Saturday, June 23, 2012

Teasing the Positive

Amplify the positive outliersThe most efficient way to get the behavior you're looking for is to find positive deviants and give them a platform, a microphone and public praise. Seth Godin

I really hate the ‘change your attitude, change your life’ thoughts and quotes and junk. Really hate them. For me it just smacks too much of just ignoring the bad stuff and forcing life to be good. 

Godin's thoughts somehow over come that for me. 

Because they also speak of the good coming from outside of one self, good that one doesn’t have to create, just good that one needs tease in to taking center stage. 

Because sometimes there’s really not a lot of good going on inside no matter how hard one tries.

And because sometimes persistent teasing is the only thing one is capable of doing reliably. 

Now if only I can stay on target with my amplifications and teasing . . .


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Good Godin!

Recently my niece introduced me to Seth Godin’s blog. I’ve read his books, Tribes and Stop Stealing Dreams, and I’m loving his blog. He’s like a modern day Emerson. Here’s a few of his recent posts and my comments:
Note for note 
I'm listening to an obscure CD of the Silver Beats , a group of four Japanese lads who play note for note renditions of Beatles songs. They don't speak a word of English. And yet they sing beautifully. 
I saw them as an opening act a few years ago, and the novelty was extraordinary. 
The thing is, I don't want to see them again. Why would I? It's note for note. No chance for random rhapsodic moments. No chance for total disaster. 
Part of the magic of our work is that it's not guaranteed. As soon as it is, we can digitize it or mechanize it or outsource it.

So not being a guaranteed happy mom is just job security??

Amplify the positive outliers 
The most efficient way to get the behavior you're looking for is to find positive deviants and give them a platform, a microphone and public praise. 
The tribe is hyper-aware of what's being celebrated, and when you celebrate those that are moving in the right direction, you create a powerful push in that direction. It's tempting to spend your time extinguishing bad behaviors, but in fact, spreading the word about the superstars is far more likely to change the culture of your market.
AND another reason not to wallow in what I’m doing wrong or what others are doing are or what is just wrong. Seems I need lots of reminders about this, and I’m grateful God continues to tell me in new ways.

"I don't even know what I'm afraid of" 
This is the fear that kills brands and b2b sales and individual creativity. It's the fear without a name, without a face, without false facts that can be shot down or arguments that can be reasoned with. 
This is the amygdala firing, the lizard brain being triggered without rational explanation. 
When we are wrestling against the elusive and resilient fear with no name, often the only choice is to live with it, to care enough about forward motion and practical progress that we can come embrace the inner trembling that won't give up. 
In market after market paralyzed with fear, this trembling might be the very best sign that you're on to something.
I’m struggling with fears concerning several issues in my life. Godin gives me understanding and tools here to keep moving.

Compared to magical 
The easiest way to sell yourself short is to compare your work to the competition. To say that you are 5% cheaper or have one or two features that stand out--this is a formula for slightly better mediocrity. 
The goal ought to be to compare yourself not to the best your peers or the competition has managed to get through a committee or down on paper, but to an unattainable, magical unicorn. 
Compared to that, how are you doing?
This reminds me of a previous blog post about seeing goals as Stars rather than Sticks. I’m praying for ways to have a vision of Stars so that I can keep moving with some of my cherished goals.

Check out his blog! You just might be inspired too!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Weeding in Wisdom & Order

Yesterday Rob left for another business trip on an overnight sleeper and will get home Friday morning. I was really, really worn out, and his leaving was really hard. As much as I prayed and worked to stay on top of things, I finally sent the kids to bed early and retreated to my bedroom. I did a little Chinese study and then watched a movie. I went to bed still choking in my frustrations. 

Emails to and from dear friends helped, and this morning I read Alma 6 about establishing order in the church. They wrote off the prideful and welcomed the repentant. Then they sought to preach the Gospel to ALL and prayed continually for those who knew not God. As I read I wondered in awe at God’s ability to order His church for our best growth. And I also wondered if that pattern could apply to how I bring order to those desires I was nurturing in my life. 

It did. I found great relief in weeding out desires currently based on pride and welcoming in desires that met my goals to best serve my family and not run faster than was needful (Mosiah 4:27). I can still pray for the right opportunity to meet the desires that had previously been based on pride. The main activity I weeded was a simple activity really, but one that, given my current situation, can only be met if I put pride first. Right now prayer really is the best way to meet the need I was pridefully trying to meet at the wrong time and in the wrong way. And God answered another prayer, that of easing my burden even in the midst of other struggles we are facing as a family (Mosiah 24:13-15 and hopefully soon 16).

