I have a tendency to balk at New Year’s resolutions. Well maybe balk isn’t the word, look down upon/roll my eyes/generally poo-poo, are more accurate descriptions. This probably comes from my experience at the gym in the first month and a half of every new year…anybody who has a regular gym program knows exactly what I mean. I also have this very Tony Robbins’/Jillian Michaels’-esque frame of mind – if you are serious about making changes in your life, why do you have to wait until January 1st? Do it now. And that’s probably why I’m writing this blog today and not tomorrow.
All of this said (and re-reading that paragraph, I sound like a total curmudgeon) – I do want to make some changes. And perhaps putting those thoughts out into the universe (i.e. worldwide web), will help me to make good on these promises to myself. So here you have it (I’ll keep it at 10, that feels realistic over the course of a year):
1. Be less stubborn and be more empathetic. Before reacting, think…about where someone else is coming from, what motivates them. And maybe my conclusion will still be that my way is the best way, but also, maybe not.
2. Get involved in my community. I’m invested in a new neighborhood, literally, and it’s important for me to have a say in how to make it better.
3. Drink more water.
4. Smile, every morning, for at least one minute. I’m guessing this will make me actually smile, because I’ll look like a jackass for 60 seconds (that just means in the morning, I probably look like a jackass for way longer than 60 seconds every day).
5. Be more present in my yoga practice.
7. Get better networked in my industry – continued learning in my field.
8. Blog more.
9. Be there for friends and family. I am such a good isolator. Now that I’ve spent the past 28 years learning how to do that, I think it’s probably time to learn how to better stay in touch with people.
10. And for those of you who know me well…you know what #10 is. It’s the key to accomplishing #1 through 9.
And I’m beginning today. I’m smiling like a jackass, right now.
For a few months now, I’ve been writing a daily “Gratitude List.” I list the numbers 1 through 10 and then I write down what I am grateful for on that particular day. Sometimes 10 isn’t enough and sometimes 10 is a hard number to reach. It all really comes down to my attitude. And I must say, now, I look forward to these few minutes to reflect on my day and to thank the Universe for all it gives me.
Anyway, I was struck by something today. Someone said a phrase that we often hear… “Well I should be thankful I have _______ ; a lot of people don’t have _______.” And for some reason, it made me angry. All our lives we’re taught to be thankful for the things we have, because others do not have. This sound familiar?: “You better eat your (insert green vegetable here), other children would be lucky to have a meal like this.” But why must we be thankful just because our situation is better than someone else’s? It dawned on me that it’s this line of thinking, ingrained in us since childhood, which has always made me compare myself to others. Of course I can be grateful because I’m not a starving child living on the streets, but I can also be angry at the world because I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. And if I continue this slippery slope argument…ultimately, if I constantly compare myself to others, how can I ever be happy? So I think it comes down to this simple thought:
Just Be Grateful.
A Brief History of Anxiety -
Really interesting article on anxiety’s development through the ages… I love a little psychological history lesson. Anxiety really is a phenomenon — it can trigger our instinctual need to protect ourselves, or it can render us completely paralyzed. The quote below is awesome; it’s a great description:
“…anxious troubles are quintessential mind-body phenomena. They implicate a possible symphonic interaction of DNA, hormones, neurons, anticipatory fantasies, memories and thoughts, as well as the constraints and opportunities of our culture.”
The NYSE has decided to partner with the Startup America Partnership, a group that lends support to emerging companies and entrepreneurs. This article put a little smile on my face - I always like to see the big guy helping out the little guy. And what I really like about this program is that the NYSE will use its network of public companies to provide mentoring opportunities to the startups - providing advice about how to build a company that can one day go IPO. I would like to see more than 1.5M go into this, however, but hopefully this is just a jumping-off point…
“Small objects, like the Walkman first and then the iPod, create bubbles of space around us that enable us to have a metaphysical space that is much bigger than our physical space” - Paola Antonelli
It’s funny how serendipitous life can be…how often does it happen that a friend asks “do you know this new band?” and you say “no,” usually feeling slightly embarrassed, only to get in your car or turn on the TV and there they are?! Well this happened today - my father and I were just talking about how all the new technology, especially with regards to tablets like the iPad, give people an opportunity to escape, to vacation, from their everyday lives. He equated it to the Governator’s performance in Total Recall, a movie which I’ve never seen, because honestly, I don’t watch Arnold Schwarzenegger movies. But that’s neither here nor there, Wikipedia exists for a reason (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Total_Recall). But as I was reading my daily news sources, I saw these TED quotes on Mashable and the first one related exactly to this conversation with my dad! You could argue that maybe we just become hyper-aware of these topics once they’re discussed, but it’s more fun to think it’s serendipitous. Plus, it’s really fun to say serendipitous.
