Inertia seems to be the force that many times rules our lives: we do things repeatedly without much awareness or will to change them, missing on the way a few key ingredients for a rich life: curiosity and appreciation.
Jim Taylor defines life inertia as “the tendency of people, having once established a life trajectory, to continue on that course unless acted on by a greater force.” Our lives often become stagnant: we repeat the same routine, habits, and patter, and unless we apply some force to it, it may not change.
We recently mentioned that studies show that whilst our genetics determine perhaps half of our happiness, of the remainder, 80% depends on us, on our actions, and only 20% is the effect of life events. Let’s make the most of that 80% by appreciating what’s around us and what we have, and by being curious and learning something new every day. These are 5 daily situations which you can be inspired from:
Situation 1: Our commute
Taking the bus, the train or the metro to go to work is a common situation for many of us; those who live in large cities often have to travel 30 minutes or more to get to the office. So the picture of people sitting or standing on the bus or in a carriage staring down at their phones shouldn’t be at all unfamiliar.
There is nothing wrong per se in concentrating on our devices, interacting digitally with our social networks, reading the news, playing games or listening to music. It’s the routine, the autopilot, that is not OK, that little by little kills our curiosity and attention. Consider, for a change, just looking out of the window. Look at the people, the houses, the traffic. Take notice; let your mind wander and your imagination flow: “What could they be doing?” Where could they be heading to?” Every person, every home, is an entire different book of stories and an opportunity to awaken our curiosity and appreciation of our environment.
Situation 2: The everyday interaction with people
As was said above, every person has his or her own story to tell. I remember I had a friend in high school who had this power of making people feel great. I became aware of that magnet she seemed to have and started to notice the way she interacted with me and with pretty much everyone, and I quickly found that the main reason why people loved her company was because she could listen to you and talk about your issues for hours, without any self-reference, and with what seemed genuine interest.
Her attitude inspired me to follow suit. I like speaking to people, listening to what they have to say and how they say it. I’ve heard a lot of stories, and for that reason I have many stories to write about.
The Dalai Lama said: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you might learn something new.”
The world is giving you answers each day. Learn to listen.The world is giving you answers each day. Learn to listen. Click To Tweet
Situation 3: The lunch break
If you work in an office, how often have you had lunch at your desk while still attempting to work? Alright, sometimes we are very busy, we have deadlines to meet, and there is no other option. But you shouldn’t make it a habit.
In this super fast-paced life we lead, we need to learn again to connect more with our people, with our environment, to be present in conversations and to enjoy the everyday things.
Why don’t you go to the lunch area and chat with your colleagues? Or maybe even better, why don’t you go for a snack to a park and sit in the sun?
Or if you are at home and having lunch on your own, surely more than once you have prepared something quick and eaten, fork in one hand, phone in the other. Can you think of a way to make it more interesting? What about using the balcony, the terrace, the garden…? Or maybe just playing some music? Anything that allows you to savour your meal will work.
Pausing and disconnecting from your routine will also help to clear your mind and make room for new thoughts and ideas. Don’t underestimate these 30 minutes of the day and make good use of them.
Situation 4: Your close circle
Taking things for granted is also associated with this concept of life inertia. Love should never be taken for granted. Your family, your friends, the people around you that make you laugh and be a good person… they should never be taken for granted. Many of the things you take for granted are things that some people may be praying for.
So don’t rely on Facebook or WhatsApp; pay them a visit from time to time. Make an effort to leave your responsibilities and worries aside and spend some quality time with them.Love should never be taken for granted. Click To Tweet
Situation 5: What you do for a living
Unfortunately, not many people get to love or enjoy what they do for a living. I’m not sure about the percentage, but it’s certainly small in comparison to the people that only go to their jobs because they have to earn their money. If you don’t like what you do or are not happy where you are, then do something about it. Don’t not get stuck in a place just because “that’s what it is”. Your job is where you spend most of your time, so if you are not happy with it, keep looking. If you are not happy with your career, keep looking. If you are not happy, be curious to see what’s out there, what other options you have, what else you can learn. Keep looking.If you are not happy, keep looking. Click To Tweet
To sum up: we usually spend too much time looking for more, instead of appreciating what we already have, and the autopilot mode kills our curiosity and interest.
Please bring them back.