Archives for February 2007

Because Voting Isn't Enough: Ten Easy Pieces

Living one's values can seem a daunting task, especially if those values are outside the mainstream, or you're struggling just to earn a living. That's why this list of ten relatively easy things you can do to change the world is so welcome. It's from the Small Planet Institute, the brainchild of Frances Moore Lappe, who wrote the seminal guide to socially-responsible eating, Diet for a Small Planet, and her daughter Anna. The list includes: eat locally and organic, buy locally, support fair trade, get a "diverse media diet," host a teach-in, and get involved in a cause. Just don't get all perfectionist about it and think you've failed if you haven't done all ten. Doing any of the ten is way better than doing none of them. Tackle them one at a time, and pull back if you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed. I particularly like the diverse media diet" suggestion, which means getting your news and other information not just from the usual sources but from alternative sources such as the liberal magazines … [Read more...]

Solving Problems vs. Dithering Over Them

Q. In your talk, you discussed the importance of solving problems as opposed to dithering over them. What's the difference, and what exactly does dithering mean? A. Solving a problem means taking specific actions that lead to change. These include observing the problem, precisely defining it, developing a strategy to solve it, testing the strategy, refining the strategy, implementing the strategy, and evaluating success. Dithering includes all the _other_ things you do about your problems, including worrying, feeling guilty, beating yourself up, complaining to family and friends, and feeling sorry for yourself. Dithering is pernicious. It offers the illusion that you are solving your problem, so that you don’t have to feel guilty for ignoring it. It also offers the illusion that you are making progress, so that you don’t have to feel like you’ve given up hope. But dithering doesn’t really solve your problem. The hallmark of dithering is that, no matter how long or seriously you do it, the … [Read more...]