Category Archives: Essays

Jack Lalane surprises again: The power of lateral thinking

Image: Weight Lifting by mjzitek
Weight Lifter
Impossible dreams

Do you think a professional weight lifter could lift 1,000 pounds? What about you? Do you tink you can lift 1,000 pounds? If you think the answer is no, think again.

Still think you can’t? Take a look at this video from one of my favourite characters, Jack Lalane, and you will find just how easy it would be for you to do it (link). Sure, you may say that doing it that way is cheating (haven’t seen the video yet? You really ought to see it! Go and take a look – we will wait for you), but what jack does has nothing to do with cheating..

The power of Lateral Thinking

No, what Jack was talking about has everything to do with creative thinking. Not like those "creative accounting" tricks in the arsenal of rogue advisors that corrupt senior executives at banks & multinationals; rather, the kind of creative thinking that Edward de Bono encourages in his books (link) ir?. Lateral thinking, creative problem-solving, and intuitive reason are some of the names given to the thought process that abolishes boundaries for a few minutes as a mechanism to find unusual ways to solve problems. Every time we read, hear, or think about a problem, our mind immediately makes assumptions and places constraints on the way to approach the problem.

Think about it; without these pre-defined filters, the number of ridiculous possibilities we would entertain would quickly lead to analysis-by-paralysis. Yet this useful characteristic of our mind is our own enemy when it comes to increasing our problem-solving repertoire. Developing the ability to look at our own reality from a different perspective on a regular basis becomes a critical tool in our personal development arsenal. Without it,we become slaves to our own routines and frames-of-mind. We become unconsciously incompetent on creative problem-solving.

Diversity of perspectives: the path to creativity

In a way, that is why many modern corporations have espoused diversity as a desired trait of their workforce. Sitome may think it only has to do with legal requirements to prove that they do not discriminate on the basis of sex, colour, race, or religion. But for smart companies it is the type of acknowledgement proving that a diverse work-force with a variety of life- and world-views will be more likely to look at business problems from different and sometimes unusual angles; and in doing so, provide those in management & leadership with great insights into new opportunities.

So do yourself a favour, and develop your creative thinking muscles; exercise insanity for short periods of time, and see the type of astonishing solutions your brain can come up with. I promise you will at the very least enjoy the process, and at best will find great and effortless ways to solve your current problems.

The world has gone mad: Investing for the long term

The world markets crashed recently, and we were reminded of the futility of short term thinking. A friend wrote a piece about blogging (link) Another blogger wrote on the virtue of long vs short posts . I read an interview in ‘The McKinsey Quarterly’ with Al Gore and David Bloods, founders of Generation Investment Management, which reminded me of my frustration with financial markets’ analysts focus on the short term.

Sustainable investment – an Oxymoron?

Why do people invest? To make money. It is that simple. Most people are aware of the fact that they will need some level of ‘liquidity’ in their investments, in case of emergencies. And for this reason, many investors care a bit too much what the market is doing today and tomorrow.

But sustainable investment needs not be an oxymoron. Well established principles of investment highlight that the value of a company is intrinsically determined by the quality of its future cash flows. As such, investments in companies that are more sustainable over the long term ought to be also valuable ones to add to your portfolio.

Crazy stuff: Focus on quarterly earnings

So why do investment managers focus so many of their decisions on quarterly earnings? One explanation is that the key to success, according to many, is in the execution. Having a great plan for the future is not enough; we must make sure that the executives at the top of the organisation are able to execute their plan successfully. One way of assessing their ability to execute is to observe quarterly promises of earnings, and their follow-through on these promises.

A balanced perspective: Sustainability

Yet reality shows us that balance has been lost. Too much focus has been placed on short-term results; and too little on long term potential. Some investors have focused on ‘growth potential’ thinking they are taking a long-term view; but their assessment of growth potential invariably over-relies on short-term measures and evidence.

