Monday, February 18, 2013

Aim at a Nearby Target

If you're familiar with Birkman as a personal assessment tool, then I'll tell you I'm green normally.

Green is sanguine. Green is the relational people-connector. Green enjoys attention and likes being the guy people want to invite over.

Green is my strength.

But under stress I'm blue. I withdraw, I need alone-time. I don't want to engage people.

I am, what my friend Wesley King once said, a "situational extrovert." Or in my own language, I'm a highly-relational introvert."

So what do you do when you're more blueish than greenish on a given day, working on a given project? I really think Roy Williams, the Wizard of Ads, hit the nail on the head in this post. In a nutshell, he says "aim at a nearby target."

We don't want to do things that feel aimless or pointless, so we end up doing nothing, and melancholy takes over. We spend a day doing nothing. Or a week. Or a lifetime.

But when the aimless, pointless blues creep in, don't try to psych yourself up for some great project you're trying to do. Pick a nearby, doable target; something that needs to be done (Roy's example is cleaning his office), and get it done.

This is one of the great pieces of David Allen's "Getting Things Done" system. If you organize your tasks by the context in which they need to be done (@Office, @Home, @Computer, etc) then you have a mix of tasks that need high energy and focus, but also many that you can do when you feel aimless and pointless. Things that need to be done but don't require a ton of concentration or mental energy. Keep a list of those things, and when the pointless blues arrive, pick one and do it.

You might find yourself better aimed, and more to the point.

Read the entire Roy Williams article here:

Monday, February 04, 2013

Non-con doesn't work

The gun control "non-conversation" is turning into another pro-life/abortion rights "non-con." In both cases, each side reduces the issues to bumper-sticker rhetoric, shouts at the other side about "life" or "choice"--or "control" or "freedom"...

All the while we neither reduce the number of abortions nor the amount of people killed by guns. Until both sides are ready to really, actually CONVERSE, then conversation is apparently out of the question. And without conversation, very little meaningful change will happen. Meanwhile people continue to die, both before and after birth.

Is there a way for people who believe the 2nd amendment gives us the right to bear arms to stop talking about "cold dead hands?" Can we stop mongering fear? Can those who believe that government should strongly regulate guns stop talking about rednecks and Freudian psychological issues?

Facebook could be a place for a broad conversation.

Facebook has become a place for dropping rhetorical bombs that get "amens" from those who agree with us and unfriended by those who don't.

The gap between Americans MUST be bridged by someone. Actually I suppose it can only be bridged by a bunch of us. What can we do to have a real American Conversation about life or death issues like this?

What's your symbol?

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13.34-35 ESV

The cross is the most recognizable symbol of Christianity. No, it doesn't always represent Jesus, but if it wasn't for Jesus it wouldn't be much of a symbol. It has adorned steeples, shields, hospitals, emergency response organizations, vampire-hunters, necks...

...and at one time, my chest.

Yes, one of those crazy things I did working with youth in my younger days was shaving a cross in my chest-hair. The first time I did it was at Kanakuk in 1987, when I shaved out a cross. Then a few years later I shaved everything BUT a cross. That was really cool.

And yes, I have a picture. I suppose I could post it if you really wanted...

Nearly everyone in world recognizes the cross as a symbol of Christianity. And it's a fitting symbol, what with the sacrifice Jesus made on it on our behalf and everything. He called us to pick one up (symbolically? figuratively? literally?) and follow him.

But if the cross is the greatest symbol of Jesus, then there's a close second. One that I've never seen sold in James Avery, never seen anyone put in their family crest. It's not on the steeples of any church. But it should be.

That symbol? The towel.

In the story I quoted above, Jesus has just washed the disciples' feet. And told them that if he's really their Master then they will do the same (Jn 13.14). And just before they walk out the door and head to the garden, he tells them once more: Listen, I'm about to be gone. We've been together for a couple of years now, and let me just tell you plainly. I've got a new command. Love each other. Love each other with a "wrap a towel around your waist and get your hands dirty" kind of love. Forget status, forget success. Forget position, except to be on your knees washing each others' feet. That kind of love.

If I could just follow that one command...

So when you pick up a towel, think about Jesus. Then think about who you need to love. Who is your "other"? Who has dirty feet around you?

Let's make a towel a symbol of our love.