Don’t Be Stingy

Are you stingy with your creative efforts?

Once upon a time you and I created with joyful abandon. We drew pictures, made mud pies, and invented songs because doing so made us happy. We got messy, we let our imaginations fly, and we were unashamed to share the results with others.

Unfortunately, somewhere in the intervening years most of us have lost both our joy in the creative process and the generous spirit with which our five-year-old selves shared our creations with others.

We have become stingy with our “art”.

And our world is the poorer for it. Continue reading

Stimulation Detox: Fighting for Quiet in this Noisy World

The excess noise in your world may be sabotaging your time, energy and priorities.

We live in a busy world. A world full of excess “noise” (audible or otherwise) that constantly bombards us, exhausts our energy levels, and draws our attention away from whatever we are trying to do.

Sounds. Screens. Scents. Food. People. Objects. Technology, …

We need to be very intentional about controlling the “noise”, or else the “noise”will end up controlling us. Continue reading

What Are You Afraid of?

The fears we don't face become our limits.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking about fear.

Specifically, the fears my main character wants to avoid at all costs. Because those fears are what the plot must force her to confront and  (hopefully) overcome.

In any great story, the biggest obstacle the main character must overcome is not the bad guy but her own inner demons.

I suspect the same is true in real life. Continue reading

What’s Your Definition of Simple?

Most of us yearn for a life that is less hectic than the one we currently live. A simple life. But what does a simple life look like?

Each of us will have a different answer. Because we are in different stages of life. Because we have different priorities. Because different kinds of things bring us joy or stress us out.

All of which means any blog post, device, or strategy that claims it will help you simplify your life may—or may not—be of any use to you. Continue reading

Love: Bridging the Extrovert-Introvert Gap

We all need love.

But we don’t all express it in the same way.

Even people who share the same love language can find themselves misunderstood—because of temperament differences. An introvert’s need for solitude may be mistaken for a lack of caring. And extroverts need for connection may be mistaken as a selfish need for attention.

What causes such misunderstandings? The fact that introverts and extroverts come into the relationship with different needs and expectations. Which leads to problems.

Problems that could be solved with a little mutual understanding. Continue reading

A Simple Strategy for Staying Ahead of Clutter

fight clutter by donating one item a day

Clutter happens.

Because we accumulate stuff.

Lots of it. Scarves, hobby supplies, paperclips, empty ice cream tubs, DVDs, holiday decorations…

And if we don’t get rid of some along the way, it will eventually become a problem.

In an ideal world, we would regularly take a day and go through the house culling all the stuff we no longer need. But let’s face it, most of us aren’t willing to face  a major declutter project very often.

Shouldn’t there be an easier way to fight the encroaching clutter? Continue reading

One Simple but Powerful Strategy for Achieving Change

Why is it so difficult to change for the better?

If we’re honest, we all have areas in our lives that we’d like to improve: Eat healthier, exercise more, kick a bad habit, keep up with the latest news in our profession …

And yet, despite the mountain of information on setting goals, making better habits, and developing willpower, we struggle to make progress. Because we humans don’t like to change. Continue reading

21 Ways to Avoid Reaching Your Goals in 2017

avoid reaching your goals

Why climb the mountain of success when you can remain in the valley of failure?

  1. Listen to the voices—the ones in your head that whisper, “You can’t do it” or “You’re a failure” or “You’re wasting your time.”
  2. Keep busy with mundane tasks, household chores, and paperwork.
  3. Focus on the big, hairy, audacious end goal. It’s ambitious. It’s scary big. It’s IMPOSSIBLE. What were you thinking?
  4. Fantasize on how wonderful it will be when you reach that audacious goal.
  5. Roadblocks? No one told me there would be roadblocks.
  6. Always keep in mind your past failures. By reminding you of how hard this is, they will push you to do better.
  7. Never start something new until you know every step you must take to reach success.
  8. Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could change every area of your life for the better? All at once. Right now?
  9. Worrying over actions plans just bogs you down, so forget them and just keep moving along whatever path seems best—ooh, look! A squirrel.
  10. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t make a mistake. When in doubt, always play it safe.
  11. Search the internet for the most awesome, ultra-efficient methods to achieve your goal. Compile the top ideas. Make spreadsheets to compare them. Read the books. Become an expert in all theories relating to this goal.
  12. Who needs new methods when you can think positive thoughts? Sure you’ve tried the plan before and failed, but this time it’ll be different. This time that old plan is going to succeed.
  13. Strengthen your willpower by forcing yourself to tackle your goal when you are tired, hungry, upset, or sick.
  14. Further strengthen your willpower by filling your house, car, and office with items that tempt you towards the dark side. Prove you are tougher than that Boston Cream donut or that bag of BBQ potato chips.
  15. Accountability is for sissies.
  16. Never admit you need help. Or guidance. Or encouragement.
  17. Devote time to detailed planning of your daily schedule—Use markers to color-code each task, enter a dozen bullet points for each task on your schedule app and then figure out how to how to automatically combine five different schedule apps to utilize the strongest features of each.
  18. You tried. You blew it. See? You knew it was a hopeless goal, anyway. Why bother climbing back on the horse when you’re just going to fall again? Maybe your genetics aren’t suited for this type of goal.
  19. Priorities? No one said anything about changing my priorities.
  20. Don’t waste time celebrating the little milestones you achieve along the way. The big goal is all that matters.
  21. When the cat decides to take a nap on the computer, it’s a sign. You should immediately quit working and take a nap yourself.

Confessions of a Crotchety, Left-Brained Introvert

Photo Credit: Nguyen Vu Hung (vuhung) Flickr via Compfight cc

 

I recently acquired a book entitled Cat Confessions, which features cat photos along with purported confessions of their naughty deeds: stowing away in luggage, getting fur all over a dark suit, etc.

After chuckling over the book, I was inspired to come up with a few confessions of my own. (Sorry, I don’t have funny photos to go with them; the cat refused to pose.)

So here goes … Continue reading