Sigh. Such a sweet miraculous peace that comes from a truly wonderful and loving Father in Heaven. If you have desires that need weeding and feel so inspired, try following the pattern found in Alma 6!


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Imaginary Book Club: Walking Drum

I miss reading books with my home school friends. I have a book club here in China, but it's not the same, and of course nothing can compare to the legendary HAPE Group. Anyway, my antidote to this current lack is to share my random thoughts here about the book I just finished reading and writing about.

What is it about some stories that feel soo beyond normal, and yet connect they so profoundly with life? Maybe it takes a story that is beyond normal to pull normal out of it's doldrums into something more profound.

Mathurin Kerbouchard reminds me of Thoreau, though partly because a friend just told of finishing Walden. He has great insights, but so many of his life goals are so different from mine . . . And yet so much the same.

Here's some quotes I really liked. I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of these:

"To get my money back would not be enough. They had taken months of my life, and for this they would pay. For who is content to get only his capital back from an investment? There must be profit also." (Kindle Locations 641-643) This idea that anything we don't like can be an investment has been enlightening and empowering to me in helping me overcome some really dumb habits.

Another way to know someone by their fruits: “You have made a powerful enemy, but a man may be judged by who his enemies are, and their power.” (Kindle Locations 1694-1695)

“Trust your instincts. Life teaches us much of which we are not aware. Our senses perceive things that do not impinge upon our awareness, but they lie dormant within us and affect our recognition of people and conditions. But you must be patient. In impatience there is danger." (Kindle Locations 1734-1735) This quote reminds me of Market-Based Education and makes me wonder what the implications are for teachers.

"stop nowhere without finding a way out, a means of escape." (Kindle Location 1899) I've pondered this one a great deal as well in my daily life.

“Explorers and discoverers are often those who draw attention to what simple people have been doing for years. I doubt if any land has ever been found where some hunter, fisherman, or trader had not been before.” (Kindle Locations 3016-3017) So it's really the simple people who lead out and the explorers and discoverers just follow them. I wonder what the simple people are discovering today?

“I dare say anything,” I replied more cheerfully, “because I have a fast horse." (Kindle Location 4372) Just a really great quotable quote.

"Civilization was born of curiosity, and can be kept alive in no other way." (Kindle Locations 4473-4474) There are so many great quotes about learning in this book. I can't cite them all.

"There is no cause worth dying for that is not better served by living." (Kindle Location 4533) I agree with this quote IF what we are dying for dies also. Otherwise, I disagree. If we die that something else can live, then it is worth dying. What that 'something' may be, which could be a variety of things only God understands.

"the spirit of inquiry was alive here, and where it has a free existence, ignorance cannot last." (Kindle Locations 4544-4545) All learning begins in freedom and with questions.

"How much could I tell them? How much dared I tell them? What was the point at which acceptance would begin to yield to doubt? For the mind must be prepared for knowledge as one prepares a field for planting, and a discovery made too soon is no better than a discovery not made at all." (Kindle Locations 4553-4555) This appears to be one of the most crucial questions a teacher should ask themselves.

“Study, Julot, gain prestige, and people will ask you solemnly for advice about things of which you know nothing.” (Kindle Locations 4659-4660) My internal cynic loves this one.

“That drum has been our pulse, and often have I wondered what it is that starts the drum of a man’s life to beating? For each of us walks to the beat of our own drum, an unheard rhythm to all our movements and thought." (Kindle Locations 5748-5750) This begs the question of 'What drum am I walking to???'

"EVIL COMES OFTEN to a man with money; tyranny comes surely to him without it." (Kindle Location 6150) I wonder if there are other things that keeps a man from tyranny besides just money? This entire book is about how learning can keep tyranny at bay.

“There are always the shores beyond, for this have the gods given to men: that we shall always have those farther shores, always a dream to follow, always a sea for questing. For in this only is man great, that he must seek what lies beyond the horizons, and there is an infinity of horizons that lie ever waiting. Only in seeking is man important, seeking for answers, and in the shadow he leaves upon the land.” (Kindle Locations 6273-6276) This quote epitomizes why this book drives me nuts in some says. Literally, I completely disagree with this. Figuratively, I completely agree. Nuts.

