Home Runs, Strike-outs and the Alphabet

The alphabet, that wonderful invention that makes possible the books and blogs we read, begins with just one letter.  Likewise, every song begins with that first sound.  Is this a coincidence?

“Why is the alphabet in that order.  Is it because of that song?”

— Steven Wright

In baseball, every strike-out begins with “Strike One!”  Every Grand Slam home run begins with someone getting on base.  Every perfect game begins with someone making an out.  Have we discovered a pattern?

Let’s consider a few more thoughts about small preceding big such as, “Every ending has a beginning and that beginning is something small.”  Sure, occasionally some big thing intervenes in life to stimulate amazing outcomes.  But, without the countless little things that came before and those that followed, that one big thing is impotent and meaningless.

Here’s another. “Everything that matters began with something and that first something began with a decision that led to an action.” Big or small, our lives are driven by decisions.  Then there’s this one.  “Everything big or small matters because it is both the next step in the chain and the first step in a new one.”  Putting these two together leads to this interesting thought.  “Small decisions are the big connections in the chain of life.”  I suspect the truth is that if we could see our lives with perfect vision, memories and understanding we would realize that our greatest achievements were the result of a miles-long chain of seemingly insignificant decisions and actions.

Investing in yourself and others is one of those little things
that’s really not so little.

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Why is it that human beings overlook or ignore the significance of the small, placing their hope on the promise of something big wrapped in a pretty bow?  Here’s the million dollar question.  “What small things are you neglecting that are keeping you from something you really want and need?”  Could it be apologizing to someone you hurt?  Maybe it’s that book you’ve been putting off or procrastination about cleaning your desk.  Then again, maybe it’s something truly big like making room in your life for God.  Take hold of enough of the right things, big or small, and you’ll find yourself beyond success at the very edge of significance!

How Am I Sabotaging My Future? (Part 5)

Curious George was always getting into trouble.  I guess the little monkey didn’t know or didn’t care that “curiosity killed the cat.”  Comedian Steven Wright cares.  He once said, “Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.”  These perspectives suggest that curiosity is risky business.  And maybe it’s true.  But, without a healthy measure of curiosity, where would creativity come from?  Curiosity is the seed of creativity.  Maybe a candle metaphor is more appropriate.

“Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” — William Arthur Ward

Where would we be, individually and collectively, without creativity? Creativity is not a special emotion reserved for the fine arts and the field of entertainment.  It is woven into life itself, at least any life worth living.  Without  creativity, human life would be a robotic sort of pre-programmed existence — mediocre, monotonous and perhaps impossible.

“People die when curiosity goes.” — Graham Swift

In thinking of the challenges we face each day at work, creativity is without a doubt, a career requirement.  Every new problem calls out for creative solutions.  Without it, people would not be able to think outside the box and struggle seeing the options inside the box.  What value do employees have who can’t bring creativity to bear on problems?

The language of our times suggests that we’ve become lazy with our curiosity.  “Been there, done that” and “whatever” have replaced the exuberance of “Wow!” and “Cool!”  I’m suspicious that fear of curiosity may be causing creativity to go into hibernation.  Are you afraid to ask “Why?” or “What if?” questions.  Whether its laziness or fear, when curiosity is absent, creativity and the ability to solve problems are right behind.  Without realizing it, you have sabotaged your future.

Stimulating creativity is not difficult.  Just break a few patterns.  Try taking a different way to work or changing radio stations.  Eat dinner at a different time or order something different from the menu.  Talk to someone on an elevator.  Read a book.  Get up 30 minutes earlier.  Learn a new word and use it in conversation.  Attend a workshop.  Call a friend you haven’t seen recently.  Do something that’s hard.  Add something to this list that your friends would think is strange.  (Then, do it!)

When people are intentional about breaking patterns, curiosity returns and creativity grows again.  When curiosity and creativity replace lazy habits and fear, people are able to see new opportunities and new solutions.

“One of the secrets of life is to keep our intellectual curiosity acute.”
— William Lyon Phelps

Well, I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, just a forgotten truth.  All that’s needed is a reminder in a blog and a role model like Curious George to whip those creativity muscles back into shape.

— CC