Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In apppreciation of Gretchen Rubin

I recently wrote about the fact that I haven't felt much like writing lately. Well that hasn't changed but the silver lining, if there is one, is that I am still inspired to read.

I'd like to point your attention to one of the things I'm reading now. It's The Happiness Project from Gretchen Rubin. This project seems exactly as big and noble as it sounds. She's trying to define happiness, chronicle her path towards happiness, encourage conversation about happiness and light the way for the rest of us.

This is really important stuff.

Her writing can pass itself off as non-controversial apple-pie. At times it feels a bit trite. But like a fine wine or a good piece of leather, with the passage of time and as you let your senses roam over it - and let it roam over your senses - you uncover complexities and contours that did not, at first, reveal themselves. There is profound wisdom in much of what she writes. You will also, on occasion see Gretchen's intellectual and academic background poke through. Which makes her writing even more enjoyable for me.

I really encourage everyone to read the blog, sign up for her RSS feed and in whatever virtual way feels best, sit at Gretchen's feet and learn.

Check out The Happiness Project by clicking here and check out Gretchen's website here.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Some recent photos from a park

More sunset photos

Some recent photos of sunset

Writing takes heart

If you look at some of my recent posts, you'll notice that I haven't written much lately. Part of the reason is that I've said much of what I wanted to say and I'm not going to write just because there is a social media diktat that you have to keep the content flowing. I write when there's something to say. But it has felt to me like there's something more behind my recent radio silence.

And it occurred to me the other morning that I've been suffering from a lack of inspiration. Work has not been enjoyable for me for some time now. It has been extremely de-inspiring. Not uninspiring. Uninspiring is just a lack of inspiration. Work has been de-inspiring. It has actually been sucking whatever inspiration I do have, right out of me. And it has left me either with nothing to say or without a desire to say anything.

And here's where it gets interesting to me. In order to have something to say, you need to keep your eyes and ears open. You need to care enough to look and listen around you and make observations. You need to think about those observations and play with them in your head so that you develop an idea with some measure of novelty that is worth sharing with others. In short, you need to be inspired.

This is why I have long been such an advocate of innovation and, particularly, creating cultures of innovation. It's not that I appreciate the new cool stuff that comes out of innovation efforts. Although I do. It's not that innovation is good for the economy. Although it is. It's that innovation allows for the human soul to reach its most elevated purpose. It allows us to take our most valued gifts - our hearts and minds and souls - and use them towards their most treasured end.

We all want to innovate. Or, more precisely, we all want to engage our hearts, minds and souls in the direction that our passions take us. And we want to channel those explorations and the ideas that they generate towards the common good. (Unless you're an evil bastard, but I'm not talking to you now so go away.) When we are allowed to do that, we find ourselves inspired. We are happy. We are productive. And everybody wins. When we are not allowed to do that, when institutions block our efforts to pursue our humanity for the common good, when we are forced to spend our time in fear of politics or in meaningless pursuits, then we become de-inspired. Unhappy. Unproductive. And everybody loses.

I'd love to end this post on a happy note. But I can't do that now. I hope that soon I'll have more inspiring news to share.