It’s Still The About People, Right?

I think we as a society have forgotten something here. It’s not about the task in front us. How fast can you finish your spreadsheet? Are you a democrat or a republican? We sold more doohickeys than you. Is it about the people? Is it about the job? Is it about the thing?

Most jobs at their start were about helping, or at least solving a problem. Nutrition. Water. Disease prevention. Somewhere along the line they lose their focus. It’s easy to forget. If you’ve ever worked in a daycare with more than five children, you know how that feels. Children whine, they cry, they poop, and they need. It’s constant. You forget that you cared about these noisy, fussy children. At one time, you wished to nurture them. Now all you want to do is stop the noise. Suddenly it’s about the thing. The diapers.

The squeaky wheel problem

It seems to make sense to prioritize in order of priority.

Do the urgent stuff first. Deal with the cranky customer who’s about to walk out, the disenchanted and difficult employee who hasn’t had the right sort of guidance (lately), the partner who is stomping his foot.

The problem with this rational prioritization is that it means that the good customers, the valuable employees and the long-suffering but loyal partners are neglected. And they realize that they should either get squeaky or leave.

If the only way to get your attention is to represent a risk, people will figure that out.

(The other problem is that you end up spending all your time with cranky, disenchanted, difficult people who are stomping their feet.) – Seth Godin

I think it’s important to check ourselves and ask it’s still about the people, right?

Who Is Family

We once knew, but we’ve forgotten. Families lived in one household or at least in one village. Maybe it was because grandma couldn’t make it otherwise, or she was respected. For whichever reason, it kept more hands available when it was needed to help raise the children. It was easy to describe your family.

I’m currently redefining family. I may be doing this for the rest of my life. I have a reel to reel that plays in my head. It looks somewhat like a small village, maybe too communal to some. There are children playing in a courtyard. The housing is surrounding a grassy area, and the commons area is a safe place. Here children can grow up with many caretakers. Many parents can care for them. Yes, they know their mother and father, but if there is a stressor in their household such as a new baby, it’s easy for another family to take them into their home.

In my vision of society, life is built for the good of people, not commerce. People are why we are here. Does it matter if there is money if there are no people to spend it? Economics is the most worthless of studies if sociology fails. And look around us. Our sociology is failing. What do we need to fix it? We have made some steps towards repairing it. We’ve recognized alternative families. Do you think this is unrealistic? I don’t think I’m alone in my thinking.

Last week I read a book called, Brand Strategy 101: Your Logo Is Irrelevant – The 3-Step Process to Build a Kick-Ass Brand, by Roy H. Williams and Michael R. Drew. They wrote about a cycle of Me verse We. Can you guess when the cycle of We started? The early 2000’s. The game changed. The slogans changed. Society shifted. Did you feel it? The authors wrote another book about it that I haven’t read yet, but I will, Pendulum: How Past Generations Shape Our Present and Predict Our Future. I’m putting that on my reading list.

Debt

Greece. Puerto Rico. Student loans. Mortgages.

The forces of debt are reshaping the world, creating dislocations and crises on a regular basis. And yet, few of us really understand how debt works.

….

If a mortgage is overdue, is it better to kick people out of the house and watch the neighborhood descend into rubble?

If 10 million Americans are overwhelmed with student debt they can’t repay, what should we do then? – Seth Godin excerpt    ( Seth references Debt, by David Graeber)

Quit

I Can't Quit You Baby
I Can’t Quit You Baby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Quit – over thinking. Quit – trying to make it work. Quit – wishing, thinking, pushing, willing, trying so hard, all of those things that make you seem like a fish flopping on the shoreline, out of his comfort zone, out of his life zone. That’s not you. We all do this. We act like we’re afraid. We act like that poor fish, gasping for air. We are not desperate. We might be afraid, but we aren’t desperate.