But seriously, technology does give provide an escape, a chance to be somewhere else in our minds and to dream and express ourselves. And it’s much cheaper than booking a flight.
The second TED quote that I really liked was from the great Peter Gabriel: “Whenever there’s a camera around, a video or film camera, it’s a great deal harder for those in power to bury the story.”
Think of the photographers in Vietnam - they changed the narrative of that war. They showed what war really is and what it looks like. It didn’t look heroic and brave, it looked frightening and shameful. And the citizens of the U.S., of the world, responded. We don’t have to rely on photographers or news reporters, we are enabled by technology to show our own story, the real story. We each have the ability to make a change in the world with a simple click. And that’s pretty awesome.
Find more quotes here: http://www.ted.com/quotes
In an article in The New York Times titled “Spotting the Trends, Before They Break Out,” Omnicom’s newest agency, Sparks and Honey, is spotlighted. The agency seeks to get ahead of cultural trends and start the conversation with the public about these trends through the use of social media sites like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. You know, the usual suspects. Companies have been doing this for a while now, Tweeting and engaging followers with real-time responses, whether it be a simple “thanks” or advice on how to troubleshoot a product problem. But what I find interesting about Sparks and Honey is that the agency can become an essential part of the marketing plan before a product/service/artist is even introduced. It will create buzz - the pie-in-the-sky goal of every marketer, getting the people talking about your product.
This is the way marketing is headed, it has to be dynamic and as marketers, we have to be ahead of the trends. Proactive, not reactive, is the name of the game and it’s just beginning. I wonder what the future holds. I imagine holograms of some kind.
Interesting article, not so sure about the last paragraph though…little bit of a reach.
(Source: The New York Times)
SERIOUSLY?! Look at that - San Francisco doesn’t get better than this! I went for a morning run on the hills around Dolores Park and I took a few minutes to just sit and enjoy, and that is what dreams are made of. For all of the annoyances - the sky-rocketing rent, late buses and super annoying rich-kid hipsters - the beauty of this city is worth it.
*Note: this quote brought to you by Katie Parker
This article was co-authored by one of the partners at the venture capital firm where I intern and it really made some great points. Attending an MBA program that is heavily focused on sustainability and living in San Francisco where the idea is ingrained in almost everything we do, the inevitable collapse of Solyndra is pretty disheartening. And especially if we consider that much of it has to do with competition from the developing world. Is the U.S. over? As an upcoming graduate in a few months, this is a scary thought. But also one that has been talked about throughout my 2+ years in business school.
Not to get too political, but I think we need some more government intervention - VC firms truly can’t foster innovation alone. I think we can’t maintain a sustainable competitive advantage as a country without it. If we can bailout a bunch of fat cats on Wall Street, why can’t the same be done for companies who are trying to make a positive difference?
A Checklist For Single People « Thought Catalog -
Got this from Miss Maggie’s blog - pretty sure it sums up the past year+ of my life. And I’m stoked about that.
(Source: preppyhippieblogspot, via maggiemcg)
While looking for an article I have to read for my Information Systems class, I came across a blog post on the Harvard Business Review’s website -“Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.”
As a generally motivated person, I’ve heard this advice countless times - quantifying goals, setting “check-in” points and being realistically optimistic are keys to success. And I completely agree. One piece of advice I haven’t heard as often (if ever), was #5 - “Focus on getting better, rather than being good.” I really like this thought. After all, what is the definition of good? And compared to what or whom? Getting better means benchmarking your past and improving upon it. Going along with that, think about where you were and where you are now! It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come, how much I’ve learned and how different I am from 5 years ago. While I can’t say definitively that I’m “good” at anything, I’ve improved upon every part of my life (except maybe my emerging crow’s feet). And that’s nothing to laugh at (well, maybe the crow’s feet part is).
All of this being said, I wanted to add my own #10 to this list…LET IT GO. I tend to be my own worst critic and am always thinking I’m not doing enough. I recently started meditating (I’m probably doing it wrong, my head doesn’t ever really get quiet), but what I’ve learned from doing it is that you have to let it go. Did I read that chapter today like I said I would? Did I do 60 squats like I planned? Did my laundry get finished? No. But I did submit my homework early, go to a 60-minute spin class and clean my kitchen. Forgiving myself and acknowledging that I will try my best tomorrow has been a great relief for me. While it may not be the best advice for those trying to conquer the world…I think it’s essential for those trying to be happy.