Billy Collins is former United States Poet Laureate and hailed by the New York Times as “the most popular poet in America.” While I’m still getting familiar with his work, I know that he has a stellar reputation. I was at Borders the other day and saw a book of his poems near the front of the store. As someone who loves poetry and putting great thoughts into words, I found this poem highly entertaining and profound. I hope you do too…
Archives for February 2010
In the past few weeks, I will admit that I felt pretty indifferent about watching the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. I can still remember a young, sports nerd version of me watch the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team capture the gold medal, snatching glory from the heavily-favored Soviet Union team. As young as I was, I could sense how impossible that accomplishment was. As much as it was a life-changing moment for the young men on the ice that day, it still had a profound impact on my life as I watched in my living room.
Thirty years later, I’m much less impressionable and much more cynical than I was when I witnessed “the impossible” in Lake Placid, New York. But watching the Winter Olympics last week, I witnessed two amazing feats of sportsmanship, talent and pure desire that inspired me and caused me to really take notice.
The first feat was Lindsey Vonn capturing the gold medal for downhill skiing. She came into the Olympics as one big question mark with an injured and sore shin. Somehow, she pulled it together for an amazing downhill run that had her, at times, skiing on one leg. I’ve heard plenty of people with their conspiracy theories that she was never actually injured…but I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and say that I was amazed to see her flying downhill at a blazing rate of speed. Through hard work, determination and gritty effort, she pulled it off.
The second feat was Shaun White‘s gold-medal winning performance on the half pipe. I must confess, I’ve missed just about every X Games in history, but I was looking forward to seeing what Shaun White was all about. I will say that I was absolutely blown away by his snowboarding talents and abilities. It was obvious to me, a complete snowboarding newbie, that he is miles ahead of his competition. To sample a little bit of his magic, check this video out…
One thing is certain: no matter which sport we enjoy or which country we come from there are numerous stories of sacrifice and practice from countless athletes at the Winter Olympics. The best of the best. These athletes are great reminders to us that they are in Vancouver on purpose, not by accident.
For an interesting video and some insight about how Shaun White prepared for the Olympics, check out this post from author of The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle.
Today is the second birthday of 360 Degree Self! While I first created this blog on Blogger back in November of 2006, my first post wasn’t until more than a year later on February 17, 2008 when I wrote about the tragic Valentine’s Day murders at my old school, Northern Illinois University.
Like any two year-old, I’m still learning to walk and getting acclimated to blogging. I also look at blogging much the way a two year-old approaches the world: with beginner’s mind. Sure, I bring a lifetime of experiences, but I try to write with an open-minded approach.
When I started my blog, I wasn’t sure what to expect. While I didn’t really have many specific goals, I did have visions of lots of subscribers, tons of traffic and perhaps an opportunity to make money. I figured “this blogging thing” couldn’t be too hard. Ha ha, I was wrong! My early intention was to write some sort of personal development/self-improvement/life hack/marketing type blog, but I never wanted to come off here as preachy or as some sort of expert.
I will continue to focus on topics that contribute to well-rounded living…hopefully in an entertaining and informative manner.
What I do know is this: I have met some incredible people through my blog and even met some friends. This absolutely blows me away. I am amazed at all of the connections I have made not only here, but on other blogs. I want to thank you for coming here, contributing and being a part of this little “community.”
Creative Commons photo courtesy of kyz.
Just in time for Fat Tuesday this week is one of my favorite blues musicians, Buckwheat Zydeco. Born Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., he’s been playing his brand of zydeco music for more than 20 years and recently won a Grammy Award for his latest CD, Lay Your Burden Down. I’ve been a fan of Mr. Zydeco since a co-worker introduced me to his music in 1988. If you like the blues, you’ll probably like this…I enjoy zydeco because it is a very happy cheerful style of blues. Here’s a Buckwheat Zydeco tune with a nice groove. Enjoy your weekend…
Back in my college days, one of my favorite memories was walking out of a class feeling enlightened. You know, the feeling of having that a-ha moment.Â I still remember a media studies lecture which explored small group behavior through the characters in the movie The Poseidon Adventure. That lecture was both profound and incredibly entertaining. Today, I can proudly admit that I am an idea geek. While I am no longer in school, the internet provides us with many places we can exchange ideas.
One such place is at TED. While TED originally stood for technology, entertainment and design, their focus has evolved to “ideas worth spreading.” For me, the TED site makes me feel like a kid in a candy store and it allows me to have those a-ha moments over and over again.
This past week, I had the opportunity to attend the TEDx Windy City event, which explored the theme of creative convergence. I went into the event incredibly tired after a day of painting, but walked out feeling energized and enlightened.
I particularly enjoyed Donald Marinelli’s lecture about blending theater and craftsmanship with computers and technology. Marinelli, from Carnegie Mellon University, worked closely with the late Randy Pausch. While his presentation was delivered via Skype due to weather-related travel problems, Marinelli’s entertaining delivery held everyone’s attention.
Other speakers included Dawn Hancock, creative director and owner of Firebelly Design and Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables. Both Hancock and Kaplan, through their example, challenged all of us in the audience to explore our passions and follow our bliss.
If there happens to be a TED event in your area, I invite you to check it out. Or visit the official TED site.
Another place that I like to visit for some great ideas is ChangeThis, a site loaded with numerous PDFs and manifestos. According to their site, ChangeThis is “on an important mission to spread ideas and change minds.” On it you’ll find downloadable documents from great thinkers such as Seth Godin, Sally Hogshead, Jonathan Fields and Keith Ferazzi to name just a few.
I really enjoy how ChangeThis gives everyone the opportunity to spread a great idea or find out about new ideas. Some recent topics include How to Read a Business Book, The Myth of Overnight Success, Seven Ways to Reinvent Yourself or the Need to Remember Our Aging Veterans. I know I’ve downloaded my share of manifestos over the years.
If you think you have a great idea or if you’re curious about other great ideas, please visit ChangeThis…who knows, maybe it will change you.
Have a great weekend!
I’ve laughed and I’ve done yoga, but I’ve never participated in any laughter yoga activities. Seeing that laughter is such an important word for me this year, I’ve included a very interesting and informative clip about laughter yoga. I know of a few laughter yoga groups in my area that I’ve been meaning to visit and I intend on getting there soon (which I hope to write about at a later time). In the meantime, enjoy the video and have a great weekend…
How about you…have you participated in any laugh events and, if so, how did it make you feel?