Why are we doing this?

It’s essential to keep an eye on this question… Because the day-to-day will be a grind sometimes. Because there will be times when you need it as a lens to evaluate your attitude… … and the things you’re spending your time doing… and the attitudes and commitment of others. Because there will be times when the tasks are thankless (the…

Vanishing time

Have a look at your calendar for the month ahead. Observe its gentle slopes and rolling plains. Time. Space. Empty air. Enjoy the illusion: the days ahead will never – ever – be this free by the time you reach them. Those foothills will remain distant, blue remembered hills, just beyond the present; those plains elusive as gazelles. In their…

A non-trivial improvement

How much of an impact does a project need to have? How much change is necessary for the work to be worth it? What you see as laborious inefficiency might feel like light work to a person doing “their thing.” If it results in a non-trivial improvement – even for a few people – it’s probably worth celebrating.

Henri Nouwen on service, starting small and seeing clearly

At times, we might be involved in larger things – clothing the naked, sheltering the poor, helping the refugees, visiting the sick or imprisoned, but it is always small to begin with. It begins with small gestures. Being kind to your family and the people you work with, saying a patient word, writing a card, sending a flower. Be attentive.…

Reserving judgement / planting seeds

In your lifetime you’ll read some brilliant books and hear some amazing talks, have some life-changing conversations. Some. You’ll read and hear more decent, solid books and talks, and have (I hope) a lot of good conversations. And far more often you’ll come across books, talks, films, music, people which seem to have nothing to say to you. Let’s face…

Affection (1): it comes and goes

Another head aches, another heart breaksI’m so much older than I can takeAnd my affection, well, it comes and goesI need direction to perfection, no, no, no, no Help me outYeah, you know you got to help me outYeah, oh, don’t you put me on the back burner The Killers – All These Things That I’ve Done Affection is great.…

“I did my best.”

Great! Was it any good? What are you going to do to make your best get better? This might be about: Improving concrete skills Working on your attitude Or the way you made others feel while you did your best Or working on the wrapper – the systems around the work you do – so that you can do more…

Compassion: suffering with

I was reminded this morning* of the etymology of “compassion”: com- meaning “with” and pati meaning “to suffer.” It’s the same pati we find in the word passion, and sort-of related to the Greek pathos, as in “sympathy,” “to feel with.”** Compassion, like physical pain, alerts us to the presence of something harmful (in this case in the lives of…