Zen is you – Be.

Remember ‘Why’?

Posted in impact, objectives, satisfaction by dave225 on May 22, 2012

So fundamental, so easily missed.

WHY https://ungard.wordpress.com/2008/12/24/why-why-why/
WHY http://thestuffihave.com/blog/?p=208

Forget about adoption – it’s easy to get people excited about something new.


Why it matters, even if people are on board with ‘What’ ….

Because eventually, people need a different ‘What’. “Gettin shit done” aint a reason to exist. People get bored with what you’re doing – even if it’s a temporary boredom. Unaddressed boredom turns into resentment. Resentment begets fight.. or, … flight.

… All because you don’t even know why you’re getting out of bed in the morning.  What an easy save that could be.


Give the people what they want. Or …

Posted in ideas, impact by dave225 on March 1, 2011

I don’t watch the news. Because I don’t learn anything useful from it.

But someone told me that this morning’s news was about the storms we had overnight. So the lightning that I saw at 5:00am was in fact real. Luckily, we have some commentary this morning about how we nearly had weather conditions that could have been exciting to talk about.

I don’t blame the media for this drivel. Weather excites people. Charlie Sheen excites people. The news has to deliver something people want to see, or … Or they won’t watch it? Kind of a losing battle – give them dreck because they want it or give them substance that they won’t watch. Anyway, not really the media’s fault, the public’s appetite for useless content. I’m just glad the media manages to sneak some substance in there when they can.

But what if … What if the media could bring the same kind of excitement to local innovation, culture and community that they can bring to weather and sports?

There is


much going on in this city that’s truly exciting. Instead of “Did you get woken up by thunder?” or “How about those Bucks?” as obligatory smalltalk, how do we use the local media to rally around what we *could* make this city about? (BTW, my vote is “Barrier Free Columbus” – an environment of “can-do” whether you’re starting a business, getting an education, finding a job, a home, a support network,…. there is a structure here to remove barriers to whatever you need to do.)

It’s not the media’s fault that people gravitate toward loud noises and shiny objects. But I challenge them to put a sheen on local progress. It’s all marketing, you know.

Every day is like Sunday

Posted in impact, stress relief, values by dave225 on March 15, 2009

I’m thinking about going into the office this weekend. Ordinarily, I like to leave work behind a couple days a week. But when I don’t have much else planned, sometimes an extra day to catch up can ease the stress of the week.

My big dilemma isn’t whether or not I should work on a weekend; The dilemma is how to spend that time. I could use the time to knock off some of those little tasks that seem to be in the way, so I can spend the week focusing on work that really matters.

Or I can spend the weekend on work that really matters. My idealistic side says, “always focus on work that really matters.” Don’t sweat the small stuff. Big wins.

But my intellectual but realistic side reminds me of the serenity prayer:

No -not that one! But these little tasks that I would gladly put off forever are important (or, I mean, <airquotes>important</airquotes>) to someone. So they will always be there – distracting, usurping, foiling.

I think my plan will be to round up the annoying tasks and drive the herd off a cliff. Do enough to get them out of the way – and spend the majority of the week working on stuff that matters.

And next week, Friday will be the day that I spend a little time on these nuisances, instead of Sunday. That will be my new M.O. – Big and important, Monday through Thursday. Small and dumb – gets thrown in the Friday bucket. And when Friday comes, whatever gets done, gets done and whatever doesn’t – won’t.

The best laid schemes of mice and men,
Go oft astray,
And leave us nought but grief and pain,
To rend our day.
Still thou art blessed, compared with me!
The present only touches thee
But, oh, I backward cast my eye
On prospects drear,
And forward, though I cannot see,
I guess and fear.

Why Why Why

Posted in impact, objectives, satisfaction, Uncategorized by dave225 on December 24, 2008

Perhaps you’re familiar with this parable about stone masons and purpose (text that I lifted from here, but it could have been anywhere):

I’m reminded of a story about a traveler in the Middle Ages, who visited a city where many stone cutters were working. Approaching several, he asked the same question:

“What are you doing?”

The first stonecutter he met replied, “I’m cutting stone. It’s dull work, but it pays the bills.”

A second stonecutter responded, “I’m the best stone cutter in the land. Look at the smoothness of this stone, how perfect the edges are.”

A third pointed to a foundation several yards away, and said, “I’m building a cathedral.”

One lacked purpose altogether. The second was proud of the work he did. But the third clearly had a sense of purpose, of the greater reason for his work. It’s safe to assume that the third stone cutter never got lost in the boredom of the work or became obsessed with being the best. The third stone cutter knew that his work was critical to the successful completion of a larger project the construction of a cathedral.

Well it occurred to me this morning that this parable is incomplete.  “I’m building a cathedral!”  Well why in god’s name* are you doing that?  The vision for this cathedral isn’t to have a giant, unoccupied building plopped down where there used to be farmland.  And it wasn’t built just to give people something to do.  What’s the bigger WHY?!

It must have a bigger purpose than “build it.”  Is it to glorify God*?  To establish a place of community, a civic center? And why would you want either of those?  To raise the standard of living for all citizens or to make the king richer?  What is the real vision? And what are the real benefits?

Execution (i.e. building stuff) comes from people working.  Vision and strategy come from the top.  Every bit of work at every level should have that vision behind it.  So whether you’re building a cathedral or a website:  ask yourself about the real why.

(*no specific religious affiliation, promotion or denigration intended.)

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How are you helping?

Posted in ideas, impact by dave225 on September 14, 2008

That question has stuck with me for years… My next door neighbor, Marty was painting the garage one day when his son Ben (about 7 years old a the time) came running by, doing some childish nonsense.. whatever it was, Marty said to him, “Ben, how are you helping?”  Ben was a great kid.  That question was all it it took for him to realize that he was doing anything but being helpful.

I always wanted to make a bumpersticker that said, “How are you helping?”  Not just to get people to start thinking about whether or not they are doing enough to help, but because so many bumperstickers send a message of aggression;  And how is that helping?

So this past week, as the political campaigns have really started to ramp up and the candidate bashing has started to get ugly, I ask, “How are you helping?”  To whom are you pointing out the weaknesses of the other side’s candidate?  Are you singing to your own choir?  Are you engaging in battle with the other side?  You’re not going to win.  Bashing the candidates only make the other side hostile – it doesn’t change their vote.  And as for your own side, I once again call on Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”  If you want to convice someone to vote for your side, discuss ideas.  Talk about what you think our society needs the most right now.  If you want to convince someone, convince them that your ideas are important.  If you get them to agree, they’ll see through the campaign bullshit and pick the best person to uphold that point of view.

And if you want to make an impact, you may need to go outside of your own neighborhood.  Although there are people near me who don’t share my ideals and won’t vote the way I vote, I know which way the scale will tip in November for my precinct.  It’s the electoral votes two hours away from me that have me worried.

You want to make a difference.  You can put a lot of time and energy into being active.  Yes, it takes a lot of energy to stay busy.  Work, work, work all day performing duties.  But the measure of impact is the output, not the input.  So how are YOU helping?

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