We’ve been trained to assume that working hard means focusing on a single task to completion, then doing it again. But, says Davidson, “the new workplace requires different forms of attention than the workplace we were trained for…
The result is that we feel anxious and guilty, convinced we’re not getting enough done, not achieving an honest day’s work, failing to live up to the iconic model of our hard-working, brick-and-mortar grandparents.
I am working on many things at once. I trust and hope they will all converge, but I don’t know if and when. I’m over my head trying to engage in a very complex world. That’s just as true in Cambodia, or more so, because the representatives of the developed world are here in full force trying to “help” and “make a difference” with so many anticipated and unanticipated results spiraling out of sight. This country is change too fast for anyone to keep track of. Sometimes I crave just one thing to do with my hands with simple results I can measure.
For any one of us who has been panicking about how to adapt
John Walsh speculates in this article about why Ernest Hemmingway committed suicide. He doesn’t deny Hemmingway’s brilliance and acts of bravery, but he paints of picture of a man captivated by an image, addicted to alcohol, and bent on self-destruction.
What was bugging Hemingway? Why all the drinking, the macho excess, the manic displays of swaggering? Why was he so drawn to war, shooting, boxing and conflict? Why did he want to kill so many creatures? Was he trying to prove something? Or blot something out of his life?
I’m struck that a man like Hemmingway, who seemed to live a BIG life that others aspire to, might have never been truly free; this man of far reaching imagination, a genius at crafting stories, may never have seen his own story truly. Did he taste the fullness of life, or was he so desperate to escape a shallow existence that he attempted it with a pen and his imagination?
I know what it’s like to walk around looking for stories and pictures, spinning bits and pieces of narratives and dialogues as I walk like kicking stones. I can easily get lost in the words; it’s like listening to another voice, …
Change that comes quickly, or easily, doesn’t last. Authentic change takes time and a process, but it runs deep and follows through.
Seth Godin writes about three ways to motivate people to achieve: by pushing them relentlessly, by creating competition, and by giving them freedom and opportunity. The first two produce results, but only temporarily. As soon as you stop pushing, or when the competition ends, the motivation fades. The advantages of push and competition are speed and control; the disadvantages are felt down the road. Athletes who won championships don’t know how to motivate themselves apart from competition. I was a pretty good runner in my day, but I was never able to run consistently without a coach pushing me, and I ran for the thrill of racing and beating people. I’d love to be running today, but I still haven’t found it within me.
How will I work for change in society, or a better world? Whatever I want to change, it means people must change. But how?
Here in Cambodia, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of non-government organizations are working for change. There are hundreds of orphanages “saving”children, and many say they intend to raise up a new generation …
Seth Godin nails it again. He asks, Who is the world’s worst boss? The answer is “you.”
If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you’d quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they’d fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.
I’m amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.
The encouraging part is that we have a choice. Tomorrow I start with a new language teacher, and I face the question: Will I make choices that enable me to succeed? It’s so much easier to lower the bar, take the dignified way out.
I also liked this article about a young writer here in Phnom Penh. It’s a refreshing story.
My life is full of rich inputs and possibilities. I have so much to learn. Some days, passing through the streets of Phnom Penh, everything seems so beautiful and wide open. I’m happy to be here. I want to dive in and explore the depths, but sometimes I get stuck on the surface.
I’m like the the fish in this story:
“Excuse me,” said an ocean fish. “You are older than I, so can you tell me where to find this thing they call the ocean?”
“The ocean,” said the older fish, “is the thing you are in now.”
“Oh, this? But this is water. What I’m seeking is the ocean,” said the disappointed fish as he swam away to search elsewhere.
Some things in life can’t be “solved” by thinking about them; they must be seen.
I’ve come to a fork in the road as a photographer. I no longer want to shoot just for the sake of the images. I love a great photograph, and I could happily wander in search of moments to capture; and some great photographers have worked that way. But now I want to dig in and discover, learning and telling stories with real people.
These aren’t original thoughts, just a pause to say where I’m at. Now is the time (as always) to find something worth doing, take a risk, and do it well. The tragedy (as always) is to choose safety or familiarity and leave a better road untried.