Best Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (In No Particular Order): I’ll Sing For You

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

I admit it: I am a film geek. I even used to be a video store clerk and was three courses short of a film major.

I learned to enjoy film student/art house fare in my 20’s, largely because I wanted to be able to see those movies and then say to film snobs that they were overrated. (In reality, sometimes they were, sometimes they weren’t.) At the same time, I used to watch copious amounts of HBO as a teenager and young adult. 

Bottom line: I have seen some underexposed movies (at least in the USA). 

So, I’m going to do this irregularly appearing series of posts, called The Best Movies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of (In No Particular Order). 

Hopefully, some of the lesser-known movies that I have liked will be of use to you, one way or another.

I’ll be trying to calibrate the obscurity of movies as I go along, so please feel free to use the Comments section to let me know if you’ve seen these movies or not. (You can even just say “seen” or “not seen.”) 

Please also feel free to help me emerge out of my Rip Van Winkle-like cinematographic torpor by making your own suggestions in the Comments section of good films to see from the last 10 years.

So, here goes.

I’ll Sing For You (2001)

The simplest way to describe this movie would be that it is a documentary on Boubacar Traore. But that would also be too simplistic. For this film is so much more. 

Yes, it’s about one of the most famous musicians in Mali— a country rich in amazing musicians— and his constantly changing fortunes. There are guest appearances by other Malian musicians, including that other towering Malian musical figure, Ali Farka Toure.

But the movie is told in a nonlinear fashion, almost as if peeling away the layers of an onion.

The film narrative’s twists and turns seem not so much borne from plot so much as they are about deciphering among all of Boubacar Traore’s internal contrasts and complexities.

And to some extent, about deciphering the complexity among the Malians in the film. For example, are those wistful, transported smiles, pitying smiles for a dinosaur, or derisive smiles for a fool who sings glowingly about a discredited concept of Mali sold to its people in its early, heady days of independence? It’s hard to know. Any and all of these possibilities might be true.

But the film is also about Mali, itself, too: one of the poorest countries in the world, rich in colors and peoples and cultures and languages, diverse in landscapes, its soundscape memorably complex and evocative, and full of memorable images that etch themselves into your brain.

This is such a thoughtful and well-made film: meditative yet very moving. It used to be on Netflix, but it can now be seen on YouTube. I highly recommend it.

 

Blues for Chuck D (The Too Late Blues)

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

There’s this song I’ve been playing into the ground for the last year. 

It’s a recent song by— of all people— Public Enemy called “I Shall Not Be Moved.” I use it as my soundtrack, or as my summoning call, to work on writing. 

One reason it works for me is that it sounds great: it manages to have an immersive quality and a groove to it. 

But I think on some level, the words really resonate with me too, especially this passage:

Yall Aint Heard It
I Work It
The Senior Circuit
See Some Quit It
Cuz They Dont Get It
Fire Music
My Aim Is
Forget What My Name Is
Yeah I Aint Famous To Be Famous

…I Shall Not be Moved

So, why do the words feel so relevant to me right now? Let me explain.

I’ve had my most productive year ever as a writer, in terms of sheer output.

It’s all been in my medium of choice: fiction.

And it’s been awesome.

It feels awesome. 

At the same time, there’s this little voice in me that asks, ‘What’s the use, Jon? You’re 45 years old. The time to start your writing career was fifteen, ten, even five years ago. But now? It’s just too late.’

I recognize this voice: I’ve used some variant of it on myself pretty much since my late 20’s— part of me never really forgave myself for not having a novel accepted for publication by the age of 23. I also have heard many variants of this self-talk from my creative coaching clients, especially those who are in their 30s. 

Now, high standards and ambition can be good things. They push us to strive for something, to try to be the best versions of ourselves. But the flip side of them can be that if we don’t perform to our standards, we punish ourselves with extremely harsh self-talk. 

If you’re John McEnroe playing tennis in the 1980’s, then that isn’t necessarily a bad thing— he’d sometimes play his best after unleashing a torrent of self-abuse— but for the vast majority of the rest of us, the self-bashing is paralyzing and counter-productive. 

On top of that, if you’re like me and your art is sacred to you, then telling yourself it’s too late and you shouldn’t bother is like knowingly inviting a vampire (of the traditional malevolent variety) to cross the threshold into your house. 

You’re essentially telling yourself that what you’re doing is fruitless and won’t matter, that it will essentially be meaningless— since, in my case, who would be interested in the work of an obscure, unestablished, irrelevant, yet over-the-hill artist?

