The big field trip

If every student on a wintry school field trip brought two coats, and one student had none, surely someone would offer her extra coat to the student in need.

And if all the students brought two lunches, and one student brought nothing, surely that child would not go hungry. Someone would share.

And yet when we zoom out — when we consider our community, our region, and our world — we can forget that we’re all on one big field trip. We live in this world together. And (particularly when we’re not “seated together on the bus”) it’s easy to forget that we have two coats and two lunches, and that some of our classmates are cold and hungry.

stephen
Big mouths

Small minds are sometimes paired with big mouths.

So let’s do our part to spread the ideas that come from great minds. After all, those great minds can sometimes have quiet voices.

But we don’t need to amplify; louder is not always better.

No. We need to distribute. To spread the ideas.

Let’s populate our culture with the ideas and values that come from the best of ourselves.

Person to person. Small group to small group. Little by little.

stephen
Sighing

Do you sigh audibly?

Do you shut drawers loudly?

Are you seeking attention because you’re stressed?

We know. We know you have a lot to do. We know you’re under pressure. We know it’s not fair.

But that energy you’re using to express your frustration is not helping the tasks at hand.

That energy will be better spent tackling the workload that’s gotten you so upset.

And if you need help... just ask. But don’t ask for help by sighing. Ask using words.

stephen
Who answers the door?

Inside each of us, we have the entire spectrum of personality traits. They’re balanced in a particular way, of course, but they’re all in there.

So when trouble comes knocking... when we’re faced with a setback... when we’re challenged or threatened...

Who do we send to answer the door?

  • Anger?

  • Passivity?

  • Aggression?

  • Patience?

  • Empathy?

  • Creativity?

It might take practice, but if we want to, we can choose who answers the door...

...no matter who is doing the knocking.

stephen
Nailing practice

You can practice, and practice, and practice, and still screw up when it counts.

Nailing a song during rehearsal is not the same as giving a flawless performance.

Sinking a putt on Thursday is not the same as draining a putt on Sunday to win the Masters.

Delivering a speech in the mirror is not the same as speaking in front of thousands.

When we watch professionals at work, they often make it look easy. What’s easy, however, is ignoring what it takes to get things right at just the right time... when it counts.

stephen
Hearing the right words

Sometimes, we wait for encouragement. We wait to be discovered. We wait to be picked.

Every once in a while, we take a peek around the corner, hoping to be noticed.

But why wait for someone to give you words of encouragement? Give them to yourself.

You’re waiting to be discovered? Discover yourself.

Don’t be a victim of silence if that’s all you’re getting. Be your own advocate. Tell yourself what you need to hear, and get going.

stephen
Piling on

“Piling on” is a term used when someone joins in the (typically unfair) criticism of someone who is already being assailed. It’s a cheap way to get a laugh, or to demonstrate affiliation with the group dealing out the mockery.

Piling on, in this sense, is pretty common.

But what about piling on in a good sense?

  • With kindness?

  • With generosity?

  • With compassion?

  • With praise?

  • With encouragement?

Let’s use our tendency to join-in… to contribute to the good stuff. Go ahead and pile on, but do it with the things that make a positive impact.

stephen