Reflections on goals

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

– Winston Churchill on May 13, 1940, in “Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat”, his famous first speech as Prime Minister to the House of Commons

Goals are everywhere and of all time. Goals are important. Goals inspire and mobilize resources like no other. They propel people and businesses forward, forward to growth, improvement, and success or the opposite or any point in between. They give a sense of purpose, focus and ambition. Goals signify motion from point A to B. Motion is often viewed as superior to standing still, which is potentially similar to going backwards in a continuously moving environment. Goals differ in magnitude. Some goals are big, vague or abstract. Other goals are small or concrete. Some goals require a lot of time and effort while others are quick or effortless. Some goals require cooperation; other goals one can reach solo. Some goals face opposition or are controversial. Some goals are static and do not change whereas others change and transform. Some goals are close to point A while other goals are far away. Yet, in some cases, before reaching that particular kind of goal, other points or goals in-between require reaching or achieving. Sometimes we know what our goals are, sometimes we do not, sometimes we know in hindsight, sometimes we never know. Some goals we may reach without realizing we reached them or even had them. However, a goal is there to achieve something. A choice to act, realize or complete that point. Indeed, it is a triumph, an accomplishment, and an outcome in its purest form. It is a point where before and after are distinctly different.

As such, goals come in many forms, circumstances and disguises. See below table for a brief overview of several terms related to goals, with their meaning clarified through Oxford dictionary definitions.

Goal The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result: the destination of a journey or literary a point marking the end of a race Aspiration A hope or ambition of achieving something Motivation A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way
Aim *A purpose or intention; a desired outcome

*Verb – [With object] point or direct (a weapon or camera) at a target

*[No object] have the intention of achieving

Ambition *A strong desire to do or achieve something

*[Mass noun] desire and determination to achieve success

Reason *A cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event

*[Mass noun] good or obvious cause to do something

Purpose *The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

*A person’s sense of resolve or determination

Success *The accomplishment of an aim or purpose

*Archaic the good or bad outcome of an undertaking

Outcome

 

 

 

Result

The way a thing turns out; a consequence

A thing that is caused or produced by something else; a consequence or outcome

The path to reaching goals and the achievement or non-achievement of goals has certain consequences. Some paths are bold and involve costs in various ways. Some costs are extremely high; in Churchill’s words “victory at all costs”. Some people are of the view that the costs are too high, such as in this case; a number of historians, while admiring Churchill’s determination, argue that “Churchill’s resolution was reckless and a colder, more calculating policy – a policy matched more realistically to England’s actual resources – would have yielded far better results.” (see Grimsley, 2012). This potential conflict is especially apparent when people, governments or businesses have one goal or multiple goals and somehow manage them. So goals and the associated path to reach them may unite and or divide at the same time.

Do people operate in this world without goals? I think some people do, some more so than others. Goals facilitate action for many, while goals may stifle others. The goal-setting literature acknowledges that people who set goals feel less satisfied with their performance than people who do not set goals (see Heath et al., 1999). Perhaps this is traced back to expectations; if assessment of performance occurs based on previously held expectations then there is potentially a discrepancy, which is non-existent for people who hold no expectations. Do people achieve things without goals? Can achievement “just” happen? In other words, are goals a requisite for achievement? And can some achievements also be viewed as retrospective goals? What do you think?

 

Sports moments of beauty

Faultless speed is what counts in this world. Whitewater, gates, upstream, downstream, start, finish, boat, paddle, better and faster.

I hear the sound of the speaker, excitement is building. I hear the constant pounding of the water. I see the judges watching and noting things down. Missed the gate? Touched the gate? Successful movement through the gate?

Pelicans in flight

Pelicans in flight

I see pelicans flying in formation in circles above. What do they see and know from where they are? I feel nerves, how about the others? Everyone knows what is at stake here. This is what athletes are training for. With everything that is going on around, this space is what counts. How do they measure up against their peers, against and with the water, against themselves?

Focus, disappointment, technique, joy, drive, acceleration, desire… I see it all through my lens. I value and handle these unique appearances with care, as if trying to capture a butterfly. Easily crushed but of exquisite beauty, an opportunity in milliseconds, asking to do justice to its being. I bring a window to this universe. Here so many elements intersect.

I am with them, all of them, when they come in range, here and now. I freeze moments in time. Moments of exceptional beauty.

