Step Into "What's Next" with Integrity and Intention
“Look inward. Don’t let the true nature or value of anything elude you.” — Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.3
Appreciate or value? Creatives really wrestle with the distinction. So do thoughtful members of their audience.
There are several ways to express appreciation for worthwhile endeavors. Clapping, a smile, maybe a nod during a live exchange. A “Like,” “Comment,” or “Share” during an online one.
But when you value someone’s efforts, you go a step further. You invest, tip, or otherwise contribute. You validate and encourage efforts worth supporting.
What do you appreciate? What do you value? How do you express each?
“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
P.S. - Do you...
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation." - Henry David Thoreau, Walden
You and I are wired differently and we each have unique experiences. But you and I share the capacity for reason, a creative impulse, and a social instinct. What's more, you and I can choose how we frame any situation we find ourselves in.
No life is without trials and tribulations. But suffering is a choice. It's what happens when you buy the lie that you are defined by your circumstances or that everything is beyond your control. You're not defined by your situation, and you do control the two things required to thrive anytime and anywhere. There's absolutely no need to resign yourself to a life of "quiet desperation."
Every adversity you face comes with lessons that can inform you. These lessons can be used to build yourself and help you become more resilient. You choose how an unfortunate incident or terrible tragedy is framed. ...
“Have I done something for the common good? Then I share in the benefits. To stay centered on that. Not to give up.” Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 11.4
The bookstore and library have a Self-Help section, but not a Help-Others section.
Humans are inherently social and collaborative beings. There's an evolutionary imperative for this. In the beginning, we were neither the strongest nor the fastest creature scuttling about the landscape and there were stronger and faster creatures out there eager to turn us into lunch.
It was banding together that enabled us to survive. This led to language which led to the development of our neo-cortex. And this all led us from being frightened furballs hiding in caves to becoming the hairless apes that dominate the planet.
Fast forward to today. We've discovered that living and working with others boosts not just our productivity and success, but our mental, physical, and spiritual health and happiness. There's plenty...
Wicked Conversations tackle Wicked Problems and help lead to Wicked Results.
The use of "Wicked" indicates challenging, interesting, and worth it, not evil or done with malicious intent.
What’s Are Wicked Conversations For?
Wicked Conversations provides an approach for engaging in challenging discussions that lead to a deeper understanding of topics that defy easy resolution and positions you don’t share.
Wicked Conversations tackle difficult subjects with curiosity and courage. In Wicked Conversations attachment to assumptions and agendas melt away and transformation and truth become accessible.
Who Are Wicked Conversations For?
Wicked Conversations are for those who seek to engage in meaningful dialogue that embraces empathy and mutual respect, even when they do not reach consensus or mutual appreciation.
What Promise Is Wicked Conversations Making?
Applying the Wicked Conversation approach to challenging debates...
I listened to a podcast a few days ago during my cemetery run that featured Sam Harris and Dan Dennet arguing about free will. It was an interesting, but ultimately fruitless, exchange.
Are we the masters of our destiny or our lives fated?
The answer is unknowable and even if it was, knowing would be more harmful than helpful.
Either way, each of us has a role to play.
The most helpful and healthy approach to the question of whether our lives are decided by us or by providence is this. Accepting that life doesn’t simply happen to us but through us. This is the path to experiencing more well-being and prosperity in our work, lives, and relationships.
In each and every moment we find ourselves in is the opportunity for us to choose how we frame our circumstance and what we decide to do next. At the very least, we are in charge of these choices.
Stepping forward with thoughtful intention, generous motivation, and an aspiration that is giving and kind is a choice we can...
“What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.” - Viktor Frankl
Work worth doing, concepts worth pondering, talents worth cultivating. These require a desire to embrace challenges and uncertainty with curiosity and courage.
The importance of commitment, dedication, consistency, generosity, and resilience are not unfamiliar to people like us.
But fear of failure is also a constant companion when you’re engaged in endeavors that matter. So are anxiety and Resistance. These forces try to push you to the convenient, the boring, and the dumb through guilt, shame, and a false sense of security. They tempt you to remain humble and hiding.
The good news is that there are workarounds, antidotes, and alternatives to fear, anxiety, and Resistance. These solutions exist in many traditions and disciplines. But I offer these “answers” by ancient Stoic philosophers on how to avoid to the urge or...
Do you spend more time than is healthy focusing on outcomes that are beyond your control? I know I do! Attachment to results that are beyond your determination is not just unhealthy, it's a path to suffering.
In any moment all you really control is how you frame things and what you do next. Whatever the situation or circumstance, you can choose to see the opportunity.
It's likely you will encounter adversity, a complication, or some predicament today. Maybe you already are. How will you face it? Will you wish for things to go your way, or will yourself to find the opportunity?
Keep flying higher!
What do you fear most in the work you do? Is it failure, inadequacy, irrelevance, obscurity, poverty? Perhaps it's "all the above."
Your work is fraught with challenges, uncertainty, and obstacles. So much is beyond your control. But you do control the most essential asset required to thrive in any situation or circumstance. What asset is that?
Your mindset. The way you perceive "the game."
And just three little words can reframe any state of affairs. You can find possibilities within challenges, options within uncertainties, and opportunities within obstacles.
We Are All Creatives
We are born with the capacity for reason, a creative instinct, and a social nature. This combination of characteristics differentiates us from all other living things on the planet. It’s also the source of your limitless power and potential. Potential people like us...
"You must build up your life action by action, and be content if each one achieves its goal as far as possible - and no one can keep you from this. But there will be some external obstacle! Perhaps, but no obstacle to acting with justice, self-control, and wisdom. But what if some other area of my action is thwarted? Well, gladly accept the obstacle for what it is and shift your attention to what is given, and another action will immediately take its place, one that better fits the life you are building." Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 8.32
Your life, your work, your year. When you look back at each of these, you can lose sight that they are built from months, days, hours, and minutes.
But it’s in each moment that you have an opportunity to start, or try, or test.
Each moment provides you an opportunity to face obstacles, misfortunes, and challenges with clarity and equanimity.
Each moment is a chance for you to succeed or fail, but always to learn, to grow, and to...
Connection is a basic human impulse.
Driven by the social imperative that enabled us to survive as a species, it is still our best chance of survival going forward.
When our conversations are driven by curiosity and courage instead of certainty and confidence, we invite collaborations worth cultivating and celebrating.
What will you do to create healthy connections that encourage happiness to spread today?
Keep flying higher!