Category Archives: Other

The Essence of Time Management

Time has always baffled me. Questions like…

  • Where does the past go?
  • Where does the future come from?
  • Why can we only act in the present moment?
  • Why are people judged by their past when they can do nothing to change it?
  • Since we can’t change the past, why are we not judged by the decisions we make now, in the present moment, the only place any of us live?


Today, it’s easy to answer the last two, but that still doesn’t explain the first three. Some say time is all an illusion, because there is no past nor future only an eternal now.

Knowing that all my past moments have created my present moment and my present moment will create my future moments, leaves me in awe of the power each of us has over our lives. The modern concept of time management has always bugged me for this reason. I have no desire to manage my time like a machine, because at my very essence I am time and so are you.

Over the years, I’ve asked myself, what can I do to solve my problems with time? And many years ago I found the best answer I have ever read in Leadership – The Inner Side of Greatness by Peter Koestenbaum.


Direct your life so as to make work part of your life – part of living from the inside out, part of your inner production of time. Do not separate work from home and leisure. Do not compromise your full self-disclosure. Know your meanings, and commit yourself to them. Existence is not an easy task. It takes a lifetime to come close to achieving authenticity. But as you move in that direction, your problems with time management will resolve themselves. This works; nothing else does. Do not stop organizing your time, but know the difference between a true solution and an anodyne.

You will never be totally true to yourself, but to the degree that you make a commitment in that direction, and to the extent that you approximate that ideal, the world will respond. This means that your health will improve – your physical, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, relational, educational, and financial health. You will attract from your environment the people, systems and financial support required to fulfill your deepest essence, for what you do is also the most natural thing to do. This new health springing from within, will express itself in diminished problems with time. To accomplish this is the slowly unfolding project of a lifetime. Each day that you embark in this process can feel like a success.


Peter Koestenbaum’s book isn’t a trendy new book. It’s old and I don’t think it was popular when it was new. But if you’re unfamiliar with his work, I suggest you start with this article in Fast Company. Do You have the Will to Lead?


“Everything I do,” says Koestenbaum, “is about using themes from the history of thought to rescue people who are stuck.” His logic: Change — true, lasting, deep-seated change — is the business world’s biggest and most persistent challenge. But too many people and too many companies approach change by treating it as a technical challenge rather than by developing authentic answers to basic questions about business life. “We’ve reached such explosive levels of freedom that, for the first time in history, we have to manage our own mutation,” declares Koestenbaum. “It’s up to us to decide what it means to be a successful human being. That’s the philosophical task of the age. Nothing happens unless you make it happen. As a leader, everything is your responsibility, because you always could have chosen otherwise.”


I suggest you read his works. Peter will give you a whole new way of looking at time management, GTD, leadership, and personal development.

He also illuminates the fallacy that we control anything but ourselves. We think we do, but we don’t. Well, at least not the way we think we do. All external control is an illusion. The only control you have is self-control. However, that doesn’t absolve you of responsibility, you are responsible for the things that happen in your external world, because their creation begins in your inner world. It is a paradox which sounds like hocus-pocus nonsense. It isn’t. It’s as real as the pain you feel when you smack your head on a rock.

I will leave you with my all-time favorite quote from Peter, one that resonates with the recent discussion we’ve had here about control and parenting:

Does developing the will to transform mean that you can actually will others to change?

Taking personal responsibility for getting others to implement strategy is the leader’s key polarity. It’s the existential paradox of holding yourself 100% responsible for the fate of your organization, on the one hand, and assuming absolutely no responsibility for the choices made by other people, on the other hand. That applies to your children too. You are 100% responsible for how your children turn out. And you accomplish that by teaching them that they are 100% responsible for how they turn out.





Bored With the Blogosphere? This is for You

I hope this doesn’t offend you… but…

Are you weary of the same old shit in the blogosphere?

I am. A lot of posts out there are mind numbing. It’s becoming an echo chamber. Most days I look through my feed reader and I think, yeah, yeah, yeah, heard it before. Give me something new. Something with an attitude. Something with some originality.

Want something refreshing and new? Here it is.

Clay Collins is doing great things with thegrowinglife.com. IMHO – He has put together the best blog since 2006. He’s smart, he’s original, he’s got perspective, and most of all he’s got guts. He was unschooled, he started a software company at 15, and he’s putting his heart into his posts and it shows.

I don’t need any tips on organizing, or being more productive, or making vegetarian dishes, or decluttering. I want perspective, human perspective on life and Clay gives his perspective with abandon. I love it, because I want to know how others view the world, what does and doesn’t work for them.

Perspective

This is what Clay Collins wrote about his struggle with perspective:

Being a perspective junkie, I wish more blogs communicated perspective, rather than advice and information (such as news).

