Or Be Miserable

January 16th, 2008

Look one post down and you’ll find a blurb and link to Brad Isaac’s work.  Brad is an extremely positive guy and I enjoy reading his stuff.

But if you’re the type that simply must be miserable, then check out 9 Great Ways to Make Yourself Absolutely Miserable.  The Positivity Blog has decided to explore the dark side today…

Look at that!  A full service effort presented in one “yeah, what he said” kind of day!  You can learn to be happy and effective, or you can brush up on your misery-generating skills.

Psychological Stunts

January 16th, 2008

Brad Isaac is sharing a series he calls 101 Goal Setting Breakthroughs 2008.

Today he writes about visualization and optimism and how both relate to achieving your goals. In typical Brad fashion, he has a lot of ideas! Check out today’s post here.

I’m going to let Brad do the talking today (and I’m going to engage in the dreaded “yeah, what he said”…see the archives if that line confuses you). Anyway, I’m going to spend the day like I did yesterday — celebrating the birth of a son to our close friends Sami and Jacqui.

Congratulations!

The Branson Outlook

January 14th, 2008

A family member (thanks Mom!) was kind enough to give me a copy of Richard Branson’s Screw it, Let’s do it for Christmas. I’m not always a huge Branson fan (he’s a bit of a showman for me), but Mom said the book came highly recommended.

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It’s a very quick read, and it’s very straight-forward. I don’t think Sir Richard was trying to do anything more than share his views on life (and he avoided the typical showmanship in doing so).

In my opinion, we tend to over complicate our lives. Here’s Branson’s list of key points to make life a bit less complicated and less difficult:

  • Just do it (a “borrowed” phrase, I suppose?)
  • Think yes, not no
  • Challenge yourself
  • Have goals
  • Have fun
  • Make a difference
  • Stand on your own feet
  • Be loyal
  • Live life to the full

There’s a bit of redundancy in that list, so let’s focus on the basics: we should have challenging goals that are fun for us while making a difference as we see it. We’ve got one shot at life, so let’s get the most out of it and let’s never “settle”. Be positive, and act! Do!

How’d I do? Branson’s ideas aren’t necessarily new, but the ideas have been put into (successful) action. That’s good enough for me. You?

The Trouble with “Or”

January 13th, 2008

I headed down to a local hospital yesterday to visit with friends expecting their first child. They’re both around 40-ish, so they’re “old enough” to be excited while not taking anything for granted. There was a lot of nervous energy in the air.

Too often, life throws us curve balls, and in the case of my friends, the curve ball came in the form of a baby determined to make his entrance six weeks early. Soon-to-be Mom and Dad are hoping to spend today watching football while keeping Baby tucked away for a few last minute upgrades.

In these situations, everyone has their own way of dealing with the stress and the worries. The Dad half of the couple is starting to reevaluate where he stands in life. He’s considering what he really wants to do, and he’s doing a little self-examination exercise to consider changes.

This led us to an interesting conversation over a quick dinner. Why does life always have to be this OR that? Soon-to-be-Dad is a very successful guy. He’s incredibly talented and one of the best at what he does. Most people look at him and think “man, he’s got it made”.

In many ways, he does “have it made”. But he’s not feeling that way right now. He’s faced with the trouble of “or”.

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“I want to continue doing what I do professionally but I also want to spend a lot of time with my son. I can’t do both — I have to pick one OR the other”.

“I enjoy my current lifestyle, but I can’t keep it up with a new child. I have to give up the things I enjoy OR sacrifice time with my family.”

As we talked, it became apparent that the “OR” was the problem. Very few of us want to be faced with this OR that — we want it all!

“OR” is a self-imposed limitation. “OR” is the result of a flawed thought process. We don’t have to do anything in life, and we certainly don’t have to accept “OR”. We can have ‘A’ AND ‘B’ — we simply have to change the way we approach the situation.

As we talked last night, it became obvious to both of us that once you decide not to accept “OR” as an option, the “AND” becomes clearer. When the thought process is adjusted, a whole new world of options opens up. These were options that went unnoticed and might never have been considered if New Dad didn’t refuse to accept “OR”.

He’s got a lot of planning ahead of him, but New Dad is about to really “have it made”. He’s going to have a son to welcome and love AND a successful, well-balanced life. His old life will likely seem empty by comparison.

Life tossed him a curve ball — he is in the process of hitting it out of the park.

Never settle. You can absolutely have everything you want once you decide you want it. An unborn baby just proved it.

Loving What You Do — Case Study

January 11th, 2008

Okay, so maybe it’s not really a case study, but it is a real life monologue about doing what you love.

Steve Tobak wrote yesterday about the Back-to-Work-Blues (at Train Wreck — a CNET.com blog).

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Steve says he’s never had the Sunday night/Monday morning blues, and he attributes it to pursuing the things that he’s passionate about and that excite him. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have a healthy, overall attitude as well.

Look, at this stage of the game, maybe you’re tired of reading about this “do what you love” drek. But as Tobak points out (and as Jobs pointed out yesterday), life is too short to be caught up in doing things that hurt you rather than excite you.

We’ll move on, okay? But let’s keep excitement and passion at the back of our minds (that’s excitement and passion about your day…not the gutter-minded things that just popped into your head.)

Steve Jobs

January 10th, 2008

Many of you are probably familiar with Steve Jobs’ Commencement address delivered at Stanford University. It’s brilliant.

I encourage you to hit the link (above) and read the entire text. In continuing our discussion, here are some excerpts to consider:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And as important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Wow.

Check this out

January 9th, 2008

This is a great post on The Positivity Blog.

I’m not big on guys that link to other blogs and write something like “yeah, what he said”. But in this case, that’s about all I can do. The post says it all, and it certainly doesn’t need any additions on my part.

