Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Innovation You

Just finished reading a wonderful book about re-inventing yourself entitled Innovation You:  Four Steps To Becoming New and Improved.  I read this on my Kindle and I've highlighted a number of passages which I believe you can access here ( I think as I've set my highlights to public and I think this link might take you there. Let me know if it doesn't work). Just in case, here are a couple of key thoughts.
Innovation, at best, is a work in progress. We need to have a plan but also to practice what Saint Paul called “prudence.” I’d summarize it this way: I have a map, and I believe in the route that I have planned, but I may change my mind about which road to take when I see what’s over the next hill. Think about getting married. The gal or fellow you wind up with is always going to be different from the one you set out to find, and he or she will continue to change as the weather and the world change around you both. The same goes for a new job, an entire industry, your friendships, relationships to spiritual communities, and any other important part of your life.
I especially like this one. All those self help books that tell you all you have to do is concentrate or work harder or follow someone's method to do whatever...
You didn’t make this world. You’re not half as powerful as certain New Age writers want you to think you are. There are forces bigger than you. So your goal is to recognize them, respect them, honor them—and go out and engage them with your own creativity. You may be the best passing quarterback there is, but if you’re playing in the pouring rain, you better run the ball. 
I wrote in my last post about traveling and experiencing the world. Degraff comments on this in a fashion. Underlining below is mine.
Am I saying you should spend more time with strange people who make you uncomfortable? In a sense, yes. Nationwide, most of us are suffering from an epidemic of just-like-me-ness. Americans have the freedom to move around, and increasingly you find people moving to be near people who look and think just like they do. Cellphones and social networks and other new forms of communication, from this point of view, are a disaster, at least in the way people tend to use them. All they do is make it ever easier to stay connected to people we feel most like, no matter where we are. I see this when I encounter young people abroad: So many of them are on their phones, texting or talking with friends from back home. Even thousands of miles from home, they are stuck in the thought habits of home. Like increasingly stays tied to like, but opposites can’t attract if they never get a chance to meet each other.
I have a new found respect for Universities with study abroad programs in Europe or Asia or elsewhere.

Finally, he makes the great point about seeking diverse opinions and surrounding yourself with people who might think differently:
Begin a practice of treating people who approach things from the opposite point of view as your greatest asset. Forget about improving your areas of weakness. Surround yourself, instead, with people who are already good at what you’re bad at and work with them. Ask yourself: Who can do what I can’t? Who has the skills or the means or the access that I lack? Am I avoiding meeting those people because I’m more comfortable with people like me? Am I afraid to be told there are other ways to do things, other goals that matter? Am I avoiding people who might say I’m doing it all wrong?
This is a good book if you are thinking about your place in the world and wondering about growth, change or new adventures.


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