When I was a kid, about 7 or 8 years old, word got out that for my birthday I wanted some Hot Wheels cars. On that day, I had a big party with lots of friends over which also meant lots of presents. I was so excited.
When I opened my first present, it just what I wanted, Hot Wheels cars! Perfect. Next present, more Hot Wheels. This was working out great. The next one, Hot Wheels again! I couldn’t believe my luck.
Then it happened, present after present, every single gift I received that day, all matched my desire: Hot Wheels! It was like a dream come true… except for one thing.
It was too much.
Sure, I wanted some Hot Wheels cars, but I liked other stuff too. I didn’t necessarily want every present to be Hot Wheels. Couldn’t someone be a little creative and think of something else?
It was one of the strangest birthdays I ever had. I was excited and happy about what I received, but not quite fulfilled because the final outcome wasn’t really what I wanted. I learned that very basic lesson of “be careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.” But to me it answered the question, “Is that all you want?”
Sometimes it takes an experience to really learn something. And each experience is a story.
We learn the most from stories.
Whether they are our own, or we read or hear them from someone else. They are powerful. And that is why they have been used for generations since the beginning of man to teach basic principles.
If stories have been so effective throughout time, then maybe we ought to use them more often today. Well, some people do.
Some of us just need more practice. Do you? Will you?
Post inspired by Chris Brogan: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/importance-of-story/
Have you ever thought about publishing your own book?
Does it seem just out of the realm of possibility for you?
Well, break that old mindset my friend, because this is the 21st century and self publishing is here for everyone!
Wouldn’t it be the coolest thing to see your book on the shelf, with your name in big letters as the author? That can easily happen without you having to sell one copy (although you might want to buy one for yourself.)
Self publishing is getting to be big business with multiple sites offering a variety of resources and services:
There are even a truckload of books about self publishing. (Ironically, those seem to be the most popular.)
So there’s really no excuse to not create your own book these days. Except of course, you don’t have anything to write about. But that’s absurd. Everyone has a story. You’re creating one right now, by your choices. And everyone can choose to create the life story they want to be told.
So create it. Then publish it.
Or, publish something, so it becomes part of your story.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you about one of my friends who published her own book. She has an amazing story. Plus, her content is super useful and relevant for many people these days (everyone really.)
I was completely inspired and motivated. And I think you will be too, when you read her book.
My friend Steven has written a book. It’s a free ebook that you can share with anyone. It’s about the new ways of dealing with change.
So check it out here.
It’s a new world of idea flooding. With the ease of publishing the written word these days, we are more readily exposed to great minds like Steven’s. This allows more of us to influence and be influenced by the ideas of everyone else.
But in order to be the right kind of catalyst for change, we need to be involved, connected. We need to be in the places where we can run into great work like this, and have a chance to influence others with our own ideas.
Stress comes from incompletions.
When something is incomplete, it is unresolved. It means there is a open loop that has not been closed.
Types of incompletions could be:
- unclear commitments,
- worries, complaints, problems,
- unclear direction,
- lack of acknowledgement,
- missing or hard to find information,
- unfinished blog post.
How these things exist for you determines your level of stress or feeling of being overwhelmed. It depends entirely on your perception of these incompletions. The same exact incompletion may not bother one person, but could throw another person into a panic.
Just walk in with a crying baby or toddler.
Nothing demands attention more than the constant cries of a child in pain.
This is what they call in business, “a burning platform.” In other words, it is something that everyone should be concerned about, something that everyone is willing to help resolve because it is in their best interest and the best interest of the group.
But if you don’t happen to have a crying baby handy, how do you communicate a ‘burning platform’ message to others who need to hear it?
photo by egg on stilts
After 21 days of posting, where do I go from here?
Here’s a site where you can find all kinds of stuff – Mashable
Try one thing that looks interesting to you. Spend some time learning how to use it…
and in no time…
you’re an expert! At least to some of your friends who have never seen that tool or website or widget.
There’s so much out there that it is easy to become a local expert at something.
Well, they say if you do something every day for 21 days it becomes a habit.
I’ve done it… but I still don’t believe it.
Some days I’ve wanted to just throw in the towel and give up on the whole thing, but for some reason I just couldn’t let down both of my readers. It has been difficult coming up with material every day, which I know now why most people don’t write every day. But somehow, I’ve stuck with it, and sacrificed a lot of sleep.
Everyone has different motivators, things that drive them to accomplishment. For this, I think mine was public declaration, even though ‘public’ probably meant only a handful of people, if that. And I don’t even consider this much of a success, yet.
But 21 days does seem like some kind of milestone. So here I am, talking about it.
What’s your motivator? Find out. Use it freely. Let it run your life, in the way you want it to be run.
photo by ecstaticist
I want to apologize for that last post. After I read it today, I didn’t like it at all.
The main message was supposed to be that unexpected things happen and we shouldn’t complain about them. Instead it came across like, “look at me, I’m so unselfish because I didn’t plan anything and everything went wrong.” When in actuality, if I would have been more diligent in planning up front, taking the time to make sure everything was in place, anticipating possible risks and preparing back-up plans in case something might go wrong, I could have completed the job a lot quicker, or may have chosen to not even start the project and thereby avoiding the discomfort of my wife not having a kitchen sink for a couple of days, and not having hot water for a while.
So it turns out that I was being more selfish and caused more inconvenience for others as a result of my so called ‘service project’.
Today’s lesson: take the time to do some thorough up front planning and risk mitigation before you start any project.
