For those of you who may not know, I am a big fan of Winnie-the-Pooh. Always have been. Whether it is his east going nature, or his loyalty to his friends, he is just a good…um…bear. To this end, I usually read whatever Winnie-the-Pooh books come out (Winnie the Pooh on Problem Solving and The Tao of Pooh are two of my favorites) I also see whatever Winnie-the-Pooh movie comes along.
A few years ago a movie called Christopher Robin came out and Margie was sweet enough to take me to see it. For those of you not familiar, Christopher Robin was the boy who played with Winne-the-Pooh as a young child. This movie shows Christopher Robin as an adult. He has become wrapped up and all consumed in his work much to the detriment of his sanity as well as that of his family. Through a series of adventures, or should I say misadventures, he is reunited with the loveable bear to be reminded of all of the important lessons he learned as a young child.
In the film, there is an adorable scene where Pooh is forced to amuse himself while Christopher Robin is again consumed by his work. They happen to be riding a train at the time and Pooh decides to play a game he calls “Say what you see”. The game, much like most things Pooh does, is very simple. All it consists of is Pooh saying out loud what he sees. As Christopher Robin is doing his best to focus on work, he hears a small voice saying things such as “cloud…tree…cow” Irritated this is interrupting his work he yells at Pooh to play the game to himself.
In the movie, this game serves as an important reminder to be present and notice what wonderful things are around you. Oddly enough, I was reminded of this while listening to a great experiment Tony Robins does. To prove how much our minds can see what we are focused on much to the detriment of what we are not (just like Christopher Robin focuses on his work and cannot see the detriment he is causing his family) Tony has everyone look around the room for what they see that is brown. He does this for about 60 seconds reminding everyone to “see what is brown. Look for what it brown” Feel free to try it yourself right now. Then he has them close their eyes and think of everything that is…red. Most people can think of only a few things if anything at all.
I tried using this technique one day on the way home from work. As I drove along, I tried to see everything that was certain colors, say yellow for example. I was amazed to find how much I missed in my everyday commute. I decided it might benefit me even more if I were to notice things that made me happy. Cars that looked fun, houses that I enjoyed, great scenes of natural beauty or anything else. Again, it was shocking how many things you drive by day after day and never notice.
The other day I combined this game with that of Winnie-the-Pooh. I started saying out loud things I noticed at first. As I drove to work at 5am, finding myself saying things like “Dog, birdhouse, tree” out loud not only made me aware of my surroundings, it gave me a little chuckle at that. Recalling what I did with the Tony Robins idea, I decided to say out loud things that I saw that I enjoyed. Who cares anyway? I was in the car alone and the time of my commute was my to spend however I chose. If you carpool or use public transportation, you might want to do this in your head. You will be amazed how even a mere few minutes of this can alter your mood.
Combining the knowledge of a personal-improvement expert and a loveable bear can lead to great discoveries. I encourage you to try this yourself one day. You will be surprised at not only what you miss, but the positive effect it has on your mood. Here is a great side effect I have noticed in playing this game myself. After the initial playing of the game, where I happen to notice things that I enjoy that I might have missed before, they then become ‘present’ to me even when I am not playing the game. For example , on the route I drive for work while playing this game I noticed a particular tree that had a quite unique look about it. Now, when I drive route for work, I notice that tree even when I am not playing the game. This is one of many examples. Can you imagine if your ride to an from work, the grocery store or any other places you go were suddenly filled with things that make you happy? It can be by playing this game brought to us by a “bear of very little brain” as Pooh refers to himself. Do it for 5 minutes or so on different parts of your journey. You will be amazed at what you discover. It will have a positive effect on that days journey and every day to come.
As a special bonus, I have included a link to the very busy Christopher Robin telling Winnie-the-Pooh to amuse himself so he can work in the link below. I highly recommend seeing the entire movie. It is a great reminder for busy adults not to forget the things that are truly important.