We may (or may not) do more of this kind of thing down the road. If the authors/bloggers are okay with it, and if the reader response is good, we may include a kind of Daily Summary of notable posts by other great bloggers.Let’s see how it plays out.

But in the meantime, hit the link (above) and read some great stuff.

Another Pause

January 9th, 2008

Writing at Dumb Little Man today, David Bohl presents a different point of view than the one presented here over the past few days. (This love, happiness, and productivity stuff sure is popular at this time of year…).

Get the other side of the story here.

You are free to reach your own conclusions (obviously), but I think David is taking a halfway approach. (I am not bashing the guy! I’m simply disagreeing with his conclusions in a mild kind of way…).

Life is not an either/or proposition. You may not necessarily love what you do today, but you can certainly aspire to ultimately do something you truly do love. The student/required course work scenario discussed earlier is a perfect example of this idea in action.

Many things in our lives are parts of the journey towards our ultimate goal. These “things”, and even our goals, are not static — goals will change or be modified, things we feel are important today may not seem so important tomorrow.

What we’re really talking about is a mindset. An attitude. A way of life. You don’t have to “accept” anything. You can do, or be, and become anything you choose.

That includes being in love with what you do and being happy.

(Steve Jobs is going to tell us more in the next post.)

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Program

January 8th, 2008

Today we were going to continue yesterday’s discussion of doing what you love and motivation. We’ll do that tomorrow. (No, I’m not suffering a lack of motivation…)

Doing what you love doesn’t mean “easy”. It may not feel like work when you love it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting off the hook either. There are going to be stumbles along the way. The key to success is persistence.

I was reminded of this today when I stumbled upon something I’ve read before. Whenever I read it, I laugh (out loud). This time I found it in Success Built to Last ( a great read, by the way). Check it out (I’ll paraphrase):

A guy is walking down a path and comes across a wise old monk. He asks the monk “Which way to success?” The monk says nothing, but gestures down the path.

The guy is ecstatic.

Moments later, you hear “splat!” It takes awhile, but the guy stumbles back up the path towards the monk thinking he made a wrong turn. “Which way?” he asks again. The monk points down the path. The guy sighs, nods, and sets out again this time determined to find success.

“Splat!

Here comes the guy…back up the path…battered, bruised, broken and angry. Screaming at the monk, he demands to know why the monk sent him off (twice!) in the direction of disaster. “No more pointing! Talk!”

The monk calmly replies “success that way. Just a little past splat.”

C’mon now. Admit it. You laughed.

Motivation

January 7th, 2008

Lacking some?  Feeling like you need a boost?  Checking out “motivational” blogs looking for ideas?

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Stop!

C’mon!  Knock it off!

Please — don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with looking for new ideas or inspiration.  There’s nothing wrong with reading books and blogs that offer both (and more).  For example, I’d like you to stop in here every day and hopefully learn something.  Maybe you’ll leave a comment, and I’ll learn something too.  That’s the purpose of this exercise!

But motivation?  No one can give you motivation.   No one can provide it for you — except you.

So how do we go about “providing” it?  How do we get the juices flowing and “get motivated”?

There are a lot of answers to those questions,  but it really all comes down to this: it’s got to matter.  Whatever it is you’re trying to get motivated for or motivated to do has to mean something to you.  If it doesn’t, then you’ll never get motivated.

If you’re faced with “I gotta do this”, and you don’t particularly  care for or about the thing “you gotta do”, then getting it done becomes an exercise in self discipline.  Self discipline is work.  We all have to exercise a little self discipline sometimes, but self discipline should never be confused with motivation.

If it feels like work, then it most likely doesn’t matter to you.  Things that matter feel effortless.  Things that matter get you excited.  You can (and will) do things that matter until you drop — and then you’ll try doing them some more.

When it matters, you love it!  You really, really can’t wait to do it.  You think about it all the time!

Okay, so this is all well and good, and we can talk about things that matter to us all day long, but what does any of this have to do with making a living?  Doing well in school?  Losing weight?  Running a marathon?  Having a healthy, romantic relationship?

Let’s start with the job: are you making a living doing something that matters to you?  Or are you simply making a living?  The first post on this blog touched on two approaches to one goal — making a living.  Penelope Trunk seemed to think that “doing what you love” was naive.   Maybe…but even Penelope enjoys doing what she does for a living.   She claims to maybe not love it, but she enjoys it.   Perhaps it’s all semantics…

How about doing well in school?  Sometimes students are faced with class requirements that they’d rather not take.  So?  Think about the big picture — what is it you really want to do?  Aren’t these classes on the path to your ultimate destination?

Do you really want to lose weight?  Is it really important to you?  Who cares what others think?  If you look in the mirror and you’re okay with the person looking back, maybe losing weight isn’t all that important to you.

What’s that?  You’re doctor told you to lose weight?  Doctors tell us lots of things — some of those doctors are even overweight.  Unless you’re bordering on obese  (or you are obese), do the extra pounds bother you?  If you are living at an unhealthy weight, the “number” (your weight) isn’t the issue.  You need to fall in love with the idea of a long life (something you may need help in exploring).

Why run that marathon?  I can tell you from experience that you’d better be running for you and nothing else.  Preparing for a marathon should be 95 parts fun and 5 parts self discipline.  (Yes, there is some “work” involved in this one…)

The healthy, romantic relationship?  I’m no expert on this one — is anyone?  To avoid thousands of words and more than a little controversy, let’s just say that you do not have to stay in a relationship you’re unhappy in.

We’ll explore this more in future posts.  But here’s what I’d like you to take from this blurb: motivation is easy to come by if you’re doing something you truly love.  That’s the easy part.

The hard part is being honest with yourself about what it is that you really do love.