I have so many questions sometimes when I try new things. I start with, I’m ready. I’m excited. I crouch down like the jumper at a sporting event and I’m ready to take off, but then the questions start. How much pressure do I need to push-off? Do I land on one foot or both? Do I dig in with my toes? You get the idea. So many questions that I start doubting if I can do it or if any of it can happen. Can I really make it work? Am I just daydreaming?  We all go through this struggle. We worry. We fight the fear, then we fight the desire by telling ourselves, ‘Well, I don’t want it anyway.’ We try to shut the emotions down because they can be so raw. The open heart can feel so exposed.

I was sitting down with a guy I see regularly and without telling him anything he starts saying things such as, you know you can’t be happy unless you’re with someone who meets your needs. You have to have someone that lets you have room. In essence, it was all the things I’ve been mulling over in my head. Was he reading my mind? Sometimes I wonder. Is the world around me really just a hologram of my own making as the new-agers say? Matrix overload. Tilt. Tilt. Beep. Beep.

I’m afraid. I’m in the open, but I know I’m not alone here. I just have to wait. I did that thing I do so often, I got here early. I got over excited. How did I say that before? You can read that post here:  Overeager.

Here are a few items I ran into in the process of writing this blog. I love how when you start pulling strings, the blanket starts coming towards you.

The Wiggle Theory – by Buster Benson on The Medium
The Upside of Quitting: A Freakonomics Radio Rebroadcast

We Need to be Lost to Find Ourselves – YOUTUBE

What If – Repost

If I could ask you to do one thing, I would ask you to watch, Living On One Dollar. It’s available on Netflix and goes well with this post.  And now for the re-post–

What If

What if we changed our culture? What if we no longer applauded great wealth at any cost? What if we applauded generosity, compassion, and forgiveness? Yes, it’s easy for me to say these things since I’m not wealthy, but I’m not alone in saying them.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we’ve built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes. – Seth Godin in review of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book.

http://www.squidoo.com/david-and-goliath-malcolm-gladwell-s-tour-de-force

From ABC news –

Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project
Hugh Evans presenting the Global Poverty Project (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the age of 14, Hugh Evans spent a night with cockroaches crawling all over him. That experience turned out to be life-changing for Evans, now 30. Far removed from his comfortable home in Australia, he traveled to the Philippines with an aid organization that set him up with a host family. Their home was in Smokey Mountain, a teeming slum in Manila. A boy in the family, Sonny Boy, was the same age as Evans. The disparity between their lives struck him hard. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2013/05/could-you-live-on-a-dollar-a-day/

In some circles we have improved. But there are enough sub-pockets in our culture that keep the generosity movement bogged down. We are a generous nation and so are people all over the world. You can see groups which care about cleaning up oil spills, those concerned about animal endangerment, and many are helping provide clean water for those in need. But we need to start at the bottom, at the base of society. Our desires. Our ambitions. Our vision of ourselves. There is a level of crud and corrosion that we must clean or we will all drown. We envy and want great wealth because we are afraid. I am afraid. If I don’t get that job, that bonus, that raise, that particular car, I’m afraid I will starve. I will perish. I will not exist anymore. I feel jealous, unloved and abandoned. Over an iPhone that I didn’t get. It’s ridiculous. My whole mindset needs rearranged. I live in a rich country. So rich that I have never missed a meal because of lack. Others around me live the same and yet we feel poor because we don’t have cable television. Or internet. Or whatever latest gadget that someone else has.

There’s an experiment going on all across the world now, or I should say it’s a conversation. It’s called by a variety of names, but in essence it’s living at the poverty level for days or months, voluntarily.

The next post in the continuing frugal gastronomy series features a pair of schoolteacher-writers who gave themselves the toughest of all restrictions: All their food had to cost no more than $1 per day per person. Amazingly, if they invited guests over to eat, the guests’ food had to be covered by the $1 allotment. You’d have to really like the guest, I suppose.

Once again, I’ll repeat: Eating on a budget is not a contest; it’s a conversation.

