I wonder…


I was listening to Start the Week on Monday when the programme was exploring the issue of middle age.  That weekend, I had just watched the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and had laughed and cried my way through it and so I was just in the right space for thinking about how I was approaching my middle years (I’m 47, by the way)

On the programme, the poet Simon Armitage said that he thought it wasn’t wisdom that we should focus on cultivating in our middle years but rather the quality of wonder.  I really liked that and it got me thinking  about what it might be like to bring an attitude of wonder to our work…

When running a leadership development programme, I always encourage leaders to approach their learning with curiosity so that, rather than saying ‘damn, I didn’t get that right’ they’d be more likely to say ‘mmm, interesting, I wonder why I did that… ’.  And that leads me to think about how much more we might get from our daily experiences if we took that attitude in our daily life…we’d be more likely to  increase our levels of self awareness, for sure, and I reckon it would feel a lot kinder too.

Flower - Discover - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

There’s a Chinese proverb that says ‘a truly great person never puts away the simplicity of a child’ and I think the same can be said for the sense of delight and wonder they have about the world around them.  My mindfulness practice has taught me to, every so often, really savour a moment and soak up the experience. So it could be that, in between rushing from one meeting to the next, you take a minute (yes, even you can fit a 60 second pause before that next meeting…) to stop and look at a flower (no, not hug a tree…just look at a flower), whether it’s in a display or outside, and really be amazed at the intricacy and beauty of what nature produces; or to really taste the different flavours of the tea in your cup and think about where that tea came from, who might have picked it, what his or her life might be like or who stacked the box of tea on to the shelves in your local supermarket.  How often are we really IN each moment, allowing ourselves to notice what’s wonderful?

There’s also a sense of wonder that we connect to when we do something for the first time and have a new experience.  For many of us, we have chosen to stay in some well trodden paths in our lives (dare I suggest that they may have become ruts…?) and we can realise with a jolt that it’s been a while since we did anything new.  Does that resonate for you? So whether it’s taking that ballroom dancing lesson that your partner has been wanting to do,  taking a new route to work or popping into the art gallery down the road in your lunch hour, try and build in something to your day that is novel and may well create an opportunity for wonder…

So, thank you Simon Armitage for reminding me about what’s important.  And I’m also going to buy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on DVD to remind me how to embrace my middle years , and beyond, with wonder.


Helena Clayton - Blue Sky Performance Improvement


Blue Sky Performance Improvement


Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: