Courage to Change the Things I CAN

Setting reasonable goals is a key to happiness and success. It’s the courage to make those goals and the wisdom to see what you might achieve that separates the average from the truly great.

In the past few years, my job and my private life have both benefitted by me setting goals.  That may sound a simple suggestion but it is really subject to interpretation.  For example, in teaching kids you might make a general goal of:

I will meet the needs of all my students.

This is really hard to achieve for two reasons:  #1) the needs are not defined and #2) each student has different needs.  I would say this goal as is is quite impossible.  Now watch what happens when we make it more specific and put measurable objectives in:

I will give each child a pre-test and post-test on which they will show 90-100% accuracy or at least a 10% improvement from pre to post.

You can also do this with your kids:

I will spend 30 minutes with my 10 year old son every Thursday talking and interacting away from the rest of the family.

Note I left out the general and went to the specific.

The serenity prayer goes as follows:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

The line that begins with courage is the goal setting line.

You need the courage but also the wisdom to kmow what you can control. I encourage you to be specific in setting measurable goals. Another example of how I do this is in my CAN Blog Self-Rating system that you can read all about on my personal blog. Understand that without a goal you can never achieve it and without a specific goal you can’t even see where you’re headed. Do you set specific or general goals?

Think of Ten: James Dean Attitude of Blogging

I want to gather all bloggers together and disscuss why we care so much about our posts.  After all, most of us are lucky if ten people read our posts each day.  There are a few bloggers who get huge and thousands of bloggers tune in (or, click in) to read their stuff every day.  It’s just a cold hard fact that the majority of bloggers will never enjoy that fat of an audience.  So what does that mean to our posts?  It means we are stupid if we stress over crafting posts.  Think of James Dean in “Rebel without a Cause.”  He just didn’t give a shi**.  When I blog now I think of the ten people that might read my post.  I give them something good that could be profound.  I keep it short and without assumptions.  After all, tomorrow it will be forgotten for the most part and a new thought will replace it.  To bloggers out there:  Do yourself a favor and stop thinking of your posts as important.  If someone decides they are then that is fine, but you shouldn’t be the one to assume anything.

The Greatest Tragedy is NOT

“The greatest tragedy in life is not death; the greatest tragedy takes place when our talents and capabilities are underutilized and allowed to rust while we are living.” AMMA

I added this quote to my crazy quotes page recently. It’s getting pretty serious there now, I have 40 that cycle through randomly. This new one just stuck out to me and begged to be shared.

Make sure you put effort forth to use your talents. In many cases people can make money doing that which empassions them. Work doesn’t have to feel like a dead end. I think this is an important quote so I wanted to give it its own post. I wish I could give you a set of talking watches that repeated over and over what a true tragedy is. Thanks for reading.

Your thoughts on this quote?

Pink Floyd

I’ve loved this band for years. Their guitarist, David Gilmour, has some of the best riffs and chops I am yet to hear. I’ve seen them live twice back in the early 90’s. Yes people were passing joints around and offering small squares of LSD to put on your tongue. I was in my early 20’s and a little TOO open minded. I never really got into that lifestyle though … I just genuinely loved the music. I recently heard that a member of the band passed away and it hit me hard. That’s like the death of an era. Just like the Beatles only have two left, so Pink Floyd now are less. I love their song: “Comfortably Numb.” Everytime I hear it I go into a trance.

Any Floyd fans out there?

Template Your Way to Blog Greatness

Besides the elementary rules of usage, there are some elementary guidelines of composition, or writing, that can make any blogger better.  If you’re reading this, you probably have a great style and just want to make it better.  Let’s face it though, there are a lot of blogs out there that really need some help.  Ironically, I don’t think they’ll be tuning in :(

This post suggests a template idea that helps me every day.  Just to reiterate, I get the ideas for these posts from Strunk and White’s “The Elements of Style.”  Just like there are some technical “constants” of good blogs, so there are constants of writing worth looking into.

Create a template and stick to it. I have gone through many templates for my blog posts.  They have all shared one thing is common: links to other posts on my blog and links to external blogs either in my blogroll or ones I have run across and found interesting.  Stumbleupon is an excellent tool for storing these links and then retrieving them later.  I will share my basic template I use when creating blog posts:

Introduction: A catchy sentence(s) that can serve as a stand alone teaser.  About 160 characters because most search engines don’t pick up beyond that.  It should promote what follows.

Body: 1-5 paragraphs.  Each paragraph should be about something distinct.  They should not be too long.  I’d say no more than 4 sentences max.  Blog readers’ eyes get bored fast.

Conclusion: Try to include a question or request for a response.  This stimulates comments.

Links: 3 internal links, 3 external links

This is a very basic outline, but it gets the point across that you should analyze and create a template and then stick to it.  Your readers will notice and read with greater ease and interest.  With daily serious blogging, templates are almost a non-negotiable.

What do you think of choosing a suitable design for posts and sticking to it?