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Imagine the whole and build the pieces. Take small actions, these will lead you to motivation.



How horrible it must be to live forever. Nature teaches us to let go and set aside the things we don’t need. Nature does not rush. It does not thrust everything upon us like the modern world. Nature does not yell, “Figure me out!” Nature says, “Admire me or do not – I could care less what you think."


Oh our collective busyness. We hold it tight in our hands. No clamoring to be heard will overcome it. Earnest listening remains an elusive wish, a hope that is ungiven. Spare me your pearls. Withhold from telling me your extreme ideology. For how I interpret the world is custom to me.


We start bending at an early age because we are doing something that is not authentic to our true self. Don’t waste time trying to get someone to value you. Don’t waste time clamoring to be heard – speak your own truth.


I like to stay close to art. It shows me the personal expressions of others and how they see the world. It keeps me curious. It keeps me from having to slunk into the understood. Art keeps me from sliding into vocabulary with no taste. The Internet with all its knowledge cannot feed my human senses.


The problem with social media is that it brings overwhelming information to relationships. It encourages us to judge and compare ourselves to others in many cases. From the news cycle to sharing images, we share without regard, not realizing that we are short circuiting our conversations. We share a new promotion or raise not realizing our neighbor just lost his or her job. Worse, is we don’t give the other side a chance to share or we deprive them of the chance to tell their story. Our busyness leaves us no time to listen to one another, to be present for those that are in front of us, to be fully there when we are talking to others.


Writing is my refuge. It’s where I go to cast a spell on another. I use it to craft my incantations both strong and weak. It allows me to tiptoe atop a picket fence. It brings me solace in times of strife and the power to absorb change. It can be a hard place to live. Many ships have set sail without me. It's ok, my magic does not depend on others. Twice around the world is a treasure enough for me. Nature and solitude are my companions.


Technology is taking the place of skills. I don't know if this is good or bad. What I do know is that working with technology can create an environment that feels sterile. Like a hospital. They greet us with salutations from the land of Jargonia. They say, "In our country we talk about hiring people that can multi-task and communicate at a world class level. We teach our younger employees how to be polite and speak with euphemism. Eventually, they will graduate to be a Senior person that can sling clichés within a community of practice. Our workers must learn to imitate so they can master the language of Jargonia." None of this takes place without the loss of authenticity.


The job of the teacher is to take the pain out of learning. It is hard work to infuse lessons with vibrant colors and stories that set aside the sterility of the technology. If done well, we act as a sounding board to allow others to articulate their perceptions of a problem. We give our students a break from their “to-do lists from hell.” By listening to others, we help them parse the differences between what they mean versus what they say. Hooray for teachers.


We create magic when we give others the time to tell their stories. It is like multiplying the books you read. Books, like bees, have to make a comeback. It is in listening to others that we help them maneuver around the natural and technological barriers that frustrate them.


I’ve seen people complain about being invisible in the workplace. To this I say that there is great power in being invisible. I need to pull up an old quote that I read by Bill Russell. He was a famous NBA basketball player back in the day. He was adept at positioning himself where the next play was going to be. He said, “Invisibility opens doors, creates opportunity, where none seemed to exist before. When we are unseen, we have an enormous advantage in moving in, doing things we wish or need to do, and in the process, to change the very dynamic of existing, seemingly closed, patterns.” So, there you have it. If you are already in position and can impact others without their knowing it, then you have discovered the power of invisibility. To pull it off requires a secret spell. Quotation is attributed to Bill Russell.


I don't have the best of everything but I do have some dark chocolate. I eat it every night when the clock is split in half. It is the sort of thing that transports me from whatever cares and anxious thoughts are gerbiling in my mind, into the present moment. It holds me there.


I wish had done better in my stats class. If I had applied myself, I might have come away with some valuable tools and discernment. Insights like not categorizing people. Many years ago, I learned about overfitting with data. Overfitting as best as I understand it means we are being too discriminatory. If I apply it to those around me, I might look past them. In truth, most people are a collection of interests and emotions. Social media extremism and our hurry up atmosphere have caused the loss of the ability to appreciate those in front of me for who they are. If I am cavalier in my attitude about it, I subconsciously slap a label or title on them. As my Hollywood friends say, "I've typecast them." To my friends in the software world, it means something else. At any rate, I pour all I know into that label and I eventually arrive at a non-thinking consensus. I might decide this person is not interesting or she is this or that. I think I understand them. I do not. I apply this to the complex issues of the day from politics to communities of people. It's the sort of thing that everybody does. It is popular sentiment, but this does not make it right. I need to remember that judgement leads to an abrupt stop in thinking. There's no more discussion or discovery. I need to give others the time to tell their stories and be who they are. As I listen to them it's like multiplying the books I read. I can help them discover what is already within them and bring it out. Boy I wish I had paid attention in stats class; I'm still figuring it out.

Everything show it's age with time

Everything shows it’s age with time. Over time, even people begin to change in their thinking. As a Gen X’er, I straddle the Boomer Blockade and the Millennials. I am here to tell my older counter parts to relax. The younger generation has things well in hand. They are skillful and thoughtful in how they work. What older workers need to do is to accept and adapt to change. This is good news. Now that I know what to do, I can admit I’m terrible at it. Some of us older workers need to take different roles. This will allow the younger and more agile workers to position themselves. In most cases, we can fill a fabulous supporting cast member role. A role that helps the younger generation shine and get to the next level. It takes nothing away from us. My point is this, to progress we need to let go of outdated thinking. Sort of like letting go of anger. As the world grows more complex, it requires a nimble mind to ensure we don’t fall into extreme thinking. Gen X’ers can offer wisdom to help younger professionals discern and understand that not everything falls into simple dogmatic right and wrong camps. Many ideas do not. We should resist extreme ideologies. Those of us that are older and have mellowed in our thinking should stand as the guard rails to help those coming up. If you can’t move out at least move over and be a supporting cast member that helps others to shine.

mentis fortitudo