Success is a side effect

Viktor Frankl, from Man’s Search for Meaning:

…success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself….”

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Why slow thinkers are better thinkers

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…and why getting away from the crowd — even/especially the virtual one — matters:

Essayist William Deresiewicz, from a lecture delivered to the plebe class at the United States Military Academy at West Point in October 2009.

“I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that [second] idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.

“Thinking for yourself means finding yourself, finding your own reality. Here’s the other problem with Facebook and Twitter and even The New York Times. When you expose yourself to those things, especially in the constant way that people do now—older people as well as younger people—you are continuously bombarding yourself with a stream of other people’s thoughts…. You are creating a cacophony in which it is impossible to hear your own voice.

Leadership means finding a new direction, not simply putting yourself at the front of the herd that’s heading toward the cliff.

“Introspection means talking to yourself, and one of the best ways of talking to yourself is by talking to another person. One other person you can trust, one other person to whom you can unfold your soul. One other person you feel safe enough with to allow you to acknowledge things—to acknowledge things to yourself—that you otherwise can’t. Doubts you aren’t supposed to have, questions you aren’t supposed to ask…..

“This is what we call thinking out loud, discovering what you believe in the course of articulating it. But it takes just as much time and just as much patience as solitude in the strict sense. And our new electronic world has disrupted it just as violently. Instead of having one or two true friends that we can sit and talk to for three hours at a time, we have 968 ‘friends’ that we never actually talk to; instead we just bounce one-line messages off them a hundred times a day. This is not friendship, this is distraction.”

The original article, posted as “Solitude and Leadership” on The American Scholar.

There are always plenty of distractions

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C.S. Lewis, in “Learning in Wartime,” a sermon he gave at Oxford in 1939.

There are always plenty of rivals to our work. We are always falling in love or quarreling, looking for jobs or fearing to lose them, getting ill and recovering, following public affairs. If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want [their goal] so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions may never come.

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Quote via Elise Amyx

Image via Shaaark!

 

Ways to display your favorite quotes (or your to-do list)

If you’re a quote collector like me, you probably have one or more favorite quotes that you’d like to display. But your favorite quote this month might be replaced by a new one in a few weeks. Here’s a collection of simple ways to display any words you want, whether a quote, a Bible verse, a menu or a to-do list. Some of them will also work for a changing display of family photos.

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DIY dry erase board

Here’s an easy-peasy DIY dry-erase board (with the how-to) from Makes and Takes., using pretty patterned paper in an inexpensive frame with its glass.

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DIY dry-erase board

Same concept, using plain paper and a thrifted frame painted a fun color, from Nothing But Bonfires.

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platter-magnet-board-

Take a cookie sheet or serving platter, add spray-paint and/or a few brush strokes in a fun color, and glue one or more clips or clothespins on it. Image from sparklecandace on Flickr.

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window as whiteboard

At Cut Out and Keep, a teacher explains that she just tapes white paper to the back of the window in her classroom door to turn it into a whiteboard. You could do the same with a freestanding vintage door or window, and just paint the back of the glass.

Then, of course, there’s the ubiquitous chalkboard, which you can make…

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… on a clipboard (from No Time for Flashcards)

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chalkboard-serving-platter

…on a thrifted or dollar store serving platter (can’t find the original post). Or of course, you could do it in a vintage/thrifted/upcycled frame, as well.

In a couple days, I’ll post a collected of magnetic boards. Come back soon!