Tag Archives: Career

3 Tips to Stay Fired Up Instead of Fizzling Out

fired upLife comes at us fast. We choose whether it fires us up or fizzles us out. Here are two stories to make the point and then to share some comments in how to stay fired up – passionate – energized in life.

Story one. Fizzled out.

A friend of mine tries to do it all. Someplace in her thinking she feels she is supposed to be supermom, super-employee, super-friend, super-problemsolver, super-cook and super-spouse. She has a personal requirement to be all these – her choice. She comes from a family of high performers where they constantly assess and judge each other based on the things they do. Huge pressure. Lately I have seen the normally fire-filled eyes with gray shadows – she is fizzling out – losing her inner passion, fire and energy. Instead of showing up big to any of these roles, she is now just barely keeping up, disappointed with herself, with others and with the world. Fizzled out.

Story two. Fired Up.

Another friend of mine is a talented speaker who has a high-activity life. It is not unusual for him to be in two or three cities in a week. Between his writing and speaking, he is on the go all the time. He is fired up, passionate, excited and energized by what he does for work. But to keep this pace and to keep the internal fire burning, he has built some effective and practical “stay fired up” habits.

  1. Gratitude. Always start each day or event with a thought of gratitude. Each moment of each day has blessings in them if we choose to see them. By taking the time to appreciate the greatness and “amazingness” of each moment, we fuel our internal fire. Gratitude is a fire builder.
  2. Breathe. Take a breath anytime we feel too busy, confusing or chaotic. In this moment, we improve our clarity about our situation. This creates the ability for our next moment to be wiser, saner and more effective. Stop things even for a fraction of a second to see more clearly. This can help us pace ourselves to feel more in control, less defeated and therefore more fired up.
  3. Self-talk. Have positive self-talk. Most of the chatter in our minds is critical, non-supportive and judgmental. Noticing that chatter and realigning it to be kind, gentle and supportive is the way to rekindle our passion for what we are doing. That critical “committee” in our head is a fizzle maker. Tell the noisy voices in your head to sit down and shut up (I know that sound severe but sometimes our committees only respond. Then, without the noise, you can take a breath, be grateful and reconnect to your inner fire.

A single dad friend of mine used to say to his kids as he got them into bed (and help them to stay there instead of wanting this and that and making the bedtime process take hours), “When you stay in bed it gives me time to be ready to be a great dad to you tomorrow.” We all need to develop our personal habits to allow the time to plug back into our power source – to have greatness habits that fire up the passion for life, the passion for people and the passion for our work.

Our world can wear us out. Actually, we allow our world to wear us out. Since we choose how we respond to the things that life sends us, we could also choose to stay fired up. We could choose to feed our internal fire by connecting to our passions, being more present in what we choose to do and to appreciate what is instead of noticing what is missing. It takes awareness. It takes practice. It requires building some fired up habits.

What feeds your soul and energizes you to love life and feel connected to it? What can you do each day to do more of this? What makes you feel empty, tired and disconnected? What can you change to do less of this? Fired up or fizzled out. It’s always a choice – our choice.

***

If you like Jay’s post check out these similar intents on Intent.com

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photo by: matthewvenn

Grow Beyond Your Self-Imposed Limitations and Thrive!

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By Jay Forte

Walking through the neighborhood the other day, a dog came running off the front porch and ran right to the edge of the property. He stopped obviously aware of some special force field that marked his perimeter. I could see the sign for the invisible fence – that signal that is sent out to help dogs know their boundaries.

This got me thinking. We each have an “invisible fence” – we call it our limits. We know when we get close to the limits because something emotional, painful, fearful or otherwise intense and emotional surfaces. We then treat that feeling as a limit – a place we stay away from. But little do we know that if we push past that spot, we would see that it creates an entirely new area for us to be part of – larger, grander and greater than we ever knew existed because we have been limited by our invisible fence.

