“poke life and something will always pop out the other side”

Posted on December 14th, 2011

Just this. From Steve Jobs in some random interview in 1995 (when he had hair, a beard and not-so-fat-wads-of-cash).

It cuts through to something we all need to know:

When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that

 everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.

And then again, a little later in the same interview…and frankly my favourite insight in a long time:

The minute that you understand that you can poke life and actually something will… pop out the other side, that you can change it, you can mold it. That’s maybe the most important thing.

It’s to shake off this erroneous notion that life is there and you’re just gonna live in it, versus embrace it, change it, improve it, make your mark upon it.

Poking life. That’s what we can do.

I can get very locked into thinking life is static. That it’s locked in. That the rules are set in stone. That I have to move around it like I’m in my Grandmother’s “good room with all the nice china”.

But this stifles and it just makes me want to bust out and do a bull routine (in a shop full of nice china). I eventually do, even if I don’t always plan it.

When I look at how people have done grand things, it generally involves being oblivious – albeit perhaps for just a few moments – to this notion that “this is how it’s always been” or “this is what everyone else does”. They poke. They generally have no idea what they’re doing. They just poke.

To poke is to question, to walk a different way to work, to see what happens if you take an hour off in the middle of the day to meditate on a bench, to quit something big and see what happens when you suspend yourself in the unknown (oh yes!!!)….

My friend Bill at The Cool Hunter pokes. “I think of something and then I think, no one’s done it before, and then I put it out on my site as a concept and it builds.” It certainly does.

To poke is to play and to be free and to find life very funny. If you create something, change something, make your mark from this, fine. But that’s secondary. I have to remember this sometimes. The joy is in the poking, not in producing some wild (white ear-phoned, apple-insiginia-d) creation.

Although, of course, poke and something will always pop out the other side.

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  • Rin

    I love this! Thank you for sharing! This really resonates with me. I’m going to poke! All the best.

    [Reply]

  • http://facebook.com/thinkbeautifulthoughts Karly

    Love this Sarah! Growth comes through vulnerability. Poke away!

    [Reply]

  • Sian

    Wow thanks Sarah that’s exactly what I needed to hear right now! I’ve just completed my science degree and im not sure if im even going to use it and now everyone is pressuring me to get a real job and get serious about life and do the whole save money get married buy a house routine like all my peers appear to be doing. It’s nice to be reminded that we can live outside the box! (now all I need is the courage to tell everyone jumping straight into a 9-5 job is not on my agenda instead I’m going to go explore and poke and see what comes my way!)

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Sian, you can live outside the box. I somehow do. It just means you have to be confident to write your own rules.

    [Reply]

  • Mia Bluegirl

    Gorgeous, Sarah! Thanks for making me smile this morning. xx

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    P.s. Are you able to post a link to the whole interview? That 46 seconds was brilliant so I would love to see the rest!

    [Reply]

    Bridget Reply:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kYfNvmF0Bqw

    [Reply]

  • http://twitter.com/#!/adamcordner Adam Cordner

    So who is this guy?

    Kidding

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    yay, Adam you seem to be back…I originally read Sarah’s column & blog since way back when as I too was looking for a “happier, more fulfilled life” – I admired her refreshing & brave approach to pursuing this endeavour, being someone whom is staid,somewhat scared and cautious. I then found great food for thought posted not only by Sarah but by some in the comments section as they referenced psychology and other spiritual resources – enlightning conversations if you may. May have been just me but they seemed to drop off of recent – less acceptance of differing viewpoints – I don’t know whether to disagree or question means you are automatically sitting in judgement of the author or others ?? Thankyou to Sarah for this blog (don’t always agree but thats the beauty of us all being different) and thankyou to you and others out there that have previously given great food for thought (even Mia whom I nearly never agreed with, but i don’t believe was ever malicious or acted with ill-will and thus was saddened to see her leave.)

    [Reply]

    Adam Cordner Reply:

    Yo kate
    I am back, kind of, I have been going through a fair bit over the last few months, and, being a man I can only manage one thing at a time (except driving while texting, I’m getting good at that).

    I think I get what you’re saying, maybe it’s a season, I think that the conversations of late are a little different, but I believe they are because of the topics. If I can offer an observation, I get the feeling that Sarah, like me, goes through seasons, and I’m sure that we will see a few different flavoured topics to come.

