Original Thought · Sharing Economy

A Gift for Me

Friends,

Bighorn Country is the next Kananaskis in Alberta.  Like K-country, it is a network of protected areas and managed multi-use areas for all Albertans.  It is the missing piece between Banff and Jasper and is home to the headwaters of Edmonton.

The government of Alberta has proposed protection of this area but they need to hear from you!  Please take 5 minutes to fill out the survey below or send a letter to support the creation of Bighorn Country.  This is truly a gift to Alberta and you can be part of it.

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Please share this widely with your networks and ask 3 friends to do the same as part of your giving efforts this season.  This Christmas, give the gift of the Bighorn.

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Thank you and happy holidays,

Bob

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

Social Media

I am a consumer and producer of social media. I read, write, shoot, and listen to the positions, opinions, ideas, and meanderings of hundreds of posters on a daily basis. I distribute original content daily and share the content of others many times a day. But, I confess that Not very much sticks. I don’t remember yesterday’s blitz and barely recall what I offered as my contributions to the noise.

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Most days, I don’t hear anything because I hear everything.

Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid. ~ Mark Twain

Most of what occupies me (us I suspect) is noise. If I thought noise canceling headphones really did what they promise, I would invest in some for my ears and my eyes, but they seem just to dampen the din.

Is there a place ‘in the world’ where the filters screen out the clamor and still allow the clever, the charm, the caring, the charismatic, the cute and the curious through? Do I need to get past the fear of missing out (FOMO) and the addiction to notifications and begin censoring others and myself?

As we get closer to tearing the last page from the calendar, I am wondering about what I fear for the new year. Maybe that will be another post before I shut off the noise that I am creating.

If not, Happy 2019 and may your days be filled with curiosity,

B

Self Improvement

Joy

Does joy, happiness, pride, anxiety present itself in our lives or are we producing it through our mindset, disposition, and choices? I tend to believe that we are in the midst of circumstances and get to choose how we relate to them. I can be fearful of an adventure to the top of Mount Norquay or excited by the challenge or prideful that we are attempting the climb or many other emotions and feelings or combinations of many of them.

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It doesn’t seem likely or possible that joy is floating around looking for a place to land. I can’t accept that anxiety is in the ether waiting for a turn to crowd into my life.
They all come from within and can be prompted by external situations, but if I run the sum of the circumstances through a reflective sieve, I can choose to be optimistic, pessimistic, realistic, skeptical, or naive. What gets collected after being examined has more to do with the process of rendering that the initial ingredients.
When faced with a choice between positive and negative, what prospers a man to lean into the dark? I am committing to the awareness that I most often do get to make a decision. From that point, I am adamant that I will turn to the hopeful, the outrageous and even the ridiculous instead of spiraling into the pit of despair, distrust, distance. When I can move closer to a friend and her joy or sadness, I will draw near and spill happiness at her feet. If I am faced with a situation or struggle, I am willing to live through it and see how my anxiety and pain can be sapped.
In the end, it seems that I/we get to decide what we are feeling, how we react and what we embrace. The emotions live inside us not in the world so if I desire joy I need to begin being joyful.

B

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

Wisdom

We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.
~ George Bernard Shaw

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Remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen themselves and others. They don’t use power to overpower. They don’t use words to denigrate. They don’t puff themselves up to make others feel small.

Wisdom is dynamic. As knowledge shifts and perspectives change, wisdom adds and synthesizes and then recompiles with all the available data and restates, if necessary. Wisdom isn’t “courage of conviction.” It doesn’t just resort to tradition. It is open to observing the circumstances of the world and saying ” today the wisest thing I can be sure of is that yesterday, I was wrong.” The courage of curiosity can be a path to wisdom if we are willing to do the work to investigate, analyze, and adapt.

*Tongue in cheek comment – I must be very wise because I often realize how wrong I have been.

Make this mid-week moment full of wisdom and then make a wise choice.

B

Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

A Dog’s Life

I woke up this morning to icy streets and pathways and a light covering of fresh snow. After a week of mild weather, I had hoped to ride my bike again because I have a number of meetings at different locations. I was disappointed but trudged out the door, dressed for the cool temperatures, heading for a bus stop. My route was a bit slippery. I took a familiar path where I often have a moment with an old dog who comes down off his stoop to greet me and get his head scratched. His age has reduced his mobility but not his enthusiasm for connection.
This morning, he was on the sidewalk plowing snow with his nose and sensed me from 200 meters away. He bounded down the sidewalk, leaping into fresh snow and celebrating the opportunity. It has been ten years since I saw him with so much energy. I was captured in his zeal and lifted in appreciation for the nip in the air and the snow under my feet.
I don’t know what his owners call him but I always greet him with ” Buuudddyy” and this elicits a wagging tail. This morning he responded to my voice with a jump to his hind legs and a big shake of his head. He was (anthropomorphically) living in the joy of the moment – not worried about lunch, not concerned about transit schedules, not racing to the next thing, not thinking lofty thoughts or imagining what he should do tomorrow.
There is much that I can learn about being present. My tendency is to live through time rather than in it. When I catch myself getting too far ahead of myself, I take three breaths and lean into the moment without concern for the imagined consequences of being ‘late.’
My stroll to the bus stop was filled with unexpected ease, and my disappointment about not riding my bike was gone. Buddy’s presence was a gift that I get to share with others, as early as today and as often as I can.