A more balanced perspective is required, and Al Gore and David Bloods emphasis on assessing sustainability is a great start. We need more creative thinking that draws from our experience in assessing the long-term impacts of our economic activity. Environmentalism and climate change, with their long-term focus, provide a great platform from which to assess an organisations capability to survive in a changing world.

Make a difference: help us improve

This is more of a Post Script (Ps) on the post than actual content, so feel free to skip. If you follow our writing on this space with some regularity, you will have noticed the difference in length & style of this post. Do you like it better; and if so, Why? If not, what aspects of our previous style do you like best?

You can also make suggestions on topics on which to reflect; research; and write about. I am always on the lookout for new ideas, and your comments are always a source of joy.

Leave your comment, and make a contribution to enriching this space. Your fellow readers will thank you for doing that.

Wise advice from Dan Millman: “Just fit in until you find out where you stand out”


Image by Hamed Saber

One of my constant sources of inspiration is best-selling author Dan Millman. I am starting to notice a pattern here: two of my spiritual guides (Jack Lalanne and Dan Millman) were former athletes, and shared their perspectives on life with others in a rather public way. If you know of more characters like these two, please drop me a comment at the end of this post.

Let’s get back to Dan’s words. You can find the original piece, which was entitled ‘Dream Small‘ on Dan’s personal blog (click here for full article). On it Dan talks about the unrealistic expectations that Gen Y’ers typically have; and the impact this has on these young people when they get to compete for jobs in ‘the real world’. Dan’s advice? To dream small, take it a bit easier while you find yourself, and allow sufficient time for you to gain experience and develop yourself, your skills, and your own dreams.

This article made me reflect on 2 issues that I have been thinking about for quite some time. Firstly, it reminded me that we no longer recognise inexperience for what it is: a wonderful opportunity to try different things and find yourself. In today’s ultra-competitive, uber-complex world, we expect our children to choose-their-path as soon as they finish high school – ideally even before- and charge ahead with determination and perseverance. Newspapers and books around us are filled with ‘inspirational’ stories of those who found their calling at 14 or 15, started their career with impetus and energy, and became famous and/or a millionaires by the age of 25.

The problem with this abundance of stories on successful people is that it reinforces the illusion that we should all do the same. Not just that people can, and if you’re lucky enough, you will have the experience and skills and motivation to do it; but that it is only a matter of wishing-for-it strongly enough, and it will happen. Add to this the latest craze around ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of attraction’, and you end up with a generation that believes that the only thing you need to do to succeed is sit around dreaming and affirming your desires, and life will put them in your plate effortlessly.

Unfortunately, the world just does not work like that. Affirmations and desire are important, but it takes ACTION inspired by those dreams to make things happen. Today, many people have forgotten this second – and critical – part of the equation! My advise then is not to stop dreaming – but don’t just stop at dreaming, or you will be seriously disappointed.

The second topic that Dan’s article reminded me about is the concept of ‘defining & taking control of your career’. In today’s corporate world, there is an inbuilt expectation that everyone WANTS a career. But I know many people that just want a job that provides sufficient for their needs, without draining them of the time & energy they need for their life passion. And these people typically do not give a hoot about where their career is going. In a way, they are enjoying their lives while supporting themselves with a job. Unfortunately, this concept does not sit well in the corporate world of today.

It is amazing to think of just how universal has this concept become in today’s corporate world. Especially when we know that not everyone needs and wants a career. Large consulting firms have developed particularly discriminatory practices on this regard. Many of them have established policies that stipulate that if you don’t move to the ‘next level’ within a set period of time, you must leave the firm (‘Up-Or-Out’). For clerical or administrative staff, they adjust it and suggest that if you are not developing new skills or moving up the performance curve, you must leave (‘Grow-or-go’).

But where does this leave the single mother of two who needs a decently paid job to support her children, yet has reached the Pinnacle of her learning and efficiency curve? Or the young guy who decides to follow Dan’s advise and ‘just get a job’ so that he can pay the bills while he gets enough life experience that he can figure out which direction to take?

