Be An Original Thinker

I loved the documentary Iris.

You can find it on Netflix. It follows the life of Iris Apfel, an American business woman, interior designer and fashion icon. She lives a wonderful, eccentric, iconic life and is still going strong at 93. I found that in itself inspiring but I also learned so much more.

She's an original thinker and she doesn't care who knows it.

Iris creates by layering her pieces. She isn't afraid to merge together unusual combinations. Creativity often emerges at the combination of two ideas.

She layers without abandon, without care and without following the rules. In fact she doesn't have any rules. She is an original thinker and doesn't apologize for it. I find that truly inspiring.

Some original thinkers are able to create without fear. Iris has been creating this way her whole life. She isn't afraid to be exactly who she is and let the world catch up.

Other original thinkers take their time. Mistakenly, we think they are born sensations overnight but that means we haven't been paying attention. In fact it is thought that Leonardo da Vinci took sixteen years to paint the Mona Lisa. 

That gives me hope!

Original thinkers come up with ideas fast and then think about them for long periods of time. We call this procrastination, but it's during periods of procrastination that original thinkers make small adjustments in their head, re-iterating, and allowing the creative process to unfold.

Sometimes this happens over years. In fact very often it is over periods of a decade.

There is big secret I carry in my head.

I've always felt like an original thinker hiding in a non-original body.

It feels indulgent to think of myself as an original and so I shy away from it. Do you feel that way? I think most people do and we are just embarrassed to talk about it. 

Why? Is it against our nature to think that we are special? 

Let's flip that on its head and remember that everyone is special at something. Sometimes that something special is weird. In fact, it's even better if it's weird. Perhaps if we indulge ourselves with more of this type of thinking we would all be happier and innovation would be infinite.

I understand that nobody really cares about my secret but it's a necessary admission because it will help me achieve the next level in my life.

Why is this secret a colossal source of my anxiety?


I am regretful that I've never had the guts to stand up to the potential of my originality. Instead I conform to social norms and choose to stay comfortable.

Do you feel that way too?

Should we just maybe, oh I don't know...choose to not do that anymore? Could it be that simple?

It is that simple and just like most simple things in life it's difficult to do.

It is difficult to simplify.

Let's write that on a t-shirt. I'm sure someone already has. Or maybe not? Could it be original?

It is easy to complicate.

I could spend the next twenty minutes explaining why I have played it safe for the first part of my adult life, OR I could just recognize that it's time for me to be original.

Adam Grant, a perpetual "precrastinator" said "Original thinkers are quick to start and long to finish." You can watch his TED talk here. 

I've got the first part of that equation down. 

I'm an idea generator. I think of them all day long and all night long to the point where I can't sleep. 

Do you think I'm being overly optimistic when I say that perhaps I haven't realized that I'm currently in the "long to finish" phase? 

The conforming, "keep it safe" gal in my head says NO. She says, "The real reason you're late to the game is because you're lazy and scared."

Adam Grant also says original thinkers are often late to the game. They let others try first. They watch, learn and then make changes to do it better. Google let others go ahead of them. FaceBook watched MySpace and Friendster. 

The original thinking "bold girl" in me say YES I can do this! She says, "I'm not too late! I've been thinking of these ideas for ten or more years and now it's go time."

I'm gonna give the second girl a chance now. She's weirder. She may fail more often. I think I'm ready to handle that.

The world needs more Iris'. The world needs more originals. Why not me? Why not you? 

Hygge Fika and Lagom: Simple words for a perfectly balanced lifestyle

I received the Little Book of Hygge, Danish Secrets to Happy Living

Although my brother gave it to me at Christmas, I just had the opportunity to sit down with this book a few weeks ago and as Marie Kondo would be so proud to hear me say, it sparked joy!

I finally had a word for my favorite feeling of coziness.


Pronounced "hoo-gah" and roughly translated means "coziness", but it's way more than that.

