MORE FUN THAN ONE

MORE FUN THAN ONE

Starting is a series of events.  You decide to walk to Cleveland and you aim to do it on your own two feet – no bike, no bus, no train, no plane or helicopter…not even a hot-air balloon.  You’re going to walk to Cleveland.

So you take a first step in the right direction.  That’s starting.  At the end of the day, however far you’ve gotten, you might stop at a hotel and rest.  And what happens the next morning?  Either you quit this silly project, decide you’d rather ride, or you start again…walking to Cleveland.

directions
“Directions” by Beat Tschanz via Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

Up close and personal on this long walk, you’ll start to get the underlying idea after a while.  What you’ll figure out is that every step you take on this long-haul journey is a new beginning.

Every time you take another step you are reaffirming your commitment to your goal and you are making another start.  All the way to Cleveland.  (The trick, of course, is to keep going until you get there.)

But, doing the walk all by yourself can be a long and lonely trip.  A companion or two makes the journey much more fun.  A whole tribe could get downright lively on the road trip.

Entrepreneurial thought leader Seth Godin wrote a book, TRIBES:  We Need You to Lead Us, that talks about how tribes have formed down through the ages.  He shows you how to develop as a leader of one.

Any group of people can become a tribe.  Who knows, maybe you can grow your own and take them along on your journey.  This book could point you in the right direction.

IT’S MORE FUN WHEN THERE’S MORE THAN ONE

Another entrepreneur, Derek Sivers, is best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby, the online CD store for independent music-makers.  He’s also well-known for a TED talk he did that went viral in 2010, “How To Start a Movement.”

During his talk he used a video of a guy in the crowd doing a silly dance at the 2009 Sasquatch Music Festival as a metaphor for his talking points.

The advice contained in the talk is not earth-shattering.  It is, in fact, a bit simplistic, but it did get people thinking about “lone-nut leaders” and how they get validation if they can attract the right guy to follow their lead.

It’s the “first-follower,” Sivers says, who actually shows the rest of the people how to follow and how to join in the fun.

Three years later, Phil Yanov, a technology columnist and public radio commentator, did a TEDx talk in Greenville, SC called, “Bang a Drum.  Build a Tribe.  Start a Movement.”

Yanov takes the idea a little further in his talk.  He gives you three steps to get you off your duff:

  • Find YOUR one true song. (He tells you how to tell when the song you are singing  is your one true song.)
  • SING your song so people can hear it. (Being shy won’t get your song heard, he points out, and reminds you that your mission is more important than little ole you.)
  • Grow your circle everywhere any way you can.

Yanov also offers a bonus bit of advice:  Start today….

If what you’re doing matters, waiting until everything’s just so isn’t going to make it start to happen any faster.

WHEN YOUR KOOL-AID’S BIGGER THAN YOU

There are so many directions you can take this.

If you find an “idea worth spreading,” as our TED-talk friends are wont to say, try asking whether  the idea has been spread as far as it can go.  Has its reach been hobbled by some external factor, perhaps?

Maybe the guy telling the message is a dork-head with zero people skills and his very important idea is getting trashed as a result.  Or maybe that great idea is buried in technical lingo and jargon that leaves everybody dizzy.

Can you help with that?  Can you use your communication skills and make something out of them that the general public can use?  Can you figure out everyday ways to use the seminal good idea to make other people’s lives better?

The framework you build on the one good big idea as you widen your circle of people who are believing in the big idea and helping to spread it and make it happen could become like a sunken ship off some shore that supports a whole colony of reef creatures.  The snorkeling could get good over time.

bowser-the-moray-eel
“Bowser the Moray Eel” by Roy Niswanger (Published) via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

ONE GUY’S TRIBE

As an artist painter Brendan O’Connell has made a name for himself as “the Warhol of Wal-Mart.”  His paintings of the interiors of assorted Wal-Mart stores hang in museums and his art has been lauded by the New Yorker and appeared in the Colbert Report.

O’Connell’s latest works are pictures of branded products on grocery and supermarket shelves. Collectors and aficionados snap these up.   Grocery-cart candidates can be fine art, it seems.

However, O’Connell is more than just another artist with a gimmick.  He has long espoused the idea that creativity is a human birthright and that everyone can be creative.  With this in mind, O’Connell co-founded Everyartist, a non-profit social enterprise that’s bent on sparking creativity by promoting the act of art-making among children.

Every October the group puts together huge community art events (Everyartist Live!) that involve many, many children.  Their goal is to turn the work of a million young artists nationwide into “the most massive community art event in history.”