Read more: http://business.time.com/2009/08/18/how-to-eat-on-a-dollar-a-day/

And the most famous instance is probably Ben Affleck and his challenge from April 29 through May 3, 2013.  Could you eat for $1.50 a day?

The challenge is simple: Agree to spend no more than $1.50 on your daily grub from April 29 to May 3. That figure represents “the accepted global figure used to define extreme poverty,” according to The Global Poverty Project, which created the challenge. – Live Below The Line

Some advice from Joe Vigil:

  • Practice abundance by giving back
  • Improve personal relationships
  • Show integrity to your value system
  • Eat like a poor person

What can you do?

Get involved.

To help other countries:

  • Micro financing – KIVA.org or others like it.
  • Help with clean water Charitywater.org

Help your local homeless shelter or food pantry. If you don’t know if one exists in your town call your town council or a YMCA.

Help to change attitudes one person at a time. Start small. Show them how changing one life makes a difference. Immigrants and the homeless aren’t nameless or faceless. They are people. They are you and me. They hurt. They dream. They cry. They smile.

 

It’s the Most Charity Time of the Year

English: child enjoying clean and safe drinkin...
child enjoying clean and safe drinking water from a newly built well, funded by charity: water

It’s that time of the year again. Just like last year, I wanted to share with you a couple of my favorite charities. Here’s a link to last year’s, What Color Are Your Towels?

I hope that this has been a good year for you and that you are able to give. If not, then take care of yourself and your own. There’s nothing wrong with that. In the lean years, that’s how we do things. But in those other times, when we’ve planted our garden and have tomatoes “growing out our ears” we make big batches of salsa and give it away. I’ve donated so far this year to Charity:Water and Kiva.org, which is really a loan that is repaid, but I redistribute the funds.

I was fortunate to get involved with TheThinkingAtheists event which looks like it might still be open. I would love to see this fully funded.

Keurig has offered to match donations to Charity Water for the building of freshwater wells in third-world nations.  In the past, The Thinking Atheist community has funded two wells in Ethiopia, and we consider this a worthy endeavor.  Click here for info and to help reach the $20,000 goal. https://my.charitywater.org/compassion-for-clean-water

If you’d like to get someone a gift that also works as a charity donation, check out some of the stores for your favorite charities. Some of the items are so cute. I want these pins,

 

 

 

Below is a short piece by Seth Godin and he lists a few of his favorite charities at the bottom. Please feel free to add some of your own in the comments.

Babies and bathwater – Seth Godin

I got a call yesterday from a charity.

Actually, I got an unsolicited spam pitch from one of the worst charities in America. They give less than 1% of what they raise to the cause in question.

Therefore, some might say, it makes no sense to give to anyone, ever.

Which would be a shame, because it’s a mistake to fail to do the hard work of discerning the good from the deceptive.

The thing is, everything worth doing is done to excess, poorly, immorally, inefficiently, by someone. But that doesn’t change the fact that the very same thing done right is worth doing…….The right charity changes the world, just as it changes us when we engage with it.

[Charities I’m donating to today: Acumen, Room to Read, charity: water, DoSomething, Possible Health, Afya, Build On and Pencils of Promise.]

 

Please be Kind, I’m Trying

The "surprise kiss" scene required m...
The “surprise kiss” scene required much trial and error from the actors

I started a new medicine this last week. Ugh. The brakes screeched. The emergency brake slammed on also. I went from running to walking to nothing. I felt like death. I’ve had migraines my entire life but, they’ve been worse lately. I thought I’d take a bit of action, and so, I researched. It’s what I do best.

Most medications have trial periods. One week isn’t enough time to know if they are helping, and then there’s a whole soup of chemicals in a human body already that a medication is mixing with. Each person is different. So, I’m giving it time. These last few weeks may have not been the best weeks. I may have picked a better time, maybe. Holidays, appliance deliveries, and work backlogs. I don’t know. But is there ever a good week? I’m not complaining. I’m thankful to have medication to take and time to try and try again. If it doesn’t work, I’ll move on to something else.

