What do I have in common with Leonardo DiCaprio?

Well, to be more accurate, what do I have in common with Cobb, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Inception?

Any ideas?

Give in?

Okay … here it is: we both understand the usefulness of a talisman. ‘Talisman’ usually means an object believed to magically keep its owner from harm or disease. That’s not what I believe: I’m referring to the way the word is used quite differently in Inception.

In the film, Cobb’s talisman  – a spinning top – allows him to anchor himself to the real world rather than the world of dreams. In the dream world, the top spins on forever because the laws of gravity don’t have to be adhered to there. Essentially, the talisman here is an object that causes Cobb to stop and check his environment against what he knows to be true.

We can have objects which function in a similar way to Cobb’s spinning top. You might tape pictures of your wedding dress to your biscuit tin or the inside of your locker at the gym to act as a reminder that looking fabulous in that dress is your goal. Maybe that beautiful fountain pen in your pocket is a top of the range Mont Blanc you bought to celebrate your first big deal and every time you use it, you’re reminded of what you can achieve.

Talismans may not always be objects you carry round with you. Some of us have an inspiring quotation that we can call to mind when in the midst of a tricky situation. Perhaps music fulfills this purpose for you: a friend of mine at uni used to play ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ endlessly throughout her revision to calm her: drove us all crazy but it worked for her! Maybe the fragrance of citrus and bergamot leaves you feeling instantly relaxed as you remember a fantastic holiday.

You probably won’t be surprised to learn that pebbles are my reminders. At first glance, the big grey one looks a bit uninteresting – only as I turn it round can I see the vein of quartz running through it. This reminds me I need not to make snap judgements about situations or people but to delve a little deeper before making up my mind. A tiny white pebble taken from the summit of a fell I wasn’t sure I’d make it to the top of reminds me that I can do a lot more than I think I can. Two smooth silver-coloured pebbles inscribed with the words ‘why not?’ remind me to consider alternatives and explore options rather than just follow the usual path.

Today’s pebble for you to ponder: What talismans or reminders work for you?

Any thoughts?


Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching. 

If you’d like to make progress in your work and life, why not email me to see how we could work together?

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