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3 Little Epiphanies to Make Life Better

Sometimes in life there are moments when something you know becomes something that you know. It’s a sudden insight that feels like some kind of revelation.

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  • It might be the sort of thing you would have answered correctly on a test, but maybe you hadn’t noticed it all that much until now.
  • Or you might never have thought of it, but now that you see it, it has your attention in a big way.
  • This second kind of knowing might come with a burst of excitement, or maybe a sense of awe.
  • It might also come with the thought, “How have I gotten to this part of my life without noticing this yet? This is going to be a big help to me from now on.”

I can think of a few to offer as examples.

Respect the Unknown. One night, years ago, I was very tired, and reading a novel. I was sure I’d be asleep in just a few minutes. However, in the story, a wise old woman told a young, much less experienced woman that her trouble was… that her struggles with what she was learning… existed because she “didn’t respect the unknown.” Instead, she was enamored with what she did know. And she hadn’t grasped that there was a whole universe of things beyond her (current) knowing. This idea, which is so simple, woke me right up.

I think it’s so easy to be like that young woman, and to forget about the universe of things we don’t know. And it’s so great to remember that there is so much more to learn.

Improve Your Mood. One day my favorite professor was talking about mood and motivation. It should seem obvious that being in a bad mood drastically reduces our desire to start doing something or to keep doing it. In other words, our moods affect our motivation.

So, he said, it’s a good idea to take steps to improve your mood. Talk with a friend, go for a walk, play some upbeat music. In other words… take charge and feel better (assuming there wasn’t a tragedy that will take a lot more time).

Note what happened to trigger the negative mood, and use that information for the future. But still, see if you can’t lift your mood so that you can get things done. (And of course you don’t want to wall them off or ignore them all together.)

I’d grown up around people who believed that one should “experience one’s feelings,” you know… thoroughly. Don’t squelch or stifle them, but be “in touch” with them.

So the idea that it was okay to purposely move past a negative mood was a memorable shift in my personal space-time continuum. Not to mention that it provides a certain kind of freedom.

A Little Discomfort Can Take You a Long Way. Recently I was reading a post that somewhat casually mentioned that

In order to get things done
that are worth doing
we will usually experience some discomfort

This is the most obvious thing in the world, but also, I saw it at the right moment—just as I was considering the challenges I’ve laid out for my 2014 goals.

So I thought, “Don’t be afraid of that kind of discomfort.”

  • Get up early, it’s okay.
  • Remember that it’s satisfying to teach, write, and learn. It’s worth the effort to do the best you can.
  • Walk those 600 miles—it’s worth it.
  • Don’t be afraid, and remember how great it feels to meet the little goals that add up to the big ones.
  • And remember how great it feels to reach those goals that do take a lot of effort.

A little discomfort is okay. Embrace it. Ride it all the way to a remarkable year.

We might think our view of the world is the way it is, and forget to respect what we don’t know. Without realizing it, we can believe things that don’t really serve us anymore. Plus, we can discover that something we learned in the past isn’t as helpful as we thought.

So many things require a little discomfort… eating right, exercising, studying, writing, or accomplishing any big goal. It’s okay. We can work toward our goals anyway. It’s worth it.

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