I ran into a TED video last night about telling people your goals. It’s a very short video, worth looking at before you read the rest of this post.
So Sivers claims that we should keep our goals to ourselves. When we tell someone else our goals, they often give us approval and praise right away just for setting the goal. The boost we get from this can actually discourage us from pursuing the goal. We have already gotten the reward.
This idea annoyed me a bit, because it did make some sense. I can think of goals I’ve set for myself recently where I did talk to people about the goal early on. They were suitably impressed and stroked me for just stating the goal. And so far, I have not gotten very far attaining those goals. But the real reason this annoyed me is that it flies in the face of other research too.
Recently I was talking to a guy who I have been coaching. He is probably 19 or 20. We were walking into a music room for rehearsal and he said something along the lines of, “I wish I had taken more music classes,” as if it were too late for him. I’m sure I’m taking his words a bit out of context, but it made me laugh, because I couldn’t help thinking of John Ward.
John “Dr. Wimpy” Ward, was a very dedicated and passionate member of the New York improv scene over the last eight years. He took classes, performed and was a huge supporter of others. He often appeared as an agent with Improv Everywhere. He was a funny man and by all accounts a joy to play with. He started doing improv in his mid 50s. This last Sunday he passed away very unexpectedly.
Auditions for improv teams were held the weekend before he died at the UCB Theatre. It’s a collective freakout the community goes through every year as hundreds of UCB students compete for a handful of coveted spots on Harold teams. Continue reading “It’s not too late”
I have recently began using checklists for things like podcasting, blogging, working out and rehearsing. I think checklists really begin to shine when you use them to walk you through a process you do over and over again. A checklist helps me eliminate mistakes, keeps me focused on only the task I’m currently doing, and raises the quality of my work overall. It also provides me with a method to review my work and improve every time I do a podcast, by translating what I learn into new steps.
I’ve never been the most organized person. I can be passionate, dedicated and sometimes obsessive about the things I love doing, but organization doesn’t come naturally to me. One thing I’ve tried before is little “To Do” lists, but it’s not something I’ve done often or methodically. Recently that has changed.
I first started thinking about this because of Checklist Manifesto, a book by Atul Gawande. I have not read the book yet, but I’ve heard several interviews of him. The book is about how checklists for complicated procedures help minimize mistakes and save lives. He is a surgeon and he has seen how a simple checklist for a surgical procedure can dramatically reduce the number of complications. I don’t do anything as grave as surgery, but there are a lot of things I want to accomplish each day. I thought checklists might help and started using them.
It’s been a quiet week for me on the blog, but a lot of things are bubbling just under the surface. I’ve been working on a number of posts, but they aren’t quite ready. I’m working on a new audio clip that I hope to make into a limited series of podcasts. I have a couple of different versions of follow ups to my Dale Carnegie post. And I’m working on a post about improv podcasts. I’m trying to finish another book on diet and it’s giving me a new idea about how I could be losing weight, which I may eventually write about.
I’ve been backing up my MP3 files for a while. I keep a folder on my laptop with all my music. I import that folder to my iTunes and keep that synced with my iPod. A while back I bought a nice USB external drive so that I could keep an extra backup of all my mp3s. This allows me to share music with friends more easily and if something happens to my laptop, I’m not going to lose all those mp3 I’ve collected.
You would think that there would be something built right into Windows that allowed you to sync two folders, one on your hard drive and one on an external drive. Why not just drag the folder from your laptop to the drive? Well, when I do that, it copies everything, even stuff that has been copied before. If you have several gigabytes of music, this can take forever. It would be nice if Windows only made copies of the new stuff since the last backup. It would be even better if it worked both ways, if it also copied new files on the external hard drive to the laptop. But alas it doesn’t work that way. At least I don’t know a way do to it with just Windows XP.
UPDATE 8:10PM – There is obviously more to the story, many of these fees are being waved. I’m sifting through what information I can. There is some information on these donations on the Consumerist and Consumer Reports.
Perhaps you have seen this making the rounds on Facebook status updates:
Text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief for Haiti.
It seems like a great idea, right? I’ve seen these before for other non-profits, namely various public radio fundraisers. It would seem like a great way to get people to donate. It’s fast and easy, allowing people to give precisely at the moment when their impulse to give is strongest. They don’t have to fire up their computer, find the website, fill out a form with their credit card, etc.
If you have an unlimited texting plan, and want to do this, go for it! But if you pay for each text message you send, keep reading before you donate.
I wonder how many people out there keep personal daily checklists. I’m thinking of developing one. There are quite a few things I’d like to do on a daily or weekly basis. I tend to be someone who likes seeing progress in some chartable form and this ability to chart progress definitely motivates me.
For instance, I have long wanted to be a runner. I have many times started exercise programs and incorporated running or walking into the program. Last winter, when I was working out at the gym I realized that I especially like walking or running for long distances. Once I was on the treadmill, I preferred going for 45 minutes rather than just doing 20 and being done with it. But what I really wanted was to run and walk longer distances outside. I tried a few times to run outdoors in winter and I couldn’t stand it. The cold was simply too much.
Later in the summer, I decided once again to give it a try. This time I was walking and running outside and I was enjoying it, but what really got me hooked I think was when I started using Nike+ with my iPod. To use it, you need a small chip which you put in your shoe (or put inside a little pouch that attaches to your shoelaces). The chip acts like a pedometer, transmitting a signal, presumably whenever you take a step. You have several choices for a receiver to keep track of your progress. iPod Touches and iPhones have an app built into it that you can use to track your runs. You can also buy an attachment for other iPods or you can buy a separate bracelet to track your runs.
I tend to have about 60-70 podcasts on my iPod these days waiting for me to listen to them. One of the happy accidents of this is that I often hear interviews about movies after I’ve actually seen a film (instead of during the promotional run up to the film). So this morning, as I was doing my morning run, I got to hear two interviews related to the new movie Up In The Air..
The first interview is with the author of the novel on which it’s based, Walter Kirn. Recorded in 2001, Kirn talks about the genesis of the novel and what he thinks about “air world”, the setting for the book. The second interview was with the director, Jason Reitman, who also directed Juno in 2007. He talks about his own experiences with air travel, getting George Clooney to do the film and the interviews with real people who have lost their jobs which frame and punctuate the movie.