The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.
You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”
The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”
The Gods called your name
and the seas turned dark;
the earth quaked with power.
You looked up at Olympus
screaming at the gates;
“What will I become?”
The Gods fell silent, then-
with a thunderous roar replied;
“Who are you now?”
Thank you Kurt @ culturaloffeirng
[...] Now the ad says: Find your beach. The bottle of beer—it’s an ad for beer—is very yellow and the background luxury-holiday-blue. It seems to me uniquely well placed, like a piece of commissioned public art in perfect sympathy with its urban site. The tone is pure Manhattan. Echoes can be found in the personal growth section of the bookstore (“Find your happy”), and in exercise classes (“Find your soul”), and in the therapist’s office (“Find your self”). I find it significant that there exists a more expansive, national version of this ad that runs in magazines, and on television.
This woman is genius and can write. Don’t miss her full essay here: Find Your Beach
And here’s links to 3 more excerpts from Sam Harris’ new book that hit nerve endings:
Doubt As a Sign of Faith by Julia Baird in NY Times:
When the Most Rev. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, said recently that at times he questioned if God was really there, much of the reaction was predictably juvenile: Even God’s earthly emissary isn’t sure if the whole thing is made up! The International Business Times called it “the doubt of the century.”
…He told an audience at Bristol Cathedral that there were moments where he wondered, “Is there a God? Where is God?” Then, asked specifically if he harbored doubts, he responded, “It is a really good question. … The other day I was praying over something as I was running, and I ended up saying to God, ‘Look, this is all very well, but isn’t it about time you did something, if you’re there?’ Which is probably not what the archbishop of Canterbury should say.”
…But Archbishop Welby’s candor only makes him human. He may lead 80 million Anglicans worldwide, but he is also a man who knows anguish, rage, incomprehension and the cold bareness of grief. He lost his firstborn child, Johanna, a 7-month-old baby girl, in a car accident in 1983, a period he has described as “utter agony.” As a teenager he cared for an alcoholic father…
Faith cannot block out darkness, or doubt…Just as courage is persisting in the face of fear, so faith is persisting in the presence of doubt. Faith becomes then a commitment, a practice and a pact that is usually sustained by belief. But doubt is not just a roiling, or a vulnerability; it can also be a strength. Doubt acknowledges our own limitations and confirms — or challenges — fundamental beliefs, and is not a detractor of belief but a crucial part of it.
…The Southern writer Flannery O’Connor said there was “no suffering greater than what is caused by the doubts of those who want to believe,” but for her, these torments were “the process by which faith is deepened.”
My local pastor, Tim Giovanelli, a Baptist whose ocean-swimming prowess has lassoed scores of surfers and swimmers into his church, puts it simply: “For Welby, myself and many others, it is not that we have certainty but have seen the plausibility of faith and positive impact it can make. In a broken world, that can be enough.”
Don’t miss the full op-ed article here: Doubt As a Sign of Faith
This is what the Jawbone’s surveys show are the average steps per day for users of fitness step counters. (Saturday biggest day. Sunday, day of rest, apparently.)
Now here is my reality for the week of 9/8/14 based on steps counted by my Vivofit Fitness tracker:
Excerpts from: When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com:
The Petersiks’ trademark gung-ho enthusiasm seemed forced. And since the birth of their second child, Teddy, in April, they were increasingly voicing their difficulty in balancing work and family…the couple responded in a post titled “Feeeeeelings,” in which they confessed to “feeling off for a while” and missing the days when “we did this for the love.” Although they had scaled back outside projects to recommit to the blog, they were unable to shake the sense of “letting you guys down repeatedly.” They had decided to step away from Young House Love for an indeterminate period and explore other career options. The unexpected announcement has generated more than 4,000 comments so far.
Ms. Petersik responded in an email that “we really would like to clear our heads and refocus.” But they are not alone in their experience. Blogger burnout seems to be something that many of their colleagues in the world of home and D.I.Y. blogs, most of them in their 20s and early 30s, can relate to as well. Is the first generation of design bloggers aging out of the blogosphere? Or is this just a new twist on an old business story, updated for the Internet age?
…A tricky thing to avoid as a full-time blogger, considering that the Internet never sleeps, readers want fresh content daily and new social media platforms must be mastered and added to the already demanding workload.
