webfind:First: Your Feelings … Then: Your Action Plan

February 5, 2009

First: Your Feelings … Then: Your Action Plan: “

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Danielle LaPorte of www.whitehottruth.com.

Most of us have to-do lists. Many of us have long terms goals. Few of us have a list of how we actually want to feel in our life.

And aren’t feelings the whole point? The income, the relationship, the hot bod’, the high thread count cotton sheets – everything on our to-do, to-get, to-experience lists all drive back to the feelings that we crave … connected, comfort, powerful, rich in love and cash, beauty, vitality, useful, calm.

And so it goes that a solid make-it-happen strategy should be grounded in the awareness of how you want to feel. It’s the elemental point that most action plans and goal setting systems overlooked.

Feelings are magnetic. Each feeling is a beacon that attracts a reality. Love attracts love. Gratitude attracts more reasons to be grateful. Generosity creates a generous response. What we focus on expands. So choosing to focus on feelings that, well, feel good, is a sure way to create the experience you want.


  • Career
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality
  • Wealth
  • Wellness

Write out a few desired feelings in each area. You’ll likely see a pattern emerging – it usually gets down to three or four key emotions that you’re always hankering for. If you have goal lists or vision boards, write your desired feelings on them – front and center. Stick a note of your key feelings into your day-timer. Look up the definition of each of your feeling words. Become a connoisseur of desired feelings and you’ll transform your wants into realizations. Desires are dynamic – they love to be danced with adored, explored.

I’m clear that in every area of my life I want to experience: communion, affluence, sexiness and creative freedom. Those desired feelings drive everything I do – from how I interact with the waiter at the restaurant, and or my blog audience, to what I write, wear and dance to. How I want to feel sits in the margins of my schedule and the center of my heart.


If I’m feeling less than affluent, I give – I write a thank you note, I check out the entrepreneurs I’ve sponsored on Kiva.com, I pick up the tab at lunch. If I want to feel more communion I intentionally plan to create it. I’ve just mapped out a plan for the New Year that includes a road trip to see my soul sister in Vegas, a week at the Burning Man festival, a budget to go to more concerts, and a commitment to have one dinner party a month – all things that make me feel closer to life and to love.


When you’re clear on how you want to feel, you can be open to what life wants to give you. You’ll be anchored to the function, rather than the form. And this is really the essence of simplified living – a focus on what matters most. The house, the partner, the job may not ‘look’ like you wanted, or come when you expected, but if something or someone generates the positive feelings you’ve been longing for, you’ll be able to let that good stuff into your life.

When you’re clear on how you want to feel you instinctively know what to say yes to, and when to say, ‘no thank you.’ And that’s the best feeling in the world.

You can find Danielle LaPorte at www.whitehottruth.com. She helps entrepreneurs rock their careers, is a former think tank exec, and author of the Amazon bestseller, Style Statement: Live By Your Own Design.

(Via Zen Habits.)



January 27, 2009

I’ve been introduced to a new term, and I think it’s a worth sharing. Philosothinking. This is a level of thought higher than just plain old thinking about stuff but not qualified enough to be actual philosophizing. This type of thought is usually reserved for long nights of drinking or partaking of  other vices but I’m sure plenty of us have been able to philosothink in everyday  situations such as being bored at work or spacing out at church.

Whereas thinking is coming up with the list of things you need to do on your day off and philosophizing is  pondering the existence of man and our purpose in life, philosothinking usually begins with “hey man…” and is something along the lines of “who decided righty was tighty and lefty was loosy? Why is this the standard for everything? Shouldn’t we be able to have lefty as tighty and righty as loosy?”

So flag down the bartender or call up the dealer, because my friends, it’s time to start philosothinking.


you true philosothinkers (and geeks) out there will totally get this picture.

You true philosothinkers (and geeks) out there will totally get this picture.

my first research presentation!!!

