This “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” photo stopped me in my tracks

I’ve discovered, somewhat by accident, that I love walking in a wide loop, without a destination in mind. On one long ramble in July 2017 I passed through the small village of Leap (pronounced Lep) in west Cork, and stopped to view the portraits positioned in towns and villages all over the west as part of the “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” project.

This portrait stopped me in my tracks.

The photo frame was adorned with black ribbons and a single, simple quote.

“Get up and do your thing.”

I never met Toni McDermott. I don’t know who she was, where she lived, what she did. I know no-one who knows Toni McDermott.

But that doesn’t really matter.

I love the expression in her face – so full of life, a promise of laughter, of fun, of deep and intelligent conversation.

Toni died on June 29th, less than three weeks before I passed this way and stopped before her “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” portrait.

I made a promise to Toni that day to get up and do my thing. I haven’t kept that promise every day, but I think about it often, and I try.

Rest in peace, Toni. And rest assured that through this beautiful portrait and these concise, beautiful words, your message lives and lasts.

Credit to Shay Hunston, the man behind the “People of the Wild Atlantic Way” project. Find out more about Shay and the project here.

Happiness Hack #1: Tackling Overwhelm with the Open Loops List

I’ve found that one of the biggest factors that adversely affect my peace of mind are “open loops”.

Unfinished business.

Stuff piling up in email inboxes, to-do lists, in-trays, online productivity tools or just in your head.

Stuff you said you’d do, but never got to.

This month’s Happiness Hack aims to help limit the often unseen, but generally negative effects of these open loops.

1. Get all the open loops together (think of it as an “Open Loop Party”)

The list should preferably be written down, on real paper with a real pen.

(The Internet is amazing for many things, but there’s something about the touch of pen and paper which has a direct connection with your brain.)

2. Beside each item, write down what it might take to “close the loop”

It might take a 1-minute phone call or a quick text.

It might take half a day of your time. It might require a trip halfway around the world. Right now, tt doesn’t really matter what it takes. You don’t need to close them all, because…

3. The point of this exercise is not to close all the loops

That would be way too ambitious! No, the point is to collect them all together, out of your head. Your brain will thank you for defragging it

Of course, if you can close some or even most of them easily, go right ahead and do it.

But what I found is that the act of writing down the open loop, and thinking about it rationally for a few seconds, suddenly made it seem much less troublesome. You’ll possibly find that several open loops are not important enough to worry about. So you can go ahead and close them, without needing to do anything more.

This Open Loops exercise might take a focused hour. It might take a day.

Either way, I know it will be time well spent.

If you do the exercise, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Either email me by reply, or post or message me on my new Facebook page – link below.