Keep track of your personal zeitgeist (Exercise #10)

May 2, 2006

Your personal zeitgeist is that silly yet haunting list of things that coincidentally seem to pop up repeatedly in your life in different contexts. Do you notice every once in a while how you might not have thought about a certain thing for years and then suddenly it gets brought up in conversations several times in one week by different people? Or, you learn a new word and suddenly you see it everywhere?

Your personal zeitgeist is a funny and personal thing. Ask anyone what kinds of things seem to be popping up repeatedly for them at the moment and almost everyone will have an answer. These small themes are the songs that life is playing on your soundtrack… they are the chapters in your book. They may have meaning, or they may be completely random, but they are usually enjoyable to explore. I've found, however, that if you pay attention to your zeitgeist and play along with a couple simple rules, that you can learn to enjoy the simple flow of them.

Zeitgeist Rules:

  1. In order for something to enter the zeitgeist, it must appear in your life three times, in three different contexts, within some limited period of time.
  2. Once something enters your zeitgeist, you must run with it. This might mean calling the person that you haven't talked to in years, or learning more about how some people switch hands when they cut something with a fork and knife and some people don't, or buy a painting of a fox that you see in a gallery window when foxes enter, or whatever you think seems naturally to extend from the item's continued presence in your life.
  3. See where it leads. Accept all offers related to the item. Trust it. Sometimes nothing interesting will follow out of the item, and sometimes a whole new world of sub-zeitgeist items will explode out of it and your life will be changed forever.

It's a simple and fun game, and allows you to enjoy and participate in the playfulness of life.

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