Category Archives: direction

Start With Why

Why do you do what you do?

There. Don’t read the rest of this blog post. Just chew on the above for a solid minute. Five minutes, if you’re generous with yourself. Ten minutes, if you’re on a roll. Twenty minutes, if you’ve lost track of time and the thought of a growing inbox squeezed itself to the forefront. An hour, if you’re on one of those monk-like retreats where you’re on a vow of silence, and yet you’re reading blogs, like mine. A day, if you’re a fasting, silenting, enlightenmenting, non-showering, monkish type.

I mean, if you do decide to read on, you’ll see my notes on Start With Why, the book by Simon Sinek, as well as the results of what the book inspired me to do: figure out why I do what I do. Continue reading

Analyzing Blog For Direction

This blog post is like green tea: it’s good for me, yet to do it right, I’m not supposed to add sugar. So, behold… a treat that doesn’t go down the smoothest, although it is healthy. I mean, I could try to make this a fun read, but I won’t because… this doesn’t need it. This post represents the culminating bloggular goodness that I’ve thought about over two years ago.

I’m still analyzing what I’ve written via how I’ve tagged my posts, and today I cover the category of ‘direction’. Below are the summary points per post with this tag, which don’t include those that were also tagged ‘path series’, which I think I’ll cover another time.

  • Happiness: Become a heretic because initiative is happiness. Do something that excites me because excitement is happiness.
  • My Vision Sources: Study direction-related sources and derive a method for determining vision.
  • Create & Connect, Supply & Demand: Create something of value in which I am skilled, or is fully engaging, or elicits my passion, or is a combination of the three, then connect by sharing, teaching, or somehow helping others feel good.
  • Bow Ties & Shoelaces: Inner changes are reflected externally.
  • One Epic Thing Before You Die: Whatever this thing is for me, it’s the most cool/epic if it most aligns with my purpose / life path… now do it every day.
  • Don’t Label Me, Bro: Do more and more of fewer things, but more important things, and get better and better at each of them.
  • Style Over Fashion: I’m not looking for the fleeting & crowd-sourced, but the everlasting & self-sourced.
  • That First Tiny Step: What is that first tiny step towards my dream, something that takes almost no time and no effort that gets me that tiniest bit closer?
  • Soutata: Leverage my unique gifts and quit the rest.
  • First Do Cat Food: I have to get deck-clearing capability first before being able to think at the high level.
  • Always Be Outputting: Increase outputting by decreasing inputting.
  • Blogging Break: All advice about success are facets of the same gem.
  • Sum Of Your Parts: Grouping stories into releases per product (facets of me, each with a vision) leads to paths of punctuated evolution in each area of my life!
  • Life In Your Years: In the end, it’s not the years in my life that count. It’s the life in my years.
  • To Be A Better Person, Do Anything: I am defined by my ability to supply a demanded product or service, so do something, something impressive.
  • You’re Allowed: That awesome life I want starts with realizing… I’m allowed to live it.
  • Baconday: I’ve forgotten I enjoyed writing outlandish stories.
  • ScrumOfFun or Local Drummer Boy: I want to lower the barrier to entry for performing music.

Hmm… lots of good stuff. What happens if I try to mash most of ‘em all together?

To be happy and improve my quality of life, leverage my unique gifts to do very well just a few purposeful things (everylasting, self-sourced), while quitting the rest (what I don’t do well and consuming in general), to take the initiative (aka being happy) every day and create something exciting (aka being happy), then connect with others.

I am actually allowed to be happy and live a big dream, so take a small step towards it, developing myself via one aspect of me at a time, doing low-level important things before high-level important things.

So what specifically brings me happiness? Writing outlandish stories. Lowering the barrier to entry for performing music.

Like I said. Culminating bloggular goodness. That last part is specific to me, but the rest respresents a study of how one can get some kind of life direction.

I’m sipping this slowly. It’s still hot.

Home Is Where The Results Don’t Matter

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”, which became a bestseller. In a TED Talk she gave recently, she talks through how she struggled with the task of writing again, post-success, by looking back at how she kept writing post-failure. She called it “going home”.

And you have to understand that for me, going home did not mean returning to my family’s farm. For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.

your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

I think that’s beautiful, from the personal development Product Owner perspective.

What is your home?

ScrumOfFun or Local Drummer Boy

I aspire to be a drum busker.

Seriously, look at those guys – they are a breathing and addictively audible example of how “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. I’ve seen some of these dudes with just upside-down paint buckets, but sometimes their kits have more variety.

As a classically trained pianist, I’m bummed that I can’t roll around a piano with me and perform in public – this species of instrument, if out and about, is generally found in restaurants, bars, or concert halls… not parks or public squares. For the most part, the piano makes you come to it. What a dick.

The piano is also a tough cookie to fall asleep with. Trust me. As a kid, it first occurred to me to sleep with my instrument, not girls. So picture this, if you will: there I’d be, laying face-up on the piano bench, one hand on the keys, trying to play myself a lullaby. Of course, my arm would fall if I were tired enough, and then the music would stop, and then I’d wake up. It sucked.

