Work in Japan Advice Board
Convenience has a way of luring us with the promise of ease, and then robbing us of the the pleasure of engagement. We gradually become accustomed to ride rather than walk, to buy rather than make. For many people a life without modern conveniences would be unthinkable. Life as our grandparents knew it might seem unbearable if we were thrust into it today. While technology has freed us from many tiresome tasks, it is also making us hopelessly dependent on its conveniences.
Theodore Roszak (1933~2011), who was Professor Emeritus at California State University, picked up on this tendency early on in his book Where the Wasteland Ends, written in 1972, in which he cautioned that what starts as a luxury, quickly turns into a convenience, and then a necessity which we cannot do without. Is this merely a lifestyle choice, or are we chaining ourselves to things which we don’t really need, and which may not serve us well in the end?
While the student mantra of the 1960s to get back to the land may sound unrealistic, it contained a message which is more relevant than ever, to get back to ourselves. And with a touch of irony, the convenience of technology might even assist us in the process.
A simple way to do this is to keep track of yourself, with a walking journal. All you need to get started is a good pair of walking shoes and a notebook. The idea is to regain your independence one step at a time by walking more, and logging your thoughts on a daily basis. Walking helps you regain your pace in life, keeps your blood and your thoughts flowing, and helps you be more aware of the world around you. It is important to put your thoughts on paper in handwritten notes and sketches, because this stimulates full engagement in the process. It heightens your awareness for serendipity, the good fortune of making desirable discoveries.
You can deepen your enjoyment by sharing your discoveries with others, both in person and on social media. Rather than recycling what you like about what others have said or created, you can share original insights and observations that others will want to share. Incubate your thoughts in the privacy of your journal, but share your thoughts to communicate your value and creativity to the world. This is certain to stimulate interest from others, or even attract a following if that is your goal.
The first step is to get your legs moving in situations where otherwise you might have been sitting down. Take a different route, get off your own beaten path, explore new places you have not yet been, and new ways to get there. That alone will awaken your senses, but to fully engage your thoughts you should take time to write them down. Aim to walk mindfully, to record your thoughts in writing and sketches, and to share at least some of them with other people each day.
Be sure to include information about your walk in your journal. You can do this from memory, but a pedometer can help you measure distance, time, and steps. Nike+GPS is an App for iPhone and Android, which tracks your route on Google Maps, as well distance, time, and calories burned. Nike also sells sportsbands that track your distance, time, and calories, and also doubles as a fashionable watch. Nikeplus.com is a site where you can store all of this data in graphical form, including maps, track your progress, set goals, start or participate in challenges, and benefit from coaching on many aspects of walking and running. You can track your progress over time, as well as communicate with walkers and runners in other countries around the world.
Smart phones and social media make it awesomely easy to share your thoughts in any form you like, from photos and video, to voice memos, handwriting, and sketches. The world may not care what you had for lunch, but if you are selective and original in what you post, people will take notice. This will improve the quality of your real time communications as you develop an original perspective, and the energy to bring your experiences to life for others.
The original meaning of convenience is to be helpful, useful, advantageous. This is still the attraction, and we live in a world which is super-convenient, compared to even a few years back. Rather than succumbing to the attraction of dependence, use what it offers and get back to yourself.
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William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.