5 tools for life change. (And…we’re back!)

25 05 2011

by Maya Mathias

I stopped updating this blog 16 months ago to make HUGE changes in my own life. And I’m now ready to re-launch this ChangePals blog, plus the accompanying it’s-so-freakin’-cool-I-wish-it-were-live-already website (coming this fall) with wiser eyes and a deeper heart.

Since my last post, I’ve learned even more enriching lessons, many of which I’ll share here in the coming weeks and months.

In a nutshell…I’ve moved halfway across the world, made new friends, started a business, secured 6 paying clients in 8 months, hired & trained a couple of interns AND healed a strained relationship with a close relative. Not bad for 16 months’ work.

But it wasn’t easy. No real and long-lasting life change ever is. That’s why the idea behind ChangePals is so powerful. It’s a place where change is your friend, where change is something to be cherished for the growth it brings us instead of the pain it can often cause us along the way.

How can change be your friend?

Think back to anything you accomplished that you’re still immensely proud of. I bet it didn’t come without a fight, hard work or taking a honest look at yourself more than once and saying you could do it. And I bet it involved at least one mentor or good friend who convinced you that it was an accomplishment worth striving for.  A caring someone who supported you when the going got rough and, more importantly, who gave you a kick in the rear when you got lazy and wanted to give up. And ultimately, someone who showered you with kind words and bear hugs when you met your goal.

So….here’s what you can expect from ChangePals:

  1. Inspiration.  We’ll have lots, and lots, and lots (did I forget to say it was lots?) of stories from people who have successfully changed their lives, or have at least learned something about the process of change.  There’s a bunch of science and theory around the idea of change, and we’ll blog about those too, but we also want to focus on the emotional & creative side of change.  You know, those unexpected messages that come to you when you hear someone else’s story and get a little ‘lightbulb’ moment of your own.
  2. Support.  We want ChangePals to be a SAFE and EFFECTIVE place to find the best mentors and friends for your life change.  ChangePals is not a therapy group or a collection of addiction-anonymous associations.  It’s a destination for high-functioning people (like you and me) who just happen to feel stuck in some way.  Between the ideas here and on our new website (launching this fall), we’ll help you ignore the naysayers in your life and find people who can and will cheer you through your change goals.
  3. Resources.  There are a ton of tools and ideas out there about how to make successful personal change.  We aim to blog about the ones that have worked best for us, our friends and our coaching clients.  The tools could be from a best-selling author or our Aunt Susie.  We really don’t care.  All we care about is that people have used it, and that it WORKS.
  4. Motivation.  Yeah, this one’s a tough nut to crack sometimes ain’t it?  The secret is….there is no secret.  ALL of us struggle with a lack of motivation at times.  We just need to keep reminding ourselves of our goal, and to keep our cheerleaders/mentors in the loop so they can help us stay on track.  Most of all, we need to remember not to beat ourselves up when we slip.  We’ll address the art and science of motivation as often as possible in this blog.
  5. Creativity.  In our rush to make it through each day on this earth, we often forget that we are an infinitely creative species.  It’s exciting to be living in a time where all forms of creativity are being celebrated (e.g. storytelling, problem-solving, art, technology etc).  And it’s equally exciting that adults are rediscovering the benefits of play and exploration, especially at work.  Here at ChangePals, we’ll show you how to tap into your creative toolbox to uncover your deepest passions and make the life changes that mean the most to you.
So there you have it.
5 ways that ChangePals hopes to serve you.
5 areas that can guide you through the most sacred and courageous of life choices.
5 beacons to help you design the life you know you’ve always hoped to live.
Tell us…what else would you seek from a friend in change?  Please comment below.
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How to Navigate Your Way Through an Argument

7 10 2011

Arguments are an inevitable part of any relationship and I don’t just mean romantic relationships. Arguments happen with family, friends, co-workers and even that one waiter at that one restaurant that one time.

The key to healthy, lasting relationships is to remember that arguments are not about winning. They are about resolving a conflict so that every party involved feels ok with it. Conflicts must be approached with a calm and clear head. Doing so requires getting all three of your brains aligned.

That’s right, I said 3 brains

According to the Triune Brain model, our brains consist of three parts: the reptilian brain, the paleomammalian brain and the neomammalian brain. The reptilian brain is responsible for our most basic animal instincts like aggression and territoriality. The paleomammalian brain gives us an emotional connection to certain social activities like sex and parenthood. The neomammalian brain is our rational brain and is responsible for higher level processes like language and planning.

