February Quest Quote

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it. ~John Burroughs, “Winter Sunshine”

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Rumi and the First Intelligence

The Persian poet Rumi has a poem called Two Kinds of Intelligence that you may have noticed the last post. He says we have two kinds of intelligences. Both are valuable, both are necessary to live in the world.

Let’s look at the first intelligence today. This is the “one acquired, as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts from books and from what the teacher says…you stroll with this intelligence in and out of fields of knowledge.”

I’ve loved this intelligence ever since I was a kid. I love learning, primarily whatever it is I’m passionate about. StrengthsFinder labels this desire as the strength learner. Here I am, knocking (gently) on the door of 50 and I’m spending my days learning Spanish and jazz theory. There’s no specific monetary reason to do this, I just do.

Some folks I know also keep gathering. Some elders in the nursing homes I play music at are still gathering. This acquiring helps us stay alive and vital.

Other people I know have given up. They think they’re stationary, but that’s just perspective. From the outside I see a different perspective – the slow slide down.

What are you passionate about? What ‘first intelligence’ would you like to exercise today? I think it helps if there’s no real “reason” to do it – no exterior motive, just you and your passion guiding you to gather.

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

StrengthsFinder – Gallup’s online assessment of unique top five strengths. Learn your team’s strengths and learn how to put them into action.

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Two Kinds of Intelligence by Rumi (Pocket Poem)

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Two Kinds of Intelligence

by Rumi

 

There are two kinds of intelligence: one acquired,

as a child in school memorizes facts and concepts

from books and from what the teacher says,

collecting information from the traditional sciences

as well as from the new sciences.

 

With such intelligence you rise in the world.

You get ranked ahead or behind others

in regard to your competence in retaining

information. You stroll with this intelligence

in and out of fields of knowledge, getting always more

marks on your preserving tablets.

 

There is another kind of tablet, one

already completed and preserved inside you.

A spring overflowing its springbox. A freshness

in the center of the chest. This other intelligence

does not turn yellow or stagnate. It’s fluid,

and it doesn’t move from outside to inside

through conduits of plumbing-learning.

 

This second knowing is a fountainhead

from within you, moving out.

 

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Project Pipeline Team Building Review

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“The session was great and delivered on our theme of the offsite meeting.  The facilitator did a great job and everyone had good things to say about him and the event.  Thank you.”

- PIC Group, Project Pipeline

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: 

Project Pipeline – Teams build a device that will transport a maximum number of marbles up to 50 feet!

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February, Your Month of the Heart

When is the heart of winter in New England? Right now. This is the core, the very center. All externalities stripped away, we’re left with bare essence. This can be devastatingly beautiful. And it can also wear a human down with an ample supply of dark, cold, and gray.

And if we’re in the heart of winter, where are we in our hearts? What is at our core? What is most uniquely you, most uniquely me that wants to sprout from the heart of this winter? How is the life we were born to live going to be expressed this month?

Every year I’m helped through this month by thinking of it as the month of the heart. More heart is required, needed by the world and the people that live in this world than ever before. You’re needed. Your heart is needed. Your core strengths and passions and your compassion, your kindness are needed as well.

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Four Lessons Learned From Collaborative Team Building With Cisco

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Here’s a review of a collaborative team building activity we led with Cisco recently. I’m including it here because it’s such a helpful reminder to hear four things that the team there found really useful. Which learning is most helpful for you to be reminded of today?

“It was fantastic. The facilitator did a great job. The games were spot on for what we needed. A few antidotes from my team. Here are a couple “lessons learned” that you shared with us:

- “Solicit feedback from the team to see the bigger picture”

- “Every contribution is important”

- “Communication is key”

- “Remember to level set, if you jump ahead too quickly things can get lost”

- Cisco, Team Collaboration Quest

Here’s the primary activity we did with them. Give us a call if you’d like to remind your team of what’s most important.

Picture This Team Collaboration Building Activity

You have some of the information but can you communicate what you know? Who will see the big picture?

Each person gets images that are part of a larger sequence. Together the group must decipher the sequence and get them laid out in order without any person seeing anyone else’s images while the clock ticks! Will the group see the big picture in time or will they get bogged down in details…or worse yet, fail to notice a crucial part of the image in time? This complex verbal communication skill builder has a powerful “a-ha” factor that makes the grand unveiling unforgettable!

