Inspiration can be a letdown when we think we can become Fred, or Dorothy Day, or John Paul II, or Mother Teresa. You’re not Mother Teresa and you’re not supposed to be. You’re supposed to be you. God has gifted you with an array of talents unique to you. Are you using them or trying to hijack someone else’s?
...Those WWJD bracelets asking, “What would Jesus do?” can be misleading. Following Jesus’ example is good and the Christian thing to do, but mere emulation is not Christian. A better question is, “What should I do?” The inspiration you get from the witness of Jesus’ life ought to inform how you utilize the talents and gifts you have — this is investing your talents. You and Jesus have different talents, given to you by God for different purposes. But, you and Jesus also share talents that can be discovered and put to use. Inspiration should uncover the talents that already exist within you. Investing them (using them) yields the uncovering of even more talents.
Andy Otto argues on BustedHalo.com that being inspired by Jesus, saints, and other gifted people is good, but trying to imitate someone else's talents rather than using your own can be frustrating and counterproductive.
A year's waste produced by Johnson's family.
Bea Johnson's new book, Zero Waste Home, tells how her family of four moved toward living more simply and sustainably, ultimately reducing their annual waste to what would fit in a quart-sized jar. They use a "five R's" system:
In the San Francisco Chronicle, she says after some experimentation to find the right balance, the shift felt right, became natural, and saved them a lot of money.
"We wanted to live the American Dream: buy a big house, drive a big car," she recalls. "We rode that wave for a while, but having stuff didn't make us happier."
The San Francisco Chronicle interviews Adam Grant, whose new book Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success. Grant advocates a pay it forward approach to helping co-workers, especially those who are junior, and argues that this approach leads to greater success for the giver. He also talks about how he has seen this work at Google.
Q: How do you do it? How do you manage your time, the requests and the demands it takes to be a giver?
Pope Francis continues to speak out on core daily life issues, now turning to gossip:
Pope Francis further developed this reflection. “When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticize others- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me – these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community". "These struggles always exist" in the parish, in the family, in the neighborhood, among friends”. Instead through the Spirit we are born into a new life, he makes us “meek, charitable."
In this TED talk, Bono outlines the substantial progress that has been made toward reducing poverty and how trends point toward eradicate poverty in our lifetime, if we remain committed to that goal.
Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono "embraces his inner nerd" and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight … if we can harness the momentum.
The Greater Good Science Center reports on psychology studies concluding that those who exercise abstinence are happier than those who binge, backing up the wisdom of Lenten practices and Sabbath limits.
"All of this research points to a paradox of happiness: It’s not tied to abundance but to recognizing and appreciating what we do have. Once we meet our basic needs, our lives become more satisfying if we can savor and be grateful for the good that’s already around us, before we strive for more."
Relentless consumption and desire for more makes for unhappy people, while moderation and occasional limits have the opposite effect.
Indeed, so much of our everyday behavior is driven by the misconception that more is better. We celebrate our most important holidays by cooking twice as much food as we need, then scarfing it down. We work hard to get a promotion—then after getting it, start thinking about how to get the next one. We stay up all night tearing through “House of Cards” or the latest season of “Mad Men.”
VentureBeat writes about the choice for software developers between lucrative companies that are just out to make a buck and new trendsetters "characterized by morality, creativity, craftsmanship, and purposed problem solving." Other employees, investors, reporters, educators, and consumers can also influence these choices.
Oftquoted founder Jeff Hammerbacher put it this way: “The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks.”
But there are a growing number joining a "maker" culture that is focused on making a difference:
We face, as a society, incredible challenges in the coming decades: balancing social justices like healthcare with a disappearing middle class to pay for it; competing in a global market; generating better energy solutions; ensuring clean water access for large populations; solving health issues that shorten life; moving our planet towards a more sustainable environment; creating organizations and systems of management more in harmony with the human spirit; and many more.
TED2013 offers an interesting presentation by musician Amanda Palmer on the importance and art of asking and receiving.
Amanda Palmer commands attention. The singer-songwriter-blogger-provocateur, known for pushing boundaries in both her art and her lifestyle, made international headlines this year when she raised nearly $1.2 million via Kickstarter (she’d asked for $100k) from nearly 25,000 fans who pre-ordered her new album, Theatre Is Evil.