Nullius In Verba

My previous post about the impact of stories concluded with nudging us to take a step towards asking deeper questions about others and ourselves. A broader perspective and use of questions are touched upon in today’s post.

Nullius in Verba (Latin). It’s literal translation – on the word of no one – can also be defined as to take no one’s word for it or to better yet, question everything.

This is science and philosophy’s foundation. A claim or belief is made, usually with supporting research and anecdotes, whereby that individual or others try to poke holes in it.

We need to practice such in our everyday lives regardless of occupation. We’ve heard the adage that questions provide more value than answers yet we are reluctant to adjust. This is in large part due to our societies view that lack of certainty and knowledge is a sign of weakness.

We must not fall victim to that perspective. Children have this innate ability to be curious often asking more questions than we have the patience and the answers for. The latter is often times unsettling and uncomfortable. We tend to not know responses to those question words- who, where, when, why, what, which, how.

In the professional world, businesses use a technique called the ““5 Why’s” to understand the root cause of a problem. For every answer to a question, you can break it down further to foster a better understanding, separating a symptom from the actual problem.

I take your time here today to nudge you to apply that curiosity you once had many moons ago to your daily lives. This requires being open and pushing aside the stigma we may have of not knowing. This uncomfortableness will diminish as you gain a better understanding of it all.

Test your convictions and those of others by using interrogative words. We will all have a better sense of what we know and more importantly what we do not know.

Although this may seem intrusive at first, try it with professional and personal relationships. Try it with your clients, vendors, customers, patients, competitors. There is much power in understanding those relationships so well that you can foresee their next move. 

We can not be certain of much in this life but to get as close as possible to it will only be to our benefit.

“Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite for acquiring learning of any kind” – Mahatma Gandhi

Stories

Emotions are what connect us to a moment, a place, a person. It leads some to their demise and gives life to others. It’s what causes people to go through similar experiences yet be substantially divergent on where they end up.

Science and research have just begun to tap into its power and theories suggest that emotional intelligence may be more of a determinant of success and leadership ability than IQ. The five components of intelligence – self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill – allow us to harness our thoughts and our actions.

This leads me to discuss the power of stories.

Stories increase our connection between people. Personal stories resonate with us long after conversations cease. Reflect back on the last time someone pried into your story. Did it not increase your connection to them? What about the last time you dug into understanding who someone is? I’m not discussing surface qualities we can detect with our senses. I’m discussing elements that can only be seen with deep questioning.

Stories allow people to care.

The stories we tell and mindfully listen to have a profound impact on the trajectory of our lives. It deepens our understanding of both ourselves and others.

Stories are the closest thing to a teleportation device we have. It allows us to trespass the barriers of time – past, present, and future.

It has such a profound impact that businesses either implicitly or explicitly now all have a story, most of which allow you to understand their what, why and how.

All this should make us contemplate the stories we tell ourselves and that this narrative may have substantially more weight than we give it. It simultaneously pulls and pushes us back into the past and forward into the future.

Do you know your own story? Unleash it and if needed, reframe it. Your story can be told in many ways.

Short-Termism

The gravitational pull to reap a reward now supersedes grander rewards later. We see it in the businesses we work for as well as our personal lives.

Corporations make decisions that will directly contribute to their quarterly numbers, many times at the expense of future success.

We increase our means of living with that raise received rather than saving or investing for our future selves.

What is it that prohibits us from seeing past the next hour, day, week?

The reluctance to delay gratification is an inherent flaw we must all be cognizant of in order to make a change.

We must begin on better controlling our focus. If someone offered us the option of $100 right now or $175 in a year, we are more prone to taking the cash now. The availability of options in which the money can be used today is more tangible than the larger sum in a year.

This may sound counterintuitive but control your focus on something other than the reward. The skill of willpower has to do with moving on.

If we make the decision on reaping the larger reward and release it from our focal point, we aid ourselves in abstaining from dwelling on our past decision.

How often have we been offered a dessert and our guts are genuinely filled to capacity (I’m being conservative here) so we kindly decline the offer? Now, how many times if the host plops the desert tray in front of us, following a brief period of time do we cave in?

Make the right decision and move on.

Practice the strategic allocation of attention. If done, you will have a better grasp of the meaning nothing worth having comes easy.

The Recipe for Healthy Eating: Simplicity

There should be no convincing needed of how many players there are in the food industry, all playing tug of war and you the consumer barely holding on to one end of the rope.

