Live and Love Like a Little One

February 4, 2008

Here is a beautiful passage that Antony, a reader in Australia, sent to me. It poetically describes how adults can rekindle their love of life by thinking like a child. This is an eloquent, simple, and compelling example of what I mean by Goal-Free Living.

This is from Muhammad Ali: “Children make you want to start life over,” by Bodhipaksa, a Buddhist practitioner for 25 years and a parent for one year.

I look at my 14-month-old daughter and I see a being who is completely free from hatred. She has no regrets, no baggage. She doesn’t label herself, doesn’t judge herself. She doesn’t think of herself as being successful or a failure, popular or unpopular, good or bad, rich or poor, lucky or unfortunate.

And to her everything seems new and fresh. Today’s 20th reading of “Pat the Bunny” or “Barnyard Dance” is as delightful to her as the first (I wish that were the case for her parents). When she falls down she simply picks herself back up. She doesn’t lie there saying “I’ve tried walking. It doesn’t work. I’m just not a walking kind of person.”

The simplest things are intriguing. She’ll take immense pleasure simply from moving her hands. A leaf picked up on a walk is a world of fascination.

She has, in short, what Suzuki Roshi called “Beginner’s Mind.” And that’s something we all, certainly at times, want, and even crave.

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Quote of the Day

January 31, 2008

Goals are for the future. Values are now. Goals are set. Values are lived. Goals change. Values are rocks you can count on.” From Gung Ho! by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles

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Innovation Quotes of the Day

January 22, 2008

Man can only have a certain number of teeth, hairs, and ideas. There comes a time when he necessarily loses his teeth, his hair, and his ideas. – Voltaire

Ideas must work through the brains and arms of good and brave men, or they are no better than dreams. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats. - Howard Aiken

The human mind treats a new idea the same way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it. – P. B. Medawar

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Pursuing Passion Quote of the Day

January 15, 2008

“If it is possible to make yourself into a great hacker. The way to do it may be to make the following deal with yourself: you never have to work on boring projects (unless your family will starve otherwise), and in return, you’ll never allow yourself to do a half-assed job (not done properly). All the great hackers I know seem to have made that deal, though perhaps none of them had any choice in the matter.” — Great Hackers by Paul Graham

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Quote of the Day

November 5, 2007

Antony from Sydney, Australia has sent me dozens of great quotes. Today, he is providing his own personal quote.

“I just realized that few of the greatest things I’ve achieved in this life were planned years before. On the contrary, the greatest opportunities would certainly never have resulted without the failure of major goals. It is awesome to think that my greatest achievements in the future are unimaginable now and that I’ll be able to decide what to do as I’m doing it (quoting Paul Graham). This idea makes me feel that I’ll be alive, rather than the idea that I have to make lots of decisions now and then just follow the instructions for years into the future.” – Antony

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Quote of the Day

October 19, 2007

“I worry a lot of people fall into the trap of believing that they need to make big life decisions before they can start doing anything….Your life doesn’t need to go through a predictable story arc. It doesn’t have to start with a dream, follow through hard work and end up in a nice home with four bedrooms. Instead it can twist and travel. You don’t have to know the final answer, you just need to act on the next step.”

Scott H Young: What Do You Want to Do With Your Life?

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Quote of the Day

July 31, 2007

“If Thomas Edison didn’t know what he had when he invented the phonograph while he thought he was trying to create better industrial equipment for telegraph operators…what are the odds that you — or any entrepreneur — is going to have it all figured out up front?”

-Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape) in a blog entry titled:
“Why a startup’s initial business plan doesn’t matter that much”

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Quote of the Day

July 28, 2007

“Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy – it won’t come out while you’re watching.”
– Tennessee Williams

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Quote of the Day

July 5, 2007

“Hacking something together means deciding what to do as you’re doing it, not a subordinate executing the vision of his boss. It implies the result won’t be pretty, because it will be made quickly out of inadequate materials. It may work, but it won’t be the sort of thing the eminent would want to put their name on. Something hacked together means something that barely solves the problem, or maybe doesn’t solve the problem at all, but another you discovered en route. But that’s ok, because the main value of that initial version is not the thing itself, but what it leads to.”

- The Power of the Marginal by Paul Graham

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Quote of the Day

June 28, 2007

I just came back from a thought-provoking creativity conference. In attendance were hundreds of people, many of whom have been creativity practitioners for dozens of years. It was interesting to see how many of them are still using the same creativity techniques today as they did in their early days. During a lively group discussion, we discussed this phenomenon – what was referred to as the “calcification of frameworks.”

My response to the group was:

“If expertise is the enemy of creativity*, then a creativity expert can not be an expert in creativity.”

Think about it.

* If you are an expert in a particular area, you will find solutions quickly – and stop looking for new ideas. Unfortunately these solutions are often not new, not creative, and not valuable.

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