Archive | July, 2009

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Are You A Tool or A Voice?

Posted on 15 July 2009 by Carl

3294583250 ecefc97012 b d Are You A Tool or A Voice?

Tools are indispensible to share your voice.

In the world of gadgets and social media and network it’s easy to mix up the tool with our voice.  Wrapping ourselves up in the tool we forget it is our message, our personal voice that gives value and not the tools we use to broadcast.

For a while I’ve been writing most of my posts in the wordpress editor and if that isn’t quiet enough I use WriteRoom or Typewriter.

Writing on the computer is much faster for me than writing by hand.  Yet that speed sacrifices the care I take with each word that a pen affords.

This is something I’ve noticed before in my interactions with people.  In online chat my hands fling out words and my dialogue appears hectic and scattered.  I come off like an ADD chatterbox.

Offline I speak slower and usually only after sitting back and considering things.  It’s quieter, a little more reserved and more certain.  My speaking voice is more my voice than the 90wpm clatter my hands deal out.

And so, I’ve transitioned to writing my posts, my copy, by hand.

Sometimes our true voice takes more effort.

My effort is in deciphering my hand writing since it is not easily legible (I gave a magnifying glass to my 6th grade teacher along with a paper once).  Yet I’ve found the tools which more clearly carry my voice. A pen and a yellow notepad.

Think about it the next time you carry on a conversation with someone.  Examine the rhythm of your speech, how you pause or ramble a bit.  Which words do you weigh, what do you focus on, what is just filler.

Then examine the tools you use to write, to convey your message.  Do your tools help or hinder your voice?

Your voice is your message.

What are you saying?

Flickr photo courtesy of ForeverDigital.

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Life In A Backpack: An Exercise in Minimalist Living

Posted on 13 July 2009 by Carl

100 Items or Less

When was the last time you considering the things you carried.

I’m not talking about emotions and the past, I’m talking about the objects in your life.

Even if you don’t carry them around with you everywhere you go (as I do) – you carry them with you in life.

Possessions weigh on you by attaching you to the world, to a place, to things.  The modern brand of Western consumerism driven by the cradle-to-grave philosophy encourages status by possession and not status by merit.  And when those possessions are no longer interesting it’s time to stuff them into corners and leave them forgotten.

Yet they are still there.  They weigh upon your freedom.

Examine the things you carry with you in life.

Are they necessary?  Do they contribute to your life in a meaningful way?  Are they just a way of showing status to others?

Cut the cords of attachment to possessions, reduce the clutter, and go on with a minimalist living.

My Minimalist Living Story:

Recently I re-considered the things I carry when my suitcase died.  I sought out a replacement and settled on the 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus.  It is quite a bit smaller than my old suitcase which forced me to minimize.

And so my 100 Item Challenge is underway.

My initial list was around 90 items.  I was already under 100 items – a surprising fact.

So, when I ended up in Maine for a week long respite from the world, I thinned down my travel gear once more and below is the final list.  Some of the items are listed as collections which made the challenge a little easier.

My final total: 77 items.

  • 4 Ties
  • 3 Scarves
  • 1 Belt
  • 1 Set of Suspenders
  • 1 Pair of Florsheim Dress Shoes
  • 1 Pair of White Leather Keds
  • 1 Hat
  • 1 White Linen Jacket
  • 2 Pairs of Dress Pants
  • 1 Pair of Jeans
  • 1 Pair of Shorts
  • 10 T-Shirts / Short Sleeve Shirts
  • 5 Dress Shirts / Long Sleeve Shirts
  • 2 Sweaters
  • 1 Black Pin-Stripe Vest
  • 1 Sweater Vest
  • 7 Pairs of Boxer Briefs
  • 7 Pairs of Socks
  • 1 Travel Towel
  • 1 External Hard Drive with Cable
  • 1 MacBook Pro with Cables, Extra Battery and Bluetooth Mouse
  • 1 iPhone 3G with Cable and vModo Duo Headphones
  • 1 Extra Internal Hard Drive
  • 1 LED Flashlight
  • 1 Wallet
  • 1 Washboard with Thimbles and Brushes
  • 1 Book Collection
  • 1 Pen Collection
  • 1 Journal
  • 1 Moleskin Pocket Reporters Notebook
  • 1 Pad of Graph Paper
  • 1 Pad of Yellow Notepaper
  • 2 Small Pilates Balls
  • 1 Set of Exercise Bands
  • 1 Bar Soap
  • 1 Shaving Kit (Merkur Safety Razor, Brush and Shave Soap)
  • 1 Stick Deodorant
  • 1 Bottle of Pain Relievers
  • 1 Toothbrush
  • 1 Container of Hel Gel
  • 1 Passport
  • 1 Thermos
  • 1 Victorinox 22″ E-Motion 4.0 Trek Pack Plus
  • 1 Chrome Metropolis Messenger Bag

What Do You Carry?

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Are You Afraid of Being the Small Fish in the Pond?

Posted on 07 July 2009 by Carl

40000271 b29376caf1 b d Are You Afraid of Being the Small Fish in the Pond?

Just because you’re not the biggest fish in the pond doesn’t mean you have to leave the pond.

Trust me; there are always bigger fish, smarter people, more established experts, better dancers, savvier marketers out there.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re not your market.  They’re not your enemies either.  You only have to worry about them if they come after you, and if you’re the small fish in the big pond they probably won’t even notice you.

If they do, remember this: you are younger, more agile, less tied down to history and expectations.  You can get into those tiny niches that they could never go.  Being the small fish in the big pond is better than the big fish in the small pond.  Your potential is vast whereas the big fish has already outgrown the pond.

So don’t feel pressured to hold off your ideas cause it may have been done better or by someone more established because they way you do it, because it is YOU doing it that makes it unique.

My point is this:

don’t let your fear of not being the best hold you back from giving it your best.

Flickr photo courtesy of EssG.

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