Do you avoid falling or do you know how to land on your feet?

Roughly speaking, people can be divided into two groups: Those who learn how to land on their feet, and those who avoid falling.

If you’re like me, and like having a firm grip on things, you might, just like me, find you’re very uncomfortable around people that likes to “fall” all over the place and enjoy their ability to land on their feet even after the most horrible “falls.”

Without getting lost in details I might add I once managed to start a business with a “faller”. Guess who landed on their feet and who landed on their head?

So, it actually all comes down to an old truth:

Birds of a feather flock together.

And if you’re a tree dwelling… non-flying… uh, chimp? :D… avoid flocking with birds regardless of their feathers 😀

Failing is not a failure

If life is a labyrinth, failing means we can tick off another route not to take again, and it will take us closer to the solution...
“Truchet labyrinth” by Paolo Gibellini

When we are failing, we’re not necessarily having a failure. If we view the failure as a successful attempt to find one way success cannot be achieved, then each failure brings us closer to success. Or as Thomas Edison put it, when asked how he managed to go on after having failed to create a light bulb for the 10 000th time:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

– Thomas A. Edison

Think of life as a labyrinth. There are numerous choices to be made, left or right turns to take, and each choice can end up in a dead end or take us closer to the exit of the labyrinth.

Whenever we reach a dead end, if we take time to observe the situation and note how we got there, even though we’ve just experienced a failure, this failure can help us get closer to the successful solution, if we remember the failing path taken.

How failing takes us closer to success

As the example with Thomas Edison suggests, trying to reach a goal an insane number of times is not insane, if each attempt is slightly different. Thomas Edison would not have been celebrated as the inventor of the light bulb if he had tried the exact same procedure for 10 000 times, then he would have been considered… well let’s just say he would have been considered very odd and unusual.

On the other hand, it’s important to really find out what failed and what just happened at the same time as the failure. One way to avoid failing to create a light bulb is to never try again after the first failure, however, since Thomas Edison did invent the light bulb, that approach would have been a failure … at least when it comes to inventing the light bulb.

Life is complex

The above quote from Thomas Edison, and the story about his 10 000 attempts to invent a light bulb doesn’t reveal what his family and friends thought when he kept trying. Perhaps they thought he was insane and finally distanced themselves from him, and his insistent search for the light bulb might have turned his family life into a failure. (I actually have no clue what Thomas Edison’s family life was like!)

This is a more tricky problem, because life isn’t just about one single path or problem. Life is a whole weave of different things going on at the same time, colliding, conflicting, and sometimes, when it feels like the forces of the Universe is on our side, they may even cooperate towards the same goal.

The good news is that if we apply the same attitude towards failure to make the whole life puzzle fit together, failing to make ends meet or giving all important people in your life the energy and attention they need or deserve only means you have to change the plan a bit.

The failure is just another successful proof of how it cannot be done.

The man who can keep a secret may be wise…

“The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.” /Edgar Watson Howe


Fingers_Crossed_by_SouthwestI love this quote, because it tells me honesty is the best way to go.

Of course, there are such a thing as too much honesty. When being honest it’s important to take political correctness into consideration, keeping from telling a good friend or family member exactly what you think in situations that doesn’t matter… on the other hand, if someone is doing something really dumb, it may still be necessary to tell them so, in a diplomatic way.

What I find to be nice in this quote is more about being really dishonest. I’ve been in situations where I’ve had to lie, manipulate and do a lot of really idiotic things – it never ended well. Today I’ve, mostly, gotten rid of the people that lived the kind of lives that seemed to require those kinds of lies and that dishonest conduct.

I always feel bad when I cannot be my very best, but unfortunately there are lots of situations where that’s impossible. Just in order to get most things in this world done in a timely manner you have to compromise, and will most likely end up with something that isn’t the best it can be, but it is ready when it needs to and you have to settle with “good enough”.

For instance, my job. Working in the IT-business, you’ll have to accept most solutions is a hodge-podge where sellable has stumbled on buyable, and you’re actually doing something, far from as good as it can be, that someone wants to buy. I fear half measures, white lies and over sells are just a natural part of capitalism. But hey, as long as you get paid… right?

The tricky part for me, is that I cannot always be honest about this. Most of the time, at least in professional situations, I’m asked to overlook the flaws and underline the good instead. Unfortunately I have, more than once, scared the life out of customers and others when being that honest, and I can see I’m not living in a world where 100% honesty is wanted or appreciated…

That genuinely sucks, but being that honest seems to not be part of good communication, and well… trying the be the best I can be… being a good communicator is also an important thing…

So anyway. At least in my writing I can settle for nothing less than my very best, which of course is a best-for-the-day… after all, if I wrote the best book I could write today, then tomorrow I could go fishing instead, because I’ve already written the best book I could… no use trying to write another one…

Life is a trial with errors…

“Life is a trial with errors…”

…so the best thing you can do is to learn to live with the trials and errors and then it doesn’t matter that there are trials and errors… because you’re still living life 😀

Oh, and yes… that quote is a bit funnier than just a simple “live life by trial and error”. I couldn’t help myself so I was funny and made life into a trial with errors… but my message is still valid!

If it’s not important that life is hard, then life being hard wont keep you from living it to the fullest extent in which you are able under your circumstances.

It’s your life! No one can take that from you unless they commit a heinous crime. If you’re alive, you have a life… it’s that simple.


Sleep Deprivation, effects and my personal treatment

Sleep deprivation represented by a cartoon of an alarm clock (the old horrible ones with a hammer hitting small bells)
Alarm Clock Ringing by Nemo

Sleep deprivation has been (is) a norm in my life since I started school, mostly because school meant having to get out of bed to go somewhere long before I was ready to get out of bed.

For a long time I saw it as something normal. I would sleep 4-5 hours in the weekdays and then catch up in the weekends. However this routine did not always work out that smoothly. I almost got flunked in high-school for missing way too many morning classes. It also turns out, science has more or less proven that sleep deprivation isn’t at all healthy for you…

Continue reading Sleep Deprivation, effects and my personal treatment

Mindfulness at the dentists and other “problematic” places

I had a dentists appointment this morning, and I thought it would be a nice place to try some mindfulness.

I figure you’ve basically two main strategies here. Either use mindfulness to distract yourself by focusing on some place other than your teeth (e.g. Your feet), or focus on what’s happening with your teeth here and now.

I should mention that there was no drilling involved in this visit, but I usually has a lot of tartar that needs to be scraped off, and I have very sensitive dental necks, so it’s usually not a walk in the park.

I started to focus on what the dentist (or actually hygienist) was doing with my teeth, and I very quickly noticed that it seemed to hurt more if I lost that focus. When I really experienced the things she did to the teeth with a kind of curious interest the pain became much more tolerable.

I think for two reasons: I was really there, feeling what was happening, not what I anticipated would happen, and I accepted what was happening – it was almost as if I was involved in the actual “poking around.”

I am suspecting this technique can be used in a lot more situations than at the dentists, and using mindfulness and acceptance in those situations, I think a lot of things we feel are intolerable, might actually be both tolerable and even interesting…