Day #772:What makes someone an artist?

Art isn’t only a painting. Art is anything that’s creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator.

What makes someone an artist? I don’t think is has anything to do with a paintbrush. There are painters who follow the numbers, or paint billboards, or work in a small village in China, painting reproductions. These folks, while swell people, aren’t artists. On the other hand, Charlie Chaplin was an artist, beyond a doubt. So is Jonathan Ive, who designed the iPod. You can be an artists who works with oil paints or marble, sure. But there are artists who work with numbers, business models, and customer conversations. Art is about intent and communication, not substances.

An artists is someone who uses bravery, insight, creativity, and boldness to challenge the status quo. And an artists takes it personally.

That’s why Bob Dylan is an artist, but an anonymous corporate hack who dreams up Pop 40 hits on the other side of the glass is merely a marketer. That’s why Tony Hsieh, founder of Zappos, is an artists, while a boiler room of telemarketers is simply a scam.

Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artists, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artists because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care if someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.

Art is a personal gift that changes the recipient. The medium doesn’t matter. The intent does.

Art is a personal act of courage, something one human does that creates change in another.”

Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

Day #771:TED Talk: Work-Life Balance

Nigel Marsh was your typical corporate worker – spending late nights at the office and zero time at home. He had reached his breaking point, and in a dramatic fashion decided to quit his job and stay at home with his four children. After a year at home and no money left in the bank, Marsh explored the concept and application of what a true-work life balance entails.

In this funny and insightful TED Talk Marsh breaks down his findings into four thoughtful observations that can assist others seeking to incorporate more equilibrium into their lives. Only 10 minutes long, this TED talk is well worth making the time to watch.

Day #770:How to keep Hell full

According to a traditional story, at the moment when the Son of God expired on the cross, He went straight to Hell in order to save sinners.

The Devil was most put out.

‘I have no other function in the universe,’ he said. ‘From now on, all the delinquents who broke the rules, committed adultery and infringed the religious laws will be sent straight to Heaven!’

Jesus looked at him and smiled:

‘Don’t worry,’ he said to the poor Devil. ‘All those who judge themselves to be full of virtue and therefore spend their lives condemning those who don’t follow my word, they will come here. Just wait a few hundred years and you’ll find that Hell is fuller than ever!’

Taken from Paulo Coelho’s blog

Day #769:TED Talk: 5 Ways to Become a Better Listener

There is a difference between listening and hearing. So much so that sound consultant Julian Treasure believes we retain only 25% of what we hear. In this informative TED Talk Treasure expounds his theory, offering tools for learning to really listen – among increasingly quick sound bites in our noisy world.

If you feel like your listening skills have room for improvement, listen to Treasure’s seven minute talk and follow this five-step plan for not just hearing, but truly listening:

1. Be completely silent for three minutes a day
2. When in a noisy environment, concentrate on the individual sounds you hear
3. Savor and enjoy the mundane sounds around you
4. Have an awareness of the filters in play. Treasure provides seven filters that influence the way we listen: culture, language, values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations and intentions.
5. Follow the acronym RASA – R for receive, A for appreciate, S for summarize and A for ask.

Day #768:The Scientific Way to Be Happy-Give Thanks!

Over the past two decades, much of the research on happiness can be boiled down to one main prescription: give thanks. Across hundreds of studies, practicing gratitude has been found to increase positive emotions, reduce the risk of depression, heighten relationship satisfaction, and increase resilience in the face of stressful life events, among other benefits.

The problem is, gratitude doesn’t always come naturally. The negatives in our lives—the disappointments, resentments, and fears—sometimes occupy more of our attention than the positives.

But Robert Emmons, a leading scientific expert on gratitude, argues that intentionally developing a grateful outlook helps us both recognize good things in our lives and realize that many of these good things are “gifts” that we have been fortunate to receive. By making gratitude a habit, we can begin to change the emotional tone of our lives, creating more space for joy and connection with others.

Fortunately, researchers have identified a number of practices for cultivating gratitude. Many of them are collected on the Greater Good Science Center’s new website, Greater Good in Action (GGIA), which features the top research-based exercises for fostering happiness, kindness, connection, and resilience.

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS

Some days it feels like everything is going wrong. But often, even on bad days, good things happen, too—we’re just less likely to notice them.

That’s where the Three Good Things practice comes in. This practice involves spending 5 to 10 minutes at the end of each day writing in detail about three things that went well that day, large or small, and also describing why you think they happened. A 2005 studyled by Martin Seligman, founder of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania, found that completing this exercise every day for one week led to increases in happiness that persisted for six months.

This simple practice is effective because it not only helps you remember and appreciate good things that happened in the past; it can also teach you to notice and savor positive events as they happen in the moment, and remember them more vividly later on. By reflecting on the sources of these good things, the idea is that you start to see a broader ecosystem of goodness around you rather than assuming that the universe is conspiring against you.

Similar to Three Good Things is keeping a Gratitude Journal, which involves writing down up to five things for which you are grateful once a week and reflecting on what these things mean to you. For this practice, you can expand the scope of your gratitude beyond good things that happened that day and consider positive events from your past and even those coming up in the future. The Gratitude Journal is especially effective when you focus on specific people you’re grateful to have—or have had—in your life.

Day #767:”..If you want to help other people, be a manager”

“I used to think that if you cared for other people, you need to study sociology or something like it. But….I [have] concluded, if you want to help other people, be a manager. If done well, management is among the most noble of professions. You are in a position where you have eight or ten hours every day from every person who works for you. You have the opportunity to frame each person’s work so that, at the end of every day, your employees will go home feeling like Diana felt on her good day: living a life filled with motivators.”

Clayton M. Christensen, How Will You Measure Your Life?

Day #766:“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it”.

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning