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How you perceive the different aspects of your life will have a massive impact on how much enthusiasm you bring to each of them.
If you see things as an unfortunate duty, you will dread doing them, avoid them and probably not do a very good job of them.
Conversely, if you see your activities as a privilege and an opportunity to do your best work, you will have more passion, more energy and become much more effective.
It’s the difference between feeling as though you have to so something, or feeling as though you get to do something.
So let me ask you:
This week, we lost a truly remarkable woman.
Maya Angelou was a wonderful poet, writer, activist and singer. Her singing and speaking voice had such richness and she shared such wisdom that I could listen to her for hours.
She didn’t have an easy upbringing, but over her 86 years, Maya was able to forgive, love and create wonderful art. And while she did so, she encouraged us all to forgive, love and create wonderful art as well.
When I read her writing, I feel incredibly inadequate as a writer, but her charming, wise words continue to inspire me to get better at my craft and here are a few of my favourite quotes from this brilliant and extraordinarily talented woman: Read the rest of this entry »
It’s easy to come up with excuses for not charging after your dreams now.
- I’ll wait until the kids are older.
- The economy needs to stabilise first.
- I’m not ready yet.
- I don’t need to start now, I’ve still got time on my side.
- I need to be more sure about the future.
- It’s not the right time.
These excuses have a nasty habit of going from temporary reasons to permanent obstacles and I’m here to tell you that now is the time. Read the rest of this entry »
Seinfeld is my all-time favourite TV show and the tales of Jerry Seinfeld’s work ethic are legendary.
Many years ago, a young comedian asked Jerry if he had any tips for him:
His response was that the way to be a better comic was to create better jokes and the way to create better jokes was to write every day.
Jerry told him to get a big wall calendar that has a whole year on one page and hang it on a prominent wall. The next step was to get a big red magic marker. He said for each day that he sits down to write he gets to put a big red X over that day.
“After a few days you’ll have a chain. Just keep at it and the chain will grow longer every day. You’ll like seeing that chain, especially when you get a few weeks under your belt. Your only job is to not break the chain.” Read the rest of this entry »
Writer and blogger Seth Godin once said, “You will be judged or you will be ignored.”
If you want to do something remarkable with your life, you can almost guarantee that there will be people who will judge you.
They will criticise you and question you.
They will tell you what you need to do better.
They will call you crazy, loopy, a heretic.
They will sit in the cheap seats and insult you.
Alternatively, you could do nothing.
I’m a sucker for a great commencement speech and was delighted when I stumbled across this speech given by U.S. Navy Admiral Bill McRaven to his alma mater, the University of Texas.
He spoke about a range of great principles, including the necessity of making your bed each day (I’ll be sharing this with my kids), judging others by the size of their heart, the value of hard work and never giving up, but it was this story from his Navy SEAL training many years ago that I wanted to share with you.
The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.” It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and — one special day at the Mud Flats — the Mud Flats are area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue’s — a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.
It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.
As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud. Read the rest of this entry »
Every now and then, I meet seemingly ordinary people who are doing genuinely amazing things with their lives.
This week, I had the privilege of meeting Natalie and Warwick, the sister and brother-in-law of a good friend of mine. I had heard a lot about them and it was terrific to meet them for the first time and hear their story in person.
After studying agriculture in a nice Melbourne university, Natalie and Warwick weren’t sure about what to do with their lives.
After trying a few things, they felt called and compelled to go to the African nation of Niger.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world. 80% of the land is desert and it has the highest birth rate in the world.
The country has been ravaged by poor land management for generations and these guys have been able to utilise their training and expertise to teach local people more sustainable farming techniques, better ways of looking after the land and how to re-forest areas to claim back the desert.
When things get difficult… I will press on.
When I see the achievements of others and feel insignificant in comparison… I will press on.
When I am confronted with obstacles that seem too big to overcome… I will press on.
When the voices of the critics drown out the voices of the supporters… I will press on.
On the days when my faith is weak and all hope seems lost… I will press on.
During the periods when the future seems foggy and progress is slow… I will press on.
A couple of weeks ago, my oldest son, 9 year-old Hayden, came home from school and told me about his friend Katie’s blog.
“She’s had over 1000 views Dad,” he said, very impressed. “Can I start my own blog?”
Hayden knows all about this site, but it was the first time that he had talked about having his own.
“What would you want to write about?” I asked him and we had a chat about a few options.
Eventually, Hayden decided on an animal blog, where he could describe 5 interesting facts about a particular species so that he could help school kids to learn about animals.
That Friday night, we set up a new WordPress blog for him and Hayden’s Animal Facts was born.
He has posted four times now and is off and running, but as we went through the process of starting his blog, I couldn’t help but think about some of the important issues of a child blogging, so here are a few of the considerations that I had: Read the rest of this entry »
Karen and I were working in the garden a few weekends ago when my oldest son Hayden said, “I’m glad that I’m not a tree. You can’t move anywhere and the view is always the same.”
It was a very profound statement for a 9 year-old.
Here’s the thing. You’re not a tree!
If you don’t like your current situation, make a change.
If you don’t like your current job, get a different one.