January 22, 2009

Good news! The research study that I have been working on with my good friend Christia from the Psychology department has been accepted into the National Conference for Undergraduate Research. This is the first time that someone from the School of Interior Design has been accepted into this conference. It’s great research that looks at how kids have a hard time with adult size building fixtures. I will be traveling to LaCrosse, Wisconsin in April to present at the conference. Thanks Christia (I’m sure this will be the crown jewell of your research career).


the details for those who are interested…


The Abstract Title is:

Did Universal Design Forget About Children?
The Name of Name of Author(s), Faculty Advisor, Department, Institution and Institutional Address are:
Jonathan B. Fox (Christia Spears Brown), Department of Interior Design, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506

The Abstract Text is:
In the desire to create universal design of public facilities, most of the emphasis has been on access and ease of use by persons with disabilities.  Children are often overlooked as frequent patrons of those facilities.  The purpose of the current study was to investigate the impact of universal design used in public facilities on children’s perceived self-efficacy.  We examined whether the design of public restrooms – namely, those in venues in which a large percentage of their patrons are children (e.g., zoos, malls, museums) – affects children’s perceived ability to use the restrooms and their enjoyment of the facility in general.  In other words, this study takes a psychological approach to the field of interior design.  Specifically, we examined the public restrooms in (a) an amusement park, (b) a mall, (c) a zoo, (d) a museum, and (e) a sports stadium.  We assessed the layout and installation of the fixtures and equipment, with a particular emphasis on the height of countertops and fixtures, the distance necessary to reach the faucets and handles, and the ease of operation of faucets, hand dryers and soap dispensers.  We also interviewed children under the age of 12 who patronized the venue.  We assessed whether the design specifications were related to their self-efficacy in using the restrooms, and whether that was related to their enjoyment of the facility.  As predicted, the ease of use of the restrooms affected children’s enjoyment of the facility as a whole. This study has implications for design specifications of public facilities, as parents are more likely to frequent venues in which their children are comfortable and confident.   

Architecture and Interior Design

webfind: Mind Trick-How can we make this happen?

January 22, 2009

Jedi Mind Trick: How can we make this happen?: ”

Instead of asking or demanding for what you want, simply state your goal and ask, ‘How can we make this happen?’

Here are some examples:

Instead of:

‘Can you give me a raise?’

Ask this:

‘I’d like a raise. How can we make this happen?’

Instead of:

‘Can I be your boyfriend’

Ask this:

‘I want to be your boyfriend. How can we make this happen?

Instead of:

‘Can you sell it to me for less?’

Ask this:

‘I’d like the price to be lower. How can we make this happen?’

Why the rephrasing? It lowers the chances of a flat-out rejection. At the same time, you increase the possibility of collaboration on reaching your stated goal; if the other person can’t give you want you want now, it’s easier to negotiate how you can get it later.

Asking ‘How can we make it happen?’ shows guts and diplomacy without seeming demanding.

Try it the next time you want something from someone else.

(Via LifeClever 😉.)

webfind: Train your iPhone’s dictionary

January 22, 2009

Train your iPhone’s dictionary: ”


I haven’t had my iPhone for that long, but a constant frustration is its overachieving autocorrection feature, which could use a bit of training on the peculiar words and acronyms I tend to use on a daily basis.

Our favorite iPhone hacker, Erica Sadun, recently investigated this very issue and found that not all text input areas measure up. Certain applications will update the iPhone’s custom word database, and some don’t appear to have any effect at all, namely Notes. Safari, however, seems to be the key to manually forcing a word into the database:

It wasn’t until I left Notes and hopped over to Mobile Safari that I was able to make any difference at all. In Mobile Safari, I opened a new browser, typed the same words into the Google search field and, in the words of Steve Jobs, boom. Just as one would hope, the dynamic-text.dat file immediately updated without any further repetition needed. I could also see the words by looking through the file.

To test my update, I then returned to Notes and tried typing my words again. This time, Notes immediately recognized my new additions as correct, without offering a special suggestion bubble.