But the common practice of trafficking advice and information on the blogosphere makes sense. It makes sense because perspective is a pain in the ass to put into words: putting forth the effort required to write perspective-filled & feature-length posts on a consistent basis isn’t sustainable for most people. It isn’t for me at least.

Thank you Clay, for stating that so eloquently. I appreciate your effort to give us your perspective. You are fostering the conversations we need to have in the blogosphere.

Unschooled

Clay is an unschooled/homeschooled adult. I have never met an adult who was homeschooled let alone unschooled. What a treasure his perspective is. I’m 39, and my research, my experiences in public schools, and the dramatic differences I’ve noted in my observations of homeschooled children has led me to become a proponent of unschooling/homeschooling (and other alternative education). In the 1970s when I was child, almost no one was homeschooled. In fact, I didn’t hear about the practice until I was in my mid-twenties. Although I hated school as a child, I spent most of my adult years believing that public schools were an important institution. Even when I ran for Minnesota State House in 1996, I was a firm believer in the “School System.” A change of heart came after I had children when I realized after much soul searching that I could not subject them to the insanity of the public school system. Seeing the quality of Clay’s work, a mind that is free of “systemized” nonsense, is a confirmation of my observations about forced institutional schooling.

Like many bloggers, Clay probably doesn’t want to come off as a narcissist, but I urge him to give us his adult retrospective on being an unschooled child.

Debunking Personal Development Tripe

Clay also debunks a lot of personal development tripe. He says things I’ve been thinking and feeling but hadn’t found the words to express, like, productivity as a value stinks. The only good reason to be productive is to produce the life you want to produce. For example, I want to spend more time with my boys. Some people might think that is unproductive. Our culture believes that productive men work, generate income, fix things around the house, work on the car, but they don’t spend all day playing with children. When I told people I was considering staying home and homeschooling my boys, they thought I had lost my mind. But to me it is one of the most productive things I could imagine. Productivity isn’t about completing a bunch of tasks, it’s about finding a way to do the things you want to do.

The Cost of Personal Growth Can Be Too High

Clay also writes about the cost of personal growth. For some of us the price is too high.

I’ll probably get some flack for saying this, but I’ll say it anyway: most marriages, most relationships will have a difficult time surviving radical personal growth and evolution.  Relationships can become dependent on hundreds of implicit agreements, patterns, rituals, and shared views of reality and it often puts an unendurable stress on a relationship when these agreements, patterns, etc. are relentlessly challenged, ignored, or changed.  Good relationships can survive depression, and terrorism, and prison sentences, and all kinds of horrible things, but radical growth is a difficult (but not impossible) to survive.  It’s a tuffy.

I’d like to sugarcoat things and say you’ll never have to chose between your marriage and radical growth, or your children and radical growth, but that’s just not the case.  The are priorities that I will always put before such growth because sometimes rapid growth just isn’t worth it.  Sometimes its better to opt for deferred compensation.

He’s right. Sure you could get six pack abs, earn 5 handicap, run a marathon, make $500,000 a year, or you might even solve the economic problems in Africa, but if you lost your family in the process, would it be worth it? I’ll let you guess my answer.

Finally, Clay is doing this full time, he’s taking a big risk to give us this valuable resource, stop by his site and read a few pieces, if you like it, subscribe and leave him a donation.

Free Personal Development Material

My friend Lyman Reed has put together a fantastic new personal development site. The best part, everything on it is free. In fact, I like this site so much, I want everyone to find it. The dirty little secret about personal development materials is that there is very little new about any of the expensive programs. Most of the expensive stuff is just repackaging and rewording of old information combined with a few personal stories and new analogies. Almost everything you need to know is available for free on the internet. You want to make a difference in the world, right? Can you think of an easier way than promoting free information which will increase the human potential of everyone it touches?

I want as many people as possible to find this free information, so I have an offer you can’t refuse.

If you review Free Personal Development Material on your blog/website, contact me or leave a trackback to this post, and I will publish a link to your website. Not only that, Lyman Reed has agreed to publish another link to your site on Free Personal Development Material. How can you refuse a deal like this? It is a win, win, win.

Here are a few of the features you will find on Free Personal Development Material:

From 50 different authors:

Stop by and see his wares. You could spend a month at his site and not soak it all in.

Don’t forget to send him a note, leave a donation, and visit his sponsors.

Thanks to these websites for taking part in this promotion:

Zen College Life – Your College Life Upgraded

Stop and Think – Mike Ramm on making life simpler, easier, and happier

Ellie Walsh at Living the Law of Attraction

Daily Plan It

Freedom Personal Development Blog

Find the Time to Transform Yourself and Your World

Both these items are outstanding.