And that is crippling.

Intellectually, I know why that negative self-talk is not true: there is no shortage of examples of artists who were unknown until they were older. 

Algernon Blackwood was over 40 when his first book of stories was published. Blues duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee toiled in relative obscurity until they were discovered by the 1960’s coffee house circuit after their 50th birthdays. Philip K. Dick was mostly a commercial and critical failure until the last year of his life when his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep was made into the Harrison Ford movie Blade Runner — he never lived to see his other stories and novels adapted into Total Recall, Minority Report, The Man in the High Castle, and The Adjustment Bureau, among others.

But, as I have reminded myself, those guys were constantly working on their art and completing actual pojects. They just weren’t commercially successful. 

Then again, though, there were artists of some renown who didn’t even start working seriously on their art until later in life. For example, Grandma Moses didn’t start painting seriously until the age of 78, blues guitarist Moses Rascoe only first attempted a musical career after retiring from trucking at the age of 65, and there are numerous other stories I could cite if I wanted to go on. 

I have shared examples like these with a number of my coaching clients, and it’s had a real impact on many of them. I have tried telling myself the same thing. But— as is the case with a some of my other clients—  some part of me hasn’t quite believed what I said or internalized it fully. 

And that brings me back to Public Enemy’s “I Shall Not be Moved.”

Chances are very, very high that Chuck D and Public Enemy are never going to reach the heights to which they once soared. Public Enemy was huge in the late 80’s-early 90’s hip hop world, but they have been more or less irrelevant for decades. In fact, I remember being surprised they were still making music when I found “I Shall Not be Moved” on YouTube.  

And yet, they keep on going. Why? What purpose could Chuck D and Public Enemy have in making new music when it’s likely to be ignored and dismissed by the vast majority of hip hop fans? 

I’d like to think the words to “I Shall Not be Moved” answer that question. 

The way I interpret the lyric I cited above is as follows: Chuck D acknowledges his age, he knows he’s not particularly relevant anymore in the larger culture, and he could just give up or rest on his laurels and stop creating— since he most likely can’t ‘win,’ in terms of external success. 

But for him, it’s about the work. 

It’s about continuing to make his art. It’s about doing the work. It’s about learning and getting better at it.

And then doing it again. 

Maybe he loves his art, maybe he feels compelled to do it, maybe he’s hoping for that breakout song or album (since Public Enemy is old school and still makes albums)— and if success follows, then fine, lovely, great. 

But it’s about doing the work— no matter what happens.  

Chuck D goes on to say:

Never Bitter But Better…

Say The Test
Is Being At Your Best
The Curse
Is Living At Your Worst…

…I Shall Not be Moved

In other words,  life without doing the thing that you love is an impoverished one.  For me, living without writing— living without practicing my art— feels like living my worst. And it’s something that I did for several years, at one point. 

So, when I listen to this song while I’m writing, it impels me forward. It inspires me.  It urges me on to do the work. 

Not to generate ideas, not to think about doing the work, but to actually do the real work. 

Every day.

No matter what else I do artistically or non-artistically.

“I Shall Not Be Moved” reminds me that I can no longer accept sacrificing my art for just about anything and everything else. It’s a signpost to me to practice my art and live the best version of myself every day. 

If you’re not fully doing so already, I encourage you to do the same. 

Every day. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes. 

And you can start anytime— including today.

 

 

Codona: Beautiful Incongruence

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes, I like to play what I call ‘Stream of Consciousness’ on YouTube.

I take a song I’m interested in hearing, type it in and listen to it, then see what links come up on the side and follow whatever piques my interest. I repeat this process as many times as it takes until I eventually find something amazing and unexpected. It’s how I discovered an extraordinary collaboration between Santana and a group called Tinariwen years ago.  And it’s how I stumbled upon something called Codona.

Codona isn’t quite like anything I have heard before.

If nothing else, Codona is an expression of the three large musical personalities who breathed life into it— which might sound ironic, since these three musicians are largely unknown outside of their own respective musical idioms.

