What is excellence? What does it mean to you? Excellence is not about being perfect. It is a value: a state of ownership in your work and a mark of your craft. Unfortunately, in today’s busy world, excellence is sacrificed for speedy work and quick profits. Quantity over quality. I’d argue that excellence is no longer a priority. But why not? Do we perceive it as something too idealistic? Are we afraid to fail or to fall short? Perhaps it’s simply because we don’t really know what excellence is and how we can achieve it. Consider the following poem by Marge Piercy: Read more!
We’ve all experienced the most popular interview question ever: “What is your weakness?” About everyone prepares an answer to the question. And there’s certainly no shortage of advice as to how to answer that. I’ve heard answers like: “I’m a perfectionist, and it gets in the way.” Honestly though, I think that question might actually be more useful finding out how genuine someone is more than anything else. However, finding strength in your weaknesses is not only overlooked but often times simply dismissed as unimportant. So why do weaknesses/strengths matter? Let’s find out. Read more!
Going to University offers a lot of benefits. These benefits are of course widely accepted in our society. Education is at the heart of how our society functions. It is who you get to meet, which friends you make, what skills you end up learning, and of course, the diploma. However, the best advice I got at school involved none of these. Read more!
The work culture was great. It was empowering. We had the power to do what needed to be done if we could justify it. We had commitments at the beginning of every week and accountability at the end. Of course, we couldn’t always deliver on our commitments. Whether we committed to reasonable goals was another story. Sometimes I wanted more, sometimes I was pushed for more. But that’s not what the advice was exactly about. Read more!
The building blocks of work.
Building blocks don’t constitute much on their own. But put together they can create great structures. Building blocks are often used to explain the most basic unit something is built from. For example, the building blocks of DNA are the nitrogenous bases. The building blocks of a protein? Amino acids. The building blocks of physics? Atoms. Of course, scoping matters. Consider that the building blocks of sentences are words, but the building blocks of words are letters. You’ve probably heard about these analogies at school, but what’s more important is how they can be applied to improve your life. Have you ever thought about your hard work in terms of building blocks? Even more importantly: could you be building anything of substance with them? Let’s examine how to compound your effort.
Struggling has a bad reputation. It makes us feel uncomfortable, and we just want to avoid it. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When we struggle, what we focus on makes a difference: are we focusing on the painful feelings? Or are we focusing on conscious growth? Often times, it’s the moments when we struggle that push us to stand up, to be our best, and to solve difficult problems. We have all heard the saying: “to step outside your comfort zone.” This reasoning implies that we move away from a place of comfort to a place of struggle. I find this phrase a bit misleading, and I’ll tell you why. However, moving into the learning zone seems to me a sound proposition. Let’s see how redefining struggle with meaning can make a significant difference. Read more!
Start, Stick, and Stay at Anything!
I was destroyed in a chess game. It was Halloween 1998 when I saw some friends playing chess over a bench by the courtyard. They asked me if I wanted to play and I said yes! I thought that I was going to beat them through my “natural” intelligence. I lost. Then I lost again. The following summer, I was determined to learn how to play. I don’t know why, but I was motivated to keep playing, and losing, for about 200 more games. That translated to about 60 hours of practice before I could finally win a game! I’ve probably played over one hundred thousand games since. Today I wonder: what happened that made me start, stick, and stay at it? Let’s look at how playing more can make you more successful. Read more!
What to do when you’re stuck.
A simple way to see what moves you is to revise your biggest accomplishments. Why were they so great? I’m sure that whatever you did, it was great because it mattered. Work that matters and moves you has two secret ingredients: you enjoy doing it, and it contributes to the world. Sometimes though, it’s hard to visualize your contribution. This is especially true in the corporate world—behind the cubicle with a bunch of papers often filled with meaningless metrics. Your computer desktop flooded with unused files. To uncover how to be more productive find out what moves you. Read more!
How your life can benefit from coffee
Imagine yourself as a musical conductor. Picture yourself signaling at the symphony of coffee notes as you pour the ground coffee into the French press—awaiting the steaming water. Soon the kettle starts to whistle. Down the water goes, orchestrating fine earthy notes that dance around your living room at the beat of the baton. And only then does the coffee meet with the hazelnut cream—tempos of cocoa finish as you drink the warmth of this art. Life is like coffee! Read more!