Outcomes:

  • Discern how does looking at the big picture affect outcomes
  • Explore the balance between precise, accurate communication and big-picture solutions
  • Examine individual strengths within the context of a team
  • Look at how communication affects strengths
  • Look to each other to share resources and generate solutions

 

 

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities:

Team Collaboration Quest – Teams complete a customized series of challenges through collaboration and communication.

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Woodpile By Rufus Collinson (Pocket Poem)

Woodpile

By Rufus Collinson

 

I love this woodpile,

the construction of beauty

within the ordinary task.

 

Huddle of concentrics,

the good years and the lean,

sorrows and delights,

 

the power of containment,

flicker of possibility,

ember  flame  and hearth,

 

rooms redolent with memory,

 

the lovelight in your eyes.

 

“Every man looks at his woodpile

with a kind of affection.”

-Thoreau

 

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Top Quix Picks Movies & Shows from 2016 (Part Two)

Here are more of my favorite movies and shows I’ve watched this past year.

Some are old, some are new, all are absolutely wonderful. Enjoy!

Slow West 

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There are few movie experiences more satisfying and hard to come by than a great modern Western. Folks, we have a winner! Michael Fassbender and Kody Smit-McPhee star in this 2015 debut from Scottish director John Maclean. So many enjoyable Western tropes are happily present, the scenery is gorgeous and the pace is perfect (reflected in the first word in the title). But what makes this a cut above of the rest? The quality of the writing, the inventiveness of the story, the deliciously slow-burning tension, the interesting villain, the chemistry between Fassbender and Smit-McPhee for starters. This film surprises in the best of ways and generously delivers much more than we usually expect of a movie.

Narcos 

Narcos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This 10-episode series (on Netflix) plays like a 10-hour movie and gets so much right about balancing a great story with the truth of what happened. Set in 80s Colombia and cocaine crazy Miami, it traces the upwards and downwards trajectory of Pablo Escobar and other “narcos” in his cartel through the eyes of a DEA agent tasked with bringing him down. Filmed entirely in Colombia, the setting lends an air of authenticity that I wish existed in shows that just film on Disney’s ranch (i.e. Justified). And the seamless blend of archival footage reinforces the reality that the craziness that ensues really happened. This kind of generosity of focus, caring and talent is inspiring – it didn’t need to be this good to be successful, but it is.

Paddington 

Paddington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A movie about this bear from the Peruvian jungle with a passion for marmalade could easily have been a tone-deaf disaster. Instead we get treated to a remarkably faithful adaptation of Paddington’s essential qualities – gentleness, loneliness, good-heartedness, prone to misadventures. It’s goosed up a little for modern day kiddies, but a warm heart beats at its core. If you were wary of how bad/boring/garish/only-for-kids this might be and passed on this initially, you’re in luck – enjoy! Let’s hope for the same tender sense of wonder combined with slapstick physical comedy in next year’s Paddington 2.

Captain America: Civil War

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This is an extremely edited version of a compelling, sprawling movie review written by Theo Michelfeld. I highly recommend you enjoy the full review in all of its glory here.

Saw “Captain America: Civil War.” Loved it dearly—the heroes grappling with the moral consequences of their adventures, the bridging of divides amidst the plate-tectonic shoving matches. Any Captain America movie is a guaranteed hit at this point, but throw in Robert Downey Jr. and Spider-Man and you’ve struck a trifecta. It doesn’t even have to be good. Thankfully, it’s great.

I think the viewer will be hard-pressed to “pick a side” in this movie. Both heroes are stubborn, both believe wholeheartedly in their actions, and both back up their well-spoken ideology with resolute action. My friends, in this season of absolute certainty, may you re-discover, via “Captain America: Civil War,” the adventure of equivocation.

Hotel Rwanda 

Hotel Rwanda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don Cheadle does a great job in this true story about Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during a Rwandan genocide largely ignored by global media that left over a million people dead in just three months. Literally negotiating with a gun to his head, Rusesabagina’s story is recommended for people interested in negotiation, influence and the power of building relationships.

