Part 2 | Strengths and Grit

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April 29, 2016

*** Hi Readers, Let’s be friends on Facebook!  Find me at: Zachary Carlsen ***

5 Thoughts

It takes more time and energy to create something than it does to destroy it.  Plain and simple.

So, the creation of something as extraordinary as lasting change in our lives is going to be a process.  And, because it doesn’t happen overnight, as we progress incrementally, we have time to take in the scenery and overthink things.

That is, the road to shifting the paradigm is lined with reasons to quit, reasons to stay in our comfort zone, and reasons to do something else.  It can be easy to get lost along the way or give up entirely.  This is why staying focused on the vision is key, as opposed to the outcome.  Focusing on the vision allows us to enjoy the ride, focusing on the outcome forces us to miss everything along the way.  In that way, the quality of our grit is directly linked to the clarity of our vision.

Yes, it’s true, grit can mean staying focused on a goal and putting in relentless effort to reach it—on the flipside, there is another type of grit, which might be known better as crippling fear or obstinate stubbornness, wherein a person remains steadfast and determined not to change.  In which case, the vision is one of despair and hopelessness, which, too, will come true when it is the center of one’s focus.  Grit bends both ways.

So, is it more effort, sometimes, to stay the same than it is to change?

3 Questions

When is a time that I persevered?

As a child, how did those around me show (or not show) grit in how they were living?

How far is up?

One Action

This is a thinking exercise that can produce really profound results in the realm of changing your mood.  You can start this exercise feeling down in the dumps and walk away from it feeling renewed.  It takes ten minutes and all you need is a pen, some paper, and your phone.  Write down ten positive words in a list on the blank page—they don’t have to be connected directly and they can be memories, too—anything that triggers feelings of joy.  For example:

Love

The cabin

Kittens

Abby

Summertime

Chocolate

Payday

My nieces

Poetry

Laughter

Set the timer on your phone for ten minutes and work your way down the list, thinking about each word for a full minute and then moving on.  The energy that they create stacks on top of itself, line-by-line, and by the bottom it can feel almost euphoric to have spent ten minutes conjuring up the feelings of these words.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 1 | Strengths and Grit

IMG_8953April 26, 2016

5 Thoughts

Grit.

Scholar and author, Angela Duckworth, defines grit as “a combination of passion and perseverance for a singularly important goal”.  She even invented the tool for measuring it: The Grit Scale.

So, what does this mean for us?  Well, if we don’t already possess it, we can be inspired by those who do, which is virtually everyone who has ever had a biography written about them—well-known examples include, J.K. Rowling, who was rejected by 12 publishers before finding a home for Harry Potter; and, Thomas Edison, with his 1000 failed attempts at the light bulb.

Better than being inspired, we can also learn from those who have grit and borrow their tactics.  Duckworth observes that it’s about more than just hard work, it’s about developing a persistent belief in the vision and adapting ways of staying actively engaged in its pursuit, especially when the going gets tough.

This is to say that grit involves: hard work, persistence, belief, adaptability, action, and engagement (aka a focus on strengths).  More than that, this success principle is based on an intersection of mind and body—one’s ability to put in the hours physically and stay true to the focus.

It’s important to acknowledge that grit is found first in the hands of an underdog: someone who has the odds against them, needs a miracle, or is laughed for their vision.  After all, would there be any need for grit from someone who is not attempting the difficult, the impossible, the never-been-done-before, or the unknown?

*Think of that person in your life who is practicing grit and going against the odds and send them a little message today, let them know that you believe them.

3 Questions

What are my core beliefs?

Am I someone who sticks things out even when it’s tough?  Yes, no, sometimes, it depends?

Why do giraffes have purple tongues?

One Action

This is an action that strengthens the brain and improves your abilities to hold complex pictures in your mind—a skill that is handy for problem-solving and solution-creation.  Add to that, it’s fun.  Here’s how it works, find three photographs, postcards, or magazine images.  Lay them out in front of you, one next to the other.  Set the timer on your phone for 3 minutes.  During this time, memorize the images, soak them in down to their last pixel.  When the time goes off, reset it for another 3 minutes and sit back with your eyes closed.  In that relaxed position try to recreate each image in your mind detail by detail.  See and re-see everything in your mind.  Do not open your eyes and peek until the timer goes off.  Practice this daily for best results.

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 2 | Strengths and Adding Our Unique Value to the World

ImproveLifeEDITApril 21, 2016

5 Thoughts

Imagine how strange it would be if we devalued everything that we didn’t have an immediate use for.

Say, for example, we are fixing a broken chair and need only a Philips-head screwdriver.  We don’t look at the flathead screwdriver and think, “This is absolutely useless.”

Simply put, we know that it’s not the right tool for the job—but it does have a purpose, given the right circumstances.

And, that’s like us.  We each add our specific value to the world in specific ways in specific situations.  We won’t be able to thrive in every condition, no way.  We can, however, tune in and learn from every situation and grow in our understanding of others and ourselves in all that we do.

Sometimes adding our unique value to the world means getting out of the way and  allowing others to shine where we may not be able to.  This means that we no longer have to pretend that we can do everything and be everything.  By slowing down and making room for others to add their unique value to the mix, we co-create environments where energy and ideas can be safely exchanged—environments where personal power is shared and where learning and teaching can be reciprocated.