Businesses are there to make profits which encompass not only the obvious farms, restaurants, and grocery chains but also the marketing, advertising, regulating and distributing entities. This interconnectedness has created such a complex infrastructure that many push aside the effort to obtain the knowledge of how that hot pocket came to existence on your plate which will soon be devoured in seconds.

It’s convenient for businesses to run off of complexity. We do not have the time nor energy to devote to areas where the rewards of understanding seem minuscule. If it were simple, the business would cease to exist.

This is imperative to understanding what to eat that’s conducive to our human anatomies. We are the only animal species that seek advice for what, when and how to eat. Coincidence in our capitalistic society?

Muddying the water was in the best interest of businesses with the consumers fueling their continued success at the expense of their wealth and health. Fortunately, if we just turn around, we’ll notice the river behind us and realize the mud will never dissipate because the water is stained brown.

More produce. Less meat. No processed foods. Small portions.

This runs opposite of what is profitable for businesses but until they genuinely care about people’s well-being, you should not continue to funnel money to give them more power.

Follow this simple recipe and not only will you feel, think and look better but you’ll be monetarily wealthier. We live in a time where produce is relatively cheap. Eat it. This route needs to be taken prior to discussing organic, GMO’s, antibiotic free, gluten free, whole wheat etc. Let’s hop on the time capsule to the past and eat what our ancestors had an abundance of.

Create the habit of following this guideline and the habit will eventually recreate you.

Uncomfortable Adventures

 

Sound appealing? Let me convince you otherwise being your subconscious has already answered.

Comfort gives us all a sense of security, the equivalent of a vehicle’s cruise control.

Placing yourself in a world where comfort is dislocated from your psychological state increases your attentiveness and awareness of not only yourself but of others. With fear, once it is conquered, the dopamine rush is our reward. That dopamine spike is what we obtain when we drink, smoke, drive over the speed limit, make risky decisions. The downside of displacing yourself from your norm into another culture is nowhere near the risk of our daily habits. The upside is for you to decide once you take the leap over.

Travel against the currents. This requires more effort but the reward is substantially greater. If the locals are accustomed to tourists, strap on their shoes and see what they see. They will aim to adapt to your language and norms to put you back into the comfortable lounge chair. The local believes if he makes more of a seamless transition for you, he will profit more and you tend to enjoy the lack of effort required to reverse the tides.

Do not become complacent while traveling, let alone real life. Travel to increase your knowledge of the world. Dogmatism is one of the seven deadly sins of speaking (gossiping, judging, negativity, complaining, excuses, lying being the others). The belief that your opinion is fact will be shattered when you and a local are looking at the same object, landscape, abstract; you name it but are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum on perspective.

This should increase your self-awareness. Question yourself? How do you cope with a different view of the world where back home it was regarded as a law and not as a theory? Reflect on your answers. Being self-aware increases our life’s satisfaction. Let this be a stride for what we all are after.

This leads to the final point. We can all agree that Americans should have a quota on how much an individual can speak per day. Most of what is said does not add any value to our lives. Displacing yourself into a place where the language differs allows us, by creating a barrier, to listen more and speak less. What a wonderful sound to mindfully listen and observe without having the full ammunition to communicate back.

 

 

Mistreatment Of Our Most Precious Commodity

Our priority lists of what we value have completely transformed since the industrialization of our world. That era was made to increase productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness which was all either directly or indirectly tied to time.

How is it that since then, we treat it only as a way to schedule plans? How is our most precious commodity, something you can never buy nor buy back, being so mindlessly wasted?

Couple this with our myopic view in decision-making and the canvas is painted on where we are headed. The insatiable desire to fulfill the now robs us of our time in the future. We make decisions to satisfy the now and justify that we may not be here tomorrow (you only live once). Well, I am here to tell you that mantra should die immediately. You only die once. You have the opportunity to live every day.

Would you make a bet with me for $5000 that you will not be alive tomorrow, foregoing that you purposefully take your own life somehow? So why do we fall victim to treat our mind, body, and wealth as if it may not be here tomorrow? Retrospectively speaking, think of the numerous times you made a decision based on that mantra and the next day you woke up.

Health, wealth, and the expansion of wisdom are a select few facets in which time profoundly affects its outcome. The friction is increasing and the pendulum will slowly begin swinging back towards realizing the power of time. Once this eureka moment hits, our perspective on what we value will shuffle back to creating a more sustainable life and society.