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How many chances did we grab by the whatsits today? None? We could be boring ourselves to death.


Picture credit: LaserGuided 


Have I told you about my mate Gaz?

Gaz is always turning up and telling me great tales of adventure, discovery, and amazing bargains he's picked up here and there.

Watch this gorgeous film and see if it gives you any clues as to why Gaz is generally so lucky.

A Thousand Words from Ted Chung on Vimeo.

Nothing is said in the film, but it's a lovely story directed by Ted Chung.

Ted asks "Every day: so many opportunities to connect...what if you took just one?".

Well?  Go on then.......ask...."What if everyday, we took just one opportunity to make a meaningful connection?".

Before I tell you about my mate Gaz, think about this:

Back in the seventies, an economist called Tibor Scitovsky wrote a book called "The Joyless Economy:  An Inquiry Into Human Satisfaction and Consumer Dissatisfaction".  He wanted to explain why people, even though all their material needs were met, were still unhappy.

Do you know what Scitovsky had discovered? 


People had chosen to shoot for comfort instead of stimulation.  Sound familiar? 

Many of the unhappy people Scitovsky studied had not found engagement with interests outside their work. 

I know people like that, do you?

I also know a few who've found passions outside their work but they're too knackered to enjoy them when they're not working. 

In pursuit of more - more of the stuff that doesn't truly nourish us, that we don't really need, and that no one even cares we've got - they've lost the chance to explore what really makes them feel alive.  They're missing the chance to find a bigger sense of meaning, purpose, and satisfaction.

Oh and what do ya think about this?  - The more bored we are, the more likely we are to die early. 

Picture credit:  Sillygwailo

That's according to a study to be published in the International Journal of Epidemiology later this year.

It's not that boredom on its own is likely to kill us (though I've a neighbour - I can't possible name names - who makes it nearly possible: she can make a kebab turn in its pita), but research suggests bored people are more likely to indulge in all sorts of risky behavior, and have lifestyles less conducive to good health. 

So, if we are bored, it's probable we may be more likely to drink excessively, smoke, take drugs, and so on to ease the dullness!  Oh yea, and experts also suggested a link between boredom and increased heart problems is possible if not a direct one. 

Though these are preliminary findings, they do show boredom isn't good for our health generally.

What's all this got to do with my mate Gaz, a lost camera, and two people fancying each other on a train?

There are links between boredom, the pursuit of comfort over passion, not taking chances, not making meaningful stuff happen, and ending up mostly a passenger in life, rather than a driver.

Question:  Do we want to be just a spectator? An observer?  Or a player (in a good sense!)?

What about you?  Are you someone who has things happen to you?  Or are you someone who happens to things (ask Scott, The Nametag Guy)?

You know my mate Gaz? He gets off his arse and he happens to things.  He's never bored for long.  He asks people to help him get stuff done and make things happen.  He doesn't sit around waiting, increasing his comfortable numbness instead of finding passion and purpose.  Oh no, he's out there.  He's happening to things.  Week in.   Week out.

And how many things has he tried and failed?  Loads!  The guy's sometimes been called an embarrassment! 

But on the whole, his successes are ganging up on his failures and driving 'em out of town.  He's learned loads and his mistakes are less and less. 

But how did he manage to get a fantastic, near perfect seventies BMW coupe for just a couple of grand?

Because for several years, he asked everyone he knew if they knew anyone with a similar car he could buy.  He made lots of offers on similar cars.  Most people told him to get stuffed.  Then, one day, someone said yes and Gaz got his pristine motor.

Still calling him a lucky sod?  Didn't think so.

And he's been so moved by what's happening to the people of Haiti, he's working hard to get everyone he knows to give not just a few pounds they'll not miss, but he's encouraging them to give two, three, maybe five times what they would have under their own steam. 

What a guy!  I'm proud to have a mate like that.  Yes, he can be a dick, but he's fully alive, taking risks, reaching out to really connect and care, and he's making a difference. 

I want to be like that.

And what about the geezer on the train in the lovely film I showed you?

Well, you know the score, he went out there and cycled around that city, and eventually, he found a way to contact the girl who left her camera on the train.

Hey it's just a film, and we don't know if the girl ever got his message or if she got in touch.  But still, that guy got out of his comfort zone and created the circumstances for the possibility of something good happening (if ya don't know what the heck I'm on about go and watch the film! It's very good.).

So let me ask again: "How many chances did we grab by the whatsits today?". 

Did we push ourselves outside that mundane but safe comfort zone?  Did we feel our hearts race and excitement rush through our system as we took a little risk toward something new? Something bigger?  More interesting? Kinder?  And did we take any of those scary opportunities to truly connect? 

No?  Then perhaps we're boring ourselves to death.


If you found this post helpful, more here:

Forget perfect. Go for remarkable. Oh, and when we see these words hanging out together, we'll get a big stick and smash 'em to bits.


Caring, AKA 'giving a crap': Why it can make all the difference in our connected world.


I really appreciate hearing what you think.  Please let me know your thoughts and ideas.  I want to know how you break out of comfort zones, take risks, and reach out to others.  Tell me what drives you to be remarkable and to make a difference.  See you in the comments.  Much love, Ian.

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  • Ian AspinLocation: Lancaster Lake District, UK
  • Bio: I’m passionate about my work:TV journalist, producer, presenter, business ideas person. I care about: family, friends, helping people, finding meaning, running