Understanding Your Mind in an Argument

Reptilian:

Our reptilian brain is the one that gets us into arguments in the first place. It’s what gives us the feeling of being attacked and it’s what gets us feeling defensive. For the most part, the days where we physically fight out our problems are over. But if we hear words that we deem as a verbal attack, our reptilian brain wakes up and gets us in alert mode.

Emotional:

It’s pretty clear what part our emotional brain is responsible for. Any feelings of anger, sadness, loss or need are due to the emotional brain.

Rational:

The rational brain sounds like it would be the one to get us safely out of any disagreements. I mean, ‘rational’ is right there in the name. But really, it is the rational brain that gives rise to those “What are we even arguing about?” moments and perpetuates conflicts longer than they need to be.

The rational brain is dangerous because it justifies our emotions. But of course, emotions are not rational and so we just get wrapped up in empty logic. We continue to argue our point even after the initial emotion has faded away. There is no faster way to saying something you regret than to let your rational brain take these justifications too far.

How to Resolve the Argument

During conflicts, the three brains roll into one to form one giant fire-breathing arguing machine. The way to turn back from machine to a normal level-headed person is to deal with each brain separately.

1. Disengage the reptilian brain

You need to calm down those feelings of being attacked and getting defensive. Unfortunately, unless you’re a Zen master, this usually requires the passing of time. So take a break from the argument and come back when you’re not on edge.

2. Identify your emotions

Next we move onto the emotional brain. Here what’s important is finding out exactly which emotions you are experiencing. What’s tricky about this is that because your rational brain has been mucking around in there, messing things up, the emotions you think you’re feeling aren’t the ones actually affecting you.

Addressing your emotions separately from rationality requires a little meditation. If sitting like a pretzel and saying ohms aren’t your thing, try going for a walk or doing a menial, repetitive task. These take up just enough brain power to let your emotional brain bubble to the surface uncensored (as weird as it sounds, I like doing the dishes to meditate).

3. Let your rational brain be rational

Now that you’ve calmed down and know where you really stand in the disagreement, let your rational brain do what it does best: use it to organize this information into a solution. Communicate your newly discovered emotions to the other person with clarity, caution and sensitivity.

What You Can Do Right Now

Think about the last time you had an argument. What did you say? Would you go back and change that if you could? What were the emotions you felt? Do you still feel the same way?

If you successfully process this argument through your 3 brains, approach the person you were arguing with and see if you can kiss and make up.

Comment below and tell us how your three brains have been getting along.

Image from emotionaldetective.typepad.com





The 8 Minute Total Life Workout

14 09 2011

Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year’s (or anytime) resolutions every year. We’re also notorious for consistently failing at it. We start off enthusiastic and committed but quickly trail off into inaction and indifference. A huge part of the problem is that we are so conditioned to expect and believe in instant gratification. High ambitions plus low patience leads to a lot of people giving up easily.

The Fallacy

Many weight loss programs promise drastic, life-changing results after just 30 days of 8 minute, total body workouts. And there are mystery super fruit detox diets that promise to help you lose 15 pounds in a week.

Sure, quick fix solutions can return temporary results. But how many people lose weight only to gain it right back again? How many people achieve some success only to stagnate after the first week?

To achieve lasting results, you need to develop the slow and steady habits of high performers. They are regimented, disciplined and educated in proven methods.

Workout Your Life

Making any kind of positive change in life requires a similar approach. Typically, you only have to make a few, simple, common sense changes – but you have to work hard to turn them into life-long habits.

In essence, self improvement is like a workout to get your life in the best possible shape. So let’s take some lessons from fitness professionals and apply them to the process of life change.

Work One Muscle Group at a Time

A former co-worker was the kind of guy you’d probably call a meathead. His biggest everyday concerns were drinking protein shakes, working out and showing off his biceps.

One day he would work his arms, another day he would work on his legs and the next day he would work on his core.

Focusing on just one muscle group a day provides two advantages. First, you work on the focus area more thoroughly. Second, you avoid the exhaustion and susceptibility to injury that overworking can cause.

Focusing on just one area at a time is a great strategy for self improvement too. If you try and change everything all at once, you risk getting overwhelmed and losing control. Taking on too much and letting your life spin out of control is like ripping your Achilles tendon while training for a marathon.

