Small Things

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Switch over to rechargeable batteries. Not only will you save money and time, you’ll also save the earth and water from some of the worst toxins on the mass market. Plus, in some states it’s illegal to throw your batteries away. If you have non-rechargeable batteries that are dead, find a local battery recycling center to drop them off at. Libraries, electronic stores, and hazardous waste facilities are usually a good bet.

Put your computer to sleep instead of using the screen saver. Running your monitor takes a significant amount of energy, which adds up even more over time. And if you just can’t bear the time it takes to wake up (then you’re probably using a windows ;), seriously though, have the computer set to just turn off the monitor instead of sleep or screen saver. This leads to less energy consumption and money savings. Imagine how it would add up if it were required by just one semi-large company.

When you’re in a public restroom, take a look at how many paper towels get used. When we aren’t paying attention, we tend to pull out a few extra when we don’t really need to. Most of paper in that big clump stays dry. See if you can get away with just using one (or even none, if you’re feeling it). You can save hundreds and even thousands a year just by making this simple shift. Imagine the numbers if thousands of people did the same. It all adds up…. and that leaves more trees creating fresh air for us.

Take a few (or many) moments throughout the day to stretch the body. It’s relaxing, it’s good for the mind and circulation, and it’s very calming in the midst of everyday stresses. It’s extremely simple yet it works wonders. For more benefit, try watching the breath as you’re stretching….. a great practice for a quick mental cleanse.

If you’re in the market for a new computer, consider getting a notebook. Notebooks use around 4x less energy, use fewer resources (including packaging, peripherals, hardware, cables, etc), require less energy to ship, and they’re completely portable and take up far less space than the alternative. Sure, they cost a bit more but once you start adding up all of the benefits, notebooks are a great option to that big clunky mess on, under, and behind your desktop.

Only flush the toilet if you need to. It’s staggering how much water we would save if we flushed 2 times fewer a day. In the US alone, that would be (on average) 5 gallons per flush times 2 flushes times approximately 306,000,000 which equals over 3 billion gallons of water per day. That’s a lot of water! On a more personal level, in the average US household (of 2.5 people), that would be 25 gallons per day and 9,125 gallons a year. Small things can really add up. Cheaper water bills and more fresh water on the planet to drink. Win win!

When you’re hanging out with family, your lover, good friends, etc., be there with them as if it was the last time you were going to see them for a while (or maybe even ever). It’s a really powerful practice that shifts many things towards the positive in our interpersonal dynamics. Imagine how present you are when it really is the case that your loved one is going to be away for a while. Why not bring that energy as often as you can? All that we can be absolutely sure of is what is happening now. Now is the time to be the person you want to be to the people you care about. Plus, who likes to have regrets?

For a little more depth and a fun exercise on the subject, check out this entry.

Watch what you feed your head. The information that pours into your mind on a daily basis has a huge impact on your experience and ultimately, who you are. Consciously add positive content, media, thoughts, ideas, etc. to your daily routine instead of unconsciously filling up with a lot of the garbage, negativity, gossip, etc. that’s out there. You are what you eat? Yes…. and you’re also what you think!

Arguments often boil down to disagreements about words, how they are defined and what they describe. Noticing this as it happens in your life will allow you to resolve conflicts faster.

The next time you’re doing something like cleaning your car, packing for a trip or just going to the store, see if you can remember to hear that small voice that tells you what you may forget. So often I find that later in the day or week, I remember hearing the words “don’t forget that”, “pick that up”, “write that down” or “take that with you”. Then I think back and realize, if I had really been paying attention, I’d have listened and written it down, picked it up or taken it with me and not forgotten whatever it was. It feels great when you listen to that small voice and really contributes to optimizing each moment and even the future.

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Self Worth is Not a Thing

Self-worth is not a thing; it is a perception. Just as a gymnast begins a routine with ten points and receives deductions for each mistake, so you began life with a natural, complete sense of worth. (Have you ever met an infant with self-worth issues?) But as you grow, you serve as your own judge, deducting points when you misunderstand the nature of living, and learning—when you forget you are a human-in-training and that making mistakes and having slips of integrity and mediocre moments are a part of life, not unforgivable sins.

- Dan Millman

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