Don Cherry— perhaps best known in pop culture as the stepfather of the 1980’s pop music star, Neneh Cherry— was a very famous (at least within jazz circles) jazz trumpet player best known for his work with avant-garde jazz pioneer Ornette Coleman.  Nana Vasconcelos is an experimental Brazilian musician— probably best known in the U.S. for the other-worldly quality he added to Pat Metheny’s work in the early 1980’s.  Loosely speaking, he’s a percussionist and vocalist, whose work always has struck me as having an ethereal quality to it.  He can play a conventional drum set, but he’ll more typically use things like the Brazilian berimbau, gongs, rain sticks, clapping, talking drums, and much, much more.  His vocalizations— whispers, whistles, sighs, low moans, murmured beats— often serve a percussive function— which, in itself, is not unique within Brazilian music; however, there is a darkness— sometimes verging on creepiness— in what he does that contrasts sharply from most other Brazilian vocalists I’ve heard. Collin Waldcott was in the legendary jazz-rock fusion group (at least to fusion fans) Oregon and plays the sitar on this piece.   Honestly, I know less about Waldcott’s work than I do of Cherry’s and Vasconcelos’ work, but if you want to Wikipedia him, have at it.

As for the piece, I read somewhere that it is like Indian jazz,  My reaction to it is a little different.  For me, it is almost like witnessing the interplay of three great primordial and magnetic forces, with one of them being dominant at a given moment.

The introduction is brief and spare, involving all three musicians playing finger harp, kora, and other instruments. That soon gives way to vintage Vasconcelos, who plays on gongs while his vocalizations seem to inhabit the border region between chanting, groaning, and whooping. Eventually, it gives way to Cherry’s lyrical coronet playing over the surreal backdrop playing behind him— consistent, in some ways, with what he did in Ornette Coleman’s most famous experimental, avant-garde work. This gives way, in turn, to a langorous passage dominated by Walcott that would sound Indian, except that it’s darker and more foreboding. And then, the conversation among musicians takes off from there.

Independent of this collaboration, each of these musicians was experimental within his own genre throughout his own lifetime, and extremely open-minded to taking other musical idioms and weaving them into his own work.

What I find interesting about this song is just how far this principle is stretched. All is adventurous, and all is improvised and created within that instant, requiring each of the musicians to be exquisitely attuned to being present to each moment—simultaneously creating something entirely new on the fly that is at once their own and part of the collective work, while also listening to what the other musicians are playing in real time.

Thus, it’s not just about working with other jazz musicians or Brazilian musicians, it’s not just about assimilating other people’s work and ideas into your own— work and ideas that might be different, but still have a basic thread that is common to yours.  (For example, in his 20s, the tenor saxophonist Branford Marsalis worked to master and assimilate into his own style the styles of other jazz tenor saxophonists who came before him.)

Codona required its artists to blend what sometimes seemed like radically disparate, unforseen elements into a whole. To fuse disparate traditions, (musical) disciplines, and creative spaces to create something unique and original— in a way that had never quite been done before.

That is something we can do in our own lives. How many times have you felt like a flake or a dilettante because you thought your interests were ‘a mile wide and an inch deep.’  Or conversely, how many times have you felt unrounded or otherwise less sexy because you have a lot of in-depth knowledge in a relatively small number of areas, which aren’t always considered to be so useful? How about a new way to think about yourself: perhaps you have diverse interests that aren’t just confined to one area; or perhaps your in-depth knowledge in a few areas gives you a unique perspective to offer others, sometimes in unforseen disciplines or spaces.

What if you were to own that? And what if you were to utilize these as strengths, and build off of them?

And what if you were to engage fully with the world— fully present, and fully in possession of your gifts, of your individuality, of your flaws and your quirks, and of the unique light that only you can shine onto this world of multiplicitous lights, none of which are the same as your own?

Ask yourself this: how would that affect your work, your career, your art, your relationships, and your sense of self in the world?

Unblocking and Unboxing: Putting the Spontaneous Back into Spontaneous Inventions

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have not been around much blog-wise for the last year or two.

There are a few reasons for that.

I decided to focus more on my therapy work, my daughter and family, and my fiction the last couple of years.

But that’s only part of the story.

Have you ever changed a habit or otherwise tried to act intentionally— but then slipped up once… only to throw up your hands and give in to your old habit or addiction, or mindless behavior? Maybe it’s a diet you’ve been on, or stopping smoking or drinking. Maybe it’s not dating another person like that. Maybe it’s not spending so much time on the Internet or watching junky TV.

Truth be told, once I fell out of the habit of posting on my blog regularly, I fell into a pit of perfectionism and lack of inspiration as far as my blog was concerned. You probably know the story— I thought I had to post something profound and explain my absence with brilliant erudition. And so, my reasons for not posting became self-perpetuating. And got me further from my goals, since I have wanted to post more often.

