What You Can Do To Improve Your Life RIGHT NOW

 

The Lounge

It’s a nice little space.

Kitchen. TV. Fancy black leather couches around a stylish coffee table. Faux-leather-wrapped cubes with a vague purpose.

And so much potential. I’m not sure WHY I would ever need this space, since I’ve got the same couch, TV, coffee table – hell, even the same cube – in my apartment, but it’s nice to know it’s there.

The Mystery

Until just now, I had no idea what was in this room and I’ve been living in this building for nearly 3 months, just a few-hundred feet from this lounge area. I’ve never stepped inside.

Why why why didn’t I ever come here? I WAS curious as to what was behind the door at the end of the hall, I just never went.

It was partially laziness, I think. It’s all the way at the far end of my hallway, and though it would take 30 seconds to walk there, I had no real reason to, which was all the excuse my lazy-self needed.

It was partially an aversion to the unfamiliar, as well. The room itself isn’t that strange and peculiar, but almost everyone else in my apartment building is Asian or Saudi, and they all know each other, go to the same school, have their cliques.

The other tenants I’ve spoken to have been super-friendly and spoke enough English for us to introduce ourselves, but this lounge, it’s like THEIR lounge. They make dinner together every night in this room, enjoying being able to speak their first language for a spell, study there all the time; I think they enjoy not having to deal with their own aversion to an unfamiliar setting while in that room, and I feel like me being in there would make them uncomfortable.

So that’s where I left it, for 3 whole months.

Would I have gotten any benefit from this room? Probably not. I like my apartment, and when I’m not working from there, I’m usually out and about town.

Have I benefited from finally taking that 30 second walk down the hallway and opening the door?

YES.

The Benefit

Leaving something unknown ‘just because’ is never a good idea. Sure, it’s fun to have a puzzle to solve, something to strive for, but there will ALWAYS be something else to find out. Another answer to pursue.

Leaving unsolved riddles out of laziness or because pursuing an answer would make you uncomfortable (regardless of WHY it makes you uncomfortable) keeps you stuck. You’ve got your problem to work out, and you just sit on it, so that the part of you that needs the challenge of the unknown is satiated, though without the benefit of having learned something new.

Solving a mystery, however, frees up that part of the brain for another mystery to take its place. You’ll keep on learning while making sure that your capacity for curiosity is always growing.

I try not to fall into this trap, but the world seems to invite it. I’m resolute to start catching myself when I fall into this mental stasis faster in the future.

Is there a mystery in your life that you can go solve RIGHT NOW?

What’s stopping you?

27 comments

  1. I think I agree – but I might argue that doing things “just because” is sometimes cause enough, depending on the impact it might have in your life.

    You wouldn’t want to relocate countries “just because” (or maybe you would?) but you might talk to someone interesting and new “just because.” I know I’ve benefited from certain social experiments, but you’re right – pursuing these kinds of “puzzles” for the puzzle’s sake, will leave you never really satisfied.

    Thanks for posting. And thanks for always taking your own pictures. We’re tired of istockphoto.

  2. I think I agree – but I might argue that doing things “just because” is sometimes cause enough, depending on the impact it might have in your life.

    You wouldn’t want to relocate countries “just because” (or maybe you would?) but you might talk to someone interesting and new “just because.” I know I’ve benefited from certain social experiments, but you’re right – pursuing these kinds of “puzzles” for the puzzle’s sake, will leave you never really satisfied.

    Thanks for posting. And thanks for always taking your own pictures. We’re tired of istockphoto.

  3. I think I agree – but I might argue that doing things “just because” is sometimes cause enough, depending on the impact it might have in your life.

    You wouldn’t want to relocate countries “just because” (or maybe you would?) but you might talk to someone interesting and new “just because.” I know I’ve benefited from certain social experiments, but you’re right – pursuing these kinds of “puzzles” for the puzzle’s sake, will leave you never really satisfied.

    Thanks for posting. And thanks for always taking your own pictures. We’re tired of istockphoto.

  4. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  5. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  6. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  7. Great post, Colin. :-) I’m so glad you opened that door at long last. I know it’s just a little thing, but it inspired me today. I have some little brave things I’ve been avoiding, and today, I’m going to tackle one. Thanks! :-)

  8. Great post, Colin. :-) I’m so glad you opened that door at long last. I know it’s just a little thing, but it inspired me today. I have some little brave things I’ve been avoiding, and today, I’m going to tackle one. Thanks! :-)

  9. Great post, Colin. :-) I’m so glad you opened that door at long last. I know it’s just a little thing, but it inspired me today. I have some little brave things I’ve been avoiding, and today, I’m going to tackle one. Thanks! :-)

  10. Hey I shared this link with Andi earlier but I thought it was pretty applicable to this post. It’s from Ze Frank on Brain Crack
    http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2006/07/071106.html

    It’s that idea that we like ideas because they have all this mystery/potential and that if we did them SOMEDAY we could do something awesome. BUT we like having that excuse that we have something planned. Instead of acting on the ideas and having to face real possibility that it just might suck, we hold on to the ideas so we can have feed our imagination.

