Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
Many ancient philosophical and religious traditions speak to the importance of virtue. The ancient Cynics said it was all that was required to live "the good life." The Stoics said it was "sufficient." As a kid, I learned the Catechism of the Catholic Church which instructed that a firm disposition to do "the good" by practicing the seven virtues was required to get to heaven.
My experience is that the Stoics got it right. Virtue is its own reward and sufficient for a life lived well. Your mileage may vary.
Whatever your relationship with virtue, virtue matters. It matters a lot. Pursuing excellence as a human being means cultivating the content of your character for its own sake.
Of course, nurturing virtue also means extending compassion and justice to others. In fact, you enhance yourself most when you elevate the lives of others.
But is there a downside to virtue? The current display of "virtue signaling" by politicians, social...
Tactics are so numerous in the digital age. Analytics, metrics, ads, boosts, 7-step systems, hacks, tricks, etc. abound. And they're soooo bloody seductive!
So are the many invitations to develop technique. Blogs, books, YouTube videos, online courses, and famous successful people promising to "show you the way."
"The fog of craft." Getting lost in the weeds of tactics and technique. Stuck in the "just in case" learning cycle. Sinking in the quicksand of minutiae.
What's the antidote?
Stop succumbing to the seduction of "easy" and "later." Replace it with the power of "do" and "now."
Set a small goal. Develop a strategy. Choose the one smallest step you can imagine to make progress toward that goal. Align your goal, strategy, and tactic with your values, talents, and tribe. Then, go.
Progress is made by leaning into the work and learning through the process of try and test. Reflect and iterate. Rinse and repeat.
Bonus insight. The digital age is the age of...
Many conversations in 2018 informed and inspired my journey to develop myself through enhancing the lives of others. Each helped me develop and deliver my greatest endeavor so far.
These three had the biggest impact in helping me cultivate a greater sense of peace and prosperity, even when encountering “challenge opportunities,” as I sought to endeavor better.
“Make the world better by making better things.” — Seth Godin
“Engineer the smallest possible step.” - Marie Schacht
“If you are a force for good in this world, get your sh*t together around how you fund that.” - Michael Bungay Stanier
Hope something here helps you fly higher while making a difference in 2019!
Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), is a relic of our prehistoric brain that has outlived its necessity and utility.
When we scuttled about the planet as just another species trying to get enough to eat without being eaten, FOMO was very real. Miss out on a meal when they come with dangerous infrequency could mean starvation and even death.
Miss out on a text, an email, or an online offer and you probably won't even notice. In fact, you may be better off.
Being intentional about where you spend your valuable time and attention and what you spend it on doesn't induce fear. It's empowering. It cultivates temperance and taste. It develops character and will.
Make better choices and make a better future.
Keep flying higher!
Generosity is the expression of kindness, understanding, and selflessness. It’s an inherent impulse born of our social nature. This primal quality explains why giving and helping makes you feel good and why being selfish and stingy feels terrible. As with gratitude, there is good science supporting the assertion that generosity also boosts your health and happiness.
Generosity requires the recognition of others and therefore cultivates empathy and compassion. It leads to a feeling of “oneness” with others which enhances the experience and emotional health of both the giver and receiver.
Developing your generous nature enables you to move beyond need and desire. Generosity helps you recognize that you are, and already have, “enough.” You already possess an abundance of gifts. These gifts only have meaning through developing and sharing them.
Generosity creates bonds, encourages collaboration, and fuels reciprocity.
This is an excerpt...
Are you a "just in case" learner, or a "just in time" doer?
You and I grew up in the age of "just in case" education. Learn your algebra, learn to diagram a sentence, learn the battles of the Civil War, and learn the rules of volleyball just in case you might need them later.
But you and I now live in the age of "just in time" education. Start a project, start a blog, start coding an app, start an online store and, when you need to learn something, that information is only a few keystrokes away. You can learn anything you need to know just in time.
You don't need to learn skills you'll never employ. You don't have to waste time filling your brain with information you'll never use. You mustn't wait for the right teacher or a grade. You can start this very moment.
So, what are you going to do today? Read another book, take another class, watch another YouTube video just in case it might come in handy someday? Or are you going to start an endeavor...
"All that is gold does not glitter,Not all those who wander are lost." - J. R. R. Tolkien
“Do not go where the...
In any endeavor worthy of your time and talents you'll face challenges, obstacles, and problems. There's a time and there's a place for educating yourself, preparing, and planning for these moments. There's also a time to dive in and thrash your way to clarity and resolution.
Thrashing is the process of learning, iterating, and improving by doing. This needs to be done strategically, with intention, and in service to the change, you seek to make. Without having a goal in mind and a clear idea of what success looks and feels like, thrashing can become exhausting and frustrating.
Thrashing can also become a seductive invitation to hide in busy-work and avoid the more important emotional labor of connecting and collaborating with those who need you.
Done well and done right, thrashing can be exhilarating and encourage a greater sense of flourishing. In addition to bringing your endeavor into clearer focus, this approach encourages forward motion and builds resilience.
The composer knows the rules. He's studied and done his homework. He writes well-crafted arrangements. Specific and carefully chosen instructions are included. The work of a composer reflects his character and purpose, especially when played by those who know how to do as instructed.
The improviser has the same training, but a different approach. She understands the structure and intent of a piece and sees the possibilities. The improviser's stance is, "Let's play with this and see what we can come up with." She serves the song but isn't enslaved by it.
Composition and improvisation are equally professional approaches to the same situation. There's a time and there's a place for composing, especially when you want things to turn out as expected. But when you want to investigate and innovate, the improviser's process is better suited for that endeavor.
The composer relies on what's been done. The improvise leans into "what's next."
Composer or improviser. Which posture will...
It's the day after Thanksgiving here in the States.
If you participated in this tradition built upon gratitude and family, you have a choice to make today about how you want to begin the next holiday season.
Begin the season of generosity and goodwill with a frenzied foray into the belly of the beast of consumerism? Or be present with loved ones who are close at hand right now?
What if we began the season of giving by offering our presence right now instead of collecting presents for later?
Keep flying higher!