Matt\’s Cuppa

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Archive for the ‘Success’ Category

To Meet Big Challenges By Doing Small Things

Posted by telecommatt on January 2, 2008

It’s tradition that each year about this time, I go online with renewed vigor in a quest to find the best productivity tools to support me in my initiative to organize and document my life better in the new year than I did in the last. I’ve already squandered precious hours in double digits in my pursuit. So much for productivity!

While productivity doesn’t seem to be my forte so far this year, there are a handful of other commitments I’ve made to myself that I feel more confident about. There is one resolution I have made that I feel will make the biggest impact on nearly every area of my life. That is, to handle things when they are small.

I know, it sounds sort of anti-climatic. Believe me when I say that it is not! Simply put, this means that I’ve committed myself to taking care of problems when they are not yet problems. My wife is happy because it means that I pick up my socks as I take them off instead of picking them up by the arm load at the end of the week. This has ramifications in the business world as well, aside from just keeping your desk clean.

I’ll take an instance from my current work environment as an example. There is a very capable member of the administrative staff who will be leaving our office later this month. She is currently training her replacement. If I begin building a working relationship with my new coworker now, before she is on her own, it is most likely that my productivity will not be adversely affected by the transition.

If that example seems too utilitarian, (which it really is not) try this. Start your meeting notes before the meeting starts. Really. You’d be surprised at how much important information is present before anyone actually begins speaking! Get in the habit of doing this and your notes will get neater, more concise, more accurate, and more uniform little effort on your part.

Like nearly everything, there are two sides to my commitment to handle things when they are small. The obvious I’ve already covered. That is, to tackle problems before they have a chance to become big problems. The more subtle message here is that big problems must not be avoided. On the contrary, I’ve committed myself to some large challenges this year.

Handling big challenges when they are already big is daunting. That is why I decided to handle my biggies when they get small again. Large tasks are almost always made up of smaller ones, just like projects are made up of actionable items. In order to face some of the looming challenges in my life, I’ve decided to simplify them by breaking them down into smaller challenges.

One example that comes to mind is a broad commitment to living more sustainably. That’s a pretty nebulous goal. But what if I could start turning on one less lightbulb as I got ready for work in the morning?

I guess that all this started to make sense to me as I sat thinking about the ebb and flow of one year into the next. Small problems have potential to turn into big problems, but we have the potential to meet huge challenges by turning them into small ones. It’s just a question of where we choose to fight our battles.
There is a line in the Tao Te Ching, which I know I’m mis-quoting, and which I’ve always been fascinated by. In it, Lao Tzu basically says that the sage accomplishes great things with no effort. I always took this to be the meaning, to meet big challenges by doing small things.

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Posted in Productivity, Success, Zen | Leave a Comment »

Why Learning From Others Is Good

Posted by telecommatt on September 17, 2007

Whose Shadow Are You Standing In?

Building your personal brand from scratch can be hard and time consuming, this is why you need to take every advantage possible even if it means finding a shadow and sitting in it.

I really wish that I had time to add some commentary to this article, but I have a train to catch, and I thought this post was too good to be hanging out on my to-do list. Thanks to LH for the posting.

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Kenneth “Ironman” Raboin

Posted by telecommatt on September 12, 2007

Congratulations goes out to Ken for completing the 2007 Ironman Wisconsin and besting his personal best.

We all knew you’d do it!

Not sure what the Ironman is all about? Check out this YouTube video.

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More Self Development Than You Can Shake A Stick At

Posted by telecommatt on September 8, 2007

communicatrix » Blog Archive » If you can’t develop yourself via at least one of these sites, there’s no hope for you

If you can’t develop yourself via at least one of these sites, there’s no hope for you

Thanks to Chris Brogan for posting this on Twitter. This is, indeed, a huge list! I didn’t even need to get to the end of it before deciding it was a huge list. Come to think of it, I think I got distracted by some of the blogs that were mentioned, and I never did get to the end of this huge list!

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Further Thoughts on Bill Cosby

Posted by telecommatt on July 2, 2007

This morning, I was discussing the Get Motivated conference with my father. We had both attended the conference and really haven’t had time to sit down and share thoughts on what we heard. In particular, we were talking about Bill Cosby. We both agreed that, out of everyone who took the stage that day, it was Bill Cosby’s talk that we took the most away from. I talked about Cosby in my other post about the conference here.

He did a bit on butterflies and moths that was hilarious. Behind the laughter, there was some really powerful stuff going on. Basically, moths are dull, boring, and stupid.They run into bug zappers and how play kamikaze with cars. “Now this is how you stop a car! Bzzzzzz…splat!!” He obviously has issues with moths running into his car. Or, he probably knew that all that stuff about moths would make people laugh harder. Butterflies, on the other hand, are bright and beautiful and they spend their time bobbing from flower to flower. There was a bit more, but what is came down to was, “Are you going to be a moth or a butterfly?”

What I got out of this was potential. But not just the regular “You have the potential to become successful” stuff. I think he was aiming deeper than that. I think his whole talk was aiming deeper than that. I believe he was talking about who you could be, while most of the audience was listening for what they could be. Cosby’s message was pretty clear in my mind: You can’t be successful unless you be yourself first. So, with the butterflies, he was asking who are you going to be? Are you going to be a moth and believe that you can stop the next car? Or are you going to be a butterfly and spend your life moving from flower to flower? In other words, are you going to chase after success like it’s a moving car, or are you going to be success and enjoy the flowers?

