Friday is question day!

Where can you travel to – to learn more about yourself? Reply here in the comments or on twitter with the hashtag “#Qofday”: see here for example.

Where could you travel to that would actually change, influence, inform, enliven your point of view?
What is a place that would make it easy to be more YOU?

* * * * *
My answer is:

  • Japan again – and the quietness of the Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples
  • Alaska again – and the nature that is so peaceful and so fresh
  • Rome again – with all the gelato. I can discover more of myself in gelato :)
  • Patagonia – for the hiking. My friend Chris has incredible photos from there.
  • Small cities, small streets like Montreux, Switzerland, and other places I have not yet been to in Europe.

This is a question for you.

What do you find to be the most exhausting thing?

  • Working out physically to exhaustion
  • Studying and tiring out mentally to exhaustion
  • Getting into a fight with a friend or colleague to emotional exhaustion

I think it’s the last option – the emotional upheavals – that really tire us and exhaust us. What can we do about this?

Should we ignore heavy emotional items? Should we swim through them? Should we take a lighter attitude toward them?

What works for you?

And which was the most exhausting for you from this short list?

Update (1/29): Are you exhausted because of attribution theory?

If I told you I could teach you two sets of skills – one anticipating and the other defensive – which would you choose first? Which would you be more excited about learning?

I’ll give you concrete examples. I was teaching some great MBA students this past week, and my colleague and I were teaching them both types of skills.

* How to have a good-communications relationship so that misunderstandings are less likely to happen, and good interactions are more likely to occur?
* How to increase the strength of your immune system by being more aware of the good things going on around you?
* How to use your strengths more to bring you more productivity and enjoyment?

* When something bad happens – like your boss calls you into his office with no warning, and says, “I have a concern,” how do you react and how do you handle yourself?
* When someone seems to lose trust in you, what do you do?
* When everything seems to go wrong, how do you pick yourself back up and put yourself together and keep going?

Which of these sets of questions attract you more?
I’d be very interested!


Remember when we talked about how you do anything is how you do everything? Today’s quote is:

“Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.”
~ Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Swami Sivananda left a medical practice to become a monk. He had many disciples including Krishnamurti. Also on his quote bio, “…He wrote more than 300 books on Yoga and spirituality. He died in 1963.”

That’s cool! “More than 300 books!”

“What is a Teacher? A Teacher is the special person who has the responsibility to provide the “Eyes” for a student, and helps the student to “See”. A good Teacher directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first, and slowly, bit by bit, gently guides the seeking hands along a proven path. He carefully points out the next bits of knowledge, skillfully combining the simplicities, until the top of the mountain unfolds, not as a “complexity of facts”, but as a workable system, perfectly understood and usable by the student.”

~ Violin method book by Eden Vaning-Rosen

One of my favorite people in the world emailed me this today. I absolutely love it. So often, I say, “life is easy. it really is. I can choose the easy way to do something or the hard way. what if it were easy?” And the easy way needs to also be the right way.

I love too that this is in a violin book:
* Directs the student’s eyes to the simple parts first
* Points out the next bits of knowledge
until …
* a workable system
* the top of the mountain

I also like that the end result is not a “complexity of facts.” By the time you get there, you’re not memorizing facts; you’re using parts you understand. This is how I want to be as a teacher.

Why is it that when business people are taught about creativity, they start to create voraciously?! Writing poems, painting, singing, writing songs? You wouldn’t think that the pinnacle of business excellence is when the person could take some time off and pursue creative endeavors? But maybe that is the pinnacle, and maybe it should be.

Did you read the WSJ cover article last week about Peter Muller, the Morgan Stanley quant trader who took years off to do creative things, including writing songs and playing music in the NYC subway… the WSJ had a quote something along the lines of “if anyone had known that this particular subway musician was worth millions…”

Why is it that Mike Csikszentmihalyi, the creator of the concept and author of the book Flow, says that creativity is important? Is creativity important to flow? Why does creativity become so important along so many lines?

Maybe it’s because of this…

“I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one’s inner life. And that too is a deed.”
~ Etty Hillesum

Here is Etty’s quote bio from the Daily quote list:

About Etty Hillesum
Etty Hillesum, less famous than her contemporary, Anne Frank, lived a short life of great courage. She was born in 1914 in the Netherlands to a Dutch father and a Russian mother. She studied law, Slavic languages, and psychology. Hungry for knowledge, she cut down on food in order to buy books. She went voluntarily to the Westerbork camp to help fellow Jews interned by the Nazis. Her letters detail her experiences; her more meditative diary focuses on issues of faith. She died at Auschwitz in 1943.

I was at a talk a few days ago, and the speaker in his last exercise, asked us to speak to a partner about a goal we want to accomplish in the next 30 days.

September is the time we used to return to school as kids. September is when people return from vacations and buckle down again to work. September is a time for new things, including new projects and new habits.

What is your September goal?

On the day of Rosh Hashanah, the New Year, I wish you to plan even bigger than you imagined before, and to meet with a success unparalleled in common hours, and I wish you comfort in your own approval of all these events. In other words, think big, act bigger.

Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.
~ Golda Meir

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
~ Henry David Thoreau

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.
~ Mark Twain