We live in a mad world. The corporatocracy we live in adores mass, homogeneous markets, and abhors diversity. Unfortunately, the side effects of these principles of industralisation are insidious and corrosive; Something must be done. If you agree with these ideas, why not joins us in trying to do something about it?

You could start by sharing some of these thoughts with co-workers; question the whole idea of career-obsession, and ask them how it has affected them, both positively and negatively. You can then engage your HR department in a dialogue about the diversity of needs their workforce has, and highlight the benefits that implementing more progressive policies could have in their ability to attract and retain a more productive and talented workforce. Or if you want to be a bit more extreme, take am intellectual break from your career-oriented life, and stop to smell the roses. Live in the present; Dream small, like Dan suggests; and observe – really observe – what happens in your life. Your outlook on life and love and those things that matter most is likely to change; and then you can say that at least you have managed to change the world and reduce its number of career-extremists by one.

Go crazy. Seize the day.

How to reduce your ‘carbon footprint’ and make a difference to our environment


Image by suburbanbloke

About a week ago I created a ‘fun quizz’ to assess your level of environmental literacy. Today we will focus on a few things you can do to contribute in the reduction of carbon emissions. Before we get started, let’s see why this is a worthwhile goal.
The cause for reducing carbon emissions: Climate change

According to ‘Nature Magazine’, a prominent & well respected scientific publication, “climate change is caused by the emission of heat-trapping gases – mostly carbon dioxide (CO2) – from vehicles, industry, power plants and deforestation. As these gases build up, they act like a thick blanket, overheating the planet, changing our climate, and threatening our health, economy and natural environment.” (see full article here). The threats they talk about are not imaginary: We have all started to live through the impact of some of these. Have you noticed an increase in the number and violence of natural disasters in the last few years? So have many others, and the link to Climate Change has been clearly established .

If you’re A NIMBYer who thinks that climate change won’t impact you, think again (NIMBY: Not-In-My-Back-yard). Earth’s climate system is global, and the changes are far-reaching. C’mon – you say – surely this will affect only polar bears and people in poor countries, right? Wrong. Some of the expected impacts of climate change include:

  • Temperatures will rise. You may have noticed that every summer seems to get hotter. It is not your imagination; and the impact is far more significant than simply needing to cool yourself a little bit more every day. Rising temperatures can have significant disruptions in agriculture (food availability & prices), rising storm activity (remember Katrina?), and increase in heat-related illnesses (malaria & heat-stroke, among others)
  • More species of wildlife will either become extinct, or be threatened to extinction. A recent report highlighted that a quarter of existing species in our planet will become extinct by 2050 if we don’t change current levels of carbon emissions. If this happened, it would impact a lot more than simply he number of animals you can visit at your local zoo. Reduced biodiversity will affect our planet in ways we can not even imagine. For example, some pests that are controlled by natural predators may be able to roam more freely and have a significant impact in our food supplies.
  • Ocean levels will rise. This may not seem too drastic or important to you; but do you realise that over 70% of human activity happens by coastal areas? A rise in the sea levels of a meter will wipe out a good portion of our civilised world. Just in Australia, over 700,000 buildings have been estimated as being at risk of the effects of rising sea levels (The 7:30 Report, ABC. Full transcript of the program can be found here). Similar estimates exist for North & South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. The reality is that ocean-views have long been considered by humans as a highly desirable feature of their living habitat, and this has in turn influenced the way we built our cities.
Table 1 - Dwellings at risk of rising sea levels in Australia

    I’m convinced, but can I really do anything to make things better?

    The good news is that it doesn’t take deep pockets or a University diploma to become more caring to the environment in this regard. Almost every aspect of your everyday life has an impact on the CO2 emissions that are put into the atmosphere, and most of the time we are totally ignorant to this fact. The time to change that has come!

    Before we get to the ‘how to’, you may want to have a reality check about what your specific impact to the environment is with regards to carbon emissions. I suggest you go to Nature Magazine’s ‘Carbon Footprint’ calculator, and assess yourself. (Calculator can be found here) When you’re ready, come back and learn how you can reduce your current footprint.

