Quix Tip: Free Your Stuff

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“A man there was,
though some did count him mad,
The more he cast away,
the more he had.”

- John Bunyan

If you or someone you know is having a hard time getting rid of things, here are three steps to take:

  • Fill just one box with things you haven’t used in a year.
  • Imagine someone out there in the world happily putting to good use the objects that are dust collectors in your closet.
  • Drop them off at Goodwill or Salvation Army (during business hours!)

The next step is to keep at it, simplifying and organizing. As Katharine Fullerton Gerould said, “Simplicity is an acquired taste. Mankind, left free, instinctively complicates life.” So it’s a dance you dance throughout your life. For example, think of the paperwork out there – remember when computers arrived and we thought we were in the dawn of a paperless society? Paper consumption has gone up – it’s perhaps a little too easy to hit the ‘Print’ button. Statistics have shown that 80% of all papers filed are never looked at again and 50% of all filed material going to storage has no retention value.

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What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’?

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This is the 10-year anniversary of the newsletter. That’s 120 newsletters.

This month I’ll post my 1,300th blog post.

It’s something I’m very, very proud of – perhaps what I’m most proud of persisting at this past decade. And I’m grateful for you reading these words. If you weren’t here, I wouldn’t be either.

This kind of persistence comes at a cost though. Something else had to be given up in order to write each word I wrote. Again and again I had to say no to something enticing or demanding or relaxing or meaningless enough to not have fear attached to it.

There is something you want to do, isn’t there? There is something meaningful to you, something that will be helpful to others. Something that will make your world and the worlds you intersect with a better place.

There’s lots of persistent work to be done to make that something to come into fruition. But now, what’s even more important?

The seed of that something is going to need to some space to begin to grow. You’re going to need to say no to something else. Something is going to have to be left behind. The journey ahead is long, and you’re going to need to travel light.

We have a fascination with the TV show Hoarders. How can people compulsively hold onto so many things that are no longer important?

How, indeed? You and I? We’re also hoarders of something. What am I holding on to that is no longer important, no longer helpful to my work? What are you?

What can you say no to that will clear the space to do the most important work you were meant to do this year and beyond?

What ‘no’ will get you to ‘yes’ – to being the change you so want to see in the world?

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Quest Story: Around the World In Twenty Days – Savoring the Adventure

piccard_jones_celebrate_webOn March 1, 1999 Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones set off in a balloon from Switzerland in an attempt to become the first piloted balloon to fly around the world nonstop. Here is Piccard as he savors his adventure in this journal entry from the night before their triumphant landing in Egypt twenty days later.

During the last night, I savor once more the intimate relationship that we have established with our planet. Shivering in the pilot’s seat, I have the feeling I have left the capsule to fly under the stars that have swallowed our balloon. I feel so privilege that I want to enjoy every second of this air world. During our three weeks of flight, protected by our high-tech cocoon, we have flown over millions of people suffering on this earth…Why are we so lucky? Very shortly after daybreak, [our balloon] will land in the Egyptian sand. Brian and I will be lifted away from the desert by helicopter, and we will immediately need to find words to satisfy the public’s curiosity. But right now, muffled in my down jacket, I let the cold bite of the night remind me that I have not yet landed, that I am still living one of the most beautiful moments of my life. The only way that I can make this instant last will be to share it with others. We have succeeded thanks to the winds of providence. May the winds of hope keep blowing around the world.

(National Geographic, Sept. 1999: p44)

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Quix Tip: Get Playful

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1. Choose something that you’ve persisted at all winter long.

2. Re-visit what you love about the topic. Why have you persisted? There’s clearly love in there.

3. Relax around your growing edge of the topic.

4. Get playful with the content and see what fresh perspectives and energy arise.

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Quest Story: Pablo Neruda’s ‘Lamb and the Pinecone’

Born in Chile in 1904, Pablo Neruda was one of our most exuberantly generous modern poets. Here is a story of the power of small, unheralded giving to change the world.