Here’s a video of one of the events, titled “Wal-Art, Bentonville, AR,” which was published in 2012.

O’Connell built himself a tribe and they started a movement.  They keep on doing good work.

Here’s a poem….


THAT’S THE ONE

The World and the Real:

Two paths to follow.

 

It would be easy if

They just went off in

Different directions…

One going here, one there.

 

But, no.

It can’t be that easy can it?

 

Some cosmic joker went and threw

Another loop into the equation,

Making an intricate Chinese knot

With some pretty name.

 

The paths intertwine,

Over and under and through,

Up and down and around,

No beginnngs, no ends that the eye can see.

 

The cords run parallel; they divide,

Looping and swooping

Through intricate patterns,

They make a beautiful whole.

 

But, how do you tell when

You’re looking for one and not for the other?

How do you know which way to step?

(Too bad they’re not color coded.)

 

The wise guys say if you’re looking for Real,

Here’s what you do:

 

Find the path that shatters,

The one that won’t console,

The one that isn’t some easy glide

Through the same-old, same-old.

 

Find the one that takes all of everything you’ve got

And shakes it up and rearranges it all

Into some new pattern

That you have never seen before.

 

Find the one that scares you,

That bright and sunny one that’s

So full of promise that it hurts

To even look at it.

 

Find the one that starts your fears revving

And makes you dizzy with the vertigo of

Standing next to some edge

Overlooking the deepest abyss.

 

Find the one that makes you tremble,

That makes you long for what might be…

 

That’s the one.

By Netta Kanoho

Header photo credit:  “Many Hands” by Four Corners School of Outdoor Education (photo by Jacob W. Frank) via Flickr [CC BY-ND 2.0]

Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you’d drop a comment or note below and tell me your thoughts.

 

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22 thoughts on “MORE FUN THAN ONE

  1. Beautiful writing! As an English teacher, I enjoy reading poetry and what others have to say about it… and I especially love coming upon new poems that I haven’t read before. I love how you incorporated video that is both inspirational and engaging. May I ask what your biggest inspiration is when it comes to writing?

    1. Hey Alyssa:

      Thank you for your visit and for your kind words. I call my poems (and my website) “Life-Built Poems” because I get my inspiration and impetus for poetry-writing from my confusions when faced with situations that require deep thinking and even deeper feeling.

      Sometimes there are too many “answers” and too many possible moves that could work and constructing the poem helps me distill down all the monkey-mind thoughts so I can actually see what I am thinking about it all. Often I can then decide what I’ll do next. (Joan Didion is one of my heroes. Like her and like Isaac Asimov, I seem to think better with a pencil in my hand.)

      This website is my attempt to explore ways to add meaning and mana to an ordinary life and share them with other people. I like it when it resonates with other people.

      Please do come again….

  2. Bala Ganesh says:

    Hello there, I found your article inspiring and in fact quite relevant to my present circumstances. I have been trying to spread the message of a particular cause which I believe is important for everyone to heed, but society seems to be treating people like me as being unnecessarily paranoid. I am determined to block out the background noise and get my message out there, build my own tribe as you say. Thanks for sharing and lifting my spirits!

    1. Hey Bala,

      Thank you for your visit and your comments. I am glad that it was a help for you. Please do come again.

  3. Hello! Thank you very much for a very inspiring post. I am not used to actually find a lot of articles that makes me think so much. Your writing is truly beautiful and strong and I loved the poem. I believe it is a very difficult thing to be able to spread your word it requires a lot of inner strength and conquering your fears.
    Thank you again.

    1. Hey Rubi:

      Thanks for your visit and for your kind words. I do appreciate them. Please do come again….

  4. I love the concept of being a tribe leader and starting a movement. I have never thought of any of the things that I do in this way, but it really does make sense. I love this concept. I can see ways to apply it to many areas of my life.

    1. Hey Lesley:

      Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  Isn’t it just great when something helps you expand your own storyline? 

      Please do come again.

  5. I loved the bit about the tribes and being the leader. I am a big fan of Ted Talks and I can lose hours watching random talks. The two you shared were actually new to me! 

    All of us need to focus on building our tribes, even if you aren’t in business in your personal life having a tribe is just as important.

    1. Linda, thank you for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree.  Building your own tribe and making connections that sustain you is really the most life-affirming thing you can do.

      Please do come again….