Venus 

Venus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though Peter O’Toole wore his lucky green socks to the Academy Awards he still didn’t win for his work in this 2006 movie. And that’s a shame because his performance of a person fully passionate even in old age was funny, moving and masterful.

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Top Quix Picks Movies & Books from 2016 (Part One)

Here are some of my favorite movies and books I’ve enjoyed this past year.

Some are old, some are new, all are absolutely wonderful. Enjoy!

Love & Mercy 

1 Love and Mercy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This biopic of Brian Wilson, the genius of Beach Boys fame, packs an emotional punch and is steeped in historical authenticity. There is a quartet of great acting performances from Paul Dano (young Brian Wilson), Elizabeth Banks (Brian Wilson’s wife), Paul Giamatti (the controlling psychotherapist Gene Landy) and – finally in a good role – John Cusack (older Brian Wilson).

Wilson’s musical genius is beautifully distilled, using the music studio as his instrument. It’s a gas to see the Wrecking Crew studio musicians portrayed and a thrill to see the process of creating such timeless art as “Caroline, No”, “God Only Knows” and “Good Vibrations”.

And you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for Brian Wilson the person, a gentle soul somehow cursed with twin evil forces controlling his life – his father and his therapist that controlled every aspect of his adult life until getting legally banned.

Cheers to gentle Brian Wilson – the man and musician – today happily married to the woman that helped set him free.

I Am Big Bird 

2 Big Bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This documentary examines the life of Caroll Spinney, the man who has been Sesame Street’s Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969 (and still is well into his 80s). How powerful is this documentary? I got teary more times than I can count while watching it, and I have none of the nostalgia people may have for Sesame Street – I grew up without TV and have never seen an episode. Caroll is feeler through and through, and his story resonates deeply, inspiring me long after I’ve seen it – highly recommended.

Lincoln 

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Daniel Day-Lewis hits it out of the park in yet another in his string of ‘role-of-a-lifetime’ roles. The movie is a visual feast, courtesy of Speilberg’s long-time Director of Photography Janusz Kaminski. There were more than a few moments when a lighting effect or bit of camera work led me to feel as if I was also in the 1800s. Speilberg wisely chose one Lincoln ‘episode’ to focus on –  getting the 13th amendment passed – rather than a full-life bio-pic. And right to the end he balances Lincoln the family man and Lincoln the beloved President. It’s a good – not great – movie, but worthwhile watching for Day-Lewis and the lighting alone.

I’ll Be Me 

4 I'll Be Me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glenn Campbell (Wichita Lineman, Rhinestone Cowboy and many other songs I love) has Alzheimer’s. He did a farewell tour in 2012, joined by three of his children (members of the band) and his wife. This documentary takes us there, giving an intimate view of both what this disease does to a vital human being and also how the best of us can sometimes shine through even as Alzheimer’s does it’s steady march of destruction. There’s a bravery to granting this kind of access to this world that I’m uncertain I’d have the courage to do myself. Recommended.

Ready Player One

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How good are you at playing Pacman, Tempest, Dig Dug and other classic arcade games? How much 80s pop culture trivia is housed in your brain? This book by Ernest Cline (and soon to be a Steven Speilberg movie) is a geek’s dream come true. All that ‘useless’ knowledge accumulated as a kid becomes crucial in this book. There are lots of places online to read a plot summary so I’ll skip that here. The book gleefully revels in 80s culture – video games, movies, TV, music. So it really helps to have grown up in the 80s. And it especially helps to have been a boy growing up in the 80s (hey, that’s me!). But even if you’re not an 80s kids the book is big-hearted enough to appeal. Recommended and oddly inspiring.

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Quix Tip: How to Get More Done Today

How to Get More Done Today

  1. Pick your highest energy point in the day.
  2. Block that time off in your calendar as if you’re in a meeting.
  3. Turn off your wifi and put your phone on airplane mode for as long as you dare during that time.
  4. Get the work done.
  5. Congratulate yourself on clearing space and using it well.
  6. Repeat tomorrow.

Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: 

How To Complete a Project – Teams learn innovative tools to manage a project from start to finish.

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.

Resiliency: Five Keys to Success – Leverage the five principles of resiliency – engagement, efficiency, endurance, flexibility, and loving the game – for peak work performance and enjoyment.

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