Take a Day Off

Gym rats don’t workout all day, every day and that is part of why they are able to maintain their exercise habits. Going full speed ahead every single day of the week makes even the most dedicated of people tired and bored. And of course, just like working out too much at a time, working out too often leaves you more susceptible to injury.

Taking a day or even a week off of a high intensity life goal is not just ok, but necessary for your success. Allow yourself time to rest and recharge.

Hitting a Plateau is not a Bad Thing

For top athletes and type A personality change-seekers alike, “plateau” is a 4 letter word. It’s understandably frustrating to reach a point where you don’t progress no matter how much energy you put in.

Plateaus are, however, inevitable in weight loss and in personal growth. In fitness, the answer to a plateau is to increase intensity and change up your routine. In personal development, however, it is better not to worry about overcoming your plateau but to embrace it instead.

Experts say it takes anywhere from 2 weeks to 21 days or 2 months to form a habit.. Adjusting to and internalizing the changes we make takes time. So really, what feels like a plateau is just the period where your hard work crystallizes into a healthy habit.

The Real Life Workout Plan

So there is no miracle 30 day program to realize the changes you’d like to see in your life. There are, however, fundamental processes to help you achieve your goals and make them last.

  1. Pick just one aspect of your life you’d like to change or develop. Either a relationship, your health, your productivity.
  2. Identify one simple actionable step to begin with. Make it small and manageable. It could be committing to one fully devoted date night a week with your spouse or cutting down to just one slice of cheesecake a week.
  3. Only hold yourself responsible for that one thing. If you decide to go above and beyond every once in a while, great, but don’t let it interfere with the step you’re focusing on. Don’t get ahead of yourself and don’t stress or feel guilty for not achieving more.
  4. Maintain it for a month. Or more or less. Either way, practice the step you are taking until it becomes subconscious or second nature.
  5. Assess and move forward. If you’ve made it this far successfully, think about the next small step you can add to your routine. If you haven’t fared so well, break the goal you set in step 2 down even further into something more manageable.

The reality of working out and self improvement is simple: consistent hard work. What separates the successful from the “yo yo dieters” of life is that they know how much bite off at one time and they know how to pace themselves.

What resolution do you keep making but never achieve? Are you guilty of committing some of these “workout” mistakes?

Try the Real Life Workout Plan for yourself and let us know how it goes!

Image from http://www.scientificamerican.com





Change is Like a New Kitten

8 09 2011

Do you ever wake up and want to change everything in your life?

Every few months, I get into a mood where I want to completely overhaul every aspect of my life. I want to start a new exercise plan, learn some new skill for work, get a new haircut, re-arrange my furniture…what have you. But changing too many things at once can get unwieldy and overwhelming and for me at least, none of those changes last.

Two days ago, my roommates and I rescued a cat, Delphina (don’t ask me, I didn’t name her). Like most cats who are moved into a new house with new owners, she was scared, shy and uncomfortable. As soon as we brought her home, she darted under the couch and hid there for the whole first night.

My roommate wanted to play with her so he got down on the floor, reached his arm under the couch and pulled her out. He tried to hug her into submission but a second later, Delphina leapt from his arms in a tizzy and bolted back into her hiding place. She cowered back in her corner more scared than before.

After my roommate went to bed, I took my turn trying to play with the new kitten. I dangled a cat toy in front of her, but she wasn’t having any of it. So, rather than force it, I just sat on the floor near her, letting her get used to my presence. Occasionally I would make some “here kitty” motions but for the most part I left her alone. Eventually, step by step, Delphinacrept closer to me and then cuddled into my arm.

We’ve had her a couple days now and I’m still the only one she’ll come out to play with, in fact she’s cradled between my arms as I type right now.

It’s a Slow Road to Lasting Change

Trying to get the cat to play with and love me is a pretty good metaphor for change. We’d love to reach out and seize change, pull it towards us and hold it in our arms until it stays for good. However, change is finicky and elusive. It will slip out of our hands in an instant, leaving us back in square one.

To change and to make it last, we’ve got to coax it towards us and get a little crafty. Sometimes after even the tiniest step forward, we experience a step backwards. Even after a step forward that sticks, we have to wait and adjust – often for quite some time – before we can take another tiny step forward. Taking the slow and steady path is how to make a change that lasts. It is how to get it to cuddle into your arms rather than dart back into hiding.

