A Love of Writing

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I have a passion for which I write
Little of which will see the light

Channelling a message, I feel it come
One thought at a time, soon I am done

I wander across the page in time
Selecting each word and filling a line

My emotions are bleeding onto the page
I can't control it, like a lion in a cage

I wonder how people contain their ideas?
Mine flow out in a variety of ways

In lines of prose or poetic form
It rains down words like a thunderstorm

To write is something that I must do
My passion to write, I'm sharing with you

As you travel from place to place
I hope you will capture words in this space

Thoughts and ideas will always appear
A pen and paper should also be near

By writing you clarify a thought or a feeling
It will keep you and your mind from reeling

A safe haven, a place to write
In early morning or late at night

Even if the words just stay in a book
Years from now you might take a look

What today is foggy, tomorrow is clear
Each day you will learn, or that's what I hear

So write a word, learn something new
A writer must write, it is all he can do

 

A student of mentoring

Mentoring is another form of education.

Have you ever helped someone solve a problem? Or talked over a personal or business challenge? Did you make the other person think? How was it to listen to another person’s problems and help guide them to a solution without telling them specifically what to do? I wonder if we all have within ourselves the capacity to mentor?

As I have entered what I call mid-career , it appears that there are as many coworkers younger than me as there are older than me, which suddenly puts me in a position to teach more and learn less. I don’t want to be the guy that says, “We have always done it this way”, but I hope what I can share is a lesson learned or two. Occasionally ‘that guy’ with his statements about how things didn’t work a certain way, will turn out to be right. Sharing an experience does not always have to be about the right way but instead, something to think about.

I like the idea that we can all learn from each other (my Utopia) but there are some people who feel they have nothing more to learn (I don’t associate with those people, at least not by choice). I am questioning now, what makes a learning culture? How can someone educate or mentor me? How do you learn? By making your own mistakes, hearing a story, or reading a book? I usually make a mistake which I wish I could have learned about from a book. In the end though at least I have a story I can use to help someone else learn (assuming they didn’t already make the same mistake or they were not unable to learn from a book either). At least my mistakes are productive. What better way to learn? Maybe I am my own best mentor? How are you learning (or mentoring) today?

Truth is Better Than Right

I was recently listening to the audio version of Innovate Like Edison and it was very enlightening (no pun intended). Edison discovered and designed through exhaustive experimentation. His belief was that without experimentation there could be no progress. Every experiment was an opportunity to learn something new and to invent something innovative you had to learn a lot of new things.

Experiments do not have to be limited to science, but can be used in everything that humans do. Getting kids ready for school in the morning, writing an e-mail, or soothing a crying baby all require experimentation of some sort. It isn’t just about knowing or guessing the right hypothesis, but instead is about understanding the results. What do the results means and what needs to be tested next? It could even mean using the results (what was learned) in a completely new way.

At 3M in 1968 Spencer Silver was trying to create a stronger glue, not a weaker one. The weak glue that was invented was considered a huge failure as far as the desired test result. With the information discovered (the glue is weak) it opened up possibilities that the glue could be used in another way – if only someone could identify a use. By 1980 a new use was discovered for the glue, and it has enjoyed a huge commercial success as the critical component of the Post-It note.

Any inventor has to accept the truth about the results of their experiment before they can see how the results can be used. Whether the experiment is with glue or with trying to get you kids to eat their vegetables at the dinner table, opportunity for learning abounds. So what experiment are you going to run today and what will you do with the results?

Can you see lying?

Last week I had lunch with a friend and we talked about the ability to read people, specifically the ability to tell when someone is lying. I wondered after that discussion what clues might ‘show’ a person is lying. Apparently Sherlock Holmes, who was a fictional character created by Sir Conan Doyle, had the ability to use small subtle clues to make large observations. Funny how we cannot ‘see’ certain things, yet Sherlock presumably, could see these clues. Why can’t anyone tap into this ability if they really focus?

The clues can be small – like a blink, a look, a hand gesture, or even a change in their voice tone. I imagine most people can see, hear, and experience the signs, but not all of us process this data in the same way. I imagine two people who look at the same exact piece of paper, but one has 20/20 vision, one is using binoculars, and the other has red-green color blindness. Something tells me what they ‘see’ would be different.

When someone comes to you with a problem, remember they may not be ‘looking’ at it the same way you are. Think of ways to embrace the viewpoint differences. You may need to help educate others to see what you can see. What at first they see, may not be all that is possible and maybe it just takes some practice to improve their vision. Maybe like Sherlock Holmes we can all learn ‘how’ to see subtle clues that tell us some important information. Oddly the best tool for learning, may be learning from each other. Is that what you see?