A friend suggested that though I am not officially a scientist, I use the scientific method and apply it to my life, and Life. He is on to something. I look at how I live, what I do; and how my beliefs, as far as I am aware of them, have shaped my life. I also observe how others live, and how their beliefs, expressed and implied, have panned out in their lives (from my perspective). I think and consider how I interact with myself and others. I try to see what changes would be useful and good to make, for me and others, and I work to apply them. Am I always successful? No. Am I always "right"? Probably not. But I am between sometimes and usually successful. I see and live a better life as a result.
Can I, by my thoughts, beliefs, and/ or actions, help bring about positive change? Can I improve my daily life, the lives of others, and/ or, possibly, Life itself? I believe I can. My experiences have shown me that I can. Given rise to the idea that perhaps we all can.
Thoughts and openness to trying something new-> modified beliefs-> how we act-> changes in our lives and that of those in our sphere.
A small example. For three years, I took the same route from home to work five, sometimes six days a week. I had found the most expeditious, most interesting, least painful way to drive there, I was sure. Sure that I was being smart. The route even involved a shortcut, a turn down a bumpy side road which bypassed a traffic light and cut down a tenth of a mile. I had the timing of the trip down to the minute. I could reliably make it from home to work, as long as I was not caught behind a school bus, as long as a train did not delay me (on two days it did), in eleven minutes. Sometimes, with the traffic lights in my favor, I could make it in ten minutes. I prided myself on avoiding the most congested areas in my small town, the messy traffic circles, on knowing about and taking the shortcut.
Then, one day, I asked Google. I asked Google how to get to work even though I, of course, already knew the way. The best way. I do not remember why on that day I asked, or why, in retrospect, it took me so long to do so. Unbelievably, but there it was in front of me, it suggested another route. One which took me into the main flow of the town's traffic; one which made me navigate not one but two traffic circles. Could this possibly be a better way to work? Not likely, I consoled myself. Google (any authority) is not always right. Still, I thought, I might as well try it. One day. I think it was on the next day that I tried the new route. I left home with extra time just in case I was, as I felt sure I was, right and my way was the best. The evidence proved me wrong. I found, to my chagrin, but also my delight, that the new path had fewer traffic lights. Why had I not counted before? It had fewer possibly time-delaying traffic lights. (One light, at Rocklin Road, was no longer a has-to-be-green light so I could go through it, becoming a right-turn-on-red-keep-moving light.) I had no longer train tracks to cross, potentially stopping me cold, as they had twice in the past. And, after a few tries, I found the best way through the parking lot near work. The path took me through a potentially busier pedestrian area but saved on mileage and, remarkably, time.
This new route proved to be, reliably, a minute faster. Ten rather than eleven minutes. Sometimes, if everything was a go, two minutes faster. I could now get to work in less time. With fewer traffic lights. Not incidentally, It was also half a mile shorter. One minute is a small amount of time and half a mile is a small amount of distance to save; but over the course of 250+ trips a year, and a year or two, the time and distance add up. Also, I did not once run into school-bus-stop issues.
So I changed my ways. My route. I learned to appreciate the traffic circles. (They take the place of traffic lights, after all, and keep the traffic moving.) I had a new path to work. One that about automatically put me in a slightly better mood thinking about the time, energy, and money saved. An almost automatic slightly better mood which benefited my coworkers and customers and me. Which saved 250 miles of driving a year (!), helped my pocketbook, extended the life of my car, reduced unnecessary travel on the roads and the amount of pollution in the air.
I tell this story because I think it demonstrates this point, this practice: that thinking that because one has some experience under one's belt, that thinking that one has life figured out, the better ways of living life all figured, does not necessarily mean that one has. For three years, I thought I was being smart, clever, wise. By being open to a new idea when it presented itself, by asking myself if there could possibly be a better way, a new possible/ plausible way of thinking and living, I was opened up to new and better experiences.
This is a small example. I have found the same thinking useful and good in bigger settings, in more significant situations also. Like when I chose my belief/ faith understandings.
LyU essays are my attempts to tell you, the reader, about possible new routes for your life. Not, probably, the specifics of them; that is up to you. Ways of thinking for you which can open up your life. The belief system implicit in the essays: life can get/ can be better. Sometimes small tweaks make a big, positive difference. They all require allowing the possibility of better, and being willing to change, and changing.
life is an invitation 4 minute read
You do not have to enjoy, to in-joy, your life if you do not want to. I know people who do not.
the most important thing 4 minute read
Something in your life is the most important thing for you to do right now. What is it?
mindset 10 minute read
One's attitude, one's mindset, can make the difference. A positive difference not only in your life experience but also that of the others around you.
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