…Pam Kueber…sees the Petersiks’ escalating stress levels and unhappiness simply as evidence of the latter: A passion turns into a hobby, which becomes a full-time career. “And in some predictable period of time, it consumes your life and sucks the joy out if it,” said Ms. Kueber, finishing the arc. “That last part of the Shakespearean tragedy is what you have to be mindful of not letting happen.”
Read full story @ When Blogging Becomes a Slog by Steven Kurutz, NYTimes.com
I am all for aha!! moments and other peak experiences,
but my most lasting transformation happened in the subtleties,
in those private moments of decision as to which path to walk.
In every moment, there is a choice:
Will I open, or close?
Will I take responsibility, or blame?
Will I download the learning, or deflect?
Will I go to my edge, or fall back to safety?
Will I honor my intuition, or listen to the world?
Thousands, millions of moments of decision that inform who we become.
Getting out of Unconscious Prison is a life-long journey.
True path is built with choices.
I choose authenticity.
~ Jeff Brown
[...] It may be that it’s not the stress from major life events like divorce, illness and job loss trickled down to everyday life that gets you; it’s how you react to the smaller, everyday stress…The most stressed-out people have the highest risk of premature death, according to one study that followed 1,293 men for years…People who always perceived their daily life to be over-the-top stressful were three times more likely to die over the period of study than people who rolled with the punches and didn’t find daily life very stressful
Some people get frantic sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, worried about being late or not being able to do what they hoped in a timely manner. Others simply take the time to sit back, listen to music and appreciate the break as some quiet time. Now, getting upset in traffic once is no big deal. But if things like that happen all the time and the response is always getting really upset, then the harmful effects of stress can become toxic….
…If you are one of those chronically upset worriers, Dr. Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University, has a prescription for you…Read about his three magic pills here:
~ NPR – Patti Neighmond: Best To Not Sweat The Small Stuff, Because It Could Kill You
Notes: Thank you Lori for the NPR article. This hit the mark. Image Source: allpeoplecanfly
How do we forgive ourselves
for all of the things
we did not become?
~ David “Doc” Luben
For most of my adult life, I have read, like E. I. Lonoff in Roth’s The Ghost Writer, primarily at night: a hundred or so pages every evening once Rae and the kids have gone to bed. These days, after spending hours on the computer, I pick up a book and read a paragraph; then my mind wanders and I check my e-mail, drift onto the Internet, pace the house before returning to the page. Or I want to do these things but don’t, force myself to remain still, to follow what I’m reading until I give myself over to the flow. What I’m struggling with is the encroachment of the buzz, the sense that there is something out there that merits my attention, when in fact it’s mostly just a series of disconnected riffs, quick takes and fragments, that add up to the anxiety of the age. How did this happen? Perhaps it’s easier to pinpoint when. Certainly, it began after the fall of 2006, when I first got high-speed Internet, which I had previously resisted because I understood my tendency to lose myself in the instant gratifications of the information stream. [...] It all felt so immensely freighted that to look back now is to recall little more than the frantic blur of stimulation, the lab rat’s manipulated jolt at pressing the proper button, the junkie’s temporary relief at the fleeting fix.
~ David L. Ulin. The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time.
Pamela Druckerman interviews Walter Mischel, a professor of psychology at Columbia, in Learning How to Exert Self-Control:
…Self-control can be taught. Grown-ups can use it to tackle the burning issues of modern middle-class life: how to go to bed earlier, not check email obsessively, stop yelling at our children and spouses, and eat less bread. Poor kids need self-control skills if they’re going to catch up at school.
…Adults can use similar methods of distraction and distancing, he says. Don’t eye the basket of bread; just take it off the table. In moments of emotional distress, imagine that you’re viewing yourself from outside, or consider what someone else would do in your place. When a waiter offers chocolate mousse, imagine that a cockroach has just crawled across it. “If you change how you think about it, its impact on what you feel and do changes,” Mr. Mischel writes.
…He explains that there are two warring parts of the brain: a hot part demanding immediate gratification (the limbic system), and a cool, goal-oriented part (the prefrontal cortex). The secret of self-control, he says, is to train the prefrontal cortex to kick in first.
…Self-control alone doesn’t guarantee success. People also need a “burning goal” that gives them a reason to activate these skills
Read the rest of Druckerman’s column here: Learning How to Exert Self-Control
Find Mischel’s new book at Amazon here: The Marshmellow Test: Mastering Self-Control.
