Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dreams Are Not Goals

Recently I was listening to a podcast where the guest was talking about how goals are not effective for self improvement. This idea got my full attention, for I am a goal oriented person.

The guest explained his reasoning that goals are not effective for many people share common goals and not all succeed. He said everyone has goals of being successful at what the do, but few achieve their goals. So goals are not really that useful. I see his point, but I disagree with his view of the value of having goals. Mostly because I think the two of us have a different definition of what is a goal.

What many people, including the above mentioned podcast guest define as goals, I defined as dreams. In my view dreams and goals are very, very similar. They are so similar, it is extremely easy to them one and the same. They are something we have a strong desire to accomplish or become. We want to be successful, financially secure, in good health, happy. These are all dreams people have. For me the difference between a dream and a goal is not only a plan to achieve it, but a realistic plan. The word realistic is often the true difference between a goal and a dream.

The key to achieving our goals is to clearly define what it will take to accomplish them. Turn the 'whats' that need to happen into tasks or action items. If the number of tasks required becomes overwhelming, put them into groups and tackle one group of tasks at a time. Set dates to accomplish the tasks by to keep you focused and inspired. Again being realistic is the key.

Say, for example, if your goal is to lose 30 pounds, giving yourself a month to do so might seem realistic. But do the math. Is dropping a pound a day on average something you can do? If so great. If not, maybe you should plan on taking a month and a half to loose the 30 pounds.

Even if you don't hit the individual tasks or small goals in the time frame you set, don't let that stop you. That happens way too much. Take my weight loss goal example. Say your goal was to lose 30 pounds in a month, but you lost 16 pounds. Did you really fail? 16 pounds closer to being in shape sounds a lot better than not trying at all. Loosing 16 pounds is far better than simply saying "I need to get in better shape", doing absolutely nothing about it, and considering it a "goal."  The difference between a dream and a goal is a goal has action.

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Monday, October 8, 2018

Orbiting the Giant Hairball. Expected how to, got philosophy.

I added the book to my Amazon shopping cart as soon as I got home. The book arrived the next Wednesday and after dinner I dove right in. Only to be initially disappointed.
I can’t remember where I first heard someone reciting Gordon MacKenzie’s story of asking children if they were an artist. Wherever it was, the story has stuck with me. To be honest, I’m not even sure if MacKenzies’s name was mentioned, or if I was read or heard the analogy of asking differs aged kids if they were an artist.

Gordon MacKenzie made sculptures as a hobby. A couple times a year he would talk to different grade school classes about his art. He noticed something when he interacted with the students. During his presentation, he’d ask the class if any of them were an artist. With the 1st Graders, nearly every kid would enthusiastically raise their hands. When he asked the 2nd Graders fewer would raise their hand. This trend continued with each older class. By the time he asked this question to the 6th Graders, only a few would raise their hands.

Seems self doubt and conforming to what is considered normal does away with our inner artist, and our creativity is stifled. There is a linked to a child’s restrained inner artist and the misery many feel professionally. Especially working in a corporate culture.

A week or two ago I was listening to a podcast on my commute home. The guest was talking about the struggles he’s faced trying to get through professional life in a place of work with a heavy corporate culture and he mentions the story of Gordon MacKenzie and the grade school art classes. Then he mentioned how he enjoyed MacKenzie’s book Orbiting the Giant Hairball.

Honestly I have no one to blame for my disappointment than me. I didn’t research the book past it’s mention on the podcast. I didn’t even read a single review left for it on Amazon.

My initial disappointment was based on me presuming Orbiting the Giant Hairball was going to be a “how to” style businesses self help book. It is not. But once I came to terms with what the book really is, I did enjoy it. The books is a collection of well written short stories by Gordon MacKenzie, a very creative artist who worked at Hallmark for thirty years. While I was hoping to learn some specific tactics to use in my day to day profession life, what I read were a series of entertaining and thought provoking corporate life lessons. The chapter comparing the "Pyramid" corporate structure to the "Plum Tree" structure resonated with me in particular.

The book was a quick read. I didn't put it down, learning a new bag of tricks that will help be succeed in the workplace. But I do now have a better perspective on how I can "orbit the Giant Hairball" and get more out of my professional life.

If this book sounds like something that you'd be interested in reading, follow the above Amazon link.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Social Media Detox

There’s no doubt in my mind that social media, when used in moderation, can be a great thing. One can reconnect with old friends and family across the country or around the world. With a few swipes of the thumb, one can get caught up with current events, see photos from a coworker’s vacation, and find a Keto friendly cheesecake recipe.

There’s also no doubt in my mind, so others things when not used in moderation, social media is a horrible thing. A horrible thing that can be very addictive. A habit that can not only really cut into someone’s productivity, but bog down their lives in general and strain relationships in the real world.

With the negative side of social media, it does make sense to take a planned break from it every once in a while. In the past I’ve taken small breaks for a few days to a few weeks, but never a longer duration. But know that the election cycle rhetoric is already reaching critical mass, now seems like the perfect time to “go dark” on social media. So I have.

While the first half of this post was a rough draft, on October 1st, I had already stopped checking Facebook. I didn’t plan on saying anything about me taking a break on Facebook. I was just going to fade to black and then come back sometime after the elections in November.

Then I saw this YouTube video:
The 30 Day Social Media Detox

After watching the video I shared it on Facebook, then deleted the app from my phone. It’s been a few days as I type this and I’m still alive without my social media fix.

It will be interesting to how I react to Facebook again sometime in November. Will I fall back into my habit of checking it way too often? Will I have better control and only scroll through the feed once or twice a day? Or will I spend thirty seconds in it, get overwhelmed by the noise & nonsense and delete the app from my phone? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

However my 30 day social media detox goes, I’d recommend you give it a try too. Remove the app from your phone and web browser. Keep track of how many times you habitually go an click on an app or bookmark that is no longer there throughout the course of your day. See how much more focus you have on the people and tasks that truly matter.