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Out of Our Minds
Monday, January 03, 2005 8:44 AM
Building Blocks
Kevin Salwen on Passionate Work

I love this time of year -- it is so filled with possibility and opportunity. I'd probably be satisfied if it were only the chance to start with a fresh sheet of paper. But on top of that, you get to build on the successes of the year before, the wins that provide the foundation for additional gains.

The losses of the prior year? Well, let me digress for a second: I just spent the past week coaching in a year-end baseball tournament for 10-year-olds. One thing we work on teaching the players is how to move on from a tough loss: We gather in the dugout, hold our closed fists slightly above shoulder height and pull downward as we collectively announce 'Flush.' The message of course is to flush the negative away and focus on the future.

The excitement of the new year; the building blocks of '04 wins; the flushing of prior failure. I'm pumped. Anyone have any great ways to start the year?


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Lee Wilder - 1/5/2005 12:10:40 PM
I LOVE the flush -- what a great concept.
I start the new year with a look backwards... I reflect on what I learned in the prior year... the best moments, the challenges and how I have grown (I hope). I also try to imagine what might be the most significant events of the coming year (e.g. a kid heading off to college) in order to begin the transition.

New year's resolutions? Oh, don't remind me of my annual failures.
Steve S - 1/4/2005 9:07:49 PM
I like the flushing concept! Especially with that age group, it is something that they can readily buy into.
Robert - 1/4/2005 5:24:38 PM
I spend a lot of New Year's pondering all kinds of half-baked high philosophical musings, but I also enjoy campy moments such as the reruns of The Honeymooners which are shown on one of the local New York stations. It offers a business lesson as well. While admittedly full of political incorrectness ('To the moon, Alice!'), think about it, four people essentially wearing the same outfits every week, working around a set that couldn't cost more than $100. How much money and creativity energy has been spent since that time to come up with a better (or at least just as good) program of its type? And how many succeeded ... a dozen ... half a dozen?

Tonight one of the networks is banking on a new series almost solely focusing on its characters' psychological disorders, but how far is that, really, from the original formula of Ralph or Lucy? Yeah, I know I should be reading The Economist or the latest business book instead, but cut me some slack. :-)

Troy Worman - 1/4/2005 9:49:32 AM
Flushing away the negative feelings of failure is a great idea...and an excellent way to start the new year.

As for me, I am a list maker, so I begin each new year with a long list of resolutions. This year I have 101. You can find them on my blog. I receive many comments from people who think I am crazy, that I am setting myself up for failure, but...to them I say, 'those who say it can't be done should stay out of the way of those doing it!'

By the way, Kevin, the ritual flush you have established after your baseball team's loses is one of the best ideas I have heard for teaching children how to cope with failure. Thanks!
martin - 1/3/2005 11:54:19 AM
Kevin -

I don't have a flushing exercise per se, but for me it's a bit of house keeping. I take all of my emails from the previous year, and file them away on a hard drive. I then take every last bit of paper or item on my desk and the surrounding shelves and either recycle or dispose of everything. When finished, I sit down to a desktop (actual and virtual) that's very much in the present and void of the past and begin my work anew.

It feels great and allows me to focus on what's ahead and what is possible.


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