently is like popping in permanently, but in a different form.  You see they never really popped out to begin with.

Then, one day, perhaps when we least expect it, you will pop out of life too.  Permanently.  Death is not a bad thing.  It helps us remember the missing popper and forces us to recognize, in a somewhat painful, cruel way, how much they have touched our lives. 

Since those around us will always carry part of who we are with them, this isn’t such a bad thing afterall…  friends, family, colleagues and strangers will remember you for how you touched them.  In fact, one you’ve popped out, you might pop into other peoples’ lives that you never thought possibly. 

So then they continue popping in and popping out of other peoples’ lives, sharing you and sharing themselves as they go.  

Until, three or four generations later when you are forgotten.  Replaced with other people and other memories in their hearts.  You may be remembered by a box of junk and old photos, but that does not matter.  At this point, those people who popped in and out of your life have permanently popped out too.  Together again you all will be, the memories continue, more fun is had, and life as you knew it with your fellow poppers continues on in a land that is so fantastic, those stuck on earth could only begin to fathom.  

As you go through life, be true to yourself, embrace others for who they are and enjoy the moments, memories, laughs and simple conversations.  Share experiences with those around you and have fun every minute of the day.  Smile, laugh, embrace, and party.

 Popping in and popping out just makes life a little more fun.