Sunday, May 24, 2020

Annual Memorial Day Post: To Honor Fallen Warriors, Stop Glorifying War & Become an Activist for Peace [with Links to Many Resources]

Cover image from the enlightening website,
"War is a Crime: A Blog About a Criminal Enterprise

As a “baby boomer” growing up in the United States, I’ve lived through many, many Memorial Day commemorations and solemn memorial services. And as the years pass, I’m growing less patient with our tolerance for war. For example, has anyone really noticed that we’ve been both killing and being killed for nearly 17 years in Afghanistan? Probably few US citizens could tell you how long we’ve been in that far-away land, why we are there and if we’re making any “progress,” despite all the death, destruction, and maimings. After all, there’s no military draft that reaches into all American households and pulls out soldiers, no “war taxes,” and generally no real “skin in the game” for most of us. Aside from having our airwaves a bit cluttered with Memorial Day speeches, we are mostly able to put this messy war stuff out of our minds.

Now most of the time I try to keep these articles positive, practical or uplifting. But here I’m going to stretch things a bit and include what we old liberals call “consciousness raising.” In that spirit I’m going to share some stuff here that will help you ponder why it is we can’t seem to quit fighting and then learn how you might take action to stop the senseless killing of our kids.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Those Spring Flowers: Pointless Bursts of Color or Anchors to the Here & Now?

2019's "superbloom" of California poppies near
Lake Elsinore blankets the mountainsides with dancing colors

It's that time of year again (at least in much of the Northern Hemisphere). Out of the gray of winter, against a backdrop of dead grasses, winter-worn leaves and bare branches, flowers pop out at us, clamoring for attention. They tease us with noisy bursts of color that don't seem to have any purpose.  "Hey, I'm over here!" they demand. "It's spring and it's warming up and I'm beautiful and it's great to be alive!" Their crazy, random shaped heads bob and jiggle around in the warm, moist breezes. Some last a few weeks, while others shrivel and die after a mere day or two.

In A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, Eckhart Tolle explains how these little colored marvels have helped shape humanity's perceptions:
"As the consciousness of human beings developed, flowers were most likely the first thing they came to value that had no utilitarian purpose... not linked in some way to survival. They provided inspiration to countless artists, poets, and mystics. Jesus tells us to contemplate the flowers and learn from them how to live. The Buddha is said to have given a silent sermon once during which he held up a flower and gazed at it."
And how can flowers teach us how to live? By grabbing our attention and, however briefly, slamming us into the here and now. Their ephemeral beauty touches something deep within us... something that is beyond words... something that compels attention and focus... something that invites us into the present moment.

And then, soon enough, our faces turn away, disappearing into our digital screens. Then our brains disappear into those mini-dramas from work or some talking head's political narrative or celebrity "news," and on and on and on. Eventually, our consciousness is completely consumed by the neverending ping's and dings of the gossip stream that is the news or Facebook or Instagram or... [insert your favorite gif-bedecked screen addiction here.]

How about you? Did you notice that short-lived flower you walked past today? Did you catch that beautiful smile that someone beamed at you? Did you really hear and process that thing your kid said that seemed to make him so giggly? Did you look into your dog's eyes when she wagged her tail at you and connect with her unrestrained love? These are examples of NOW moments. Follow the flowers to connect with your own ephemeral NOW moments and connect with your own life aliveness before it fades.

(Bonus: Online Google photo album:
Virtual Flowers for My WORTH SHARING Readers 
-- I shot all these at or near my home in Southern CA.)

Related Stuff from the Archives: 

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Got downtime? Teach yourself project management with these free videos and tools!

The Situation: You've Got Lots of Down Time & A Great Big Brain to Feed!

As noted in my last article, the vast majority of my fellow Americans -- indeed, people from all over the world -- have been stopped in their tracks by the COVID-19 pandemic. We've been asked to stay home from our jobs and schools and generally "hide out" at home to help stop the spread of this horrible and deadly disease. And you can only spend so much time on YouTube, Netflix, Facebook, etc. until you go numb! So why not teach yourself something valuable so that when you emerge from your cave... and you will eventually emerge!... you will have some "added value" in the workplace?  And project management (PM) is one skill set that provides lots of value in almost any industry!

The Overall Approach: Keep It Simple... Become a PM Minimalist! 

