A Harvard study has found that we undervalue the mundane moments in our lives. In the research facilitators asked participants to record a specific moment in time, either by taking a photo, writing it down or sharing it on social media. These responses – mundane, everyday actions such as, let’s say having lunch with your child or choosing a book to read – were placed in a time capsule, which was reopened three to seven months later. Respondents were astounded at the impact said moments had on them. A simple interaction or choice they made at that moment, now made a significant imprint on their emotions and psyche.
What the study eventually aims to prove is to show that if you document these ordinary experiences and later rediscover them, that you could explain concepts better, but that is a lengthier future study for another discussion.
What the study also mentions, is in this age of sharing memories on Facebook and Instagram, we are also striving to share the perfect beach moment or best-looking lunch platter, but that ordinary moments fall by the wayside. The lesson here is while we think it’s only beneficial to capture the momentous occasions, capturing more mundane experiences can bring unexpected joy.
Finding beauty or meaning in the mundane should not be a mammoth task. Exploring a city on foot, for example, is one way to turn hoofing it into supertramping it.
Experience the sights, sounds and smells that make a place unique. With guides you can venture into parts of a city you didn’t know exist. When you walk you can stop and take that “mundane” pic, that for now might only feel like an ordinary photo of your friend/mom/husband under and arch with no name, but in years to come will carry more significance than the size of your smartphone’s memory card ever could. And walking is good for you. And it makes you clever. As they say (whomever they may be, but it makes sense), travelling makes you worldly and forces you to think in different ways. You’re only as smart as you experience.
As certain members of the Australian cricket team learnt: some captured moments won’t make it into the mundane family photo album. They’re notorious moments we all share…