Image Source: Foodspotting
[...] There was no such thing as caught up; there was, at best, keeping up. To step away from e-mail, news feeds, texts, chats, and social media for even a moment was to allow their deposited information to accumulate like snow in the driveway, a burden that grew every second it was neglected.
I spent most of my daytime hours shoveling digital snow. The core of my job—researching, thinking, writing at greater-than-140-character length—I could accomplish only in the middle of the night, when things calmed down. I spent more and more hours working, or at least work adjacent, but got less and less done.
Meanwhile, my mind and body adapted to the pace of digital life, with its ceaseless ping ping ping of notifications and alerts. I got twitchy if I was away from my phone for more than a few seconds. I felt it vibrating in my pocket when it wasn’t there, took it with me to bed, even to the bathroom. (I got pretty good at tweeting while I peed, to my enduring discredit.)
All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world. Every bit of conversation was a potential tweet, every sunset a potential Instagram [...]
Don’t miss the rest of the story here: Reboot or Die Trying. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox.
Image: “Crackphone” from Saltywaffle.com
Carole Cadwalladr, ‘Vincent Deary: ‘Are you living the life you want to lead?’
At the age of 40 Vincent Deary jacked in his job as an NHS psychotherapist, sold his house in south London, moved to Edinburgh and locked himself in a small room for two years to write a book. Or, more accurately, to think about writing a book. He spent the first year mostly writing Post-it notes. By the fifth year, having turned 45, he finally finished it and called it How to Live…
…What comes across most strongly in How to Live is just how bloody difficult it is to change. Or, as is more often the case, to handle change. Deary had a choice – to stay in London or to go – but many of those he cites in the book don’t have a choice. Change has been thrust upon them – partners leave, work dries up, people die. “There are many ways our worlds can end,” he writes in the book. “It may start as a distant rumour, a noise outside your small world, or an unexpected intrusion within it… sooner or later your current world will change, the present season will end.”
And even the perfect people of Facebook, with smiling kids and sunny skiing holidays, are not immune. “They will fall for their lover, their dog will die, they’ll have to move house, they’ll go bankrupt, they’ll die, they’ll age and if they stay the same their circumstances will change so their old responses won’t produce the same response from the environment. So even if they stay the same, that will mean change.” The problem is that we are “habit machines”. We suffer from “character sclerosis”. “Left to [our] own devices, the result will be the downhill slide of a life dictated by whatever happened last, by happenstance and habit.”
Read entire column at The Guardian
A whole lot of us go through life assuming that we are basically right, basically all the time, about basically everything: about our political and intellectual convictions, our religious and moral beliefs, our assessment of other people, our memories, our grasp of facts. As absurd as it sounds when we stop to think about it, our steady state seems to be one of unconsciously assuming that we are very close to omniscient.
- Kathryn Schulz, Being Wrong
n. the awareness of the smallness of your perspective, by which you couldn’t possibly draw any meaningful conclusions at all, about the world or the past or the complexities of culture, because although your life is an epic and unrepeatable anecdote, it still only has a sample size of one, and may end up being the control for a much wilder experiment happening in the next room.
Related Posts from Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:
“I have, in my life, turned pages a million times more often than I have read them, and always derived from turning pages at least as much pleasure and real intellectual enjoyment as from reading. Surely it is better to read altogether only three pages of a four-hundred-page book a thousand times more thoroughly than the normal reader who reads everything but does not read a single page thoroughly, he said. It is better to read twelve lines of a book with the utmost intensity and thus to penetrate into them to the full, as one might say, rather than read the whole book as the normal reader does, who in the end knows the book he has read no more than an air passenger who knows the landscape he overflies. He does not perceive the contours. Thus all people nowadays read everything and know nothing. I enter into a book and settle in it, neck and crop, you should realize, in one or two pages of a philosophical essay as if I were entering a landscape, a piece of nature, a state organism, a detail of the earth, if you like, in order to penetrate into it entirely and not just with half my strength or half-heartedly, in order to explore it and then, having explored it with all the thoroughness at my disposal, drawing conclusions as to the whole. He who reads everything has understood nothing, he said. It is not necessary to read all of Goethe or all of Kant, it is not necessary to read all of Schopenhauer; a few pages of ‘Werther’, a few pages of ‘Elective Affinities’ and we know more in the end about the two books than if we had read them from beginning to end, which would anyway deprive us of the purest enjoyment.”
