Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day

OK, so it’s been almost a month since I undertook to improve myself via the instruction provided in Life’s Little Instruction Book… as I mentioned in my previous post, there’s 1,560 of them so, not so little a book. And impossible to start doing them all at once. So, I thought “one step at a time” (a fairly common and highly recommended approach) and started with Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.

Now at first glance, this seems fairly straight forward, fairly easy… very achievable. Turns out, either it’s actually not… or I’m a mean, nasty, horribly selfish person! Now I admit, (as is my nature) I started off very enthusiastically, though I did cheat a little by sending out a generic (but genuine) compliment to the Twitter community, and then it did kind of peter out quite a bit.

When it came to the real live people I was complimenting, I predicted that a pattern would emerge fairly quickly. Those who knew me, were genuinely thankful and touched by my compliments (I decided early on that I needed to be genuine with my compliments otherwise, what was the point?). This was a good thing. This was a great thing.  In return for taking the time to say a few nice words to my friends and family, I was rewarded with a few moments of conscious and heart felt love. I was loved.

In the other camp, I had thought, that the people whom I didn’t know – strangers, for want of a better term – would look upon me with great suspicion. But I was wrong, partly… There were those who showed fear and mistrust. But that may have been down to my own apprehension and uneasiness at delivering such a personal observation to a stranger. Maybe the compliments didn’t come across as so. But mostly, people actually responded positively. And I was again rewarded with a little bit of conscious and heartfelt love.

Like the archetypal Brit, I find it difficult to be open with my emotions. Sometimes even with those close to me, never mind with complete and utter strangers. I think we can all agree that it’s a fear thing. But, putting my psycho-analysis to one side for the moment, this experience has taught me that there is some truth in the saying “it is better to give than to receive” because actually, when you give you get a little back too. And braving the emotional hurdle of “giving” kindness to strangers is definitely worth a try, as it increases the chances of “receiving” a little conscious love.

Now, as I said earlier, my enthusiasm for “giving” fizzled out a little and I admit that making a conscious effort to compliment 3 people every day, in the end, was too demanding for me (whether that makes me mean, nasty, horrible and selfish is a subject of a much longer and deeper blog, no doubt). BUT I do, now,  try and remember to spot opportunties for complimenting people – loved ones and strangers alike – in the hope of spreading a little love. I’m just not counting, that’s all.

Why don’t you go ahead and give it a try yourself.

In the meantime, I’m going to try out another little instruction… Instruction #1128 – Write some poetry.


Heaven or Hell? Rollercoasters

You would be forgiven for thinking me a little negative yesterday. Adversely affected by the book that I told you about, maybe? So, I thought I’d set the record straight (should I need to). I took a lot of positive messages from the book that made me cry (as it shall now be known). Messages, which I’m sure will become the subjects of blogs to come.

For now though, I thought we’d talk about fun stuff! One of the key metaphors running through the book was the fairground where the main character, Eddie worked. I’m sure we can all see the metaphor in the Roller Coaster for life. Ups and downs. Thrills and spills. And it got me thinking… I haven’t been on a coaster in years!

I’m a Roller Coaster person. Or at least I think I am. Not so much the Oblivion kind (where they lift you up and drop you 180ft) more the “old fashioned” Space Mountain kind. Although I have to say, my favourite ever fairground ride is the Waltzers. The speed, the spin, the lights and the music. I generally wobble off one of those with acutely painful chops because I’ve laughed so hard!

But, is it weird that some of us love to scare the living daylights out of ourselves? Is it rebellion against an otherwise mundane existence? Is it the surrender of control? Is it the physical sensation when the coaster drops and you feel your stomach rise to your throat and then fall to your knees? Is it an assertion of our youth? our strength of mind? our courage of heart? Who knows? Who cares? I love them!

Though, I’m not sure even I’d be brave enough to tackle Kinga Ka!! Must be getting old…. 😉

88 miles per hour, Marty!

Well, today is a long day. There are 29 hours in today, in fact! How have I achieved this? you’re wondering… did I stumble into a wormhole on my way to the supermarket? Did I bump into Doc Brown or the other good Doctor? and borrow their rides? Well sort of.
I did go back in time today. Twice.

Time is a funny thing. We have been watching and measuring time since the 3rd Century BC (probably longer). In fact, it’s another one of life’s little conversational obsessions (see earlier post re: the weather!).

Time can be simultaneously snail like and faster than Mario Andretti, yet always constant. “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of sixty minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.” – C.S. Lewis. Some people never have enough, others have way too much.

The spooky thing is, though, we know how long time takes, but none of us know how much time we actually have. It’s like having a bank account that keeps giving you cash until one day it stops without warning. We can read the statements of how much we’ve spent and what we’ve spent it on, but we have no idea what the balance is! And yet, with what is definitely a finite, and possibly for some a rare, commodity, how much of it do we waste?

So, what have I done with my extra hours today? Have I achieved something positive for the world? Have I improved myself as a human being? Nope. Not really (though I am still working on Instruction #1). I’ve spent my extra hours researching and writing my blog and now I think I’ll wander down to the bar and quietly take in the view over the river, with a wee nightcap.

You’ll have to excuse my existential musings this evening. I read a book on my travels today called “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” by Mitch Albom. It made me cry (actual tears)… and it’s clearly got me thinking…

OK, OK, I’ve milked it enough… Time; we shouldn’t waste it “we get it!”

Back to the subject of my 29 hour day…

You’ve probably already worked it out for yourself. But in case you haven’t, here’s an explanation:

Firstly, along with the rest of the UK I gained an extra hour as the clocks changed, marking the end of British Summertime, at once a sad and happy event. Sad because, no more summer – boo! And happy because, an extra hour in bed – yay! And then I got on a plane and landed 4 hours in the past, whilst my loved ones remain in the future. I just hope I can get back! Now where did I put the keys to the Delorean?

Life’s Little Instruction Book

One of my good Twitter buddies @Stephen_OConnor referenced an intriguing book in one of his tweets about a month ago – “Using my “life’s little instruction book” for my tweets today” . Now being, as I am, an interested party in the meaning of life as well as the continuous improvement of myself, I thought – this could be a useful tool, or at the very least an interesting read. So, I promptly navigated to Amazon and bought a copy.

The book arrived 2 days later, complete with 2 volumes of hints and tips to live a good life… 1,560 of them! Not so little, I thought. But having skimmed a few pages, I started to think, hey! this isn’t such a bad idea… It may not earn me a Sainthood, but it might just help me to expand my horizons a little and I may well learn a few things. After all is learning not what this blog is all about for me?

So I’m going to give it a try – I’m going to try out some of Life’s Little Instructions and I’ll let you know what happens.

Instruction #1 – Compliment 3 people every day.