Who can say it better than Mister Rogers!
Remixed by Symphony of Science's John Boswell for PBS Digital Studios
Additionally, I would like to share an excerpt from Dr. Ken Robinson's book,
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything."
An elementary school teacher was giving a drawing class to a group of six-year-old children. At the back of the classroom sat a little girl who normally didn't pay much attention in school. In the drawing class she did. For more than twenty minutes, the girl sat with her arms curled around her paper, totally absorbed in what she was doing. The teacher found this fascinating. Eventually, she asked the girl what she was drawing. Without looking up, the girl said, 'I'm drawing a picture of God.' Surprised, the teacher said, 'But nobody knows what God looks like.' The girl said, 'They will in a minute.'
When was the last time you let your imagination run completely free?
Are you having trouble thinking of a specific time when you thoroughly relaxed, perhaps grabbed a cup of coffee or a mocha frappe, and just let your mind wander...
Let me ask you this, when was the last time you checked your Email? Facebook? Twitter?
In today's society we are bombarded with distractions. Whenever we have a moment of downtime, we can easily fill it with texting, posting, or browsing.
Where does that get you? Sure you may find out what your best friend ate for breakfast (strawberry cream filled toaster strudels) or why your neighbor was out on their roof (annual gutter cleaning)...
But where does all that get you in life?
It has been said that we wear busyness as armor to shield ourselves from the people around us. What in your life are you using as a shield or a crutch that keeps you from making the most of your life? Is your time consumed by social media? Have you committed yourself to watching too many TV shows courtesy of DVR?
I am convinced (not that it takes much convincing) that people today spend far too much time with their face buried in their hand absorbed in gadgets and apps. And not enough time with their head up engaging those very people right in front of them. Or simply allowing themselves to have a free moment to think of the possibilities of their future.
Like Mister Roger's said, "You can grow things in the garden of your mind, all you have to do is think and they'll grow..."
However, a garden and the plants that grow in it are a result of what the gardener is feeding it. Plants are dependent upon the quality of the soil, the amount of sunlight they receive, and the volume of water they are being fed. Ideas are also dependent upon what you (the gardener) are providing and feeding them.
So the next time you have 15-minutes to spare, stop and thinking about how you want to spend that time and what you want to feed the garden of your mind (cheesy, I know, but hear me out).
I recommend one of three things.
The first is to look at the people around you. Engage those people that you are crossing paths with everyday. Sunglasses, cell phones, headphones, and tablets shield people from others around them. Put them down, lower your guard, and open yourself up to the relational possibilities around you.
You may be sitting or standing next to someone that is in desperate need of human contact. He or she may be having a rough day, week, month, or year. And your acknowledgement of their existence could mean the world to them. A simple, "Hi, how are you?" That relational initiating moment could lead to a fun, encouraging, or venting conversation for the other person that transforms their day.
When was the last time you took a moment to look around and consider what may be going on in the lives of those sitting or standing right next to you. Don't underestimate your potential or the possibility that you could brighten someone's day. A dear friend of mine, Leo Sebus, is known for saying, "Some people light up a room when they enter, and some people light up a room when they leave." Which person do you want to be?
The second is to just kick back, relax, and honestly consider, "I would be content and fulfilled if I were doing..."
There is an important clarification to make here. Some people are fulfilled by the actual work that they do and others are fulfilled by the life that their work affords them. The very fortunate in this life are fulfilled by both.
This means that your passion could be acted out during your workweek or your passion could be pursued through volunteer work or family fun in the evenings and weekends. Be careful not to miss out on the daily joys of this life as you become dependent upon a career or job to be the source of your passion. You may eventually realize that the job you chased after all your life does not meet the high expectations you created in your mind. Meanwhile, your true source of joy was right there in front of you all along - family, friends, and neighbors.
The third is to keep an inspiring or motivating book on you at all times. Perhaps something that will help guide you into a state of future-oriented thinking... How do I see myself in my mid-30's, 40's, 50's, and so on? What do I need or want to do to create that kind of a lifestyle for myself? If you are going to bury your head in your hand, at least do so in a book that will help guide you, motivate you, or help you exercise your imagination.
In closing, be very careful about what you are feeding the garden of your mind. The fruits of your life are dependent upon what you are feeding your mind, heart, and soul.
Now, stop reading this and go have some fun!