Have a New York Moment Today (Wherever You Are)

By Ran Zilca • 2 min read
Brooklyn Bridge and Downtown Manhattan at dusk

This Friday morning, I was walking in the snow down 1st Ave. It was 8am, and everyone was rushing to work, trying to walk quickly through the piling snow. Traffic was backed on the avenue, and drivers were honking at each other, letting out their frustration from the weather and from the TGIF that turned into a daytime nightmare. On the side streets, some people were shoveling snow and sprinkling rock salt on the sidewalk. The snow came at the worst possible time of the day, and perhaps the worst possible day of the week.

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Go on The Road Right Now

By Ran Zilca • 2 min read
Go on the road

One of the things that is unique to humans is our ability to find patterns, to naturally seek and identify structure in everything we observe. Abilities like recognizing visual shapes, spotting harmonious musical arrangements, and detecting consistent concepts, all lie at the heart of human intelligence. In fact, we are so focused on finding patterns in the world, that we often falsely identify meaningful patterns in random, meaningless situations. This phenomenon, called Apophenia, is something that all of us have experienced at some point: The hidden messages when you play the Beatles records backwards, the tree that looks like a crying man, and of course the face that stares at you from the power outlet.

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In 2015 Choose Your Resolutions Wisely – Go For the Day After

By Ran Zilca • 1 min read
The Day After

Most people do not keep their New Year’s resolutions. More than 90% of us fail to accomplish the things that we so passionately resolved to do, only a year before. The reasons vary, but more than often it’s not about willpower, determination, or motivation. We simply focus on the wrong goals.

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Top Five New Years’ Resolutions from the Wisdom of Taxi Drivers

By Ran Zilca • 6 min read
Taxi

2014 has been a year of travel for me. I found myself flying domestically and internationally very often, and taking long cab rides to and from airports. If you travel much, you know that most taxi drivers do not notice much about their passengers, but there is a small group of drivers that represent the village elders of our society. These are the drivers who spend their entire workdays listening to people and observing their behavior, and over time model their collective stories into insightful life-perspectives. If you are lucky (as I have been on several occasions), such drivers will share their advice with you, and anchor it in a good story that will help you pass the time on your ride.

Here is some free advice I was able to gather from taxi drivers that I decided to adopt as my 2015’s New Years’ resolutions:

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Your Inventory of Good

By Ran Zilca • 2 min read
Gratitude

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gratitude as “a feeling of appreciation or thanks”, and appreciation as “an ability to understand the worth, quality, or importance of something”. To be grateful is to run an inventory-check of the good things in your life, and to be reminded of their value. It’s an interesting exercise, because when you do it you often realize that the list is longer than you thought, and that each item on it has immense. It is well-known people often realize the value of things only when they no longer have them – it is easier to assess the value of a loss. Being grateful means that you check the balance of your life-account intentionally. You don’t have to lose it to appreciate its wealth, and when you find it, it’s like finding a treasure or winning the lottery.

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Stop Looking. Open Your Eyes and Start Seeing.

By Ran Zilca • 2 min read
Looking but not seeing

A few days ago I gave my daughter a ride back from school. It was a sunny fall day, and the sky was clear blue. We both enjoyed the cool air and remained quiet, looking out the window, taking it all in, and postponing the typical “how was your day” conversation. When we arrived at our street, she looked up to the top of the trees that are lined up on both sides of the road, broke the silence, and said: “These trees are really beautiful. Were they always here?” And indeed, the trees were beautiful that afternoon, dressed in colors of fall, their tops touching each other, forming a tunnel that enveloped the road. Of course, they were always there, on the daily route back from school. Yet in the two years since we had moved, my daughter and I never really noticed them.

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How to Buy Happiness Instead of Selling It

By Ran Zilca • 4 min read
Money

Life before money was sometimes unbearable. Let’s say you had two goats, some homegrown tomatoes, and a sack of salt, and you needed eggs. You would try to find someone who had eggs, but is in dire need of one of the things you have. If it turned out that the guy with the eggs actually needed lettuce, you would try to facilitate a three-way deal, trading some of your salt, goat-milk, or tomatoes for lettuce, so you can trade it back for eggs. If the eggs-guy was still around by the time you got the lettuce, you would be in luck. If not, you would make yourself a lettuce and tomato salad.

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Reality isn’t Really Real

By Ran Zilca • 3 min read
Reality isn't really real

Pause for a second, and turn your look away from this screen. What is the reality that you see around you? What are the objects, their colors, and their shapes? Are they in motion or are they still? This reality that you see is the world as it is right here and now. It may seem that you are outside of it, and simply observing it. Yet this reality is not outside of you. It only exists in your mind, and you view it through your own unique lens, filtered by your senses, your memories, your mood, and by your thoughts. A different person would look through his or her own perspective, and may describe a vastly different reality, as if the two of you are not at all in the same place and time.

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Coulda Woulda Shoulda – How choosing your words defines your future

By Ran Zilca • 1 min read
Coulda Woulda Shoulda

As kids, we didn’t have dreams. We had plans. We planned to become astronauts, rock stars, movie stars, authors, and inventors. These were never dreams. They were very concrete plans. But with age, the language started shifting. We started saying “I may” instead of “I will”, and “someday” instead of “when I grow up”. Plans turned into to dreams, and for many of us, the language shifted even further, until we were left with “Coulda Woulda Shoulda”, abandoning or dreams and our plans.

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What Lesson Can Our Children Teach Us about Finding Meaning at Work?

By Ran Zilca • 3 min read
Pail and shovel

Last Saturday I went the beach with my family. The days are the last days of summer. The sun was comforting, the breeze was cool, and everyone at the beach were in a wonderful mood. Everyone but me. I couldn’t quite tell why I was groggy. I had no imminent reason to be upset or worried, but it was one of those mornings where you feel like everyone conspired to annoy you. Most likely, I was probably overworked and needed some downtime with my family – at the beach…

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