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Notes from the Universe

Sometimes it is nice to get little notes that remind you of great meaningful magical things in life, powers and wisdom of the “universe”, and the beauty of imagination and realisation. These are just a couple of notes from the Universe I received this week. Note that I replaced my name with “dear reader” so you can experience the message for yourself!

Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper - TTdesign

Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper - TTdesign (Photo credit: tomt6788)

Focus

When you focus upon anything at all, dear reader, it’s like a call goes out to every corner of the Universe, summoning ideas, strength, courage, insight, resources, and whatever else is needed to complete the laser beam of your concentration.

If it’s an answer you need, it will be forthcoming. If it’s a choice you have to make, your options are calculated and recalculated under each scenario. If circumstances need to be arranged then every soul on the planet is consulted. And if it’s help you need… we’re already there.

When you focus upon anything at all.

Not bad, huh?

- The Universe

Abstract Colorful Universe Wallpaper - TTdesign

Get out!

Get out, get out, get out even more, dear reader!

Because there are people you’ve yet to meet, laughs you’ve yet to share, stories you’ve yet to live, and riches you’ve yet to tap into, that will not find you under any other circumstances.

Besides, how else can I shower you with surprises?

- The Universe

» Sign up to receive notes from the Universe at www.tut.com – Thoughts become things… choose the good ones!

Thinking forward, tales of traveling in time

Forward thinking. Reasoning forward. Is it what sets today’s visionaries and great performers apart? Is reasoning or thinking backward, including past trends, decisions, experiences and knowledge, part of this forward thinking? Do we need the past as a reference? If so, how important is what we know today to our thinking into the future? Some musings on different cases.

Forward implies movement, from one point to the other. Forward is usually perceived positive and backward negative. Forward is progress. Thinking beyond “here”, “now”, “what we know”, and “current state”. You are able to anticipate, consider options and potential consequences of future actions or outcomes. There is a time and space dimension associated to thinking “ahead” and back again.

Contents
 - Thinking math
 - Thinking finance, Olympics and past performance
 - Thinking management and entrepreneurship
 - Thinking life

Thinking math

ThinkingImagine working on a complex math problem. Imagine not finding the strategy to solve and not coming up with the solution. You hit a closed door and cannot find the key. Imagine reading the problem’s answer and possible strategy to solve. From the other side of the door or with guidance from a locksmith, you “see” it; opening the door was possible with the tools you had. You think: yes, logical, and understand backwards. Putting the puzzle pieces back together seems simple. There is, however, a profound difference between understanding backward and understanding forward to take appropriate action and solve to open that door. ↑Back to top↑

Thinking finance, Olympics and past performance

You are probably familiar with the saying “past performance does not guarantee future performance” (think: a Fund manager’s disclaimer). Yet, we use past performance and behaviors as predictors for future performance all the time. The assumption is that if there is a consistent pattern in the past, the future is most likely to continue that way. On the other hand, we cannot always predict the particulars, possibly only the direction. Note that both the extrapolation and the general direction require things to remain relatively stable, so no disruptors, to hold “true”.

January 2012 Medal Prediction Canoe Sprint K1M 1000m

© USA TODAY

Let’s take a look at an interesting case related to Olympic medal predictions for London 2012. USA Today and Infostrada Sports developed an Olympic Medal Tracker that “projects the winners in each medal event for the 2012 London Olympics, based on an algorithm that monitors athletes’ performances leading up to the Games”. (in: USA Today’s Projecting the 2012 London Olympics medalists) Consistent excellent performance [of the past] suggests who are the biggest contenders and winners. Surely these consistent excellent performers do something right or better than their less successful athletes. On the other hand, can a measure of best current performances actually reliably predict medal winners? Aren’t there other factors at play? With variables being equal, some athletes possibly think forward and backward better than others. In addition, the athletes have to successfully execute on this thinking, constantly. Without implementation, there would be no performance. ↑Back to top↑

Thinking management and entrepreneurship

Academic research by Saras Sarasvathy has revealed two distinct patterns on decision-making and thinking. Successful professional managers predominantly use one way of thinking, called “causal reasoning”, while successful entrepreneurs predominantly use another reasoning pattern, called “effectual reasoning”. Below some further study insights with selected excerpts from Leigh Buchanan’s splendid article How Great Entrepreneurs Think in Inc. Magazine.

