Nature, human nature, natural behavior in life, at work, as a person, as a species… a few angles immediately coming to my mind. In this article one of our Skilled Helpers shares her perspectives…
The Skilled Helpers Collaborative
The Skilled Helpers Collaborative is an initiative aiming to bring meaningful content to you. Various skilled helpers from different backgrounds sharing their perspectives regarding a specific topic. They don’t get to read each other’s contribution before publication and thus don’t influence each other to make sure, you as a reader can enjoy a variety of insights.
It’s not easy to juggle all tasks in life. Even Skilled Helpers can have a bit too much on their plate. Fortunately, Rika Cossey, part of our Skilled Helpers collaborative, found the time to write a piece about this month’s chosen topic.
Thanks a ton, dear Rika!
I hope, you readers, enjoy her perspectives as much as I did and take her advice to heart. I certainly will !
Patty Wolters – Skilled Helper – www.pattywolters.com
— Skilled Helpers Collaborative —
Nature as an antidote to limited thinking
By Rika Cossey
As you’re reading these lines, can I get you to do something? Could you look up towards the sky? What do you see? Or, more precisely, what’s there – vastness or a ceiling? And now ask yourself this: how open to new ideas do you feel right now? Are you ready to explore a part of you that you are unsure about or are you reading this post for entertainment only? What if I told you that there is a direct connection between what you see above your head and your attitude towards new ideas?
Houses are boxes
The first time I was confronted with the idea of restriction, I was sitting inside my house. Iwas on a Zoom call with other coaches and we were discussing the impact of nature on our thinking. I admit that I was interested in the subject but not really ready to apply anything new in my life. I thought I had everything figured out. And then this analogy came: our houses are limiting our ability to explore new ideas because they form a box around us. Just like daily habits and past experiences shape our mental capacity to deal with otherness, houses act like physical restraints to our creativity.
When you are inside your living space, be that a house, apartment, caravan, tent, cave, or anything else you call home, you are comfortable. Everything is where you want it to be or how you need it to be. You might have heard that your living space reflects your inner world: clear lines if you are a straightforward person, colourful if you are a sociable person, or heavily decorated with pictures if you are someone who identifies with or as someone else. We are who we are even inside closed rooms.
However you decorate your living space is already a reflection of your thought processes but, at the same time, it will also limit those thoughts. You are comfortable where you are because it reflects who you are. If you’ve ever stayed in a hotel or furnished rental long-term you will know what it means to be somewhere you don’t feel like yourself. And similarly, you will only listen to those thoughts that are in line with your thinking already. If you encounter and try to adopt an attitude that doesn’t reflect who you are, it would feel like a cheap hotel – not comfortable.
Nature is vast
The antidote to comfortable living spaces are places unknown to you: a stranger’s house, a different kind of living space – or the great outdoors.
Being outdoors can be very comfortable. Sitting by the edge of a lake on a warm summer day is a great way to spend time outside. I can watch the water, enjoy the scenery, and let my mind wander. However, as soon as an ant crawls up my leg, clouds cover the sun, or someone splashes in the water I begin to feel less than comfortable. Being outside, where I can’t control my immediate surroundings can be challenging and even frustrating.
But this discomfort is not because nature itself is uncomfortable but because I am used to thinking in line with my own thoughts. When I’m in my living space, I have decided what to place where. When I’m outside I need to embrace the otherness and let go of my need to control in order to enjoy myself. And accepting these feelings of discomfort is the best recipe to develop resilience in life.
There is no limit and only habit
Simply put, when you are outside and looking at the sky you will get a sense of “nothing is impossible”. When you are inside and looking at the ceiling, you know how far you can stretch. And this understanding of physical limitations translates into your thinking.
Henry Ford is often quoted for saying: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” This quote is the essence of your relationship to the vastness of nature. If you believe you can, you are someone who understands both the opportunity and risk of connecting with nature. If you think you can’t, you are more comfortable in your own living spaces and your controlled nature. Can you climb the mountain? Can you dive deep? Both answers are a reflection of your attitude towards yourself.
I asked you in the beginning of this post to look up. I wonder what you saw and how, as a reflection of that, perceived the lines above. Did you see a ceiling and struggled with the idea of possibility? Did you see the sky and accept that there are things beyond yourself?
The next time you are outside, look up and know that there is no limit to the vastness of nature and your thoughts. Something unexpected can appear at any minute. If you can embrace that uncertainty, you are one step closer to developing true resilience in the face of the uncertainty of life.