— Thomas Bernhard, Old Masters: A Comedy (University Of Chicago Press, 1992)
why so much effort
for such little gain?
~ Jim Harrison & Ted Kooser, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry
All good on the caffeine, alcohol and exercise fronts! (So sad on the latter)!
Think of one of those Chuck Close self-portraits. The face takes up the entire image. You can see every pore. Some people try to introspect like that. But others see themselves in broader landscapes, in the context of longer narratives about forgiveness, or redemption or setback and ascent. Maturity is moving from the close-up to the landscape, focusing less on your own supposed strengths and weaknesses and more on the sea of empathy in which you swim, which is the medium necessary for understanding others, one’s self, and survival.
~ David Brooks, Introspective or Narcissistic?
From Kate Murphy, NY Times, No Time to Think:
ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore. When people aren’t super busy at work, they are crazy busy exercising, entertaining or taking their kids to Chinese lessons. Or maybe they are insanely busy playing fantasy football, tracing their genealogy or churning their own butter.
And if there is ever a still moment for reflective thought — say, while waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting in traffic — out comes the mobile device.
Moreover, in one experiment, 64 percent of men and 15 percent of women began self-administering electric shocks when left alone to think. These same people, by the way, had previously said they would pay money to avoid receiving the painful jolt.
It didn’t matter if the subjects engaged in the contemplative exercise at home or in the laboratory, or if they were given suggestions of what to think about, like a coming vacation; they just didn’t like being in their own heads.
It could be because human beings, when left alone, tend to dwell on what’s wrong in their lives. We have evolved to become problem solvers and meaning makers. What preys on our minds, when we aren’t updating our Facebook page or in spinning class, are the things we haven’t figured out — difficult relationships, personal and professional failures, money trouble, health concerns and so on. And until there is resolution, or at least some kind of understanding or acceptance, these thoughts reverberate in our heads. Hello rumination. Hello insomnia.
Read full article by Kate Murphy in NY Times: No Time To Think
Image Source: Sh*t In My Head
Mid-July, and it’s 63º F. Overcast. Low humidity.
PULL UP THE DAMN DOUBLE-DECKER GRATITUDE BUS.
I’m out the door. And down the highway.
I’m flicking through my playlist. James Taylor. Click. Bonnie Raitt. Click. Bryan Adams. Warmer. Click. David Sanborn. Cool down, maybe. Click. Sara McLachlan. Animal Cruelty Videos. Click. Click. Jimmy Buffet. Margaritaville. NO. CLICK.
And then, AC-DC.
And THEN, AC-DC.
THUNDERSTUCK. Sound of the drums beating my heart.
Block: Morning weigh-in. Re-grip the sticks…and Swing.
Block: Heavy legs. Re-grip the sticks…and Pound.
Block: Lack of sleep. Re-grip…and Slam.
Block: Work. WORK. Re-grip, unleash and Pulverize ‘em.
Time Check: 6.12 miles @ 55.08 minutes.
Twice a year the setting sun aligns perfectly with the grid of east-west streets of the main street grid in Manhattan, New York, making for a rather spectacular site as the city practically catches alight. Known as Manhattanhenge – named for a similar occurrence that takes place during solstices at Stonehenge in the UK – the spectacle draws thousands of New Yorkers into the streets to appreciate the unique sunset and capture it on camera. (Source: Veooz)
This photograph was taken on 42nd street in New York City by Eduard Moldoveanu on July 11, 2014.
Eduard Moldoveanu Photography: Eduard Moldoveanu is an engineer by day but photographer anytime he gets together with his camera. He has been in the darkroom since he was a teenager. Back then using negative film he was capturing family events and the beauty of his country, Romania. As he moves into the digital format he re-discover the passion for photography. Today he is a freelancer loving the landscapes and nature but you will find him shooting portraits, sports, street life or abstract photography as well. He is also a Getty contributor and his work can be also find on Getty website.
Don’t miss his portfolio at Enchanted Moments Studio.