So you can imagine my joy when I first got a guitar. Junior year of high school, I bought it off a guy who borrowed it from another guy – a second-hand hand-me-down. That first night, I took it to bed with me. With it resting on my chest, I’d play a little something and fall asleep. The next morning, I woke up in a cold sweat from nightmares, only to realize my breathing had been constricted due to this thing on top of me all night. On the plus side, my hands hadn’t really moved all night, so I just picked up from where I think I left off. It was awesome.

But I digress all over myself. Sorry. I blame the piano.

See, playing the piano well ain’t a cake walk. Like all things requiring mastery, if that’s what you want, it takes time and effort – both of which I happily put in as a kid – growing up, I’d play for 2 hours a day, stopping ’cause my Mom would remind me to do my homework.

I composed, too. Little stuff, nothing too fancy, but that didn’t stop my dear piano from being my creative vent. What a magical (and simply mechanical) machine – just walk up to it, with no knowledge of what’s up, press a key, and kinetic energy is turned into sound. It is efficient. It is powerful.

Don’t tell me that ain’t powerful.

When I am behind the piano, I am wielding a weapon: me and this thing can change your emotions.

Don’t tell me that ain’t powerful.

This is power I’d like to give to others, and I’d like to show it is easy to do, or at least easier than one might think. And definitely more fun. This is where drum busking comes back into the picture.

In the spirit of lowering the barrier to entry for performing music, I have this silly idea: Drum Busker Academy. Picture this:

You’re walking down the street on a sunny day, meandering towards a jungle beat just around the corner. You turn the corner, and the previously muffled sounds become clear, just behind a small crowd of tourists holding maps. Approaching the busker, drumming away in a wife beater, you see a second ‘drum kit’, with a sign in front, “Drum with me. Get $1.”

Whether it’s a little kid who ain’t shy, or some guy who’s doing it on a dare, or some gal who’s doing it for Instagram, take this to your logical conclusion. It’s not a fully formed idea, but it’s a fully fun idea.

Don’t tell me that ain’t powerful.

Baconday

The following is my truly ridiculous Wikipedia entry for ‘Baconday‘ – a birthday present for a quasi-nephew who recently turned 14. I forget how much I enjoy writing outlandish stories. What have you forgotten that you enjoyed?

A baconday is a day that comes once a year when a person celebrates the anniversary of their birth. Created in 1776 by the Connecticut delegate to the Continental Congress Silas Deane, this amendment to the concept of a birthday is celebrated in the New England region of the United States, often with a ridiculous rite of passage, usually involving a feat of strength.

Inspiration

On a sea voyage to France with noted prankster Benjamin Franklin, the two foreign diplomats imbibed many an impromptu concoction. One fine day, a carefully rationed experiment in brewing bacon ale resulted in a four-bottle batch, of which three were intended for supporter of American independence Beaumarchais. The fourth bottle was shared between Deane and Franklin, with subsequent conversations resulting in baconday, an idea so creative, by their impaired judgement, that they feared the creative power of such a drink in French hands to the degree that they withheld their gift. Missing since the trans-Atlantic trip, the location of these bottles have been the subject of fable among New England bacon-lovers.

One bottle was found and sold at Christie’s auction house in 2007 for 100 brazillion dollars. The other two are still on the loose. Watch out.

Tradition

Intended for the families of Connecticut delegates, Deane proclaimed 13 bacon-related challenges, after the 13 American colonies, to be assigned and completed at each birthday, starting from one’s 13th birthday. Records were kept at the State House in Hartford, until the start of the Civil War, whereupon the more pressing matters at hand pushed out the jocular tradition from daily focus.

Pre-Civil War, the state’s government meetings began with a summary of the bacondays’ events since the previous meeting. Post-Civil War, the agenda item is not addressed, although it ceremoniously remains in the agenda as a reminder of those lost during the war.

Challenges

1st Baconday, 13th Birthday

Snort 13 fl. oz. of bacon grease in 13 minutes.

2nd Baconday, 14th Birthday

Consume 14 lbs of bacon in 14 minutes.

3rd Baconday, 15th Birthday

Wear 15 strips of bacon, from dawn ’til dusk, as the only item of ‘clothing’.

4th Baconday, 16th Birthday

Debate the virtues of crown rule against 16 strips of bacon in the town square.

5th Baconday, 17th Birthday

Soak in 17 pounds of bacon, from dawn ’til dusk.

6th Baconday, 18th Birthday

Run for mayor, with 18 strips of bacon as your running mate.

7th Baconday, 19th Birthday

Balance 19 lbs of bacon on your head in the town square.

8th Baconday, 20th Birthday

Perform an elaborate 20-part marriage proposal to a strip of bacon in the town square at noon.

9th Baconday, 21st Birthday

Take 21 shots of bacon grease, for breakfast.

10th Baconday, 22nd Birthday

Walk around, from dawn ’til dusk, with 22 strips of bacon in your shoes.

11th Baconday, 23rd Birthday

Submit to the state house a self-portrait using 23 strips of bacon.

12th Baconday, 24th Birthday

Legally change your name, first and last, to ‘Bacon’, for 24 days.

13th Baconday, 25th Birthday

Sing a 25-minute song, recounting your previous Bacondays.

References in Popular Culture

None. Yet.