Tag: Wisdom

5 Ways to Get a Fresh Start in 2018

brooke-lark fruits via unsplash

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Yes here is yet another post in the “X ways to do X that are so simple that you must be a moron if you’re not doing them already” genre. Only these aren’t insights from your typical productivity gurus.

Five of my favorite ideas for starting fresh:

Opportunities multiply as they are seized. — Sun Tzu

[From Dr. Gabriel Robbins’ Good Quotations by Famous People – an awesome curated group of quotes]

I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copybooks; and I make so many beginnings there never will be an end. (Jo March)
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

[From Good Reads]

I know people who grow old and bitter. I want to keep making a fresh start. I don’t want them to defeat me. That would be suicidal. — Robert Wyatt

[From Brainy Quotes]

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call Failure is not the falling down, but the staying down. — Mary Pickford

[From Quoteland]

…to emphasize the afterlife is to deny life. To concentrate on Heaven is to create hell. In their desperate longing to transcend the disorderliness, friction, and unpredictability that pesters life; in their desire for a fresh start in a tidy habitat, germ-free and secured by angels, religious multitudes are gambling the only life they may ever have on a dark horse in a race that has no finish line. — Tom Robbins

[From The Quotations Page]

Starting Over with a Clean Sheet: A Meditation on Wholeness

clean sheet of paper

A clean sheet of paper contains the set of all possibilities. The blank page can become a picture, a story, a poem. Anything that can be imagined can be represented on this blank sheet of paper.

Because there are no limits to the possibilities that can be contained on a single sheet of paper, this page is a good metaphor for the Whole. You can think of the Whole as that which contains all other things in the Universe.

Without getting too philosophical about it I find it interesting and helpful from time to time to imagine an empty sheet of paper and empty the contents of my thoughts onto this imaginary paper. Let’s say that I want to make a sandwich but I’ve run out of bread and I don’t want to go to the store.

I consider this situation – imagining it written or drawn or otherwise represented on my blank sheet of paper. For instance I might imagine the empty space in the fridge where the bread should be or I might picture the store where more bread can be found. Then I ask myself *what else is there?* I might picture a can of soup. If I’m thinking about the store I might picture a park near the store. If I ask again *what else is there?* I might think of last night’s leftover lasagna or fountain near the park that I’ve been wanting to sketch.

Suddenly, by expanding my understanding of what was previously on my mind – the lack of bread with which to make a sandwich – I suddenly have a new range of possibilities. While I really didn’t want to make a trip to the store I do kind of want to go the park and sketch that fountain, so why not pick up some bread on the way home?

In this way a clean sheet of paper can help me take a broader view of life by helping me to think about Wholeness.

Forget Quinoa and Kale – 2015’s Superfood Should Be the Pickle

You’ve heard (ad nauseam no doubt) about the health-giving benefits of garlic. Hot tip: it’s all about the allicin.

For the record, garlic is said to:

  • Fight harmful bacteria
  • Ward off viruses
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve cholesterol
  • Prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Boost athletic performance
  • Remove heavy metal from the body (sadly not from the neighbor’s stereo)
  • Fight off osteoporosis

You may also be vaguely aware that apple cider vinegar is supposed to have near-magical healing properties including:

  • Weight loss
  • The ability to moderate blood sugar (especially in pre-diabetic persons)
  • Improving digestion
  • Clearing up sinus problems
  • Curing dadruff
  • Eliminating acne
  • Whitening teeth (or possibly eliminating teeth altogether)

But you may be less aware of the proven bacteria-fighting effects of the lowly cucumber. Among other things, cucumbers are said to:

  • Heal sunburn
  • Remove toxins
  • Repair skin, hair and nail damage
  • Reduce muscle and joint pain
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Ward off diabetes

All that said, what’s all the fuss about kale and quinoa? Pickles have to be packing at least three times the punch of these supposed superfoods. In fact I don’t know why you’d have to eat anything else at all – except maybe bacon now and then. So why don’t we kinda all get together and agree that the pickle is the superfood for 2015?

Everything You Need to Know about Success Is in the Hunger Games

What does it take to become a huge success? Apparently it takes a whole lot of work – and not just any kind of work, but the tough work of self-examination. To put a finer point on it, it takes something called Double Loop Learning.

Most of us probably think of the path to success in the terms of “try, try again.” Think of an archer facing a target, shooting, falling short of the bulls-eye, making an adjustment and shooting again. This is what Chris Argyris identified “single loop learning,” a simple servomechanism approach to fixing what ain’t working.

The second loop adds a lot of complexity. Here you must explore your values, assumptions and your blind spots.