If you’ve Jailbroken your phone and want an easier way to update the dictionary with your personal lingo, you can edit the file called dynamic-text.dat in /private/var/mobile/Library/Keyboard.

What the duck? Train your iPhone to (truly) learn new words

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Digg this!”

(Via MAKE Magazine.)

webfind: The Socratic Method To Great Living (5 Simple Steps)

January 22, 2009

The Socratic Method To Great Living (5 Simple Steps): “

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Alex Shalman of AlexShalman.com.

Socrates did not leave one shred of writing behind at the end of his life, yet he helped form the foundation of our western philosophy to this very day. The things he taught were so profound, close to truth, and universal, that one could live an awesome life today just by following his fundamental advice.

1. Live into your vision

‘Be as you wish to seem.’ ~Socrates

While not all of us have dreams (a problem to address at a different time), those of us that do would give an arm and a leg to see them through. Socrates realizes that the power to become what we want to be lies in our decision to be. Once we have a firm decision, and take action, no one is to tell us that we can’t.

My number one method for accomplishing anything is to start by writing it down. It doesn’t cost much as you can use a simple paper. Write down characteristics of the perfect you – sort of like a mission statement for your life.

  1. I am an outstanding human being in every respect
  2. I am honest, kind, loving, loyal and true – to my family, friends and everyone who knows me
  3. I am a positive, optimistic, confident, warm, friendly person who is admired and respected by everyone
  4. I am an excellent parent (in the future), a fine employer and I do my work in an upstanding fashion every time
  5. I uplift, encourage and inspire everyone I meet – everywhere I go
  6. The possibility that I have created for myself and my life is the possibility of being someone who operates with the greatest good of all in mind, and the possibility of living in the present.

~Pasted from about page.

Remember that anything is possible, and at the same time…

2. Know your limitations

‘I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing.’ ~Socrates

All of us have a person in our life that knows the answer for everything, regardless of the situation, their area of expertise, or if they really know what they’re talking about. For such people it is more import to force their opinion rather than to give a smart answer. I think that’s what stupidity is.

I think intelligence comes from being able to say ‘I don’t know, I can try to give my best guess’ or ‘I don’t know, but I’m going to find out the exact answer.’ I have a masters degree in biomedical science. The truth is I know a smaller percentage of science now then I did when I was in 5th grade. That’s because the more I learned, the more different categories and unknowns I realized there were that I could still study.

If you don’t know your limitations you can cause a lot of harm to yourself or to others. Imagine a cab driver that ‘knows the way’ and gets you late to your important meeting. Imagine a doctor that ‘knows the procedure’ but ends up taking someone’s life. Imagine a parent that ‘knows what’s best’, but ends up emotionally or mentally scarring their child by injecting them with awful philosophies.

Know your limitations, work with what you have, and then…

3. Expand your horizons

‘Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel’ ~Socrates

Education is a great tool to opening our eyes to the fact that we ‘know nothing’ as Socrates would say. In a way Education increases the nothingness that surrounds us. That’s a bit scary, but really good, because at the same time education has the ability to solidify the things in our life that are real.

Education allows us to improve the foundation of our life, that is if we choose to have truth as the foundation. I’m not talking about getting some kind of degree. Everything I learned in life that I consider important did not come from my BA-psychology, or my MS-biomedical science degrees. The important stuff came from spending hours at the library studying life, and talking to people with the character traits that I respect, admire, and value.

Find the books and the people whose knowledge will make your life better, and remember that…

4. Whatever you have is enough

‘He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have’ ~Socrates

Don’t make a mistake of looking for satisfaction, contentment, and happiness in some far off goals. After reading the books, going to the lectures, interviewing 100s of people, and living my own life, I can safely say that happiness isn’t in obtaining things. Happiness exists in taking pleasure in what we have, regardless of the circumstances.

Education might kindle your flame, but try to analyze why you’re kindling some specific flame that has importance and value to you. Do you want to read everything you know about body building, exercise each and every day, and eat a robotic diet because you’re passionate about it, or because people used to poke fun at you when you were younger due to your small size?

