Sunshine for Your Pocket

The world can seem pretty ugly these days, can’t it? Is it any wonder we turn to entertainment for escape? Sometimes, we just want a happy ever after, a joyful place to visit for a bit. The Oscars are this weekend, offering up all kinds of beauty and one of the soundtracks caught my ear.

One of Original Song nominees is Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling. I’ve mentioned this song before but it’s worth repeating – how do you not get up and dance along?  It looks like pretty much everyone has a little sunshine in their pocket.

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Timberlake produced the music for Trolls and his fingerprints are all over it, including a cover of Earth Wind and Fire’s September – apparently, this is the first time the band re-recorded it, so they were in the studio with Timberlake and Anna Kendrick. Do you remember?

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Been knocked around in traffic (see Traffic Jam)? How about Get Back Up Again, featuring Anna Kendrick?

Hey!

I’m not giving up today

There’s nothing getting in my way

And if you knock knock me over

I will get back up again

If something goes a little wrong

Well you can go ahead and bring it on

‘Cause if you knock knock me over, I will get back up again

Feeling a bit whimsical? The opening song on the soundtrack is Hair Up. I’m half tempted to get a bucket of gel (5 gallons might do it)and put my hair in the air. Yeah, it’s a little silly but everyone could use a dose from a glitter bomb. YOLOoooooo!

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Want another take on Sounds of Silence? Yes, seriously (more singing). It helps me relax. 😉

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And, if you want some pure beauty, watch this video of Kendrick and Timberlake performing a cover of True Colors at the Cannes Film Festival. If you’re a cynic about live performances and lip synching, this one will restore a little faith. Ahhhhhhhhh. There’s that sunshine feeling.

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Have a fabulous weekend, may you all have a little beauty. ❤

 

Better When I’m Dancing

What moves you? Is it techie or Trekky? Is it color, words or music? Is it smooth jazz or rhythm?  Can you tell when someone’s in their element, doing their thing? They light up, they dang near glow. They get lost in it, and they can likely go for hours without realizing time is passing.

My husband, Martin, and I often debate our favorite music. This started when we were dating and attended Dead concerts. Yeah, we’re that old, to have dated in the era of live Dead shows…. hush, y’all, hush. 🙂

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There was usually a Space/Drums transition in every show. Martin loved Space, an undefined jam with lots of woo-woo guitar and synthesizer. Space could be eerie and dissonant, it usually lacked obvious rhythm and could last for-ehv-ahhhh, at least in my view. Space was not my thing and I was known to fall asleep during it. Twice, as in, during two different shows. Seriously, not my thing.

On the other hand, I loved Drums. Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzman (long time drummers for the Dead) were my Dead heroes. I could dance for days to anything with a beat. Even now, I still use strong rhythms to get me up in the morning and to pull me out of funks. How can you not be joyful when you’re moving to a fabulous rhythm?  I hear them in my head while I’m waiting in line at the post office, standing in an elevator or sitting behind the wheel. There was a time when you could have caught me tap dancing while I waited for a train. Time ceases to exist for me when I have a beat. Like Meghan Trainor, I feel Better When I’m Dancing. (She apparently feels the same, watch this making-of-video, where she explains that dancing makes her feel better and the inspiration for the song.)

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While Martin liked Drums, it wasn’t his thing the way Space was (and still is, thanks to the Dead’s prolific recordings). Neither of us is wrong or right in our love of Drums & Space, we just march to different drummers (pun intended!).

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So what’s your thing? What drummer inspires you to marching? What do you seek out when you’re searching for a little joy, a little more energy to climb those mountains? Life is hard, I hope y’all find that special something to  inspire you. ❤

Joy

Let’s start the week with a little joy – watch this video of a woman enjoying the snow. I dare you not to smile at her pleasure.

Let’s list a few things that she could complain about, if she chose to:

  1. it’s cold
  2. she’s getting wet
  3. she has no gloves
  4. she might fall

These are all good reasons to stay in the car, right? I’ll bet it’s warm and dry inside and she could watch the snow falling just fine. What does she choose to do instead? She gets out of her comfort zone and she plays in the snow. I love her giggles and I love that her son (behind the video) is laughing along with her.

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May your day be full of joy, even when you’re cold and uncomfortable.

May you have someone to share your joy. ❤

 

I Think I Can

 

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Let’s start Monday with a pop quiz. 😉

Pick one:

  1. I can’t do that.
  2. I don’t know how to do that yet.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist has spent years studying how our mindset affects our performance and personal satisfaction.

She describes two mindsets: fixed and growth. In a fixed mindset, people believe their ability is a fixed trait, meaning it is what it is, they can’t learn new things (option 1). In a growth mindset, people believe they can develop a skill, meaning they can improve over time (option 2). This is a deep topic, worthy of a book (which Dr. Dweck has considerately written), //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=yar0dc-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=0345472322&asins=0345472322&linkId=bf4422fb0e8b3725f406af01e494abeb&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff” target=”_blank”>Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

For today, here’s something to nibble on as you go through your week: We live in an evolving world and we can choose to learn with it or stay in place. We can keep up with the stream of new data, new skills, new technology, new everything or we can be the rock that stays still in the middle of the river. Can you tell which one appeals to me? 🙂

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Learning requires

  • Curiosity
  • Exposure to things that are different from you and how you think
  • Listening
  • Being uncomfortable when you can’t understand or do something…. at first
  • Practice, practice, practice until you get better
  • Taking a chance that you’ll fail, sometimes publicly
  • Faith in your ability to learn

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Why does mindset matter?

