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Everyday Oracles by Steven Greene

by | In the Magazine, Steven Greene

A fascinating component of trying too hard is the fact that when we try too hard, we invariably wind up getting stuck, stuck in one place without the ability to move forward.

You know, like doing the same thing over and over again without any success and then just doing it again because we keep trying and trying without any critical thinking.

Emotional response

An over-emotional response is not much help either. I believe this type of emotional response is more comfortable than thinking it through because thinking about it may cause some momentary pain. So rather than think we just act by: “banging our head against the wall,” “screaming at the clouds in the sky,” “letting go with a litany of profanity,” or doing something extremely stupid.

Basically, we are going around in circles.  Problem not solved. But you’re still trying, right? Everyone will admit that’s trying way too hard. But where do we find an answer to what we are stuck in? How do we end the frustration, stop going nowhere, and get on a productive path?

Professional help is great, and I endorse coaches. If an Oscar-winning actor uses a coach and if multimillion dollar per year earning, championship pro athletes use coaches, all of us should as well. However, sometimes a few answers to these types of difficult mental challenges are right in front of us. Occasionally, all we have to do is open our eyes and see what’s there.

Everyday Oracles

This brings me to the concept of Everyday Oracles. Historically, in mythology, an oracle was a shrine where a priest or priestess resided, and through whom a deity spoke. The most well-known is the Oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece built around a sacred spring where Priestess Pythia was in charge of interpreting the Greek God Apollo.

In popular urban culture, an Oracle can be a person who gives wise or authoritative opinions, someone hip, connected, and knows what’s happening, or can tell the future.

Personally, I believe in what I call “Everyday Oracles.” I know it sounds strange, but I believe in them. These Oracles are in everyday things we experience all around us. They have wise answers for many questions, but we don’t see them or hear them because we are not open to getting their input.

I don’t know the reason these everyday things have answers. Actually, it’s not so strange. The everyday things are created and built by us, human beings. I guess in many cases, there is generational human wisdom built into these everyday things. And it’s interesting to note; the wisdom is not profound or special or godlike.

The truth is that this wisdom is really straightforward and just plain common sense, but delivered through an unusual source.  There are thousands of examples, but I am only going to discuss one of them here. Actually, this topic is going to be the subject of a different book to be released sometime in the future.

The Soda Machine

For now, I am going to showcase the Everyday Oracle of the Soda Machine.

Sounds kind of nuts, doesn’t it? But think of a soda vending machine. We’ve all used one. It’s pretty easy to work through in your mind. You want a soda, you go to the machine and choose a soda. In this case, it’s an orange soda. You put money in the money slot and receive your soda.

Well, not exactly. It doesn’t always go that way. Sometimes you want a soda, go to the soda vending machine, put the money in the money slot, choose your soda, and nothing happens. You just chose an orange soda, and no orange soda is dispensed from the beverage delivery port at the bottom of the machine.

What’s going on? You look for assistance. Naturally, your eye goes to the lit digital messaging display near the money slot, and the Oracle of the Soda Machine gives you precisely what you require. The solution to your insurmountable problem.

How to get exactly what you require. The Priestess* inside the machine tells you exactly what to do in this situation and in many other situations that all of us have trouble dealing with.

The Oracle of the Soda Machine advises us simply and elegantly through the digital display,


It’s like the universe whispering to us. You want a drink of soda. That’s the goal. You’ve committed your money and effort. You wanted orange, but it is not available. Now you could get angry and smash the machine or call the owner of the property where the machine is located.

You could call the number on the machine. You could look for another machine; maybe you could press a button and get your money back. All those things would involve getting stuck and not achieving the goal of getting a drink of soda.

Now the goal was to get a drink of soda. You’d prefer orange and in this case, whatever the reason you can’t have it. Making another choice is a great option to solve the immediate problem quickly and effortlessly, then move on with the day’s business instead of getting stuck.

There is no Priestess inside the soda machine. It’s just a machine with pre-written and programmed responses to specific occurrences. But it doesn’t matter!

Personal relationships

What if we could apply these simple, logical, unemotional, magical answers to problems that keep us glued to non-possibility and to being completely unproductive. Sometimes it’s tough to do, but it works. An example that comes to mind. Now, this example is far removed from the world of vending machines. It is in the realm of personal relationships.

Sometimes, while we are dating or trying to find just the “right” partner or we are in a relationship, our significant other turns out to out to be somewhat significant, but just an “other,” not the person we should be with.

When that happens, most of us tend to do the same thing. We try too hard to mold, reshape, and remake that person into who we wish they were instead of accepting them for who they really are. The problem is we don’t like who they really are and don’t want to accept it.

So, I guess if we were really being honest, we would have to admit what we want isn’t there. It’s become a cliché expression, we’ve heard it in movies and on TV shows, and we’ve all said it, “You’re just not available.” The unexpressed part of that sentence is “to me.” 

The other person probably is available but to someone or something else. I guess when that’s said, we’re trying to create a reaction from the other person. The other side of the personal equation.

But that’s US trying way too hard. That’s the stuck part of us asking or digging for a response from the wrong choice. The painful, undeniable, immutable truth is those words are a statement of facts. The selection we have made is not available. In this case, it’s not a soda but a person. What shall we do?


Take the sage advice of the Oracle of the Soda Machine. It’s hard to accept because we are all so much smarter than a simple mechanical preprogrammed machine.

Our brains are a complex, neurologically sophisticated, biologically evolved, nexus of billions of synaptic connections… but we still make choices that are just plain dopey.

Forget our brainy brilliance and listen to the Priestess who is not there. Understand and accept – – in this relationship situation; you have made a poor choice for yourself. Act upon the advice the Oracle gives you in the soda choosing situation, but still applies here.


Find a date, partner, relationship, significant other who shares your vision for the present and the future and who is available.

Remolding an unavailable person is a very poor option that almost always results in lost time and heartache. So it’s wise counsel to make another choice.

Also, be aware and open to the thousands of Everyday Oracles that are all around us. There is a lot of common sense in the world. Take advantage of it.

 About Steven Greene

Steven is a published author and produced screenplay writer. He is the winner of numerous prestigious awards.  His “out of the box” innovative thinking, true creative credentials, along with C level experience and influence have enabled him to produce added value for clients, in addition to becoming  sought after as a corporate speaker and consultant.

Reach him at

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