There is No Right Way to Change

There are of course the kinds of people who wake up one morning, decide to makeover their lives entirely and accomplish it all in one step. That’s great for them and I admire their resolve but, not everyone works that way. Many people, like me, need a stepwise approach.

Sometimes change is like a moody cat but so long as we keep saying “here kitty” and remain patient, we can get it to curl up into our arms like a warm, furry friend.

Do you think people who change fast can change for good? Or is it really slow and steady wins the race? What have your experiences been?

Image from http://www.snuzzy.com





The Perils of Perfectionism

29 08 2011

I ‘ve been a perfectionist all my life. My mother is Chinese and yes, some of the stereotypes about ‘Tiger Mothers’ are true. I had my first piano lesson at 3. If I brought a straight A report card home, my mom would just say “Ok, do it again next time.” I’ve been conditioned since birth to grow up to be a virtuoso pianist who moonlights as a surgeon and does pro bono charity work as a lawyer for the disenfranchised in my spare time. In a word, to be perfect.

Perfectionism can be a positive force. It motivates people to work hard and keep high standards. After all, being the ‘best you can be’ is what self improvement is all about. However, we’re here today to talk about the negatives of perfectionism, and how the need to go beyond excellent and be perfect can actually keep us from progressing in our goals.

We are all familiar with the idea that perfectionists are over-achieving workaholics but here are some other warning signs of perfectionism.

Perfectionists don’t try new things

Perfectionists avoid being anything less than perfect at all cost. Usually this means working to the bone to achieve perfection but sometimes this means inaction. Often, when a perfectionist tries something new and they aren’t immediately good at it, they give up (see my post last week about my 2 week stint on the bass guitar). When the new activity is already perceived to be difficult, many perfectionists don’t even bother trying at all.

Perfectionists don’t get things started

Even when perfectionists do decide that they are going to take on a difficult new task, they are slow to get the ball rolling. If there is any worry that they might perform poorly, perfectionists will procrastinate and attempt to delay that poor performance as long as possible. It’s funny that perfectionists often come off as slackers.

Perfectionists think “I won’t start this project until I know the right way to do it.” Perfectionists have an ‘all or nothing’ attitude. Either something has to be done impeccably, or not at all.

Perfectionists don’t get things done

In addition to not being able to start projects, perfectionists often have trouble finishing them too. It’s not that perfectionists aren’t productive, they’re usually workaholics. What stops them from actually finishing projects, though, is getting too hung up on small details. They waste time on perfecting individual components and lose sight of the bigger picture.

No matter how much work they do get done, perfectionists will never feel finished. They will forever be chasing perfection when it doesn’t exist. Perfectionists run at full speed but never get anywhere. It’s stressful, exhausting and debilitating.

How to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a tough habit to break because it’s so closely tied to feelings of worth. In order to improve, we must learn to separate healthy goals from harmful obsession. The key to this is to re-examine our motivations.

Perfectionism is often fueled by external, rather than internal causes. Perfectionists want to be perceived as excellent by others. They feel they have an image to maintain, an image to present to everyone else.

The irony is that perfectionism, though it does not necessarily stem from the self, is self-imposed. We must, however, remember that it is only us that holds us to these standards. If at any point we choose to change those standards or those goals, we can.

So what should our goals be?

Perfectionists often strive for things: a promotion, a raise, a title or recognition. It’s better, however, to work toward values and actions: doing things with integrity, being a supportive team member, working hard or being enthusiastic. It is a far more admirable thing to accomplish something with a positive spirit and to grow and learn in the process, than it is to accomplish it perfectly.

So even though we all want to be MVP, to be perfect and to get those gold stars, being ‘Most Improved’ is just as worthy a pursuit.

Can you relate to these traits of perfectionists? What are your stories of struggling with, and overcoming, the need to be perfect?





Start Being Creative: Get in the Right Mindset

16 08 2011

Last week, I talked about how being a creator is more important than being creative. Being process-oriented rather than results-oriented frees the act of creation from stress, judgements and fear and refocuses on what it should be: a fun, expressive and productive activity.

In this blog post, we talk about being creative in the most traditional sense, in terms of artistic expression. The types of hurdles we face during these kinds of projects, however, can be applied to any new life endeavors. Just like a bodybuilder has to gradually train to be able to bench press 250 pounds, we need to gradually build up what it takes to make significant changes in our lives. Learning to overcome anxiety, insecurity and fear when undertaking personal side projects exercises the same qualities required to conquer those bigger goals.