Socrates doesn’t discourage goal setting, not by a long shot. What I think he’s saying, and I could be wrong here, is that we must be able to experience pleasure in whatever life is giving us, or we won’t be able to experience pleasure in the things we strive for.

I think there will be too much noise going on to enjoy our victories. Imagine that you’re on your way to receive the Nobel Prize, you have so much time to spare you don’t have to worry about anything, yet your limo is stuck in traffic and it’s making you completely miserable. Then you’re up there receiving the Nobel Prize, but you’re thinking about how your daughter is dating someone you don’t approve of. If you don’t learn to take pleasure in everything, you’ll end up being blocked from things you can be enjoying.

The key to enjoying what you have is to…

5. Define what you want

‘The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms’ ~Socrates

How many people in your life do you know that wish for love, happiness, and success? I think this is a ‘no-duh’ commonality between the vast majority of the global population. I think all three of these three things are great, and I’d like for everyone who wants them to achieve them.

The only problem is… people should not only be careful of what they wish for, but know what they’re wishing for. This means to whip out a dictionary and a piece of paper and thoroughly define what each of these words means for you. If you have a misrepresentation of these words in your mind, you’re going to make some huge regrettable mistakes in life.

  1. Love. A quick search pulls up ‘a deep feeling of sexual desire and attraction.’ Imagine a person that goes through life by internalizing this as their definition of love. They could easily end up in an abusive relationship with a person they are infatuated with, and stay with them even though they are miserable, because they want love.Even though it’s an unhealthy relationship, it fits into their definition of love, so they remain confused, and attached, because this is what feels right for them.
  2. Happiness. Some people might consider happiness as having some laughs, others might consider it as achieving some goals, while others settle for the definition of ‘nothing went wrong today.’The way I define happiness is ‘being the creator of your experience, choosing to take pleasure in what you have, right now, regardless of the circumstances, while being the best you that you can be.’
    As it turns out, my definition is centered around the journey, not around the accomplishment, so I can take pleasure in waking up and existing each day, instead of being miserable because I don’t have a ferrari yet.
  3. Success. A quick search shows success to mean ‘a state of prosperity or fame.’ I can see why a lot of people would be depressed if they wanted to be successful and this was their idea of success. Perhaps it is possible for everyone in the world to be rich and famous, but in reality that isn’t the way our world is currently structured.Perhaps it would be ‘wiser’ to define success as something else. Something that doesn’t come for nothing, but is accessible to everyone regardless of any circumstances. I would define success as ‘constant and never ending improvement’. If you set goals for yourself, and you take time each day, to work towards your goals, then you are successful in my book.

At the end of the day, the questions we ask of ourselves determine the type of people that we will become…

‘Wisdom begins in wonder.’ ~Socrates

Alex Shalman does for personal development what Chuck Norris does for karate, and he’s got a very bad (to the bone) Podcast on self-improvement.

If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or StumbleUpon. I’d appreciate it. 🙂

(Via Zen Habits.)

webfind: The Lazy Manifesto

January 22, 2009

The Lazy Manifesto: Do Less. Then, Do Even Less.: “

‘Practice not-doing and everything will fall into place.’ – Lao Tzu

Post written by Leo Babauta. Follow me on Twitter.

How many of us don’t get lazy every now and then? Of course, some of us get lazy more than others — my mom (always a hard worker) once told me she gets lazy, but then she just does the work anyway. I replied, ‘Mom, that’s not lazy! That’s the opposite of lazy!’

Lazy is often seen as a bad thing, but I disagree. Lazy is an amazing thing.

Here’s just a few reasons why:

  1. Lazy means that your body and mind are tired and want to rest. That’s a sign that you should actually rest. When you ignore these signs, that leads to burnout. So rest, and feel good about it!
  2. Lazy means you don’t want to work too hard, which often leads to figuring out how to do less work. Just about all of the advances in technology come from laziness: we drive cars instead of walking because we’re too lazy to walk, we use washing machines because we’re too lazy to do it by hand, we use computers because writing things out by hand is hard. Of course, reliance on machines isn’t a good thing, but using laziness to figure out better ways to do things is a good thing.
  3. Lazy people don’t start wars. Who wants to go through all the trouble to fight a war? Peace and friendliness is much easier.