B

Self Improvement · Teamwork · Uncertainty

Human-scaled Dreams

Where I live, we just came through months of debate, discussion, dialogue, vitriol, sloganeering and dreaming about hosting the 2026 Winter Olympics. This Big Idea was supposed to create imagination, energy, economic output, and reenergize our City. After a referendum, the debate is over. 56% of voters chose not to support the bid. The morning after – there was lots of ringing of hands (understandable) and accusations. ” Now what big idea will save us?”

It got me wondering about human-scaled dreams and human-scaled actions. Would 10,000 dreams taking flight lift our city to new heights? Could we learn about each other and what we are capable of if 10,000 people recruited 10 people to come alongside them and undertake a project to bring beauty, equity, economy, creativity, imagination to life?
Would the as-yet-unimagined be the impetus for us to make our great city even greater? I think so.
I am interested in what you think? 10,000 Dreams for YYC. Would you be a part of the journey? What popped into your mind as a project? or Am I tilting windmills, again?

Let me know,

B

Original Thought · Uncertainty

Democracy

This is an unpopular truth, but not everyone’s opinions are equal. ~Shane Parrish

In the Farnam Street post this morning, the above quote appeared. Shane went on to defend the statement with a reliable if simplistic story. ” I am going into surgery and have a few choices to make. While the opinion of my partner and a first-year resident should be heard, they should have less weight than an experienced surgeon.

If we should give more credibility and validity to some opinions or advice in a potentially life-threatening situation, shouldn’t we extend that rationale to other circumstances? Or do we?

If I am considering the purchase of a new laptop, I review information from a number of sources; social media, tech sites, manufacturer’s promotion, friends’and colleagues’ recommendations, and bring my own experience, logic and intuition to bear. Somewhere in the calculation, I might add a measure of confidence to my logic and a friend who has a tech rep. If I am satisfied with the choice and find the decision to be reasonable I (all thing$ being equal) would act and purchase a specific laptop. If I am later satisfied or disappointed with the purchase, I would refine the selection criteria in subsequent searches and weigh the input differently.

Yet, we, without question, believe that every elector should have a full vote. We don’t consider the voter’s preparation for the decision. It would seem outrageous to suggest that informed, concerned, interested, involved individuals should have greater sway in the choice of elected representatives. Is it outrageous for pragmatic or philosophical reasons? What ramifications would we face if voting was a responsibility rather than a right? If I was required to fully participate in the fulsomeness of debate and arrive at a well-reasoned and informed position (whatever that was) before my x on a ballot counted as 1.0, would I be making a different or better choice?

For me, I realize that I have tendencies towards certain political ideologies, I have an ease at making decisions, and I am likely to be more informed about the substance rather than just the sizzle of a policy or platform. Should that make my input more valuable to the greater good than someone who is influenced by self-interest? religious belief? partisanship? financial gain/loss?

Is the idea that elections or referendums should produce the best result a red herring/ What if democracy isn’t about the quality of the choice or even the quality of the participation? Maybe, democracy is about the ongoing quality of equitable relationships. What if the results are supposed to be accepted because it holds polar opinions in tension, somewhere between agreement and conflict? Democracy reduces the disparity of disposition and narrows the bandwidth of societal norms? Is a smaller range of acceptable positions advantageous to individuals, community, society?

Does it feel uncomfortable when the range gets so wide that someone else’s opinion seems reprehensible? Do we stop listening when a line is crossed? It seems that we loudly and quickly assign labels to positions that are outside the narrow spectrum that is safe for discussion. Can the scope grow if we are subjected to a vocal force who espouse a view that is outside the box? I have witnessed changes in societal norms and acceptance that a few years ago was outside the realm of ‘polite conversation’.

The big progressive issues of the past 50 years have gained traction and change the conversation by courageous activists constantly bringing them forward. 50 years ago, no country accepted the concept of same-sex marriage. 50 years ago abortion was taboo. 50 years ago health care was a luxury. 50 years ago sovereign debt seemed impossible. Is it unreasonable or unrealistic to expect that the pendulum will continue to swing? Would democracy suffer if it only swung in one direction? How would conservative voices be heard if the scales were always tipped towards the left? Would revolt be inevitable if only conservative ideas were validated?

