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

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Note About Happy People and Mirror Neurons

Don't want to lose this link to an article about Mirror Neurons and Happy People - it's one of the biggest pieces to the jigzaw puzzle I'm working on that I've found yet. It also explains... me, better than any attempts I have previously struggled through, particularly the part on happy people.

"Remember the flight attendant's advice... you must put on your own oxygen mask first."

A Note About Seeking

"One of the best ways of increasing your chances of finding something is to be looking for it." Car keys, an argument, an anomaly on a medical diagnosis... sometimes you can find something important, other times you can self-fulfill a prophecy.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Clock Management

One of the things I will have to do to get disciplined about this project is treating it like a job, in the sense that I'm clocking in at a certain time, clocking out at a certain time, and working x hours a week. Maybe I'll try letting my schedule be a bit flexible, but the hours per week part is definitely important (and I suspect sticking to specific hours will be, for me, as well).

And posting on my blog counts as part of my project time, since it's all about gathering my materials in one place and organizing it via tags.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Harness Your What?

"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it." - Benjamin Disraeli

As I began thinking about how to approach a book about the subject of identifying what you are passionate about and harnessing that knowledge to improve your life, career, education, etc., it became quickly apparent that there are a vast number of topics I wanted to touch on and angles to look at those topics through. Without some plan to organize all of that, my book would be a wreck, but to take on organizing that is a huge chore. So the big first question: am I ready to commit to all that work?

The answer I have come to firmly in my heart is yes, and one of the reasons for that decision has little to do with the book and is, frankly, a bit selfish. I want to do this because the more I study getting passionate about your life (and pursuing the things you feel so strongly about), the more I'll learn about my own life and how to make the most of my strengths and "labor loves".

Everything ultimately, I think, comes down to one question that I hope to answer in this book - How do I spend more of my time each day doing what I love to do? I have some things I think are good answers, some that I believe will be easier to implement than others.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Writing Your Passions

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." - Vladimir Nabakov

I'm about to set forth on a new journey. I've thought about this journey many times before, much as I have thought about going to visit Italy, or New Zealand, or some other distant destination. It is a place that I have decided it is finally time to go. I need to write a book.