Tag Archives: ITunes

Learning To Persevere

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” – Calvin Coolidge

We live in a world of instant gratification, where success looks easy.  I don’t have any trouble making that statement.  If you watch TV at all, then your days are filled with instantly white teeth, instant and inexplicable celebrity and seemingly easy financial success. And we fall for it every time.  Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian, Sarah Palin and of course my favorite, freakin  Snookie. They all have the same things, white teeth, unexplained celebrity and financial success.

But, they also all have three other things in common: Head scratching mediocrity, an ability to manipulate us with our own desire for overnight success and that they only play one note. When we tire of that note, they are gone and the next one comes along.

You Betcha!

It is truly not them though, it is a very skilled media who chose them to hold up as examples of what we desire for ourselves. In many ways, they were just convenient.  In the right place at the right time when a hungry dream machine needed fresh fodder. Or, in Palin’s case, a fading and cynical political campaign’s need for a woman, a black person, anything to appear relevant to an increasingly diverse electorate. They really didn’t care much that they were promoting a half wit who thinks Africa is a country and the French Revolution a ballet step.

OK, so where does that leave the rest of us?  Well, personally, my sex tape didn’t really take off and my reality show “The Real Goys of Hollywood” didn’t get past the pitch phase, so to succeed I’m left with persistance, determination and hard work.

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.” – Thomas Carlyle

It’s hard to grind it out every day. I get that. At some point you may ask your self why keep going? The answer to that question is purpose. It’s the purpose of loving your art, loving your family and loving those that work next to you. It’s the purpose of contributing to something bigger than yourself and creating a legacy. That’s what keeps you going. That’s what keeps you looking forward to the next step.

But what makes for purpose? Author Guy Kawasaki gives a simple equation in his book ‘Enchantment.’ He uses an acronym: ‘M.A.P.’ which stands for mastery, autonomy and purpose. He explains that in any endeavor, if we are given the opportunity to master a skill and receive autonomy in doing so, all we have to add is our unique purpose of something bigger and we will have no problem finding the energy for persistance and determination.

I find his equation not so much a recipe for success as a formula for joy. As we all have, I find I have reinvented myself numerous times. Life just unfolds that way. If you really look closely at it, what makes change interesting and purpose easier, is the simple act of learning new things. When your interest is held, you become persistent in your pursuit of practicing the new skills you are acquiring. That feeds your purpose and vice versa.  That’s right, what I am suggesting is that constant progress is the result of persistence, and persistance is the child of constant learning and expanding your skills. Mix it all together and you manage to support your purpose.

For myself, my learning consists of downloading a steady stream of audio books from iTunes.  I have a 45 minute commute each way and I have decided to fill it with learning.  In the past year, I’ve listened to books on business culture, leadership, happiness, purpose and entrepreneurship to name a few subjects.  My current title is: The Talent Code, Unlocking The Secret of Skill by Thomas Coyle. It’s a remarkable  study of where our physiology and habits meet to propel our talents. It’s all about how we learn, how we are coached by others and how we should coach others.

The bottom line is this: In pursuit of my purpose I have become extremely determined and persistent when it comes to learning. Even this blog is me learning. I’ve come to realize that no matter what I’m doing, I’m learning something.  Even when doing nothing I’m learning something (how to do nothing.)  For me, it’s become a question of what do I need to know to make my business better, my relationships better and what excites me and makes me want to get up in the morning.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb

Do you want  (or need) to be more persistent, tenacious, determined? Those traits want constant fuel to keep them ignited.  Even if you just surf the net, something as benign as Stumbleupon.com will help you learn.  It’s great. You just plug in your interests and the website randomly sends you to other websites that contain articles and information on the subjects of your choosing. As a matter of fact, just last night on Stumble I learned of a new concept: PLN or Personal Learning Networks. Groups of people that share what they are learning through Twitter.  They point out blogs, videos and articles.  Kind of what I’m doing here. I learn, I share, I learn some more.  It’s made me better at all facets of my life.

