Sometimes when I’m standing in line waiting for something, sitting on a bus, or any similar situation where there is nothing to do, I conduct small thought experiments. I’ll give two examples of experiments that I like to think about.
1. From the gutter to the stars
Ponder having everything materialistic in your life completely removed. All the stuff you own, just gone. The only thing you have is the clothes on your body at the present moment. Your job – gone. No apartment. No bank account. No credit card. No income. No social network to fall back on. No friends. You are placed in a city where you have never been, and don’t know anybody. In essence – you have nothing but yourself and the present moment. What is the first thing you would do? Would you steal food to survive?
The big question to ask is, would you be able to start with absolutely nothing, and work yourself to the top? If you had nothing, what actions would you need to do find a place to live, a job etc. Could you do it? Could you rise to the stars from ashes? could you start with nothing and become a millionaire or land the dream job? I’m 100% sure I could. It’s almost a bit tempting to try..
2. Improve him/her
Take a look around you. Single out a person that looks a bit down and out. Somebody who is a bit shabby, out of shape and not groomed at all. Somebody who has seen better times. the thought experiment is to imagine yourself waking up as this person, with a mission to improve his/her life as much as possible during the period of 1 year. What is the first thing you would do? Start working out? Sell their 10 cats? Throw away their computer and start building a real social network? Find them a better job? Just how much can you maximize their life in 1 year? What would they look like when you were finished? Then imagine what YOUR life would look like if they could be you for a year. Finish by considering how much you could improve your own life in 1 year. If you REALLY gave it everything and worked hard and focused. what could you make happen..? Would you waste your life “tired” in the couch watching TV or would you chase your dreams?
Can you think of any other thought experiments? How would you plan the perfect… bank robbery, wedding, etc..
In my opinion, thought experiments are much better option than playing with your phone all the time. I’m actually a bit concerned that people never really think anymore. Everything is supposed to come with instant gratification and the value of hard work and hard thinking is never talked about. Am I the only one noticing that people are completely addicted to their phones? Everyday I see people walking, biking and driving down the street, completely lost in their little phone world and no paying attention to the real world or which direction they are going. This is becoming a serious problem..
Blaise Pascal wrote “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” I agree. Most people are terrified of “being bored”. The result is turning to meaningless entertainment, instead of using your brain to THINK! It’s my firm believe that the true intellectual potential of MANY people (and many new discoveries) is being hamstrung by quick, easy entertainment. The ability to focus and concentrate deeply for hours on solving a problem or learning something is becoming a RARE commodity. It is the intensity of focus and concentration that set the masters apart. To the person who is willing to put all effort into something – success is inevitable. Do yourself a favor – allow yourself to check social media only once a day, or on scheduled times during the week. The rest of the time: USE YOUR BRAIN AND CHASE YOUR DREAMS!