3 Questions

What is one area of life or the world that I would like to know more about?

Who is someone in my life who knows more about this area than I do?

What is stopping me from connecting with them and asking them to share with me what they know?

One Action

Practice saying, “I don’t know.”  It’s simple, the next time you don’t know something say, “I don’t know”.  It may sound obvious, but try it, say, the next time that you are with a child who asks a lot of questions.  Children are bound to ask things that we, adults, don’t actually know—so, instead of approximating, changing the subject, or looking it up on your phone, just say, “I don’t know.”  And then follow it up with, “What do you think?  Let’s imagine the possibilities together.”

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 1 | Strengths and Adding Our Unique Value to the World

ValueLIfeEDIT

April 19, 2016

 

5 Thoughts

As a culture it can seem that we are obsessed with the notion of bigger is better.  At times, it’s as if more-more-more is the only way to improve.

So much so that it may even seem like the only ways that we can even identify growth of any kind is by being louder, brighter, and more massive and extreme than before.

In doing so, we neglect the value added to our shared human experience by those who develop subtle virtues like: patience, open-mindedness, active listening, clear-sightedness, and balance.

Einstein said that Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

In that way, when we have a narrow definition of what growth can be, we put blinders on to the value that we add to the world.  When we compare our unique value to someone else’s—and leave no room for anything more—we risk comparing apples to oranges and fish to reptiles.

3 Questions

Looking back on the last 1000 days, how have I grown as a person?  Be specific, name specific examples.

What makes me unique, what are my qualities?

How do I add my unique value to the world each day?

One Action

Spread Gratitude, Start a Domino Effect:  Open your text messages and scroll down the the very bottom (aka Those whom you haven’t messaged in a while).  Pick 3 or four and send them the simplest message: “I am grateful for you.”  Or, if that feels too intense or out of character, try: “I was thinking of you, hope you are well.”

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen

Part 2 | Strengths and Inspiration

InspirationLife2EDITApril 14, 2016

Food for Thought and Action:

Is anyone born already being successful?

In a broad sense, no.  We have to do something first in order to succeed—no matter what it is great or small, we have to act to make anything happen.  We cannot just think about things.

No one is celebrated for simply being a prolific contemplater or dreamer.  No way!  It’s what we do with our thoughts and ideas that matters.  This includes: sharing ideas, activating others, collaborating, making things, building and co-creating, and adjusting our behaviors and activities.

Sure, successful people are often profound in their thoughts, dreams, and ideation—but it’s the fact that they put effort behind them with action that separates them from the rest.

It might sound strange, but a good idea (all by itself) never did the world any good.

This doesn’t mean that we must advertise our every great thought with the world; instead, a profound idea can change us from the inside out, it can revise the way that we see and interact with the world around us, which is a form of taking action.

So, again, what do all of these people have in common?  It’s not that they had great ideas.  It’s not their good luck.  It’s not their background.  It’s not their genetics.  It’s not their location or age.  And, it’s not mysterious.

Emily Dickinson | Rembrandt | Neil deGrasse Tyson | Christopher Soghoian | Picasso | Rob Dyrdek | Renoir | Penn Jillette | Mozart |  Bach | Strauss | H.H. Munro | Voltaire, Dr. Seuss | Woody Harrelson | Shel Silverstein | Angie Vargas | Paulo Coelho | Jackie Robinson | Frida Kahlo | Spike Carlsen | Diams | Leonardo DiCaprio | Hugh Jackman | Neil Gaiman | Rosa Parks | Christian Rudder | Sally Mann | Georgia O’keefe | Louise Bourgeois | Edward Snowden | Toni Morrison | Jean Michel Basquiat | Andy Warhol | Lady Gaga | Alexander Calder | Jackson Pollock | Princess Diana | Nina Simone | Phil Anselmo | Prince | Bob Dylan | Venus Williams | Serena Williams | Gertrude Stein | Nikki Witt | Christopher Nolan | Spike Jonze | Rumi | Chris Rock | Sarah Silverman | Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson | George Takei | David Bowie | ‪David Witt‪ | Martha Graham | Walt Whitman | Bill Murray |Col. James Hecker | George Lucas | Paul Newman | Fred Rogers, Susan Sontag | Simone Weil | Gaston Bachelard | Carl Jung | Bill W. | Joe Rogan | Greg Carlwood | Graham Hancock | Jack Welch | Napoleon Hill | Michael Jordan | Antoine de Saint Exuperie | Victor Hugo | Nikola Tesla | Arnold Schwarzenegger | Jeff Anderson | David Beckham | Jim Carrey | Jay Z | Robin Williams | Stephen Spielberg | Whoopi Goldberg | Chris Farley | Helen Keller | Simone de Beauvoir | Barack Obama | Johnny Depp | Chuck Norris | T. Harv Eker | Bruce Lee | Tony Robbins | Yvon Chouinard | Mark Twain | Vladimir Nabokov | Joni Mitchell | Chuck Berry | Julia Butterfly Hill | Ralph Nader | Winona LaDuke | Bono | Pete Seeger | Ellen Degeneres

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

Circle Photo

Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com

His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world.  He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.

Connect with him:

Email: zstrengthslife@gmail.com

Twitter: @zstrengthslife

Facebook: Zachary Carlsen