Pablo Neruda’s boyhood backyard was overgrown, and he spent many days exploring its small wild places. One afternoon, he discovered a hole in one of the boards of the fence separating his house from the one next door. Sensing something was about to happen, he stepped back. A small boy’s hand appeared and then disappeared again, leaving behind a small woolen toy lamb.

Pablo looked through the hole for the boy, but he was gone. Moved by the gift, Neruda retrieved one of his most prized possessions from his house – a pine cone, “opened, full of odor and resin, which I adored.” He left it at the hole and went off to play with the sheep.

That small incident had a profound effect on Neruda, and helped shape his gift to the world. He said that that incident was the first time he realized that all of humanity was somehow connected.

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Quix Tip: Practice Change by Sleeping

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  1. Pause before you fall asleep at night.
  2. Consciously choose to let go of structure and control.
  3. Let the change that sleep brings enter consciously.
  4. Relax and drift off.
  5. In the morning, note how you were safe all night as you dreamed.

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Quix Tip: Change is as simple as 1-2-3…4

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  1. Choose something you want to change.
  2. Select a ritual to visit your change initiative every day.
  3. Mark your calendar 40 days from today.
  4. Spend time with your change ritual every day for 40 days.

Learn more:
40 Days to Change For Good - Don’t just manage change, lead it. Create a successful forty-day blueprint to lead a change that lasts.

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Quest Story: What is a quest?

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A quest is a journey toward a goal, an act of seeking – full of exertion and adventure. Some famous questors include: Don Quixote, Odysseus, King Arthur, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Nelson Mandela.

When we read their stories, as well as those of modern business leaders, movie heroes, and famous literary characters, we discover many ways to re-invigorate ourselves. One way is to re-frame our daily work as a quest.

We hope that each Quest Story presented here will provide inspiration for you. Each Quest Story highlights an individual, team, or group that embodies the ideals of the quest. Quests range from the famous to the unknown, historical to current, from the celebrated to the quiet.

What’s your quest? If you know a person or group that is on an inspiring quest tell us and we may feature them (or you) in a future Quest Story.

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Boots Bootzin Quest Story

 

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Robert “Boots” Bootzin, also known as “Gypsy Boots” (1914-2004)

Largely responsible for bringing healthy living, eating and the acceptance of organic foods to the American consciousness, Boots Bootzin embodied the Quixote ideal. His quest was for people to eat well, live well, laugh and be happy and he lived this quest fully in a wildly exuberant, zany style all his own. The inspiration for the Nat King Cole classic “Nature Boy”, Boots lived off the land for over a decade in a canyon outside of Palm Springs. He first gained national prominence when he got Groucho Marx’s seal of approval on You Bet Your Life. He appeared 25 times on the Steve Allen show in the 1960s to 20 million viewers, swooping in on a rope and getting Steve to try something organic or do exercises with him. He coined the term “smoothie” and ran the Health Hut, which was an inspiration for GiIligan’s Island. To celebrate his 50th birthday he ran 10 miles barefoot in 120 degree heat. He ran the LA Marathon when he was in his 80s. Here are some quotes from his appearance on You Bet Your Life and his autobiography The Gypsy In Me.

“Watch what you eat. Exercise. Relax. Take Care of yourself. And be able to laugh. Laugh at life and enjoy it, remembering always to be tolerant of your fellow man, regardless of his beliefs and ideas.”

“The important thing is not in what you do in life, it is in how you go about doing it.”

“I’ve always tried to throw myself into something with everything I had.  I can’t way I’ve made much money, but I haven’t had an unhappy day.  This is more valuable than all the money in the world to me.”

On living off the land:

“Well, I lived there about 20 years, in caves and under trees and top of trees.”

“Well, of course I didn’t have to pay any taxes living that way and I felt very healthy up there, I mean I had a lot of air, I like a lot of air.”

“I ate wild berries and acorns and I climbed high fig trees and I’d eat sweet figs – I’d chase the birds away because they eat the sweetest.”

“I ate sweet figs and grass – its good for your eyes, alfalfa – cows got good eyes, I want good eyes.”

