A few interesting ideas from around the web this week:
A Great Quote
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” – Goethe
Found in I Have Zero Tolerance for Self-Inflicted Drama on The Happiness Project
Thoughts on Christmas
Welcoming a Quiet and Sincere Holiday Spirit
“I’ve been thinking about the importance of tradition and ritual lately. My family is in the midst of a several years-long growing pain. The kids haven’t yet had kids, so there are no little ones to fill the holidays with excitement and squeals. But marriage splits Christmas day in half between our nuclear unit and in-laws, siblings spreading out like a melting snowflake on a window pane. We haven’t figured out yet how to make the day work, how to make that midday parting not seem like a downer. We’re working on it.”
“Very few childhood memories actually include the gifts that I received. I distinctly remember the year that I got a blue dirt bike, the evening my brother and I received a Nintendo, and opening socks every year from my grandparents. But other than that, my gift-receiving memories are pretty sparse. Which got me thinking… what type of gifts can we give to our children that they will never forget? What gifts will truly impact their lives and change them forever?”
Leo writes “Bah humbug! I love Christmas, but the shopping has got to go. Here’s why. Warning: This will be a rant of near-epic proportions.” While it is a rant, I think he strikes a reasonable balance by including some alternatives to the crazy consumption we often unleash at this time of year while still encouraging giving. He also asks some good questions, like “What happens to all the gifts? They go on our shelves, in our closets, on the floor. We already have so much clutter — do we need more? … Why do we want to force clutter on our loved ones, oblige them to find a spot in their already cluttered homes for this gift we’ve given them, so they won’t offend us when we come to visit? Is this obligation really a gift?”
My Approach to Gifts
I’m working hard this year to make sure the gifts I buy are reasonable in expense and don’t add much to my loved one’s clutter! The goal is to give a little something to show that I care and thought of them specifically. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done! If you’re struggling with finding something that fits the bill, you might check out these nontraditional lists:
- Travel Gifts From $10 to $60 for those with the travel bug!
- Small, Cheap, Useful: A Holiday Gift Guide full of stuff for the kitchen.
- 100 Notable Books of 2010
- Christmas Gifts That Make a Difference if you want to go the SUPER practical route.
- Top 10 Must-Have Apps for the iPhone, and Some Runners-Up (especially the Star Walk astronomy app) maybe paired with an iTunes gift card!
“Never say more than two sentences, or very rarely three, without waiting for an answer or comment from whoever you’re talking to.” – Phillip Larkin found in Harry Mount on Asking Questions on The School of Life’s blog.
- Would you dare say the things you say to yourself (in your head) to your closest friend or your child? Would their mood and performance improve if you did? You Are So Stupid
- What’s your cause? If you were a Miss America contestant and you were asked “What’s your platform?”, what would you say? What cause are you passionate about?
- Why doesn’t work happen at work? Are you trading your work day for work moments? Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work
- Are you a craftsman? Whatever your craft, are you working “to perfect [y]our craft, using every tool at [y]our disposal’? The Craftsman’s Creed
Looking for Little More Inspiration?
Check out the politician who has a history of carefully chosen battles and who is yet again charts his own course against the winds of his party. The 91-year-old Canadian athlete who holds 23 world records and 17 in her current age category, 90 to 95. And, the 27 year old neuroscience PhD student who decided to look at the brain from an entirely new perspective, seeing art in the “sheer beauty of its images.”