In ‘Tribes’ by Seth Godin, he essentially states:
happiness = initiative
The book is about leadership and creating movements where he encourages you to become a heretic – create something people will criticize because you so passionately and fanatically believe in challenging some status quo… and you’re most likely not the only one. Congrats – this makes you a leader, you suddenly charismatic sonuvagun, you. You feel that fire burning in your chest, driving you forward? That initiative? Seth calls that happiness.
In ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Timothy Ferriss, he essentially states:
happiness = excitement
The book steps through his method for nixing the deferred-life plan of typical retirement and designing a luxury lifestyle that values freedom in time and freedom in mobility. Once you set yourself up with more time and a greater ability to travel… now what? He argues that answering “What do you want?” and “What are your goals?” are insufficient for filling this new void and nailing the essence of what we are all after. Drawing on the analogy of indifference being the opposite of love, not hate, he submits the opposite of happiness being boredom. Playing the ‘opposite game’ again, we get the opposite of boredom being excitement. (This is confusing on first read, but if you sit with it a while, it should make sense.) Tim calls that happiness.
When I now hear the phrase, “Follow your passion/bliss,” I can see how this thing called happiness, that oh so sought after goal/state, would entail an element of “Yee-haw!” excitement, and “Get out of my way or join me: I’m on a mission!” initiative.
Over the past few months/sprints, I’ve been developing a system to more easily adopt Agile Living. Stories have been mainly gathering and molding stories into a proprietary format I have been developing for a while. With bookmarks to Google Docs (‘cloud’-enough for now) on my smart phone pointing to a product backlog, sprint backlog, Scrum script, Daily script, and a few other things, the motions for my own ScrumOfOne have become significantly more fluid.
Progress has gotten me to the point where I am back to dedicating time to this blog, with posts planned for twice a week: once on Sundays after my mini-retrospective and once on Wednesdays as a temperature check on mid-week execution of sprints.
Part of this reboot has been after an acknowledgement of how different facets of personal growth, as well as the numerous projects I want to implement, all feel like they should be their own product backlog. Some products represent continual improvement (physical, cultural, residential) and some represent discrete states of accomplishment (this blog, learning to sail, own music studio), so the organization and prioritization of the numerous stories from the numerous backlogs has required some work, thus why I am only getting back to blogging now.
I had an epiphany at work this week. Creating a business case for some initiative can have an analogy in personal development.
Design Change Requests are to business resources (time, money) and business value (profitability) as Agile stories & distractions / impediments are to personal resources (time, money, focus) and personal growth (functionality, mastery).
Thus, I’ve been finding it helpful when a story suddenly arises or a significant distraction/impediment is on the horizon to frame it as if I were convincing ‘the board’ of its business value. What are the time, money, and focus costs? What are the opportunity costs (what am I not working on so I can do this other thing)? How does it fit the corporate strategy, or in this case, Product Owner’s vision: your vision for self?
In typing this up, I’ve realized this is just a particular form of cost/benefit analysis.