I’m currently reading Arianna Huffington’s new book, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder. I’m not even a quarter of the way through, but the concept of wonder really has me thinking, specifically about how to bring wonder back to your life.
I’m pretty sure a part of the problem has to do with the devices we all carry around. Have you ever gone into a store, a coffee shop, waited in a doctor’s office, for a train and watched the people around you? Everyone is looking at their phone! Now I’m guilt as the rest, I love my phone, I mean L-O-V-E my phone. But, with a toddler, when in said store, coffee shop, doctor’s office, train, I’m more apt to be running after her, telling her no, saying sorry to those around me, etc. than looking at my phone. And, well, when you aren’t on your phone, it’s eye-opening to see how obsessed we all really are.
Now technology is pretty wonderful but it can create a rather myopic view of the world. It has a way of creating stress, comparison, guilt simply by being available, all. the. time. We’ve lost the ability to sit still, do nothing, be bored. We’ve also lost the ability to see the world around us, the big picture.
And what I’ve found is that when the big picture disappears, too does the wonder. So, I thought I’d share how to bring wonder back to your life and beat the device myopia.
Follow a kid around.
No seriously, spend the day, an afternoon, heck, an hour with a kid. Don’t have one? Offer to babysit your friend’s kid, they’ll love you for it! Kids have the best imaginations and curiosities. Noe is in a stage of constantly asking “what’s that?” Although sometimes I can’t even tell her what that certain something is (I’m looking at you random pie tin on the sidewalk half filled with water). But regardless of what the “it” is, I often find that she’s noticing something I’ve completely ignored: an airplane leaving a jet trail across the sky, ants marching on the sidewalk, a dog a block down the street wagging it’s tail. There are so many opportunities to see the world differently if you take the time to notice.
Case in point, the photo below is from one of my runs last week. The local produce store was unloading sunflowers, there were hundreds upon hundreds of flowers in their parking lot, it was pretty amazing to see.
The problem with our phones is that they keep us so down turned. It’s become so bad that doctors have actually coined a medical term for the effects of your phone on your posture, text neck! Instead, try looking up. The other night, after I’d put Noe to bed, I was watering the plants and looked up to see the moon. Have you taken a moment to think about the moon recently? The fact that it’s so far away yet part of our day to day is pretty mind-blowing. When you stop to think about that, how can you not feel a sense of wonder?
Go somewhere that makes you feel small. Our phones have a tendency to make us and our problems, feel really big. Climb a mountain, head to the ocean, stand on a busy city street (without looking down at your phone). The magnitude of the events, things and people in the world that have nothing to do with you can be pretty humbling. The other morning I ran to the top of a hill near our house. I spent a few minutes looking out over the bay, San Francisco, the bridges, the boats. When I think about the millions of people out there right now, starting their days, living their lives, it’s pretty wondrous and amazing.
Finding wonder doesn’t require money or much time at all, you just need a shift in perspective.
Today’s Makings Of Small Step: Take two minutes, out of your day, that you would normally spend looking at your phone and search for some wonder.