Productivity And The Trouble With Gurus

I read a couple unrelated blogposts today which, of course, I am piecing together in my mind. They do have something, both of them, to do with productivity. Productivity is a subject I am interested in at the moment. Should I list the posts in the order that I read them? Why would I do that? … it really doesn’t really matter. What matters is what they have to say and some ideas that the two of them sparked.

The Posts

First post, ‘Keeping Your Options Open…’

One had to do with whether keeping ever open choices, or having many options is a good thing or not.
Keeping Your Options Open Will Cost You

This post took ideas from two books and posed the question “Why are you really keeping your options open?” and whether that is a good thing or not. Author Betsy Wuebker lists these pertinent books:

One of the writers cited in the first post submits,

“…by keeping your options open with more choices, you’ve levied higher opportunity costs.”

I haven’t read the books, but I know that people who keep their options always open are frightened to close the deal on their decisions and -more often than not- in order to escape responsibility. They can feel like victims who are helplessly overrun by those who do make decisions. So the ideas caught my interest, and I started to consider them. I don’t have problems making decisions, myself, I go through a deductive sort of process, but there are times when I have difficulty knowing when a good time to close the door and take a specific direction is the best thing to do.

The difficulty is in the balance, because being quickly decisive is not always a good thing “act in haste, repent at leisure”. And yet, none of us wants to be in a constant cycle of confusion, unable to move forward; nor do we want to have expensive life failures from seeming (or being) arrogant.

If you are thinking what I am at this point, you realize that, yes, this can be complicated. Another time in which wisdom comes in handy, to steer our path in the right direction, to close doors, and/or keep them open at the best times… for relationships, for career moves, for retirement, for most of the decisions that crop up. These are often the things that make or break resolutions and goals.

The Other Post I read

From INC., 5 Trends to Ignore in 2013 posits that we don’t always have to listen to the Gurus. What must we do in investments, in blogging, in relationships, in child raising, … IN LIFE? Everyone who writes articles seems to want to establish their authority, to be the next important guru that everyone must pay attention to…. only, sometimes that is not going to work out for you. And I might suggest here that if you have lots of experts all telling you things that are musts, necessary, and urgent… you will likely be unproductive in the very area you hoped you would find your magic formula for success. It is the “too many cooks” syndrome.

Most of that last paragraph is my own thinking as inspired by a somewhat more business oriented information article. INC. simply pointed out how unnecessary some of the big trends in business are. They aren’t necessarily important for you. Which is exactly what we can apply to many voices of authority.

Although what I wouldn’t try to say is that we can figure everything out on our own, or that whatever seems right to us is just as valid as what anyone else thinks. Like it is all some homogenized cosmic palaver.

It might appear to be in certain cases, but that would likely be just a fluke… a random stroke of luck. There is true authority, actual expertise, and we would raise our chance of success and happiness if we found and followed those voices.

It all comes down…once again… to discerning what is true. That is always the big quest in life, isn’t it?

Not “what is true for you”, not “What is truth?”, but finding real truth. Gurus may not be the best way to do that. Just saying.

On My Bookshelf

Awhile ago I had started a post on this article:
Arianna Huffington, the accidental feminist. By Meghan O’Rourke – Slate Magazine

Her motivation, she explained, was to start a “fearlessness epidemic” that would transform the lives of women. Tellingly, what moved Huffington to action wasn’t merely perceived inequality but also the immediate lack of female readership at her own site. She had been surprised to find that the readership of the Huffington Post—more than 2 million visitors a month—was predominantly male. Huffington conceived of a section of the site that would deal with what seemed to her to be the primary thing holding women back: their own fears. The resulting book may be frequently banal, then, but it is banal by choice, indicative of her habit of combining the personal and the professional, the selfless and the self-interested.

Whether unfortunately or fortunately, it got lost in one of those computer snafus that seem to have happened to me with regularity this past summer. Since then I have a new “laptop cooler” to keep that from snapping off, but I still suffer from resets from either the ISP or the host server which seem to be to blame for losing posts from my desktop. And probably bad habits to boot.

But today, I was remembering this article and some of the post I had written on it. It had to do with Huffington complaining :

In On Becoming Fearless, Huffington scolds women for being careless and clueless about money (“Even in the liberated workplace of today, a surprising number of us still think that it’s the man’s job to make and understand money”).

Continue reading On My Bookshelf

Books Galore

Sozo, a good read himself, has tagged me with a book meme.

