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Practicing Amazement

“Our goal should be to live life in radical amazement. ….get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.”

― Abraham Joshua Heschel


Planning and analysis dominate the business world.

But people are not moved by logic alone.

According to the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, behind every apparently sensible scientist is a child who was irrationally drawn to fire. Reason—when animated by the fire of emotion—has the power to motivate and move individuals more than facts alone ever could.

An inspired group is likely to achieve much more than one person merely doing their job.

We live in an age of unprecedented change—especially in the domain of technology.

It is uncanny that many of the technological possibilities imagined by the creators of the popular science fiction TV series Star Trek from the1960s have become commonplace realities. For starters, consider big screens, cell phones, replicators, and personal translators.

Yet, the emotions we associate with such novelty run the gamut from excitement to tedium. At first, we might be bewildered and worried by new technology, then curious, then inspired at the thought of the possibilities unlocked for us. But, unfortunately, we later become bored or even irritated by the over-emphasis on now-familiar emphasis on technological advancements.

For example, consider the over-emphasis on the wonderment of AI (artificial intelligence). Yet, we all have frustrations of how spell-check entirely changes the meaning of our sentences, most often to our embarrassment.

All too often, we end up bewildered by the seemingly endless stream of new phone models, business startups with a never-ending array of quirky new offerings, and news articles trumpeting the latest technological revolution.

Stay Amazed

The practice of staying amazed has many effects.

A study called the Awe Study in 2020 discovered that healthcare workers who practiced a method to remain amazed had a dramatic reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression.

This simple study is in the process of changing the lives of those who practice it.

The AWE Method is:

  • Attention: Turn your full and undivided attention on things you appreciate, value, or find amazing.
  • Wait: Slow down and pause.
  • Exhale and Expand: Amplify whatever sensations you are experiencing.

You can use this method with anything.

Consider your hands.

They are pretty amazing: think of all the things you can do with them and what they make possible for you. Turn your full attention on them and pause. While you pause, keep focusing on your hands and amplify whatever you feel, physically or emotionally. If you don’t feel awe right away, keep noticing, waiting, and breathing until you do.

The Bible

Just like looking at your hands, what brings on amazement is surprising.

Sun on water. Green leaves waving to an impossibly blue sky. A trained voice sustaining a note so pure that you can almost see it in the air. A person doing some unexpected act so generous that you immediately recognize it as a glimpse of an ancient thing called love.

God designed us with the capacity for amazement.

Most of the New Testament is a story of people who were amazed by Jesus.

And why not? God in person is amazing.  He could command the wind and the sea.  He could cast out demons and heal diseases.  He walked on water.  And he rose from the dead.

Amazement today is broken by sin.  For example, the amazing birth of a new child into this world is disrupted by abortion.

It’s too bad our minds don’t automatically connect the beauty that amazes us with the cleverness of God.

The red in that geranium is the expression of a cosmic genius. The eye movement of a baby is a neurological masterpiece on display. Yet, even in those moments of wonder, we are often satisfied with the pleasantness of these experiences in themselves and do not connect them to God’s wisdom and goodness.

Being amazed has life-changing effects.  It reduces our stress and depression.  But best of all, it points us toward God.

Practice amazement daily.  And let this unfettered awe of our world infect your business with new ideas, energy, passion, and a renewed sense of our place in creation.