Last updated on February 15, 2021
This is the third installment of a special Matrix Gazette feature article based on a forthcoming book titled Your Life Zones by Ken West.
Last week’s post, “Escape Political Insanity and Embrace Your Comfort Zone,” highlighted the hidden nooks and crannies of your comfort zone.
Essentially, your comfort zone provides you with a safe place to rest, recuperate, and recharge your spirit.
It helps keep you alive!
This week, you enter Your Discovery Zone.
It’s the place from which you gather vital knowledge that can empower your efforts for achievement. It includes places where you can invest in yourself.
Let’s look at the nine components of your discovery zone, one by one.
- Learning — Knowledge you gain throughout life from reading, study, and experience.
Learning is where you gain knowledge from whatever sources are available to you.
These can include books, the Internet, other people, teachers, mentors, courses, magazines, observation, and study.
It has two purposes: 1) the pleasure of learning new things, and 2) gaining specific knowledge to achieve the desired result.
Animals also learn, but humans have discovered ways to store, enhance, and exploit knowledge to create a better, engaging, and exciting world.
Your power to learn and utilize your knowledge will empower you to get things done and get what you want.
One of the best resources I’ve found is the website https://www.optimize.me, run by Brian Johnson.
In his “Philosopher’s Notes,” he outlines and covers the big ideas from over 600 outstanding books. That’s only the tip of the iceberg of the plethora of self-development material he presents on that site. It is highly recommended.
“All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.” —Dr. Martin H. Fischer
- Ideas – Your mind’s ability to generate or enhance mental pictures or verbal constructions that have the potential to make life better when brought to fruition.
Ideas, when acted on, form the basis of discovery and achievement.
Creative ideas are your most potent force.
They are invisible until given physical form by your actions.
You capture ideas by writing them down, sketching an image, working them out, and eventually making them exist in physical form.
One doesn’t have to be a creative genius to generate ideas.
We all have ideas in one form or another.
Ideas can come from many sources, but the key is to write them down or sketch them.
Don’t let them slip away.
Grab those ideas when and where they come, even if they seem insignificant or even impossible.
There are many good books about the process of generating and enhancing ideas. Here are two that I and others have found useful: A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young and How To Get Great Ideas by Dave Birss.
“Everything begins with an idea.” – Earl Nightingale
- Individuals — Are other human beings who can offer knowledge and value to your life.
They can be friends, family, acquaintances, or total strangers.
The wealth of knowledge available from other creative and productive individuals is staggering.
All you need is the willingness to approach or contact them in a spirit of mutual benefit.
Many of these individuals write books, offer courses, and produce significant value for those seeking to become more productive.
Other individuals give us sounding boards for our ideas and our vision.
They are also our clients, customers, friends, and acquaintances.
Yet all can help you discover new possibilities and be important to your life.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch
- Cities — Population centers where people gather to work, shop, conduct business and enjoy the fruits of trade.
(During the pandemic, cities have taken a hit. Yet, they will come back to life, hopefully soon.)
Cities are the cornerstones of culture. They are places where large numbers of people live, work, and create.
They are symbols of human achievement, places where the products of human creation are on display.
The buildings, skyscrapers, shops, parks, streets, transportation, and all the accouterments of human existence make cities extraordinary.
Cities are where you can discover the best and boldest achievements.
Cities become great if the spirit of freedom reigns and one can thrive by producing one’s best work.
One of the best books written about cities is The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.
“But a city is more than a place in space, it is a drama in time.” —Patrick Geddes
- Nature — Represents the plants, animals, geographic formations, and natural aspects of this world and universe.
Nature is where you begin to discover the playing field of life.
Nature comprises the plants, animals, geologic formations, weather, atmosphere, and everything outside the human made.
Yet, that is not entirely correct.
Through agriculture and horticulture, we shape nature to our needs.
We bring plants and animals (pets) into our homes and buildings.
We create beautiful gardens and parks.
We embrace nature in many ways, including visiting the wild and wondrous areas of the world where animals roam free.
“You didn’t come into this world. You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean. You are not a stranger here.” —Alan Watts
- Travel — Ability to experience, savor and enjoy places in this world, and potentially at some distant time, the universe.
(As with cities, travel has taken a big hit during the pandemic. Yet all the pent-up wanderlust will impel a surge of travel opportunities when the pandemic is under control.)
Travel allows you to experience the magic of special places.
It’s just as much a conceptual experience as it is a geographic one.
The magic of place is what makes travel a discovery zone.
It doesn’t matter how close or far away your destination is.
You can be as enchanted close to your home as you can be traveling to places on the other side of the planet.
Yet, both are important. It’s up to you how far you want to go.
You’re the navigator-in-chief of your travel.
The key is to pay close attention to your surroundings, noticing seemingly tiny or insignificant things that pique your curiosity.
Your values, experience, and interests will guide your eye, ears, nose, and feeling towards those things that give you a jolt of wonder.
Discover as many jolts of wonder as you can in this life.
“The journey not the arrival matters.” —T.S. Eliot
- Language — Language is the sea of words in which we swim.
Language is not only a tool for communicating but is essentially our main tool for thinking.
If your goal is to discover and gain knowledge, then language is a fundamental way to gather and disseminate that knowledge.
Your ability to speak and write is a power that can change the world.
Here we are in the middle of a language saturated world where thoughts convey ideas with spoken and written words.
Of course, there are other ways to convey information, such as through the graphic arts.
But even then, words are the underpinnings of everything we do as humans.
One of the most powerful art forms requires language — literature, which we discuss next.
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein
- Literature — Insight brought to you by a writer’s unique way of looking at life.
Literature is also a form of art yet deserves its own category.
Literature opens a window to other worlds of discovery, possibility, and achievement.
It doesn’t teach you. It shows you.
When you read great literature, you live in and experience the world the author has created.
It empowers your spirit!
Consider Ayn Rand’s great novel, The Fountainhead.
For my money, it’s the best self-empowerment book ever written.
It shows the career trajectory of six individuals: one who is true to his soul and highest aspirations; one who sells his soul for fame; one who sells his soul to the mob; one who discovers her soul; one who loses her soul; and one who is a soul killer.
As a reader, you are immersed in the life of these individuals, giving you a clear view and understanding of how and why their lives end up as they do.
Its power lies in the art of Ayn Rand’s storytelling.
It brings to life what would take a library of philosophical treatises to convey.
“Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree.” —Ezra Pound
- Art — Art is the created conception of an artist’s view of life.
Art is a discovery zone because it gives you the value of an exceptional view of life, allowing you to experience it first-hand.
Art is a living thing.
It comes in many forms, from architecture to sculpture, from painting to literature, theatre, and dance.
Art allows you to experience the sublime instead of the mundane.
It’s an infusion of life-giving spirit into your daily life.
And, most importantly, when you create art, you break through into the Achievement Zone.
“Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.” —Ayn Rand
In conclusion, Your Discovery Zones includes the areas of daily life from which you choose options and opportunities.
They are yours to savor, maintain, benefit, enjoy, and make better for yourself and whomever you choose.
Coming up in our next week is the arena from which you create and produce perceivable and tradable value in this world — Your Achievement Zone.
Until then, be safe, be productive, and learn something new.
Photo by Teddy Kelley on Unsplash.