So what creates our fences? It is our life experiences – the events, conversations, school, traditions and beliefs that have created who we are at this exact moment. But none of these have to be true – they are just what we think are true. Like the dog with the collar that is afraid of the potential for shock, we stay away from things that we think, based on our assumptions, interpretations or limiting beliefs, will hurt or scare us.

What if instead we saw our world without fences – invisible or otherwise? What if we were to start to see that we have unlimited potential instead of being limited?

I truly believe we have the ability to be extraordinary in some things in life – things that we have previously told ourselves we shouldn’t even try, shouldn’t expect, or won’t succeed at. We are each gifted with unique talents, strengths and passions that allow us to be amazing at some things. To discover our areas of greatness, we must walk to our “fences” to see that there is no charge, no hurt – just some fear; in most cases we simply had a story about how it would be.

I was told how anxiety-provoking public speaking is. In fact, the story we tell ourselves is that we fear speaking in front of others more than death. So we perpetuate the “fence” – speaking is frightening. I truly felt that through all my years in school until I had to speak to my class. I loved it. It was easy for me. I understand that for some people it may be difficult but how do we know if we are afraid to approach our fences – our limits – and see whether they are true or imagined? Most of our fences we can move past – we just need to muster the courage to try.

A full and great life is about moving past our fences – our self-imposed limits. We start life with few if any fears; we then learn them as we move though life. Instead of trying things and pushing our limits, we learn to clearly define our limits, and once established, not challenge them. It may show as being raised in one particular faith and being afraid to quest for greater wisdom by investigating others. Or, that we are told that our tradition is to celebrate a holiday in a particular way, and we continue it year after year without ever trying something new. Or, we work in jobs that we don’t really like but are afraid to try our own business or work in roles that we are passionate about. We build fences to protect ourselves from the unknown. And the result is they limit how great our lives can be.

What a joy it is to run free in life – to be able to go in all directions – to try things out, examine life, and see what amplifies our spirits. Thirty-five percent of Americans openly admit that they never live their potential; they have built the fences that keep their lives small. They don’t run free. They worry. They fear. They think that coloring in the lines and living within the fences is the way to do life. That is actually more of a formula to miss out on life.

Just for today, challenge your fences. Most of them are imaginary. And instead of seeing fear, see your life without fences – without limitations – living your potential – changing your world. Then, with courage, inspire others to move past their fences.

5 Inspirations to Have a Creative Weekend!

Artsy FartsyHave you ever had the experience of working on something you’re so immersed in that you completely forget the million other things you “should” be doing in that moment? Maybe it’s a song you’re figuring out on guitar, or a homemade birthday card, or even an elaborate doodle. And then the thought creeps in… “I really should be doing homework,” or “I really should be folding that laundry.”

Well you know what? That is precisely the time when you should keep doing what you’re doing. It’s called flow, and it is the most critical aspect of the creative process.

The development of creativity and engagement with creative practices is a major aspect of occupational therapy – a field which aims to support clients in whole-person wellness goals. The practice is incredibly effective especially for treating clients with physical or developmental conditions, but it is often also used to support individuals in the daily pursuits of success and happiness in their careers, relationships, health, and life goals.

Creativity in this space is viewed as one of the most essential factors to building confidence and self-esteem, so essential to realizing the success we aspire toward. Even beyond that, the act of creating is so different from the activities most of us engage with most regularly. And this allows us to transcend our “box”, push our comfort zones, and leap into a field of possibility!

Here are 5 ways to inspire your creativity this weekend:

36 Surprising Ways to Boost Creativity for Free (Greatist)

How to Master Both Sides of Creativity (Positively Positive)

How Seizing Your Limitations Can Be the Key to Creativity (Upworthy)

Deepak Chopra On Maintaining Creativity As You Age (Blisstree)

5 Rainbow Color Tricks to Jumpstart Creativity (Mind Body Green)

 

What creative projects are you looking forward to this weekend? Let us know in the comments section!

Does Being Happy Make You More Successful?

Most people believe that being successful will lead to greater happiness and sense of fulfillment. This is most likely true. But it is also true, believe it or not, that happiness can lead to greater productivity and increased success.