Our mindset frames how we see the world and whether we’re willing to invest, to have faith in our ability to change, to do things differently.

Can you imagine telling a child that they’ll never get smarter? That they’ll never advance to the next grade?

Would we tell a new employee that they’ll never learn a new skill and so we won’t send them to training?

Of course not. We would have faith in them that they will learn and grow. So why would we tell ourselves these negative things? I’m not saying that we should all go back to school or tackle every new concept. I’m saying that, if you want to, you can learn anything you want. The real challenge is knowing what you want to learn, not whether you can do it.

By the way, if you’re interested in more from Carol Dweck, check out www.curious.com, where she has a weekly post on mindsets.

Take a Chance

The next time you doubt yourself, I want you to think about someone else. There’s no question that your days are hard and you could use a break. Can’t we all? But when you’re having your worst day, I hope thinking about someone else inspires you to keep going.

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Take a short journey with me: Imagine being Grace Murray Hopper, born in 1906, the oldest of three children. Can you imagine a young girl living in the 1900s in New York City? Would you expect her to marry, stay home and raise the children? Or maybe she would work, most likely as a teacher or a nurse.  What are the odds that she would be not just a mathematician, but one of the leading computer scientists of the 20th century, a United States Navy Rear Admiral and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? How many times do you think she heard the word the word ‘no’? How many times do you think she wondered if it could be done? How many times do you think she took a chance?

grace-murray-hopper-programmerMy dad brought me a couple of books when he visited last month, one of which was Computers: Their History, Present Applications, and Future by Shirley Thomas. Dad pointed out Grace Hopper’s role in computer programming, including her time at UNIVAC (now Unisys), where dad also worked. Among Ms Hopper’s accomplishments:

  • Attended Vassar despite being turned down the first time she applied.
  • Served in the WAVES (a branch of the US Naval Reserve), despite not meeting their physical requirements.
  • Developed the first compiler, despite no one believing it could be done, leading eventually to her work developing COBOL, the most ubiquitous business language to date.
  • Worked for the Department of Defense until she was 79, despite the mandatory retirement age of 60. (Congress had to approve her active duty status.)

Is it any wonder that she became known as Amazing Grace?

My favorite Amazing Grace quote is:

“The most important thing I’ve accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, ‘Do you think we can do this?’ I say, “Try it.” And I back ’em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir ’em up at intervals so they don’t forget to take chances.”

The next time you feel overwhelmed, I hope you remember Rear Admiral Grace Hopper and all she accomplished. I hope you remember to take a chance.

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A Million Things to Be

We are rich in opportunities. Sure, there are obstacles between us and our goals, but that’s life. Sometimes those obstacles are speed bumps and sometimes they’re brick walls. But what if there is something meaningful on the other side? Will you get stopped by the voice in your head that says, “I can’t”?

speedbumps

What do you see when you look around, the speedbumps, the brick walls, the can’ts?

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Or do you see the doors, the windows, the what ifs?

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It’s no secret that I see the what-ifs. (Unless I’m cranky, then I’m all about the I-don’t-wannas …. :D) I think this is one reason I really like this hump day ad, Free To Be – 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk and Summit. It’s well designed, cleverly edited and full of feel-goods. By the way, the accompanying song is Cat Stevens’s If You Want to Sing Out.

The ad ran this fall, during the peak of the election cycle, and Jeep did a great job of taking a very angsty, emotional time in the US and flipping it, reminding us that we’re better together. Jeep reminded us that, if we want to, we can see beyond our differences to that which makes us a community. My question for you: do you want to?

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Happy Hump Day, may you find more doors than brick walls!

 

We Can Do So Much

Have you ever been intimidated by a task? Whether it was achieving a personal dream or delivering a project at work, our tasks can be enormous.

How many times have you walked away from a goal because it seemed too large, too impossible? We all have that little voice in our heads that doubts whether something can be done. Sometimes, those voices come from outside.

“You’ll never make it.”

“It’ll never last.“

“What a mess.” 

“Why bother? No one will listen to you.”

I can’t be the only one that has heard these from family, friends and coworkers, can I?

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And yet, we find that we can achieve our goals. Some of you have gone back to school and gotten your college degree while working full time. Or you got  a long dreamed for promotion. Maybe you launched that project on time and on budget. You shot for the moon and made it farther than you ever expected. In other words, you managed to achieve your goal in spite of the challenges.

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Did you do it alone? Did you rely on family, friends and coworkers? Maybe a stranger lent a hand? Were you that person that lent someone else your support?

As we wind up 2016, let’s take a moment to appreciate those who helped us along the way. Let’s also stop to consider who we can support – whether it’s the local food bank or shelter, friend or stranger, I hope y’all reach out.