Fish

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;
teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.

Age-old aphorism, right?

The first point I want to make is that both options—giving and teaching—are not necessarily viable. If we’re in a desert, my giving you a[n edible] fish is helpful, while teaching you to fish is not; there’s an overriding resource constraint. This is a minor point which we’re all comfortable sweeping under the rug because that aphorism is screaming out that it’s far better to be teaching people to proverbially fish.

The second point is more serious: Things do not go well if you disagree on which is supposed to be happening. If I think we’re doing fishing lessons and you just want me to shut up and hand you a fish—that’s a recipe for, not broiled trout, but rather steamed people.

Anyway, no fish today—gone fishing.

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Intention

Here’s my uneducated hypothesis: the childhood politics of trying can leave adults with the habit of sometimes engaging in tasks without a real intention to complete them.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2020/07/dont-try-intend/

My attention has been drawn to “intention.” I’ve now read and heard, from several sources I consider fonts of great information, that intention is the key to having your efforts yield what you actually want. I’ve started trying to figure out what actually is my intention in conversations, blog posts (meta!) emails, coaching, etc.. I’m definitely onboard the intention bandwagon.

There’s a fine hair to split—in my opinion—regarding what exactly does setting, (and then remembering and staying true to,) one’s intention accomplish? Let that sink in for a second. When we talk about intention, we’re talking about something I decide in my mind before I take action. What exactly is that historical decision supposed to do? I don’t think it creates motivation, nor does it sustain motivation I get from somewhere else.

I think it is simply a compass. Once I’m neck-deep in the swamp of doing the thing and the alligators are sliding from the banks into the glassy water… it gets hard to remember why I was draining the swamp. (Feel free to craft your own metaphor if you don’t like my alligator-laden negativi-tea.) A glance at my compass— A glance at my intention instantly reminds me: Alligators be damned, I was intending to … and by George I shall so endeavor!

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Do you have an “ask”?

I don’t always have an “ask.” But when I do, I make it clear and I usually lead with it. This plays out in countless ways, and I’m hoping it’s so obvious that I don’t need to give any examples. Rather, I’ll just go meta:

When you have an ask, is it clear—really clear—in your communication?

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What’s in a title?

Should I write the title first, or last?

Should the title be a clear signpost of what is to come?

…or should the title prepare the reader?

…prime their mental state, jar them out of common trains of thought, give them the first bit of context, …

Should the title be short, or loquacious?

An interrogative or a statement.

Should the tense (present, past, passive, active, …) match, or provide counter-point?

If I practiced by writing 2,509 titles would I be able to write a title for a post on titles?

Could I remove the titles entirely?

Should I remove the titles entirely?

What is my intention for having titles? (Hi Angie!)

Should I have the same intention each time I’m composing a title?

Could the title be revealed last—only after the piece is read?

Email has a subject line; not a title line.

Does a title convey the subject?

…always? …sometimes? …maybe it never should?

Can a subject be a title?

Could a title contain the subject but also serve some as-yet-undiscovered-by-me purpose?

Should a title set the tone?

…create tension? …allude to the subject?

and be short?

Do people judge what I write by the title?

Do people who read a lot of my posts, versus those who are having their first experience, use the titles differently?

Or maybe the title’s primary purpose is to serve as a mental bookmark for the piece after it’s been read?

Wait. What was I going to write about today?

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