Sublime moments. They may seem infrequent and evanescent, and many of the moments we categorize as “peak experiences” are, by their very nature, uncommon.
Yet, it is my opinion that these sublime experiences don’t have to be as infrequent and uncommon as most people perceive them to be. I say that because all too often, we overlook, take for granted, or otherwise fail to really notice the beautiful banality of sublime moments happening all around us.
You see, the world of daily peak experiences, wonderment and awe of the sort that many of us experience only on rare occasions is open to us, if we know how to pay attention to each moment.
For example, last year, I flew home to Southern California after a business trip to Washington, D.C. During my flight, I looked out the window and essentially witnessed the curve of the earth.
The curve of the earth as viewed from my window seat.
Now, I suspect you have been on a commercial airliner and looked out the window. But when you did, did you really pause and notice that sublime curve?
Did you drink in the wider notion that you were thousands of feet in the air, hurtling through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour? I noticed this that day, and I did so with a glass of wine in my hand, and while also ironically listening to the song “Curve of the Earth” by the great Matt Nathanson.
Check out the chorus here from the song, and I suspect you’ll understand why it made such an impression on me at that moment:
Tell me does the world revolve the same?
Tell me do the people all take care of you?
Did you doubt the curve of the earth?
And every word, every word…
The serendipity of this confluence of circumstances was not lost to me. In fact, I had to pause and make sure I really noticed everything about this moment. The feeling of wonderment at the technological achievements of the human mind that allowed me to fly across the country in about five hours while listening to music recorded, digitally reproduced and then pumped into my aural canal from little white pods wirelessly broadcasting the sound directly into my brain.
Yes, these things happen to millions of people every day, but most people don’t really notice how truly sublime an achievement it is.
Instead, many people lament the fact that things aren’t even better, or more convenient, or less expensive than they are.
Hey, I understand this. We all get used to modern life and the convenience of our wondrous world, and we all often take for granted that the luxuries produced by capitalism are here, on demand, for us to enjoy. And when things don’t go as planned, or when there is a glitch in our desire fulfillment chain, people take the opposite tack of noticing peak experience and focus on the distressed experience.
But in my opinion, this a huge mistake.
Now, I am not saying we should accept things that are broken, damaged or that don’t work. And if there is a problem to be solved, a need to be fulfilled or a fix that needs implementing, we should do it.
Yet in a world surrounded by brilliant achievement, wondrous technology and tremendous bounty — I think each day demands a bit more sublime notice.
So, right now, pause and notice the sublime nature of the wondrous things in your life.
Look around the room, look at the computer, tablet or phone you are reading this on, and let that sense of awe at the achievement wash over you as if you were seeing the curve of the earth for the first time.
Then, I want you to reach for the tissue to blot your eyes, because when you stop to truly notice the beautiful banality of sublime moments, the swelling of your spirit might just evoke a few teardrops of wonderment.
On Fixing Things
“If you want to fix the world, start by fixing yourself.”
The celebrated author, speaker, entrepreneur and “Renaissance Woman,” Heather Wagenhals, gave a speech recently to a group of aspiring millionaires. In that speech, she delivered a line that I thought was quite profound, not only in its wisdom but in its cutting truth. You see, many of us want to change the world and make it a better place, and that’s certainly a worthy goal. But the best way to do that is to start by making yourself a better person. Accomplish that goal first, which is no easy task, and then you can train your sights on the world at large.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote that you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.
In the name of the best within us,