Look Up

I could give you great excuses about why I’ve been terrible about posting lately, like how I had to train someone in my old job, have goodbye drinks every night, go to a bachelorette party, move to a new city, start a new job, make new friends, and still shower at least once a week but I’ll take full responsibility for slacking. After all, I have still found time to watch The Bachelorette, read Paper Towns, and browse the frozen food aisle for a solid 20 minutes to choose which Healthy Choice Café Steamer I wanted for dinner on Sunday night. These three things alone are proof that I need to reevaluate my priorities. Also, they are proof that even the busiest person has time to text you if he/she really wanted to. #datingadvice  …But more on that another time.

If you’re skimming right now, that first paragraph serves no real purpose in this blogpost, so you can skip it completely.

Let’s talk about something far less polarizing than texting manners, like police brutality or Caitlyn Jenner. If those subjects don’t bring people together in a kumbaya circle, I don’t know what does. For some unidentifiable reason, though, I am not inspired to unify mankind by addressing either one of those hot topics, so I’ll resort to good old fashioned granny-therapy. This time, we’ll dive into human potential and perhaps figure out why we only use 10% of our brains. Or 5-7%, from what I observe when driving.

Maybe the first paragraph does serve a purpose in that it exemplifies how easy it is for our brains to turn to mush. I love when everything comes together.

Rolling right along… The other night, as I laughed in the face of danger by talking on my cell phone while sitting in the hot tub, my friend and I discussed how easily we partake in mindless activities instead of contributing intricate and lasting art, inventions, discoveries, or humanitarian efforts to the world. Humans are capable of insanely incredible things. Think about the Sistine Chapel or the Parthenon. Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony or The Great Gatsby. (I’m really upset that I feel the need to clarify, but I’m talking about the book, not the movie, you guys.) Apollo 11 or the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer initiative. Chai tea lattes or Taylor Swift’s 1989 (just kidding, just kidding…kind of). Why is it, then, that most of us settle for careers without purpose and nights of mindless television shows or unstimulating social events? Why aren’t we cultivating our minds and prioritizing long term passions and projects? Is the age of immediate entertainment and satisfaction slowly erasing creative efforts that are only accomplished through meticulous dedication over long periods of time?

Sure, technological advances don’t seem to be lacking. Lots of brains in this world have zoned in on ways to computerize basically anything. These inventions and projects are not to be overlooked or devalued– they are certainly proof that brilliance still exists on this earth. As much as technology is the modern shining star of human capabilities, however, it is simultaneously the most significant obstacle for our generation to reach its highest potential in other areas of development. When everything is computerized and presented in convenient formats that do the work for us, why would we challenge our minds? Why read a map? Why learn how to play an instrument? Why call to make a reservation? Why learn equations? Why read when you could watch Netflix? Why write original content on a blank page when you could scroll through Facebook? Why go to the opera when you have YouTube? Why even look up?

You might be thinking, “What does making a reservation or reading a map have to do with expanding our minds?” First of all, because most people in the United States don’t have maps like in the Asian countries and such as. miss-south-carolina-2007-teen-pageant Also, because simple things like making a reservation over the phone or figuring out how to get somewhere force you to interact with the world. The smallest indulgence in the world around us allows our minds to grow and our memories to stick. When your mind is truly engaged and aware, original thoughts, questions, and observations will inevitably arise. With those revelations or curiosities comes deliberate action to find truth and/or create an answer. And in finding truth and creating answers come unique, inspiring, and downright remarkable contributions to society.

Motivation is the key, and to be motivated, you have to engage. Engage in the intricacies of music. Engage in the physical capabilities of your body. Engage in challenging conversations with someone who has a different perspective. Engage in the physics of our complicated universe. Engage in imaginative stories and magical “what ifs.” Let it all sink in, then find a way to interact with it all. Dedicate yourself to the power we all have to accomplish something extraordinary. It could be a book, a piece of fine art, a song, a new calculus theory, a business, a volunteer effort, a running club– anything! Not everything has to be as classically profound as the human achievements in history books. I think about the people who started The Color Run or J.K Rowling’s imagination to create Harry Potter or Kayla Itsines’ growing fitness empire (which must be insanely impressive since even I’ve heard of her, and I do not follow trendy fitness routines or gurus). None of these accomplishments happened overnight, rather these people had ideas and spent hours upon hours prioritizing and refining them. Saying “no” to nights of binging on House of Cards. Saying “no” to Happy Hours or movie nights. Sacrificing momentary entertainment for consistent dedication to a greater goal. This is not to say we can’t ever let loose, but it seems as though “me time” and partaking in activities that don’t challenge our minds have become the norm instead of well-earned treats.

Clearly I fall into the trap of daily distractions, as evidenced by my lack of writing recently. But I don’t want to wake up in 30 years and wonder where the time went. I want to fill it with deliberate effort– to live intentionally, slowly, and with purpose. To give my dreams and ideas direct attention and legs to stand on. If we all lived with the desire to expand the notion of possible, I can only imagine the exciting energy that would be displayed in art, science, and even relationships all around us. No one would ever want to look down. look up

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1 Comment

Filed under General Musings

One response to “Look Up

  1. lola

    Amen Shanny – I couldn’t agree more and this really challenged me – You are a great writer and now you need to submit this to many publications for review. It is certainly relevant in today’s US world

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