  1. Healing our World: In an Age of Aggression by Dr. Mary J. Ruwart may be the most important book written in the last quarter century. If you struggle to stay positive in a world which seems to breed endless war, poverty, and violence, read Dr. Ruwart’s free book and you will see the world in a new light. You’ll see how aggression creates the very things it promises to destroy. You’ll see how change can only begin with you. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle has recently grabbed the imagination of millions and Dr. Ruwart’s book complements many of Mr. Tolle’s ideas. But Healing our World is more important because it explains how and why we will transform our world. It is a song of hope. It is a fantastic resource for both personal and social transformation. Oprah, if you read this blog, please have Dr. Mary Ruwart on your show. You won’t be disappointed.

  2. This is captivating. Watch Clay Shirky explain how to find the time to transform ourselves and our world. This is one of those videos that slaps you in the face and says quit being a passive spectator and get out there and contribute.

FYI about this blog: I haven’t posted in 20 days and I apologize for not posting more often. However, time and commitments required other priorities. This blog will continue on, and when I do post, I hope you will find the content among the best on the web. My goal isn’t quantity but quality. Thanks for your patience.

Why is it so Hard to Change?

I wrote a guest post for Craig Harper titled, Why is it so Hard to Change? Hop over to his site and read it. I put a lot of time and research into this so I think you’ll enjoy it. It’s one of the better Personal Development posts I’ve written.

I want to thank Craig for the opportunity to reach his audience. Craig has one of greatest audiences on the internet. They are engaged, intelligent, and (most of all) motivated.

I haven’t had much time to write this week…  so stay tuned… I appreciate your patience.

Ego and Breaking All the Rules

The War on Ego – By Steve Pavlina. Speaking of egos, before I write anything about this post, I want to say that I haven’t linked to Steve Pavlina in over year. It isn’t because I don’t like his stuff. I love his stuff. I noticed that he rarely links to any of the bloggers in his niche so I decided not to link to him. Maybe he’ll read this. Anyway, his post about ego is right on. Your ego is an essential part of your personality. Don’t attempt to abandon your ego or you’ll drive yourself mad. Just refrain from being an egomaniac.

Personal Development as a result of Ignoring the Rules – Aaron Potts nails the truth with this post. I try to tell this to people every day of my life. I want to grab them and shake them and say, quit following like a lemming, dammit! I’ve done some really stupid things in life… One of those things was ignoring the rules. I won’t even tell you the jams I’ve been in breaking the rules. But I don’t regret one minute of it, because it made who I am today. And that is why I have tolerance for kids who make mistakes and I believe society has gone way overboard with zero-tolerance laws. I’ve also done some really smart things in my life… one of those things was ignoring all the rules. It teaches you about calculated risk. It teaches you that there are new ways… even better ways of doing things.

5 Reasons to Go Through Life Lazy, Drunken, and Stupid – The Best April Fools post of 2008. But do you know why it is funny? There’s an element of truth in it, isn’t there? I know people who have chosen this path in life, and they claim to like it. When I smoked cigarettes I used to say, “If I quit now, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and die a miserable death all while going through nicotine withdrawal.” And you know what? There was some truth to it. But you have to ask yourself, “Are you likely to die tomorrow?” You could justify anything with that logic.

16 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School By Henrik at The Positivity Blog. This one of the best “What they should teach in school” posts written. Henrik put a lot of thought and effort into this. I’d like to add one more thing I wish they taught in school… To Delegate. But unfortunately, if you delegate your schoolwork it’s called cheating. In real life it is called good management.

The Incredible Power of Contentment – Leo Babuata’s Zen Habits is arguably the best positive thinking/self-improvement blog on the net. This post showcases his talent and insight. I chuckled as I read the part Leo edited about happiness being a personal choice. There are always people telling us about other people who find it impossible to be happy or content. Okay, Okay, enough, we aren’t talking about them, we are talking about you. So quit making excuses and choose to be happy already!

Steven Aitchison wrote a fantastic series about making true friends. This is great advice, because many of us discover as we grow older that the people we thought were our friends are not true friends at all and our relationships evaporate because there was nothing of substance. Steven gives us an intelligent four part series on building quality friendships. Read the series here:

20 Tips to Survive When You’ve Overloaded Your Schedule – By Scott Young. I love Scott’s stuff and this one is golden advice when you are over committed. However, like I posted in the comments, in my experience it is best not to go overboard scheduling your life. I know this is heresy in some personal development circles, but time management is a crock. GTD is much better. Better yet… delegate, like Tim Ferriss, outsource the grind and live your passion.. IMHO in order to enjoy your life and be creative, you need unstructured free time to be spontaneous.

