Doing, Not Reading, Leads to Change

Each summer a new list of “must read” books crops up.

And, I must admit, I go through them checking to see what’s been added to the list. What should I add to my “Reading List” that continues to grow at a rate only slightly slower than my 16-year-old son.

About a year ago, I noticed that despite all the reading I was doing and had done, many things were pretty much unchanged. Sure, there were slight differences. I felt smarter and more capable, especially during Twitter chats and evening parties where I could offer a book suggestion for many topics.

But, still not the significant change I had expected. I mean, wasn’t something supposed to change? Isn’t that what the whole 5 hour rule is all about? What was I missing?

It was another great “AHA” moment! These people read in order to DO!

Doing Leads to Change!

See, in order for change to happen, you have to do.

Instead of consuming more, I had to create more.

Instead of planning more, I had to execute more.

Routines aren’t any good if all you do is write them out.

You need to set the alarm for5 AM and then get out of bed!

You need to develop a fitness plan and then execute it.

You need to organize an eating routine and then follow it.

In order to write better, well, you have to write.

I mean, really, look at what it did for my reading!

Doing to be Creative

So for the last year, I’ve been doing more, consuming less. I write more blog posts and journal more.

I develop routines that I don’t need to write down every day – they’re routines!

I was spending so much time looking for that “perfect” way to track time and workout and … I was spending more time consuming and not near enough time on doing.

George Couros, in The Innovators Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, says

What you can do is create the conditions where change is more likely to happen.

To create these conditions, one has to do something. It is in the act of doing that something is created. But to do this, you have to begin to find your own voice.

Todd Henry, the author of Louder Than Words: Harness the Power of Your Authentic Voice, says

When you are pouring yourself into your work and bringing your unique perspective and skills to the table, then you are adding value that only you are capable of contributing.

As a teacher, this is so important. It is the act of creating, of bringing your unique voice to the classroom, that great things will happen. It may take time for you to find that voice, but until you spend more time creating and less time consuming, the voice will be lost, covered over by layers of other voices, one’s you’ve read.

What are your consumption habits? Do they keep you from being creative and doing more?

Are you spending time learning about being more creative or are you doing more to be more creative?

Are you always looking and reading about ways to find “balance” or are you making decisions and doing things to thrive?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas about this topic. Leave me a comment or send me a note on Twitter at @kwhobbes.

Until next Wednesday, seek what is vital, focus on the important; find your own creative voice.

Living the Good Life

This week, the topic for Summer Blogging Exposé was happiness, joy and fun.

How to Live a Good Life is a book by Jonathan Fields that is filled with stories about people Jonathan interviewed about what they considered it meant to them to live a good life.

In the introduction Fields discusses where the experience of the book began. Fields explains that

it would be many more years until I gave myself permission to own the possibility that somewhere within me lay the ember of a rough-edged ability to affect others. Both the desire and the potential to create moments, experience, and things that might inspire a change in state and belief. To incite possibility.

This is similar to my own walk.

We’ve all been in that place of “fine” and “busy”, disconnected from the people, places, and activities that allow us to work through each day utterly alive. Disconnected from our best selves. We’ve all felt like a piece of us was dying a little bit every day and we just didn’t know how to flip the switch, how to turn our lives back on.

Yep. That was where I had been. I had spent many a night wondering “What is my calling? What am I here to do?” but hearing only silence. Filling each day with “busy” and “fine” but feeling like I wasn’t fulfilling my potential, deeply knowing that I had something to share that only I could share but being unable to figure it out. I grew miserable – and spread it to those around me.

Stepping Away – The Myth of Career

The hardest decision wasn’t stepping away from teaching. The hardest decision was accepting that this wasn’t where I was suppose to be. After more than 20 years, I knew I wasn’t suppose to be here. But if not here, where?

Accepting this fact has allowed me to shed so many embedded myths about life, career, learning and teaching. I began to rethink the habits in my life and how they shape who I am and what I do. In doing so, the Good Life Buckets that Fields explores in the book have provided me with a starting place for my own life transformations.

The Good Life Buckets

Fields outlines three buckets that each person needs to ensure they fill or their life becomes out of alignment.

  • Connection Bucket – all about relationships
  • Contribution Bucket – how you contribute to the world
  • Vitality Bucket – state of mind and body

Each of these has “levers’ that Fields discusses as “the little things that will fill your buckets most powerfully.”

The book has helped me to reflect on how I view the world around me, the relationships that I have, my habits, and how I percieve my contributions. I have my own 4th bucket, Spiritual Bucket. Although Field includes this with Connection Bucket, I separate the two. Regardless of how you view these areas of your life, choosing to nourish your mind/body/spirit and the connections you have with others and with the world itself are so important.

Really, I’ve just begun this road of discovery but it has changed a great deal of how I view the world around me and the other people who are on this journey.

So what are your buckets?
How do you describe happiness, joy, and fun? What does Living the Good Life mean for you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and insights about this in the comments or you can contact me on Twitter @kwhobbes. I look forward to hearing from you.