Don’t believe us? Then watch this video from Soulpancake’s “Science of Happiness” series. It’s super scientific…sort of.

Studies have shown that happiness can lead to increased success in many aspects of a person’s life – career, relationships, health and more. Workers who are happy and satisfied on the whole perform better than their less happy peers, the result of which undoubtedly leads to yet more happiness. It’s a never-ending cycle of good feelings, and it’s about time we all jumped on the train!

One important thing Julian (the “scientist” from the video) forgot to point out, is the role human connection plays in boosting our happiness. Not only did the happy group have primers to put them in a good mood, but they were given these treats and delights by another human being. The kindness they receive through these gifts – the candies, snacks, and cute video – probably acted like a shot of love straight to their hearts. It’s a good reminder that sometimes the quickest road to happiness is through reaching out to others and receiving their love in return.

Just our two cents. :)

What do you think? Does success lead to happiness or does happiness lead to success?

Stop Talking Yourself Out of Your Own Greatness

Priska climbing the classic Star CheckRecently, as I found myself sitting in front of my laptop, tapping away at the final touches of my book  proposal, I’ve drifted away from my usual writer’s bliss and instead have been, oh you know, totally freaking out! You see, the deadline to submit the proposal to my dream publisher, Hay House, as part of the contest they’re holding for participants of last April’s ‘Writing from Your Soul’ conference is quickly approaching. And, wouldn’t you know, all of a sudden, my ego is totally tripping out on me! “Who would even want to read my book” “What are the odds of getting picked with over 500 others in attendance?” “I bet there are some pretty amazing book ideas out there.” As I’ve allowed these thoughts to creep into my brain, they have literally taken over, sucking the creativity and joy out of what is usually one of my most favorite activities, writing!!  I even started creeping into the “why bother?” territory. Yikes!

With just a little over a month away to finish up, fine-tune, and put my best step forward, I didn’t have time for this self-sabotage crapola and needed to snap out of it, stat! Through all of my spiritual work, deep down, I know that this is just the fearful illusion of my ego, trying to keep me “safe.” In reality, I don’t truly believe this crazy-talk deep inside. At first I thought it was fear of failure or fear of rejection. Then, I realized that it was a much deeper fear. All of a sudden, I had an a-ha moment as I heard Marianne Willamson’s voice in my head with her world famous quote:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Yes, this absolutely rings true! I was on the brink of psyching myself out into playing small. We all do this. It really is our own light that frightens us the most.

You see, all I’ve ever wanted to do is be a writer. When deciding what to major in college, I shied away from pursuing writing as a career because I didn’t see how I could make a living at it. I chose a different path to pay my bills. But, in more recent years, I have been strongly guided towards it again. It truly feel it is my calling. I’ve amassed a lot of experiences and wisdom through the years in my entrepreneurial and life adventures and through my spiritual studies, which has all helped me tremendously with my own personal growth and transformation. I feel that it is my duty to share this information as I know it can help so many others as well.  And, through my blogging, I’ve made so many beautiful connections with readers and affirmed this truth. So, I had to give myself a little Marianne Williamson-esque, “who are you not to be a writer?”

I share this story with you because I want you to be aware of your own potential greatness! But, also to be aware of your own negative self-talk that will try so hard to snuff out your fire. You are meant to shine, baby!! We all are. And by shining your light, you are helping others to do the same.

Try these 4 steps that I used to put a muzzle on my own negative chatter:

  1. Be the observer. Instead of owning these thoughts as if they came from you, “I won’t win” “I can’t do it” — take on the role of observer, as if somebody else is saying them to you. This is called separating yourself from your ego. While the ego may have good intentions of keeping us safe, instead it keeps us living in fear and not taking chances or reaching our full potential. That voice is not who we really are!

  2. Notice how silly it can be. As I listened to my ego voice as an observer, I actually giggled out loud. “Where do you come up with this stuff? You aren’t very nice!,” I thought to myself. Then, I said, “thank you for trying to protect me, but I’ve got this.”