“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightening, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. But if you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen it rain frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”
~ John Green, Paper Towns
Or, let’s change up the last sentence with an alternate version:
Maria Popova (Brain Pickings) in a Conversation with Alexandra Horowitz (Cognitive Scientist): The Art of Looking: How to Live With Presence, Break the Tyranny of Productivity, and Learn to See Our Everyday Wonderland
AH: I am not encouraging productivity — and I don’t mind that that’s the case. I value the moments in my life that are productive, certainly, but only the ones that are productive and also present. So it doesn’t have to be either-or. But [I have also] spent time in a job where you then wonder, a year later, what happened to that year. And if I had bothered to sit on the subway, commuting to my office, looking — looking — I think that those moments would have been memorialized, and I would know what happened to that year…I don’t mean to be testifying against productivity per se, but I do see that it’s certainly mindless, the way that we approach there being only one route to living one’s life. And it is within us, this capacity to alter that — at any moment, even within that framework — to change your state.
MP: What’s interesting about the productivity dogma is that we live in a culture where we worship work ethic — by a very narrow definition — as some sort of this grand virtue. And we define it as showing up, day after day after day. But I often think that that’s the surest way to lull ourselves into a kind of trance of passivity, where we show up but we’re absent from our own lives. And I think one of the most beautiful things you do is you show how we can be present in our own lives, through these eleven different people and their perspectives.
AH: Thank you. You know, you are thought of as being, probably, an excessively productive person — again, in that literal sense. You have such a fertile mind — would you say you are not productive? Or, how do you achieve your productivity?
MP: For me, I read, and I hunger to know… I record, around that, my experience of understanding the world and understanding what it means to live a good life, to live a full life. Anything that I write is a byproduct of that — but that’s not the objective. So, even if it may have the appearance of “producing” something on a regular basis, it’s really about taking in, and what I put out is just … the byproduct. It’s kind of like going down the rabbit hole but digging it in the process, too.
If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much to boil hot water without attending to a ritual called: mise-en-place.
What is the first thing YOU do when you arrive at your desk?
What 20 word question can you ask yourself to distinguish between tasks that simply feel urgent from those that are truly important?
Find the answers here: How to Spend the First 10 Minutes of Your Day
Excerpts from WSJ: Aging Americans Sleep More, Work Less, Survey Finds:
Read full article here: Aging Americans Sleep More, Work Less, Survey Finds
Source: Headlikeanorange (Young black-tailed prairie dog)
What a player. What a Man. What an inspiration. RIP Tony Gwynn.
Unless we learn to let experience play upon our inner lives as on a finely tuned instrument, we will try to manufacture inner intensity from the outside, we will bang our very bones to roust our own souls. We crave radical ruptures when we have allowed the nerves of our inner lives to go numb. But after those ruptures— the excitement or the tragedy, the pleasure or the pain— the mind returns to what it was, the soul quicksilvers off from the pierce of experience, and the kingdom of boredom…begins the clock-tick toward its next collapse.
~ Christian Wiman, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
In conversation things can be metabolized and digested through somebody else — I say something to you and you can give it back to me in different forms — whereas you’ll notice that your own mind is very often extremely repetitive. It is very difficult to surprise oneself in one’s own mind. The vocabulary of one’s self-criticism is so impoverished and clichéd. We are at our most stupid in our self-hatred.
~ Adam Phillips, The Poetics of the Psyche
Adam Phillips, 59, is Britain’s most celebrated psychoanalytical writer. He explores in his wide-ranging views in a conversation with Paul Holdengräber as part of The Paris Review’s legendary interview series.
Wall Street Journal: Study Finds Nearly 29% of World Population is Overweight or Obese:
- The obesity epidemic is global: 2.1 billion people or 29% of the worlds population.
- Increases in overweight and obese people have been substantial, widespread and have arisen over a short time
- 36.9% of the world’s men and 38% of women are overweight or obese.
- No nation reported a significant decrease in obesity.
- U.S. had the heftiest population, with 13% of the world’s obese
- Factors: diet, physical inactivity and one that hasn’t gotten as much attention – changes in the gut micro biome that affect metabolism.
Read full article here: Study Finds Nearly 29% of World Population is Overweight or Obese
SMWI*=Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath in Why You Hate Work:
The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep…
…Demand for our time is increasingly exceeding our capacity — draining us of the energy we need to bring our skill and talent fully to life. Increased competitiveness and a leaner, post-recession work force add to the pressures. The rise of digital technology is perhaps the biggest influence, exposing us to an unprecedented flood of information and requests that we feel compelled to read and respond to at all hours of the day and night…
Find the rest of the story (and the solution to the problem) here: Why You Hate Work
Just another Friday morning commute.