It's a way of living. The Danes strive for a hygge life as a way to combat the long cold and dark winters. 

If you gravitate to Pinterest and Instagram pictures of candles, knit blankets, and soft cashmere sweaters you crave a little hygge in your life.

I've always known this is what I gravitate towards but didn't have a name for it. Thank god for the Danes! Now that I know it's an actual word I feel as if I can actively seek out hygge moments in my life.

It's much more than having a cozy house, although that's essential. When I walk into a friends home that oozes warmth, easy to sit on furniture, loads of books, and the pefect Diana Krall soundtrack in the background I know we're going to be friends for life.

Warm dinners with friends over bottles of wine, candles and hip music is a guaranteed recipe for hygge. A girls weekend with coffee in the morning in your PJ's bingeing on Big Little Lies: hygge. 

An armchair, your favorite Ugg slippers, a breakfast nook: as the Danes would say, "that's so hygge".

Oprah coined the phrase, Live Your Best Life, and I'm on a quest to do just that.

Therefore I wondered what other words were out there that I could intentionally add to my daily routine. 

Just thinking about them makes my heart feel more content. Maybe they will do the same for you.

Fika: The Art of The Coffee Break

This one seems easy to add into my daily life, but in order to do it the right way it needs to be an actual break from what I'm doing. For me that means reading a gasp! ACTUAL BOOK. 

I mostly listen to books, about one a week, but as I've been off  FaceBook just in the past two days, I have found I have more time to do just this.

I gather that you're also supposed to have a baked good with it in order to really create fika, but let's face it, fika gonna get me fat. So, I'm just gonna make it a tea or kombucha break. Also, sadly, I do not like coffee. 

I NOT fika.  

Lagom: The Swedish word for not too little, not too much

Ooh. Doesn't that sound...well...just perfect? This is what I strive for. A perfectly balanced day with a little bit of news, a bit of reading, and the perfect amount of writing. Mixed in there I'd like an hour of exercise where I work hard but not too the point of making myself sick. 

I love to have some "community" on my plate. Laughing with friends in my dance classes. Maybe a coffee date with two of my girlfriends, or just a phone call catching up with a close but long distant friend. But not too much. And only with someone I really like. 

Behind all of this is a balanced happy life called Lykke

Yep, the Danes have a name for that too! I mean I guess we say "happy life" but that doesn't seem quite as smart does it? 

Lykke is a way of life. Just like you practice yoga, you practice Lykke.

Being a girl that likes concrete ideas that lead to action this word is perfect for what I'm currently trying to do with my life.

Lykke is said to have six key factors that span the globe in terms of happiness level.

Togetherness, money, health, freedom, trust, and kindness.

That's really it isn't it? Going beyond this is getting too complicated. If these basic needs are met we know that the rest will come. Or maybe it won't. Perhaps there is no "rest". 

Or if there is a "rest of my life" I'm not sure I'll care because I'll be living my best lykke.

That my friends is deep. You might call it so hygge, lol.

There's only one thing I would add to those six.

I would like to add honesty. I have made that a core tenant of what I'm trying to strive for. I feel so much more whole when I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not.

I guess what I'm saying is it's easy to fake lykke and to make others think you're in it. That's what social media is about. It seems that anything in excess could push you over the edge and into unhappiness. 

Too much eating, drinking, talking, too many friends, too much worrying about what others think, or boasting about ourselves, can all push us into another land that's out of sync and before you know it, you've tricked yourself and find yourself out of lykke.

We've seen that happen with too much togetherness, too much money, too much boasting. We all know a ton of people with boatloads of money who are miserable. 

The recipe is not complicated.

A dash of hygge mixed with a moment of fika and balanced out with lagom creates lagom. Simple.

And at the end of all that you top off the day with the Italian's "La Passeggiata": The art of taking a walk in the evening.

Oh my gosh, I want to go on a trip now. But instead I'll curl up with a good book and a cup of tea. 

Happy hyggeing!