On meeting his wife:

“I met my wife out in San Francisco beach and I was beach combing and she was practicing her ballet, so I always dreamed of being a Nijinsky, so I went into my dance and she got intrigued, so she decided to share the tree with me so we decided to get married – we’ve been happy ever since.”

Did his wife live off the land too?

“Well, she did for three months, but then afterwards the mosquitoes got her and peanuts, she got tired of peanuts and tired of climbing fig trees for her breakfast, so she said, I compromise and we got half of a house, I mean we got a little house, a little cottage, a room.”

His occupation:

“I’m a singing fruit peddler. I peddle figs and peanuts and the peaches in the desert, Bel Air, Beverly Hills and I sing and peddle fruit.”

On the Nature Boys

“We wanted to live as we wanted, but at the same time thought we could give others something to enjoy.  If we had any talent at all, it was in knowing how to enjoy life and, hopefully, spreading that joy a little bit.”

Getting Married

“Before the ceremony we celebrated on the courthouse lawn.  We drank carrot juice and sang and danced.  Gypsy Jean played ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ and the ‘Wedding March’ on the accordion.  Lois banged away on a tambourine.  And Charlie crashed away on a huge drum and rattled a bunch of ring bells.”

The Health Hut (Inspiration for Gilligan’s Island)

“Most of my customers were not celebrities.  I never refused anyone.  If someone came in and said, ‘I love your food, but I haven’t any money,’ I said that was all right, just put on an apron and help out tonight.  That is how I got all my help.”

“I had two mottos at my health hut.  The first was ‘a good laff feeds the soul.’  I still feel that way.  We had fun every night and every day.  We had art shows, weight-lofting exhibitions, and sing-alongs (way before Mitch Miller).  The rule was anything goes, so long as the food was good and the customers had some fun.”

“This is where my second motto came in.  I said the food and drink came ‘from tree to you.’”

On the Steve Allen show

“Usually I just tried to get Steve healthy.  I fed him lots of food – dates, nuts, alfalfa sprout sandwiches, carrot juice, everything you can imagine, and probably a few things you can’t imagine, things I dreamed up overnight.”

“I did a lot of running around and yelling on Steve’s show, but underneath it all was a serious effort to promote health.”

 

Most quotes from:

The Gypsy in Me! by Gypsy Boots (available used from Amazon)

You Bet Your Life DVD Disc 2 – Episode #54-30: broadcast – April 7, 1955

Watch Gypsy Boots on You Bet Your Life here.

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Quest Story: What’s the hardest part of being at your best?

The team leader looked at the At Your Best compass, thought for a moment then said, “play is the hardest for us.” She explained, “we get so lost in what has to be accomplished, that we forget to enjoy the work, to smile, to enjoy each other. We work so hard and forget to play.”

She’s right. Passion, play, purpose, persistence – what’s the hardest? For most teams it’s play. Which is interesting when we recall we all started out as kids. Play came naturally and easily to all of us. Somewhere along the path of life, we lost our way, and a core success muscle atrophied.

Play isn’t just ‘having fun’. Play equals creativity. It allows for experimentation, testing and failure. It’s where innovation and invention come from. Without it, there will be no breakthroughs. In a ‘failure is not an option’ world, it’s no surprise that the power of play has been forgotten.

Her team started the day just as she stated. Picture This was fraught with tension and the team immediately unconsciously launched into a high-stress attempt at completing the team building activity.

Then during the debriefing, team eyes started to open. As the Collaborative Team Building Quest day progressed, some barnacles of old behavior got scraped off.

Finally the last activity, On Target, began the same way. Stressed out, not communicating. With each round, however, they got better. The last round, the team was as one – eyes shining, calm, clear communication, innovation successfully in place. The ideal team, and their results blew away what they thought they could do.

That’s the beginning of a new story, of teams relearning to play the work.

When in doubt, we pause then play. If our immediate world hasn’t crumbled because of this radical heresy, we do it again…and then again.

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