Self Improvement

Zone of Genius

Are you operating in your zone of genius? Did you know that you had one? Rhett Power published article in June on Inc. “10 Ways to Acesss Your Creative Genius”

He suggests that “We were each born with an active imagination and creativity. We’ve never really lost it. We just don’t take time to nurture it.” and outlines the 10 steps. (followed by my comments)

  1. Practice doing nothing.  We are flying from one activity to another and get into routines that are the death knell of creativity and effectiveness. When we scramble to put out one fire because another is burning, we get trapped in a narrow set of solutions that appear to be working.
  2. Take time to smell the roses, literally. For those who have read this blog before you know that I suggest that we need to be outside in the world taking in the view at least 1 hour every day. Make it a priority, put it in your calendar and treat it like any other appointment.
  3. Laugh and Play. I am fortunate to have 11 grandkids within 1/2 hour so I am filled with their energy and play. But I also intentionally seek out fun things to do alone and with my beloved.
  4. Challenge your senses. Not only smell the roses but also listen to them. And then describe the senses with a song or a poem.
  5. Write This is quite simply the best outlet and impetus for creative genius I know. I write 1000-2000 words every day. Sometimes it is crap and sometimes it is genius but without doing the writing none of it would show up. As I write solutions to subconscious problems find their way into the stream and new approaches are discovered.
  6. Awaken your animal instinct. I haven’t tried this one but it will become part of my morning run. If you see me leaping and jumping I am striving to be a gazelle. If I am lumbering along, I may be tired or just practicing to be a hippo.
  7. Get out of the box. This is always my favorite but I love ambiguity and change. For less zealous readers you might want to commit to doing one thing for the first time every couple of days.
  8. Imagine yourself in your own perfect world. The preferred future is where abundance and hope resides Hope Opens a Window and Another Hope Lesson from November Hope Series say more about this.
  9. Never listen to negative voices. Easy to say harder to do.  I can take everything personally and need more practice with this.
  10. Applaud yourself for the effort. If you have read this to the end you can clap and celebrate. As you take up 6,7,8,9 of these suggestions give yourself a big Bravo!

Make Today Remarkable, by taking an intentional creative breath,



Self Improvement

Scribbling Meaning

It is a struggle to stay motivated, to keep plowing ahead, to continue typing words … if no one is ever going to read them or care that they were written. It is like scribbling on a balloon and releasing it to the wind. You know it is being carried aloft and maybe afar but when it bursts and scatters fragments over the hills, it will just be scribbles without context or meaning. It feels like signing in the shower or having a good dream. It sounds good and feels good inside your head but when the water stops or something stirs you, it is gone without appreciation; gone forever.

So if the squiggles that form letters are transformed into words and then sentences don’y find a receptive audience, do they evaporate? Do they sit waiting for someone, anyone, to find them and read them and give them purpose? Or do they have meaning because they are articulated in a semi permanent script and not floating between synapses as unformed imaginations?

Do the ideas shaped by the written words need to find a reader’s voice (inside or outside) and provoke a conversation (inside or outside) or spur an idea or create a dissonance to reach its purpose? I am not sure where meaning resides or when it is created so I continue to play one of the 1000 monkeys hoping that somewhere a story is be created and retold.



Well On My Way

January 10 and I am well on my way on some of my 52 in 52 list. I have read 2 books this month 2/52, I watched 3 independent films 3/52, I am at 35k so slightly behind 152k/month goal but being in paradise hasn’t helped in other areas.

My writing projects have stalled (still churning out work but novel and play have fallen into the doldrums). The planned social media launch hasn’t happened.I am maintaining my weight but not doing a great job with nutrition choices.

I am declaring a January 11 reboot and starting anew in the morning. Today I am going to celebrate my blessings, my accomplishments and the opportunities the day brings starting with sunshine and an 8 am bird walk.

Make Sunday Remarkable and reboot tomorrow id necessary,



Are You Living Your Life?

Are you living your life or merely passing through it? The world presents each of us with this great gift, every day. Each morning that I continue to breathe, there are possibilities – new challenging and exciting. Putting my head down, burying my head in the sand, eyes shut tightly doesn’t change the world but it changes how I live in it.

In a few hours another page turns and an arbitrary marker (January 1,2016) begins. This is the best time, or at least as good as any to begin living your life to its fullest potential. In the first week of the new year – do 7 things for the first time, meet 7 people that you don’t know, walk 7 miles, read 7 chapters, share something 7 times, say “I love you” 7 times, celebrate 7 remarkable things.

May 2016 be filled with possibility, passion, prosperity, and problems in perfect proportion.



Everybody is Making Lists

My Top Ten Books for 2015

Not necessarily published this year but books that I read between January and December this year.

10. The  Divine Magician by Peter Rollins Peter Rollins knows one magic trick–now, make sure you watch closely. It has three parts: the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige. I did a 5 week online course with Rollins and am taking in his Atheism for Lent series in February.

9. Brief by Joseph McCormack  “Brief “isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. It’s the new norm. The problem is most people don’t have the know-how or verbal discipline to do the groundwork and get to the point.

8. The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow Mlodinow shows us how randomness, change, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything.

7. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time.

6. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer  Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her.

5. Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need.

4. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. Its about the task you were born to do.

3. Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa A power read about adding value (especially for our customers) by helping them dicover meaning.

2. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands I bought this YA title for a grandson, after introducing sands at Wordfest, but really enjoyed the magic and history sewn throughout.

  1. Etta, Russel, Otto and James by Emma Hooper. This won’t be a surprise as I have written about this masterpiece on this blog before. Save to say, it unseated a long standing title from my sacred bundle of 5, to take to a desert island. EOR&J fits neatly between Diamant and Twain.

What were your top reads of 2015?


Hack to Read Faster

Untitled design (4)

I am a voracious reader; a gleaner really. I have developed practices that allow me to read and comprehend nearly 100 books this year and remember the remarkable and useful in equal measure. I didn’t know I was following a process until I read this article, with 7 tricks, by Karol Krol. I don’t use all the suggested techniques but use 4,5,6, and 7 regularly and the last 3 almost all the time.

As a destination person, #5 makes complete sense – “not reading every word separately” was reflex. Pulling back to 500 feet and observing the page as a map is something I have  done for as long as I can remember. I zoom in and out on the page gathering information still in a mostly left to right, top to bottom direction. With the advent of camera phones I think we are all better at reading snapshots. Take a mental picture of this Dr Seuss  quote and then notice which words you drill down upon.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own, and you know what you know. And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
Practice scanning and noticing – this passage makes  me smile so it is a good one for me to experiment with. Use Seuss or find something that puts a smirk on your face and give it a couple of tries a day for the next week.

My impatient imperfectionism makes #7 ” start too fast” an easy assignment. This might be my epilogue ” He Started Too Fast but He Did Get to the End” (I don’t think I have ever experienced negative splits).

I love Krol’s analogy “if you’re doing 90 and slow down to 70 it feels slow, but if you’re doing 50 and speed up to 70 it feels fast”. This isn’t just a pacing technique it is  a repacing practice.  By jumping off the start line and racing down the track you give your eyes and brain a break when you slow to 500 to 600 words, it feels like a walk in the park.

Try this free speed reading test and use it as your measure of improvement. What Speed do you Read?

Most importantly, read from a book every day – make it a daily habit.

Check out your local library this afternoon,