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Posts Tagged ‘imagination’

One of the things I love about hiking mountains is that I always learn about life and myself. This held true while climbing Mt. Washington, the tallest mountain in New Hampshire, this past July.

 

The most powerful insight I gained from Mt. Washington was how susceptible we are to the power of suggestion, and how damaging it can be if we are not aware of when it is acting upon us.

 

mtw - warningWhen I arrived at the base of the mountain, there were several signs posted warning of avalanches and falling ice. The rangers I spoke with echoed this warning. While I am never one to do something stupid at elevation, especially when I am hiking alone, I didn’t get a sense that the ranger had a real conviction about his warning. My intuition told me that the trail wasn’t really that bad and that the ranger was erring on the side of caution.

 

So, I decided to take the risk and go up the trail.

 

While it may at first seem like I am about to make a big mistake, I should share that after 30 years of hiking, I enjoy taking measured risks, but rarely, if ever, will I take stupid ones. I decided I would continually assess the trail and if at any time I felt the danger level was too high, I would backtrack and take a safer trail up the mountain.

 

As it turns out, my intuition was right. The trail was not impassable or dangerous. Yes there was snow and ice. Yes the rocks up the vertical ravine were wet and slippery. But at no time did I feel my life was in danger.

 

But here is what did occur along the way.

 

My mind ran with the suggestion that there was danger. All I could think about on this gorgeous day was a huge chunk of ice the size of a Volkswagen barreling down the mountain and crushing me like a bug. The amount of fear I felt was distracting. Butterflies filled my stomach and my legs were unsteady.

 

My mind was preoccupied with what I would do if this did occur. What would be the best way to survive an avalanche in the terrain I was hiking? What rocks would I seek shelter behind? Did my phone have reception to call for help? Was there anyone else on the trail that I could hike with or assess whether the trail ahead was safe?

 

I was completely focused on the fear rather than the beauty and peace of the trail.

 

Sadly, the only place any danger existed was in my head. There was no real danger on the trail. All of my fear was the result of a suggestion of danger.

 

And that’s the thing about fear and worry: we become consumed by something that is not real and does not actually exist, and it takes us out of the reality and beauty of the present moment. And that is a total waste of time and energy.

 

Many of us live our lives in a space of fear and worry that is usually based on a suggestion rather than reality . . . which if you think about it, is the equivalent of living in a land of make believe.

 

At least when we were kids, the land of make believe was something to aspire to and was filled with rainbows, unicorns, lots of candy and happy endings.

 

Fear is not real. It is a product of thoughts you create. Do not misunderstand me. Danger is very real. But fear is a choice.

After Earth (movie)

 

Never underestimate the power of your mind. While this story demonstrates the power of fear, we must not forget that the mind can also create a powerful positive reality pertaining to something we desire in life.

 

An amazing truth in life is that almost everything in the world around you was created from a thought. That being the case, why not have those thoughts move you toward something you desire rather than something you fear.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 
 

For a little fun, below is the trailer that contains the above quote from the movie After Earth.
 

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Recently, I went out to dinner with my niece and nephew. They are 3 and 4 ½. I LOVE spending time with them. They are a tremendous amount of fun and their eyes are always wide with possibility. They not only see things as they are, but they also see into the infinite realm of their limitless imagination.

 

After dinner, we went out to “explore.” This often turns into a game of observing the ordinary and making it extraordinary. Essentially, I let their imaginations run free, and I simply follow in the wake of that possibility. It is always a magnificent and fun experience for me.

 

On this particular evening we were gazing out from a patio, across a street and into a train station parking lot. The kids would share what they see, shouting out each announcement as if they had just discovered an amazing treasure. “I see a car!” “I see a bird!” “I see a flower!” I would acknowledge their tremendous find with equal excitement.

 

I see a purple tree!” shouted my nephew.

 

purple tree1Huh? You see a purple tree? Where?” I am always careful not to deny their possibility, imagination, or world as they see it, but a purple tree? Come on. I stared and I stared and I stared, but I could not see it. Of course, we all know trees are green. I kept asking where he saw the purple tree, wanting to get into his world. He kept pointing and insisting right there. Still, I could not see it. I would have sworn he was recalling a cartoon or perhaps a Dr. Seuss book.

 

Finally, after a good 30 seconds to a minute, I saw it. “Hmm. Look at that. A purple tree.” It was right there in front of me the whole time, yet, I did not see it. They were plum trees or perhaps Japanese maple trees.

 

The weeks following this experience, I saw a lot of purple trees. My eyes were wider with possibility. I didn’t just see trees as the green I expected them to be, I saw them as they truly are. And as a result, my world became more colorful.

 

I am continually amazed by how knowledge, wisdom and experience blind us not only to infinite possibility, but also to the world right in front of our eyes. As we are told, or learn, what is “right,” we eliminate what is possible. Our world shrinks, and we become more blind. This is one of the key reasons I LOVE and prefer to immerse myself into the world of children. They continually pave a path to limitless possibility and hope.

 

Where have you gone blind in your life? Can you no longer see what is in front of you? Can you see beyond what you know to be true into what is possible?

 

If, and when, your world gets smaller, take some time to connect with children. Suddenly you will see things you never have, or that you might have been missing for quite some time.

 

It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows.

– Epictetis

 

If you want to miss out on the magnificence of life, live it as if you already know. Pretend you know all the answers. Pretend you know exactly how a person is. Pretend you know exactly what will happen next. Pretend you know what your life will look like because of what happened yesterday. Pretend you know what works and what doesn’t.

 

Just keep in mind . . . it is all pretend.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.
 

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