Monthly Archives: September 2012

What We Gain by Slowing Down

I bought my first house almost three months ago, and while I had a “love at first sight” experience, I must admit that I was suffering from buyer’s remorse. My new house wasn’t any closer to my job than my apartment had been. The house was about thirty minutes from my closest friends, family, and church. And I allowed myself to keep checking the realty website when new listings appeared. I couldn’t help but notice that there were houses closer to where I lived before with bigger bathrooms, garages, and community pools. Where I live now, I have to separate my belongings into two rooms, my bedroom and my dressing room, because all of the gaudy furniture doesn’t fit into just one. This house had appeared to me the object of perfection. How had I not noticed these imperfections before?

But then it hit me. It hit me when instead of rushing into the house, I sat outside for a while with Ms. Mary, Mr. Bob, and Ms. Lorraine, my neighbors. In those moments, I recognized the peace that made this place so special before.

As we sat outside together, I noticed that they were not so concerned with filling the space with words. Many times, when our conversation lulled we sat silently, and it was never awkward like small talk pauses. Ms. Mary noticed that someone was cooking something good, and asked if we smelled it too. We all nodded. Ms. Lorraine chuckled as the little boy across the street hid from her glances. Mr. Bob remarked that even though those children across the street are a handful, their mother dresses them up every Sunday and marches them up to her minivan for church. Ms. Mary thanked God for the breeze.

I marvel at how much we miss when we move too fast.

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What it costs to support the hustle

I recently read Seth Godin’s book Linchpin, and while I am not readily willing to accept most of the advice presented in self-help books, there were a few bits and pieces from Godin that stuck. One in particular was his concept of gift-giving within the tribe. Simply put, as members of the same tribe (not “tribal” tribes, but a small group of allies), we should share our gifts freely or at cost and offer them for profit to those outside of the tribe. I like the idea, and I am sure that there are several business moguls and entrepreneurs who submit to this model and succeed. But his discussion of this one concept lead me to think about another: seeing the gifts of tribe members as valuable. So often what we need is in the room, but we don’t honor the gift enough to gain any use from it.

In our “tribes” are so many talented individuals, but instead of supporting the hustle, we disregard it altogether, distracted by the rough packaging, and we look for that same gift outside of the tribe where we will be up-charged. In the meantime, a fellow tribesman fails because his people overlooked his gift. So the tribe suffers, but the other tribes thrive because we saw in them more value than we did in our own.

Now I’m not trying to get all motherland on ya’ll or anything like that. I don’t even mean tribe in a racial sense. Realistically, you could be a member of many tribes these days. But I’m concerned when we are more likely to use social media, a tool designed to bring us closer together and to bring greater opportunities for success, for hating, criticizing, and complaining rather than supporting. Our tribes need value added to them, and It’s our responsibility to add it. Just consider how much it would cost us not to support the hustle.

I marvel at how much disregarded talent there is out there. 

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