Total books owned, ever : I have a floor to ceiling bookcase, boxes of books, bookcases upstairs, piles of books in my room…. I have no idea how many I own, or how to count the ones I’ve given away ( I always give the best away:”you have to read this, here….”) I confess that I have huge numbers of childrens books….. multiple copies of A Wrinkle In Time, The Hobbit, ….

Last book I bought : 1.Tales of Edisto by Nell S Graydon ( beach reading;)
bought on a whim

2.The Lord of the Rings (the really beautifully illustrated one -trilogy in a single volume)
by J.R.R. Tolkien
bought deliberately

Last book I read :
the book I bought for the beach…

Five Books that mean a lot to me :

* the Bible ..the one necessary book for me
* the Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer,
* three small ones: The Lord of The Flies, Les Rhinosceros, Tale of Three Kings
* Boundaries by Cloud and Townsend
* The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Tag 5 people :
no, no, no…ok.

Matt, Rodney ( and see his fab new look !),John of Hootsbuddy.

That last appellation almost sound like a Renaissance name, doesn’t it? For a Renaissance man;)

It is too hard to choose any more, just 3.
I would love to see what’s on their bookshelves.


I once was an extreme bookworm… the type who always had a book handy, on the bus, walking home from school, late into the night… I just had my nose in a book most of the time.

Something happened to that. Motherhood, Adulthood. I still tried and when I first homeschooled it gave me the excuse of catching up on the childhood classics that I had somehow missed. Anne of Green Gables, The entire Laura Ingalls series, the “boys” classics such as Robinson Crusoe and The Last of The Mohicans.

That last one is an all-time favorite, now. If I were a book, I would choose that one. I would definitely not choose some of the reading matter of my teens, like Dostoyevsky. I retain the thinking, but those books are entirely too painful. They dig into the dark side, you know? But the Last of the Mohicans has the scenery and the nobility, along with romance of thinking that appeals to me. Were there ever any better men than Uncas and Chingachgook? Plus it had some really far out characters and that appeals to me, too. I tried reading this book for a book report in school at some point, but couldn’t get through it and fudged. Easy enough for me to do ( just give the teacher what they want-skim through and get the high points). But when I wanted my children to read as many of the classics as possible I bought the books, and then stayed up all night, because I couldn’t put them down.

A guide I found very helpful was called Honey For A Child’s Heart. An old book, and I am sure there are better ones now, but it guided my choices at the library, where there are scads of children’s books, and no compass to judge them by. ( Plus, as most mommies know you are keeping one eye on an erring child or two and anxious to get to your favored section and hoping that you can get it all done in the time frame of errands before you….)

Worthy Reading

Don’t miss this article. Marriage, contract, covenant, the Left, the polis:

North Western Winds: The New Social Contract?

The New Social Contract?

The covenant idea is not as crazy as it sounds. It says that children are the marriage made flesh. They cannot be undone, and neither can the marriage.

Interestingly, people who would balk at this description of marriage might willingly apply it to a nation.

NorthWestern comments on this post at The Conservative Philosopher who opines on where The Left is today.

edited to add
Curt @ North Western scores again. This time with the Feb. 15 post on gay genes and the SSM debate. If you care to read some thoughtful commentary on the issue and its social implications, read his post which ends with this

Gay genes and determinism are a bit of a red herring in the marriage debates because the question is at least as much about the nature of marriage as it is about the participants. Is it about 1) getting what I want? Is it 2) about an environment of submission and giving? Liberals generally chose option one, conservatives option two. While I favour the conservative answer, one could make a case based on getting what I want. It has logical coherence and is not subject to a revision by science.

Perhaps the solution is instituions that are couple centered and child centered, leaving the question of gay and straight out of it. This avoids the discrimination charge that some heap on the idea of a different sort of institution for gays and it keeps marriage focused on the creation of healthy new citizens in a way that the current situation does not.

It raises questions for me. I start to wonder what the real goal of this social engineering effort is really about. It is put into gay and straight terms, but it’s something that has a much wider ripple effect than merely whether one thinks that the gay lifestyle is a valid one. It is reaching down into the innards of the bond between man and wife and hastily changing all the terms and provisions.

That ought to be more scary than I think the common view of it is, presently.

The Gay community might think that it adds to its cache of social acceptance to accomplish this change in laws and social thinking. I don’t know. I do doubt that it would be so much of a catalyst for acceptance as it would be for more social confusion on what constitutes marriage and what the rights and duties of that would be under law.

That is not a statement of opinion, just the question that starts to surface in my mind.

Read Curts blog, he has a novel approach to looking at some of these issues.