Not only is this great advice for all you private detectives out there, it is actually a pretty solid life philosophy. Which is why, unless you are talking the car keys I accidentally left in my coat pocket, I am rarely looking for anything specific. I’m almost always just looking for anything at all.
A fun example of this is gift buying; I have been told on many occasions that I have a knack for finding the “perfect” gift and recently had someone say, “You always know what I want; but more so, what I need”. I think my success in this area is for two reasons 1) I genuinely enjoy gift-giving. It lights me up to express myself in this way to people I care about and 2) when I am looking for a gift, unless I have been asked for something specific (boring) I never have a set idea in my head of what I am going to find. I’m “open to the infinite”, as it were, so the possibilities are unending.I cannot tell you the number of times I have found “the perfect thing” in a clearance bin; or even more frequently, as the LAST one in the store. When the latter happens it makes me feel like it was waiting just for me and reassures me that it is the right choice. I always keep my eyes peeled because often “the perfect gift” appears out of season…if I find a gift in January for a July birthday, I snap it up. My office closet begins to accumulate Christmas gifts during the summer months. But even if I wait until the last moment, usually some kind of serendipity in the form of a conversation or sudden recall of a long-forgotten wish will emerge. I always find what I’m looking for because I’m just looking for anything.
Another way just looking for anything benefits me is in relationships. A wonderful friend of mine once described me as “the archaeologist of personalities” because, in her words, “no matter how deeply buried the treasure, only you have the patience and tools to uncover it.” HA! She’s a smarty, that one. I loved this compliment (or was it an “insulpliment”?) because it is true that I believe most people are good, even if they keep that goodness pretty well camouflaged. The trick is not to need something specific from them to make you happy; if anything good will do, you are sure to find it.We are all “flawed” characters with some difficult behaviors; the problem that most people encounter in their relationships is the need for the other to conform to a particular standard they have in their minds. This is all well and good in relationships where we have the choice of contact, but how about those co-workers, neighbors, FAMILY MEMBERS who don’t meet your requirements? I say you can still maintain bonds of respect (and YES, even often affection!) if you are willing to forgo your need for “something”. Unless you are dealing with a racist, lying, xenophobic, bullying tyrant (for example), if you are looking for anything to like, you are almost certain of success.
Speaking of success, the last area I want to apply this is work. Because I know a lot of super bright, wonderfully talented people and with very few exceptions, they seem to experience a lot of discomfort and discontent with how the world at large has responded to them and their work. In other words, they have not achieved the standard of “success” they were looking for; in most cases, because they were looking for something specific. In fact, I would say that I have more people that I care about who beat themselves up mercilessly on this particular topic than any other. And MOST of them would be considered “successful” by any objective standard.I think we have been culturally brainwashed to believe that our success has to be “YUGE” to matter. That only wealth (even if it was inherited) represents true “achievement” (?) and that fame (even if you are famous for being a racist, lying, bullying, xenophobic tyrant) is the gold standard. But I think parents raising happy kids are the real success stories. I think people who are expressing themselves through painting, art, music, performance and poetry enrich every life they touch. People who minister to the sick or troubled, whether professionally or not; those who don’t look away when they see someone who is disabled or “different” in some way, but smile and say hello instead…Folks who volunteer their time at a soup kitchen, or build houses for Habitat for Humanity…all of these people tear down the walls that separate us and make the world better for all.
“When you go looking for something specific, your chances of finding it are very bad. Because of all the things in the world, you're only looking for one of them. When you go looking for anything at all, your chances of finding it are very good. Because of all the things in the world, you're sure to find some of them.” Have you been too specific about what you think you need in order to feel okay with yourself? I’d bet you are missing the forest because you are so focused on finding that one tree. When you think of yourself and your life, try looking for anything good at all. Because of all the wonderful things about you, you are sure to find some of them.
Even Bono Can't Always Find What He's Looking for...
Maybe he's being too specific.
Might be the blindfold.