Are we on one edge of the paradigm today? Are we on the verge of a swing or the cusp of a revolution? Is the frame stretching or ready to burst? For me, the answer to these questions is “it depends on the day”. With that in mind, I can’t accurately predict where the state of affairs will be in 2019, 2020 or at the end of the next election cycle. It feels like we can survive if we accept responsibility for the process and become engaged in the debate. Is it optimism? Maybe, but without that hope, I need to concede that we are doomed to dangerous conflict. What are you going to choose?

Make Today Remarkable,

B

 

Uncategorized

Questing on Purpose

Asking myself the same questions, post to follow.

Alicia K. Anderson

This morning brought with it the first pair of instigations as part of the 2018 Quest.  This week is about exploring and testing personal purpose.

I don’t usually like audio content, but this morning, I had the quiet and the space to listen to the interview between Jeffrey Davis, Caroline Miller and Katie Daleabout. Jeffrey asked some amazing questions to get the conversation going. I enjoyed sipping my morning coffee as I listened to these very authentic humans being very honest.

Caroline Miller’s Instigation

If you choose to tackle harder goals on a daily basis, imagine how you could amplify the positive impact you want to have on the world.

It’s often said that ‘you can’t keep what you don’t give away.’ What will you give to others through your best work in 2018 that will positively impact them so that you might keep it, as well?

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Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncategorized · Uncertainty

Learning Curiousity

Am I a slow learner? Am I in the too old to teach a new trick category? Do I continue to expect a different result from the same process? Am I unwilling to consider possibilities that don’t confirm what I already hold to be true? Yes, yes and yes but not as often as I was three years ago and not as often as I was three months ago. I am getting better at listening and observing. I have improved my willingness and ability to embrace strategies, tactics, and practices that don’t guarantee an expected and preferred outcome. I am able to say ” let’s give it a try and see what we learn.”

It’s not easy being curious but inquisitiveness has it’s own rewards too. Accepting that what you are doing, in this moment, is the best use of your time and the actions you are taking will give you the best bang for your buck is the easier road. It is more difficult to question the status quo, make an inquiry that doesn’t have a ready-made answer or just do what ‘we have always done’. It seems impossible to lift our heads and see how the world has changed since we started and see if what we have been doing has made an impact on what we are trying to achieve.

Learning isn’t a random activity. I conceded that we can acquire experience by happenstance but curiousity requires intention (non-randomness). I have gained information in moments of chaos but recognize that I ascribed the result post experience and missed a genuine window to learning something as yet unimagined because I hadn’t set out to intentionally absorb, digest and regurgitate. We can commit to being observant, reflective, questioning, and accept knowledge lightly without grasping it to our chest and pretending it is sacred.We then actively search for confirmation and actively pursue misunderstanding so that our delusions don’t disolve.

I am a self-confessed impatient imperfectionist with and extreme action bias. This leaves me jumping to conclusions and off bridges before I spend time hearing the options and then making an informed decision. My stubbornness and self-importance present as unreasonable pride and can limit my willingness to explore. Some days I believe I am the most accommodating and interested person that I know and on the next day, I am self-assured, self-righteous and self-centered. I can constantly convince myself that I understand how the world works without applying any rigor or testing to the thesis. I can smile and nod with self-satisfaction when nothing out of the ordinary or nothing I couldn’t have predicted occur. It would seem, after some thought, that the results are a function of the conditions and preconditions that I established rather than some sacred or scientific rule. The same results are a function of the same blind routine rather than the best and only impact that is/was possible.

If I consider and then change the starting parameters I can reasonably expect that the process and ends will be different. Even if I am pleased with the way things went, isn’t it incumbent on me to see how I may improve the results?
As always, when I write in the first person I could as easily be using second or third. Are you a slow learner? Are we in the too old to teach a new trick category? Do you continue to expect a different result from the same process? Are we unwilling to consider possibilities that don’t confirm what we already hold to be true?

Embrace some ambiguity today. Test a new ‘off the wall’ thesis. Be bold and go where you have never gone before.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
~ Walt Disney

Curiousity is the lust of the mind ~ Thomas Hobbes

Science means constantly walking a tightrope between blind faith and curiosity; between expertise and creativity; between bias and openness; between experience and epiphany; between ambition and passion; and between arrogance and conviction – in short, between an old today and a new tomorrow.
~ Heinrich Rohrer
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.
~ Albert Einstein
Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose. – Zora Neale Hurston

Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
e. e. cummings

My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities.
Mario Testino

As I get older, the more I stay focused on the acceptance of myself and others, and choose compassion over judgment and curiosity over fear.
Tracee Ellis Ross

 

Make Today Remarkably Curious,

B