A few years ago I was procrastinating at work and stumbled upon a list of quotes from someone’s high school economics teacher. The introduction seemed interesting so I mulled it over – did I want to spend my time reading someone else’s words of wisdom?
Eventually I stumbled upon an idea that I, personally, really liked. It seemed like an opportunity to show change and growth over the years, would allow me to look back and see what I thought was important at the time, or highlight a lesson learned.
The idea: each year sit down and write a “little thoughts” list. Just sit down and reflect over the last few months and what I’d learned. Try to sum it up into coherent sentences. Publish for the general public. Take over the world.
Just kidding. I don’t want to take over the world. That would be miserable.
At any rate, I recently stumbled upon my first pass at it. I completed it before reading the list published online, and don’t think I ever actually read that other list. Not reading that list is fine with me – I intended this to be a project focused on introspective thought and it wouldn’t be very introspective if I let someone else’s lessons influence my own.
Little Thoughts (2013)
1. You will find people polarize on many different topics (football to politics, religion to hair cutting techniques). Don’t avoid the polarizing conversations – it is not only how you learn about other people but if you avoid those discussions you will spend a lot of time focusing on the weather.
2. Good shoes are a worthy investment. Only buy shoes that you would be willing to wear for an entire day of walking around Disneyland.
3. On alcohol – remember to stand up and move around sometimes. It allows you to gauge how much you’ve consumed.
4. Running and laughter are the best medicines in the world.
5. Moving in with someone is difficult. Relax and take it easy. The moments you stress about now are the ones you’ll laugh at later.
6. Sit down with your resume and three different colored highlighters. Highlight all similar things in one color and work your way through your resume. At the end you should have three main topics/paths/focuses that jump out at you. From here on out, only put stuff into your resume that supports one or more of those three themes.
7. It is always going to be warmer/colder/wetter than the clothes you are wearing. Keep a sweater, tank top, and rain jacket in your car.
8. Being injured is a great opportunity to try something new.
9. It is only an opportunity if you make it one. Apply for all of the jobs you think look interesting, say yes to all the international travel opportunities you get, and never turn down a chance to be with friends.
10. Speaking of international travel, do it. As often as possible.
11. Send handwritten thank you cards. Christmas, birthdays, random thanks, and after interviews. Always after interviews.
12. If the street performer caught your attention, walk over and give him your change or a dollar.
13. Sometimes work will attempt to consume your soul. Don’t let it. Remember, you work so that you can pay to do the things you like. That’s it.
14. There is a time and a place for sarcasm. And it is not everywhere and always.
15. It’s okay to not be okay.
16. Ice cream for dinner is acceptable as long as you don’t do it every night.
17. Be smart – driving distracted has the potential to ruin more lives than you could ever imagine.
18. Always be nice to the cashier at the store. You are the billionth customer they’ve had today and they still have to ask how you are doing. They don’t really care. Ask about their day. Make them laugh. Be the “out-of-the-ordinary” customer, in a good way.
19. Four things to do each day: something for your body (exercise), something for your mind (read a book), something for someone close to you (friend, family, etc.), and something for society (volunteer, pick up trash, etc.). It helps you remain balanced.
20. Those thirty minutes when you first arrive at the office? Don’t check email, don’t pick up your phone, and don’t use the internet. Use that time to get organized, plan out your day, review your calendar, and make sure you have your shit together. It makes the rest of the day easier.
21. Facebook, blogs, personal email, etc. at work are a bad idea. Researching classes, seminars, conferences, reading industry articles? Great idea. Shows initiative and allows you to remember how you fit into the big picture.
22. Aim to give at least one sincere compliment each day. When you do that naturally, bump it up to two.
23. Focus on the positive. You’ll feel better for it.
24. Keep an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, and tube of deodorant in your desk at work, and extras in the trunk of your car.
25. Put money into your savings. You never know – this could be the month that you need to buy new brakes and a new windshield, right after you purchased that plane ticket for your friend’s funeral, which you’ll come home from and find that your refrigerator is broken and all your food rotted.
26. Keep plants in your apartment or house. They purify the air and have amazing powers of relaxation.
27. Separate yourself from technology multiple times a year. A weekend here, a weekend there, and at least one week-long vacation. You’ll hate looking at your inbox when you return, but that week allows you to focus and find your center. Totally worth it.
28. Yoga really is as beneficial as people tell you. But it is okay if you just don’t want to do it.
29. You do not need permission to be passionate about something. If you find something that you like, explore it. Find your passion and do not look back.
30. Appreciate other people. Better yet, appreciate them and let them know. It could be the best part of their day or week.
Time spent: 34 minutes