  3. Channel your Marianne Williamson. ”Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Remember this line always. Seriously, who are you not to be?! Print it out and put it somewhere you can always see it. You are not alone. We all go through this, but you can rise above. You are meant for greatness!

  4. Remember who you really are. For me, I had to remind myself of my deep passion for writing. Also, I am not doing this for me, but I feel a calling to share information to help others. I’m not doing myself or the world any justice by copping out. Same applies to you! The world needs what you have to offer. Don’t hold back!

Finally, after doing all of the above, I sat down with more focus and clarity then I have had in a long time. The words just flowed out of me. I reconnected with my purpose. I might not be good at a lot of things, but writing is definitely my calling..

And, of course, this does not mean I am a shoe-in for the Hay House prize by any means. But, winning or losing this contest is not what matters most. It’s about pushing through personal boundaries. And, at the end of next month, I will have a completed book proposal. That is a big deal for me, regardless of the outcome. I will continue to push towards my dreams, silencing my own negative chatter along the way.

What about you? Can you think of a time when you were talking yourself out of your own greatness? How did you get back on track? Have you ever missed out on an opportunity because of your own inner-critic? We can all learn from each other and would love to hear from you in the comments below!

For more from Dawn, check out www.dawngluskin.com and join her inspiring Facebook community

3 Ways to Make Your Life Story One That Empowers You

leap“Don’t allow your situation to become your world.” – Bishop T.D. Jakes from Oprah’s Life Class

We all have a story. Sometimes it explains why we can’t do something and other times our story propels us forward.

I’ve heard cases where people have the same story — such as lack of money, resources, or knowledge — and one person eventually starts a successful business while the other is out of work and depressed. One story can lead to completely opposite interpretations and outcomes.

When you tell your story, you must…

1. Be honest about your story and stick to the facts.
Nothing more nor less!

2. Create the story that empowers you to move forward.
Never lower your standards!

3. Live your truth.
Establish non-negotiables!

“Does your story empower you or dis-empower you?” – Tony Robbins

We all have stories in different areas of our life. The facts are always available. The only thing that changes is how we interpret them and how we decide to embellish them.

Let’s look at three situations in different areas of your life…

1. Health

Facts: You have two kids, time is in limited supply, and you want to spend time with your kids.

Your Story: You can’t get in shape because you have kids and don’t have time.

OR

Truth: You must prioritize exercising because you want to stay healthy and be around to enjoy your children for many years.

2. Career

Facts: Your career is unfulfilling and you would like to be happy in your job.

Your Story: You can’t leave your job which is un-fulfilling because you will never find another job and you have no other skills.

OR

Truth: You need to move outside your comfort zone to learn new skills and find a job that makes your happy and allows you to share your strengths.

3. Relationships

Facts: You grew up in a dysfunctional home.

Your Story: You can’t have a good relationship because you grew up in a dysfunctional home.

OR

Truth: Surrounding yourself with stable people and creating a positive environment are important elements to have in your life because you did not have either when you were growing up.

Often, my clients have different stories for different areas of their lives. For example, one amazing and successful client has a can-do mindset in business and athletics. In his career, he believes he can close any deal and handle the most difficult clients. In the area of healthy living/athletics, he has the courage to go after his goals and compete in various triathlon competitions with no limits. However, in his relationships, he has the story that he’s had really bad luck and is not cut out for intimate relationships. Although relationships are challenging for all of us, I challenge his story line.

The one thing I know for sure, as Oprah likes to say, is that sticking to the facts opens you up to a more powerful story and outcome. If you have had relationships or jobs that weren’t fulfilling, then say that. Your story is not permanent. Focus on what you want to bring into your life and why it’s important. Create the story that empowers you forward.

Often you have to challenge your conclusions and ask yourself if they are true. Does it really make sense that you can make anything in your career and healthy living a reality, yet relationships elude you? How much time do you spend on the areas you are successful in versus the ones you would like to have different results in? Your story must be the truth. This is the only way to create a top 1% path and share your best self.

