Monday’s Meditation: On Fitting In Vs. Changing The World

Monday, March 20, 2017

 

We are not here to fit in, we are here to be our authentic selves.

I watched a snippet of an interview of Oprah Winfrey over the weekend, in which Oprah was recounting how she got her start on television.

At one of her first positions,  her news director at the time had evidently said, “We’re going to have to do something about that name, ’cause nobodies going to remember it or know how to pronounce it.”

Oprah had always yearned for a more normal name, a name like “Suzy,” which is what her bosses proposed. “Suzy is friendly,” they had said. “Suzy Winfrey, eyewitness news.” 

Yet when her superiors advised her to change it, the mogul decided she would, in fact, keep her name, which a global audience has had no trouble remembering, or knowing how to pronounce. 

In fact, the singularity of her name is what undoubtedly made it into a household one. She is among the select few in our society who needs no last name as a means of identification. “Winfrey” might as well be left off, or not exist at all.

__

On Shark Tank, hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their companies to the would-be investors. I am continually frustrated by the hesitation on the part of the sharks to sign on with a company that’s attempting to truly innovate. 

“You’re trying to create a whole new category,” they’ll say. “That requires a lot of work, and I just don’t think I want to do that.” 

Or: “This really involves a lot of consumer education, and I just don’t think I can get involved in that.” 

One by one, they go out.

Everyone wants a sure thing, and different, novel, and new is almost never that.

Being the same almost always seems to be easier. Most of us don’t set out to ruffle feathers or raise eyebrows. Most of us want to do important work–the work we’ve been sent here to contribute–not fight the battle of normalizing ourselves or our contribution before our work can be received. 

As a society we have just barely begun to open to the concept of celebrating our differences. Marketers, in particular, still seem intent on dumbing down their content, and on catering to the mainstream. They still seem to believe that people have neither the capacity nor the tolerance to encounter something different.

And yet, we should all know better by now. We should know by now that it is the truly original individuals and companies that manage to shake the world. We should know all it takes is to demonstrate your intentions and your authenticity in order to earn your place in people’s hearts and psyches. 

“Suppose your name had just been Mary or Jane,” the interviewer said. “It wouldn’t have worked,” Oprah replied. 

Spring Clean It: Kitchen Stove Grease

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Many of you lamented the fact that I stopped publishing my weekend assignment posts. Well, here’s a new take on an that old concept.

For the next while [until we get sick of it] [until I run out of tasks], I’m going to be ending the week with a suggestion for how to get your spring clean on. Because if there’s one thing I know for sure, other than that people’s houses are filled with clutter, it’s that people’s houses are dirty.

Dust, grime, mildew, dirt: it accumulates/grows/builds up in places most of us just don’t have time to tend to on a daily or weekly basis. But that dirt is real, nonetheless, trust

You want to know one place where it’s likely festering, getting grosser and grosser by the day? Go to your stove. Now look up. There; that inverted triangular zone above your stove.

Spring clean it: kitchen range grease.

Image credit: The Cook’s Atelier

 

Whatever you have going on therein is in firing range, and has likely been spattered with an amalgamation of cooking juices. Depending on how long its been since this task was attended to, you might have anywhere from a few dribbles to a nice, coagulated coating.

Spring clean it: kitchen range grease.

Image credit: Design by Rachel Parcell

 

We may not be able to agree on how many inches of snow constitutes a blizzard, but surely we both concur that syrupy cooking debris in your filter, on your cabinet doors, under your microwave, et. al is gross and ought to be handled.

So sign yourself up for the job or enlist the services of a housecleaner (no judgment). 

What you’ll need:

-Gloves

-A sponge/rag

-A cleanser

For expediency: a degreaser

For serious situations: an industrial degreaser

 

Who’s up to the task? 

Buying Replacements For Old Favorites? Don’t Miss This Key Step.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I know we’ve touched on this at some point or other before, but I feel it’s time to rehash the topic of replacements.

Replacing an old favorite? This step is key.

I find that, with a high tendency, people buy items meant to replace versions of things they already own that need to be relieved. That is: they’re falling apart, stained, threadbare, pilled, and generally haggard.

Except something happens, which is that these individuals don’t actually discard of the items they’ve bought replacements for. (Do you do this, too?)

Months later, I’ll sort through dish towels with a client and she’ll tell me: “I actually got these to replace those, but then just never got rid of the old ones.”

Or a client will say: “I love these shoes so much that I bought an identical pair to replace them. That’s what these are. But I just haven’t gotten around to getting rid of the old ones yet.”

The replacements, rather than replacing, become a security blanket, a kind of insurance policy.

At the root of it, I’m sure, is the acknowledgment that once a person has allowed a replacement to replace, they will then have no back-up. No stand-in waiting in the wings. They’ll be without.

And the fear of that lack, of being on the last one, of not being able to locate something they love again should they want or need it again in the future, is what causes them to continue using the haggard version for which they own a replacement.  

As we’ve talked about before, there is no point in saving the good stuff. The time is now to enjoy the best. 

And by the time you wear out your replacement, there will be some new dish towels you love better anyhow. There will be new shoes on the market that you’re obsessed with. 

So in with the replacement and out with the wretched already! 

Godspeed.