Category Archives: Cogitations


Productivity And The Trouble With Gurus

I read a couple unrelated blogposts today which, of course, I am piecing together in my mind. They do have something, both of them, to do with productivity. Productivity is something I am interested in at the moment. Should I list the posts in the order that I read them? Why would I do that? … it really doesn’t really matter.

The Posts

First post, ‘Keeping Your Options Open…’

One had to do with whether keeping ever open choices, or having many options is a good thing or not.

Keeping Your Options Open Will Cost You

This post took ideas from two books and posed the question “Why are you really keeping your options open?” and whether that is a good thing or not. Author Betsy Wuebker lists these pertinent books:

One of the writers cited in the first post submits,

“…by keeping your options open with more choices, you’ve levied higher opportunity costs.”

I haven’t read the books, but I know that people who keep their options always open are frightened to close the deal on their decisions and -more often than not- in order to escape responsibility. They can feel like victims who are helplessly overrun by those who do make decisions. So the ideas caught my interest, and I started to consider them. I don’t have problems making decisions, myself, I go through a deductive sort of process, but there are times when I have difficulty knowing when a good time to close the door and take a specific direction is the best thing to do.

The difficulty is in the balance, because being quickly decisive is not always a good thing “act in haste, repent at leisure”. And yet, none of us wants to be in a constant cycle of confusion, unable to move forward; nor do we want to have expensive life failures from seeming (or being) arrogant.

If you are thinking what I am at this point, you realize that, yes, this can be complicated. Another time in which wisdom comes in handy, to steer our path in the right direction, to close doors, and/or keep them open at the best times… for relationships, for career moves, for retirement, for most of the decisions that crop up. These are often the things that make or break resolutions and goals.

The Other Post I read

From INC., 5 Trends to Ignore in 2013 posits that we don’t always have to listen to the Gurus. What must we do in investments, in blogging, in relationships, in child raising, … IN LIFE? Everyone who writes articles seems to want to establish their authority, to be the next important guru that everyone must pay attention to…. only, sometimes that is not going to work out for you. And I might suggest here that if you have lots of experts all telling you things that are musts, necessary, and urgent… you will likely be unproductive in the very area you hoped you would find your magic formula for success. It is the “too many cooks” syndrome.

Most of that last paragraph is my own thinking as inspired by a somewhat more business oriented information article. INC. simply pointed out how unnecessary some of the big trends in business are. They aren’t necessarily important for you. Which is exactly what we can apply to many voices of authority.

Although what I wouldn’t try to say is that we can figure everything out on our own, or that whatever seems right to us is just as valid as what anyone else thinks. Like it is all some homogenized cosmic palaver.

It might appear to be in certain cases, but that would likely be just a fluke… a random stroke of luck. There is true authority, actual expertise, and we would raise our chance of success and happiness if we found and followed those voices.

It all comes down…once again… to discerning what is true. That is always the big quest in life, isn’t it?

Not “what is true for you”, not “What is truth?”, but finding real truth. Gurus may not be the best way to do that. Just saying.


the bigger life lesson

There are many time times when everything seems so mundane. The every day, every day. But woven in between is “the bigger life lesson”. It is there, if only you have the heart for it, for it is seen with the heart, understood with the heart…. and if you are only taken with life’s details you will miss the bigger lessons.

Don’t do that.

Don’t make life merely about the details.

There is a lot of big stuff going on in your life, a lot of meaning and lasting importance. It is there.

I haven’t thought about Edith Schaeffer for a long time, but with this thought about looking for the bigger lesson in the smaller acts of life… she comes to mind. Serving a meal isn’t just cooking, serving, and cleaning up the dishes…. it is an act, of love and of meaning.

Even something as small as a smile isn’t just a mindless expression or even the kindness of a moment… it is a connection that creates an impact, and all those small impacts add up. Your life is adding up, my life is adding up, and if we take time to think of the summaries we will find those bigger life lessons.

Why is this sense of meaning so important? It gives us direction, it connects us, and it forms the choices we make. It gives us the context of “the other”.

Looking at life with the desire to note “the bigger life lesson” is second nature with me, but it still requires a certain decision and determination, because life can become an avalanche of demands and mundane chores. We can lose sight of the forest for all the trees, but one of the keys to finding those important lessons that define our lives is to slow down and look.

God gave us our senses. Using them to touch eternity is part of what sets us, as humans, apart from the rest of creation.

Our humanity …now, there is one of the bigger life lessons.

wyeth tenant farmer

Andrew Wyeth and Wintery Thoughts

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape . . .Andrew Wyeth (1917- 2009) quoted by Richard Meryman in ‘The Art of Andrew Wyeth’, 1973
Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life

Editing a winter navigation page in my garden website which contained that quotation, I looked up “Andrew Wyeth” to find his date of death. That search led to his obituary in the New York Times: he died around this time of year, January 16th, in 2009. A bit coincidentally odd to be this time of year, but it was the discussion of his art and the illustration of the painting that became the icon of an Icon,”One picture encapsulated his fame. “Christina’s World” …” that drew me along this winter path of thoughts.

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