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phoebe practices

Labeled for Life

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: jenni from the block

I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.

— Albert Einstein

We just don’t give up.  We don’t always succeed, but we don’t give up easily.  Some people claim that this is persistence.  Others call it stubbornness.  It really doesn’t matter what you call it.  What matters is how you attempt to make progress.

When we were kids, our parents and teachers carefully watched us to see what we did well.  They were looking for our talents and once they knew what they thought they were, they pushed us in that direction.

My mother, who viewed herself as clumsy and not graceful, declared that I was Continue reading » Labeled for Life

red trail with california oaks on top of Mt Tamalpais

Sneakn’ Up on an Elusive Goal

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: tibchris
Think about a time you successfully achieved a goal… what was the path you followed? Do you know? (Really?)

There’s a clandestine operation afoot – I’m working a stealth move on an elusive goal.

Why don’t we just wait here for a little while
… see what happens…

— MacReady
Character in The Thing (1982)

As you think about the goals you’ve achieved, do you know what strategies moved you from “idea to done?” Sometimes we think it was our determination that made “it” happen – a plan that’s written down,  or our commitment, our persistence, or you name it, blah, blah, blah.  Many times, we’re right. Still, I invite you to look back on your successes and examine which strategies worked best for you.

For me, a direct assault is my best strategy. Sometimes though, I find myself starting over – over and over again!  What then?  Do I abandon the goal?  No, I do not.  Usually I Continue reading » Sneakn’ Up on an Elusive Goal

Phillip's First Bike Ride

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again Differently

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: johntrainor

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

— Mary Anne Radmacher

We’ve all heard the old saw about – If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  The part that they leave out is that if you just keep doing the same thing over and over, in most cases, it’s not going to lead to success.  It’s going to lead to frustration.

I find myself falling into this mistake every once in a while.  Usually, I do it with physical tasks – something requiring manual dexterity.  You may find this hard to believe, but I was born without Continue reading » If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try Again Differently

SUCCESSFULLFAILURE (opening of Dutch Identity at de Paviljoens in Almere)

Successful Failure???

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Paul Keller
Can failure be successful?

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.

— Napoleon Hill

If you think you’ve failed and give up, then you’ve probably judged the situation appropriately.  But if you think you’ve failed and you try again or look with new eyes, then perhaps you’ve successfully failed.  In an attempt to create glue that would never come unstuck, researchers developed an adhesive that was so “low-tack” it could actually be unstuck and re-stuck.  NOT what they were looking for.  Six years later, Art Fry looked at that “failure to stick” with new eyes: Continue reading » Successful Failure???

Great Movie Ride Marquee

Here Be Growth

Creative Commons LicensePhoto credit: Sam Howzit
And then there’s the rest of the story – positive feelings as marquees for growth opportunities…

Herein lies the likely reason for feelings.  Just as negative feelings are a “here-be-dragons” sensory system that alarms you, telling you unmistakably that you are in a win-lose encounter, the feeling part of positive emotion is also sensory.

Positive feeling is a neon “here-be-growth” marquee that tells you that a potential win-win encounter is at hand… Positive feelings about a person or an object get us to approach it, while negative feelings get us to avoid it.

— Martin Seligman

I admit:  When I’m feeling positive I’m usually so happy to be happy, so caught up in the joy of the moment, that I may be missing the “here be growth” message – and as a consequence, missing an opportunity to approach and explore new paths. This is one of those déjà-vu-all-over-again moments for me because last year about this time, in my post Waiting in the Wings, I wrote Continue reading » Here Be Growth