Look for the Helpers

Us Texans have had a rough week. The once in 100 year winter storm that the state did not prepare for cause it just might not happen. It happened.

I spent too much time on twitter. I started to fall into the blame game trap.

Thankfully I read Austin Kleon’s blog. He writes daily.

He posted Look for the helpers which is a video a quote from Fred Rogers sharing a story his mother taught him.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. Fred’s Mother

Then he posted a video of a wonderful man twitter named Thor Harris teaching a simple way to fix your own pipe if it busted. Here is the Link

Reading this blog post vs doom scrolling twitter changed my outlook and my actions. I walked about my front door today and looked for neighbors I could help with their downed trees.

Looks for the helpers. Be the helper.

Lessons Learned from Ground Hog Day

Ground Hog Day – Staring Bill Murray and Andie McDowell – is an annual tradition in our family.
Spoilers Coming: But for crying out loud the movie came out in 1993. Just watch it.

Phil Connors (Murray) is stuck living the same day over and over.

He figures out several outlets for his boredom.

He can party and even break the law without consequence.

He can charm women and have sex with ease.

He can steal a bag of money from the local Armored Truck.

So sex, drugs/alcohol, and money. No happiness or fulfillment.

He realizes he is in love with Rita (McDowell).
He tries his charm and information tactics on Rita to win her love. No dice. Each day ends the same with him getting slapped and she walks out.

Seeing no hope for happiness he turns to suicide to end both his life and the trap he is living in.

He commits suicide over and over.

Did I mention this is a comedy?

There is an overtone of “Just kill me now” to try to keep the movie light.

There is no escape of his pain.

The movie transitions to him focused on self development and acts of service to the people in the town.

He reads. He takes piano lessons.

He changes a tire for elderly women. He saves a mans life who was choking. He catches a kid who slips and falls while climbing a tree.

His last act of service is helping a homeless man. But this is one problem he cannot solve. No matter what remedy Murray tries the man dies.

Death is real. Even in this weird time loop he is living in.

He is changed.

The movies turns more lighthearted and in the end he wins the girls and he wakes up and it is tomorrow. He broke the cycle.

What changed him?

He turned to acts of service. He loved his neighbors. He did what he could do right in front of him.

But he helped people knowing that tomorrow it would be undone and he would have to do the same acts again.

He repeated acts of service every day.

The movie does not say exactly how long this period was but we get a glimpse from his piano playing.

This segment of the movie starts with him getting his first lesson and ends with him being the band leader of a jazz band. I would have to say that would be at least a year.

He would not be acknowledged for his efforts. Sure people expressed gratitude but there was not going to be pay back. He was not going to receive a life time achievement award.

In the end repeating acts of service is what changed him.

It made him a person that could love and accept love.

We all feel pain. We feel stuck. We repeat bad patterns.

How will you respond?

Facebook shuts down, then reinstates, popular low-carb support group

Link

I am still thinking through censorship claims when you are using other people’s platform.

Always remember you are not the customer of social media. You are their product.

When you build your community or business upon another service then you are at their mercy.

In America more speech is generally better.

In these cases I think more speech talking to people you know in person/phone is better.

Why 98% of People Die Without Fulfilling Their Dreams

I googled “death due to lack of purpose” I was thinking about how older people who are sick tend to stay alive when they have a purpose, even if that purpose is to take care of a pet. We all need a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

But what I got was a headline for a blog post to a retirement investment company that wants me to become a wealth machine.

 If you want to become part of the 2%, you don’t need to possess any special skills that no one else has, and you don’t need any specific degrees or inheritance. The steps are few and simple. Today, we cover the first of 17 principles to live by. 

That unnamed blog post

Fuck this.

I can become part of the 2% that achieve their dreams if I just follow this 17 step process. I will not bore you with any more absurdity but rest assured he fixes the cable.

Money is not the problem nor is it the answer.

Money does solve a lot of the worlds problems. And money can solve our personal problems of food, clothing, and shelter.

But working your whole life chasing money in the name of one day when you are 70+ you will start a foundation like Bill and Melinda, I think you are missing out on a lot of life and opportunity to start now.

What would you do if you had unlimited money?

I was watching a video that posed this question.

#1 answer: I would start a business doing XYZ.

The person posing the question was stunned. You have unlimited money and you can do whatever you want and you decide to open a business to make more money? WTF?

I think it telling that people answering the question did not hear or understand the question. They did not reflect on or even consider what they would do if money was never to be a concern again for them.

WWYD?

I think most of us would get pretty bored if our answer was living on the beach and having a cabana boy bring us whatever our desire was.

I think the answer is not just making more money. I think the answer is to minimize the need for money in your life so that you can be free to make an impact in the world around you.

How would you answer that question? Do that. Whatever that is. Start.

Your friend,
T

What Technology Do You Use?

Cal Newport author of Digital Minimalism started a podcast in 2020. It is Q&A style and it is really good.

Recently answered the question “What technology does he use?”

He of course uses a desktop computer but famously does not have social media accounts nor is he a fan of the phone. Just because you CAN do something on your phone does not mean you should.

He mentioned his favorite piece of tech being the Codex.

The move from a scroll to a bound book was huge. It allowed the flipping of pages forward and backward to find the information you are looking for.

His description reminded me of Merlin Mann’s famous hPDA.

Building your first Hipster PDA

  1. get a bunch of 3″x5″ file cards (here’s 500 for around 3 bucks)
  2. clip them together with a binder clip
  3. there is no step 3

We forget that pen and paper is technology.

We ignore the cost of using a digital device.

We do not accept that deep work is valuable.

If you know me, I prefer paper.

The Return of the Personal Blog

Are you old enough to remember blogs?

I am talking about personal blogs written by real people for real people. Not long form content marketing written for SEO and Google’s black box.

A Blog is a truncation of "weblog"

weblogs: a history and perspective is a post from Rebecca Blood written 2000. Shit like this makes me love the internet.

When Social Media Fails

Big Tech is not your friend.

Their algorithm is not your friend.

Fall of 2019 I deleted my Facebook account.

Fall of 2020 I deleted my Instagram account.

Watch out Twitter – I have my eye on you!

I never looked back.

I think 2021 is the start of the shift back to personal blogs.

>It’s where you can share what you learn daily (and let automations spread the message to whatever social media platform hasn’t ruined society lately).

>It’s where you control the narrative (as much as that can be done at all).

>It’s stable. It’s a playground for your creativity. It’s your place to be generous with what you learn and kind to those who care enough to learn with you.

>It’s a place to build relationships with those who care. Those relationships will determine your future projects, experiences, and outlook.

>It’s not the only place for these things, but it’s your place for these things, and that makes all the difference.

From It’s Time to Get Personal CJ Chilvers 2021.

I do want to share what I am doing. I want to provide context for the conversations I am having with people. Life’s celebrations and life’s difficult lessons learned.

I want to say.

“Here’s what I see, here’s how you can be part of it.” Seth Godin

A new school but an old school personal blog.

Here I write for you. My friend.

Pleasure Principle

When I person cannot find deep meaning they distract themselves with pleasure

Victor Frankl

Read that again and sit with it.

Pleasure is an addictive loop. Most people hear addictive behavior and think drugs, alcohol etc. But today it can be your phone, processed food or porn.

Instead of writing out your goals for 2021 that might not see the light of day again, decide to make a small change.

Learn to be alone and bored.

When you feel that twitch to distract yourself push in on that feeling. What are you distracting yourself from?

Write it down. Journal about it. Think about it.