memento mori

27 you can't

Remember you are mortal.

The fifth elemental truth is: You are going to die.

Every one of us, without exception.

Quantitatively, one minute measures exactly the same for each of us.

Qualitatively, one person’s minute looks completely different to another’s.

We overestimate what we can do with a day – my problem every day.

And we underestimate what we are able to do in a lifetime.

When we use our moments to focus on the negative in ourselves and one another we can get very stuck: ‘focusing on the pathologies of depression, anxiety, suicide, and PTSD was the tail wagging the dog’.*

When we use the same moments to focus on the positive in ourselves and one another we progress: ‘positive expectations allow is to enjoy things more and improve our perception of the world around us.  The danger of expecting nothing, is that, in the end, it might be all we get.’**

This focus of moments on the positive is referred to in several ways, including: positive inquiry, mindfulness, wellbeing, presence, and resilience.  Each of these means provides understands it is possible for our essential Self to learn a positive joie de vivre, out of which our creativity flows.

We can begin to use our time more positively by asking a question.

Why does this happen in this way?
How might we do this better?

What would the world look like if this changed?
What if lots of people got involved in this?
If there are particular skills to move this, that are they?
Who has/have these skills?
If we don’t know anyone who has these skills, how can we find them?
Who do we know with the skills to find the people with the skills we need?
What are some of the obstacles preventing people from using their skills?

The first question isn’t the thing.  You’re not looking to answer the first question, but to find the next question (as I did, above, in a few seconds) and the next – rather than providing an answer.  You don’t want to be the expert when the expert is defined as “the person who has the answer.”  Unless it’s an expert at asking questions.

As neurologist Robert Burton proffers:

Why did I ask that question? … Every time you come up with a question, you should be wondering, What are the underlying assumptions of that question?  Is there a different question I should be asking?“^

We are beginning to use our time differently.

Memento mori.  Now we can live within a different question.

(*From Martin Seligman’s Flourish.  Seligman is arguing a more critical response to be made in the direction or resilience and growth.)
(**From Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational.)
(^From Warren Berger’s A More Beautiful Question.)

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