Yet, part of my lack of inclination to post has also been this (self-inflicted) feeling that my posts need to be of self-help or inspirational value— after all, I am a personal coach. That imperative has also blocked me from writing on Spontaneous Inventions, since it limited where I would let my creative inspiration take me.

Think of whether you might have ever experienced something in your own life like this. Did you ever limit yourself from even exploring a new job, writing in a certain genre, working in a particular artistic idiom,  or pursuing a particular business idea of yours— even though it was a good idea— because it did not fit with your career, or artistic, or personal identity? I don’t know about you, but that’s happened to me before, and I’ve seen it happen to many people who were stuck professionally or blocked creatively.

So I’m going to attempt a tried and true creative unblocking technique here.

I am not going to limit what I post anymore to fit in with what I’ve done before. Instead, I am going to follow whatever inspiration I feel passionate writing about at that moment and see where it takes me. And I’m going to do it in a way that fits in with the rest of my life (i.e., not posting every week) and nourishes me as an artist.

Feel free to come along for the ride.

And think about one thing in your life that you could unblock by freeing yourself from the boxes you put around yourself.

Reflections While Doing the Dishes

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

Time to crank this blog back up.

I live with somebody who— I am convinced— is one of the most amazing chefs in the world: my wife.

We dine on local farm-grown vegetables here in the Hudson Valley and on organic meat we source locally. What my wife does with it is nothing short of miraculous. [I’ll write more on that in a later blog post.]

I often say that is a crime against humanity that only Georgia and I get to enjoy my wife’s art, but my wife once owned a cafe, and you couldn’t get her to open another restaurant even if you paid her more than the value of Mark Zuckerberg’s stock options and gave her a personal foot masseuse who’d follow her around and tend to her feet all day (picture somebody diving onto the floor at various times to get at the right massage angle).

But I digress.

Although I offer to cook— and I’m not bad at the 3 or 4 dishes or so that are my sweet spot— I am notoriously slow.  My wife, on the the other hand, zips things out left and right with more cooking creativity in the tip of her little pinkie than I have for an entire decade.

Because she is quick, she enjoys cooking, and she doesn’t like to have to wait around for me to painstakingly pare the fat off of my chicken cutlets for 2 hours,  it works out that my wife does most of the cooking in our home right now— despite my pretensions and self-image of being a feminist.

The deal though, is that whoever does the eating– and not the cooking– does the dishes.

So that task usually falls to me.

My wife’s brilliance in the kitchen means that there are often a lot of dishes to do.

That sometimes can feel like a daunting task.

But it also is an opportunity for me to reflect, and a few insights continually surface for me. These insights will be the basis for  another periodically appearing mini-series of blog posts: Reflections While Doing the Dishes.

So, here goes with #1 in the series…

#1: When you’ve got a lot to do, do the big things first.

I went through a few years when looking at a sink full of dishes felt pretty overwhelming to me, including the last few years with my wife— because let’s face it, culinary brilliance and improvisation can get kind of messy.

I shifted on that, though, back in February.

That was when I was thinking about writing a blog entry on the Super Bowl, of all things.

I was going to write about the game-winning drive in that game when the Giants quarterback Eli Manning broke with convention and made the biggest play on the first play of the offensive drive that won the game for the Giants.

I was thinking about how that might be applied to real life and remembered how I used to do a sink full of dishes at some friends of mine’s house in San Francisco. They were always generous about letting me stay over every now and then, and to quietly repay them, I’d do the dishes in their sink from time to time. For awhile, I was frequently staying there on the nights when they would cook for Food Not Bombs (see http://www.foodnotbombs.net/), which meant that they made meals for hundreds of homeless people.

Talk about an overwhelming sink of dishes to look at.

But I remember trying something for the first or second time I did the dishes on a FNB night: instead of saving the big pieces for last, I’d start out doing them first— the gigantic pots and pans, the dirtiest, the nastiest things I found, I’d reach for them right off the bat.

It was the opposite way from how I learned to do dishes, but I found an interesting thing would happen when I’d start with the big things first: everything else— the rest of the task— looked relatively doable and manageable.

It was a real revelation for me.

Every night when I’d do the FNB dishes— even when the sink looked really full that time— I’d start out with the big things first. It was impossible to imagine, it was almost a leap of faith to believe that it would be easy afterward. But I did it anyway.

And it always worked.

And that is what I started doing after the Super Bowl. And wouldn’t you know it: doing the dishes became manageable again for me.

