Do you know The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? I have been a subscriber to her newsletter for quite some time, and my husband bought me her book as a Mother’s Day present (which, admittedly, I have yet to crack open…). Gretchen is very well-informed on the positive psychology literature, and has made it accessible through her book, website and newsletter, but perhaps the biggest boost she has unknowingly given to me was in a recent post where she talks about her spiritual mentor, Ste. Thérèse de Lisieux. It wasn’t the post so much that gave me the boost as it was the little footnote that Gretchen includes in many of her newsletters – a link to a video imagining LA without cars.
(Actually, when I went looking for the link, I thought it was in the Richard Florida interview, which is also a great post… but I may be biased as I recently saw the esteemed R. Florida present his new book at the Rotman School of Management… another book which I have yet to crack open, though it sits pristinely on my book shelf… But I digress!)
I showed the “LA without cars” video to my six-year-old who wondered why it was so special. I explained to him about how LA has so many cars and pollution and how this was someone imagining what a great city it might be without any cars at all. My son then proceeded to explain how people in LA, and elsewhere, shouldn’t have cars and they should walk or take the bus, and how the government should tell them all to do this, and how it would be healthier and better… and on and on he went, solving grandiose problems which were easily surmountable in his creative and unbounded imagination. I was in complete awe.
What grandiose problems are you confronted with? What seems unsurmountable to you right now? A relationship? A work situation? A financial matter? And then, what if you were to think and imagine like a six-year-old? You could solve anything – except that, as an adult, you’d actually be able to start making that vision a reality, one step at a time.
I’m not saying it’s easy – just like getting rid of everyone’s car isn’t easy – but I am saying it’s possible. And starting to move towards that dream is better than doing nothing, or worse, moving in the opposite direction.
And if you’re having a hard time getting started, I know a very creative and positive six year old boy who can help…