Monday, December 14, 2009

All the Days of the Week

Experimentation is good.  And experimenting with writing is not only free, but gives your brain a nice little workout, where it might otherwise fall into a static rut - - and anyone out there who runs - and more specifically runs the same distance, same incline every day, Monday - Sunday knows - while this gets pretty easy pretty soon, it doesn't do much for enhancing your running ability.  Instead, trying out new courses, trail running, aqua running, beach running - all variations work new muscles, building a more well-rounded running profile.  But of course, I am not talking about running here, but writing.

I am setting out for the next week to write on a different, predetermined topic for each day of the week.  And because I am the nerd type who gets major kicks out of finding sequential words that start with the same letter, I give you my list:

Matters Monday: favorite discovery of the day "that matters"
Tribal Tuesday: a new tribe I am following
Web 2.0 Wednesday: a new web 2.0 discovery
Thinking Thursday: a thought
Finding Friday: a find
Surreal Saturday: a fact that I deem surreal in some way
Spreading Sunday: stuff spreads.  what do i notice this sunday?

Seeing that today is Monday, off I go with my favorite "what matters" discovery of the day.

This one (to me) is utterly obvious.

Matters Monday

Early this morning, while I had the shower running, and the teapot boiling, a friend of mine emailed me a link to Seth Godin's new ebook What Matters Now.  My phone bleeped.  Hmm.  What Matters Now?  Seth Godin?  This was worth turning off the running hot water for.

I jumped on my computer, downloaded the 82 pages of deliciousness and knew I had something even better than my daily Wall Street Journal to read on the metro ride in.

If you didn't come across this compilation of thoughts from some of the best writers and thinkers alive today - honestly - you should read it immediately.  It's thoughtful, comprehensive, stop-in-your-tracks moving, and pretty much everyone can gain new insight and perspective from it.  It brings together writers like Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love - with the new Committed due out in January), Daniel Pink (A Whole New Mind), Chris Anderson (The Long Tail), Gary Vaynerchuk (Crush It), Paco Underhill (Why We Buy), and Tim O'Reilly (technology rockstar).

Not to borderline on corny here, but this collection really is like a strand of 80+ or so natural pearls - each cultured and outstanding in a different way.  It presents mini essays on topics such as Productivity, Ease, Sacrifice, Fear, Focus, Leap, Timeless, Technology, Attention, Neoteny - taking the best of individual gifted writers/thinkers and whirling out new perspectives.

My absolute favorite take-away from this gem?  I learned a new word that I love - neoteny - n. retention of juvenile characteristics in the adults of a species.  I love that a word exists to describe this characteristic found so infrequently in adults, yet one that if practiced, opens up the possibility for so much.

I'll share the entire account with you, as Joi Ito describes it effortlessly:

"Neoteny is the retention of childlike attributes in adulthood. Human beings are younger longer than any other creature on earth, taking almost twenty years until we become adults. While we retain many of our childlike attributes into adulthood most of us stop playing when we become adults and focus on work.

When we are young, we learn, we socialize, we play, we experiment, we are curious, we feel wonder, we feel joy, we change, we grow, we imagine, we hope. In adulthood, we are serious, we produce, we focus, we fight, we protect and we believe in things strongly.

The future of the planet is becoming less about being efficient, producing more stuff and protecting our turf and more about working together, embracing change and being creative.

We live in an age where people are starving in the midst of abundance and our greatest enemy is our own testosterone driven urge to control our territory and our environments.

It’s time we listen to children and allow neoteny to guide us beyond the rigid frameworks and dogma created by adults."

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