‘Simple Productivity’ has been the motto of Zen Habits from its early days (even though I talk about a lot of other things as well) … and today I’d like to set out the reasons ‘Do Less’ is one of my Four Commandments, and why it’s the ultimate extension of Simple Productivity.

Do Less: The Ultimate Simple Productivity

It may seem paradoxical that Do Less can mean you’re more productive — and if you define ‘productive’ as meaning ‘get more done’ or ‘do more’, then no, Do Less won’t lead to that kind of productivity.

But if instead you define ‘productivity’ as a means of making the most of your actions, of the time you spend working (or doing anything), of being as effective as possible, then Do Less is the best way to be productive.

Consider: I can work all day in a flurry of frenetic activity, only to get a little done, especially when it comes to lasting achievement. Or I can do just a couple things that take an hour, but those are key actions that will lead to real achievement. In the second example, you did less, but the time you spent counted for more.

Let’s take the example of a blogger: I can write a dozen posts that really say nothing, mean nothing, but take up my entire day … or I can write one post that affects thousands of people, that really reaches to the heart of my readers’ lives, and takes me 1.5 hours to write. I did less, but made my words and time count for more.

If you’re lazy, as I often am, then the choice is simple. Do Less.

But do it smartly: Do Less, but make every action count. Send fewer emails, but make them important. Write fewer words, but make each word essential. Really consider the impact of every action you take, and see if you can eliminate some actions. See if you can achieve a great impact doing less.

This doesn’t mean ‘less is more’. It means ‘less is better’.

Do Less: Of Everything

But Do Less means much more than being productive. It goes to the heart of everything we do, of our society. Do Less is nothing less than a two-word manifesto for living.

Here’s how the two-word manifesto of ‘Do Less’ can change everything:

1. Do Less buying. If you spend less, shop less, acquire less, then you will own less, need less, get into less debt, be in better financial shape, have less clutter, and have more time for things that are truly important.

2. Do Less busy-work. Instead of running around doing lots of little things, slow down. Do Less. Live a calmer, more peaceful life. Be content to sit, to do nothing. Relax a little. Smile and be happy.

3. Do Less managing. If you are in a position of authority over others, whether it’s as a manager, executive, or parent … the less you do the better. Many people over-manage, or over-parent. This gives their employees, or children, very little freedom, room for creativity, room to learn on their own, to succeed and fail. The less you do, the more others will figure out how to do things. Do little things to guide and teach, but for the most part, back off and let them be.

4. Do Less communicating. Less talking, less yelling, less arguing, less emails and IM and Twittering, less phone calling. While I think communication is extremely important, and should be one of the keys to any relationship, I also think we do it too much. Especially as most of it becomes nothing but jabbering at each other, with very little actual listening. It is noise. Let silence into your life. Let stillness pervade our minds. When you do communicate, make it count, make it sincere, and more than you talk, listen. Make every email count. Only IM when it’s necessary. Spend less time on the phone and Twitter and Blackberry and iPhone, and more time with humans, more time with yourself, more time in the present.

5. Do Less complaining and criticizing. I won’t rant about how these two things can drag down you and those around you … but instead will say that if you did less of these two things, your life would be better. And we all do them — fess up! I do, and I try to do less of it. Instead, do more kindness, compassion, understanding, accepting, loving.

6. Do Less planning and worrying and future thinking. Spend more time in the moment. We worry too much, and it does us no good. We think about things that haven’t happened, instead of what’s happening now (and yes, I know that’s the name of an old sitcom). And while some planning is necessary, too much of it is a waste of time — there’s no way to predict the future, and trying to control every little thing that’s going to happen is futile. Learn to go with the flow, look for opportunities, find the natural path of things, and do what is needed in the moment. You can’t control outcomes, but if you learn to work more fluidly (instead of rigidly following plans), you can get to outcomes that are good.

