Monthly Archives: March 2014

Helen Keller on Playing Big

One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar  —  Helen Keller

After a particularly cold winter, I am even more excited for spring, already my favorite season. I just want to get outside more, enjoy the longer, brighter days, and escape the constriction of coats, hats and gloves. Spring is a time I feel like I’m physically soaring. There is a release after creeping along all winter — even when I’m just standing still, on a nice spring day, my body feels like it’s throwing my arms wide open and I’m jumping for joy.

Sometimes when I have a business idea or even just an idea for an article, I feel that same excited soaring, mentally and creatively. I need to tell someone. I need to type quickly to get it all down. There is an urgency, but not the stressful urgency that comes with deadlines. It’s a positive urgency, that impulse to soar.

Where are you creeping when you need to soar?

Peter Block on Living

The goal is to balance a life that works with a life that counts. —  Peter Block

Is your life working for you?

Do you feel joy enough times during the day?

Are you getting enough rest?

Do you spend time with people you love?

Does your life count?

Are you fulfilling your commitments?

Are you sharing your potential?

Are you working towards something that yields benefits outside of yourself?

Barry Beck on Blame

We have only one person to blame, and that’s each other. — Barry Beck, NY Ranger

I love quotes that make me laugh. Seriously, though, I love the nudge towards blaming other people. Yes, some people point fingers too often. But many people I know do the opposite and don’t blame enough. Yes, I just said that:  sometimes it’s ok to point fingers and blame.

I live in a Type A, frenetic city where many people are so self-starting and so determined that they internalize every tough outcome and assume they can turn anything around given enough effort. That’s a great mindset to have when it causes you to work hard, push past failure, and persist. But sometimes it helps to not assume you can fix things and look for reasons to blame so you can avoid these situations altogether – the toxic colleague who should never be trusted, the credit-hungry boss who should never get your best ideas, the energy-draining friend whose calls you should screen out.

Sometimes it’s not your fault and you don’t have to improve yourself or change what you’re doing.

Let It Ride on Luck

You’ve got to place a bet every day, otherwise you might be walking around lucky and not know it.  —  Character played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie Let It Ride 

I don’t feel like I’m a lucky person. I don’t win at raffles or the casino. But if I really itemize over my lifetime the chance opportunities that have led to something great, then I realize how lucky I really am. For example, I met my now business partner when I was a teenager, when I interned for her over 20 years ago. A chance meeting begets a business? That’s lucky. Apparently, even someone like me who doesn’t “win” in the traditional gaming sense wins other things.

Do you feel lucky? If not, how can you be sure? When was the last time you took an accounting of all the times luck played a part in your success, big and small?

Knowing that chance presents itself outside of lottery tickets and contests, be on the lookout for other forms of luck. What types of bets can you place – an email to someone you want to meet, a sharing of an idea that you have been chewing on?

For more on placing bets, I recommend the book, Little Bets by Peter Sims. Written for the business set to encourage experimental innovation, the subtitle is “How Breaktrhough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries” and this applies to personal discovery as well.