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Roll Over Beethoven!

At a recent performance of Johannes Brahms’s First Symphony, the conductor told how, when Brahms was just starting out, the elder composer Robert Schumann praised him to the high heavens. Here’s the story: Brahms was only twenty years old and as yet little known….Robert expressed his admiration first in a letter to Joachim, and then […]

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Nope, "Perfectionism in Moderation" Isn't a Good Thing

Writer Lindsay Ellis recently tweeted about imposter syndrome (where you think you aren't up to the task, have everyone fooled, and are destined to be revealed as a horrible fraud). Unfortunately, she gets it wrong. She writes: "Because the thought patterns that lead to imposter syndrome need not always be a net negative - on […]

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Nonperfectionism in a Single Sentence

Nothing is as humbling, to a writer, anyway, as when you've used a lot of words to say something, and then someone comes along and nails it in a single sentence. But also nothing is more of a gift, so I guess it evens out. 🙂 It happened to me with my book The Lifelong Activist. […]

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The Difference Between High Standards and Perfectionism

Where does "high standards" end and perfectionism begin? When it starts to cost you. A recent New York Times piece by Karen Crouse recounts the trials of figure skater Gracie Gold, an Olympic contender who suffered mental illness, including eating disorders, in large part from the pressures of competing.  Gold's perfectionism, according to the article, […]

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Now Do an Email Sprint With Me

Here’s another good technique: email sprints. Take a clicker* and use it to keep track while sending out ten QUICK emails in rapid succession. I love doing email sprints. You can fit them easily in between other tasks and they clear out your inbox like nothing else. Sprinting also gives you a wonderful little productivity […]

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The Conversation You Have With Your Work

Creative / scholarly work is actually a conversation between yourself (your ideas, emotions, perceptions) and your materials and influences. Or, as glass artist Davide Penso recently put it in an interview in Glass Art Magazine: "I didn't and don't presume to work in glass, but to support it and assign it the task of molding […]

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An Extreme Exercise in Nonperfectionism!

A fun exercise for overcoming perfectionism is to send emails with intentional errors and silliness in them. You're basically practicing toleratting your errers, and having others see those errers. (It also helps with time management because once you stop trying to perfect every email you save a lot of time. And yes, of course I […]

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Thunder Tea Saga

So, Jan and I were treated by Professor Henry Horng-Shing Lu (provost of National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu, Taiwan, where Jan is a visiting professor) to a visit to Beipu, a traditional Hakka village. Hakka are descendants of mainland Chinese settlers who came to Taiwan over the past few hundred years prior to the […]

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Scooter Dogs (Hsinchu, Taiwan)
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Back from Taiwan! And some great links!

Dear Friend, My books and coaching will help anyone get a strong start in 2019 - both make excellent gifts! (Coaching hours usable for up to a year after purchase, and you can be located anywhere.) I recently got back from two fantastic weeks in Taiwan, where I visited my partner, currently a visiting professor at National Chiao Tung […]

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