"Our lives hold a veil between anticipation and horror. Anticipation is the carrot suspended before the jackass to keep him moving forward. Horror is what he would see if he took his eyes off the carrot.” (Kindle Locations 6460-6462) AND another one for my cynic. It makes me laugh.

“The mob always wishes to make its hero the emperor, but no sooner is he emperor than they have another hero they wish in his place." (Kindle Locations 6465-6466) This reminds me of all the fads that people cling to, particularly fads from experts like what drugs are safe, how to parent, and what conspiracy theory will destroy us next.

There was once a man who preferred to visit a city before he learned the language. He believed he could better estimate its quality before hearing the comments of its citizens. He depended on what he could see, hear, and sense.” (Kindle Locations 6572-6574) AND some people get to learn this whether they want to or not. ;)

"He who would see a far land must carry the far land in his heart. The heat, dust, and struggle are a part of it; these were what made the beauties worth having." (Kindle Locations 6650-6651) This reminds me of Oliver DeMille's article, "Educational Pioneers" and Shadowlands. No joy or pain without the other, no progress without leaving something behind.

“To challenge the fates, that is living! To ride the storm, to live daringly, to live nobly, not wasting one’s life in foolish, silly risks, or ruining the brain with too much wine, or with hashish!" (Kindle Locations 7462-7463) One thing I love about this legend is that it challenges me to see my humble life, where even living in China, my biggest challenge isn't China but trusting God and being humble and loving my children and my fellow man, as a grand adventure.

"The weak can be terrible when they wish to appear strong" (Kindle Location 8003) Just a really good one to remember. We certainly see it a lot here in China.

"When one has lost his freedom it is always a long walk back." (Kindle Location 8082) Something to prepare for.

Love you, Keelee, Angela, & Deulene and all the others who joined that HAPE adventure!!


*L'Amour, Louis (2005-04-26). The Walking Drum. Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

. . . AND pressing on

In case anyone else is having trouble pressing on as I have, here's a few thoughts from my journal yesterday that might help.

I feel numb with frustration. I feel so stuck here right now… more humility is needed I suppose. I feel like I’m praying for the wrong thing. There are so many aspects of every situation. I don’t think God wants solutions to be easy. He wants us to understand the depth and nuances within each situation. Sometimes recording the details of events is so overwhelmingly tedious. I tire of facing those details each day, and I dread the discipline of rehashing them here.
            OK, and coming to church should help too.... [I was traveling to church by subway while writing this. The rest I wrote that night at home.]
            It did. Well, the opening song at Seminary Graduation finally put me over the top. Sometimes you’re just so miserable that everything just looks grey and you feel so numb and caught up in an unending cycle of hurt and confusion and frustration. That’s when you just hold on and pray until the light and the peace come. For some reason that came to me today through the hymn “Let Us All Press On” as the opening song in the graduation ceremonies. 

1.               Let us all press on in the work of the Lord, That when life is o'er we may gain a reward; In the fight for right let us wield a sword, The mighty sword of truth.
[Chorus] Fear not, though the enemy deride; Courage, for the Lord is on our side. We will heed not what the wicked may say, But the Lord alone we will obey.
2.       We will not retreat, though our numbers may be few When compared with the opposite host in view; But an unseen pow'r will aid me and you In the glorious cause of truth.
3.       If we do what's right we have no need to fear, For the Lord, our helper, will ever be near; In the days of trial his Saints he will cheer, And prosper the cause of truth.
Text and music: Evan Stephens, 1854–1930

I’m also thinking of the quote from President Hinckley that I shared last Sunday in my RS lesson:
As a Church, we encourage gospel scholarship and the search to understand all truth. Fundamental to our theology is belief in individual freedom of inquiry, thought, and expression. Constructive discussion is a privilege of every Latter-day Saint. 
But it is the greater obligation of every Latter-day Saint to move forward the work of the Lord, to strengthen His kingdom on the earth, to teach faith and build testimony in that which God has brought to pass in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. (May 2012 New Era in this month's New Era entitled,"Any Questions?" by David A Edwards)
Sometimes you just get in a funk of asking questions of yourself and feeling overwhelmed and you need help getting back in the boat and on your way and back to work. That’s what Sundays and temples and spouses and friends of the heart are all about—all working for the Father of us all. 

Thank you Sundays and temples and spouses and friends of the heart and the Father of us all! Pressing on!


Here's another quote Rob shared this morning that might also help someone else as it helped me:

“The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (1917–2008), “Come What May, andLove It,” Ensign, Nov. 2008, 28.