Like the main character in the movie Groundhog Day (wikipedia), I find that February 2, 2013 has some de ja vu elements to February 2, 2012. In others it’s completely different. I think I have grown & learned a lot since last year but apparently I, like many others, still have much to learn. Guess that’s what makes life worth living: the new & unexpected adventures around the corner vs. being trapped in the same day-to-day experience unable to even drive yourself (while holding a groundhog) over a cliff to escape.
This weekend I went to the Blanton Museum of Art exhibit that showcased Tibetan monks building a sand mandala. After spending days and hours creating this mandala out of fine, colored sand, they “dismantle the mandala, sweeping up the colored sands to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists.”
I wonder if entrepreneurs who achieve the most success, not only in dollars but also impact on the world, truly understand that everything is impermanent which results in a shift in how they perceive risk. Steve Jobs could have floundered in his business in the early days, as most entrepreneurs do, instead of becoming a household name for founding Apple and Pixar. I’m sure he and his team threw away many designs or product ideas that they spent countless hours on, but they kept on painstakingly placing the grains of sand on each next iteration. If a few grains of sand shifted in some of the most popular designs he had envisioned in his head, we may never have known he existed. And now even he is gone but his company lives on…for now.
Another Thanksgiving in the US has passed. It’s nice to have a holiday to remind us to be thankful and grateful for the many positive things in our lives as well as for the challenges we have overcome. I was reviewing my past Thanksgiving posts and last year I wrote Thankful – 2011 (such an original title!) and included a photo of a dragon from my October 2011 trip to China. That trip was amazing, the memories wonderful, and I made some great new friends who I still hang out with.
I also wrote a post on Nov 30, 2008 called The Strength Of A Thought, and I still wonder the same about “thoughts” but have softened my query and am moving more toward observation/acceptance of my musing on that day: “So, how do we rule our thoughts instead of our thoughts ruling us? Or maybe the question is can we accomplish this in this lifetime? In this body? In this experience? Oh what power our thoughts have on the direction we step in our lives…whether it’s right, left, backward, straight, or directly into stardust…into our dreams.”
Reason for photo: The kids insisted on taking the cloud photo a few weeks back that I’m using in this post. My son felt quite certain that the middle cloud looked exactly like a dragon’s foot and my daughter agreed. I’m thankful for their vivid imaginations.
As the world knows, Obama won! I hope he can continue the trend around change and find a way to bring a divided nation together for all of our sakes. Check out Fred Wilson’s (A venture capitalist in New York) post on the topic How Do You Take The Vote?. I like the way he outlined the results.
I recently saw a movie called Cloud Atlas that was well done and though provoking. I want to see it again to catch all the references I’m certain I missed. It’s based on a book of the same name that was written in 2004 by David Mitchell. It interweaves six stories about people who show up in different life times that move from the South Pacific in the nineteenth century to a post-apocalyptic future. Tom Hanks’ character gets better (i.e. fights his demons and trusts his instincts about love). He and Halle Barry make an interesting couple throughout. I know it is a science fiction, but I sometimes feel as if people I meet I’ve known before or have more close connections with.
Infographics are the rave right now. Spell check hasn’t realized that infographic is a new word. We create infographics for our clients where I work. We also, in our spare time, create infographics for ourselves. I happened upon this cool infographic on HR Morning (via a link from Texas CEO magazine) and had to share. It’s so obvious to me that thanking your employees is good for business, but for some reason 65% of workers don’t receive ANY praise or appreciation. They must work where Dilbert works. Appreciating your kids, your friends, or your partners in life is so important. A few kind and thankful words can go a long way in fostering loyalty, solving misunderstandings, building bridges, and most importantly bringing out the smiles & laughter. 🙂
Lego KidsFest was impressive! We were there pretty much the entire time we could be this morning. It was at the Austin Convention Center and it was packed full of fun. Mostly boys signed up for the workshop with the Lego master. He talked to them about interweaving Lego’s and told him he was the youngest master Lego builder in the company. He was 29 and had helped build, among many other things, the Lightening McQueen sculpture. He said it took 1,800 hours to build and weighed about 1 ton. They had many figures placed around the showroom floor like the Hulk, Batman, Hagrid, Wonder Woman, Superman, Toy Story characters, Ninjago characters, as well as many animals. Who knew you could make a living building figures out of Lego’s?