EntrepreneurshipEntrepreneurs are brilliant improvisers who do not start out with concrete goals but constantly assess how to use their personal strengths and whatever resources they have at hand to develop goals and opportunities on the fly, while creatively reacting to contingencies in the environment. So an improvisation process, where the starting point is not having concrete goals but the goals evolve and get established along the way, characterizes effectual reasoning. It is not that entrepreneurs do not have goals, only that those goals are broad and, like luggage, may shift during flight. Rather than do traditional market research, meticulously segment customers according to potential return and do extensive planning, entrepreneurs itch to get to market as quickly and cheaply as possible. Sarasvathy calls this principle “affordable loss”. Moreover, entrepreneurs allow whomever they encounter on the journey, such as suppliers, advisers, customers, to shape their businesses. Over time when companies grow, entrepreneurs do however also adopt more formal research and planning practices.

In contrast, corporate executives, also enormously successful in their chosen field, set a goal and diligently seek the best ways to achieve it. They know exactly where they are going and follow a prescribed path, such as an efficient and cost-effective one, to get there. So presuming given well-specified goals, and finding the best ways to achieve this goal, characterizes causal reasoning. Also reasonably reliable predictions about the future are made because causes and histories are well understood, as if it is a static linear world. The environment or context such as the market is independent.

Remarkably, between the two ways of thinking there is a difference in beliefs regarding control, prediction and the future. If you can predict the future to a certain extent you can control it (managers) vs. If you can control the future to a certain extent you do not need to predict it (entrepreneurs). ↑Back to top↑

Thinking life

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
- Kierkegaard

Where in time is your attention going mostly? The maxims “living in the present” and “live life now” are quite popular nowadays. It tells us to enjoy, appreciate and be aware of “now”. Many people think of what is ahead but are somehow not often present in the present, as in “life happens while you are making other plans.” Other people may just look back often, drawing their attention to the past, while life happens or catches up on them.

Owl in deep thought

Photo by Grey Wulf, Sheffield UK

If people and organizations can change, does that make the past to some extent irrelevant? Or are the books on personal change nonsense because people cannot relieve the shackles from the past; you have to work with the cards that you have been dealt? A young start-up company without a glorious history may perform extremely well consistently, after some ups and downs, whereas established firms, which were successful in the past, may miss opportunities and become unsuccessful. It seems that you cannot take the past and future for granted but don’t have to stick with it either.

Reflecting backward, examining results of past actions and learning from them to act today and think forward, being proactive for tomorrow, is useful. At the same time, it makes sense to loosen your grip on what the future holds, shifting your life, goals and actions with opportunities and changes that arise and fit the context, which you can influence. Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” extrapolated to thinking our life, goals and endeavors? Why not allow some space and time for change, adaptation and learning, and what the future holds. And who knows? Perhaps more things become possible than you think.

Related posts on this website
• What are you thinking? The influence of language we use
• Preparing kids for jobs we can’t imagine yet
• Finding and doing what you love
Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”

Related links elsewhere
• Effectuation.org
Society for effectual action – Research Community Effectuation fundamentally rethinks. How entrepreneurship is researched and taught throughout the world.
↑Back to top↑

What are you thinking? The influence of language we use

“How are you feeling?” asks the doctor. “Who cares what I feel? Ask me what I’m thinking. Then you might learn something.” This is what Meryl Streep answers, playing her role of Margaret Thatcher, in the movie The Iron Lady directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Words, mere words, tell us many things.

Language and meaning

Words have a power all their own

Image by waɪ.tiː via Flickr

Thoughts become things and the words you, others and I choose convey a lot, an often hidden world, with various consequences. Listen carefully, pay attention, though be mindful of mind-reading. When you mind-read, you attach a meaning to something that is actually not the meaning of the communicator. Day in day out we interpret the world around us and what people are saying, sharing and doing. We fill things in, take short-cuts, listen to things that were not said, trigger emotions with certain words or phrases or gestures or tones, imagine things that were not shown or specifically called for, impose our view of the world on the information that is coming our way. How is this information coming our way?

We see things, we hear things, we feel things, verbally and non-verbally. This is then translated with our personal language and “map”, including our beliefs and values, and transforms the incoming information to images, sounds, feelings, thoughts and: make sense or not. To prevent yourself mind-reading or (help others) attach the right meaning, be specific when you communicate and when someone else communicates ask for clarification if unclear or test.

