Tag Archives: community

I’ve been traveling this week, and this is a picture taken with my phone following the landing in Washington, DC:

image

I tried taking some pictures during the flight, but the weather was so poor that I didn’t get any good shots.  On the way home, however, I was able to take this picture with a Canon Powershot:

A view out the window of an airplane

It’s fun being in the window seat and getting a different perspective of the world. Sometimes we need to move around and interact in ways that aren’t part of our daily ritual to break free and see the world differently.

That’s one of the benefits of our ability to connect with each other over great distances. Thanks to all who stop by and click the “like” button, and especially to those that have left comments.  I learn from each of your comments and appreciate you taking the time to provide your perspective and insights.

Visiting other’s blogs and interacting is like looking out a window and gaining a different perspective on the world.

Defining Success

A man in a car, trapped in traffic yelling at his cell phone above labeled Successful Man, and a man walking with a smile on his face below labeled Unsuccessful Man.

As I was reviewing the posts from the week, I started to notice a theme related to success, and it reminded me of the above cartoon. I enjoy most of Andy Singer’s work, for both its style and message, and this message got me thinking about how I define the success of my life.  Three key points come to mind, with some thoughts about how they relate to the image:

  1. I’m able to provide for my family.  This doesn’t mean that we need to be rich.  It means that we can meet our basic needs. Walking and biking are two perfectly acceptable means of transportation (though we do travel by car).
  2. I have a positive influence on the lives of others.  I realize that this won’t always be the case, but in general, I want to help others reach their potential and live happy and productive lives.  Minimizing my impact to the planet and setting a positive example are two ways that I can do this.  Not yelling at others and being angry with them is another.
  3. I keep a positive approach to how I live my life and to recognize the gift of life.  Taking the time to walk, smile, and enjoy the company of my family (human and non-human) is a key element in accomplishing this goal.

I’m not always successful in meeting all of these goals, especially the last two, but I give it my best each day.  And on the days that I’m not successful, I try to learn and adapt so that tomorrow is better.  Sure, I make mistakes and wish that I could take things back, but when I think it through, I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

Every significant mistake or action I’d like to take back has created an important learning opportunity.  If I erase the event as if it never happened, I’ll lose the benefit of the lesson learned. No thanks.  My mistakes enable my success, so I’d rather keep them with me.

I think that most people within American culture have goals similar to those I’ve outlined above, though I’ve definitely met many that have the materialistic definition of success implied in Singer’s cartoon.

How do you define success in your life?  Is it different from, or aligned with, your culture’s definition of success?

Daily Prompt: Shoulda Woulda Coulda

In response to the Daily Post writing prompt on February 13, 2013.

Prompt:  Tell us something you know you should do … but don’t.

There are a lot of things that I know I should do that I don’t, and if you were to consult others in my life I’m pretty sure that the list would grow even larger.  Many of these items would be relatively small things, like do the dishes more frequently, help more around the house, etc… And yes, I should absolutely do these types of things more regularly. But tonight, with the help of Geoffrey Canada and some folks that I work with at the United Way, I realized that there is much more that I can and should do to improve my local community.

For those that don’t know (I didn’t the first time I heard his name), Geoffrey Canada is the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone,  an organization that is dedicated to creating a community that supports and develops its residents and children.  He is featured in the documentary, Waiting for Superman, and has some straightforward, common sense ideas about how to improve a child’s opportunity for success and creating communities that thrive.

When asked how he is able to convince wealthy people to give his organization money, he highlighted two key points:

1.  He offers results that can be measured, and he holds his organization accountable for delivering these results.
2.  The people who he’s interacting with care deeply about their city and community.

I am believer in measurement and accountability, and understand why this is important.  People that are offering their money want to know that the money has benefited the community and that their contribution wasn’t wasted.

But the point that really hit home for me was the love of community.  I’ve lived in the same city for all but the first two years of my life.  I care about this city and community, and yet, I don’t do much to give back.  I was involved in animal rescue for a few years, I donate to the local United Way, and do a little volunteer work, but there is much more that I can be doing.

There are tens if not hundreds of groups that support great causes in our city, including food banks, shelters, mentor programs, and advocacy groups for literacy, healthy lifestyles and animal protection.  There are so many ways to contribute within the community that it’s difficult to pick one.  But that’s what needs to happen if we want our communities to thrive.  We need to come together to build vibrant, safe, and engaging communities.

So that’s one key thing that I should be doing that I don’t.  At least I wasn’t until today.  Today, I’m going to start doing more for my community.  I’ll keep you posted.