Ever heard of the parable of the hedgehog and the fox? These terms gained notice after a philosopher named Isaiah Berlin used them in a popular essay back in the mid-1900s. Berlin used the parable to analyze the worldviews and history of Tolstoy in his classic manuscript, War & Peace. And while I haven’t read War & Peace in many years, or the essay by Berlin, I did read a more recent book entitled, Good To Great by Jim Collins. Collins uses the allegory as a way to define how to be a leader and run a successful business. Even more recently, I came across the two terms in the book Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman uses them to define differing ways to think and predict coming events. But what exactly is a hedgehog, and how does it differ from the fox? Even more importantly, what does it have to do with your life and can it help you live SMART 365? [Read more…]
by Kathy Gottberg
Last week Thom and I spent six days at The Esalen Institute on the Big Sur coastline of California. Esalen, as it is more commonly known, has existed for the last 50 years as a world-renowned sanctuary/retreat center perched on an eye-popping coastline in the central part of the state. Started in 1962, some of the world’s leading philosophers, educators, activists, artists and thought leaders gathered at this site to explore the boundaries of human potential and consciousness. Besides that, the facility structures itself as a model for sustainability, permaculture and organizational transformation. Its vibrant and lush 5-acre garden and farm burst with flowers, plants and vegetables that feed and sustain both the visitors and staff. Besides offering stunning landscapes for rest and rejuvenation, Esalen also features a fresh water creek, roaring ocean-side cliffs, and natural hot mineral spring baths. Clearly, something for every seeker exists at Esalen. Thom and I came to see for ourselves—and to take a workshop called, “Experiencing the Esalen Farm and Garden.” [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
Now that I have been blogging for just over six months and it is the end of 2011, I thought it might be a good idea to pause and reflect on some of the things I’ve learned along the way. While these lessons explain what I feel I’ve learned by blogging, just like with life 365, most of items (if not all) can apply to anyone, anywhere who is attempting to live a meaningful and rewarding life. [Read more…]
What did you notice when you woke up this morning and started your day? Was it beauty? If you’re anything like me, you might not see much of anything until after a cup of coffee. But once my eyes begin to focus, I attempt to make a regular habit of looking at the beauty I see all around me. Actually, I believe that seeing beauty all around us is a habit we can all develop to create a happier life.
One of the best-known quotes about happiness comes from President Abraham Lincoln. He said, “A person is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” That’s right, Lincoln, who was said to be the most respected and loved of any American President basically implied that my happiness, and your happiness, is up to us. But why don’t more of us accept that as true?
A favorite story I heard long ago is about how some young boys tried to fool a wise old woman who lived in their village. The boys, who had seen the woman hobble about town just couldn’t understand why the adults always seem to treat her with respect. Putting their heads together, they schemed to find a way to show how pathetic she really was. Routinely they tried to come up with questions they thought she’d never be able to answer—but she always had something wise and relevant to say. Still, they never stopped trying to trip her up.
One day a particularly mischievous boy in the group came up with the perfect question that would be impossible for the old woman to answer correctly. He plotted a plan to hold a small live bird behind his back in his cupped hands. He would then ask the wise woman, “Is the bird in my hands alive or is it dead?” Naturally, if the woman said the bird was alive, the boy intended to quickly squeeze the life out of it and answer, “No, the bird is dead.” If the woman said the bird is dead, then the boy would merely present the live bird proving her wrong. Either way, the boy laughed thinking he couldn’t lose. [Read more…]
Happy SMART Day Everyone!
How many of you have noticed that Costco and a couple of other big-box retailers have already set up their Christmas decorations—and September isn’t even over? That’s right, sometime during the month of September Costco began moving out the summer displays and setting up Christmas trees, neon-flashing Santa’s and boxes of wrapping paper, all designed to get you in the buying mood early this year. And while I’m normally a fan of Costco, I consider their Christmas push to be obscene. As a member of the “club,” this push is a great reminder that Costco’s, (and similar other retail store’s) primary agenda is not to serve customers—but instead to generate income. And that is something very SMART for each of us to remember. [Read more…]
Yesterday evening Carlsbad, California began its Annual Music Festival with a free Village Music Walk. Similar to free art walks held regularly in cities around the county, the music walk was an introduction to the music to be performed at different venues over the weekend—and just like most art walks—it was absolutely free. Now, most of us know deep down that the best things in life aren’t “things.” But until we stop, think about it and then start enjoying the many free experiences that bring us joy, we might be missing out on the good right in front of us.
“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.” –Buddha
Do you realize how much power you possess every time you open your mouth? Or what about when you post something on Facebook or send out that email? Every communication we have with others carries with it the ability to bring a smile to someone’s face and potentially lift one’s spirit. Or, we simultaneously have the power to create fear, doubt, or even worse. While we usually can’t turn another person’s life around without their cooperation, we can, with the simple words we say or write, instantly shift the energy in a person or in a room. Let’s start remembering that the words we share with others are like a wand bestowing blessings or curses.
Drop a light bulb on the floor and it shatters. Drop an apple and it bruises. Drop a hard rubber ball and it bounces back—good as new. What about you? Every single one of us experiences a variety of events every day. Some experiences are smooth and pleasant, some merely okay, and others downright tough. While most of us can sail easily through the good times—whether we shatter, bruise or bounce during the tough times are as individual as we are. We all know a few people who are amazing at bounding right back. Others—not so great. The good news is that with the desire, every one of us can improve our bounce-ability quotient. [Read more…]