A new way of looking at things...

Other than this quote I’ve never read Henry Miller — although he is definitely an author that is on the list of must-reads.


“One’s destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things”

What excites me about this quote is not so much the fact that the quote is by Henry Miller but rather he’s touched one of my most favourite topics — the value that comes with looking at things differently, or as Mr. Miller calls it, a new way of looking at things. I probably should correct myself; it’s not just my most favourite topic, it has become a personal and professional mantra.

Up and above the personal joy that comes when someone brings up the topic, there is insight that the place you want to be is the result of looking at things in a new way — and more exciting still, this isn’t just a literal destination (like sitting on top of a warm volcano in Iceland) but also the endless number of figurative locations you may want for find yourself (like the solution of a problem, a happier sense of self, or a career opportunity).

It really is such a simple formula — adopting a new way of looking at things will take you where you want to be, and in doing so has taken you to where you should be. Thinking and looking at things in a new way will take you to a place that will ultimately take you anywhere; it is the destination that opens the door to everything.

At this point I feel obliged to share the story about the Bird and the Snake (which, believe it or not, will be relevant). I can’t really remember where I heard this story and it will take a little imagination —

One sunny day a snake was slithering along on his way to the annual snake convention; he was one of the key note speakers which is a big honour in the world of a snake. The travel was easy and he was making good time until he came to a very deep, and very wide, crevasse.

The snake’s mood became very dark because he just couldn’t figure out how he’d get across the divide and was most certainly going to miss the convention. High above a bird was circling watching the snake ponder the situation and smiled as the snake became more and more agitated. As if the snake could sense being watched he looked up and spotted the bird.

Hey bird?!

What do you want snake?! (as you know birds don’t like snakes so the response dripped with distain)

Can you come down here and carry me across this crevasse. I have to get somewhere.

Why would I do that? You will just bite me and I will die.

No I won’t. I really need get to the snake convention and I would take it as a personal favour. In fact, I will tell all the other snakes what you did for me and they will never bother you again.

How do I know you won’t bite me when we are crossing the crevasse?

Why would I do that? We would both fall to our deaths.

This made some sense to the bird and it would be nice not to have to worry about snakes — they were always trying to eat him. The bird flew down and with a little hesitation introduced himself. And good to his word the snake didn’t bite the bird. The bird picked up the snake and started to cross the crevasse. About half way across the bird looked at the snake and the snake looked at the bird, and then he bit the bird. In shock, and with poison coursing through its veins, the bird and snake plummeted to the ground.

But … why? You … will most certainly die.

I know. But I’m a snake and this is what snakes do.

When you are working on a new way of looking at things it is extremely important to know yourself, your habits, your preconceptions, and your methods for looking at something — and then fight them. It is hard to look at things a new way and it’s important to challenge your current thinking. You need to ensure you aren’t just doing what you’ve always done (or looking at something in the same old way). It is also important to surround yourself with people who will offer different ways of looking at things — when you ask how they see a situation you want differing perspectives that will help you expand your scope of understanding. This will take you where you want to go.

The snake probably should have listened to the bird because he was missed at the annual convention.


I'm working very hard to know nothing...

In one form or another there is a good chance you have seen the following quote if you’ve ever Googled Socrates or surfed for what seems to be an infinite number of motivational quotes —

“And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all.”


You can’t but get philosophical when you spend some time thinking about this — the vastness of what you don’t know in the context of the universe is incomprehensible, and to think otherwise is at the very least limiting. More realistically though it’s just sorta stupid to believe you can actually know very much of anything; with 225 billion galaxies (and counting) how could you possibly imagine that you do? Of course you need to know things to make it through the day or maybe just to push back the insignificance that comes with 225 billion galaxies. But in the end, what you know is truly insignificant to the point of knowing nothing.

For someone who is always striving to look outside his small bubble and see things differently, I find this quote to be a simple instruction to that end (although I will admit it can be a challenge to execute on) — In knowing you know nothing you are in effect removing the blinders to improve your ability to know. It’s all very counter intuitive if you ask me.

When you allow yourself to know nothing you —

  • Tear down preconceived notions

  • Push back bias

  • Break habits

  • Push back fear

  • Ask questions to learn more

  • Understand others better

  • Consider something you have never considered before

  • Listen more and interrupt less

  • End up knowing more

As I’ve suggested this is something that doesn’t come easily for me, but I have found that if I start the day telling myself that I know nothing or start a conversation from a place where I know nothing, I find that I see and learn much more than I thought possible.

As I like to say though (with a knowing smile), I’m a work in progress.


Energy, a Catch 22, and I suppose a good problem to have.

An opportunity cost is defined as something that is given up in order to acquire or achieve something else, and it’s something we deal with each day as we decide what needs to get done. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always looked a this as an exercise in terms of time management — I don’t have time to do both so I have to pick one; mix in a little prioritization based on ROI, and “presto”, you have the to-do list to “make all your dreams come true”.


Recently it seems (in fact more and more ) I find myself with the time but literally saying to myself, “I just don’t have the energy”. What is shocking about this is it’s with respect to something I enjoy doing, and more specifically, my blogging and engagement on my social media platforms. And where this gets even crazier, my blogging and social media activity is a crucial component to my plan for success.

I find myself in an interesting situation where the success I’ve seen from my blogging and social media activity is directly impacting the energy needed to blog and engage — what kind of hellish “circular situation” is going on where my blogging leads to success and that success very impacts my ability to blog. I think I am actually experiencing a real life “Catch 22”.

catch-22 [catch-22] NOUN —a dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

By any definition this is what is called a “good problem” and I’ll work through it (with a smile on my face). As I dig into this I’ll need to look at what I’m actually doing to ensure I haven’t fallen into the habit of engaging with “non value added time wasters” (I mean, do I really need to watch that YouTube Top 10 best movie endings video); I’ll also review my time management/and efficiency to determine where I can improve. As I continue to ponder this situation though, what has really had me take pause is the consideration of the Energy to proverbially drive the engine and keep it going. It seems I have completely disregarded this.

A plan + OPEX +Time + Energy = Results *

Although there are some considerations I can come up with off the top of my head (such as getting enough sleep, eating properly, getting enough exercise, being mindful, meditating, not have your smart phone on your night table, et cetera), I realize I’ll need to expand my knowledge and understanding of this topic… as well as break some old habits because as you know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

At the core of this (and I know to be an absolute truism) — if I don’t deal with this good problem it could very easily become a bad problem.


* Yes it could be easily said this is too simple of an equation and doesn’t really illustrate the complexity of getting something done but I believe it’s directionally sound. I should also mention I just included OPEX to keep my finance friends happy.