However, there are many contexts when relatively vague language is useful. Marketing or sales efforts are sometimes designed to trigger thoughts or actions in a certain direction without clearly saying or showing it to you. There is a lot more to say about this one but I will do that in another post. And how about politics? Imagine you want many people to vote for you or your idea, who all have their own view of the world. You cannot be too specific because you run the risk of leaving a lot of people out. Strike a balance between abstract and more defined so it keeps options and interpretation open. Consequently, this attracts and mobilizes as many people as possible. Again, there is a lot more to say about this one and I will do so in another post. Last context in this context is culture. For example in the Netherlands, being clear and specific in communication is generally the habit and norm. In many other countries and cultures, this type of communication is often perceived as offensive communication and can be taken “personal”.

The movie and a theme

Returning to the topic of The Iron Lady, there is some criticism on bringing out this movie and depicting the former PM suffering from dementia while Mrs. Thatcher is still alive. Some people regard this as disrespectful. Others argue that dementia ought not to be a taboo and the movie is not about dementia as such, but respectfully about the life of Mrs. Thatcher. Again, there are differences in interpretation. Acknowledging but not entering the debate, I enjoyed the movie and Meryl Streep’s performance is a delight. Be sure to watch the enticing video trailer of The Iron Lady on YouTube.

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher

Image via Wikipedia

A theme in this movie, highlighted in the introductory quote, is a distinction and connection between thinking and feeling. This is where Meryl Streep’s character specifically draws a line. It plays to the notion that in life, people may perceive the character as a cold woman. Let’s juggle words and speculate a little here. Leaving actions out of the picture, perhaps the sensation “cold” relates to the character’s tendency to “think” more than “feel”? Do you think there is a difference between men and women on this front and existing gender expectations? In other words, are women possibly expected to show more emotion, compared to men, and therefore usually appear, or thought to appear, less thoughtful and more emotional? Thus, if a woman differs from this expected view, or assumption, or belief, or proven “truth” (if that exists), we cannot place her in the standard box “woman”. No, in fact the attributes belong in the standard box of “man”, i.e. manly behaviour. What do we do then? Perhaps default to a negative in evaluating the topic under investigation, since matching standard or being average to some extent is positive, is expected, is rewarded? Or is this drawing of meaning and consequences mere nonsense?

The word “iron” is a great example of words and their meaning. Properties attached to iron are unbending, not to be broken, holding, cold, power, strength, inflexible, firmness, unrelenting, insensible, firm, robust, enduring, rude, hard, harsh, severe. In expression: to rule with a rod of iron, an iron will, an iron constitution, made of iron. A derivative is the instrument made of iron to “iron” or smooth clothes. And all this based on a common useful metallic magnetic element with scientific chemical symbol Fe. Interesting, isn’t it? Note how often people use words and their assumed meaning interchangeably.

Thinking, feeling, doing

Continuing the line of thinking and feeling, people today often focus on feeling. You have to feel good, be happy. How about thinking and doing? Can we feel too much? Can we think too much? Can we do too much? And neglect the others? How do they interrelate? Can we think ourselves to feel happy or to success? Recently, I did an extended interview with double and current World Champion Canoe Slalom Corinna Kuhnle, who knows a thing or two about this triangle and relating it to performance. To perform extremely well Corinna is actually after not thinking during the race because that detracts focus from doing. So thinking can get in the way of doing = performance.

» Play the video below for my conversation with Corinna Kuhnle, at Penrith Whitewater Stadium and while hiking in the Blue Mountains, and see some race footage.

On the other hand, thoughts do materialise. Athletes use it all the time in their preparation as you can also hear in the interview. Norman Doidge describes in his international bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself various scientific studies of how imagination or thinking makes it so. Systematic mental practice or mental rehearsing proves for example an effective way to prepare for learning a physical skill with minimal physical practice. From a neuroscientific point of view, imagining an act and doing it are not as different as they sound. Brain scans show that in action and imagination many of the same parts of the brain are activated. Furthermore, in some cases, the faster you can imagine something, the faster you can do it. Research in this field lead to development of machines that “read” people’s thoughts and can benefit people who are paralysed to move things with their thoughts or translate their thought’s content.

People use patterns or sequences in actions, thoughts and feelings, and they vary in different situations, time and place and outcomes. You can find clues in language and communication. Communication is a fascinating art! What are your thoughts or feelings? Are you doing anything with or on this?

Related posts on this website
• Are some languages faster than others?

