Category Archives: Put It Together

The amazing interdependent 4 Ps

Albert Einstein called the feeling of separation from the whole, “a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.” The commonly-used triune brain model (brain stem, limbic system, neocortex) is really a metaphor for a completely connected and intertwined system. So it is with the 4 Ps. Passion, play, purpose and persistence are interdependent, interlocked with each other. They need each other for you to be at your best. Imagine passion without purpose, persistence without passion, play without persistence. They kind of work, but this experience is a pale imitation of the vibrancy you experience when all combine. It’s misleading to take each of the 4 Ps one at a time. It’s necessary for understanding, but to live from the center of your life all 4 Ps are in play.

Posted in Put It Together | Comments closed

Four quick steps to being at your best

Only pick what you love Try it out Keep trying it out Do what helps

Posted in Put It Together | Comments closed

Shake It Up

You need to establish routines to persist, to make something you desire unconscious. But what about when the things you do are unconsciously bad? You do things automatically but they don’t work. They don’t help. They may even make things worse. Then you shake it up. You change it up. You break the routine. For example, if sitting at your computer is not working for you, stand up. Go outside. Try doing what you do in the morning in the afternoon, and vice versa. Rip up your To Do list. Try walking sideways to get the coffee. Try anything, anything that will shake it up. Any kind of change. What happens when you change something? You come at it with a fresh perspective. Everything is new again in that moment. You are innocent again. And you are more able to play your way into doing what you are passionate about. Learn more:  Change Up! – Teams master change with a mix of team building and training.

Also posted in Passion, Play | Comments closed

Persist Like a Phoebe In Her Nest

Every year a phoebe builds a nest somewhere on our house. This year she built it on the crook of a gutter drainpipe above the walkway to the house, a highly trafficked area. If I’m out on the patio or on the back deck, I can look over and see her sitting on the eggs in her nest. She built it herself – that’s what phoebes do. The male accompanied her, but it took her close to two weeks to build it out of mud, leaves, moss and hair. Now she’s sitting on the eggs. They incubate for about two weeks. Then the hatchlings will be born – helpless and eyes closed – and she’ll care for them for another 2-3 weeks. I’ve been appreciating her consistency of commitment. There have been some severe temperature fluctuations the last few weeks. And some intense weather – driving rain, high winds, abnormally hot days, followed by 40-degree nights. Through all of it she continues her commitment to her eggs, never acting upset or concerned. If I can’t sleep at night, it helps knowing that she is out there, continuing her faithfulness. As I type these words, I can see her. We all have passions we commit ourselves to. It could be work related, or it might be your family, or gardening, or writing, or playing music, or being in nature. And we all can use inspiration to continue that commitment. If this phoebe is helpful, use it. Or look for another inspiration – a reason why you’re committing again and again to something that you care about where the outcome is unknown. Inspiration helps. And so does appreciation. Appreciation is the antidote to worry. Perhaps you can pause right now and appreciate yourself for continuing to persist, to do the difficult work of being alive and awake on the earth. Here’s to your commitment to your passion you’re incubating this lovely month!

Also posted in Nature, Passion, Persistence, Purpose | Comments closed

You’ll Never Get to the End of Mastery

I’ve been starting my musical practice with these cheery words. I’ll never get to the end of technical mastery. There’s always something else to learn, to get better at, to explore. So, there’s now no rush. And there’s nowhere to get to. Now is all I have, now is all you have, finding the spirit of passion and play as you persist along your path that leads nowhere…and everywhere.

Also posted in Passion, Persistence, Play | Comments closed

What Do You Focus On if You’re Lydia Ko, you’re 18 and the #1 Female Golfer In the World?

