“Purpose Junkies” …


Age and Life - Leider - Morguefile.com.png

Thoughts around my continuing exploration of the dual themes of our life purpose and positive aging …

I was struck by this quotation from The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard Leider.  Okay, honestly speaking, I am struck by something on almost every page of this excellent little book.

I suppose one can say that some of us are Purpose Junkies, people who are on a continual quest for our meaning in life and trying to discern what we should do.  

Some say that this is navel-gazing taken to the extreme, while others dismiss our attempts to discover self by pointing out that we need to “get out into the real world, where things are dirty and brutal.  Just get a job and do it until you have enough money to not have to do it any more … Quit your whining” or similar.

IF ONLY I WON …

Continue reading

Viewpoints and Books …

Quote


Book and Glasses - Morguefile.comThe purpose of a good education is to show you that there are three sides to a two-sided story.”

Stanley Fish

I have often heard some version of the following:

There are always three sides to an argument about the truth:   My side, your side, and the actual reality.

This is most likely very true, and as you add participants, the number of possible “sides” grows.  We are all creations of our culture, our experiences, our beliefs, and our values.

No wonder we cannot all just agree to get along … we cannot even look at something without creating multiple interpretations.   As has often been said, at least by me, “Your terrorist is my freedom fighter”.

Why am I harping on this today?

No special reason, even with the political campaign in full tilt boogie spewing examples over the landscape of how people see the same objective things very differently, very subjectively.

Take a little time to look at this image and think about what it seems to show you.  Cultural Optical Illusion - Opticalillusions.com

We need to keep reminding ourselves that our natural tendency is to view people, things, and events through our personal lens, which sets up us to be influenced by our own biases, fallacious reasoning, and stereotypes … which we all have or experience in abundance.

About the image:  Western eyes usually see a family in a corner of a room with some kind of vegetation visible in the window.  African eyes see the “corner” as a tree and the window becomes a container balanced on a woman’s head.

We see what we are conditioned to see …

Education, especially the reading and discussion of books, can be one of several powerful tools to help us move beyond our own perceptions into the larger world, IF WE pay attention to the following suggestions:

… Choose books written to expand thinking, rather than control knowledge.

… Ensure that books are written in the spirit of discovery and curiosity, rather than the zeal of blind passion and persuasion.

… Select books that contain viewpoints with which we do not already agree.

… Discuss what we read with people that hold varying viewpoints and know how to talk, rather than just convince.

… Remember the sum total of all each of us individually knows is like a single drop of water in the ocean.

… Use what we learn  from books to support our own continued discernment.

… Avoid using what we learn as a weapon to convert others.

Books can be powerful  learning tools or dangerous weapons … as with many things in life, it’s more about how you use something.

Well, I feel a little more prepared to move forward thoughtfully now.  How about you?

Trying not to feel overconfident about my own learning path in the Heartland ….

John

 

Images:

Book and Glasses – morguefile.com

Optical Illusion –  http://www.optical-illusionist.com/category/double-meanings/

 

 

 

ENCORE POST: Refire! is Hot Stuff …


 

ME:  Slightly over a year ago, I reviewed this book.  Today I find myself immersed in the concepts of purpose, positive aging, and am spending considerable time figuring out how I can contribute to our generational rewriting of “retirement”.  I keep running into this book, as one of the essential resources for those interested in living a fuller and more meaningful live, right up to the last minute.

The post has been somewhat edited from the original, which posted on February 5, 2015, but my essential feeling remains the same:  THIS BOOK IS READABLE, THOUGHTFUL AND VALUABLE.

 

promo_03.pngSilly me … based on a cursory glance, I thought this book was about motivating employees to avoid firing or forcing them out.  

Prepared to slog dutifully through the text, notating strong points to share intelligently about the author’s message, I found myself instead absorbed in the perspectives being shared, reading rapidly, with frequent stops for reflection and margin scribbling.  This book engaged me on a very personal level.

Refire, Don’t Retire: Make the Rest of Your Life the Best of Your Life by Ken Blanchard and Morton Shaevitz is simply the right book with the right tone at the right time in the right place …

To refire is to approach life with gusto.  It’s to see each day as an opportunity for adventure and learning?  It’s to infuse passion and zest into every area of your life – emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual.  Heart, head, body, and soul. (pg. 9)

The authors understand clearly that “retirement age” does not mean what it has in the past for most of us.    We  want to continue to live significantly as conditions change around us and Blanchard and Shaevitz share four essential keys to help us do so:

FIRST KEY:  REFIRING EMOTIONALLY: 

“You can’t enrich your current relationships or forge new ones if you keep on doing the same things in the same ways.”  (pg. 31)

This section is about energizing our emotional connections and the strength that flows from them.  We know that change is essential to build strong emotional ties, but we are often prevented from changing because change involves risk.  We have to become brave.

Unless there’s a legitimate reasons to say no, you say yes! “ (pg. 41) says The Last-Minute Gang

This idea is the single most empowering concept in the book and challenging for many of us who have built comfortable and predictable lives.  Blanchard and Shaevitz encourage us to break out and risk by doing things we might usually pass on.  

This is especially effective when combined with the Nothing Ordinary rule:  

“ …a commitment to uniqueness … not to choose anything ordinary.” (pg.50) Continue reading

Loyal To A Fault


Pledging Allegiance - Wikipedia Public Domain“Purpose is the recognition of the ‘loyalty of life’ … We receive from life what we are loyal to.” (p. 14 in The Power of Purpose)

When I encounter the word “loyalty”, I immediately remember saying the Pledge of Allegiance as a very young citizen of this country.  Loyalty seems to evoke images like the one above … a group of people earnestly promising to do and support things in a particular way.

As an adult, I have come to realize that loyalty has very little, if anything, to do with reciting oaths and making promises.  Sometimes your loyalty is to an ideal, which means that you resist the outward symbols and take issue with what is asked of you.  But that’s a post for another day …

The type of loyalty referred to in the quotation above is a much more personal type of loyalty. Continue reading

Guest Post: Freedom and Responsibility: Why Netflex Scrapped Its Vacation Policy by David Burkus


David Burkus is one of the most readable and thought-provoking folks talking about progressive management and leadership.  His new book titled Under New Management debuts on Amazon 5.  I am pleased to host the following guest post.

This original post was inspired by concepts from chapter three of Under New Management. This case study examines Netflix’s decision to completely scrap its standard vacation policy immediately following its move to a publicly traded company, relying instead on the maturity and common sense of its employees to do the right thing.

b1e8b0cd-f5de-4901-853c-2dac404c4a62Freedom and Responsibility: Why Netflix Scrapped its Vacation Policy

When Netflix went public in 2002, company leaders weren’t expecting to end up changing their long-standing vacation policy. Before it becoming a publicly traded company, Netflix’s vacation policy looked like those of most companies: you get a certain number of vacation days per year, and any days left over you lose, roll over, or get paid extra for at the end of the year. This kind of policy is largely a holdover from the industrial age, when factory managers needed to ensure that all shifts were properly covered.

At Netflix, people received ten vacation days, ten floating holidays, and a few sick days. Employees were on the honor system, keeping track of the days they took off and letting their managers know when and how many they took. Freedom and responsibility are strongly valued in the Netflix culture, but after going public, culture and regulations collided. The first collision was instigated by the company’s auditors, who claimed that Sarbanes-Oxley rules for public companies required Netflix to account for all time off taken by employees and that the honor system was inadequate for tracking. Continue reading