Attitude, hope, activism, and transformation have been key threads in my blog posts over the past few weeks.
I originally thought I would blog mostly about books, authors, and the literary life. I find that while my interest in books and authors remains high and will remain high, I am also very interested in transformation on a personal, societal, and global scale.
So, “Andrew Shattuck McBride Blogs” is becoming more of a blog about books and transformation.
If I publish a post on some aspect of positive transformation, I am likely to include a book or two in my discussion. For example, when I posted some thoughts on “Work and Love”
I concluded with a discussion of Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Vicki Robin and Joe Domnguez with Monique Tilford (2008, revised).
Transformation continues to be on my mind.
We are creating our personal and collective future daily. Many (if not most) of us are creating our personal futures passively. Perhaps many of us feel that we cannot impact the future, and that it will be whatever it will be.
I assure you that this is not the case. We are impacting and creating the future daily – in our daily choices and daily actions. As elements of the past are always with us, elements of the future are taking shape around us – even as we go about our daily lives.
Dave Ellis, in his marvelous book Creating Your Future: Five Steps to the Life of Your Dreams (1998) argues that we can plan and create our future proactively. He urges each of us to take responsibility for bringing our dreams for our future to life proactively through a five step program: “commit, create, construct, carry out, and celebrate.”
Dave Ellis wrote primarily about personal transformation and creating personal futures. The usefulness of his book goes far beyond that!
In his back cover blurb, Paul Hawken (author of The Next Economy, The Ecology of Commerce, and Growing a Business), wrote “… If you change the title pronoun from ‘your’ to ‘our’, the book is a means to transform every institution in the world.”
What is the vehicle for transforming every institution in the world? I believe that it is nonviolent activism. Additionally, it is planning that transformation and bringing it into being.
Creating Your Future is an extraordinary – and transformational – read. Please read it and act on the five steps. (Hint: stock up on index cards!). This book has my highest recommendation.
You may find this relevant: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/07/my-first-act-of-free-will/
Bottom line, people who believe in free will are more likely to take action (this is really a crude distillation of what is being said but I think it is pretty close to the point). Action including expressed thought as well as physical action.
So far as your focus for the blog changing a little–from what I gather, every good writer is looking at the world around them and really thinking about it. Even when their writing isn’t directly about a particular time and place they are trying to show people something they see from the past, the present or the future which requires a microscope (art-scope?). Literature offers us something more when it is viewed as both a fictional vision (something that will never be 100% truth) and also as a guide who will give us a new perspective on a particular topic (which requires as many views as possible to show us something nearing truth).
Hi C. R. Lanei, thank you for your comments.
Certainly, those who believe in free will – will act. Those who believe what happens is God’s will are ignoring the huge impacts we humans have had on the world over the time we have been “human.”
Everything in the human-made environment began as an idea. It is an amazing thing.
What Ellis was urging in Creating Your Future was for people to be proactive in planning and scheduling what they want in their lives. This approach goes well beyond sitting down with the pay stubs and the checkbook or thinking about vacation or staycation next year. It is truly transformational. I recommend it highly.
I’ve been thinking about transformation for years. I’ve finally started putting some of my thoughts down. I would be grateful if my blog added to the conversation on transformation.
I am so glad that you are reading my blog and commenting. Thank you!
Press on with your writing and your projects.
P.S. On another topic, did you happen to read my American Cinquaine? I’ve had 4 positive comments and 1 negative comment on it here and in person!
Responding about the American Cinquaine, it made me chuckle.
Back on topic. I think the biggest problem with believing that everything that will happen is bound to and thus beyond control is that it really takes away the point of living. Philosophically, if nothing matters or makes an impact then it seems like it would be necessary to question the point of continuing. Not bringing the God/religion issue into this beyond saying that I cannot imagine that either would really encourage a truly defeatist attitude on choice and free will.
I almost imagine that people who don’t believe they can make a difference are more afraid of doing harm than doing nothing at all. Because if our actions are meaningless then that would denote that they have no effect. All things being equal in such a world–there’s no harm in trying. Which I suppose is why my suspicion is that people are more fearful of screwing up in their actions than fearful of the idea that they have no impact. Though I guess my stance pre-supposes that all people have dreams and desires to try.
Awhile back I had spotted this quote on a site and I think the idea behind it rings true here:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream.” Mark Twain
C. R. Lanei,
It’s late here, so I just want to take a moment to thank you very much for your comments.
I’m delighted that the Tarzan cinquaine made you chuckle!
Great quote from Mark Twain!
All the best, Andy
P.S. More of a response later.
“You can and should shape your own future; because if you don’t someone else surely will.” ~ Joel A. Barker
Barker is an American futurist, author, and businessman
[Source: Joel Barker’s website, accessed August 19, 2010. Link below].
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