    Gone and back? Let’s move on to the “juicy bit” of this article: How To reduce your carbon footprint. Below are five simple suggestions that you can easily turn into habits. All you have to do is put them into practice for a whole month. As Steve Pavlina illustrates in his blog, practicing anything for 30 days on a row will turn any practice into a well established habit. Go crazy!

    1. Develop the habit of living in darkness

    How many lights do you typically have turned on at night throughout your house? If you’re like most people, you will have too many – your bedroom, your living area, your kitchen, your bathroom, your garage. Just think whether you really need all of them on at the same time. Do you?

    In case you answered ‘Yes’, let;s examine a simpe example and see if your answer remains vaid. I’d like you to think about the time you spent cooking and having dinner yesterday (probably 20 to 60 minutes). How many of the other rooms did you go to during this time period? Even if you did go to another room, for how long did you stay before you returned to the kitchen or dining area? Obviously, you need to consider other members of the family, but you can apply the same logic to their activities. My guess is that there were various areas of the house that remained lit without a real need for it.

    Learn to ‘live in darkness’ – or at least in semi-darkness. Turn lights on as you need them, and get into the habit of turning them off as you leave the room. Worried that this will shorten the life of lightbulbs, and hurt your pocket? Change your light bulbs for the environmentally friendly type and you will prolong their life. In the process, you will also put some additional money in your pocket from both the increase in the life of light bulbs (less money spent over a year in light bulb), and from the reduction in electricity consumption (lower electricity bills).

    2. Have shorter, colder showers

    We westerners have developed the habit of staying under a hot, steaming shower for far longer than we need to. Unfortunately, this practice negatively and unnecessarily impacts our level of carbon emmisions. Heating water requires burning of a fuel (either gas at your hot-water tank, or carbon at the power electricity plant), which creates CO2 emissions of Either way, your hot shower creates green-house emissions.

    TO change this habit, you don’t need to freeze in the shower every morning. One way to improve the situation is to change the way you calibrate your shower’s temperature. Instead of blasting the hot water until it’s boiling and then gently opening the cold water to arrive to the desired temperature, try to do it the other way around. Turn the shower on by first opening the cold-water tap, then slowly heating it by turning the hot-water tap. Stop at the first moment the temperature is comfortable. And stay in the shower for no more than 3 minutes.

    If you are like me, you will also live in a city where there are water restrictions. Adopting the habit of colder, shorter showers will not only reduce carbon emissions , it will also contribute to saving on your water consumption.

    3. Use public transport to get to work

    The majority of people prefer to drive to work rather than taking a bus or the train. It usually has to do with control: There’s a perception that when taking the bus & Train you are too dependent on others to arrive to work on time. And there’s always the risk of not having a seat and being inconvenienced by having to stand throughout the trip. The ultimate excuse, however, is that most people are not within walking distance to their nearest train station / bus stop, whereas our cars are usually garaged a few steps from our doorsteps.

    If you share at least some of these reasons, you may want to think again. Worried about a trip standing on a bus? Buy yourself a cheap MP3 player, download some interesting podcasts, and do some stretches on your trip. You will not only save on petrol and parking, but you will educate yourself and improve your health.

    Similarly, not being near a train station or bus stop is not a good excuse to drive to work every day. You can always drive a short distance to a station or bus stop, park there for the whole day (usually for free), and enjoy a stress-free ride.

    Make the change. Find out alternative public transport and save, avoid the stress of peak-hoir traffic, and help the environment.

    4. Assess energy-efficiency when purchasing appliances

    There are 2 ways in which you can help the environment when it comes to energy efficient appliances: the cheaper way and the more expensive way.

    The more expensive way is to identify your ‘worst offenders’ at home, and immediately replace them with appliances that are at the top of the energy efficiency scale. Make sure you do your research before you hit the footpath and heading to the shops. There is a collection of links at the end of this article suggesting where to go to research appliances and get an idea of their energy efficiency.

