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Discovery and Gratitude: Look Inwardly, Thank Outwardly

Discovery and Gratitude: Look Inwardly, Thank Outwardly
    “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." ~André Gide

    Today marks Columbus Day in the United States (as well as other countries who pay it observance, such as Spain and several Latin American countries) and Thanksgiving in Canada. These holidays have shared the same date – the second Monday in October – for exactly 40 years, and considering that many people on both sides of The 49th Parallel have an extra day off from their day jobs as a result, today would be a great day to think on the spirit that these holidays were founded on.

    There will be some folks who are well into their workday today despite these two holidays making an appearance, either because they aren’t from a country that celebrates them or don’t have the day off despite that. Nonetheless, spend some time thinking about discovery and gratitude and how much they play a role in your life – or much they currently don’t – and what you can do to enhance their impact on you and those around you.

    Discovery

    Christopher Columbus is regarded as one of the greatest explorers of all time. While he had many reasons for dedicating his life to exploration, one of them struck a chord with me more than the others: the conversion of non-believers. By setting out to discover new lands that he believed were out there, he was able to prove to those who had no such belief that there were worlds beyond their small corner of the globe.

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    Discovery isn’t just something that can be done in a geographical sense. As individuals, we discover new things about ourselves all the time, especially when we push our boundaries. By exploring our own selves we are able to find things in us that don’t appear on the surface. These things can be small aspects of our personalities or skill sets, or can be huge awakenings that tap into something we never imagined we had in us. Regardless, we’re doing the same thing Columbus set out to do every time we explore the possibilities within us: we’re converting non-believers.

    These non-believers come in all forms. They can be co-workers, family members, friends – even ourselves. In fact, it’s by converting our own limiting beliefs that enables us to continue to push further – discover more – about what we can do. Columbus didn’t just stop at one mass of land and wrap up his exploring efforts. He kept going, finding new places and new ways to get to places for much of his life.

    His life’s work was discovery, and it plays a large part in your life’s work as well.

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    Gratitude

    Let’s face it – we all want more of something. It doesn’t have to be materialistic in nature, but we’re always striving to get more of one thing or another. Again, Columbus didn’t just stop with one discovery, did he?

    Yet we can get caught up in the “wanting” of more without being grateful for what we already have. As odd as this may sound, taking the time to show gratitude for what you’ve already received can actually help you figure out more of what you really want. When you’re showing gratitude for what you’ve got, you’re being mindful. You’re contemplating on things, and mindfulness comes with that. The deeper you go, the more mindful you’ll be. And when you get into that state, you tap into what you really want out of life.

    I’ve found that by being grateful for where I’ve been helps me get clear on where I’m going. I used to look back at the workplaces I had with disdain and would kick myself for staying in those environments for so long. But when I really started to think about and be grateful for where I am now, I began to realize that where I had been had brought me here. Sure, I wasn’t a fan of what I had to do to get here, but if I hadn’t been through that then I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. That sense of gratitude allowed me to let go of my disdain and regret and embrace those experiences instead. The more often you do this, the better your outlook on the life you’ve led as a whole will be. You’ll appreciate the road you’ve taken just as much as the road you’re on right now.

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    Gratitude is freeing. There’s no negativity in it. If you ever want to get clear, get grounded and figure out where to go from here – be thankful for where you’ve been, where you are and all the things in between. You’ll be surprised where that will take you.

    “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    The above quote applies to both discovery and gratitude. With discovery, you’ve got everything at your disposal to make great inroads in yourself. As for gratitude, show it for all that you’ve had and have, and you’ll discover what you need to continue to flourish.

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    Look inwardly, thank outwardly and everything will seem much clearer. And there’s no better path to getting to where you want to go than a clear path.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on March 13, 2019

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

    Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

    You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

    Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

    1. Work on the small tasks.

    When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

    Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

    2. Take a break from your work desk.

    Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

    Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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    3. Upgrade yourself

    Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

    The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

    4. Talk to a friend.

    Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

    Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

    5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

    If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

    Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

    Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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    6. Paint a vision to work towards.

    If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

    Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

    Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

    7. Read a book (or blog).

    The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

    Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

    Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

    8. Have a quick nap.

    If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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    9. Remember why you are doing this.

    Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

    What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

    10. Find some competition.

    Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

    Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

    11. Go exercise.

    Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

    Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

    As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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    Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

    12. Take a good break.

    Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

    Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

    Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

    Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

    More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

    Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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