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I Got Motivated

Posted by telecommatt on June 26, 2007

I attended the day long Get Motivated semnar last week. The seminar was held in the Target Center, a sports arena in downtown Minneapolis, and the arena was packed. Standing room only. Honestly, I usually avoid these things because I’m not into large crowds of cheering people. My motivation was really due to the speakers that were. The producers of the event, Peter and Tamara Lowe, don’t mess around when it comes to who is going to be on their stage.

Peter & Tamara Lowe

This is what their website has to say:

Only the BEST of the BEST appear on our stage! Speakers vary by
location and always include a Dream Team of respected success experts.
Current and former speakers have included: Former NYC Mayor Rudolph
Giuliani, Secretary of State General Colin Powell, Former First Lady
Barbara Bush, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Former World
Heavyweight Champion George Foreman, NFL Superstars Joe Montana, Peyton
Manning, Ladainian Tomlinson and coach Tony Dungy, Presidents Ronald
Reagan, George Bush, Entertainers Bill Cosby, Jerry Lewis, Goldie Hawn,
Motivational Expert Zig Ziglar, Legendary Microsoft President Rick
Belluzzo, Gold Medal Olympian Mary Lou Retton, Barbara Walters, and
Larry King just to name a few!

So, I sat in the audience and listened to what all these successful people had to say. The morning session consisted mostly of wealthy people selling their pre-packaged systems for success to a captive audience. They must have made a killing! The funny thing is, I went in there with the mindset that these people were all successful and I was there to learn how to be like them. Like everyone else in the audience, I was lapping up every word! It was after the lunch break that things sort of switched gears. These were the people that I had come to see, people you see in person once in a lifetime. I later realized that these were the people who were up there talking about success not because of their system, but because of themselves. Take Zig Ziglar as an example. There’s something so personable about Zig that you can’t help liking the guy. He’s living proof that integrity still works. And Gen. Colin Powell, what a powerhouse of a speaker! The man has seen so much of what has shaped our world today that he just opens his mouth and something insightful falls out. You may not agree with everything he says, but you can’t argue with the man.

Gen. Colin Powell

Out of everyone who stood up that day, it was Bill Cosby who walked on stage and kicked me in the gut. That’s literally what it felt like. I wish that I could remember the wording he used, but I’ll have to paraphrase things a bit instead. When he walked on stage (after making a hilarious jab at the next speaker, Gen. Powell) he looked around and said, “I know why all of you are here.” He proceeded to tell us that we were down there (in our seats) because we wanted to learn how to be up here (on stage). His point was that we were the reason we were down there. We put ourselves in our seats just was we put them on stage. It was a decision that we had made ourselves.

Bill Cosby

It was at this point that I sat back and thought of all those people who had lined up earlier that day to buy someone else’s system. I thought of all those people who were frantically scribbling notes trying to get the entire seminar into their Franklin planner. I thought, “Did we all just miss the point?” I had a sort of sickly feeling crawl across my skin. It seemed that these “successful” people were there feeding on the desire of a bunch of little people who wanted a piece of that success for ourselves. One man that day came out and told us all that we were here for the wrong reasons, and I wonder how many people got it. If the majority of the audience had, I think there would have been an audible intake of breath when he stopped speaking. There wasn’t.

In retrospective, every person that stepped up on stage that day had important things to talk about. I thought that it would be Gen. Colin Powell who would have the biggest impact on me, but it was Bill Cosby. He stood there and told us that we were all going about things wrong, and no one wants to hear that. But I’m glad that he did. I think I needed that; the admonishment came at a time when I was receptive to it. I feel lucky about that. I guess it’s true that we don’t always get what we want, but if we are receptive enough, we get what we need.

Posted in Entrepeneurism, Self-help, Success | 1 Comment »

Got Motivated Again: Further Thoughts on Cosby

Posted by telecommatt on December 31, 1969

This morning, I was discussing the Get Motivated conference with my father. We had both attended the conference and really haven’t had time to sit down and share thoughts on what we heard. In particular, we were talking about Bill Cosby. We both agreed that, out of everyone who took the stage that day, it was Bill Cosby’s talk that we took the most away from. I talked about Cosby in my other post about the conference here.

He did a bit on butterflies and moths that was hilarious. Behind the laughter, there was some really powerful stuff going on. Basically, moths are dull, boring, and stupid.They run into bug zappers and how play kamakazi with cars. “Now this is how you stop a car! Bzzzzzz…splat!!” He obvioulsy has issues with moths running into his car. Or, he probably knew that all that stuff about moths would make people laugh harder. Butterflies, on the other hand, are bright and beautiful and they spend their time bobbing from flower to flower. There was a bit more, but what is came down to was, “Are you going to be a moth or a butterfly?”

What I got out of this was potential. But not just the regular “You have the potential to become successful” stuff. I think he was aiming deeper than that. I think his whole talk was aiming deeper than that. I belive he was talking about who you could be, while most of the audience was listening for what they could be. Cosby’s message was pretty clear in my mind: You can’t be successful unless you be yourself first. So, with the butterflies, he was asking who are you going to be? Are you going to be a moth and believe that you can stop the next car? Or are you going to be a butterfly and spend your life moving from flower to flower? In other words, are you going to chase after success like it’s a moving car, or are you going to be success and enjoy the flowers?

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