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Pay Attention to Yourself

Pay Attention to Yourself Every Once In a While

It seems so silly but it’s a good idea to pay attention to yourself. After a 20 minute meditation today I wrote the following in my journal:

Had this feeling towards the end of my session that I am wasting my time with this entire meditation thing.

Instead of fighting it, I practiced allowing the feeling and emotions of wasting my time to sink in and sat with it. As I sat there, feeling miserable and like a meditation failure I suddenly had an insight.

I am a good person. A good soul. Mediating is not a waste of time – it allows me to see that I am a good person.

I have no idea where that insight came from, but it was just what I needed to hear from myself. I’ve spent years ignoring my inner voice, which has probably been yelling at me for years to pay attention.

Pay Attention to Yourself

It’s not that complicated. Take a moment and pay attention to yourself a few times during the week. Yourself will thank you!


Am I Destined to be Happy?

Sometimes it feels as if there is no way to actually be “happy.” But lately, as I continue on this journey it strikes me as a poorly worded question.

Is being happy a destination? And if it is, would you be able to stay there forever? Would you even want to? I mean, sometimes it feels good to feel bad. I’ve met people who appear to always be happy, and I’m always left with sense that it’s mostly bullshit.

Instead of thinking as happy as some sort of goal, or destination I prefer to think about it differently as of late.

Happy is:

  • creating, writing and thinking
  • debating, learning and growing
  • embracing the process of writing this blog as often as I can and enjoying the challenge of communicating what’s inside of me
  • facing the resistance head on
  • meditating every morning and being terrible at it
  • seeing a movie and going to dinner with my wife, and talking about our amazing children

But all those things are temporary. They start, and they end. It feels like a cliché, but it may turn out to be true that the journey is the thing. Being happy while struggling is a new way to look at the world for me, and there is something wonderful, poetic and amazing about it.

Go Get Arrested Kid

As I was graduating from college, I had an interview with a successful Creative Director at an ad agency. I was interviewing for a creative position, starting at the bottom. In my mind, I was destined to be the next great creative in the ad industry. This dream of course, as a young man was based on nothing but youthful dreams, white privilege and naiveté. Call it youthful exuberance with a dash of ignorance!

This was 20+ years ago, and as it turns out, I didn’t become a great creative director. I’ve had a terrific and long career, but ran away from the advertising business when the Internet came around. But in truth, my dreams were partially derailed because of this guy’s comment. The guy on the phone, whose name is long lost to history and my terrible memory (as is the name of the agency) had one piece of advice for me.

He told me in no uncertain terms to “Go get arrested.” I don’t exactly remember what I said to him after that, but I think I asked if he was serious. He was serious, but not about me committing a crime.

I can remember getting off the phone and talking to my roommates about what a dick the guy was to me – his advice was out of left field. What’s crazy is that I’m just now starting to understand it.

Life is funny. It’s impossible to avoid having experiences that change you, both personally and professionally – and often those experiences inform each other. What you learn at work you apply in life and vice versa.

At that moment though, I thought the guy was telling me to commit a crime. He wasn’t.

“Go get arrested kid” as a life concept works on multiple levels. Looking back I can honestly say that I’ve lived a great life. That said, I’m not sure I’ve gotten arrested enough. There are things I’ve dreamed about that I’ve been afraid to try. Stand up comedy. Acting. Karaoke. Boxing. Jumping out of a plane. Going back to school.

Part of waking up has to be to get out of your comfort zone, try new things and dare I say it.. getting arrested. It’s about life experiences.

Life is occasion, rise to it

The Examined Life

Zach Braff made a movie called “Wish I Was Here” in which the main character, loosely based on himself is a struggling actor who refuses to give up his dream. His family endures his dream and everyone bends over backwards to help him make it as he examines his life.

I’ve never felt that strongly about anything in my life. I wonder what it’s like to be willing to die for a dream. It makes me feel weak and lame that I don’t have that *thing* that drives me in that way. Part of the reason this site is called “Searching for Sumthin” is exactly that search.

The movie, which admittedly I have only seen once when it first came out in 2014 has stuck with me and is now representative of the question I’ve been asking everyone I meet about their art.

The blog post I wrote “What is Your Art” is a big part of the examined life. Understanding yourself deeply enough to answer this question seems like a wonderful place to start the examination. You can pick your poison in terms of who to read – Buddhists, Tony Robbins, Steve Pavlina – they are all great and all have wisdom and bits that will help guide your journey.

But in the end, it feels like introspection and honesty with yourself is the key here. Examining your life requires stripping away all the bullshit and getting right down to it. Here are 5 great questions I’m asking myself to help take this to the next level. These questions are by no means complete and are simply to get your brain moving.

The Examined Life Starter Questions

  1. What activity or thing would you do full time, without pay for 6 months, or a year? Or forever.
  2. What did you dream about when you were a kid?
  3. If you went to college – why did you go, really? And if you didn’t go, why did you make that decision?
  4. Do you believe in God? If so, why and if not, why?
  5. Do you like yourself?

There are a million other questions we could all ask but start here. I have spent a bunch of time considering the first 3 and am working on the last 2 actively. It’s not easy to examine your life. Being honest with yourself can be hard to do!

The examined life can feel like a silly exercise, but it’s the key to understanding yourself and finding you way home.

Three Great Philosophy of Life Quotes

If you’ve been looking for the occasional quote to perk up your day, here are a few great ones focused on “The Philosophy of Life.” I have collected a huge amount of life quotes I like to scan through that have impacted my life. I find that these quotes somehow change my state of mind and tend to give me a great boost.

Today’s first quote comes from one of my favorite books, Alice in Wonderland.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland continues to be one of my favorite books of all time. It’s just so weird and confusing. I love re-reading it every few years. This particular quote reminds me how far I’ve come, and gives me hope that I can continue to grow and change.

The next quote up is from Steven Covey.

“It comes from within.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

I read this book many years ago and have not revisited it recently. One of the things I remind myself of constantly is that I have everything within me that I need to succeed. This quote is a great reminder.

Lastly is a quote from the movie Castaway. It’s a partial quote, perhaps slightly out of context, but powerful anyway.

“And I know what I have to do now. I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?” – Tom Hanks in Castaway

Find tons of great quotes and images at Quotefancy.