Friday, January 25, 2008

Fill Your Tank

I love this quote from a post about boosting your creative juices -

An aspiring writer who doesn’t read is doomed to mediocrity from the start. A hopeful thinker of new thoughts will produce only banal repetitions, unless he or she constantly seeks out what others have thought before.

But What Are My Passions?

I've been spending a great deal of my research and work delving into taking your resources (your time, your money, your talent, etc) and applying them to the things you are most passionate about most in life, that you value most in life. Recently though, a friend who was asking how things were going with the book remarked "Wow, sounds great - I hope you can tell me what I'm passionate about while you're at it!"

Well, sort of. I have given it some thought, and knew it was something I needed to address, but the more I think about it the more important it is to have this as a firm foundation before moving forward. What use is learning tricks and tips on how to spend more time doing what you love if you aren't even (consciously) aware of what those things are that you value most in life, that you'd be so much more "alive" doing?

So, I'm directing my research and thinking efforts in that direction now. I came across this post about how to find work you love earlier today, which should give me a good jumping off point into the deeper waters of helping people make sure they have clearly defined what they are passionate about... at least at the point in their lives they read my book.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Three a Day

From an article at rodcorp about how author Philip Pullman approaches his writing:

I write three pages every day (one side of the paper only). That's about 1100 words. Then I stop, having made sure to write the first sentence on the next page, so I never have a blank page facing me in the morning.

He goes about it at a different time of day than I'd be likely to once I get rolling on this, but I really like the idea of starting that next page before stopping for the day.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Hero Cycle

This graphic depicting Joseph Campbell's Hero Cycle from the Power of Myth may come in handy to have referenced if I end up creating a fictional story to support the purpose of Harness Your Passions.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Inspiration Dig

Working on this book, I've begun thinking of myself as something of a "passionologist", going out on expeditions through websites, bookstores, interviews, etc. in an attempt to excavate passion-related artifacts. One such artifact I've come across recently is the post aptly titled Finding Your Passion over at Brad Bollenbach's 30 Sleeps blog.

I'm becoming a big fan of the way Brad squeezes his thoughts into words.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Value of Time

Per week, according to the numbers I'm finding so far, the average working adult American spends approximately:
  • 41 hours working
  • 56 hours sleeping
  • 8 hours commuting/driving
  • 10.5 hours buying, preparing, and eating food
  • 28 hours watching television
  • 6.5 hours getting ready for the day or getting ready for bed
  • 4 hours per week doing household chores (remember, this is an average)

That's 154 hours.

There are 168 hours in a week.

So if you want more time than that, where do you shave it from? Eat faster? Sleep less? The glaring item on this list, to me, is the 1/6th of this average working American's life is spent watching television. Cut that to your absolute favorite shows, say... one hour a day worth of TV, and suddenly you have gone from 14 to 35 hours of your time freed up for other things in life (family, friends, exercise, church, reading, volunteering, etc).

An aside - it is amazing, actually, that with those numbers above we're still finding time as Americans to volunteer the number of hours we do each year to help others. The statistics on the amount of time and money we're giving each year give me a lot of hope when I'm looking around for reasons to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Understanding and Illustrating Personal Development

Superheroes and cartoon characters have hijacked the medium of sequential art. I've wanted to rip it out of their clutches for years, but I'm not sure what the "killer app" would look like that could accomplish the task. One of the things I am toying with is the concept of having sequential art play a role in Harnessing Your Passions, but I'm not sure if it would work best in short illustrative chunks throughout the book, or as a separate guide from the book entirely.

One approach to documentaries and personal growth books that I enjoy is presenting the information matter-of-factly, then having a story to accompany each concept that illustrates it and brings it to life more for the reader/viewer. I'm wondering if this approach could somehow work mixing text and sequential art. I think, for example, it would be amazingly handy if you could take some basic concepts around time management or strength management and have it pinned up as an illustrative poster in your cubicle at work, keeping you in touch with that knowledge in a very visual way.

Mutual Mentoring

Often, the relationship between mentor and mentee becomes one of mutual mentorship over time. But what if you went into the mentoring relationship with the understanding that it was a mutual mentorship, that each person is expecting to both give and receive knowledge and experience, offering each other the ability to grow where they desire to while harnessing and sharpening the strengths and talents they already possess? Would that taint the mentoring experience somehow, or (as I suspect) enhance it?

Friday, November 9, 2007

No Answers Given

I need to do additional research to back this hypothesis up with facts. If it turns out as I suspect, it may be a critical realization to bring up in the book.

It has been my experience that when a person goes to a counselor or therapist, sometimes they are expecting to be given answers. Really, though, the job of the counselor is to help each person discover the answers themselves by finding and asking the right questions, providing tools, etc. No one else can possibly hold all the right answers for another person (I'd personally question if they can hold any, truth be told), so the only hope of success that counseling has to succeed is for the person seeking help to respond honestly to the questions asked, consider the questions and their responses to them, and then do whatever "homework" the counselor provides (i.e. tools of some sort to help with whatever they are trying to do). No open mind means no answers found. Of course, this also assumes a competent counselor.

I think that it is much the same with people who read self help books. No book holds the answers to life, but it might hold some of the right questions you need to be asked - and often it is the inability to ask the right question that holds us back from finding what we seek. I have found that, after reading countless books on time management, goals, leadership, management, and so on, none of them hold everything I need but each of them provides at least one tool to help me focus.

I have to think about this some more, but my gut tells me this is important.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Passion Formulas

Innovation + Passion = Motivation

Motivation + Passion = Determination

Determination + Passion = Creation