    The less expensive way is to do the same but only when an appliance breaks down and requires replacing. Don’t be fooled by thinking that you will spend more money with energy efficient goods: In the long run, they will save you a bucket of cash from the lower electricity bill, even if they require a slightly higher cash outlay.

    5.Minimise your reliance on heaters and air-conditionings

    It is absolutely evident that heaters and A/C units are ultra-convenient: If you don’t like the current temperature at home, all you need to do is crank up or down the thermostat of your chosen climate control appliance.

    The problem with these is that they have trained us to chase the ‘perfect’ temperature at home. In the process, you close your home shut to avoid heat or cold escaping. But have you ever stopped to consider if it is hot enough to warrant use of the air conditioner? Or whether it is cold enough to turn the heater?

    Before our homes were ‘enhanced’ with these appliances, we relied on other means to adjust our temperature at home. Too hot? Open the windows and let the breeze in. Too cold? Go to your closet and pull a nice, warm jumper. Too cold in the middle of the night? Invest in a good doona, and you will never again need the heater on.

    Stop wasting electricity and your money. Start exercising some discretion when you decide to touch the heater or A/C at home. Even better – put a note on the controls to remind you to ‘THINK BEFORE TOUCHING’, or hide the remote controls to these appliances. Having to walk to the unit itself should help you remember to think twice about whether using it is really necessary.

    Make a difference starting today!

    We have just given you 5 ideas on how to reduce your carbon-emissions footprint in the planet. Choose one, and start today. Once you turn it into a habit, choose the next one, and apply for a while month. It will take you less than half a year to adjust your habits and make a real difference to the environment.

    Don’t like our ideas? Look for some others’ in the web. The resources section below has plenty of web sites with literally hundreds of ideas to help us in the journey to a more sustainable lifestyle.
    Links & References

    Nature Magazine: http://www.nature.org
    Steve Pavlina’s web site:www.stevepavlina.com

    CO2 Footprint calculator: http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator
    Article on climate change: http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange
    ABC Article on sea level rise: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2007/s1869888.htm
    Turning practices into habits: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2005/04/30-days-to-success

    Additional Resources

    Reading Energy Labels: http://www.energyrating.gov.au
    Choosing energy efficient products: http://www.buyenergyefficient.org/buy.html
    Choice Magazine: http://www.choice.com.au

    Aiming for excellence

     


    Image by nattu

     On Dan Millman’s blog, there was a recent entry that generated some interesting commentary (click here to see the entry and comments)

    This is what was said that grabbed my attention: “I feel the aspect of achievement and success and making-something-of-oneself plays less of a role here in Europe. These are, after all, deeply American values, and sometimes it’s overburdening to me.

    Dan’s response to this was that “I’ve never aimed for “winning” or for “success.” Only for excellence (which is all that we can control — the quality of our attention and effort, moment to moment). We can control efforts, not outcomes.

    On the context of my recent experience with a performance review, these words really make you think. Our ‘performance culture’ in organisations has aimed for a very long time to measure & reward success (outcomes). We are even told that our objectives for the year need to be ‘Smart’: Specific, measurable, action-focused, realistic, and time-bound. Yet time and time again we focus on what is achieved, rather than the effort of the individual in achieving those outcomes. At my workplace, they do try to have a measurement for the ‘behaviours’ that generated the outcomes: Not so much the what but the how. Yet in both cases, the focus is very goal-oriented.

    Dan’s comment reminded me that in looking at life, one can easily allow other-people’s-values become entrenched in the way we feel and think. This obsession with ‘success’ and ‘goal-orientation’ is a great example. Despite my focus on the journey; on the effort I put into learning from every moment; on the positive or negative experiences I create for myself and others; I continue to evaluate my success by (a) how much money I make, and (b) How others perceive my achievements.

    So what are you aiming for? Perfection of outcomes, or excellence of effort? You be the judge.

    Corporate memory? The human record?

    The human race, like many other entities, operates in cycles. Empires rise and fall. Seasons come and go. And we continue to make the same mistakes many times, over and over.