So try this: try thinking about something that you have been struggling to do for a long time. Something daunting, something overwhelming, something that feels too large. For example, maybe you’ve thought about all the things you need to do but bringing yourself to do them feels like way too much.

Now, try this instead: dive into the biggest part of your task first, and just start doing it. See what happens.

Try figuring out how to film the ‘unfilmable’ scenes first. Try contacting that connected person who might be the most help to you in your job search. Try writing that chapter that you’ve been dreading because you know how hard it’s going to be to pull it off. Try mastering the toughest passage in a song you’re going to play.

You might well find out that it’s not as bad as you thought.

In fact, you might find that once you’ve gotten it out of the way, everything else falls into place and everything feels more manageable afterward.

Tidbit #4: If your gut is telling you that something is wrong… chances are it is.

Tags

, , , , ,

One of the fun things about my cross-country trip last year was that I got to stop in my old undergraduate college town, which I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years.

Even though I didn’t have a car back when I was in school, I still more or less knew how to get to Chicago from there. As I left and got back on I-90, though, the GPS in our car eventually did a funny thing: it had me turn off of the Interstate and take a smaller highway. I thought it was strange, but I did it anyway, thinking that maybe there was a shortcut that our GPS knew about but that I didn’t— since the last time I had driven in Wisconsin was in 1990— and because I had to make a quick decision, since the choice came upon me rather suddenly.

Unfortunately, that meant that I did a weird sort of doubling back and was taken through local roads with speed limits of 30 mph and traffic lights, as well as through Strips that were being cruised by suburban teenagers. Bottom line: I added another hour or hour and a half to my trip.

I chalked it up to our car’s  GPS “just going haywire.” The next day, though, I made sure to get a better idea of my route on a map before I left, just in case. I was on my way from Chicago to the tiny sliver of Northwestern Pennsylvania that lies between Ohio and New York State.

Everything went fine with GPS, at first— it had me taking the route that I had charted that morning. But at some point after crossing over into Indiana, our GPS had me going off of I-90 again to take another highway toward the south. My gut told me that that was profoundly wrong. I had the presence of mind to check it out, and I was right: our GPS would have had me take a 3-hour detour through Indianapolis. Later, after ignoring our GPS’ directions, it had me taking a detour through Michigan to the north. I knew that was wrong, too, so I ignored it again.

Ignoring our GPS wasn’t easy— I was driving through parts of the country that I had never driven through and felt like a neophyte, while our GPS presumably was an Authority drawing off of some vast bank of electronic knowledge that I could only guess at. But the second day, I trusted my knowledge— however limited it may be— and myself in the face of receiving contradicting information from this outside authority.

It turned out— I  learned later— that our GPS was on a setting that had it giving me routes that avoided tolls.

So, take it from me: if your gut, your intuition, is telling you that something you are seeing or doing is wrong, then chances are that it is. If your child is doing something you have a bad feeling about— whether there’s a good reason for it or not— pay attention to that feeling. If somebody is telling you a story about what you have to do for work or for a relationship, which doesn’t sound right to you, explore that doubt in your mind further. If your gut is telling you a place to live is not the right one for you, don’t dismiss it immediately. If a doctor is telling you something about your body that screams ‘Wrong!’  to you, get a second opinion. If your intuition tells you to take a piece of writing in a ‘where the hell would I go from there?’ direction, try going down that path anyway instead of just playing it safe and conventional. If your intuition draws you toward a certain artistic idiom, don’t fight it, even if it’s not an idiom within which you normally work. After all, ‘Authorities’ and conventional wisdom can be wrong, but your true intuition rarely is.

Riding the Dreams Inside Your Head

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Hi everybody. Happy belated holidays and new year.

I’m back now.

I was struck by how many Nw Year’s blog posts a month ago were about being unafraid to make mistakes in 2012. I wholeheartedly endorse that idea.

I’d take it a little further, though.

I’d encourage you improvise in your life.  To open up to the happy accidents, to embark on the adventure. To take a shot, shoot the moon, and do what’s in the dreams inside your head.

I’m not talking about results.

I mean the ride, the journey.

To live your dream not through the results you want to obtain, but instead through what you do— and how you engage not only with the external world but also with your own inner world, your own inner images, and your own inner values.

I hope you are able to do that this year. And I hope to take the ride with some of you.

Stay tuned for more over the upcoming weeks and months.