Q: “How do you handle the pressure of competing at that level consistently?” Lydia Ko: “I’m just trying to enjoy it. And having fun for me is the most important thing. And golf is a sport where you’re playing for a long time so having fun keeps the pressure go away.  I have a really solid team around me, which has helped me be grounded and help me all the way.” That interview was at a Golden State Warriors basketball game. She had just spent the morning hanging out with Stephen Curry and the rest of the team, having fun putting in the basketball gym. So, Lydia Ko is true to her word. I like the idea that if you want to do something a long time – and professional golfers can be professional golfers for a very long time – then having fun is the most important thing. It’s a message I’ve said many times here – have fun. And a message I spread during team building activities. But it’s a message we all could probably stand to hear at least once a day. So many other messages in the world are aimed at making us more serious, grim or worried. Or advertising desperately tries to link having fun with spending money on something. That’s truly…false advertising. Play can be had anywhere, any day, any time. And play allows us to persist. Having fun allows us to persist, to play the long game. Where could all that energy come, if not from joy? It helps of course to also have a solid team, as Ko mentioned. Here’s to both of us focusing on having fun today, playing what we’re persisting at – work, family relationships, our passion, whatever. And hats off to everyone on your team as well. Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: Secret Agent Team – ‘There’s a team who leads the life of danger…’ Test your spy skills in a series of interactive challenges. The Ultimate Game – Travel around the giant game board, furiously completing wild and wacky trivia and team challenges in the craziest team building program ever. World Record Breakers – Ignite Olympic energy, passion and fervor with a dozen hilarious competitive events! Everyone can play regardless of physical ability. Catapult – Design and build fully functional catapults and compete in distance and accuracy. Team Sand Castle Build – Create innovative, beautiful sand sculptures with a wild assortment of materials for sunny team fun Cerebral Knievel – Let your team’s “whole brain” play and develop team skills at the same time in this giant Cranium-style game. Show Me the Money – Teams form ‘companies’ and race across a giant game board for market share in a game of corporate mayhem. Quixote Hunt – Saddle up your mare Rocinante (i.e., your feet or a limo) and venture out on your very own customized scavenger or photo quest! Return of the Titanic Boat Building – It’s sink or swim time – will your team come out high and dry, or end up all wet? Quixote Olympics – Compete in either our Summer or Winter Olympics, indoors or outdoors. Try ‘Tilting at Windmills’ and a host of other fun events.

Also posted in Persistence, Play, Team Building | Comments closed

What’s in a Number? (Power of Persistence)

Here are some Mad Max: Fury Road numbers: 30 years to get filmed 400 hours of footage 2,700 cuts (done amazingly by Miller’s wife and editing partner Margaret Sixel) 1,700 crewmembers 15,000 stunt crew-days 150 hand-built vehicles 120 days of filming in the Namibian desert a two-hour film 1 chase scene $347 million and counting at the box office We’ve heard the 10,000 hours rule to mastery. Whatever the actual number it takes to hit mastery, one thing is clear. The numbers count. The amount of time you devote to something adds up. You get what you invest. Not always externally – not every movie is a success, not every song is heard, not every word gets read. But you don’t get anything more out of something than what you put in. You’re passionate about something. What is it? How can you help it with the power of numbers? Explore this idea more fully in Quixote Consulting’s team building and team development activities: 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.

Also posted in Change, Passion, Persistence | Comments closed

“We go out daily and nightly to feed the eyes on the horizon…” (Emerson)

“We go out daily and nightly to feed the eyes on the horizon, and require so much scope, just as we need water for our bath… The blue zenith is the point in which romance and reality meet.” – Emerson Any break we take from the daily minute smallness that can constrict so tightly gives us a chance to reconnect with something larger – that’s the power of purpose. I love mountains, and I love water – many of us do. There’s a sense of space in both of these things that I find liberating. The ocean combines both the open space of water and the horizon line that a mountain’s perspective gifts us with. Winter also has a wonderful way of opening up horizon lines that leaves obscure. But the horizon line is always with us, no matter where we are. It may be broken up by buildings or trees, but it’s always there – on the same level, the same height as you and I.

Also posted in Passion, Purpose | Comments closed

When’s the Right Time to Tap Your Sweet Spot of Engagement?

