pulse and flow

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Whisper this, shout that, and make sure everyone hears the good news as quickly as possible.  Call it excitement, but whenever I hear something funny, touching, or honest, I’m anxious to share the announcement with my nearest and dearest. 

There is something oh-so soul-satisfying in sitting down (with coffee + macaroons) to ask: Did you know? If yes, what do you think? And, most importantly, what do we do about it?
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When Jon starts to snore and my mind is still racing, I watch TED to see musicians, chefs, entrepreneurs and other creatives talk about the issues closest to their heart.  I’ve seen hundreds of TED talks over the years, and it’s becoming increasingly rare that I’m inspired enough to wake Jon to see something I just watched.
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You can probably predict where this is going, but last night I saw Sarah Lewis speak about ‘the near win.’  Have you heard about the value of continuously coming in second, third, or even fourth place?

Sarah presents a compelling case for near-wins being more soul-satisfying than all-out victories.  When we pursue a task for the innate value of the activity, we’re more likely to appreciate process over product, ‘excitement over exterior labels,’ and learning over perfection.
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The near-win generates a mindset of flow and compulsion that drives us forward.  When we can see the finish line on the horizon, we’re more likely to sprint and push to make sure we get there.

A bit like the popular Sigmund Freud quote, “One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.”

20 thoughts on “pulse and flow

  1. One of my favorite phrases from this talk, “We thrive not when we have done it all, but when we still have more to do.”

    This talk really resonated with me. I find myself, so many times, almost purposely holding back from certain milestones, asking myself why it is that I take part in such a ludicrous activity, almost sabotaging my own “success”. Truth is, the success is really in stretching out towards something bigger and better, always.

    I can really identify with this in my writing. When I look back at my first few posts that I ever chose to draft, I am dumbfounded by the relative simplicity of the thoughts. I am not touched in the same way from those pieces as I am by the ones I have written more recently. But, that has shown me how I have grown and matured through the process. And that is why I keep searching for new ideas and thoughts to share. With others and with my future self, to show just how valuable the process is.

    Thanks for sharing, I love TED. I will need to remember your habits the next time I am laying wide awake staring at the ceiling, unable to sleep. There is a treasure trove of motivation and inspiration on this site 😉

  2. Thought compelling ideas, and they totally make sense. I don’t mind coming in fourth after all. 😉 I’ve never watched any TED talks, but I listen to NPR like a 90yr old retiree.

  3. In somewhat similar fashion, it’s often said that a runner can go into “post-marathon depression” because they’ve finished and… Now what? I can see how there would be value in not finishing first, because it gives you something to work toward. I’ll have to find that TED talk!

  4. when my husband starts snoring is when i find things most funny and i have to calm myself down so i dont wake him! he wakes up to tons of pins i’ve sent him throughout the night…usually silly animals!

  5. Your posts are always so chock-full of the profound Jennifer! I agree it is our struggles that we are later so grateful for and love that you make such a time (that is usually a bit frustrating) such a productive period!

  6. I love that quote so much. I find it so true – struggling through early 20’s and things life throws at you. But it’s almost exciting to think about how much the struggle can make an impact on your life and a positive difference. Everything seems to make sense as things progress forward. Great post 😀

  7. Wow – the “near win” – that sounds so inspiring! I have not heard of this TED Talk, but I definitely want to check it out after hearing how much it impacted you!

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