Mind is pond skittering. Nothing heavy on the calendar. Chance to leave early. Long weekend. Kids home. 58° F. Morning sun warming with forecaster calling for more Spring heat. Gnawing on a protein bar. Windows down. Feelin’ light. Feelin’ Gratitude.
Ray P comes sauntering in. His Detroit Tigers’ baseball cap is slung low. His pants hiked way up and cinched with a belt burnishing a oversized golden buckle. A middle aged client from 20 years back who inherited a small sum from his Mom who had the foresight to dribble out food money in monthly installments. Mail was unacceptable. He had to pick it up. He’d bite his lip hungrily ripping open the envelope…stare at the check, look at me: “Son, I’ve got the world by the a**.”
I’m at the speed limit in the center lane, flowing with the other fishes, no obstructions this morning. Son, I’ve got the world by the a**. [Read more...]
A 2012 share titled “Do What You Love” garnered more likes (393) and more views (8,396) than any other post on this blog. My thinking has evolved (you were naive!) since that time with a subsequent share titled: Do What You Love? Wrong! and this NY Times article by Professor Gordon Marino titled Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’:
…But is “do what you love” wisdom or malarkey?
…the “do what you love” ethos so ubiquitous in our culture is in fact elitist because it degrades work that is not done from love. It also ignores the idea that work itself possesses an inherent value, and most importantly, severs the traditional connection between work, talent and duty.
…My father didn’t do what he loved. He labored at a job he detested so that he could send his children to college. Was he just unenlightened and mistaken to put the well-being of others above his own personal interests? It might be argued that his idea of self-fulfillment was taking care of his family, but again, like so many other less than fortunate ones, he hated his work but gritted his teeth and did it well.
…Our desires should not be the ultimate arbiters of vocation. Sometimes we should do what we hate, or what most needs doing, and do it as best we can.
Read full article: Life Beyond ‘Do What You Love’
Image Source: daiquiri-kisses (modified)
It’s Saturday morning. I’m flicking through Netflix and there it was – “Recommended for me: The Legend of Bagger Vance.” It was ten, maybe eleven years ago. The Executive Coach assigned to me recommended the book. An Executive Coach from Little Rock, Arkansas. Hired and paid for by the Firm. “Good for my career,” they said. (Good for my career? I didn’t need help with my career. My team’s results were exceptional. Employee Survey scores ranked my team’s morale #1, with no one remotely close. Little Rock, Arkansas? Come on. You’ve got to be kidding.)
The first meeting was scheduled. Big Cat was tired, wary and his fur was up. (Last thing I need is some corporate shrink dishing out pablum that I wouldn’t eat and then reporting back to management that I was a head-case. What can he possibly teach me? “He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches.”)
He outlined the program. Clinical. To-the-point. No wasted words. No wasted movement. He explained that he wanted to conduct a 360-survey with my direct reports, colleagues and key partners. Get me the names, and we’ll get started. He was in and out.
Session 3, the survey feedback comes in. Big 4-inch ringed binder. I’m flipping through the pages. I skip the strengths. I know what they are. Eyes scan the charts, and land on the categories hitting the low points. (Memory is hazy…but I remember thinking Holy Sh*t as a read through the color commentary: “Ambitious. Would roll me if I missed. Aggressive. Relentless. Tough. Standards unrealistically high. ‘Always on.’ Don’t really know him. An enigma, can be hard and soft, therefore difficult to read. And Trust.” I gently closed the binder to trap the words in – dropping my head and tasting the bitters of stomach acid.) [Read more...]
“Read in the context of (John) Updike’s…life…is a highly personal and revealing self-assessment. It underscores a sad paradox: although he could anatomize his own failings with perfect clarity, he seemed incapable of changing how he behaved.”
~ Adam Begley, Updike
Image Source: The Novice Chef Blog
Walking through an airport newsstand this year, I noticed a novelty…I quickly snapped a photo and sent out a tweet to my modest list of followers…Then I waited for the love. I checked the response before passing through security. Nothing. I glanced again while waiting for the plane. Still nothing. I looked again before we took off. Nobody cared. My little attempt to pass a lonely hour in an airport with some friendly interaction had turned into the opposite: a brutal cold shower of social isolation.