  6. Hello Netta , what an inspiring piece of writing! I am not usually a big fan of poetry but found yours to be quite thought provoking while also presenting a challenge. I guess we can all lead when we find our passion. Have you always been fond of writing? Thank you for an intriguing article. Cass

    1. Thanks for the visit, Cass.

      I don’t think I’ve ever not been writing…since I figured out that all those squiggly lines made words and the words could make sentences and the sentences could turn into stories that you can use to stick in somebody else’s head and stir stuff around.  My gramma always said I was “Trouble.”  (Hee!)

      Please do come again….

      1. Hi Netta, I was the same with reading and have always been passionate about literacy. I t takes me back to my childhood and the magic of all those delicious words. Take care, Cass

        1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Cassandra. I do appreciate it.

          Please do come again….

  7. Inspiring indeed, I have a message to share but too often I seem not to be able to make people understand.

    I think it’s not easy to wrap a message in a story everyone can understand. It should be easy for a small child getting what you mean.

    I practice the action is louder than words but then again not many can be reached. 

    For simple concepts it needs a strong intellect to understand, money is the language everyone get’s nowadays I’m afraid.

    1. Stefan, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.

      I agree.  Often, it is difficult to achieve clarity in your writing when you’re trying to get other people to understand what you are trying to say.  (It’s a LOT harder when you don’t use words because it takes a lot longer sometimes for the consequences of actions taken to show up and by then everybody’s focusing on something else.)

      All I can say is that before you can use words to build a bridge that other people can use to “get” to where you can show them something, you do have to understand very, very clearly what it is you are trying to say.  

      Clarity is hard to do, but it’s not impossible.  With practice you’ll be able to find and stick to writing about just ONE idea.  

      As you write on that one idea, you try to avoid throwing in other stuff that could be distracting.  You may have many ideas connected to the one idea, but you can only do them one at a time.

      The trick, of course, is not to be boring or nagging about it.   

      It comes with practice and doing a lot of writing and thinking on ideas.  

      Don’t give up, guy.  You are working on figuring out how to give your gift to the world and that is a worthy thing!

      Please do come again.

  8. Ok, so this one caused me to look into myself for something to take from this article.

    I completely get the crazy nut leader thing and the first follower concept can only make sense, especially after watching the video.

    As Phil Yanov says in his video, “Start today”, you know this goes very well with another article that I read on your site about time management. Starting today will save you time, money and effort in the future, universally.

    There are two type of lone nut leaders; one inspires organic followers and one has to compel others to follow.

    An example is my boss wants to change the schedule to increase salaried workers required time commitment by 25%. As you might guess, none of the salaried workers are on board with this. In an attempt to soften the blow, he works to get an influencer on board with his plan. When that didn’t work, he started writing people up for various things, telling them that those are the reasons that time has to be increased. Of course, not getting written up is inspiring enough for some people to get on board with his plan.

    So, my point is, the first follower IS an important one whether the movement is for good or not. Let’s not be in a hurry to help start a movement. Be prudent. Those in front of some movements are most likely to get hosed down or shot with rubber bullets.

    1. Thanks for the return visit, John.  Your insightful thoughts continue, I see.  Thank you!

      It is a truth that there will always be the risk, as a first follower, that you will choose to support someone who really IS a nut-job!  Some caution is always wise.  The consequences could get uncomfortable and even dangerous.

      Some people are way more inclined to jump first and look later and, sometimes, they jump off a high diving board and figure out halfway down there’s no water in the pool.  URK!

      It depends, I think, on how much adrenaline you, personally, can stand.  In any case, win or lose, the lessons are quite something!

      Please do come again….

  9. Mr BEazzy says:

    Thank you for this article. It’s coming on the right time when I needed it. It’s inspiring and motivating. It’s pushing further beyond the limits. I’m a song writer (up coming). I’ve learnt here that there is no perfect time. The time is now to start chasing the dream.

    It was inspiring reading through.

    1. Mr BEazzy, when you’re right, you’re right.  “The time is now to start chasing the dream.”

      (Tip:  Ambushing the bugger is cool too!)

      Please do come again.

  10. Richard Hoffmann says:

    Hello Netta,

    Linguistics have always fascinated me and there is always something special when one is able to use a language correctly and eloquently.

    While I love the written word, poetry has always been a elusive one for me and I have long been fascinated by those that are able to express thought and ideas in a way that using so few words resulting in such deep meaning.

    Science has shown that exercising the brain in the form of language development has yielded great results in fighting the signs of old age and memory loss.

    Thanks for a great article.

    Rich

    1. Rich, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do appreciate it. 

      Please do come again….

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