Friday, September 16, 2011

In Praise of Gimmicks

   I am an admitted sucker for neatly packaged, pre-organized, easily translatable remnants of knowledge that some people might call gimmicks.  Especially if they rhyme.  Not that full bodies of information or complete works of literature are lost on me; I just have a subterranean appetite for smaller doses of wisdom that can be absorbed and digested in a flash.  

   Same goes for quotes, especially when they are credited to people who have already earned my admiration. Like Albert Einstein.  I do try to make note people who have been quoted and seem worth a revisit then try to measure their full spectrum of opinion or experience against sturdier belief systems already in place.

   Why such a sucker?  Because life gets busy, baby, and my mind gets distracted.  And I cannot afford to waste even a little bit of my limited brain power by NOT learning something or motivating myself to do something.  I also get bored easily in my relative isolation, so shaking things up with fresh perspectives and newer incarnations of the same good stuff just does my soul a favor.

   My love affair with gimmicks started young.  I would never have learned where is east and where is west without once being taught that you EAT with your EAST hand (assuming you are right handed, I suppose).  And the notes on a treble clef?  The spaces are, from the bottom, F-A-C-E and, for the lines, Every Good Boy Does Fine.  (Or Fart, depending on whether my piano teacher was within earshot.)

  For a more recent example, cardio.  There will always be running and elliptical machines and jump ropes and trampolines, but I saw on Pinterest the neatest little poster outlining a 20-minute cardio routine I just had to try.  My fancy was tickled.  Anything can be endured for twenty minutes, right?  And this workout could be done in a hotel room sans equipment, sans judgmental audience, and sans push ups, which are from the devil.




    For the record, I did actually try this both yesterday and today.  Well, I completed almost two thirds of this both times, repeating the cycle not quite thrice.  It is more difficult in the flesh than it is on the computer screen, but that's a good thing, right?  It got my heart pumping wildly in a very short period of time, and I didn't have to leave the security and privacy of my hotel room.  I jumped immediately into the shower and called it a day.

   Another excellent find is always anything that will boil down my thoughts and get me to focus.  Are you like me, prone to melancholy over old hurts or losses, unsolvable problems, or possible future catastrophes?  That stuff is paralyzing, man.  And wasteful of our abundance in the present moment.  Shake it off and admit what you're doing to yourself.

   
I personally found this on Pinterest then looked and looked for the original source,
but the best I could find was that it was on an unidentified Tumblr slideshow.  
Kudos and sincere thanks to the original writer!  You got my attention.

   With regard to actual literature, the sources of inspiration are endless.  I have my online reading lists and my friends' lists; my sister's friend Julia who is also now my friend, who works as a literary publicist and feeds me titles like they were solid gold sunflower kernels; and my fellow book clubbers.  (Our Oklahoma book club has grown from four to eighteen women, all filled with excellent ideas about what to devour next)  Feeding off of the recommendations of trustworthy, vastly interesting women has become a beloved source of inspiration for me.  Yes, some of this is a bit gimmicky, but who cares?  Not me.
  
   This week at the zoo I saw a series of small, wooden signs bearing the same quote over and over again, and the message has been echoing in my heart in a very genuine, movement-begging way.  Here it is paraphrased, because I failed to snap a photo and I cannot find it on the internet:

"No one makes a greater mistake
than he who does nothing only because
he thinks he can do very little."
-Unknown

   I believe the context there was animal conservancy, but of course we can choose to apply it at will to any situation where action is needed.  Even though the delivery was gimmicky (about two dozen matching wooden signs strewn along a landscaped pathway), the effect is real.

   I guess all I'm saying today is that if you are drawn to appetizers of knowledge now and then, don't feel guilty about it; let it fuel you!  And let it prompt a healthy intellectual menu.  Use the thinky calories and nutrients you scrape up from all over this beautiful world to improve your life and deepen and enrich your experiences.  As long as gimmicky snippets are only part of your nourishment, not the whole of what you ingest, I bet you're okay.   You have nothing to regret in surfing and collecting and reading and observing.

What gimmicky wisdom have you enjoyed lately?
Where do you look for quick inspiration?
   

  

pinnable

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