We all have some artistic or creative dream we’ve always wanted to accomplish: be an amateur photographer, finish an oil painting, write a novel, play the mandolin…etc. These hobbies or artistic projects are usually a low priority compared to our careers, family or friends. But if it’s an interest that you’ve kept in the back of your mind for years, it’s worth dusting off and really taking a stab at. Here are some tips to get you in the mindset to start being creative.

Cut the Excuses!

No more saying that you lack the time, the materials or the knowledge to start a new project. Claim you don’t have time? Just chip away at it bit by bit. If you can spare an hour to watch a TV show or mindlessly click through StumbleUpon links, then you have the time.

Oil painting requires paints, brushes, palettes, an easel, canvases, paint thinners and varnish and those can cost a lot. So practice sketching in the meantime. Study up on technique, color mixing, composition and perspective while you start to gather up all the other supplies.

You say you lack the knowledge? Well of course you do, you haven’t started yet. Remember, creating is a process. Van Gogh didn’t conjure up Starry Night with a snap of his fingers. For that matter, Van Gogh didn’t conjure up the talent it took to create Starry Night in an instant either. The knowledge is there for you to take in as soon as you decide to start. The more you create, the more you’ll learn.

Celebrate your imperfection!

If ever you are discouraged from even starting something new (whether it’s being creative or trying a new career move or starting a new relationship) the reason is typically fear. We are afraid of not doing things right or of not doing them well.

I remember in middle school I convinced my dad to buy me an electric bass guitar. I quit after 2 weeks because I still sounded like I did on day one: like crap. Of course, having the short attention span of a 12 year old didn’t help either, but what ultimately made me quit was the self-consciousness of not doing well. I didn’t even give myself the chance to gain a little skill so I could start being creative with it.

So don’t be afraid if your first painting of a horse looks more like an elephant. Don’t be afraid that you’ve been practicing just one guitar chord for weeks. Embrace it! Own the fact that you are the best horse-elephant painter alive. Write a simple song with just one chord and make your friends sit through a concert of it. Being creative is about expression and having fun.

The best motivational quote I’ve heard for being creative is: “A writer is not someone who is published, a writer is someone who writes everyday.” The same goes for being an artist, a musician, a cook… It is important to first focus on the process of creating rather than on the quality of the thing created because being “creative” requires that you’ve made something in the first place.

Creativity Exercise: Make your own box to think outside of

Ok, so now you have the confidence to begin creating….but still feel stuck? Here’s a tip based on science, that’s right, real science to help you out. You see, absolute freedom of choice actually makes us anxious. We are anxious that we will make a poor choice, that there is some better choice or that by choosing one thing, we lose out on all other things. So if this anxiety about choosing the right way to proceed is paralyzing your creativity, then practice imposing restrictions on yourself.

Paint a picture with just one color. Try creating as many new recipes as you can with just 4 ingredients. Take pictures of just one type of object or theme for a week. Try nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) where the objective is to get 50,000 words down on paper in a month, no matter what or how good those words are. The restrictions can steer you when you get stuck. They can also force new perspectives and new approaches which will let your creativity flourish.

What project do you have sitting in your garage or in the back of your closet? What’s keeping you from picking it back up?

We’d love to hear your comments and tips for creativity!

Image from luis.galarza.blogspot.com





Be Create-ive, not Creative

2 08 2011

We often look to the great artists, musicians and writers as being in an untouchable tier above every one else. Those people are creative and the rest of us are not. Their work belongs in museums or deserves to be published but ours does not.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We all have the capacity to create. Perhaps we just need a shift in our mindsets about what being creative actually means.

What Makes Creative so bad?

When we think of the word creative, we most often take it to mean original. Most people’s concept of creative is of something new, something that no one has ever thought of before. Attaching these connotations to the word can have negative effects and can stop people thinking they can be creative or from even trying to create.

Claiming that for a piece of work to be creative, it has to be an original or new idea, puts a lot of pressure on any people in pursuit of creativity. There’s estimated to have been over 100 billion humans over the entire course of history for tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of years, trying to do something completely different from all of them is a tough task, even more so considering that among those people were Da Vince, Picasso, Shakespeare, Monet etc. If we get too caught up in being original, in differentiating ourselves and our work, we might lose focus on what’s most important: the simple act of creation.