Some say writers should avoid sarcasm… One commenter recently told Marc Andressen that he was becoming too sarcastic and should read Ben Franklin and learn to be more persuasive. So Marc took his advice and read a bit of Mr. Franklin and his response was classic. There is a lot to learn from Marc’s post. Remember folks… the rules were made to be broken!

A Simple Way to Improve Your Life Everyday – Donald Latumahia writes an insightful post about the four facets of prosperity, material, spiritual, physical, and social. We need balance and endless improvement in all four areas to be truly prosperous. I use a similar method as his already, but I plan to add a few facets of his plan to mine.

Do You Know How Good You Have It?

You don’t know how good you have it.

That’s what my mother used to say when I’d whine or complain. I used to hate it when she said that because I didn’t know what it meant. My only perspective on life, was my perspective. That’s the only perspective any of us have. We can try to take another perspective, but it is imaginary. We can only assume we know how other people see the world.

I have no idea what it was like to live in the Jim Crow south. I’ve never had my brothers slaughtered in a foreign war. I’ve never worked for 17 cents an hour. I’ve never known a summer without air conditioning. I’ve never been trapped in an abusive relationship. I’ve never been unable to make money.

I used to resent her words…

But I know she meant well. So I will pass it on to my children…

And I will modify it a bit…

I will tell them…

Be grateful. Your happiness depends upon it.

RIP Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax died today. I don’t know if that means much to this audience.  But when I read it I felt a deep sense of loss and felt the need to honor the man who’s creations meant so much to me for so many years.

Gary,

I wish I could speak at your funeral.

You brought joy to a lot of misfits.

Just wanted to let you know…

My five year old knows what hit points are.

Thanks for all the memories Gary!

We’ll miss you.

🙁

Are You an Honest Person? I Mean Really Honest?

This article, I Think You’re Fat, is potentially life changing. I like to think of myself as an honest open person, but in reality I am a strategic liar. We all are. You’d admit it too, if you were honest.

In the 1800s authorities believed fictional novels were destroying the youth, by the 1950s and 60s it was Rock and Roll and television, and in the 1980s it was Heavy Metal and Dungeon and Dragons. Today the scapegoat for society’s problems are video games. On the same day Business Week published Video Games Aren’t a Waste of Time, we hear Barack Obama blame video games for underachievement. I have written multiple times about video games on this blog. In my last entry I decided to take the Playstation away from my 4-year-old because he was having emotional breakdowns over the game. A month or so later I returned it to him, with a few rules, but no fixed time limits. He plans to be a game developer and designer someday and I am not going to crush his dream. He owns his life, not me. But as a father I must expose him to much more than just video games, he is five now and taking Blended Kenpo, learning Spanish, Chinese, Persian, and Hindi, and learning to write short stories in English. Mr. Obama, video games are not the problem, public schools and low expectations are. Video games are making children’s lives better, it’s our schools that are destroying them.

Copybrighter wrote a fun post comparing today’s social media craze with what was going on in the 90s.

My ancestors immigrated to the US from Norway. I guess it was really poor 100 years ago, but when I read about Norway today, I wonder what it would be like to be a Norwegian now. Even the cops in Norway seem cool.

Simon Townley a freelance copywriter from the UK, wrote a post telling us about the software tools he uses to write. Many of them I had never heard of before. It is a long but highly valuable post. If you love to write either as a profession or hobby, his post is a must read.

I watch almost zero television, but I stumbled on some vintage shows from the 70s and 80s available online. The commercials are a bit annoying. If they must have commercials, it’d be better if they ran vintage commercials instead, like “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.”

I recently read Davis Allen’s book GTD. If you want to know more about this powerful productivity enhancing system. Al wrote a nice primer about David Allen’s GTD system at 7P Productions. This knowledge applied will pay you back a million x.

What on Earth is Wrong With Gravity?

I found this short scientific documentary from the BBC about the mysteries of gravity to be fascinating. It is humbling. We know so little about where we are.

Seth Godin tells us how he writes so many great blog posts

Does the possibility of time travel capture your imagination? Then you’ll love this article.

Badassdad tells us how to have a great day in 10 Ways to Claim Your Day.

We hear so much about climate change. But did you know there is a different scientific take on climate change than you normally hear? Keep your mind open.

Does your credit report need a makeover? 15 ways to improve your credit rating from Jeremy at GenX Finance.

Need a little positive emotion? Some inspiration? Take a look at this beautiful set of photographs from Rarindra Prakarsa.

Do you hate your job? Is it time to quit, but you don’t know what to do? Here is a guide to quitting a miserable job at Pick the Brain.