In this freeform audio recording, Norm delves into the topic of gratitude on three different levels - for the planet, for other humans, and for oneself. He shares his reflections on the importance of environmental care, the beauty in human imperfections, and individual self-awareness. Inspired by a philosophy-themed event and a gratitude journaling workshop he attended, Norm structures his thoughts through three specific prompts. He also explores the idea of 'Sonder' - recognizing the deep, complex histories of those around us - and the protection of one's imagination from overwhelming external influences.
00:53 Experience at the Gratitude Journaling Workshop
02:28 Gratitude for the Planet and its Ecosystems
04:53 Appreciation for Human Imperfections
07:35 Self-Reflection and Personal Gratitude
12:28 Conclusion and Sign Off
Thanks for listening to the show! You can find out more about it at ThatsTheNorm, where I collect all my notes, conversations, podcasts, and more.
This is Norm. Hi there, this is Norm. I thought to do this recording because why not? I wanted to do more freeform audio recordings and see if just having it out there is much better for me to devise notes to myself, to record out thoughts that I would think could contain gold, rather than having it be blocked by my inability to write something, or it's our inability to articulate the thoughts that come out of my head that emerge. I would rather just have it out there as an audio recording and see if we have it in podcast format so that anyone else can tune in or chime in or listen in. So why not have it up here on the this is Norm show? I wanted to do this recording because I had this prompt quite a while ago I think it was maybe in October I went to a philosophy themed event in Kuala Lumpur and there was a gratitude journaling workshop, which turns out was not actually a gratitude journaling workshop but rather just a collective gratitude community event thing. Multiple people, strangers wanted to talk about different things concerning what are they grateful for, yada, yada, yada. It was a topic about gratitude, which I understand is a very important topic, but it turns out that it was sort of a misalignment with what I expected the gratitude journaling to be. I thought it was around best practices, to journal for the self, but rather it was more of what are you grateful for? Now? That's cool, that's great. I would think that that's very interesting. But I thought to twist the prompts brought into that workshop to my own accord, or to my own objectives rather, and turn it into something that could be applicable to anybody here. One thing I noticed was really interesting was that they decided to do this workshop in scales, so the prompts around gratitude were giving you the chance to expand or minimize your awareness to things that you could pay attention to. In this case, the scales were of the self, were of people and were of the planet. Then I thought to introduce that myself in this episode. So the first prompt is we're going to start from the largest one is what are you grateful for on this planet? I'll begin my answers here. I'm grateful that this planet has very, very interesting ecosystems. Antenemes are very complex and that adds to the depth. When you're trying to think of the narrative of how the planet works, you can think about it from the scientific perspective. Hey, wow, all these plants in nature leads to animal kingdoms, leads to the base civilization for human society to function, and they all work in tandem with each other to create, basically, planet Earth, and I think that's always a very interesting thought to have. I'm grateful for that because that gives reason to keep this planet alive. That keeps giving me more reasons to be more mindful of what I want to do with the environment around me. Do I want to throw away waste or trash? Do I want to treat people bad? No, I think, from an epigenetics point of view, I wouldn't want the environment around me to be nurtured and cultivated well, because there's a symbiotic relationship between whether or not the environment is really really good for me or healthy for me and how that feeds into me as a person. So you know, fair deal, a trade negotiation thing. If the people around you or the location around you or the environment around you works really well for you, then you're bound to work really well in return. And, of course, if you have intentions to work towards a specific version of yourself, then influencing the environment around you to help you towards that is always pretty good, as long as you're not doing any harmful practice towards other people. I think that that is something to always be grateful for, as well as the fact that these systems are so complex that you can spend every day making a step towards that objective and that the planet actually gives you the opportunity to order right, to order privilege, to even I don't really want to use that connotation or that word too much because of this strange connotation nowadays in modern discourse, but having that said, to be able to do so in this kind of environment that is so malleable in terms of how you can command the environment around you in a positive direction is always something to be grateful for. The next question is what do you like about humans? I wasn't a group for this and people had very interesting answers, but they were kind of expected, like curiosity and Innovation, whatever. I wanted to go about it a different route. So here's my attempt. I'm trying to recollect this. I'll recall this answer from when I did that event. But I like that humans are flawed. I Like that humans are Imperfect. I like that humans stumble. I like that humans fall in certain times. I like that