The Importance of Sharing

The hardest part about sharing is finding the courage to do it.

We spend so much time during our petty existence worrying about our image. Some of us worry about sharing too much, sharing things that are too personal, or sharing things that others may not like. We feel that we have a duty to ourselves to create and preserve a certain image from which others will perceive us.

Although creating boundaries and maintaining a positive image are admirable traits, by censoring yourself, you deny yourself the opportunity to share your most important thing, you perspective. As I said on a recent post, no one can see the world like you do.

Two of the most important books that I always keep on my bookshelf are Life’s Journeys and The World According to Mister Rogers. Now, I know it may sound childish to some of you, but the concepts that Mister Rogers taught me at such a young age will forever shape who I am as a person.

One of my favorite passages from The World According to Mister Rogers is this,

“Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime’s work, but it’s worth the effort.”

Each of us has a unique story to tell. Our perception of the world is shaped by the people with interact with, the situations we were born from the actions that we take throughout our life. As we continue to absorb more information, our decisions change over time. With the more knowledge that we accumulate, the better we are to reason, question and ponder issues that will shape the future for generations before us.

No matter what your opinion, whether it is left, right, or straight down the middle, you will never make an impact unless you share your thoughts and ideas. When we collaborate and exchanges these thoughts and ideas, we learn more about ourselves and apply the knowledge to making better decisions.

By sharing, you are giving someone else information that could completely change the way they see things. By sharing, you have the power to help people better understand themselves and the issues that we face in our overly complicated world today.

As you embark on the journey of sharing, you quickly learn things about yourself. You start to pay more attention to your inner dialog, you get a better understanding for the way that you think and process ideas. As you start to share these ideas, the transmission of them becomes much more fluent, and much more comfortable.

When you decide that censoring yourself, trying to preserve some artificial sense of anonymity or convince yourself that you can make an impact, it is finally time to tell your story.

Your story will develop over time. You will say things at one point that you will later disagree with. Each day, week, month, year and decade you will accumulate new information and a better understanding for the things you ponder every day. These experiences and this additional knowledge will shape your thoughts and perspective and allow you to paint a more complete picture later in your life.

However, as you learn and experience new things, it is incredibly important to challenge them, debate them and think about them. Expressing them openly is a great way to encourage others to discuss these matters with you. From those discussions you will form great relationships, some bonds which will last a lifetime, others which will whither away. However, from sharing your thoughts, your ideas, your arguments, your hypotheses and your experiences, you will allow someone else to see the world through your eyes.

The more perspectives that you are willing to view and the more shoes you are willing to try on, the greater understanding you will have of the world around you and the issues that matter to you most.

However, if no one shares their story, their thoughts, their opinions or their ideas, you will have nothing to think of other than your preconceived notions. Without additional information to change the way you think about things, you will be stuck in whatever mindset you already have.

By sharing, we enable each other to help make the world a better place, that’s why sharing is so important.

Special thanks to +Yonatan Zunger for providing the inspiration for this post. Had he not shared this earlier post (below), I would have been without the perspective I have today.


How often do you zone out?

No, I’m not talking about catching up on Facebook. I’m not talking about looking through your Twitter feed nor am I talking about surfing the Internet when you should be working.

When is the last time that you actually and completely zoned out?

For me, zoning out is like meditating, but without all of the “meditation.”

Every once in a while I like to turn off my distractions, put my hands and eyes to rest and just think.

In our jobs, we are surrounded by nothing but distractions and more things to do. However, at the end of the day, I think many of us ask ourselves “what have we actually accomplished?” This busy work and abundance of “productivity” keeps us from doing what our brains were designed to do: think and reason.

Typical white collar workplaces have workers facing multiple computer screens with their backs to the rest of the world. They are vulnerable to everyone walking by and seeing what they are doing, but most importantly, they are engrossed in being so “productive” that they neglect the opportunity to improve whatever it is that they do or sell.

If you work for yourself or have a job that involves lots of critical thinking, zoning out can still be an important tool for you to ensure that what you’re doing is the best use of your time. Is there a better way of doing something or a more effective process? If you focus on being productive and getting everything done, you will neglect the opportunity to zone out and focus with what’s on your mind.

We all carry a lot of mental baggage. We think about our families, our friendships, our finances and everything in between. If we keep those things in the back of our minds, unprocessed, they seem to build up, creating pressure. This pressure, is most visible in the form of stress. I think that if we all take the time to zone out and process these thoughts, we will all be able to release of the pressure and relieve some of the stress.

When I zone out, I give myself an opportunity to evaluate what I am doing, why I am doing it and how I could do it better. Zoning out gives me the opportunity to tune everyone else out and explore my thoughts and emotions–things that we are told to keep at the wayside when we cross the threshold into the office.

Perhaps it’s Mittyesque, but zoning out gives me the chance to carry out my inner dialog, to figure out how I can do things better and more purposefully and to give myself peace.

Do You Want to Make an Impact?

Do You Want to Make an Impact?
Do You Want to Make an Impact?

It seems as the global population grows, more and more people feel the need to “make an impact.” This philosophy of making a difference with your life has really got me thinking a lot about how the way we think is changing. As future generations become more and more “mainstream” there seems to be less diversity in our occupations and less time away from work.

America (and other Western countries) are shifting more and more towards service and away from industry. Not too long ago it was common to have coal miners and factory workers as your neighbors. They were good people, working hard for an honest living. Now, in the suburbs of America, it seems that most of us work in cube farms providing services for other individuals and businesses.

There is nothing terribly wrong with a shift from blue collar to white collar work, but it seems as though we are finding our jobs more and more mundane and they are taking up more and more of our time. No longer do we have 40-hour work weeks with worry-free weekends. Instead, we drag ourselves into the office each morning and try to pry ourselves out sometime in the evening. The work doesn’t stop there, though. Usually there is a Blackberry or other device constantly reminding us of our occupational duties.

I think that our increasing passion to make a difference comes from the separation of ourselves from our vocation. No one wants to be known as a “project contributor” and they probably don’t want to define their life by that. I, for one, want to die being “the person that…” and I don’t think I am alone.

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” – Jackie Robinson

It doesn’t matter what your passion is, but I bet you it probably isn’t related to your work. If you love doing what you do, then consider yourself lucky. But, if you are like so many other people, what drives you to be independent, to succeed at something? Is it money? Is it happiness, fame? Why do you want to make an impact?

If one thing is for certain (well two, if you count taxes) we have a limited amount of time to enrich our lives and the lives of others. So putting your nose to the grind and finding something that will benefit not only yourself, but others—and possibly society—is a huge desire.

“I like my job because it involves learning. I like being around smart people who are trying to figure out new things. I like the fact that if people really try they can figure out how to invent things that actually have an impact.” – Bill Gates

I would love to make an impact on the world, but I don’t think that is going to happen, so I’ll settle on making an impact to my audience. I have been working hard to create content, engage my audience and build a tribe. Hopefully when I move on to do other things, create other products and services, I might have a few members of that tribe standing behind me. But, as I am doing all of this I need to keep focused on what pays the bills and keeps the lights on at home.

Perhaps in a few years I will hit a breakthrough and finally find myself loving what I’m doing. Until then, I’m going to keep trying to put a dent in a few people’s trains of thought. The universe comes later.