7. Do Less judging and expecting. Acceptance is something I’m trying to learn to do more. And that means I need to be less judgmental, and stop having expectations from everything and everybody. If you have no expectations, and don’t judge things, you can accept them. And acceptance leads to peace, leads to happiness. So when you find yourself judging, think ‘Do Less Judging’. When you find yourself expecting someone to be a certain way, think ‘Do Less Expectations’. People won’t disappoint you that way, because you’ll learn to accept them as they are, and learn that they are already perfect, as they are.

‘Be Content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.’ – Lao Tzu

How to Do Less

If you are sold on the two-word manifesto — Do Less — you might be saying to yourself, ‘Self, that sounds good, but how exactly do I go about doing less?’ It’s simple:

1. Do Less. Yes, it really is that simple. Do Less. Take how much you usually do, and Do Less than that. If you’re smart, you’ll naturally choose the more essential things to do, but it’s possible that you won’t, and you’ll just choose whatever is easy or convenient or fun. That’s OK. Go with that. Eventually you’ll probably have to do the important stuff, because it probably has to be done sometime. Or maybe you won’t, and you’ll end up getting nothing done. Then you’ll think to yourself, ‘Self, there has to be a better way. Either I have to go back to doing more, or I have to choose more wisely in what I do.’

2. Then Do Even Less. If you followed the first step, and you’re now doing less than you were before, congratulate yourself! Pat yourself on the back! Celebrate by going to take a nap. Now, when you’re ready to get started again, try to do even less than you were doing in Step 1 above. Pare some of your actions down. Look for more fat to trim. See if some things really aren’t as necessary as you thought they were. Pass some things on to others, automate other things, delay on still others, and get out of doing still others by calling up someone or emailing them and explaining, ‘I’m sorry, I just can’t do as much as I originally planned.’ Now you’re doing less than before!

Repeat. Keep doing less until you’re doing almost nothing. When you’ve reached that point, congratulations! You’re a master. When you can get by with doing nothing at all, you’ve reached Nirvana and enlightenment and you should really be teaching me instead of the other way around. Feel free to come write a guest post for Zen Habits when you’ve reached this state!

Some other ideas to consider when learning to Do Less:

  • Go with the flow. Imagine the effort required to swim upstream compared to moving with the flow of a river. If you go with the flow of things, rather than against them, you will naturally do less, and with less effort.
  • Don’t force things. A common mistake — trying to hard, forcing something that doesn’t want to be forced, forcing people to do things they don’t want to do. A lot of effort, action, and time is wasted. Instead, find a smoother way — think of water, which flows around things rather than trying to force its way through them.
  • Find the pressure points. In martial arts, instead of using maximum force, you are wise to find the points in the body where less force can be used to greater effect, whether that’s to cause pain or imbalance or some other effect. Well, I don’t advocate finding pain, but the idea of pressure points is a good one: if you can find the little spots where a little action can change everything, can go a long way, you have mastered the Do Less philosophy.
  • Let others do. Give others the room and freedom to move, to create, to invent, to learn, to work, to do, on their own. Less time, effort and action spent trying to control others means that you do less, but let others make things happen. It means letting go of control, but that’s a good thing. Other people have creativity, imagination, dedication, good ideas too.
  • Let things happen. Often our actions interfere with events that would happen without our actions. In other words, if we took no action, things would happen without us. Sometimes it’s better to let things happen. Step back, don’t act, things will happen without us.

‘Doing nothing to disturb the spontaneous flow of things.’ – Lao Tzu

If you liked this article, please share it on Delicious or StumbleUpon. I’d appreciate it. 🙂

Read more about how and why to Do Less in my book, The Power of Less. Help the book do well! A few ways you can help: buy the book for others, spread the word with friends and family about the website, review the book on your blog. Thanks everyone!

(Via Zen Habits.)