We are deep enough into the social-media era to begin to recognize certain patterns among its users. Foremost among them is a mass anxiety of approval seeking and popularity tracking that seems far more suited to a high school prom than a high-functioning society…
…it all begins to seem a bit, well, desperate.
…Time for a rewrite, Mr. Shakespeare. This above all: to thine others be true.
…“In a lot of ways, the addictive part is in the anticipation,”
…”I noticed I get in this puppet situation,” she said. “I get bored, and there’s something compelling about being able to put something online, and all of a sudden there’s instant gratification of ‘They like me!’
…Maybe Warhol needs a rewrite, too: Today, everybody can be famous for 15 retweets.
…A growing body of research indicates how deeply our brains are wired to seek social approval.
Read full (and excellent) article at For the Love of Being ‘Liked’
Excerpt from David Brooks in the NY Times: The Streamlined Life
In 1985, only 18 percent of freshmen said that they felt overwhelmed by all they had to do. By 2013, 33 percent said they felt overwhelmed. In 1985, 64 percent of students said they ranked in the top 10 percent or at least above average in terms of mental health. But today, students admit to being much more emotionally vulnerable. They also declare low levels of spiritual self-confidence.
At the same time, one gets the sense they are trying to armor up, in preparation for the rigors to come. They assert their talents. They rate themselves much more highly than past generations on leadership skills, writing abilities, social self-confidence and so on. For example, in 2009, roughly 75 percent of freshmen said they had a stronger drive to achieve than their average peers.
Human nature hasn’t changed much. The surveys still reveal generations driven by curiosity, a desire to have a good family, a good community and good values. But people clearly feel besieged. There is the perception that life is harder. Certainly their parents think it is harder. The result is that you get a group hardened for battle, more focused on the hard utilitarian things and less focused on spiritual or philosophic things; feeling emotionally vulnerable, but also filled with résumé assertiveness. The inner world wanes; professional intensity waxes.
Read full article: The Streamlined Life
Photograph by Mutaz Albar
I’ve reached the half-way mark of Updike, a biography on John Updike written by Adam Begley. I pause to reflect on how I arrived here. “Here” being how did I come to be reading John Updike’s biography. Yes, it was Amazon’s Best Book of the Month for April, 2014. That helped, but that wasn’t it. It was that man in the photograph that is responsible. John VandeZande.
It was an undergraduate elective class titled “Good Books.” It was highly recommended by my senior jock buddies: “Just show up, read a few books and you’re done.” I signed up for the class. I sat in the back of the room. And hoped never to get called on.
He would assign Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce, Steinbeck and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Updike, in his biography, would describe them as “textual titans.” At the time, I would describe them as literary unknowns – – DK, a lover of Hardy Boys who then graduated to the genres of Jeffrey Archer (Kane & Abel), James Clavell (Shogun & Tai Pan) and Stephen King – – was being heaved up into the major leagues. I slumped further down in my chair at the back of the room.
He would break the awkwardness of the early classes by reading long passages from the assigned readings. He would sit on the edge of his desk. The book in his right hand. And then immerse himself in the passage. There were no pencils tapping. There was no shifting in chairs. We were gently transported with him on the journey.
He struck the match. And stoked the fire. And I went on a tear. First Hemingway with The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea. Then Faulkner with The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Light in August and Absalom, Absalom!. Followed by John Steinbeck with The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Cannery Row and East of Eden. And then John Updike with Rabbit, Run, Rabbit Redux and Rabbit Is Rich. And to this day, my serial runs on “Textual Titans” continues. (In Begley’s biography of Updike, Updike explained that: “A real reader,” he explained, “reading to escape his own life thoroughly, tends to have runs on authors.” That had my head spinning.)
it may take years, Dr. Ming whispers,
to wash them out,
telling me to breathe deep, to breathe
the body is nothing but a map of the
—Len Roberts, closing lines to “Acupuncture and Cleansing at Forty-Eight.”
“On his own at sixteen after being raised by an alcoholic father and an abusive mother, Len Roberts is best known for poems of stark imagery that concentrate on his progress in life and how he has come to an acceptance of life’s flux.”
Yep, about the only way I’d sit still. Bunch of kisses from a big cat to give me some perspective.