Saturday, March 30, 2013

3.30.13 Thank You for Tweeting

Every day I spend a few minutes scanning my LinkedIn and Twitter feeds looking for interesting stuff.  I usually find at least one or two articles a day that are useful.  There are a handful of people who post stuff that catches my eye more than anyone else – mainly because their posts are witty, they write well, or they link to things I care about.  At least once a week there’s an article that I stumble on this way, and it teaches me something, or it makes me think about something in a new way, and I’ll keep coming back to it.  If I continue thinking about it enough, inspiration to write about it happens and it ends up here on this blog.

This very thing happened again last week as I was scrolling through my Twitter feed one night and a blogger I admire mentioned an article, 22 Things Happy People Do Differently.  I read the article and liked it so I re-tweeted it.  And then I read the article again.  It made me smile and it made happy.  Two days later and I’m still happy.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it just came up at exactly the right time in the right place.  Maybe it reminded me of some things I’ve been forgetting lately.  Maybe it was the first time I’ve ever seen a list that long with tips for making yourself happy.  As I was reading it made me think of people in my life who do the things it listed, and what they’ve meant to me.  It made me stop and think about how I could stand to do a few of the things listed more often.
Whatever it was, I’m glad I read it.  And I’m glad this person tweeted it.  Information is power.  By sharing information, you can change a person’s life (even if it’s just for a moment).  Social media can be a good thing. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

3.22.13 You Really Don't Have Time?

How often do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day?  Much is written about how our lives become unmanageable when we make more commitments than we can handle.  Mobile phones keep us constantly connected to information, conversations, requests – all of which happen simultaneously and in random order.  Many different things compete for our attention at any given moment and we’re forced to do it all, but we can’t do it all at once, so we prioritize and make compromises.  Often we just ignore things, or worse yet, say we’ll do something that we never end up doing.

An article posted today on Inc. by Jessica Stillman caught my eye because of the title Never Say ‘I Don’t Have Time’ Again.  The reason the words ‘I Don’t Have Time’ made me do a double take is a story for another time, but when I saw this today it was during a moment at work when I’d been thinking about how often I’ve been saying that to myself (and, yikes, other people) lately.  The article suggests that maybe we aren’t being truly honest about what we do with our time each day.  Not because we lie, but more because we may not really be paying attention. 

Another author mentioned wrote an article on the same subject last year that suggested being "busy" and "starved for time" is a way to show we matter - it makes us feel important.  If you want to get out of this trap and replace your competitive, narcissistic bullshit with kinder, more meaningful reality, a radical recommendation is to change your language:

Instead of saying "I don't have time" try saying "it's not a priority," and see how that feels. Often, that's a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don't want to. But other things are harder. Try it: "I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority." "I don't go to the doctor because my health is not a priority." If these phrases don't sit well, that's the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we're spending an hour, we can choose differently.

As deadlines pile up at work and at home, maybe we can make ourselves less crazed if we think more critically about our priorities.  Maybe first we should write down what our priorities are to make sure we aren’t forgetting what really matters.  Reality and meaning always win.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

3.13.13 Charmed, I'm Sure

What do you desire?  Many of us feel very thankful to have lives that afford us the luxury of asking ourselves this question.  And finding the answer.  If we figure out what we want and we fail to achieve it, we get to try all over again.  If we don't know what we desire, we get to try just the same.  It's complex.  Challenging.  Painful at times.  It's so much harder than it seems.  We get such a short time to do all the asking, searching, and trying.  That also makes it beautiful.

If you know what you want, go for it.  Money.  Business.  Art.  Music.  Love.  Family.  Solitude.  Whatever it is, it's all good.  Just remember to be gentle with yourself.  Check in with the people around you and take time to be nice to them.  We're all searching.  Love is patient and kind.  We should all be that way too.

Note: This video was posted by a friend of mine on Facebook yesterday.  The person speaking is the British philosopher, Alan Watts.

Monday, March 11, 2013

3.11.13 Gimme Macklemore


If you haven't seen the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis you are missing out!  Not only is this dude talented, but he's using his 15 minutes to say something meaningful, or fun, or both.  I will always love hip hop and rap but this guy isn't talking about sex, booze, drugs, thugs, or bitches and he's killing it.  Eminem's Till I Collapse used to be my anthem for working up the determination to do what needed to be done.  But now I dare you to crank up Macklemore's Can't Hold Us and not get up and do something awesome.  The Heist indeed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

3.10.13 Flirting with Faith

I’m not a religious person but I do believe having some kind of spirituality in life is extremely helpful.  Trusting in a power greater than ourselves for energy, wisdom, and guidance gives us the strength to set goals, make changes, and move forward.  This is true in good times, but it becomes especially helpful when we are dealing with difficulties.  Faith is believing in something greater, and trusting that things will change for the better if we are open to it.

There was a recent article in Forbes where Erika Andersen writes about The Secret to Getting Really, Really Good at Something.  It ends by making the point that “the main element that allows us to master anything is a core belief in our own capability.  And “lacking belief in oneself is by far the greatest impediment to success.  So the key to mastery lies in our assumptions about ourselves and the process.  If you want to get really great at something, be realistic about what it will require – and have faith in your own ability.”  There’s that word again, faith.

A lot of big changes started in my life six months ago.  Change is hard.  Over the years I’ve learned that I can do just about anything, but when I start in on something new (or difficult) my first reaction is to doubt my ability to get it done, or get it done well.  I have lacked faith in my own abilities so many times and I’m getting tired of that.  Why not just have complete trust in my feelings, decisions, and actions and also trust that those things will always lead me to where I’m supposed to be?  In those moments when I believe in myself, really good things happen.  Starting now I’m just going to believe more often and see where it takes me.

Note: I was hoping to wrap up my thoughts on this by inserting a nice quote about faith or higher power, but they were all a little too religious.  Then I thought I’d add George Michael’s Faith, but have you watched that video since 1988?  Better to include that in a future blog post on ‘irony’.

Friday, March 1, 2013

3.1.13 Friday Inspiration

I love blue-eyed white guys with soul.  And rocking chairs from Cracker Barrel.