How do you handle new experiences? Trial and error? Try once? Never try?

Just remember kindness this week to those around you. They may be like me, trying something new. Putting a strange concoction in their body, thinking it will cure them or at least help. Maybe you can put a smile on their face today for me. Share something nice with them. Also, be kind to yourself for the same reason.

But no one is asking you to be original. We’re asking you to be generous and brave and to matter. – Seth Godin Of Course it’s been done before

 

All the Way to the Top, Baby!

If the team doesn’t make it to the top, who do we blame? The guy who gave up at the beginning? Not usually. The human link in the chain that just didn’t try? Boys will be boys. Play on player. You certainly can’t fault the one who lasted the longest, claws dug in deep into the dirt of the mountainside. If one person would’ve saved the team, she would have, but that’s just the problem. It takes more than one. It takes everyone to make a marriage. It takes everyone to build a family. It takes more than one to win a game and more than one to strike up a tune. So if you’re going to play with the big girls, if you want to wear the big pants, play your heart out and play for keeps. Because girls that make it to the top of the mountain, break a few nails, but they are strong.

Here is a short follow up to: The Passion of Hate and Love

Gears, cogs, pistons, they each have their job. If one malfunctions, you don’t blame the other for the whole machine’s malfunction. When a marriage crumbles, it’s never one person’s fault. I’ve carried around a feeling of failure for years that I realize is wrong. I’m pretty pissed about it now. I know I didn’t fail. I was the unfortunate owner of the hot potato and my ex was the absent person and the only other player in the game to toss the potato to. I hope you feel the helplessness in that. I felt his absence for years. I felt I was the muted voice yelling at the top of my lungs to a deaf man who seemed not to care or didn’t want to carry any responsibility. And I did the hardest thing I could possibly do. I left. There was no more pretty in my pretty please. I couldn’t try harder. I couldn’t try anymore. I was empty inside. I loved that man with all that I had, and it was gone. Somehow, we didn’t match. All of my young years, I had been told, marry a Christian. Marry the man God sends to you. Marry a man your parents approve of. Check. Check. Check. And I was madly in love. What could go wrong? We did the right things. We waited to get married. We had the church wedding. God was surely smiling on us. Delirium. Delusion. Once Upon A Time, Oh wait, wrong bedtime story. I woke up. And I am alive and well.

Massive-Success-Frank-Sinatra-Best-Revenge-Picture-Quotes

The tiny cost of failure

…is dwarfed by the huge cost of not trying.

This is news, a state of affairs due to the significant value of connection, to the power of ideas that spread and to the low cost of production.

Delighting a few with an idea worth spreading is more valuable than ever before. – Seth Goddin

To truly fail, is to not get up.

If you fall, get up. Stand. Try one more time. Laugh again. Or cry. Turn on some Phil Collins or some other good music and enjoy the day. I’m taking song suggestions by the way. I’d like to have yours. Comment at the top of the blog. I have Phil’s song stuck in my head, “I can feel it coming in the air tonight…” and now so do you.

Introvert Malfunctioning

Do the thing that scares you, that’s the advice I’ve read over and over. And I, the introvert, have believed the mantra. I believed the mantra because as an introvert I function backwards in society. I push myself  to take more action than I am comfortable with.

I remember when my mom, who is an extrovert, constantly reminded me to say thank you and please, like most parents do. It was difficult at that time to get the words to come out of my mouth. I’d watch my older brother and think, he always says thank you; why is it so difficult for me? So in my mind, Difficult = Correct.

Somewhere in my 40’s my brain wiring malfunctioned. And it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’ve delicately reassembled my interfacing, attaching wires in my head to where I think they should be connected. And guess what, I’m still an introvert. I’m an introvert who has learned to respond as an extrovert to society, but with all the fear and discomfort of being an introvert.

