Challenge 71: Infinite Potential

Stop.  What time is it?  Find a clock… we’re about to take your mind for a test drive so buckle up.  You’re sitting now, how far away from your current position do you think you could move in the next two seconds?  Seriously, this will be fun… imagine that watch hand ticking once, and twice.  Could you make it to your feet?  Could you make it half way across the room?  Don’t simply imagine yourself moving in a frenzy, try to clearly envision yourself jumping, spinning, turning, flipping and twisting in every way possible.  How far from this exact spot could you be in five seconds?  Could you open the door?  Could you open another?  Can you see the sphere of possibilities expanding as you shift from two seconds to five?  Stop, again.  Try to step outside yourself and visualize this shape as it expands outward.  Where could you be ten seconds from now?  Twenty?  Push your mind, try to visualize every possible path, how far can you go?  We’re almost there… add in the human element now.  Who could you have on the phone one minute from now?  What plans could you have in motion?  Keep expanding your sphere of possibilities until you get a small glimpse of your infinite potential.

Stop.  What time is it now?  You spent the last minute of your life exploring the edges of your reality, and here you are… still sitting in the center.  Here’s a news flash: one of the forking paths in your future enables you to help a lot of people.  Another path takes you far outside your comfort zone and opens new doors for self expression.  Another deepens your connections to your loved ones, and yet another leads to unimaginable success and fulfillment.  It’s all too easy to forget that you decide which path you take in every moment, and which you do not.  Every week, we offer multiple challenges as a way of reminding ourselves of this choice: to push against our boundaries and strive towards the wonder of our true potential, or to sit in the center, and wonder what our true potential could have been.  It all begins with a single step…

The Challenges
For our seventy-first weekly challenge, please choose one of the following. Use the provided link to register your challenge selection.

Challenge One (register)
Learn from a past mistake.

Avid self-improvers will likely argue that bad luck simply does not exist, because the vast majority of unfortunate events are simply learning or character-building experiences.  Indeed, if we possess the mental reflex to channel the unfortunate things that happen to us into a positive use, then everything that comes our way can be used to our advantage.  Failure is just a part of the journey toward success which, above all, teaches us where we went wrong and how to appreciate that journey in the first place.  Every one of us has made mistakes in our lives, but learning from them, or using them to get ahead, is not typically what goes through our minds when failure occurs.  This week, think of a mistake you’ve made sometime in your life and figure out a way to learn from it and move closer toward success.

Challenge Two (register)
Break a rule.

The boundaries and personal rules we set to keep ourselves out of trouble are all well and good, but have you ever asked: do they constrain our actions to the point that they’re limited, comfortable, cosy, and predictable?  Rules can become arbitrary, almost unconscious decisions not to do something outrageous, exciting, spontaneous, and whimsical.  We’re not suggesting you break the law, or step on a crack, we’re merely suggesting that you loosen up a bit!  Consider doing something a little crazy… carry around a half gallon of orange juice for the entire day and drink straight from the carton, you may be surprised by how people react.  Have you had enough of a bland workweek?  Are you growing bored with a life of simply sticking with what feels “right” or comfortable?  You can either continue grinding out the same routines, or you can switch it up and live a little!

Challenge Three (register)
Call an old friend that you have not spoken to in over a year and have a conversation.

We’re all leading busy lives.  Unfortunately, our relationships are often the first thing to suffer.  Before we know it, years can pass without exchanging words with someone whom we once considered to be one of our closest friends.  It happens to all of us, it’s part of life, but it doesn’t have to be.  Set aside some time to reminisce, is there anyone you’d like to catch up with?  Perhaps you’re facebook friends with this person, but when was the last time you heard their voice?  Pull up that old phone number and give them a call, if the number doesn’t work, track them down!  They’ll be happy you did.

Selected Quote
“Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste your time is you waste your life, but to master your time is to master your life and make the most of it.”
-Alan Lakein, author of How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life.

This Week: You Should Know
World Doesn’t End

Much to the chagrin of Harold Camping and his followers, the world did not begin its cataclysmic end last weekend.  Camping, 89 is evangelist and radio host from Oakland, California.  He calculated that, according to the Bible, judgment day will come exactly 7000 years after the date of the Great Flood, which happens to be May 21, 2011, at 6pm, Eastern Standard time.  Two-hundred million Christians would be taken to heaven before the Earth was destroyed, marked by hurricanes, earthquakes, plagues and other scourges until it was finally consumed five months later on October 21.  He returned to work on Monday bewildered and looking for answers to a prophesy gone wrong, telling his audience that Judgement Day will still occur on October 21, 2011.  Two decades ago, Camping told his audience that the world would end in 1994, but attributed his erroneous prediction to a mathematical error.

Camping calculated the Great Flood to 4990 BC in 1970, and used this date with a statement in Genesis 7:4 (“Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth”) to be a prediction of the end of the world.  According to Wikipedia, he combined it with 2 Peter 3:8 (“With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day”), and concluded the end of the world would occur 7000 years from 4990 BC.  He then took the 17th day of the second month mentioned in Genesis 7:11 to be May 21, Judgment Day.

When his prediction went awry Saturday, Camping sought refuge in a motel with his wife.  “I don’t understand why nothing is happening,” said Robert Fitzpatrick, 60, a New York resident who invested $140,000 in advertisements, including 3,219 bus, subway and commuter-rail ads.  Camping responded by telling his listeners that “We’ve always said May 21 was the day, but we didn’t understand altogether the spiritual meaning… May 21 is the day that Christ came and put the world under judgment.”

Even before the prophesy proved fallacious, criticism abounded.  New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that if the world ended, his administration would not pursue parking tickets or late library books.  Noted atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins predicted that there would inevitably be an explanation involving a “miscalculation,” and that, given the large amount of money used to stir up publicity, Camping will plead for more money “to pay for updated billboards.”  The San Francisco Chronicle published a End-of-the-World FAQ, including “If I’m Raptured, what will happen to my pets?”

The mainstream-media attention this story received was perhaps a product the sociological divide between religion and modern science.  The two divergent fields have rivaled each other for thousands of years (for example, the Vatican admitted that Galileo was correct in 1992), and attempts to reconcile logical inconsistencies never really caught on.  Camping told New York Magazine that “I don’t even want to think about that question at all. [The end of the world] is going to happen.” But how can such certainty evolve from a foundational belief? His predictions, however inaccurate, contribute to an important social commentary about evolution vs ancient religious beliefs, and the place of religion in modern life.

Original Content Provided by BestMe 2011.

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