Are You Becoming A Dinosaur?

Getting old has certainly made me feel less courageous.

When I stepped into a new role I felt scared. 

After 10 years of doing something that I’ve become comfortable with, changing the status quo was far from my plan. I had to find excuses and talk myself out of an opportunity that was presented to me. But who was I fooling? It wasn’t a case of no-escaping-it kind of a deal. I could just say no but the fact of the matter was, I didn’t have anything better to do.

Getting old has certainly made me feel less courageous. I wanted things to be more steady, predictable, and convenient. Getting cozy with a routine felt like snacking on chips and a bottle of coca-cola on a lazy afternoon. Worry and stress-free. Who wouldn’t want that kind of life?

But alas, the world is changing at a speed faster than a decade ago. We are seeing the dawn of the fourth generation of the industrial revolution, the age of the digital revolution. If we don’t evolve along with it, we will become like dinosaurs on the verge of extinction. 

I believe there would still be human characteristics that cannot be replaced by robotics and artificial intelligence. Think about compassion, empathy, creativity, and human touch for instance. But it doesn’t change the fact that as humans, we need to be continuously learning to catch up and remain useful in the future. 

A casual conversation with friends over breakfast brought things into perspective. 

We all prefer an easy life. 

But who would survive without a little bit of struggle? We weren’t given bread but a seed to plant on the soil. We need some difficulties in life to thrive and grow.

We ought to use our hands, our feet, our brain, our heart (even), and flex those muscles. You know what I mean. Moving and growing is what it means to be truly alive.

Then there is fear

Almost everybody on planet earth is experiencing fear in some way. Some of us are just better at handling it. My favorite mentor would always say these two statements: 

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

“Fake it until you BE it”.

But it’s easier said than done.

What scares us are things that we don’t know.  

We are scared of trying a new job, moving to a new city, getting that degree, saying yes to marriage, having kids, speaking in front of other people, the list goes on and on.

We are terrified about what other people would think if we failed, or say the wrong thing, or mess things up. Unfortunately, it’s only when we fail that we get to know better and do better.

Lastly, we quit before we even start.

As we grew older, we forgot how exciting it feels to dream and to chase a dream. 

We forgot how freeing it can be to embrace life, to get wet in the rain, to play, and get our hands dirty. We forgot how it is to laugh our hearts out, to have fun, and not take ourselves seriously. Painful but, we got old, insecure, and boring.

We have to nip it in the bud and awareness is a good place to start. 

God-willing I want to stay on planet earth much longer and still find ways to contribute. I don’t have superpowers to save the world but at least I’d like to put myself to good use. After all, I believe our lives have a purpose. If we are allowed to participate in this life, why don’t we? I encourage all of us not to count what we’ve already done but what we can still do. We are alive right now, aren’t we? If that’s a yes, let’s start acting like it.

How Learning Can Make More Sense

Creating restores the balance in the universe. Life is always a give and take.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

O.W. Holmes

Right there, do you see what our mind is capable of? It can grow. It can expand. But how?

Learning is a process and can be accomplished by a combination of different methods.

  • Taking a class
  • Reading a book
  • Conducting an Experiment
  • Participating in Group discussions/conversations
  • Attending a seminar
  • Observing
  • Researching
  • Interviewing / Asking questions / listening
  • Practicing/rehearsing

The list can go on and on but learning starts with one thing, being open.

Bruce Lee

In a movie scene, Bruce Lee’s ghost appears to an aspiring student. At one point the master raises two glasses, one filled with water, one filled with soda. Water represents everything that the student already knows. The soda represents what Bruce Lee wants to teach. He now starts pouring the soda into the glass filled with water. As expected, the glass overflows. It can no longer hold the soda since it’s already full. At that point the student understood. He must first empty his glass so he can be filled with something new that the master wants to teach.

Learning in real life is the same thing. We must first empty our cup. That means we must be willing to be taught. We must be willing to listen. We must be willing to fail and do better.

We can always learn by ourselves or through other people.

Every day scientists and all of the great minds in the world discover something new. Everyday too, we are surrounded by people, full of wisdom, and whose lives are built upon rich experiences. All we need to do is tap the source and knowledge will flow.

I love learning from other people. I don’t mind being the most stupid person in the room. If I don’t know, I don’t pretend that I know. I ask. I look for answers. Funny, when it is not knowledge but the wisdom you seek, oftentimes the answers are there staring right in front of you.

At this point, I think you and I can agree that knowledge is information, and wisdom is that deeper sense of understanding. We can have all the information in the world, but knowing what really makes sense and meaningful to you, is a different thing.  

All of us have the capacity to fit millions of stuff into our brains, but we have to be careful though. Our mind is like a garden. The seeds that we sow, bear fruit. The key is, be responsible.

The Next Level

Up until now, we have only emphasized the capacity of our minds to receive information. The next level is it’s the ability to create.

Most of us have become comfortable with the idea of just consuming. Creating requires more muscles to work. So most people would avoid that. If you really want your brain to expand, inspire it to create. Other than that, why do you think should you bother?

Creating restores the balance in the universe. Life is always a give and take.

sundaewrites

You plant, you harvest. You breathe in, you breathe out. Have you tried inhaling oxygen and not exhaling? You won’t be able to do it for more than 20 seconds.

We are not just consumers in this world. We are also called to contribute. Every good thing that we create or do, sends positive energy to the universe and that single thing will have a ripple effect.

Your Challenge

In the vast sea of information you find out there, take one that you could use to create something good. A simple one will do. 

Maybe, it’s “How to make a homemade brownie”. Make some, and invite friends over for tea or coffee. That’s you investing in relationships.

Maybe, it’s “How to grow vegetables in your balcony garden”. Grow some. That’s you being practical, feeding on healthy food, getting involved in producing.

Maybe, it’s “How to play the violin”. Learn, practice, master, and play not just for yourself but for the people around you. That’s you embracing art. It’s good for the soul. Music can soothe weary hearts and lift people up. Just imagine how many lives you can touch playing a beautiful masterpiece.

Simple or complex, it doesn’t matter. Just do something, create something.

Leave your imprints in the world.

Make it more beautiful than you found it.

SUNDAEERITES