 

Originally published April 2012

Now. Here. This. – How to Stay Present to Your Purpose

be present.By Jay Forte

How present are we?

Most of us move through life entirely unaware – we move from thing to thing with little intention and focus. At the end of the day we fall into bed, barely remembering what happened during the day.

What if, instead, we truly showed up to each moment? Now. Here. This. (Right) now. (Right) here. This (exact moment).

See, each moment has the two things we need most:

  1. Our actual life.

  2. Information.

By being present and conscious in each moment, we fully connect with our lives. We experience what life shares with us – we are really part of life. After all, what other purpose do we have in life other to be present and experience it? Letting it pass by without really noticing seems a terrible waste of something so amazing.

The other important thing that happens in each moment is we gather information. As we show up present to each moment of our lives, we learn about life, ourselves and how we fit. The more information we have, the better our choices and the more amazing our lives.

I regularly say in my workshops that we were not born with an owner’s manual; at birth we don’t know what we are good at, passionate about and what matters to us. For this information, we need to intentionally show up to each day of our lives because we gather this information as we live. We learn what we rock at and stink at. We learn what moves us and bores us. We can see places of interest and adventure and places that we want to stay away from. All of this is in front of us in every moment. But we have to be present in order to see it, be part of it and learn from it. Now, here, this has all the information that we need to know how to be able to choose wisely in all aspects of work and life.

When we don’t take the time to discover what we are good at, are passionate about and what matters to us, we are unclear of what makes us unique and different. Without this information, our lives start to look like others’ lives instead of our own.

When we don’t know what our voice says (because we haven’t tuned in to now, here, this), then we take others’ voices on as ours. This will always lead us to others’ roads in life. As I tell my three daughters, if you see footprints on your road in life, you are likely on someone else’s road. Reconnect to now, here, this and get back on your road.

Life constantly presents each of us with everything we need; we just don’t seem to see what it offers. Most of the time it is because we are rushing and don’t make time for information and experiences that are right in front of us. Slow it down and all of a sudden life opens up. Slow it down to see what is right in front of us.

My father used to say that life is not a superhighway – it is a meandering path. Though the shortest distance may be between two points, life is not about getting someplace quickly; it is about the quality of the experiences while on the road. The meandering path gives different views at each turn; every event is larger, more interesting and has more to see and learn. But to enjoy the view you have to tune in – you have to make the time to be present, aware and conscious. You have to be in the now, the here and the this.

Showing up present not only is how we experience life, but it is also how we gather information to improve how we experience life. We have everything we need – it is always in front of us. We just need to train ourselves to slow things down to be part of it. So what’s the rush if all we do is get faster to someplace in work or life that doesn’t fit us?

Now. Here. This. Pay attention to right now. Be right here. Watch this. These are the steps to both learn about and experience a great and terrific life.

5 Ways to Transform Regret into Healing

Love Shines Through The Darkness free creative commonsRegret is like clutter. It can mess up your mind with tiny cumulative details creating cobwebs in the brain which darken your thoughts. Similar to managing physical clutter, periodically you take inventory of regrets to let go of what weighs you down, obscures your space and makes you feel stuck. Moreover, as soon as you throw out the first element of clutter, you feel better. This immediate gratification spurs you to continue.

However, don’t regret that you feel regret. Your regrets serve a vital purpose: They bear witness to your personal evolution, how you have grown from your past mistakes. You are now a better person with more experience to overcome and succeed. Note that every stressor which you conquer makes you stronger. The goal is to go stronger, longer.

5 typical patterns of regret which can power up your personality:

1. You regret breaking up or losing touch with a previous love because of bad timing or an error in judgment. The good thing about love – whether lost or won – is that you can always hold it in your heart. And your heart is big enough to love many people, expanding your spirit with their best attributes. You are sure to encounter another love with whom you will inevitably connect. Your regret will make you ready!

