Winning or Learning?

I am a competitive person. Maybe it is because of being the baby of the family. I always had to keep up, and somehow along the way it made me competitive. Now that does not mean that I always have to win (although it is fun). For me it is the journey that matters. How hard did I try? How much did I care? How much did I push myself? How much did I sweat? Did I improve at all?

For me the competition is often against myself, not others. It is about making myself better, stronger, faster, sharper. Can I do something I have never done before and succeed? And, even if I do not succeed, did I truly try? That is what matters most to me. I have a hard time when folks are lazy, or when they expect something to be handed to them on a silver platter. I have what I have in life because I worked my ass off, not because it was delivered with lace, bows, and doilies.

I frequently read Seth Godin’s blog and a recent one made me ponder the idea of learning and competition.

“Did you win?”

“A far better question to ask (the student, the athlete, the salesperson, the programmer…) is, “what did you learn?” Learning compounds. Usually more reliably than winning does.”

Short and sweet, but to the point. Trying is learning. Trying and failing then trying again and again is what it is all about, even if in the framework of competition.

What do you think?

Continuous Improvement

We always need to hone how we approach our life. Do we go to work each day and hope that everything will be exactly the same? I hope not. I hope we each have a bit of us that strives for continuous improvement. I hope we ask ourselves: How are we doing? Are we succeeding or failing? Where did you own it? Where did you lead?

Each and every day we are training for our next day, week, month, year. Our current stamina helps us to be able to go into the next day, and the one after that. We build our learning from one day, and it helps us in that next tough meeting, presentation, or dilemma we are trying to solve. I am a fan of continuous improvement. I think it is the way we learn more about ourselves. If we were not on the track to grow, learn more about ourselves, and be better, than what is ultimately the point? We should all want to be better. Better at work, better with our significant other, better with our families. We all have something to learn, and these learnings help us to grow into ourselves.

There are times when I do not want my life to change. I like where I am at and change just feels like my comfort level, and day-to-day will be grossly different. Sometimes though different might just take us to the next level and we are better for it. What we know changes. We have to get to know new people, projects, and problems to solve. Maybe the newer folks are not as fun, or the problems cause us to want to pull our hair out, but in the end if we are growing and learning it brings us to a better place. Sometimes it is just hard to see that better place. Through it all, we grow — whether by learning new skills, or more patience.

Thus continuous improvement. It brings a smile to my face that we each have an opportunity to work hard each day and be better. To learn more. To be better. Bring it. Learn more. Be a better you.

“Worry about yourself”

I cannot get this little girl out of my mind. “Worry about yourself.” That is her tagline. She makes me think of me as a little girl. I was a bossy little one. My sister can attest to that. I do not know where I learned to be bossy or where it came from. The only thing I can think of is that I was the youngest. My sister and brother are four and six years older than me. I wanted so badly to be included in their world. I wanted to know that I belonged and that I mattered.

Maybe my way of trying to fit into their life was to learn things as quickly as possible so they could never tell me that I was “too young” to play or be involved in their world. That meant I tried to learn board games quickly and early in my life, and it meant I was competitive. I wanted to be included, and I hoped that if I was good, competitive, and I won, then just maybe they would want to play with me. I hoped it would make them want to try to beat me next time. Sometimes I think my deliberate actions meant they did not want to play with me in the future. Live and learn, right?

When I found the below video, I could not help but laugh and laugh. I love the sassy nature of this girl. She reminds me of a young version of myself. She wants so badly to figure it out on her own, without help, and then tell her dad to drive. That was me. Enjoy, “Worry about yourself.”

Handwriting or typing on a computer/iPad?

(c) Chris Conklin

I am a fast typer. I could not tell you where the keys are on the keyboard. Yet, when the thoughts form in my mind, somehow without really thinking about it my fingers go fast and I watch the letters slide across the screen. How does my mind know so quickly which direction to move my fingers? I do not think about it, it just happens. Except for the random word with a z. That usually slows me down just a bit.

My typing has got me thinking about the lost art of real letters that we write with our fingers. With a pen or pencil. It seems these days schools are not teaching cursive or the art of true handwriting. Kids today know how to text faster than they can order chinese food, they have a language that only they can decipher. Yet, I wonder if true legible handwriting is extinct? Does it mean that in the age of texting, Facebook, and email that we have lost the personal touch and flair that happens when a personal note is shared with another individual?

I did not learn keyboarding, typing, or computers until the fifth grade. These days children are not even learning on computers, they learn on iPads. I have no problem with that, they already learn in a way that no other generation has learned. It is different. Their brains are or will be wired differently. It will breed a generation of adults that think in a way that we cannot even imagine. Yet, I am concerned. There is a design and art in handwriting.

Is handwriting lost forever?