Which is better, breathing in, or breathing out?
Is that a weird question?
Every inhale and exhalation from now until we die is 50:50.
Another small part of the Universe’s perpetual balancing act, the constant to-ing and fro-ing that occurs at every level from a wave of light to the spaces between galaxies.
Success comes from failure and must eventually go back to it.
We can have good health and happiness because we must be sick and unhappy sometimes.
If we get too attached to one way or another, when the time comes for change — as it always does — we won’t enjoy it as much as we should.
If we do that with breathing, we’ll die.
Why would anything else be different?
If it sometimes feels like you’re rushing along out of control, that’s probably a good thing.
That is exactly what’s happening.
Everything from the size of a quark to the Milky Way is hurtling about almost completely randomly.
When we bump into something about our size, we explode or cling to each other, tumbling through the swirling void until we collide with something else. Sometimes, it’s both.
Bosuns, atoms, molecules, people, planets, stars, galaxies — all of us whizzing around making fireworks.
Time for a super-loud, mega-awesome, seventeen-million-colour whizz-popper, don’t you think?
This weekend we were basking in some unusually warm May sun when I caught a moment.
It was passing me by and looking the other way, so I reached out and held it for a while. It didn’t mind too much.
While it was snuffling around, the warm, fuzzy little moment told me that all the ups and downs of existence had led it to pass by me at that time on that bench in that park.
All the good and evil of history, the luck and misfortune of worlds, the colossal interstellar explosions and mass extinctions, all so I could gently cook on that park bench, sipping that ice-cold beer, and think, “isn’t this nice.”
I thanked the little moment for coming such a long way to see me.
“Same time tomorrow?” I asked.
But the little moment just winked, and scurried off into the past.
Yesterday, the greatest businessman alive wrote us a letter containing some sage words of advice.
And they’re not about how to time your pee breaks.
Ol’ Jeffo’s advice for success is simple: stay different.
The Universe is always trying to reclaim us for itself, to return us to equilibrium, to flatten us into our surroundings.
To make us ‘normal.’
Merely staying alive is a struggle because Life isn’t typical in this cold, vast, empty Universe.
Distinctiveness is what makes you and me different but also what brings us together. And our differences are worth fighting for, together.
I’ll leave you with the words of the man who will take humanity to the stars…
Be kind, be original, create more than you consume, and never, never, never let the universe smooth you into its surroundings.
The more I write, the more I realize how important it is to the soul to write — to create.
To make a mark; a little spark.
To rub my fingers against the fabric of reality and warm it in my favour.
We’re all out here, one of eight billion souls (that we know) trying to figure out Why in our own little way.
What else is life but a reason to share our little spark, our short story, with the rest of the world?
You’re you. And we’re here.
So, start a fire and let the rest of us know.
We’re listening. We want to hear you.
That’s how we make fire.
And that’s how we change the world.
There’s something special that we all take for granted a little too often.
It seems trite, but the best ideas are always obvious.
There will never be a single person like you.
Nobody in history has seen, heard, or felt the things you have.
Nobody in the next hundred billion years will get to experience what you have over the last few years; unless they’re playing a video game of your life.
And even then, they wouldn’t be able to recreate the smell of your dorm room at University perfectly.
We take our uniqueness for granted but the life you’ve lived and will live are thoroughly special.
You’re something special. Your story is worth telling.
And don’t you forget it.
Here’s something they don’t teach you in school because it would undermine everything.
It’s as factual as science can be, but it’s tough to wrap our little brains around — like the fact you’re moving at 67,000 miles an hour.
Here are some more facts they won’t tell you:
- We don’t know what makes up 95% of the Universe.
- Look closely at any particle and it looks like an energy wave.
- Nothing exists until we look at it but it exists wherever we look.
- Atoms in your DNA can teleport.
- There’s a good chance you are a quantum glitch.
The Universe is just limitless, unrealized potential. The very fabric of reality is energy waiting for you to turn it into something.
The first person to truly understand the consequences of this was Douglas Adams, who created the Probability Drive.
Scientists labelled this quantum mechanics in the hope that would stop any awkward questions. And — unless you’re a quantum physicist — there isn’t much point in asking ‘why.’
The real question is: what are you going to do with all that potential?
Walking through a wall is very very very very unlikely, but science tells us it’s not impossible.
It’s called ‘quantum tunnelling’ and it’s why the sun explodes, and how your DNA replicates, and how light passes through a solid object.
A very clever teenager explained this to me this morning in under three minutes and closed with these (almost) impossibly wise words:
“Maybe the quantum world is telling us that when faced with an obstacle, there’s a small chance we can defy expectations and breach barriers.”
She absolutely nailed it.
I’m not saying take a running jump at the closest wall. But the next time you’re faced with something that seems ‘impossible,’ remember you always have a chance.
That’s just how the universe works.