Creative is typically a word used most often for achievements in the fine arts such as painting, classical music or literature. But doodles on napkins, a batch of cupcakes or a whistled tune are also acts of creation.

Creativity is also seen as a quality that people either have or they don’t. Even from very early on, if a child paints a particularly good painting or tells an imaginative story, they are labeled as creative while others are not.The problem with viewing creativity as an internal and individual quality is that actually everyone is capable of creating and we all do create things quite often. Believing a creative quality is inherent in some but not others is a misused and potentially harmful fallacy. People who are never called creative can be discouraged from even trying to create.

So What Makes Create-ive better?

Focusing on the verb “create” rather than on the thing created or how it compares to what other people are doing helps us refocus on the actual purpose of creating. The reason people love to create, love to build, love to make art or love to cook is because they experience joy and a sense of accomplishment from the process and from the very act of creating.

It’s time we take away this overemphasis on being original. Even the most creative people are influenced by others. All artists are hacks. They borrow, copy or downright steal from one another. What’s more important than being original and what those creative people really did was put a part of themselves in their work. Let yourself shine through in your final product.

By seeing creativity as a quality that is either turned on or off in someone, we devalue any sort of skill or hard work that people put into their creations. It would mean that every piece of art, every song, every monumental novel is due to that quality. The years that artists and craftsmen put into learning, practicing and training are dismissed. Such a view can also act to discourage people from trying to create. If they don’t immediately pick up a new art form or struggle at first with learning a new skill they might think “Well I just may not be creative.”

Which definition of creative is in your dictionary? Want tips on how to be more create-ive? Check in next week for the second part of our Creativity series.

Image from http://www.americanflagimages.info





The Story Library of your Life in the age of Social Media

22 06 2011

Social media has turned communication technology upside down and changed how we share our life’s stories with each other. Rather than a singular, linear storyline we are developing webs with other people. The entire scope of our stories encompass all the volumes of the people we are connected with in this “wired” time.

Since the development of language people have been telling stories. With every new technology and medium, communication has been revolutionized: the printing press, broadcast media, phones, cell phones and the internet. It seems that with any new technology, we humans will find a way to use it to communicate.

The internet has not only changed how our stories get delivered, but has also changed how we compose them. Long gone are the days of multiple page, hand-written letters. Now it’s 140 characters or less or a short Facebook profile or “About Me” page. And sure, each individual message, tweet or comment is shorter but the overall volume is growing exponentially (even youth today who have grown up with the internet are writing more and writing more outside of school). Communication over the internet comes in shorter bursts…but those bursts are continuous. This new and sporadic exchange of information influences how we choose to share our stories and how we listen to the stories of others.

The construction of your story 

Rather than write a 10 page letter to a pen pal telling the story of our lives, we now maintain Facebook profile pages and Twitter feeds. No one message can capture the essence of a person, but look at their entire history on a site, what they reposted from somewhere else, what they “liked” and who they are connected to and you could learn far more than what they could write in even 100 pages. It may even be one of these secondary aspects of what you put on a social media site that strikes someone else and gets them to follow or to friend you. The picture we paint of ourselves on these kinds of sites is not a continuous narrative but rather a hodgepodge of thoughts, ideas and interests. It’s up to the reader to put the pieces back together to find out about you.

Stories interweaving

In addition to re-composing the stories of others, readers are also active by being interactive. There is always a “like” or “follow” or “share” button and readers are encouraged to engage. When you retweet or repost an article or a message, you are adding it to your own story. We are not only creators but curators, combing through the mountains of information available, picking out what is of value to us and adding it to our repertoire. Rather than writing a singular story of our lives, we are constructing a library of everything that moves and inspires us. Of what makes us laugh and cry, dream and hope.

Moving your story forward

What you can pull away from social media and take with you to your real life are those things which you curate. Your own Feed or Profile contains what you have already experienced. The things you note and link to can show where you want to go. Take a look at all the tweets you retweeted, the photo albums of friends that you “liked” and the articles you shared. What do you like about these things? If they inspired you, what qualities do they share? The commonalities that these things have could be shaped into goals and aspirations for the future.

Personally, I have a friend who takes thoughtful, quirky photos which I “like” steadily. I admire her work because it ignites in me a drive to be more creative. To be a producer of something – anything – rather than merely a consumer.

So, are you more of a creator or a curator? Do you think there is value in both?