Create a website yourself, power to you

Some people do it as a way to earn money, service people or meet altruistic purposes. Some people work on it in teams and some on their own. Some people do it as a hobby and have fun or have other needs met. Some people only consume its content. And there is plenty of it. It? Websites and other digital platforms. Twenty years ago, who would have thought they would have such a profound impact? That anyone can do it, not only view it? Power to you.

So how am I going to do it?

Public domain question mark

If you have decided you want to create a website, an important question comes to mind: how am I going to do it? The journey starts to search for the right way and the answer often emerges when going back and forth between questions such as: what do I want the website to look like? what is the website about? what will be on it? now and in the foreseeable future? what and who is it for? how to best serve it all up, re navigation etc.? how much time, money, effort and other resources do I want to spend on the development and ongoing maintenance of the website and its content? make or buy? public or private? where to host? secure a specific domain? if part of a portfolio of websites, positioning? branding issues, incl. professional or personal? language? traffic and search engine considerations? and so on.

There are actually quite a lot of questions to think about and issues to decide upon. Projects range from simple to complex. Yes, everyone can do it but the questions above are just a selection and answers could be tricky because of interdependencies. Based on the scope of the project, support from digital agencies, in-house departments and professionals may help get your ultimate website from idea to launch and beyond. Yes, I have experience in this “group”, and you can bring me on for help. ;-)

Project: The simple website

In this article I am talking about developing a simple website yourself and some opportunities available to you, based on my experience with this website. In the project range mentioned above, the topic is at the relatively simple end of the spectrum and doable by non-technical people (i.e. non-developers). Disclaimer: it is by no means a complete story, answering all questions, and every project is different. So any lessons or ideas here may not apply to another project. That said, sit back, relax, immerse yourself and note things that work for you.

Getting started

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Browsing the Internet, you may already have an idea what kind of websites you like and what kind of website you want to create. There are so many sites around, it is worthwhile to find some good examples for inspiration. When you have an idea of what you want and to get you going, have a look at free services such as Tumblr, WordPress, and Blogger in Google’s suite. These services have answered many questions for you so you can hit the ground running. The beauty of these services is that you can play around, free might I add unless you want things out of the basic box, and keep things to yourself (private) for as long as you want.

WordPress logo blue

What is the difference between the services? Some say WordPress users tend to write more and longer-form, while Tumblr is more visual and its users tend to be more about quicker snippets, photos and videos. Try using them and find out which one you enjoy most using and looking at, in the context of your needs. If you want in-depth reviews on the differences between the free services then there are many articles to help you.

Functional fun experimentation

Things to look out for are themes. They are design templates and control your site’s appearance and what you can do with it. Usually you can customise colours and include or move certain elements, such as widgets, on pages. If you are into codes changes, these services allow you to adapt themes, some for a fee, to customise even further. Note that the theme filled with your content makes the website truly unique. So imagine your content and create some. You can make a more static website with pages (Contact, About, etc.) or introduce blog elements where you regularly post things (text, video, images, etc.) and decide on their prominence. Also think about your site title and tagline if you have one. Remember to set your privacy preference as well. Very quickly your site will be shaping up.

English: A Relic of Past Experimentation This ...

Your website service provides a URL for your website on their domain, something like http://mysite.wordpress.com. You can customise this URL if you want. Do you have your own domain name or URL that you want your visitors to view? You can use your own domain while still having your site with the website service. WordPress charges a yearly fee to map your WordPress domain to your own domain. Tumblr says it is “recommended for advanced users”. To keep things simple, you may want to do this part once you have decided on the service you want to use.

The great thing about this playground is that there is plenty of room for experimentation. There is no failure if your intention is learning. Just switch theme if you don’t like it. Move things around when there is some more content and see what that does for your site. Content management is simple with these tools used by millions. If you don’t touch the code, things generally don’t break in case you wonder. And there is help everywhere: forums, tutorials, videos, articles. My experience with WordPress is quick and friendly responses from Support. So if you want it, the creative community is supporting you on your journey.

Easy, doing it

While you are experimenting and working on your site, you are actually doing it. Question answered. From there you may decide it is ready to share, get traffic and connect it with social platforms or that you prefer to do it a different way. For example, outsource elements or the complete project knowing better what you want. Important to attend to the value of learning on the way and finding out what doesn’t work for you, what does, what you don’t know, what you do.