    As far as acceptance of different viewpoints, I think there are just a few individuals who may have diluted the pool, it’s a bit like trying to tell someone who has bad body odour that you work with that they smell like women from The Cirlce on a hot day, there’s potential for all kinds of shit to hit that fan if you say it wrong.

    I’m imagining that Mia is too busy to comment because she trying to build a prosthetic tail for a misfortunate dolphin with Morgan Freeman, or she is like me, watching movie trailers on YouTube at work.

    When did Coolness become Cool?

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Agree…nice to have you back… so long as you play nicely!

    Jen Reply:

    Yes, and when did telling people exactly what ‘coolness’ is become an example of living outside the box? Unless you’re encouraging us to ignore your friend from The Cool Hunter…

    Adam Cordner Reply:

    Steve Jobs isn’t really dead, the nurses are just holding him the wrong way.

    To soon?

    [Reply]

    Kate Reply:

    I so don’t get it….

    not too soon, i’m just slow..

    [Reply]

    Lor Reply:

    Kate, the common response to why the iPhone 4 didn’t get reception was that it was being held the wrong way and the person’s hand was blocking the signal :)

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Oh I get it now! Haaa!

    Adam Cordner Reply:

    iGetit

  • seeker

    F**k Yeah! Make it happen, take it on, live by your beliefs & believe in yourself, dont waste time worrying about what the neighbours/peers etc will think of your choices …. follow your heart, live with compassion, and f**k the begrudgers!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    F*ck yeah!!

    [Reply]

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=778754346 stephanie e

    *poke*

    Amazing – so glad its OK to be our very individual selves and live the way we damn well want to.

    Thanks for the reminder :)

    [Reply]

  • Casey

    I find thus fascinating and 100% want to embrace it. Can someone please give me an example of how to?

    [Reply]

  • Sara

    Ah, another positive psych. Had enough of this!

    [Reply]

  • Bridget

    i like the pep-talk posts, they’re awesome :)

    [Reply]

  • Terry

    I like positive pysch.
    Better than the alternative….Much much better…

    [Reply]

  • shobha

    Hi Sarah,

    I read your blog everyday and get inspired.

    I did poke life once and as you said something come from the other side. I was married 19 years, traditional housewife – till that time, I never broke a rule in the book but was still miserable- I followed my heart and toppled everything in pursuit of love – it did lead to lot of passion, pain and finally spirituality. Nothing has been the same ever since. Now I want to explore the unknown – I don’t know what I want next – I am looking for signs- I am trying to hear my inner voice.
    I want to do for God what I did for a human – I cannot believe I could do what I did considering my sheltered life till then, now I am alone – no family – but somehow I know help will come from where I least expect it – i know I was created to reflect divinity in all circumstances. I am trying – faith was the only thing that kept me going – the answer is within me – i am trying to unlock the key.

    [Reply]

  • http://www.kattate.com/ Kat

    This is such a wonderful philosophy to live by. It won’t ‘stick’ with everyone, as not everyone wants to be out of the box and re-write the rules. And that’s OK! But for me (someone who’s always thinking ‘what can I do next?’) this is a fabulous reminder. Off I go to poke!

    By the way Sarah, the link to The Cool Hunter in the post is broken. xx

    [Reply]

  • http://mrmathew1963.blogspot.com Mathew

    Life is truly what you make of it, if it’s horribly mundane or just horrible you have made it that way & if it’s happy & full of vigour the same goes. Of course certain things that happen in your life are out of your control but it’s how you react to it or poke it.
    We tend to dwell on the unhappy bad times & blow them out of all proportion but we don’t do the same to the happy good times?? Give it a happy poke!!

    [Reply]

  • http://naturopathfionahogan.blogspot.com/ fiona

    WOW great – thanks Sarah. I sometimes forget to poke life a little. This was a great blog X

    [Reply]

  • http://rubysky@ozemail.com.au Kylie

    Hi Sarah – this is a wonderful post. I just wanted to say thank you for creating such a amazing Blog site and news letters. I have been following you for a while now and have thoroughly enjoyed your writing. Best wishes to you for the festive season. Warm wishes and light, Kylie x

    [Reply]

  • http://loveduckie.blogspot.com virgo

    amazing post Sarah. Anything you post rocks anyway! Have a wonderful new year!!

    [Reply]

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  • D.

    I think deep down we all know this, but we’re too afraid to pursue our own ideas, we’re afraid of failing. It’s important to remember how significant it is to fail, because then you know you’re actually doing something.

    [Reply]

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