Stop and look at how far you've come...

This is actually meant to be more reflective than motivational; although let's see where it goes before any rash decisions are made as to what I'm actually talking about.

Recently I "reposted" an old blog that I wrote eighteen month ago (it is a personal favourite). What I expected to be a simple cut and paste exercise became a little more involved because there was sentence structure and punctuation that could be improved upon. Thank the "blogging gods" there were no spelling mistakes that I could see; pesky things.* Ultimately I clicked "publish", satisfied that my revision was a much tighter piece of writing than the original. And this got me to thinking... for good or bad.

Am I a great writer? Not today. Am I a good writer? It probably depends on the day, the phase of the moon and how much luck is with me at that moment. Am I a better writer? Absolutely, and here is why. I have written 128 blogs since that original post, edited dozens of project proposals and asked a very good friend of mine (who is a very good writer) how I am doing to which she tells me I am getting better; sometimes with a slight "wince" but she assures me I am much tighter with my words and thoughts.

Although there is credence in the old saying "practice makes perfect" and the statistic that 10,000 hours develops mastery, this is not what I had in mind when I started down this meandering path - I was being much more literal when I got to thinking and titled this "Stop and look at how far you've come..." I truly was thinking more along the lines of, "Literally stop what you are doing and take a look around to see how far you have come". To "see" your progress can be incredibly motivational; to visualize the ground covered, obstacles you've overcome and the skills developed on the way - It is exciting and re-energizing to see how far you've come and what you've accomplished.

Sure it is encouraging to see how much closer you are to your goal(s) but the value of understanding how far you've come is more important as it re-enforces accomplishment, allows you to understand your newly acquired skills, and ensures your activity is getting you closer to your goals. It is in this act of stopping and looking back you ensure you're current activity is what's needed, or sadly recognize that in effect, you really aren't doing anything at all. Either way you will know.

For me, I want to be a great writer and with the activity of blog writing I am becoming a better writer, and continue to head in the right direction. And how do I really know? In my recent "repost" I have received a number of comments, many "likes" and a large number of views, whereas with my original I had "zeros" across the board - I thought I would bring this up for those looking for objective data.


PS: Click here to see the re-write.

* Please let me know if you find a spelling mistake because those things are peskier than mosquitos.

Anger or reflection... which would you choose?

The following is the original and the rewrite can be found by clicking here.

In one of my more philosophical moments the other night I happened to mention that I remember hearing about an ancient oriental philosophy that says, "if a valuable glass breaks you should not be angry with it being broken, but instead reflect on all the times you enjoyed the glass before it broke"... or something to that effect. The discussion admittedly was around how hard that can be.

Afterwards, recalling the discussion and racking my brain as to where I had heard about my so-called oriental philosophy (and if it was in fact even real), I did what any inquisitive person would do... I turned to the Internet.

I was not able to validate my oriental philosophy of "reflecting on all the times you enjoyed the glass before it broke", but I did discover Kintsugi... something that as an art form is simply beautiful, and as a philosophy is simply marvellous.

Kintsugi is a Japanese philosophy and art that treats "breakage" as part of the history of an object and not something to be thrown away or disguised; it is illustrated by repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. * 

Getting back to the philosophical discussions of the other night, Kintsugi would have been a nice addition as some of the talk was about the scrapes, scars and breaks that are part of our journey; literally and figuratively. As I reflect more on recent discussions, as well as newly found philosophies, it all seems to be one big fat allegory for working through the trials and tribulations of life.

  • Things in life break, both figuratively and literally... objects, situations, relationships and even people. Reflection offers a far more positive energy, whereas anger offers nothing but the negative form; intuitively and practically we all know anything positive is the way to go.
  • When things break, they can be put back together. By definition, the very act of being repaired makes it different, but that doesn't mean it will to be any less beautiful.
  • The scrapes, scars and breaks that come with our journey of life should be celebrated... they are part of who we are, and that is a beautiful thing. We all have stories to share and celebrate.
  • Kintsugi in an allegorical sense, like being reflective is not easy but can be done, and must be a conscious choice; with patience, skill and desire, something wonderful can come from all those pieces.

So for me, I choose "reflection"... if for no other reason, just look what happens when you add some "discussion" and access to the Internet.


* Many thanks to the Internet and Wikipedia for helping me discover Kintsugi.