This is where The Hunger Games comes in. If heroine Katniss approached the gladiator-style teen-on-teen combat using single loop learning she would have used a pretty simple decision block:


Fortunately Katniss goes for the double loop. The assumption behind the Hunger Games is that only one combatant could emerge as the winner. But if you have to sacrifice your core values to survive, are you really a winner? Maybe there are no winners. Or maybe the State is the only winner. Read the book, it will all make more sense.

And if you want to get ahead, go back and question everything.

[Via Swiss Miss]

Hone Your Knife Skills

Rules for a Knife Fight

There are no rules in a knife fight

Recently I tried cutting a crusty baguette with a sharp, serrated bread knife. Instead of placing the bread on a cutting board like a reasonable person, I simply held the loaf in one hand and the knife in the other while thinking “this is a bad idea.” Which it was. Ouch.

Make: Online has a great set of tips for using and maintaining knives in your kitchen, including tips for using a sharpening steel, that metal rod that you so often see coyotes and wolves using as they prepare a helpless bunny for dinner.

What’s the Big Idea Behind TEDxConejo?

TED Notes by Nina Khosla

Buckminster Fuller believed that power and potential came from opposing forces. Fuller’s geodesic dome, an enclosed space with no need for interior supports, made use of this principle. But Fuller felt that the clash of opposites could do much more than keep buildings aloft. He saw in these forces the potential to end world hunger.

And so it is with TED. The annual Technology, Entertainment, Design conference bills itself as a symposium on “Ideas Worth Spreading.” And yet attendance at TED is either by application or invitation. TED talks are now shared freely with the world on the TED website. The TED experience, on the other hand is very exclusive. Opposing ideas these – exclusivity coupled with the idea of being all-inclusive.

TEDxConejo is an independently organized event in the pattern of the “Big TED” conference. The aim is to bring the TED experience to people like you and me. Well, people like me anyway. There is an application process in order to get tickets. The conference theme is “What’s the Big Idea?” and sessions will be grouped around the themes “Thinking,” “Doing,” and “Seeing.”

The first announcement of thinkers, doers and seers include the executive editor of Wired Magazine, Thomas Goetz who looks to be all of twelve years old. On his heels is Scott Patterson, Ph.D. head of Medical Sciences at Amgen Inc. Finally there is a seer, Mark Robert Waldman author of How God Changes Your Brain.

What I’m really excited about however, is not the talks – although anything that can inspire such fervent note-taking as in the example above must be truly inspiring (I wonder if Nina is aware that her notes bear an eery resemblance to the work of Dan O’Neill?)…no. What I’m excited about is the possibility of connecting with people who are focused on work that matters. More than 50% of the seats at TEDxConejo will be set aside for students and educators. The rest will presumably be filled with local doers, thinkers and visionaries. I really hope this event will touch off some vibrant conversation space, meet-ups and hot tubs for the brain on a local level.

I’ll be there, doing what I can. As my friend Howard Rheingold says, What It Is–>Is Up to Us.

Following Your Happy Trail

Something happened earlier this month and I lost my will to live. Just reached a point where everything seems pointless.

A lot of this is because of my job. Much of my effort is going into stuff that I am very qualified to handle, I’m arguably the most qualified and knowledgeable person in the organization regarding this stuff. But the work that I’m doing right now is really low in my skill set. And it’s killing me.

I hit the my emotional floor on Wednesday night. I started contemplating a career change that involved buying a gallon of Frontier Whiskey and becoming a professional alcoholic. Worked for Bukowski, why wouldn’t it work for me?

That night I had a cascade of dreams in which I was personally invited (in one case with a wax-paper replica of the Declaration of Independence arranged in the style of Mad-Libs) to participate in challenging projects that involved creativity and problem-solving. I woke up to the damn itching dog, took her downstairs to bathe her (and myself) in flea poison and had the epiphany that I should Google a systems approach to happiness. After all, when you feel like you’ve been spinning in an eddy for some time it’s a pretty good indication that there’s feedback process going on, perhaps a balancing loop.

This is all just a long way to say that I stumbled across something new to try – Finding Your Signature Strength. Actually this is something that I already know, and have worked on for some time. But I haven’t followed an organized approach. One idea, a miracle cure for depression apparently, is to take your top signature strength and use it in a new way.

This seems a bit vague – use your signature strength in a new way…when? How often? For how long? Well, seeing that my signature strength turns out to be “Creativity, Ingenuity, Originality” (you can take your own test here) I suppose I can make my own answers.

I’ll let you know how it goes.