  11. Hey I shared this link with Andi earlier but I thought it was pretty applicable to this post. It’s from Ze Frank on Brain Crack
    http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2006/07/071106.html

    It’s that idea that we like ideas because they have all this mystery/potential and that if we did them SOMEDAY we could do something awesome. BUT we like having that excuse that we have something planned. Instead of acting on the ideas and having to face real possibility that it just might suck, we hold on to the ideas so we can have feed our imagination.

  12. Hey I shared this link with Andi earlier but I thought it was pretty applicable to this post. It’s from Ze Frank on Brain Crack
    http://www.zefrank.com/theshow/archives/2006/07/071106.html

    It’s that idea that we like ideas because they have all this mystery/potential and that if we did them SOMEDAY we could do something awesome. BUT we like having that excuse that we have something planned. Instead of acting on the ideas and having to face real possibility that it just might suck, we hold on to the ideas so we can have feed our imagination.

  13. It’s really easy to get sucked into that way of thinking. I find myself doing it all the time.

    There are days when I feel lazy and like I don’t want anything to do with well, anything, and these days usually suck big time. But the days when I have a sense of curiosity about everything I end up learning an incredible amount of stuff. Whether it’s simply Googling something instead of wondering about it, or asking someone what they are doing and if they can show me how, it’s almost always a really beneficial experience.

    Great post!

  14. It’s really easy to get sucked into that way of thinking. I find myself doing it all the time.

    There are days when I feel lazy and like I don’t want anything to do with well, anything, and these days usually suck big time. But the days when I have a sense of curiosity about everything I end up learning an incredible amount of stuff. Whether it’s simply Googling something instead of wondering about it, or asking someone what they are doing and if they can show me how, it’s almost always a really beneficial experience.

    Great post!

  15. It’s really easy to get sucked into that way of thinking. I find myself doing it all the time.

    There are days when I feel lazy and like I don’t want anything to do with well, anything, and these days usually suck big time. But the days when I have a sense of curiosity about everything I end up learning an incredible amount of stuff. Whether it’s simply Googling something instead of wondering about it, or asking someone what they are doing and if they can show me how, it’s almost always a really beneficial experience.

    Great post!

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  17. Hey, I’ve got one of those cubes! :D Mine stores my wife’s knitting stuff, and it makes a dandy foot-rest when I’m in the papasan.

    I’ve discovered so much about the places I live, just because I pursue unknown places. When I’m headed home and see a road that I’m not familiar with I ask (often outloud) “I wonder where this goes?” as I take off to find out. I’ve discovered some wonderful coffee shops and restaurants, interesting stores, and lots of history.

    There’s always an adventure to be had, as long as one keeps their eyes open.

  18. Hey, I’ve got one of those cubes! :D Mine stores my wife’s knitting stuff, and it makes a dandy foot-rest when I’m in the papasan.

    I’ve discovered so much about the places I live, just because I pursue unknown places. When I’m headed home and see a road that I’m not familiar with I ask (often outloud) “I wonder where this goes?” as I take off to find out. I’ve discovered some wonderful coffee shops and restaurants, interesting stores, and lots of history.

    There’s always an adventure to be had, as long as one keeps their eyes open.

  19. Hey, I’ve got one of those cubes! :D Mine stores my wife’s knitting stuff, and it makes a dandy foot-rest when I’m in the papasan.

    I’ve discovered so much about the places I live, just because I pursue unknown places. When I’m headed home and see a road that I’m not familiar with I ask (often outloud) “I wonder where this goes?” as I take off to find out. I’ve discovered some wonderful coffee shops and restaurants, interesting stores, and lots of history.

    There’s always an adventure to be had, as long as one keeps their eyes open.

  20. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  21. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  22. Love it dude. Amazing what you find behind closed doors that can open up a whole new world to you. I’m not sure what my personal closed doors are but given that I live in the so called City of Angels, there’s probably a bit of exploring I can do :)

  23. There are bounds to things. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but some things are left unknown. Like that woman who you might’ve changed for the better, or not feeling out what it’d be like to be a bum in a really bad part of Oakland. It’s just meh.

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