the life cycle of a person is not a straight line but a roller coaster. There's three dimensions to it. There's maybe even more dimensions to it if you think about the intangible world. I like this because that adds greater complexity and reasons to pursue Exactly what that could be, what can be articulated from the Struggles, what can be articulated from the wisdoms and insights that a human can have, and that with the capability to do that More, so that we have the capability to recover, bounce or even thrive as a result from lessons learned from peril. I Don't remember the exact quote, but there was one quote that has resonated with me paraphrasing it. It was something along the lines of Men are not born in times of peace, but through hardships and peril, and I thought that that was a very fascinating thing, because if you try to deconstruct that wisdom, or try to deconstruct that quote, if there was no peril, what will we learn? We would have achieved Utopian like tendencies, utopian attributes as a person, and that means that, other than pure Unrelenting motivation to pursue a higher level of self, sometimes some forcing functions To make you want to thrive better Will bring you into a different direction that you'd never expect. And Humans have the capacity to be so organic, so adaptable to peril that they can survive, that they can thrive and they can create a community that can bring them across that or through that. And I like that because people try. I Like that humans are flawed because they are brave enough to confront it. I Like that humans are flawed Because they are brave enough to hold strength despite the fear of breaking apart. And I like humans because we try. And the last question is what are you grateful for yourself? I'm trying to Not answer this without sounding too egotistical, but I'll have to to to a certain extent. I guess it depends on framing. But here we go. I Try my best to live from the perspective of Sonder. If you don't know what Sonder means, it is a concept of understanding that everybody around you strangers, friends, family, close ones they all have rich, deep histories of their own. They all have rich, deep stories of their own. That is a very logical understanding, a common sense understanding. But Sander dictates the behaviors and influences in your expectations of a person. So Sander helps you frame an impression of a person and that in return will help dictate your behaviors to a certain degree. That may lead you to be more kinder, that may lead you to be more mindful of the people around you. Maybe it is that when someone cuts you off in traffic, that there is something drastic happening in their life right now and you happen to get caught in the crossfire for it, and so you go through what we call, as per the anti-fool episode of Dr Benjamin Hardy FAE, which is a fundamental attribution error, where we project faults and blame onto a person without considering their situation. So, to live in a life from Sander, I find out that I want to respect the rich, deep histories of people more, and I feel like I've done quite a good job in maintaining that. I do catch myself in fits of maybe anger or rage or judgment, and I still find myself guilty of such, but I forgive myself for having those, and just as fast as I would fall into that state of mind, I quickly reset myself and climb back up, and that, you know, is a callback to the previous answer on recovery, on maintaining our trajectory towards the direction that we want, or even emerging trajectories that we find on the way or on the journey to find ourselves in a better place. To be able to do that for myself, or for myself to do that, I'm really happy that I could train, that I could, really happy that I could cultivate that understanding and the other answer as well I would give for my gratitude for myself is my imagination, the intangibles that live in my mind. I'm really grateful that they are there. I'm alone in my mind, just like everybody else. I try my best to divert away from semantic influence syndrome, which is a term I coined to describe protecting the bastion in my mind from the influences that I choose to pay attention. To Say that if I have a favorite author, I read all their books and if I start sounding like them, my semantics are influenced by them as a result. And there's a flaw in that behavior that if I start being a complete duplicate of somebody else, why should someone listen to me? They could just listen to the original source. The way to protect that or to prevent that from happening is cultivating the intangibles in my mind my imagination, my characters, my fiction, my nonfiction, my thoughts, my conclusions, my hypotheses, my agreements and disagreements, the conversations in my mind. If you know my website, you'll know that I have a lot of inner characters and they're always talking to each other a lot. Sometimes I catch myself acting in a specific mode, the mode of logic. They clash with emotion, and then something happens and there might be like a spark between that and tempering that thought will lead to a conclusion which I find quite satisfying. The capacity to do that is amazing, it's powerful and I'm so happy for it. I feel that when this is a skill to learn, it may cultivate differently or uniquely per person, but once it does, the end results are the same in terms of benefits, the satisfaction that you are grateful for being able to construct yourself towards a version that you are proud of, to look in the mirror and say, wow, this is an amazing person in front of me. I love this person and, of course, gratitude comes from a place of love. I guess that's it. Take care, this is Norm. You'll find me at That'sTheNormcom and I'll see you another time.