Being an introvert is not a malfunction. I must reconsider all of my earlier beliefs and this is one of them, do the thing that scares you. I get it. I know what they’re saying. It’s a quick way of pinpointing what you really want. But sometimes it’s okay to not do that thing. It’s okay to step back and decide, is it necessary to do this? Because sometimes, Correct = Not difficult.

Taking the plunge

Maybe that’s the problem.

Perhaps it’s better to commit to wading instead.

Ship, sure. Not the giant life-changing, risk-it-all-venture, but the small.

When you do a small thing, when you finish it, polish it, put it into the world, you’ve made something. You’ve committed and you’ve finished.

And then you can do it again, but louder. And larger.

It’s easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all.

Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin. – Seth Godin

Wannabes and Discouragement

The problem with critiquing is in the measuring. When is it good? When has it passed good and into great? How do you know you’re improving? Enough? If I apply more effort will it help or hurt? With physical exertion, you know almost immediately when you’ve gone too far. Pain. Sharp. Sudden. Stop. That’s your feedback.

The only true measure of whether a piece of writing is any good is the impact it has on its intended audience.

Did it engage them? Did it move them? Did it change them?

All other questions are irrelevant.

Of course, this creates a problem for serious writers like you who want to hone their skills. Because by the time you publish your work and learn your audience’s reaction, it’s too late to make any changes.

And if your writing isn’t connecting with your audience, the most common reaction is no reaction at all:

  • No comments on your latest blog post.
  • No emails praising (or damning) your bold manifesto.
  • No reviews of your latest Kindle novel.

So where does that leave you? How do you get good? How do you know if it’s even possible? – 3 Habits Separate Good Writers Tragic Wannabes

The problem I have with the above excerpt, is the assumption that if you are really good, you’ll get noticed. And tons of accolades. But I have read poems and novels that are pieces of crap and there are plenty of comments. Has anyone out there read 50 Shades of Gray? It’s becoming a movie. The story line is cheesy and it was originally intended as a Twilight fan fiction. The media attention this book received was unreal, but it remains a poorly written book (not good, not great)

No comments

Which brings me to my point, I’ve read a lot of great, exceptional, and life changing blogs that I never comment on. Some have no obvious place for comments, see Seth’s blog And even some that do see receive only a few comments at best. Mostly (not always) the blogs I see with comments are encouraging a new writer to continue writing or comments shooting down what the blogger stated. You can’t write for comments and prizes. You write because it feels good, just as in running. I write because I must write. I must express myself. I need my voice heard. I feel like this lady: You Don’t Have to be Napoleon to Change the World.

It’s possible I took this article in the wrong light. I admit I can be a bit touchy sometimes, but if you don’t meet the criteria in his bullet list does that make you a wannabe? Or maybe it’s just my definition of Wannabe.  You tell me, am I being touchy, or is it insulting?

 

Barriers

There are so many walls, closed doors and iron bars in my mental picture that understanding life can sometimes be difficult. I’ve spent the last 10 plus years unlearning religion and yet I find so much of its cages still there. If I could find proof in a god or even if there was no god it would seem easier. But yet in the old behavioral science experiments the opposite is the case. In spite of the door being opened the animals still had difficulty leaving.

Is there a reason for the friction?

If you want to visit DisneyWorld, you’ll need to buy a ticket and wait in line.

If you want to see the full moon, you can go outside and look up in the sky.

Often, we’re tempted to create friction, barriers and turnstiles. We try to limit access, require a login, charge a fee… sometimes, that’s because we want control, other times we believe we can accomplish more by collecting money. Clearly, people value the moments that they spend at Disney–with hundreds of dollars on the line and just a few hours to spend, there’s an urgency and the feeling of an event occurring. – Seth Godin

When I can, I don’t make life so difficult. If I see a need and I can help, I help. God doesn’t need to be consulted or any religion. If I need money, I work. If I can make money at what I love doing, then great, otherwise I’ll do what someone else will pay me to do. I’m not going to sit around and worry because I’m not making money by being impressive. I want to just live my life without difficulty.