    As individuals, we can rely on our memory (if we have a decent one!) to remember our mistakes and try to avoid them in the future. Even this breaks down if you believe in reincarnation; under this scenario, your memory of past lives is so tenuous that you may very well be making the same mistakes over and over, like in a B-grade execution of ‘Ground Hog’s Day’.

    What about corporations? I have just been through some experiences that tell me corporations have no memory, despite (sometimes) their best intentions. If we look at the major corporate disasters of the last decade, we could probably find that the root cause was identified, at the same company or industry, as a major cause of concern sometime over the last century. On a smaller scale, we all experience times when we see our bosses’ bosses make the same mistake over and over, especially when it comes to people matters. It still dumbfounds me that organisations with bonus programmes continue to undermine the ability of management to “share good times” across the team with some form of token payment. I am not arguing that the wealth created by a corporation should go to its’ employees rather than to its shareholders. But we all know that management theory argues we can motivate employees to higher levels of performance when they feel they have ‘skin on the game’. Despite the many occasions our corporations have had to experience the mistake of mis-managing these programs and seeing key talent flee the organisation, we continue to see companies making the same mistake over and over; allowing the very few that are politically savvy enough to look after themselves rather than their group to secure the small portion of the bonus pool, whilst the mass goes on with a token excuse for a share of the pie, or even worse, an excuse for why they did not share in record profits.

    But is this restricted to corporations? Not by a long shot. If we extend our analysis to the human race, we find that the same principle applies. How many times will our civilisation have to make the same mistakes before it learns? How many wars will we have to wage to realise that, in the long term, it makes no difference? Boundaries are a figment of our imagination. Nations are intellectual constructs we use to create divisions ‘amongst brothers’. We know from experience we are a diverse race. We know from experience that everywhere are ‘good’ people and ‘bad’ people, and that the ‘bad’ people will defy any attempt at pre-identification and classification (dare I say profiling?). And we also know from experience that no amount of military power will shape a society; it is only in the collaborative undertaking of the political process that societies will rise, and eventually, powers will be shaped. And then the cycle starts again.

    In my beloved Australia, we just held a general election where the long-standing Primer Minister for the last ten years, the Hon. John W Howard, was defeated, giving rise to the labour movement into the prime power position in our political landscape. I am excited by the volley of changes that will result from this election, starting with the first one of which was long overdue: Australia’s ratification of the Kyoto protocol. But I am no dreamer (ok, I am a bit: I always hope for the best; want to change the world; try to make someone else’s day every day – but I digress). I am realistic enough to know if Kevin Rudd stays in power for long enough, that power will corrupt and lead him to re-make some major mistakes of the past. I have been thinking for long enough in my life to be aware that the new powers at the helm will also struggle with the complexity of achieving a balance, and will most likely have a negative impact on our economy, in the long term. In short, our dear country will most likely repeat many of its’ mistake of the past. And to some extent, that is a good thing. Because it is in those mistakes that worrisome linear trends will be broken. New ones will emerge, and we will have a different set of concerns to deal with. But that’s ok. At the point, we will change powers, allow others to undo some of the new mistakes, and make some old ones of their own volition.

    Does the human record serve any purpose? I invite you, my dear readers, to post your opinion in the comments section. Let’s see what healthy debate we can create in this space.

    Can we fall out of love?

    Image by Ester G

    When I started this blog, I wrote for myself. The blog started as a collection of random thoughts I was having, primarily during boring business meetings (What? I thought this was about love!” You’re right, dear reader. Hang on there and we’ll get to it in a second)

    However, as time has passed, these reflections have been evolving. My blog has become an interactive channel of reflection. Huh? Let me explain what I mena by that.