The kids could build sections for the mini-nation they were assembling in one section of the showroom floor. The photo in this post is of a tower my son built representing the UT tower, and he asked to have it placed it in Texas. My daughter built another tower and asked to have it placed it in Colorado. Together the kids built a super tall tower and placed it in California I think. They said there will be an aerial view of the entire area on their website after the Fest was over.
Lego started a line called Lego friends aimed at girls that had stereotypical pink colors and designs to build houses, patios, landscape gardens, etc. My daughter and her two friends spent much of their time in that area. Apparently, Lego’s sales to the girl market went from 10 to 27% after they designed that product line. Go figure. Girls like to build, but we still seem to like to build using small purple and pink pieces. Maybe in 10 to 15 years because Lego created products that girls (or parents of girls) like playing with, we will see more women pursuing career paths in design and construction. Who knows…
I get my daily Dilbert fix by email and today’s Dilbert made me laugh because it’s so true of us humans. We judge our happiness by comparing where we are in life to others. We really have no way of telling whether that guy or gal with a big house, great job, fancy car, seemingly perfect kids and marriage, and all the fun money can buy is truly happy. We’ve seen celebrities, who appear to have it all, implode. We’ve seen people who have very little material possessions seemingly possess inner peace and calmness (without using illegal substances!).
Happy Good Friday. No matter what your religious beliefs are, the fact that so many humans on this planet celebrate the death and life of a man who lived two thousand years ago means something. None of us alive knew the physical manifestation of Jesus, but the impact he has had on generations is undeniable.
May you find your happiness without having to see pictures of people attacked by bears.
I’ve always found Valentine’s Day to be an unusual day. Such significance placed on a day when really the 364 (or 365 in this leap year) other days of the year are what really constitute love and endurance. My thoughts on this day are generally too philosophical to share easily so here are some random thoughts:
Chocolate covered strawberries (well chocolate covered almost anything) are yummy.
Money comes and goes. Apparently so does love.
“Sometimes one smile means more than a dozen roses” – on the wrapper of one of the Dove chocolate squares (given to me by my best friend for my birthday) my kids and I melted in a small pot before dipping strawberries & mandarin oranges in it.
Love shows up in the strangest and sometimes most unexpected of places and people.
My kids are my best valentine’s “dates” ever, and they are showing me how to dance the “shuffle dance.”
My son showed me that you can search Wikipedia in different languages.
My daughter’s smile and laugh melt my heart.
Google’s Valentine’s Day home page video (you tube link; embedded below) is so simple and true. People fall in love when someone quits giving you stuff you don’t want or need and “connects” with who you are and what you enjoy.
“I have three treasures. Guard and keep them: The first is deep love, The second is frugality, And the third is not to dare to be ahead of the world. Because of deep love, one is courageous. Because of frugality, one is generous. Because of not daring to be ahead of the world, one becomes the leader of the world.”
“At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want.”
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
How many journeys have you started? I’ve lost count of how many I’ve started. Some led to interesting discoveries and some led to dead ends, but as they say it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. However, I’m still hoping that there’s a small pot of gold at the end of this one though…
All of my friends and family (as far as I know) survived the Apocalypse that was supposed to happen yesterday. I don’t recall how many times the End of Days has been predicted but I do recall that the Christian Bible says that no one can predict the rapture so those who made signs and said it would happen yesterday seemed not to give credence to God’s statements about the whole situation.
I was with a friend of mine here in Austin last night when the end of the world was supposed to happen. She and I went to eat at a restaurant in the Austin Arboretum area and then we saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. It was a good movie but seemed to me to have less special effects than the previous movies and those movies are a lot about the mythical being special effects. The mermaid scene was pretty neat. The waitress informed us when 6:00 pm had passed so we could toast surviving another day. My friend told me that some enterprising entrepreneurs created a service for atheists to watch the dogs of the people who were going to be taken in the rapture and over 100 people signed up for the service!
Seth Godin wrote a post about the marketing lessons from the apocalypse and how they were able to get so many people to notice their message. People want to believe. I suppose if you find a subset of people who really want to believe in something and they do, they spread the word better than people who are mildly in your product or service. But no matter how much you want to believe in something, it certainly won’t come true unless you take action and spread your message.
I believe and want to believe in so many things and I know some will come true and some will never come true in this lifetime. I’m hoping the fact I can still believe in some things even if they seem impossible, will help me and/or my kids change the world for the better some day. The older I get, the more I believe that All You Need Is Love (the Beatles). Love of an idea, a person, a concept, a philosophy and someone/some people to love you as close to unconditionally as us mere humans can.
