Back home, I find a box of printed name place cards for my seminars waiting for me. The design is great and the printer has done a fantastic job that exceeds my expectations.
I take a photo of them for my husband who is on a business trip abroad. He emails straight back agreeing that they’re great.
While I’m at it, I think it would also be a good idea to post the photo on Facebook along with a link to the design agency. But I can’t find their Facebook page anywhere. Darn!
I send a message to my contact, who is also a friend, telling her that I can’t find her agency on Facebook. She replies “you can’t have been looking that hard!” Okay, she stuck a smiley on but suddenly I really don’t feel like posting the link to her agency on my wall anymore!!!
My friend can’t have known I was going to do some advertising for her. Perhaps I should just choose not to get upset about it and advertise her company in spite of her little joke. The result? 1) I’m not upset and 2) she feels bad for winding me up…oops!
How many times have you been annoyed, or even upset, by a joke? What if you stayed above it all and let the “oops” factor work its magic on the other party?
An old and damaged violin is put up for auction. The auctioneer presents it to the public and announces: “how much for this?”
“One dollar, one dollar,
Two dollars there, two dollars…
Who can top that? Three dollars…
Three dollars, going once, going twice…
Who’ll have it for three dollars!
But just then a grey-haired old man came up, took the violin, dusted it off and tightened the strings. He began playing a gentle melody that clearly moved the audience.
The music gave way to silence and the auctioneer started up the bidding again:
“How much now?
A thousand dollars. Who can top that?
Two thousand, two thousand dollars.
Three thousand over here.
Three thousand, going once, three thousand, going twice. Sold!”
Applause rang out around the room but some people were wondering: “What exactly happened there? How could the value of the violin have changed so much?” At that point, someone shouted out: “It’s the master’s touch!”
A lot of people are damaged, out of tune, disfigured and play the wrong notes. Others judge them, they feel lost, they feel worthless in their own and others’ eyes until the master touches them. Who can you touch?
People often ask me where I get my ideas for my Bubbles of Happiness and how I’ve managed to come up with a new idea every Sunday for the past seven years. I tell them that I don’t know, but that I see everything that happens to me in life as an excuse to write a Bubble.
I found a better answer to the question when I looked at how my friends behave on Facebook . They seem to have periods when they’re on Facebook all the time and others when they completely disappear from view. Then they appear again later and seem to be on Facebook all the time.
With my coach’s hat on, I’d say that there are times when we want to share things, ask for help or make something that has happened to us official. There are other times when we’ve got nothing to share because everything is running smoothly in our lives. And then there are periods of silence. Periods when we don’t know how to put a bad feeling, a particular situation or even our whole lives into words. So we go completely quiet.
I sometimes jokingly say to anyone who wants to listen that my Bubbles of Happiness are self-therapy. If something great, horrendous or weird has happened to me, I write a Bubble, send it to 4,000 people and once it’s out there, I can move on to something else.
What about you? What would you like to express or put into words so that you can move on to something else?
Former Russian president Nikita Khrushchev believed that quantity generated quality. In a country like Russia this could mean the number of medals in different sports, or geniuses in the arts, music, chess or scientific world.
You’re more likely to find a genius in a country with a population of 146 million than in a country with a population of 67 million.
This doesn’t just apply when you want to increase the probability of something happening. It also applies when you take into account the number of attempts you need to make before achieving success. How many times do you need to revise irregular verbs before you’ve learnt them by heart? How many times do you need to serve in tennis before you serve aces? Or cook macaroons before they look like the ones made by La Durée, the famous Parisian macaroon-maker? Or perfect a presentation before you can use it in public?
Like most of us, I’m not a genius at anything. But by repeating the same things, I’ve become a specialist in many fields.
What about you? What can you do in greater quantity in order to achieve quality?
“I know why so many people like chopping wood.
It’s an activity where you see an immediate result.”
I’m pragmatic. Things must be practical, easy to use and preferably work the first time I use them. I like seeing immediate results, even if they are small. In the context of Einstein’s quote, I would call this my “kindling”.
This is probably why I really liked David Allen’s GTD® method (Getting Things Done). It teaches you how to identify the first action you need to take to get a project of any size off the ground.
Becoming French was a project that I only started working on after procrastinating for two years. Why? Because it looked like it was going to involve a lot of red tape and be very complicated. But the day I identified the first action in the maze of paperwork, it was surprisingly simple: phoning the prefecture and asking what the exact procedure was. Easy-peasy! I made the first call and all the other actions just followed on until I gained French citizenship.
What project are you procrastinating about at the moment where you need to identify the first action, an action that’s bound to be simple?