Day 6: Find Some Awe

Hey again! Today we’re going to be continuing on the theme of controlling your attention for the better.

So let me begin with a question.

Do you ever pay close attention to the words you use? I do.

I love looking into etymologies and seeing where words came from and how their meanings have changed over the years.

One word I find interesting is ‘awesome.’

We tend to use awesome now to mean cool or fun or exciting. But ‘awesome’ originally meant ‘filled with awe.’ And this awe could be positive, as in the case of overwhelming excitement, or negative, as in the case of a natural disaster.

Awe is what happens when we have strong fear, amazement, or (importantly) reverence.

Reverence is a showing of respect for something greater than ourselves. So when we don’t have awe in our lives, it’s typically because we aren’t taking time to find awe and experience reverence in our daily life.

When we’re unhappy or depressed, everything seems flat, lifeless and boring. To experience amazement appears out of the realm of possibility. Unless in the case of an emergency, our brains just don’t look for it.

But people who are able to find awe in their lives don’t have any special talent; they just have a pattern of attention that lends itself towards finding amazement.

And all of us can find awe no matter our situation – it’s just a matter of how hard we look. Our brains, bodies, relationships, cities, nature and culture are FILLED with awe-inspiring things.

  • The human brain has roughly 100 billion neurons
  • In Japan, you can buy eel flavoured ice cream
  • Plants have a nervous system that knows when they are being eaten
  • Buckingham Palace was built in 1702 on top of a brothel

All it takes to find awe is to briefly put down the filter through which you see the world and try to look at it fresh, as if through the eyes of a child.

Today’s Exercise will be focused on finding some awe.

  1. I want you to find three strange and amazing things in your environment. If you don’t find anything you can go online and look for awesome facts or videos (check out the channel people are awesome from the video below)
  2. Take at least 30 seconds to allow yourself to appreciate each of these things
  3. Afterwards, write down what these three awe-inspiring things were, what about them was so awesome
  4. Write down one way in which you could look for awe tomorrow!