Rain during a picnic is a real bummer. Wet clothes cling to your body and soggy shoes makes it uncomfortable to walk. The food laid out on a pretty blanket becomes a burden to quickly stuff back in the basket. Imagine now reframing the situation to a carefree thought in your mind, and begin dancing in the rain while eating soggy sandwiches. This reframe is a description of how children exist in the world.
Having a childlike wonder allows us to step out of our ordinary routine
and relax into our imaginations.
Author Walter Isaacson, sums up this thought in this excerpt from his book,
Einstein: His Life and Universe
“Throughout his life, Albert Einstein would retain the intuition and the awe of a child. He never lost his sense of wonder at the magic of nature’s phenomena-magnetic fields, gravity, inertia, acceleration, light beams-which grown-ups find so commonplace. He retained the ability to hold two thoughts in his mind simultaneously, to be puzzled when they conflicted, and to marvel when he could smell an underlying unity. ‘People like you and me never grow old,’ he wrote a friend later in life. ‘We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.’”
Einstein’s childlike way of looking at life helped him to develop ideas that led to his amazing discoveries in science.
Since James Clear finished authoring Atomic Habits, he has had exciting opportunities to master his habit rituals and speak to countless audiences. The flipside is burnout. It is a challenge to stay fresh and motivated. This is where the “AWE” factor comes in.
Imagine waking up and viewing the world like it was the first time you were seeing it. What would surprise you? New things can be exciting, but reframing every day events can also bring added excitement. Refer to the example above about the picnic.
Humans crave novelty and so if you have a habit that is feeling stale, try changing it up. Run a different route - or run the usual route backwards. Try the treadmill instead of the elliptical. If you are eating a lot of potatoes, try a new grain as a starch. The list of alternatives is endless but the reason to bring newness into the mix is to keep the good habit going. It sounds like a game we play in our minds and that is sometimes enough to keep us young at heart.
The benefit of novelty is that newness leads to more creativity in thought. Curiosity can stimulate new ways to look at the same old thing. Consider the music writing and recording industry where there are many talented artists. Think about telling a story with words and putting those words to music. Music that people would want to buy and listen to again and again. It is incredible how everyday words are strung together and sung with a tune that pulls your heartstrings.
Remember, our potential is limitless and we can recreate ourselves time and time again to remain motivated and fresh for the long haul.
Clearism: “Don’t let your current situation define how you feel.”
About the author James Clear
James Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be easily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on the most proven ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic gold medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to master their craft and vault to the top of their field. He writes about habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement at jamesclear.com. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Entrepreneur, Time, and on CBS This Morning. He is a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies and his work is used by teams in the NFL, NBA, and MLB.
Robin Saul is a registered dietitian who earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture and human nutrition from the University of Florida. Although not discovering the benefits of a plant-centric, no processed foods diet until 2016, she raised her four kids with an abundance of plant foods and home cooking. Robin has specialized nutrition knowledge in the areas of gastroenterology, food intolerances and allergies, gerontology and recipe development.