2. You regret not telling a loved one who has passed away how much you loved him or her. You feel guilty not having done enough for this person, particularly a parent. Challenge these irrational thoughts. Your regret is actually grief. No one teaches people how to lose, only to amass and possess. Consequently, loss is hard. Give yourself permission to grieve without a time limit. When I feel regret about my parents’ death, I dedicate a good thought, recall a funny conversation or anecdote from my parents to recall their memory in a positive frame.

3. You regret a career road not taken. Perhaps, you did not pursue a higher education, or make a bold career change. Most people put too much emphasis on being extraordinary and often have unreasonable expectations about success. If it is feasible to pursue a passion or longing, do so now. My friend Delia left a career in computer science and took out student loans to become an ER physician. If you cannot take a new career path at this point in time, reinvent and revitalize your job to see it in a larger context. For example, my friend Antonio loves his job as a postal clerk because he gets to greet and say something nice to the people tired of waiting on line. He feels like a spiritual transformer.

4. You regret not having your say. You feel that you should have said “___.” Most likely you were trying to please others. What a relief to remove your mask, and speak your natural truth! Unleash your natural energy to get back in balance between doing for others and yourself.

5. You regret cheating someone. Often people who cheat, lie, or fool someone feel happy that they got away with it. However, when your cheating causes hurt, then you will most likely feel regret. Confessing and making amends are the ultimate spiritual cleanse. The next best thing is learning from your mistake and changing for the better.  Undoubtedly, you will be vigilant about acting with integrity and will find a way to give back to your community.

Meet the Boy Who Invented Email

personal-statement-by-vashiva

Article shared with Intent by VA Shiva Ayyadurai

Celebrate the Power of Intent on the Anniversary of Email’s Invention  

August 30 marked the anniversary of the invention of email, created by a 14-year-old boy in 1978. His name is VA Shiva Ayyadurai, an Indian-American immigrant, and he is the inventor of email.

The power of intent is what allowed that young boy, in 1978, working in Newark, NJ, to create email — the same power that created the light bulb, the phone, the airplane, and everything we see around us.

The journey of that 14-year-old  provides a wonderful example of that power of intent, and what can occur when intent exists, and when it does not. Today, at the age of 49, I want to share that boy’s story, because it is no longer my story, it is everyone’s story who cares to see a better world where all of us have an equal chance to express our power to create and innovate — activities, which I believe are the ultimate expression of the life force within all of us.

Prior to 1978, There Was No Intent to Create Email

Prior to 1978, email did not exist. Email did not exist because the intent to create email did not exist. In fact, most researchers and inventors at big institutions thought it was impossible to create email, so they did not even make an attempt.

This lack of intent is crystal clear, expressed unequivocally in the RAND Report, written on December of 1977, which summarized the state of the art of research in electronic text messaging:

At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system. The fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs. (Crocker, D., December, 1977)

The “inter-organizational” or the interoffice mail system was the system used by nearly every office in the world to receive, process and transmit paper-based communications.

This was a complex system of interconnected parts consisting of the now familiar Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Files, Address Book, the Memo (“To:”, “From:”, “Subject:”, “Date:”, “Cc:”, “Bcc:”), Attachments, Return Receipt, Forwarding, Composing, Sorting, and much more, we see in modern email systems. CEOs, secretaries, accountants, and a variety of staff with differing expertise used this system, without which any office could simply not operate.

Prior to 1978, dating all the way to the Morse code telegraph of the 1800s, people were intent on creating systems for the simple exchange of text messages, like SMS, instant messaging, early predecessors of Twitter using the “@” symbol. There was, however, no intent “to emulate”, the interoffice mail system.

Intent Leads to the Creation of Email

In the summer of 1978, 14-year-old Shiva had just completed an intensive immersion program at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University (NYU), where he learned seven computer programming languages, including FORTRAN. Following this, he was bored and was planning on dropping out of high school, much to the concern of his parents Vellayappa and Meenakshi Ayyadurai.

His mother, intent to see her son stay in school, realized he needed to be challenged. She introduced him to Dr. Leslie P. Michelson of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, NJ.

Dr. Michelson provided Shiva a challenge: Create the electronic version of the interoffice mail system then in use at UMDNJ. This was something that researchers had found “impossible” and had made “no attempt” to pursue.