Project Management (PM) Minimalism is the practice of doing “just enough” PM to get the job done, and no more. PM Minimalism may be applied to any project in any industry or professional practice. It's up to you to decide what “just enough” PM is for your particular project, in your unique organization. The Project Management Minimalist: Just Enough PM to Rock Your Projects! provides lean, simple, and professional-level PM tools and guidelines to help you make this decision and run a Minimalist project. (*NOTE: Amazon, my book distributor, won't let me list this book in their catalog at a price of $0.00 [FREE!], as I would like to do. So I set it up for sale at the absolute minimum price they allow, which is $2.99 for the Kindle, $6.99 paperback. But honestly -- you don't need to buy the book to get a whole bunch of valuable stuff that you can use to teach yourself PM Minimalism.... See below...)

The Video Series: An In-depth Overview of PM & PM Minimalism

These free videos are short and sweet and matched to the book... but you don't need the book to get a lot out of them! They'll allow you to just kick back and ease into project management and PM Minimalism.

The PM Minimalist Support System & Freebies (Lotsa Good Stuff!)

Inspired by the videos to go a little deeper? This is a HUGE collection of mostly free stuff to help you learn and apply PM Minimalism, coach/lead your project team and even create a do-it-yourself PM Minimalist workshop. There are PDF reference tools, audios, coaching guides and all sorts of useful materials to help anyone who is new to PM get their project up and running immediately.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Bored passively consuming content? Feeling anxious? Maybe it's time to create something!

“Get busy. Keep busy… Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking, and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind.”  - Dale Carnegie

How much Netflix, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram & news can you consume?!

As I write this, the vast majority of my fellow Americans -- indeed, people from all over the world -- have been stopped in their tracks by the COVID-19 pandemic. We've been asked to stay home from our jobs and schools, stop eating in restaurants or bars and generally avoid participating in any kind of real-world groups in order to help stop the spread of this horrible and deadly disease. We're asked to maintain "social distancing" on our essential trips out for supplies and to practice "self-isolation" at home.

Fortunately, in our internet connected world, we can stay safely in touch with each other online. And, what's more, we can pass hours and hours every day consuming unlimited stuff from 24/7 news outlets, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  But there is a limit to how much time you can spend zoned out on media and messages created by other people! Eventually you'll experience the mental equivalent of eating 10 bags of potato chips in one sitting. At first it seems fun to indulge, but you soon hit a wall when you realize that stuffing yourself isn't all that satisfying! (In fact, too much passive media watching has been associated with depression!)

Maybe it's time to create something.

Human beings are naturally creative. Give a kid a box of crayons and she'll create a picture. Give another kid a kazoo and he'll invent a song. We tell stories, we invent solutions to problems that are bothering us, we explore and learn new things so we can create more stuff. Some mystics and philophers go so far as to say that the act of creation taps into a universal Source energy which then flows through us, putting us in touch with the infinite. Whatever the roots of our creative experience, there's something deeply satisfying about bringing forth something that did not exist before. And that satisfaction is WAY deeper than anything we can experience binge-watching melodramas and cat videos!

So if you find yourself on lockdown at home, why not call on your inherent creativity (yes... it's really there whether you are using it or not...) and create something new?

Just do it!

Here are some examples of home-based projects that could get your creative juices flowing and result in something that would bring you satisfaction and other people enjoyment:

Bonus Materials: A Couple of Pep Talks for the Creatively Challenged

If you feel a bit hesitant to jump right into that creative project, maybe a quick pep talk (in essay form) might help.  In my book, Worth Sharing: Essays & Tools to Help Project Managers and Their Teams, I include a couple that might help you get unstuck. You can download them via the links below as PDFs.  Or you can read them here, in the free online version of the book.  Enjoy!

Why You Should Trust Your Judgment (Your Inner "Wisdom Filter)

Are you afraid that your creative output won't matter? ... that it's not really worth anything? This essay will prove to you that you have much wisdom and that you can trust that wisdom to be valuable, grasshopper!

PDF:  Why You Should Trust Your Judgment (Your Inner "Wisdom Filter)

Leveraging Inspiration: 10 Simple Practices to Keep Your Creative Output Flowing

This practical essay will show you 10 specific things you can do to catch all those flashes of inspiration before they get away so you can pull them together later into something wonderful.  Get the PDF here.

Video Bonus

Finally, consider this little video: Time & Space to Blossom. I created it a few years ago for absolutely no reason. It was fun to build and it makes me happy when I watch it. Enjoy!

Related Articles from the Archives