Learning

Here’s a theory of learning:

  1. A person**…
  2. meets something new…
  3. has some kind of interaction with it…
  4. and is changed in some way.

I think these are the bare essentials. You can’t have learning with less, and everything else is detail under one of these headings. 

** Or animal, or…

A downhill slope (find others)

If you’re in a book group, social pressure is going to get you to read that book. The act of joining the book group is the hard part. Once you’re in the book group, the books are going to get read, because now you’re playing a game. It’s a game you’re enrolled in, it’s one you want to move forward.

The easiest way to start creating this game dynamic is to form a group. To find others, to find others and challenge those others to play the game with you. Because we all know that solitaire might be a little fun, but solitaire isn’t the kind of game we dream of when we dream of games.

We do better when we do it together.

Seth Godin – Akimbo – The Wedding Industrial Complex

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Make it happen. Find others. Say the words.

When to decide

Decide before it happens. Ahead of time, when it’s easy to decide, when you can plan a strategy – set up a game – that will make it easier for you to do what you want to do when the rubber hits the road.

If, for example, you want to be a runner, the time to decide whether or not you’re going to go for a run today is not in the morning when it’s cold and dark, ten minutes before your run.

You can gameify it. You can make a deal with yourself that you’re allowed stop running, but first you have to make it to the mailbox. You have to put on your shoes and your running clothes, and go out the door and run to the mailbox and then you’re allowed to make a decision that you’re too busy, or too tired to run.

Seth GodinAkimbo – The Wedding Industrial Complex

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Seth is spot on. I’d add a couple of things:

  • Make it as easy as possible for yourself – put your alarm out of reach so you have to get out of bed, have a cup of coffee or a drink in the fridge, find those socks, put out your shoes the night before. Get the thin end of the wedge** on your side.
  • Running clothes first. Shoes second.

**Apparently I’ve never posted on this – coming soon…

Crocapocalypse

Due to an unforeseen but crocastrophic mistake (or an unhelpful linking of two  different wordpress sites in my browser – not sure which), I accidentally deleted the entire contents of driverlesscroc last night.

In the absence of an equal and opposite category, I’m posting this under ‘Processes – ways to get things done’.

I’ll be restoring as many posts as I can get my hands on in the next few days.

Lessons learned:

Back up more often – my last back up was from October 18th.

Use Google Cache – google saves every site their webcrawler visits, which let me find most of the missing posts (click the little arrow next to the site link to visit the cached version).

Triple, quadruple check and don’t do such foolish things.

What it takes: a body of work

What does it take to develop as a writer, artist, filmmaker, activist, programmer, blogger, teacher, chef, athlete, landscape gardener, leader and manager, academic?

Whatever else you do, you’re going to need a body of work.

My two favourite children (those would be mine – simultaneously the best and most annoying children I know) love to draw. And they’re getting better at it.

This is how:

body of work childrens drawings

They draw pretty often, and they draw a lot. Then they draw again.

They’re far from artistic geniuses, but they have this at least in common with Da Vinci (7,000+ pages of notebooks) and Picasso (something like 50,000 artworks, of which we remember a few).

Do it now.

Be prolific.

Bootstrapping the non-profit organisation – Playlist

This is the final post in a series applying Seth Godin’s rules of bootstrapping (see also here) to building a non-profit organisation.

It’d be tempting to say ‘it’s finished’, but I know I’ll be coming back to these.

For now though, here are the 20 installments of Bootstrapping the Non-Profit:

Rule 1: Real work for Real Clients First

Rule 2: Do it Now

Rule 3: Serve Clients Eager to Pay for What You Do (part 1)
[Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Rule 4: Resist the Urge to do Average Work for Average People

Rule 5: Own Your Own Assets

Rule 6: Scale Carefully and Find the Right Size for You
[Part 2] [Part 3]

Rule 7: Charge the Amount that Works (and be worth more than you charge)
[Part 2] [Part 3] [Part 4]

Rule 8: Create Boundaries for Yourself
[Part 2] [Part 3] [Bonus Episode]

Rule 9: Become ever more Professional

Cycle speed

This was going to be a post about cadence – how fast you pedal. How choosing a low gear – exerting yourself against small tasks with low resistance – is the most efficient way to pedal and the best way to go fast. It turns out its not that simple. Sometimes the bigger, slower pushes work well. But often – and especially when you’ve got a hill to climb – choosing a low gear is the easiest and fastest way to go. And at other times, even it it only feels easier… well, it’s easier to do things that feel easy. Low gear. High Cadence. Go. Go. GO.

Bootstrapping the non-profit organisation Rule 8 (part 3)

This is the eighth-and-a-third post in a series applying Seth Godin’s rules of bootstrapping (see also here) to building a non-profit organisation.

Rule 8: Create Boundaries for Yourself

Where should you focus?

A big part of the answer to this question is the choice we always face between now or later – the well known tension between the urgent and the important, a la Steven Covey’s Seven Habits which, incidentally, was the first real book on personal development that I ever read.

As my friend wrote, the answer is usually now and later.

If your house is on fire, put it out.

But as soon as you can, install a fire alarm, and find and eliminate the cause of the fire.

Start focusing on the important, non-urgent things that will make things easier tomorrow. Plant seeds. Enrich the soil. Give gifts to your future self and to others.

Creating the right kind of barriers for yourself and your organisation is essential to getting the deeper tasks done:

  • I choose not to answer messages about work outside working hours so that I can recharge and do better work during work hours
  • I don’t automatically take jobs with low pay or unreasonable deadlines, just because it’s a job – other people’s rush doesn’t have to become mine
  • I’m learning to give a small, early ‘nos’ to some good things so that I can say a big, enthusiastic ‘yes’ to fewer, greater things
  • My organisation has its own vision and focus. If you want us to help your teachers, let’s talk. If you want us to build schools – that’s not for us, and if that means we’re not for you, that’s fine
  • Planning less in my day so that I can deal graciously with the things that inevitably do come up – and just so that I can greet my neighbour in the street
  • Deciding in advance how much I’m prepared to commit

To finish up, Rule 8 can stay as it is. I’d just add one note: with all of these things, now is better than later, but many of the important and exciting things that happen to us just take time, or only happen at the right time. You can’t force them – so it’s worth setting boundaries in advance for how hard you’ll push.