Of Grizzly Bears in Motel Lobbies

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

When I traveled cross-country, I stayed in hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts. My goal was to average less than $100/night on accommodations. Perhaps my favorite place— and certainly the most colorful— was the Livingston Inn in Livingston, MT.

I found Livingston on a map a couple of days before I left Seattle when I was trying to figure out a place to stay between Spokane and Bismarck. Livingston had several dog-friendly hotels, and that’s how I eventually found the Livingston Inn.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had a long drive to get there that day, so I only got there after 10 p.m.

But I still got to interact with the owners. And I loved their obvious pride in the place. And I loved hearing about their story.

I couldn’t tell how old John and Tillie Lamey were, but they seemed like they could be in their fifties or sixties. They bought the Livingston Inn in April, 2004— one month before they got married. For them, the motel was a labor of love as well as a commitment to one another.

There were two things that I most appreciated about the Lameys.

One was their obvious affection for and enjoyment of one another. Tillie had obvious admiration for the ideas that John had injected into their running the motel. John spoke proudly of Tillie’s photography, which adorned the motel’s hallway walls.

The other was their enthusiasm and willingness to embrace those things that they just felt like doing.

At some point, they decided it would be good for the motel to organize an indoor photo shoot with a grizzly bear, so they brought Adam, a local trained grizzly bear, into the motel lobby to be photographed. They loved it, and photos of Adam are prominent in their promotional materials and branding of the hotel.

Tillie was so inspired by the experience that she resumed her own photography practice, and that is what led to one of the other most prominent decorative features of the motel: her photographs of the local wildlife and scenery.

John was excited by the idea of turning some of Tillie’s and Adam’s photographs into postcards with clever captions, and so many of these free postcards can be found in the motel’s guest rooms and lobby.

There is something to be said for knowing what you like and knowing what inspires you. That’s what keeps things interesting for yourself, over the long haul.

And I firmly believe that that’s a major wellspring of creativity for many of us.

The Lameys are unconventional, quirky, and distinctly individual in the best sort of way. They find a way to bring joy, passion, and creativity into running a motel, which is not only their baby— it is also the fabric of their daily lives.

Make The Angry Birds Angrier: Show Up For Yourself First

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , ,

This is the third in an irregularly appearing series of mini-TIps of the Day (or tidbits).

TIDBIT #3: Make time for what you care about. And do it first.

Have you ever had this experience? You decide that on a particular day, you want to spend some time on something important to you— something that makes you feel like you. Maybe it’s drawing or cooking; maybe it’s working on the business you want to launch; maybe it’s your meditation practice or exercise regimen; maybe it’s writing a story; maybe it’s even doing some reading.

You get to the chunk of free time you have. You can spend it on what you really want to do. But you have other things that you could do too— housework, catching up on email, tv, facebook… you get the idea. So, what do you do? You spend it on the other things first— just to to get warmed up or to clear the way for the meaningful stuff. But you know what: you never get to the meaningful stuff. Or if you do, it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes.

One of the things that I am struck by as an individual and as a coach is how we create non-negotiables for ourselves in our schedule for the things we don’t necessarily love— going to and from a job we don’t enjoy, paying our utility bills so they don’t get cut off, errands, and so on and so forth. Yet we don’t similarly block out time for the things we love, for the things that make us feel like ourselves. Instead, we push them to the back burner. We make excuses for why we can postpone doing them, why we should postpone doing them. Or we engage every day in non-essential drains on our time (Angry Birds, ebay, televised sports, reality television, anyone?).

So, try something new next week: think of the thing you love doing the most. Block out an hour in your schedule next week to do it, just like you would for a dentist appointment. That time is non-negotiable now. (Think $25 missed appointment charge.) And make sure to hold yourself to it.

Try this too: the next time you have a block of time during which you have a choice of things you can do— including the above-selected thing you love most— do the thing you love first, and then do the rest.

Pay attention to what that experience is like— the challenges and resistance to doing so, and the feelings you experience when you do what you love anyway.

Troubleshoot the challenges. Revel in the victories. And remember that the more you practice these 2 little changes to your life, the easier they’ll get.

The Holstee Manifesto

Tags

, , , , ,

A courageous coaching client of mine, herself about to launch her own business, turned me onto the attached Holstee Manifesto below. One cool thing about this is that it’s been called a new generation’s “Just Do It.”

I don’t agree 100% with everything contained within it, but the overall message of doing what you truly love and letting the rest follow resonated with me. Hope you get something out of it too.