Several years ago at the Blue Ridge Mountains Writers Conference, I heard an energetic and inspiring McNair Wilson talk about the short memory of goldfish. Remember Dory, the fish in Finding Nemo, who struggled to remember things?
McNair talked about how a fish’s three second memory actually served them well in a small fishbowl. Think about it. How boring would it be in a little fishbowl day after day? You swim around and discover a pirate ship. “Wow! Interesting! How did this pirate ship get here?”
After you swim around the pirate ship for awhile, you see a plastic green plant across the way. You investigate the plant for a few seconds, then look across the bowl to the other side.
“Look! A pirate ship!” You swim swiftly over to check out this amazing new discovery. “Wow! Interesting! How did this pirate ship get here?”
And on and on it goes.
Fish remember more than three seconds. That myth has been busted. But it’s a reminder to me of how we should try to look at life. What if we could look at every moment like it was a new discovery? What if you could embrace your inner three-year-old when everything was new and fascinating? What if every three seconds you experienced something new?
We are so easily bored by the routine in our every day lives. For many people, life consists of sleep, eat, work, TV, repeat.
Boredom also leads to trouble. When I was a kid we did stupid stuff many times because we were bored. It’s still true today. People get themselves in trouble because they are floundering in life without a sense of discovery and purpose.
A boring, purposeless life often leads to an unhealthy life:
- Excessive drinking
These things and more occur sometimes because there is no sense of purpose in life and no determination to seek God’s best.
What can you do to break out of a boring cycle? No, hitting yourself in the head with a hammer to destroy your memory is not a good idea.
What can you add to your life to bring flavor? How can you resurrect your inner three-year-old?
- On your commute to work, try to see your route like it’s the very first time you’ve ever been there.
- Take a moment to look up. When is the last time you looked at interesting cloud formations?
- Eat something you’ve never had before.
- Give your lover a sloppy wet kiss.
- Observe your dog or cat like you’d study a rare animal at the zoo. (Then pull their tail like a three-year-old would. Just kidding!)
- Talk to strangers (in a safe environment, of course, like a store clerk, waitress, etc.)
What else can you do to embrace your inner three-year-old? Look for opportunities throughout the day that will make you say, “Look! A pirate ship!”
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