This challenge became Shiva’s intent and obsession. From this intent, Shiva envisioned an electronic system, which would contain all parts of the interoffice mail system. He envisioned a system that would be easy-to-use, so people of “differing expertise” could transition from typewriter, paper memos and files, to an electronic equivalent.

Using the FORTRAN language, he wrote 50,000 lines of code to create that system. What emerged in 1978 was the first version of this system. He called this system, “email”, a term that had never been used before, and was not so obvious then.

In 1980, the Copyright laws were amended so software inventions could be protected. Shiva applied in 1981. On August 30, 1982, he was awarded the first US Copyright for “email”, “computer program for electronic mail system.”

August 30, therefore, is the official anniversary of the invention of email.

The Reaction to the Power of Intent

For some, the power of intent can be threatening, for it demonstrates that creation can occur anytime, anyplace by anybody, beyond the control of a few.

On February 16, 2012, Shiva’s papers, computer code, artifacts, demonstrating the invention of email were accepted into the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) at a special donation ceremony.

Following the Smithsonian ceremony, industry insiders, including those who had forgotten they had authored the RAND Report, unleashed a series of vicious attacks. For over 30 years, Shiva neither attempted to profit from nor promote his invention. When the Smithsonian news came out, industry insiders were threatened.

Why?

Starting in early 2000, these industry insiders supportive of Raytheon/BBN, a multi-billion dollar defense contractor, had begun to rewrite history that their work in electronic text messaging, created prior to 1978 was “email”. The purpose of this was to ensure their place in history, as well as to create a false brand as “inventors of email,” which would guarantee them lucrative cyber-security contracts in a highly competitive industry.

However, facts are facts. Email, the electronic version of the interoffice mail system, which Shiva created, and the term “email,” he coined, did not exist prior to 1978.

Experts and insiders cannot simply alter the facts by shouting louder, because it is to their benefit.

Celebrate the Invention of Email

As Noam Chomsky reminded everyone during the height of the attacks on Shiva last year:

The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve.

As we reflect on the anniversary of the invention of email, let us celebrate the facts of that 14-year-old boy’s creation in 1978, which are now here for all us to understand and to reflect upon. For in doing so, we celebrate our children and ourselves.

This celebration is particularly needed in today’s world, where we need to move beyond old and false narratives, that only a few, in big institutions, large universities and big companies, can create.

His journey is ultimately our journey.

Celebrate the anniversary of the invention of email!

* * *

VA Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D., the inventor of email, is a systems scientist, inventor, author, and entrepreneur, who holds four degrees from MIT and is a Fulbright Scholar, Lemelson-MIT Awards Finalist and Westinghouse Science Honors Award recipient. In 1978, at the age of 14, he invented email, the electronic version of the interoffice email system, while working as a research fellow at the former University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), now Rutgers Medical School, in Newark, NJ. In 1993, he invented EchoMail, a technology platform for managing large volumes of inbound customer service email as well as for outbound marketing email. In 2003, he invented CytoSolve for mathematically modeling complex molecular pathways of the human cell, towards providing a new in silico paradigm for drug development. As an educator, he has created Systems Health a new curriculum for medical practitioners that integrates eastern and western systems of medicine, and teaches Systems Visualization at MIT. He serves on the Board of several companies and is also the founder of Innovation Corps, a project of the not-for-profit International Center for Integrative Systems, which aims to provide a new vehicle for youth to convert their ideas to innovations and tangible businesses.

The Best and Worst Advice I Ever Got in College About Work

.Labor Day Weekend in Boston means two things. Most working people with the day off flee, emptying the streets, taking to the highways, and soaking up the long weekend somewhere outside city environs, preferably with ocean or mountains and without discarded couches littering the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, most students from the city’s many universities (and recent grads from schools everywhere) are moving in, bloating the streets with their moving trucks and subjecting their dads to too many flights of stairs. (A retroactive and eternal thank you to my own father who did this countless times, including when he hoisted a table through a window to fit into a tiny Cambridge apartment, after cutting my box spring in half so that we could maneuver it up the stairway and reassemble it once in my new room. One could say I learned a thing or two about patience and problem-solving from that guy).

