My holiday dish? Humble pie

My holiday dish? Humble pie

avoid being dogmatic

 

A colleague and I were at a publishing conference. We were attending a session on how to be a more effective writer.

“Schedule time every week for serendipity,” advised one of the session panelists. “If you schedule time for serendipity, you’ll make it happen. If you don’t, it won’t; and your skills won’t improve.”

“Did she say to schedule serendipity?” I whispered to my colleague.

“Sure did.”

How ridiculous, I thought even though I’ve been the beneficiary of accidently tripping into discoveries. Despite my past good fortune, the speaker’s counsel troubled me. From my perspective, there was absolutely no way to schedule a fortunate accidental discovery—serendipity just happened. Right?

Curious about maybe having missed a nuance in the definition of serendipity, I did some research. I hadn’t missed anything.

Author Horace Walpole invented the word serendipity in 1754. A Persian fairy tale, The Princes of Serendip, had been his inspiration. In the fairy tale, three princes “were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of.”

That confirmed my belief the speaker had it all wrong. Sadly, I mocked her advice on several occasions.

Shame on me.

And for that, I got my comeuppance.

I was doing online research about dogmatism for my book. I’d just read the definition of dogmatism, a viewpoint or system of ideas based on insufficiently examined premises, when the aha zap happened.

My reaction to the speaker’s words about scheduling serendipity leapt into mind.

Ewww. It hurt to see it and to say it, but I’d been dogmatic. I’d been that person; the narrow-minded one I criticize when I see people acting the same way I had.

I’d blindly accepted as fact that my belief that it was impossible to schedule serendipity without examining her meaning. I had heard her words, interpreted them with my dogmatic filters, and outright rejected her position.

Shame on me again. Her advice wasn’t wrong, it was flat out brilliant.

In a time-starved world where there’s a plan and time slot for everything, it’s pure genius to leave time open for spontaneity. Time to think, daydream, be. Time for accidental discoveries to happen.

Of course, you can’t will the eureka moment to happen in those moments.  However, making time to reflect increases the odds of creativity, inspiration, and innovation happening.

That’s what the speaker had meant. She was telling us to avoid the tunnel vision that comes from having an over-packed schedule and too much to do. She was telling us to make room for unpredictability and possibility.

*big sigh* How could I have been so dogmatic, so obtuse, so blind?

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman has an answer for us.

He says it’s incredibly difficult for us to see our own biases. We can easily point to them in other people, but not so much for ourselves.

Fortunately for me, a research aha moment rescued me from my blindness.

I both love and abhor my personal teachable moments. Love them because new paths are revealed, abhor them because I need them in the first place.

Perhaps I’d better start scheduling them in my calendar.

 

Image credit before quote added: Pixabay

 

 

 

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Still applicable–George Washington’s rules of civility

Still applicable–George Washington’s rules of civility

power of civilityWho knew?!

I was delighted to discover the Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation that were “copied down” by George Washington as he worked as a young boy to improve his penmanship.

The list of rules is long, 110 of them in all (lots of penmanship copying practice). However, much of their content is incredibly apt today, nearly 300 years later.

How so?

The rules encourage us to think more about other people and less about ourselves—more “we” and less “me.”

Research says that George’s list was inspired by rules put together by French Jesuits in 1595. Many of the rules address civility and decent behavior and… (more…)

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4 ways to tap into the power of positive thinking and confidence

4 ways to tap into the power of positive thinking and confidence

Today’s guest contributor is Darlene Hunter, president of Darlene Hunter & Associates, LLC. Darlene is a  motivational speaker, author, life and business coach, and award-winning radio talk show host. Her new book, Win-Ability, Navigating through Life’s Challenges with a Winning Attitude, is her fourth on the theme of perseverance.

 

positive thinkingFear, insecurity, and self-doubt can be the biggest obstacles many of us face in life.

To overcome this negativity, many people turn to unhealthy behaviors, such as overeating or alcohol abuse.

Compulsive or addictive behavior may temporarily numb the negativity, but it won’t put you on a healthy and wholesome path.

While some people buy very expensive things to feel more confident, there’s a better, more affordable way to yield the same result—and that’s positive thinking. (more…)

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Fiscal fairy tales without a happy ending

Fiscal fairy tales without a happy ending

 

Frank Sonnenberg fiscal fairy talesOnce upon a time, there was a brat named Phil T. Rich.

He grew up with everything a kid could want. He had every gadget imaginable, a house that rivaled the Disney castle, and parents who gave him free rein to do whatever he wanted.

Unfortunately, his parents were rarely around for him –– they had high-powered jobs, you know. And when they weren’t working “killer hours,” they were off to the club to play golf and trade gossip with friends. (more…)

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Quotes that fueled my musings about weakness

Quotes that fueled my musings about weakness

weakness of characterSome recent events and conversations have spurred a newfound interest in me looking at how we approach our personal weaknesses.

Weaknesses can trip us up if we’re not thoughtful and compassionate in how we approach them. How?

Consider:

 

  • We can focus too much on trying to turn a weakness into a strength and lose sight of what we’re really good at.
  • We can let an obsession with a real or perceived weakness become a road block that holds us back no matter how good we may be in other areas.
  • We can let others use our weaknesses against us or to control us.
  • We can be blind to our weaknesses, which harms ourselves as well as those around us because of our failure to see and accept

Our weaknesses are an essential part of who we are. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration in one of those quotes for effectively managing yours.

Quotes about weakness

(more…)

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