A few weeks ago my friend Laura sent me a cute gift from the U.K., a tiny book called Experience Passport: 45 Ways to Broaden Your Horizons. This pocket-sidez “passport” created by Alex Egner contains a list of simple tips and challenges to expand your mind and boost your creativity.
I will perhaps describe the outcome of the activities I chose to undertake in another post, but for now there is one that particularly caught my attention:
- List three of your most strongly held convictions. Choose one and, using a minimum of 500 words, try to persuade yourself to change your mind.
I had never done this exercise before, yet it’s true that putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is the more effective way to undestand his/her point of view and, consequently, question your own beliefs to see if maybe you are wrong. In this case, it’s like getting out of your own body and mind to become another person, one that totally disagrees with you. I wanted to try.
I decided to slightly change the instructions: I will list three of my strongest convictions and, using 200-250 words for each, try to challenge my statements. These are the results:
Travel and adventure are essential for Living.
I can’t relate to that. I don’t think travelling is so important. Everybody knows we have the best food in the world (I live in Italy – G.’s note) and there’s no place like home. No need to go wandering around. Plus, travelling is expensive. How can you afford the flights, hotels and restaurants? And what is that “adventure” thing you’re talking about? You are in your late 20s, time to settle down. Hold on to your 9-5 job, a good and safe office job. Many people of your same age are unemployed, did you know? Go to work, buy a house, buy a new car; do what has to be done. There are so many ways to spend your time without travelling. Surf the net, watch Netflix, go shopping. Wait, you can shop online. Hold on and things will get better. You should be satisfied with what you have. Do I have to remind you that a lot of bad things can happen while abroad? Especially if you travel alone. Keep calm, stay home. Minimize the risks. Nowadays there is a thing called Internet, and with that it’s like being everywhere you want to be. You want to go to New York? Google it and you’ll find pictures, videos, descriptions… In the end it’s like experiencing for real. Watch Friends, watch Sex & the City. Those are set in New York. I tell you, no need to travel around the world.
A “minimalist” life will make you happier.
How can you say so? I’ve heard about this minimalism thing… I guess it’s the trend of the moment, like going vegan. Well, all the things I own is because I need them. I need a house to live in, so I must get a loan and work to pay it. I need a car to go to work and earn money so I can afford to buy stuff to put into the house. I like nice things, and they have a price. I like having lots of clothes, so I can have plenty of choice everyday. Going shopping on Saturday after a week of boring work excites me and makes me feel happy and fulfilled. No, I cannot throw away those clothes that I haven’t worn for years: 1) I like them; 2) They might always come in need someday. The same goes for all the stuff in the closets. And in the basement. And the garage. I’ll make some space when I have time. Anyway there is nothing bad in owning a ton of things. I paid for them. And I’m happy to have them. Lately I often hear the sentence “Less is more”, but how can it be more if you have less? Don’t be stingy, come on. Remember that buying stuff is a way to keep the economic system going, and by that create and maintain jobs for humankind. What would happen if we all did like you say?
Winter is the least enjoyable season of all.
(I’m referring to the typical winter we have in Northern Italy and in a large portion of the Northern Hemisphere – G.’s note)
That’s nonsense. I love winter. I love the cold weather, so that I can stay indoors with a nice cup of tea or hot chocolate, under a warm blanket, reading a book by the fire, and watching the world freezing outside. It’s so cozy. And the snow, oh I love the snow. I see the snow falling and suddenly I feel the Christmas vibes. So romantic. I know the snow causes problems on the streets, just stay at home and you’ll be safe. And the ice, oh we could go ice skating! And we could go skiing, snowboarding, build funny snowmen, do battles of snowballs.… All the things you can only do in winter. I can’t stand the hot weather. Like my granma use to say: if I’m cold I can wear more clothes, but if I’m hot there’s nothing I can do about it. I love the moist cold that penetrates my bones in winter, the chill wind hitting my face. The animals going into hibernation. The trees dying. The flowers disappearing. It’s so freezing fantastic.
As you can see this “challenge” was developed with a sense of fun, but it’s also been a way to meditate on my own beliefs deeper than I usually do.
How about you? I’d be curious to read your opinions, if you ever feel like doing the same exercise (no need to do it with 3 statements, even 1 is ok) and sharing the outcome feel free to write it in the comments. Enjoy!