Each Wednesday I’m recording a Curiosity Journal to recap the past week. Tag words are: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing.
Some of you have mentioned that you’re keeping a Curiosity Journal, as well. Leave your link in the comments so that we can visit and enjoy your weekly review.
I requested from the library The High Calling‘s book club selection, Mindfulness, by Ellen Langer. When I picked it up, I read a few pages, intrigued. Later, I retold from memory one of the stories to my family. It goes something like this:Imagine you hear the doorbell ring at two o’clock in the morning. Surprised, you stumble downstairs and open the door. Standing before you is a man wearing two diamond rings and a long fur coat. You glance behind him to see a Rolls Royce parked in the driveway.He apologizes for bothering you at this time of night, explaining that he is on a scavenger hunt. To win the game, he needs a piece of wood three feet by seven feet. Could you supply him with this last item on the list? To sweeten the deal, he offers you $10,000 in exchange for the wood.You wrack your brain thinking of a solution, because you know that nothing of that size is stored in the garage or shed. You think of the lumber yard, but it wouldn’t be open at this time of night. Finally you give up and apologize for not having what he needs, and the man drives off.The next day you’re driving through a construction site and see a three foot by seven foot piece of wood leaning against the brick exterior. You could kick yourself. That piece of wood…is a door. You could have plucked any door in your house from its hinges and given it to the man, take his $10,000, and drive to Lowes the next day to buy a replacement door for $50.Why on earth couldn’t you think of that piece of wood the night before? Well, other than the fact that you were probably groggy and not thinking clearly, it may have been that the night before, that piece of wood was stuck in a category known as “door.”Lumping things in categories helps us make sense of the world. Categories help us organize and compare; they help simplify decisions and thought processes, which is helpful for certain activities like grocery shopping, for example. But they also trap us into narrow thinking sometimes, limiting the way we view people or even possible solutions to various problems. Being willing and able to think outside categories can help us live more creative, respectful, innovative lives. Langer would say that relying on categories at times when we need to stretch our thinking is a kind of “mindlessness.”This story is making me, well, think.
After reading this post by Michael Hyatt on how to organize Evernote, I started to play around with the program to organize bits of information, cross country schedules, travel itineraries and packing lists.Now I’m hooked.
Thanks to the book by Langer, I’m learning how to engage my mind instead of shuffling through life without really thinking creatively or attentively.
For one brief, shining moment, my e-mail inbox was completely empty. I was overcome by a sense of glorious freedom.Now, however, I have 24 unread e-mails waiting for me. No, wait…25.
As you can imagine, to empty my inbox, I was writing a lot of e-mails, many filled with lavish apologies for my belated response. I think one had been sitting there since March.
Credits: question mark photo copyright 2011 by Ann Kroeker.
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