“You need to let the little things that would ordinarily bore you suddenly thrill you.”-Andy Warhol
That quote is important for one main reason: it instructs you to find value in the seemingly unimportant things in life. And two of those seemingly unimportant things we are going to focus on today are (1) your unlocked capability to problem solve, and (2) the unknown indirect benefits of the world around you.
So in this post, I will be giving you two different exercises in order for you to find value in you and the world.
And before we get into the exercises, I want you to know I created them based on two of the five lessons discussed in my newest YouTube video. The video is called 5 Ways my Brain Injury Helped Me Love My Life (From Rock Bottom to Breakthrough), and if you haven’t watched it yet, make sure you do that first by clicking here!
Okay, now that you’ve watched the video, let’s get started on the exercises.
Exercise #1 Unlock Your Capabilities
This exercise stems from lesson #1 in the video, “humans are honest-to-goodness the most astounding creatures.”
For this exercise you are going to contrast your abilities (what you can physically do) with your capabilities (what you can think about doing to enhance your abilities). You see, people often get stuck focusing on their abilities which ends up holding them back from being efficient and reaching their goals. When you only focus on your physical abilities, you don’t spend the necessary time thinking about and implementing extra work (or even slightly different work) to make improvements.
For example, let’s say you want to cook a nice roast for dinner. You are physically able to go to the store, purchase the meat, turn on the oven, and stick the meat in the oven to cook.
That’s all fine and dandy, BUT … your roast is a little dry and doesn’t have a lot of flavour. After that experience, you unfortunately conclude you cannot cook very well.
NOT TRUE. You are basing that conclusion off of your abilities alone. What you need to do is step up your game and use your mental capacity to enhance your abilities. So instead of just throwing the roast in a pan and turning on the oven, you hop on Google to get the following information:
- What is the best time and temperature to cook a roast at?
- At what internal temperature should I remove a roast from the oven?
- What is the best roasting pan material to use for even cooking?
- Should I use a method other than baking to keep the roast moist?
- What are some good marinade options to keep the roast moist and flavourful?
- What cut of meat of what time of animal is the most tender?
Amazing! You just gathered all the necessary information and ended up cooking a fantastic roast for dinner! That happened because you used your capabilities – your mental capacity – to make improvements to your original goal. So it wasn’t that you were a bad cook before, it was just that you didn’t take the extra steps to become a better cook.
See, humans are astounding and we can think our way out of complicated situations and towards our goals!
So for the exercise, I want you to grab a piece of paper and …
(1) Create 3 columns.
(2) In the first column, write down:
i. Some things you’ve been having trouble with lately. It could be cooking a juicy roast, losing weight, or even putting down the bottle of wine after 1 glass.
ii. Some goals you have not yet attempted but want to achieve in the future. They could be…well… cooking a juicy roast, losing weight, or even putting down the bottle of wine after 1 glass.
This will be your “failures and goals” column.
(3) In the second column I want you to write down:
i. What actions you took to subsequently cause the failures written in column 1. So if you failed at making a juicy roast, in column 2 you are going to write down your actions which were, you turned on the oven, put the roast in a pan, put it in the oven, and took it out after an hour.
ii. What you can physically do – at the most basic level – to achieve those goals. So if you want to lose weight, you’d have to exercise and consume healthier foods.
This will be your abilities column.
(4) In the final column I want you to write down:
i. Some additional things you can do / information you can gather to stop failing, or at least start failing less. So if you want to make a juicy roast, you could Google a lot of information on how to make a juicy roast (as I mentioned earlier).
ii. Some specific strategies you can come up with to reach your goals. So if you want to lose weight, you will research different diets, eliminate foods that cause inflammation, find a diet that works well with your lifestyle, learn how to cook, and sign up for a gym membership (then actually use the membership).
This will be your capabilities column.
By using your mind, you will be able to enhance your natural abilities to become a stronger, more intelligent, and more resilient version of yourself. When you focus on your capabilities, you are giving fuel to potentialities so you can create them as a reality for yourself in the future.
Exercise #2 Unlock the Value in the World
This exercise stems from lesson #3 in the video, “existence is a miracle.”
For this exercise you are going to dive deep on how the “ordinary” things in your life provide you with value.
So a classic exercise to do here is to write down a list of 10 things you are grateful for. That is helpful but I want you to take it a step further. You see, if you can think about something you are grateful for, you already recognize it as something that provides you value.
So instead, what I want you to do is …
(1) Grab a piece of paper, walk around your home, neighbourhood, and / or workplace and write down 10 things that you see. Yes, just 10 random things.
(2) As you create your list, I don’t just want you to write down what those things are, I also want you to write down why those things are important to you. YUP! You see, I can bet you’ve never thought about the value your closet gives you.
So if the first three items on my list look like this: closet, laptop, leaf. The rest of my reflection will look like this:
Closet – The closet allows me to hang my jackets and keep shoes organized. Because jackets are off the ground and instead, hung on a hanger, I can keep the floor clean. Keeping a clean and organized house gives me confidence and makes me feel accomplished.
Laptop – This week I posted a YouTube video and a blog. I used my laptop to edit videos and write content. It is not an expensive or fancy laptop but it gets the job done. As a result, I am able to spread a motivational and educational message and therefore have a positive impact on people’s lives. I know this impact occurs because of the feedback I have received from others. That feedback motivates me to continue creating content.
Leaf – This leaf has since died and fallen from a tree. That means it was once living and attached to a living tree. Next spring, the tree will grow leaves again and will produce oxygen for me and other creatures to breathe. Oxygen keeps us all alive. The leaf symbolizes life on Earth.
See what I did there? I realized how the ordinary things that exist around me actually provide me a tonne of value. Existence is truly a miracle!
I encourage you to give these exercises a shot. If you tried them out and enjoyed the outcome, let me know by commenting on my newest Instagram post and commenting below on this post! AND if you think someone in your life should try these exercises, don’t forget to share this post with them!
As always, Happy Monday!
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*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional advice.