PS. I may end up deleting these posts because I feel like I have drifted off topic and style for me.
In reference to yesterday’s post on service, today I had the opportunity of doing some service (of course, why not) but it was quite unplanned.
A certain lady in our neighborhood needed help replacing her kitchen faucet. I’m not a plumber (and I was reminded why) but I have done this before, a few years ago, so I felt I could probably help. I gathered all the tools and went to work. As usual, I didn’t have all the right tools or accessories so I made a couple of trips to Lowe’s before the job was done. In fact, it’s still not done. Lowe’s closed earlier than I thought so I have to wait until 6am when they open to get the final parts. The project also grew to include some calking behind the sink and issues with the hot water heater.
So, my little service project became a lot bigger than expected, but that’s okay, because service is selfless sacrifice. If I had planned everything out, and it all happened according to plan, then I wouldn’t have sacrificed much, because it would have been what I expected. The fact that it went awry and required more of my time than expected required me to dig deeper and to give a little more, to be less selfish.
That’s when the real tests of your character come, when things happen that are unplanned. You have a valuable opportunity to excel as a human being and provide a higher level of service by how you choose to handle those unplanned situations.
PS – Did I mention that the neighborhood lady was my wife? Does my service now seem less noble? Why? We often have many extremely local opportunities to serve.
Monday, January 19th is a National Day of Service. Yes, it’s Martin Luther King Jr. day also, but a day of service sounds like a great idea.
If we take a conceptual view of service, it is really the essence of the ideal human being. Being unselfish and giving of yourself to benefit another person is the highest station of existence. If everyone was perfectly unselfish and gave service to as many as they had the capacity for, then we would all have our needs met by others, and we would be the most fulfilled because we would have become useful in providing for the needs of others.
That may sound like some kind of utopian fantasy, but actually, we learn how to live in this manner in the greatest institution of all, the family.
To become a mother or father you are given the responsibility to take care of this strange creature who can not do anything for itself. An infant is completely dependent upon someone else to exist. As time goes by, it gradually learns to do things for itself (if you’ve taught it). Still, many years of dedicated service are required by the parents before this being can feed itself, dispose of its waste properly, effectively comunicate, and socially interact properly.
It is then prepared to be trained by others. You could say that this means entering pre-school, but you could also say that it means graduating from high school.
Whatever your perspective, there is no doubt that many years of selfless service are required to produce the kind of being that is able to effectively contribute to society by serving others, and able to produce similar beings of service itself. The more of these beings you produce, the more selfless service is required.
So on this National Day of Service, try to think of ways to increase the service to those fellow human beings who you have the deepest feelings for, either for those who still need your example and training, or as gratitude to those who gave so many years of service to you.
One of the most important traits for a leader is ” authenticity.” There are so many books that give you the techniques, what you should do , or what you should say in certain situations. But if you are using someone else’s phrase, and don’t sincerely mean what you are saying, then others will pick up on it immedately (or eventually.)
Learning principles helps to avoid this problem, because you are not given the exact prescriptions. Principles are core ideas or concepts, they contain the underlying reasons or truths that explain why things work the way they do.
If you live by principles that you believe in, then your attitude and actions towards others will be seen as who you really are. This genuine authenticity gives you more credibility. People can almost predict what you will do in certain situations because they know your values (or what’s important to you.) This develops trust.
And trust can propel a movement.
Human systems are powerful. They can drive a consistent behavior from anyone who occupies a position in the system, regardless of who it is. This means that if you have a role in an organization, whether you’re at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom of the leadership structure, you tend to have certain behaviors, because the system has forces that are common among all organizations.
I attended a workshop today where we performed a simulation of a company. There were about 35 people and we all had certain roles, top managers, middle managers, bottom workers, and customers. It was an amazing experience. We were all eerily surprised how our actions mimicked real life behavior and interaction between people with different roles.
The most valuable thing about the simulation was that we were able to stop in the middle of it, several times, and take a look at how we were behaving. We analzed what was going on in regards to our conversations, strategies, and attitudes. We popped up to 30,000 feet and said, “What is going on here?”
If that can work in a simulation, why can’t we use that technique in our real life? Wouldn’t it be valuable to rise above your situation and say, “How am I acting right now? Why am I behaving this way?” Is there something I should be doing differently?
Self analysis is probably the most powerful tool for creating change.
So do it.
Flickr photo by Bernt Rostad
Well, I did. Just in the last hour or so. But what I really wanted to do was write a good post for this blog.
I just blew my wad. I had a big pile of currency (attention) and I spent it all on that stuff. Yea, I got something in return, but was it worth more than a good juicy post? I don’t know. (Can I even write one of those? Maybe this was it, if you liked one of those links.)
The point is that it is way too easy to spend the new currency these days. The web is a distraction magnet, a black hole, or maybe an enormous cave of wonders. But we just can’t say “I’ll have one of everything.” There will never be enough currency.
So, if you have a problem “paying attention” to the the things that matter most to you, maybe it’s time to set up a budget.
I sure need one.
The first step to significant change in our life is becoming aware of how we come across towards others and what our weaknesses are that we cannot see. In effect, it is holding up a mirror. It is the only possible way to see our eyeballs.
So, what ever creates that same effect as holding up a mirror, for self introspection and reflection, then we should do that more often.
Only then can we clearly see the changes that need to be made.
Don’t you look in the mirror everyday?
Why not look into the mirror of your being for the same reason?
You might look different than you think.
Flickr photo by eqqman