    When I was a teenager, I had a lot of trouble finding a girlfriend. It was VERY easy for me to become friends with girls, but I continuously fond myself at the pointy end of a conversation that started with “I-don’t-want-to-ruin-a-wonderful-friendship-by-becoming-involved’; or had to listen (again!) to my crush of the moment start telling that “It’s-not-you-It’s-me-I-only-see-you-as-a-friend”. Despite an enormous amount of energy going into the pursuit of romantic fulfillment (Hollywood style, nothing less!), it wasn’t until I started University that I had my first real girlfriend. During all those teenage years I also spent a lot of time ruminating on a variety of topics. This habit of thinking and using my brain for other pursuits led me to an engaging and regular social setting. With my five best friends, we established the routine of getting together (at one of our places) every Friday or Saturday night; open a bottle of Rum, ‘Aguardiente‘, or the alcoholic beverage of our choice at the time; and have ‘deep and meaningful’ discussions on any topic. We talked about religion, art, politics, university, love, and comic books. We called these meetings our ‘Tertulias de los viernes’. (Friday’s Tertulias)
    As I left Colombia and my group of friends behind, I stopped participating in these regular intellectual debates. I also found my other half; married her; and have spent the last 12 years of my life with her.

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    Then I started this blog. I reflected on my own. And then the most marvelous thing started happening: I found some bloggers who shared some of my interests. I started perusing their writing. Regularly. And since a few weeks ago, I started having my own virtual version of ‘Friday’s Tertulias‘ by responding to their posts in my blog.

    There it is. That’s the intro to my article on whether we can fall out of love or not. What started me thinking about this topic was (you guessed it) another blogger. Moriah posted an article entitled Ramblings on internet dating/long-distance relationships , in which she explains why internet dating just does not appeal to her; and why on the other hand long-distance relationships hold a certain level of appeal (I know it sounds weird, butwhen you read her post, it actually makes a lot of sense. I suggest you head over and read her post; you will probably agree with my comments). Through the comments section of that post we engaged on a dialog. On my first response to the article, I discussed how the ‘getting to love’ someone happened along slightly different paths in today’s world than in olden times (think ‘arranged marriages’ vs ‘falling in love’)
    Then Moriah asked Can one fall out of love permanently or does it take one moment, built upon another, until one’s heart becomes hard toward another? My immediate reaction to her question was that one can (and one does) “fall out of love” permanently; but that it is not something that happens instantaneously. Let me rephrase it. Love is like a viscous liquid: It takes a while for your glass to fill, but it also takes a while for your glass to empty.

    As soon as I wrote this, I realised that part of the problem we’re having is one of semantics. Falling “in love” and falling “out of love” are reasonably immediate actions. Getting to love someone, on the other hand, takes a bit more time and energy; and I don’t think you ever stop loving someone you once loved deeply.

    People that go from relationship to relationship without giving themselves (or their partners) an opportunity to experience a deep sense love are usually following the fickleness of their hearts; moving with the wind as they fall in and out of love with others. This notion plays very nicely to Hollywood’s romantic view. You must feel butterflies in yout stomach when you see him; want to spend every single second in his presence; laugh at his every joke, love his every hobby, and think he is the most handsome man in the world. But as reality sets in, and you realise that his passion for collecting stamps is rather boring; that he has this funny lock of hair that gets into funny places and makes him look more comical than handsome; and that his sense of humour is not as sharp as you once thought; well, when you realise all these things, you start feeling like you fell out of love with the guy. And temptation sets into your heart to look for ‘the one’ – you know, the one who is perfect. The one with whom there are no compromise for you to decide on.

    But life is *full* of compromises!! As we mature, we develop the ability to recognise this fact, and to act in ways that help us be better off. With maturity, we are able to start making the right calls: We stay with a partner despite the fact that she drives us crazy with her inability to close the proverbial tube of toothpaste the right way; we stay with her because, as we look at all the positive and all the negative aspects; as we explore all the frustrations we have whilst with her, and compare them to the joy we get from simply being around her, we come out ahead. In a way, maturity gives us a process for assessing and constructing an ’emotional balance sheet’ with withdrawals and deposits, and to use it in our decision-making through life.

    So to answer the original question: Can we fall out of love? Sure we can: “What goes up, must also come down”. But we never really stop loving those with whom we established a deep emotional connection. This is true for most romantic and platonic forms of love. And in this sense, we can never truly ‘fall our of love’.


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