I recently wrote about making maple syrup here. There is a very specific time for tapping maple trees. It depends on the trees storing excess energy in the fall as starch and then resting for months until the warmth of the sun turns that starch into sugar – the tree’s ‘sweet spot’. Laura and I talked about this, curious as to how humans figured out how to make maple syrup. Who figured out that a certain tree’s sap was sweet and good to drink? Who experimented with other trees – pine, hemlock, oak? Who decided that it would be a good idea to boil it down and see what happened? And for how long? How did they know it was done? How did they know the ‘sweet spot’ of perfect maple syrup? We’re like trees too. We spread our roots of interest out and draw energy up from our passions and give them out into the world. And…we’re not. Trees gracefully follow a rhythm of a year, a season, a revolution around the sun. We’re blessed (and perhaps cursed) with making conscious decisions. Our movement may not look as graceful and as ordered as a tree. But we are like nature, because we’re part of it. Nature encompasses a dizzying array of approaches to living well…as do we. Different plants bloom at different times in the year. Different animals mate and give birth at different times. Right now owls are sitting on eggs, the snow falling on their still wings. And the witch hazel is still in blossom – the last to blossom from last year. Our sweet spot comes when passion, play, purpose and persistence meet and we have the natural energy to live in this wonderful place. To have the energy to turn stored energy into sweetness one must have rested well. Perhaps you’ve rested well this winter, listening to what tempo you work best in, in winter. Perhaps this is your time to release the waiting energy into a new project. Or perhaps modern life has not let you rest as much as you want, and you have a little ways to go before you can energetically live in your sweet spot of engagement. It doesn’t matter – the witch hazel isn’t deeply upset it’s the last to bloom. Who cares when passion, purpose and play meet compared to anything else? What’s most important is that when we’re ready we let that process happen, create the best possible conditions for the sweet spot of engagement to be tapped, and persist in doing the good work of gathering, boiling down our raw energy into good work we gift to the world, to make it a little sweeter. Quixote Consulting helps teams find the sweet spot of engagement with strengths-based training and team building.

Also posted in Passion, Persistence, Play, Purpose | Comments closed

Concentrated Passion – Joss Whedon on writing The Cabin in the Woods in three days

Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard wrote the movie The Cabin in the Woods in a concentrated time and space. One was downstairs in a hotel suite and the other was upstairs. They shared a printer and sent stuff back forth to each other, building on what the other was writing. They started at 6 AM every day and ended at 1 AM. They finished the script in three days. Three days! Here’s Joss Whedon talking about the process, culled from a number of different interviews: “This movie, Drew and I locked ourselves in the hotel for three days and all-time was the time to write.  We would break for dinner, but spend that time just going over what we still had to do that day.  We never talked about anything else, but because we were so locked into the vision of the thing there wasn’t a lot of downtime.  There wasn’t a lot of pacing, we wouldn’t get tired, we didn’t go, “Oh you know, let’s gab about stuff,” at any point.  The fingers kept flying; I mean I did a personal best on this which I think was 26 pages in a day…you know honestly, I’m not looking to top that (laughs).  We had done a lot of prep and everything, but it also came from our giddy joy at being able to write this.  We didn’t know if anybody was gonna make it, we just were like, “Oh my God.” Like War of the Gargantuas, they’re destroying Tokyo and we’re just having such a good time with it.  And to me it feels like the entire movie—you know how The Tree of Life all had to be shot in magic hour and it took forever?  This feels like it was all written at four in the morning.” What can we learn from this? Prepare: “We talked about this movie endlessly before we made it, even before we wrote it, because it’s the kind of world that we love to walk in.” Passion: Phrases that strike me: “locked in”, “it’s the kind of world we love to walk in”, Purpose – it helps to work with someone else, someone who’s simpatico: Whedon said there where no disagreements during the writing at all. Some disagreements came up during filming, but not in the writing together. Play: “our giddy joy at being able to write this” and “This feels like it was all written at four in the morning” (there’s dark-night-of-the-soul four in the morning and there’s sleep-deprived-giddy-with-good-friends four in the morning – this is the latter). And the smaller the boundary (3 days in this case) the more concentrated the play can be. Persistence (the renewal side of persistence): Also, if you attempt a burst of passion like this, prepare to crash heavily after this. Don’t expect this to be the new norm in life and productivity, as tempting as this is. They did a three-day long giant in-breath and there needs to be an outbreath, an emptying in order to persist in the larger picture. Lastly, here’s my review of the movie, let me know what you think! The Cabin in the Woods – From the mind of Joss Whedon (Avengers, Firefly, Toy Story) and Drew Goddard, his co-writer on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, comes a very creative spin on the horror movie genre. Truth be told, I don’t like horror movies. But the premise they came up with is exhilaratingly original, fun, and humorous. I won’t say more about the plot, as there are many twists and turns that are part of the pleasure (Whedon says, “the less you know the more you’ll enjoy the movie”). Written in three feverish days, Whedon manages to couple his brilliance at dialogue with a story you want to follow.

Also posted in Passion, Persistence, Play, Purpose, Quest Stories | Tagged , , , , | Comments closed