Monthly Archives: January 2012

Praise and Joy Should Be a Permanent Part of Our Soul – Inspired by G.K. Chesterton

A person is fully human “when joy is the fundamental thing in him, and grief the superficial. Melancholy should be an innocent interlude, a tender and fugitive frame of mind; praise should be the permanent pulsation of the soul.  Pessimism is at best an emotional half-holiday; joy is the uproarious labor by which all things live.”

G.K. Chesterton certainly let us know what we need to focus on: joy.  And what a life force it is!  We don’t realize how much our thoughts impact us, our minds, our actions, our responses.  And therefore how it affects others’ minds, actions, and responses. He also points to the vapidness of negative thinking. What can it do, how can it build?  It only tears down. And so we should, as best as possible, obliterate it from thought.

We can contribute so much in this world.  It starts with our thoughts; it starts right now; and that joy can carry us to an entirely different level of harmonious living.

Thank you to Gilbert Keith Chesterton for such wonderful advice.  G.K. was a profound English writer of the 20th century who contributed across philosophy and poetry, as well as fiction.  Two of his best known works are Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. He also wrote a weekly column in The London Illustrated News for thirty years.  He was known for his incredible intellect, desire to decrease political divisions, and strong reasoning skills.

“Don’t Worry About the Tip”

I recently had a special night.  I was bowling with some friends—where I am known both to have prolific gutter balls and random strikes.  🙂  However, what made it unique was Z.

Z was my Sudanese taxi cab driver for the evening.  I usually walk everywhere in San Francisco, but tonight it was dark and so I took a cab.  I love speaking with the drivers, because they are so knowledgeable, and have amazing life experiences from all across the world.

Z was from Sudan.  We talked about how happy he was this evening about an Indian meal he ate that just “hit the spot,” and I also asked him about Sudanese food.  How lovely to share and learn.

As I paid through credit card at the end of the ride, there wasn’t a place to leave a tip.  “Don’t worry about it,” he said.  “You can catch me next time.”

Well, we know finding the same taxi cab driver again is unlikely.  Basically, Z was saying, it’s okay.  Pass it on to others.  It amazes me, his generosity, despite all the challenges he and his country have been through and are still facing.  I was able to find a tip in cash, and he was so grateful and appreciative.  But I was even more filled with love that someone was willing to be so relaxed about it, when we’re facing a challenging economic time.

Z demonstrates trust.  He knows that good flows in and out of his life, and that it can’t be restricted.  And that’s true for all of us.

The Pamela Positive: Do It Anyway

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

This poem is widely attributed to Mother Teresa, after it was found hanging on a wall in her home for children in Calcutta.  It is a revised version of “The Paradoxical Commandments,” written by Dr. Kent M. Keith.  You can read more about the story on our UniversalGiving blog, PhilanthroPost.

The Pamela Positive: “I Shut My Eyes in Order to See” – Paul Gauguin

“I shut my eyes in order to see.”  – Paul Gauguin

Paul Gauguin was an artist who was renowned for his Post Impressionism painting in the 19th century.  He was an innovator in the use of bold colors.  At the same time, he also brought out the meaning of each subject.  He balanced authenticity with innovation.

What we can learn from Paul Gauguin:  Let’s ‘see’ differently. Don’t use your eyes.  Instead, use “meaning” to see.

What’s meaningful to you? Be bold in recognizing it.  You’ll see an amazing painting of goodness, kindness and abundance all around you, if you will just see.

Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in France, but lived for several years in Peru as a child, an experience which influenced his painting later in life.  He was a friend of other artists including Camille Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh, and Paul Cezanne.  Gauguin was inspired by the art of Africa and Asia, and spent parts of his life traveling to the tropics to paint there.  He has had a significant influence on later artists and art movements.

Bootstrapping, Part Two: You Need Entrepreneurial People–Not Just Entrepreneurs

Bringing on the right team is crucial.  Entrepreneurs don’t have to hire other entrepreneurs, but they do have to hire entrepreneurial people. This is an important part of bootstrapping because you don’t want to hire people who usually stick to only one area, at least at the beginning. They usually have to be able to to delve into two, three, four–sometimes seven different areas.  It’s a subtle but important way to save on costs.

There’s a critical difference between being an entrepreneur (who is also entrepreneurial) and hiring entrepreneurial people. Entrepreneurial People (EPs) don’t necessarily want to start their own organization, or necessarily have visionary ideas. However, they are willing to do what it takes, create systems on the spot, not get scared off by the fact that certain processes aren’t yet in place (in fact, they relish creatively designing them).

In a bootstrapping culture–and I would argue we want to retain this feel throughout the tenure of your growth–your team can’t just be willing to do one thing.  In the early days, there is no one job description, and EPs love this. They want to delve in to realizing your vision for the company, by diving into different areas, providing a rich, varied professional experience.   Cross them over into two business units: Give them expertise they can cross reference back and forth, determining how they intersect, and how they can take action efficiently.

This focus should last beyond the early days of an entrepreneur, keeping our atmosphere and team with high motivation.

Bootstrapping: Why Your Space Will Make or Break Your Team

Bootstrapping should start first of all with your space. At the beginning of UniversalGiving, I worked out of my home: very economical.  But as you grow, you need to find an economical space and team-oriented culture.

As you start out, and as you continue, establishing an inexpensive and team-oriented culture is imperative.  Shared office space–if done right–allows you to cut costs and increase camaraderie with other entrepreneurs.  As CEO, it allows you to brainswap with other like-minded founders. For your team, it provides a larger group of people to speak, connect and share with, feeling a part of something larger.

In many, diverse ways we all want to be a part of something larger. Part of that is your organizational vision. Part of that is your team. Part is of it is your space, and the other people who work there.  Create many instances where your often small, start-up team, can connect to a larger sense of purpose.  It attracts people and keeps them there.  In start-up mode, you don’t want to lose the right people.

You can also ask a larger company if they have extra room. This is a good option, but just make sure that the company culture, and space, fits well with yours. It’s a bit less of sharing, and more under jurisdiction of someone else, and yet is something to be grateful for if you can attain it.

As you look for that right space, I’d recommend also making a list of qualities that are important to you: Dynamic, Bright, Economical, Sharing, Intellectual.  The manifestation of those qualities can really help bring your vision to fruition.  If you stick with these qualities, there could be many different right places, each reflecting your vision in different ways.

The key point is to find an environment that will help you, and your team, succeed more rapidly—while saving money.