So, what are you learning about for your career? How is that translating to your life.  What things spark your passion, make you persistent and determined to push farther?  I want to know!  At this point I want to do more than throw words out into the blogosphere. I want to start a conversation! I want to start a PLN.

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year now.  In that pursuit I have been determined and persistent.  Learning new things has been the vehicle to spark my imagination to try and communicate new things and that’s my epiphany. What’s yours?

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn to do it”  – Pablo Picasso

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Want to share this idea with your own Twitter network? Here are tweetable bits.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now” – Chinese Proverb http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.” – Calvin Coolidge http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragement and impossibilities: http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn to do it”  – Pablo Picasso http://bitly.com/lF4tfb @agentonloose

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Angry Birds, I Can’t Quit You

Angry Birds, I can’t quit you.  Ever since my evil assistant Trevor introduced us a week and a half ago, you have confounded me, enticed me and made me addicted to your charms.  Angry Birds, I can’t quit you.

Yes, Angry Birds, the pointless and insipid iPhone app game.  Thanks to Angry Birds, I’ve become the Charlie Sheen of my own couch.  Playing the game no matter what else is going on around me.  In a week and a half, my family has left me, my bank accounts are empty and I wander around my house, robe open  in my underwear, staring at my iPhone screen, drooling and muttering insults at the stupid little red bird who can’t blow anything up and bounces off everything without inflicting any damage!  On the plus side, I received an encouraging email from Lindsay Lohan in which she offered to be my sponsor, provided I show the tiniest bit of evidence that I want to recover. I have hit bottom and started to dig.

Ah, Angry Birds, my current diversion. I’ve had millions of them.  They’ve ranged from incessant practicing of musical instruments to sitting for too long in front of the tube, watching CSI Boise and following the ever fascinating online  updates of Charlie and Lindsey as they circle the drain.

I’m talking about the things that keep us from doing the work we need to be doing. Of course, doing the things we like are easy.  We gravitate towards these things and tend to do them first.  When we’re done with them, we look for any reason we can to keep from doing the things that provide foundation to the dreams we are trying to build. Sound familiar?

I can’t remember where, but I heard something recently about productivity.  When asked about his long successful career, an older entrepreneur said “whenever I find myself in a lull at work, I ask myself this question: is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now.  I ask this question constantly throughout my day.”

Not as easy for a freelancer of course.  When you’re not working and trying to GET work, you also have the rhythm of home to deal with.  When you’re sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids from school, no, it’s probably not the most productive work thing you could be doing.  But, if you’re waiting with an iPhone in your hand playing FREAKIN ANGRY BIRDS, stop and send an email to a business contact.  If you’re sitting at your computer, resist the urge to do the online NY Times crossword puzzle and do some technical research your craft or find some useful ways to network.

It’s great that we live in a time when there is so much right at our fingertips. Information is everywhere and it’s all fighting for our attention.  Leisure is everywhere and it’s all fighting for our attention.  I’m not saying never relax.  You have to let your mind have some downtime.  But, be disciplined and reserve time to work  on your career.  During that work time keep asking yourself: is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now?

That said, it’s been an hour since I wrote that last line.  I had to go to the bathroom, then my neighbor down the road called and said my dogs were loose. I retrieved them, fixed the gate that they compromised, (those damn dogs have more escapes than the cast of Hogan’s Heros) considered taking a shower and finally decided to finish writing instead. So, yes I get it.  Being at home trying to work is distracting.  At least I haven’t picked up my iPhone and succumbed to the calling of ANGRY BIRDS.

I suggest you might try this:  Tape to your computer the question: ‘is this the most productive thing I could be doing right now?’  I mean, what could it hurt?  At the very least you might develop a new working habit. As for me, if I can finish this blog post before either Charlie or Lindsey get in trouble again it will be a miracle.  Bill Maher said it best the other night, and I have to paraphrase because I couldn’t find it on You Tube yet, though I did look at 20 other things: “Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan, you know you’re a mess when a train wreck stops to look at you!  ba dum dum.

Go try to be productive. As for me, I’ve got level 2 to get past and I better not see that friggin little red bird again.