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April 18 2012


When in doubt, try something new.

I caught this tweet from a long-time colleague flying across my screen this morning:

Referenced @PhillipADsmith’s post on not working weekends while chatting productivity hacks: bit.ly/IKlwfF Definitely worth a read.

— Erin Polgreen (@erinpolgreen) April 18, 2012

It reminded me that, a ways back, I wrote stuff about my personal life that wasn’t just travel updates or work-related musings. I had this idea many years ago that I’d write more about personal beliefs when it comes to striking a balance between doing what you love, and loving what you do. I thought I would call it the “Tao of consulting,” because I believed that to be great at consulting, you needed to be even better at living.

Some time later, taking enormous inspiration from a range of characters that I’d met over the years, I decided to try out a new persona: The Slacker. The concept is quite simple really and not that novel: work smart, not hard. There’s a fair bit of writing out there that supports the idea that people who make time to reflect and who engage a variety of interests are more effective at creative problem solving — it’s well worth a Google search or two.

After more than fifteen years of actively exploring and thinking about the various ways of being an effective professional activist, consultant, collaborator, convener, and agitator, I’m always rejuvenated to return to the point where there’s something new to learn. And, thankfully, it’s still easy to find that place.

But… learning is hard for me. I’m a Taurus and I was born in the Year of the Ox. To say I’m stubborn or set in my ways would be a understatement of the most significant kind. I don’t like to try new things. I like routine. I like repeatable patterns. I like a steady pace and a known, well-trodden, path. I am pulled toward the things that I already know well.

However, and stealing of bit of inspiration from Clay Johnson’s book The Information Diet, just because you like something doesn’t mean that it’s good for you.

So I’ve started thinking about some easy ways to ensure that I stay on my learning edge. We’re currently living in a world of learning opportunities, so — in general — this isn’t exactly difficult, but even in the pursuit of learning, my experience is that it’s possible to fall into the pattern of taking the easy, or known, path vs. trying something new. And, for me at least, it’s the stretch goals that result in the most significant outcomes.

In addition to not working weekends, I’m going to propose another “mission” for you to experiment with (as I am, currently): When in doubt, try something new.

It’s really that simple.

Let me know how it works for you. :)

July 12 2010




The upcoming memoirs of Lord Mandelson, The Third Man, are a big event here in the UK.


And The Limes of London is playing big too with a great coverage that includes this double spread with a great illustration.


Rupert Murdoch is following the successful LIFE formula of Henry Luce: serializing great books sell magazines… and newspapers.


The print edition is a must-read but what it’s more important is the extra-work done on the website and iPad with videos, graphics and more information that Murdoch wants you to pay for.

I just went to my local Press Agent and asked about today’s papers sales, and my newspaper guru said:

The Times? Sold out in one hour!

Well done!

Sponsored post
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June 05 2010


Hello world!

What happens when you let kids loose with good lighting - they went crazy taking photos of everyone and everything!

It seems we climb forever, striving to reach goals we set and reset and then…


What exactly are we aiming at or for? Are we aiming at a goal to make ourselves better people? More money? More prestige? Are we doing this for ourselves? Others?

Twice I’ve aimed – and now, twice I’ve

The last day of this month marks my last day of employment by Lodi Unified School District. The actual last day of work with students was Friday, May 28.

Somehow I can’t write as I did in my Goodbye to News posting. This move is more of a Hello World – What Next? article. A new beginning with no boundaries…no rules…a world of freedom and unknown choices.

I can finally dig my garden boxes and fence and shape it the way I’ve always wanted to. There are stories to be shot (what would life be WITHOUT a camera in hand? Unbearable). Trips with Newell and trips with Ron. Volunteering (oh year – don’t worry kids – I will be back on campus to hold your hands and guide you). Endless work on the property (fences, gopher patrol to name a few). Try my hand at writing for magazines. Maybe go back into education – this time as a student and aim for the next degree. Watch the sunset from the Drunken Hippo (aptly named because she is so slow and bulky that steering her is just like trying to motivate an inebriated water beast – which she is. Our tiny floating home on the Delta). Oh – and for those of you patiently waiting – finish that blasted book now that I have TIME.

All of that time that seemed too compressed now stretches out in front of me with no horizon in sight in any direction.

I know there will eventually be an end. As I tell my students, we all die. It’s what we do in that brief interlude between life and death that makes a difference.

The difference I make – as a videojournalist, parent, teacher, human being – will not be marked in history books, but in tiny pieces of myself that have touched others through teaching and stories. And in a life I can remember with peaceful content.

…see ya on the road…

March 17 2010


The Uniqueness of Humans

Robert Sapolsky  – one of the world’s leading neurobiologists, a MacArthur Fellow, Stanford professor, and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers — breaks down an intriguing question. Precisely in what ways are we (humans) different from other animals inhabiting our world? The differences are less than we think. But there are some, and they’ll make you sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes a little more confident in humanity, and sometimes motivated to change the world, even in these cynical times. The inspiration happens during the last minute. So stay with this engaging talk until the very last.

via TED’s Best of the Web

The Uniqueness of Humans is a post from: Open Culture. Visit us at www.openculture.com

Share: Facebook Twitthis StumbleUpon del.icio.us Google Bookmarks Reddit LinkedIn RSS E-mail this story to a friend!

Related posts:

  1. Sapolsky Breaks Down Depression
  2. Funny, Fascinating, Educational Lecture on Primate Sexuality
  3. The Art of Trashing the Classics

February 04 2010


LIFE.com looking for Spring Interns

lifeLIFE.com is seeking spring-term interns for its Photography Department.

Internships are paid and not for credit.

Ideal candidates can start as soon as possible and are able to commit to 2-3 days, 14-20 hours per week over the course of 4–6 months.

Primary Duties:
Interns will assist the Photo Department in researching and sourcing archival and current content, building photo galleries, scanning, retouching and performing other tasks not yet specified. LIFE provides unique opportunities for it’s interns to become deeply involved with ongoing projects and upcoming content.

Applicants should be employment ready, self-motivated, detail oriented, and able to remain focused on long-term assignments.

Skills Required:
An interest in and familiarity with current and historical news events, as well as celebrity culture; knowledge of LIFE Magazine; proficient with Photoshop; strong retouching ability; keen visual sense; articulate; able to work independently; able to learn quickly; possess a positive, can-do attitude. Prior web experience is a plus.

Please direct cover letters and resumes to Liz Ronk, liz_ronk@life.com. No phone calls, please.

November 07 2009




The news industry is facing big challenges.

Like in the past.

Like today.

Like tomorrow.

So let’s remember:

“Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming WOO HOO what a ride”

(Thanks to INNOVATION’s Claude Erbsen)

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