Three Notebooks and a Passing

Friday, April 26, 2024

A Friday Hodgepodge

1. Our first notebook comes from Nat Bennett, from whom I got the following quote, which is today's Quote of the Day in my planner:

There's a very specific reputation I want to have on a team: "Nat helps me solve my problems. Nat get things I care about done."
At the link above, he describes how he goes about acquiring such a desirable reputation in a post called, "Why You Need a WTF Notebook."

The notebook of which he speaks helps him keep track of problems he notices upon joining a team, which he simply collects as he becomes acclimated and better able to figure out which ones are addressable and worth trying to solve.

Whether you have ever been overwhelmed by such things as a new team member, or observed someone tripping over themselves trying to Change the World on Day 1, you will likely appreciate this patient and deliberative approach.

Image by Tim Collins, via Unsplash, license.
2. Bennett's post naturally jogged my memory about other notebooks I've learned about in the past.

One of these, the Spark File, is something I still use to track writing ideas.

I say I use it, but am considering burning it down and starting over, to exaggerate a little bit.

For example, I long ago fell out of the habit of consulting the whole thing monthly, and frankly don't see how that's practical, at least in its current incarnation.

It's just a text file, so it isn't eating my hard drive or anything like that. My current thinking has been to keep the whole thing, but review how I'm using it and start over by taking the time to review it in toto and trim it down to what is actually viable, and link from it to the unedited original.

I'll kick this off with a quick re-reading of the above post.

3. Another notebook Bennett caused me to remember was Barbara Sher's Autonomy Notebook, which she describes in part within I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was, specifically in her section on getting the wrong job:
Autonomy means you're in business for yourself, no matter who you're working for. Always remember, if you have a slave mentality you'll be defeated every time -- even if you're the favorite slave. You always have to be your own boss, no matter who you're working for, no matter how happy they are with your work. That doesn't mean you don't do what the boss wants. It means you do what they want for yourself because you want to learn it well. And you do more.

More? Yes, I mean that absolutely.

If you're a gifted runner and you have a good coach, you listen to that coach with respect. Not because he's the boss, but because you are. Think about it. If you're a gifted runner you aren't trying to get an A in gym. You want to be really good. After all, the coach won't win any medals. You will.
I tried this once and may try it again.

In any event, I'm glad I looked this up again, because the above quote about the slave mentality -- which our culture encourages in many ways -- is gold.

4. In the process of composing this post, I was saddened to learn that Barbara Sher died at the age of 84 in mid 2020.

I think the following, from a tribute written by one of her sons, does her much more justice than does the obituary in that open-air sewer of conventional "wisdom," the New York Times:
She decided to stop allowing the people who came to see her for counseling to dwell in the rooms of their past -- the going trend -- and instead to focus on realizing their wishes. (She used our last money to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times in the late 1970s that read, "Realizing your dreams can be more therapeutic than analyzing them." The giant photo of herself in the ad was beautiful and powerful. Mom was neither self-absorbed nor vain, rather fully engaged in every moment, especially when it came to Danny and me.
I especially love that quote, which her death has made into a memento mori for this person, who has to guard against such a tendency.

-- CAV

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