If the world does end tomorrow: PS. I Love You – a link to one of many gapinvoid cube grenades on the topic of LOVE that I’ve always found especially poignant.
It’s been quite some time (3 weeks) since my last post on the Strengths Finder book, which surprisingly garnered several comments. Time has flown between work, kids, my consulting work, homework (my kids and mine), housework, planning the summer camp schedule, birthday party planning, taxes, driving, friends, food poisoning (not from Chinese food), attempting to sleep, oh and eating!
A couple of other fortune cookie fortunes I received are “Happiness is not a reward, it’s a consequence.” and “Financial prosperity is around the corner.”
So until I have a chance to post something of more substance, may something wonderful “happy” to you!
I mentioned in my Parenting Epiphany #1 post, which surprisingly got more comments than I expected given comments on my blog have declined since my decline in posting frequency, that I would post about my plant growing epiphany. I have house plants that are fairly old in dog years. An 18+ year old ivy that has survived 4 moves. A 14+ year old ficus that has survived 2 moves. A 6 year old palm. An almost 10 year old bamboo plant. All are green (non-flowering) plants. I usually accidentally kill the few flowering indoor plants I’ve received.
So here it is: I randomly water them and I benignly neglect them. I was telling someone my theory behind plant growing success and he told me that most plants die from over watering so I guess there is some credence to my plant growing insight. I figure in the outside world, they never know when they will get water and people/animals don’t pay much attention to them except when they are eating them. So my busy, hectic schedule actually plays in favor for the plants. Somehow, I always seem to know or sense when they need water but I’m one of those people who sort of believes in the connectedness of things so maybe they send their vibes out to me so my brain triggers a thought that says something like “Darn, I need to water those plant things again.”
It’s a good thing we don’t have any pets because I’m pretty sure I could not apply the same method to them. 🙂 I mostly try to do the opposite with my kids. I try not to over water (i.e., over parent) them but sometimes I do ignore them so they can figure out stuff on their own and so I can get things done.
According to my 8 year old son, the best thing that happened to him today was that he got to buy real things from the 2nd graders with fake money. They apparently did some exercise involving exchange or purchasing things. He got a few little trinkets, cards, and a little wind-up robot. I suppose there aren’t many times in life where you can buy real things with fake money so in his mind that was a pretty cool thing. I wish I could buy real things with fake money…
Since I don’t have time to write a long post, I figure I’d post about a neat Google tool called Google Translate at http://translate.google.com/. Since my kids are learning Spanish and Mandarin at their school, and I don’t really know either language, this tool is an awesome way to translate from a variety of languages to another variety of languages. Well, I know more Spanish than I do Mandarin/Chinese. You can type in a word and pick what language you want it translated to and not only does it give you a text translation, it also (for most languages) also gives you a verbal/audio translation. How cool is that?
My kids were typing all sorts of things in with some as simple as “little cat” or “little dog” and listening to the translation in French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, etc. They thought it was fun and funny and so did I.
Thanks to the generous help of my neighbor, the trees I mentioned in my Planting Trees post have now been planted this Christmas Eve morning. It took almost a couple of hours to plant both. It was the first time my kids and I had ever really planted trees and it was a fun experience. And as if to say the timing was right, it rained for about an hour a couple of hours after we finished to give those tries a nice drink.
I think it’s a good skill to have to learn how to work with the earth. I used to mow our lawn when I was a kid and lived in Lubbock, Texas when I say about 11-13 years old until I accidentally ran over the power cord a couple of times. I think my mom decided it was safer to hire someone to mow the lawn then. Although, I drove her crazy as a teenager, I think she still wanted me to live. 🙂 I like to have plants around the house…even though they are in the background. It’s nice to have green living things (with no pollen) in the house.
I told my kids that when they were older they could drive by the house in the neighborhood and tell their kids that they helped plant those big Oak and Elm trees because my guess is we probably won’t be living in this house by the time the trees we planted are as big as the other trees in our neighborhood. The process got me wanting to plant another tree where the one we had rotted/fell down a few years ago. There are deer in our neighborhood so it will have to be a tree (maybe a flowering one like a crepe myrtle) that they don’t like to eat.
Merry Christmas everyone. Here’s to planting of new things and growing of new businesses in the New Year! (Yeah, I know that was an entrepreneurial stretch!)