On WordPress, to .org or .com

Something to realise is the difference between WordPress.org and WordPress.com. WordPress is Open Source blogging software. WordPress.com is a hosting platform that uses the same WordPress software that anyone can download from WordPress.org. With WordPress.com, Automattic takes care of the hosting and managing of the software. With the freestanding WordPress software via WordPress.org, you need to install it on your own server or a third-party hosting provider. You can install themes and plugins, run ads, and edit the database. Read this article for the differences, benefits and cons in detail.

Screen shot Mirjam websiteIf going with WordPress, which of the two you decide upon depends on your requirements, technical ability, available budget and so on. A consideration that swayed me to WordPress.com for this website at the moment was that a lot is taken care of. I do not have to think about any technical things such as servers, back-ups, upgrading software, hosting, finding the right plug-ins. Quite a lot of things are actually in the “basic box”, nicely integrated, which you don’t have to think or worry about. And services are often upgraded with improved features. In turn, there are restrictions such as not being able to run your own ads and further customisation that plugins and code access allow.

Interesting to note is Automattic’s business model with paid upgrades, services, premium features, and occasionally showing ads on your website (Tumblr doesn’t do this). For example, pay a small yearly fee for using your own domain, customizing the design of the theme e.g. fonts, or using premium themes.

Feel like tapping into your creativity and make a website? If you already have, what are your experiences? Any thoughts on things raised in this article? Do you have any favourite websites that are your “perfect” example?

Related posts on this website
• Website live – all safe and sound?
• Welcome on board

The yearly to do list and the art of crafts

Every year I make a To do list. Yes, I love lists. This yearly one I put together to include things I want to do and accomplish in the year to come. It provides direction and focus on what matters and therefore I refer to it throughout the year.

I have used this tool for years and the lists have improved over the years. From being relatively vague and unachievable, the list has become more realistic and achievable-with-a-stretch. When I complete something I get such a sense of fulfillment, pride and joy. Tick, another important thing achieved.

There is feedback at the point of completion of a task or goal but also at the end of the year. How did I go? I may have done more than I listed or modified certain goals to align with circumstances. Usually this evaluation gives a sense of a certain quality to the past year and informs goals for the next year.

My habit is to include things from different areas of life to promote diversity, cross-fertilization (often I find this happens, such as opportunity to join Sport goal running half marathon with Protect environment goal via fundraising) and simply do justice to life’s wide range. So from projects and getting better at something to taking on a new activity and learn something new. Broadening my horizon. Everything is possible.

Over the past years, something brewed around the fact that after the start of high school, where there was still some handicraft work in the curriculum such as drawing, I did not engage in any physical crafting. I crafted things with my mind studying and working in business. Indeed, there would be physical results because of that, all aligned with the Information Age. However, no creation resulting from arts and crafts such as drawing, knitting, clay modeling, painting, ceramics, paper or wood.

Yet I am always attentive to and admire things that are well crafted, unique and handmade. From a beautifully designed and built house to a wonderful wooden cabinet to amazing jewellery. It is really all around us. So on the 2011 To do list I included an enriching experience to engage my “crafty side”.

» Read here how I went so far.

100-year-old man oldest marathon finisher ever

Another senior achieving a great feat.

This man has set a record when finishing a complete marathon at 100 years of age. Incredible!

Wait there is more. He has done it many times before while he just started running 20 years ago. Running gives him a new focus in life after losing his wife and child. He last completed the full marathon distance eight years ago. (Source: CBC)

» Read it all in this article.

Related posts on this website
• 98-year-old woman earns highest degree in judo

Finding and doing what you love

Like many others I am saddened by the news of Steve Jobs passing away.

Across the globe, world and business leaders paid tribute and people went on social media. Yes, as Barack Obama mentioned, I learned of the sad news on a device he invented. Twitter could have had record traffic. Official figures still have to come in but they may be around the 10,000 tweets per second according to social media monitoring firm SR7 (Source: Sydney Morning Herald). Just putting it in context, last record was 8,868 tweets per second with Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement at the MTV Video Music Awards and average of 600 tweets a second across the whole of last year according to Twitter (same article).

A great speech

Going through some of the coverage around the news, I stumbled on Steve Jobs’ commencement address at Stanford University in 2005. The speech is moving and inspirational.

» Read the full transcript here. See and hear the story of a great speaker in the video below.

Some Highlights

  • By following curiosity and intuition, stumbling into things that turn out to be useful later on: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
  • Finding and doing what you love: “You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
  • Focus on what is truly important: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”