Built When Communism Could Not Fail
That could never happen here. For example, the new Viking’s stadium: football will never go away.
Via The Economist
Listening-lessons from the dead
Halloween is still a couple weeks out and we’re gearing up to scare the bejeebers out of each other. Check out this infarction-inducing bus shelter in Austria. Certainly the walking dead are a scary fiction.
(The walking dead are fiction. Right?)
Here’s a way to prank your colleagues on a Monday. When they say something, get very close—inches away—and listen. It’s freaky, I tell you. Invade their personal space with wide eyes and open ears. Set your mind and fix your body to understand what they are saying, why they are saying it, and what it means.
This scary prank comes courtesy an old dead guy I’ve been reading. This old dead guy played all sorts of pranks. He was a kind of performance-art-communicator: He shaved with a sword. He drew a city on a brick laid next it for a year, packed his luggage and broke through a wall instead of calling for a camel-taxi.
Only they weren’t exactly pranks. He was hearing voices (well, a voice) and acting out what that voice said. Was he nuts? Likely his contemporaries thought so. But his culture also held a treasured place for people they considered prophets—people who seemed to speak for God. Which Ezekiel reluctantly did.
This particular listening prank came from the voice Ezekiel heard, but it also was not a prank, but a way to pay attention to the next thing he was about to see. The voice asked for careful attention because the next thing was important. And the prophet’s job was to declare it.
Be careful with this prank. Pretending to listen can become actual listening, which can be habit-forming because of the way it affects your relationships and job.
Image credit: Taxi
Too Busy: 4 Takes
- My contact is too busy to talk about collaboration: “Too many deliverables, scheduled too tightly.”
- Another colleague laments the lack of time to think ahead about the broader picture. She chides the constant race to get stuff done.
- A friend observing the inner-workings of a logistics department 2000 miles from where he was trained could identify key process components missing. The very components that created the immediate chaos the team waded through each day.
We earn our keep by being busy. None of us want the boss to wander by and say, “Fire up that keyboard/drill press/classroom/spreadsheet and get to work.”
Busy is always good.
There are no exceptions.
- We lament “busy” but secretly get a buzz from opening the adrenalin spigot.
- Busy looks productive. But looks can deceive. We easily deceive ourselves with busyness.
- When taken out of action (for instance, when downsized/right-sized/laid-off/fired), we suddenly have time to ask:
- “Where am I?” and
- “What (the heck) am I doing?” and maybe
- “What was I thinking?”
- No one likes the off-balance, adrenalin-free stance of waiting, watching, knocking and waiting. Are we genetically predisposed to seek action? After all, aren’t verbs the action-heroes in our favorite writing?
It’s hard work to look at the bigger picture and make difficult choices about direction, use of resources, usefulness. And yet those are the very questions that help us move forward. As the wheel of seasons grind toward winter in Minnesota, we might take a page from the farmer’s playbook and let snowy fields lie.
Even on purpose: the fallow field may allow us productive time to consider what it means to be productive.
Versus just busy.
Dumb sketch credit: Kirk Livingston