This year, I fell into neither category. I’m a long way from college, and I just moved this winter and don’t plan to do it again anytime soon. I no longer subject Dad to being Macgyver on moving days; I spring for movers. I also labored on Labor Day, teaching yoga to a packed house of enthusiastic, sweaty, come-and-get-me-September yogis at Inner Strength Studio. I planned for a video shoot with Runner’s World magazine this weekend. I did a little writing.

Yet, the momentum around me got me thinking about labor and the best and worse advice I got about work while in college. Two key moments come to mind, both of which occurred while I was choosing my major. English.

And I’d choose the same way if I were to do it all over again. Despite getting advice like the following, from the father of a young girl I tutored regularly as a side job. I remember the scene in their impressive Virginia home well. The older son was on the verge of an exciting milestone: his bar mitzvah, and the living room in which I helped his younger sister with reading and writing was overrun by elaborate party favors. I wouldn’t see this many gift bags again until my time as a marketing executive at Boston magazine, while planning massive events like its annual Best of Boston party.

“You have to think about the things you want to have and figure out the job you can do to get those things.”

At this, he motioned around the beautiful home at the things his work had materialized. I didn’t argue. He made a valid point. It was a beautiful home, and they were a lovely family. They seemed happy. If you want a nice home, you have to work to get it. This much I knew, and it’s in my DNA to work hard anyway. But I disagreed with other aspects of his statement. The pursuit of things wasn’t going to inspire me to study subjects about which I didn’t care or in which I didn’t excel. And who’s to say that once I got these things, I’d be happy?

Thank you, sir. Have a wonderful time at the bar mitvah. Little Sally, nail that spelling test, girlfriend.   

Needless to say, this was the worst advice I ever got.

The best came from my friend, Doc, one year behind me in school but infinitely wiser in many ways. He became a bit of an urban legend in the English department at the University of Richmond. First, he was male, and they were hard to come by in our course of study. Second, his memory borders on photographic. For the first few weeks of September during the fall that we met, I thought he was a total slacker. He never took notes, while I busily detailed everything our professor said. He seemed a little aloof, sitting back in his chair and occasionally glancing out the window at the blossoming trees outside. Why was he even in this class, I thought, my body pitched forward so that I wouldn’t miss anything. Craning myself closer to the Shakespeare lecture would obviously implant the information into my brain more effectively.

When we ended up in a study group together, the other girls and I expressed skepticism before his arrival… until he showed up and schooled the sh** out of us by remembering pretty much every lecture, quotation, theme, historical context, cross-reference, and footnote we’d covered that semester. Thus, Doc became my new best friend—and the source of the best work advice I ever got in college.

“College is not job training. When you get a job, they’ll train you. College is for studying what you love, enjoy, and want to think critically about. It’s about learning and learning how to learn—so that you can learn to be an expert at what you choose to do.”

I’m paraphrasing of course. I don’t have Doc’s memory.

So, I chose English. I minored in Women’s Studies. I was a class shy of an Economics minor, and if there’d been a major in Eastern Philosophy and Religion at the time, I’d probably have that too. I loved these courses, and they led me to work in industries I enjoyed, including education, marketing, media, and, yes, yoga, until merging what I enjoyed most and was best at into my work today.

The way my brain functions is no doubt influenced by how it learned to organize and convey information learned in college. However, the world changes drastically over a lifetime, and the best career investment one can make is the desire to work hard and tirelessly on a chosen path. The quickest way to burn out and become miserable is to work at something you don’t like for things that can’t make you happy.

I don’t have a lot of things, but I have all the things I need, which means that in a weird way both pieces of advice worked for me. Or, better yet, I worked for them.

What do you think? What’s the best or worst career advice you’ve ever gotten? What did you study in college, and how has it moved you through life?  

Originally published on my website, Om Gal.
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