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Done Any Whittling Lately?



Share This article Webster’s Dictionary defines whittle as ”to cut away aimlessly at a stick.” Okay, but is “cutting away aimlessly on a stick” a waste of time – or a useful part of a balanced life?

Last Sunday on a leisurely afternoon drive, Joanne and I found ourselves in Lynchburg, Tenn. This is the town made famous for one product only – Jack Daniels. It’s not all about making whiskey; obviously, lots of people there were involved in growing corn, barley, and rye as well as other components of a vibrant community. But we found some very quaint memorabilia around this little town, calling people back to a simpler kind of life.

One small sign read:

To the casual observer, carving and whittling may appear to be similar pursuits. But the two are related only by the fact that each requires a sharp knife, a good piece of wood, and, as with most things round here, a fair amount of time. Here’s how to tell the difference. If a person is carving, he is making some sort of useful object. Odds are he will end up passing this object on to somebody who will appreciate the gesture greatly. In whittling, on the other hand, the process itself is the thing. The result of this effort is simply a poke of wood shavings. It is important to note that this does not make whittling any less important than carving. Each is useful in its own way, and rarely does a person excel at both.

I remember as a small boy running up to the old guys sitting on the park bench in our little town to see what they were making with their knives and sticks – only to be disappointed as the stick disappeared totally with no meaningful object appearing at all. I always assumed they were disappointed as well, as they somehow missed the critical cut where they could have shaped a dog or a whistle. Now I see that perhaps it was I who missed the point of the process.

Maybe in our rush to “do” we miss some of the opportunities to just “be.”

Principles from 48 Days to the Work You Love

48 Days Online Radio Show

Yes, there’s been an upgrade in the quality of the podcast. Starting this week I’ll be going straight to the computer rather than over the telephone. We experimented with a cool new system, but the recording quality was not what we required.

Thanks for the variety of interesting questions you are submitting each week. As you know, I then scan through and answer as many as possible in each week’s 48-Minute podcast.

Just click on this e-mail link and you can ask about resumes, interviewing, at-home business or finding your purpose in life:

If you click on the 48 Days Podcast Player here you can listen to this weeks broadcast immediately no downloading no wait.

Could You be a Lego Sculptor?

What do you do with talent and passion in creative areas like art, music, or writing? Doubt that you can really earn a living using your creative skills? Heard comments like "Be sure to keep your day job" or "That's a hobby, not a career" or even Thomas Mann’s “A healthy man never acts, paints, writes, or composes”?

Don't believe the hype. Your dream job doesn't have to be just a dream. Recent clients of mine have become a professional clown, a dance instructor, a music theme artist, a wicker importer, and an image consultant.

Are you great at crossword puzzles? How would you like to be the person who creates those? Maybe you’d like to dress up in a chicken suit and be a sports team’s mascot. Or maybe you’d just like to have an opportunity to use your talents in music in a way that would help children build confidence (music therapist). You may not be the next Danielle Steel, but perhaps you could write the text of a dramatic story that is then set to music by someone else (librettist).

I am delighted to offer the brand new edition of Carol Eikleberry’s book, The Career Guide for Creative and Unconventional People in our 48 Days resource section.

Incidentally, Nathan Sawaya did the illustrations for an article I wrote in the current issue of AARP magazine. Recently Nathan appeared on the Stephen Colbert show and talked about making the switch from a New York corporate lawyer to a Lego sculptor.

“When I told my father I was going to be an actor, he said, ‘Fine, but study welding just in case.’”— Robin Williams

Humor: Tough Interview Question

The executive was interviewing a young MBA graduate for a position in his company. He wanted to find out something about her personality so he asked, "If you could have a conversation with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?" The proud graduate quickly responded, "The living one."

The Ultimate Small Business Bootcamp 2007

Here’s an event that can put you into a totally new level of success for 2008. As you know, Tim Knox has been my radio co-host and regular contributor of workplace humor and solid business advice. Tim’s "The Ultimate Small Business Bootcamp 2007" is just weeks away, and if you are 100% deadly serious about starting your own business or kicking your current business into high gear, I'd like to invite you to attend.

My son Kevin and I will be there for the Saturday lineup -- you can see that my focus for this event will be on turning your writing into money. Others will guide you through the process of using eBay, podcasting, and coaching as potential tools for your success.

$50 Discount Now – Tim is allowing me to offer a discount to our 48 Days crowd. In addition, we’d like for you to sit with Kevin, Chuck Bowen (new president of 48 Days Coaching Connection), and me for dinner on Saturday night, Nov 10th. Just use this link for your registration to "The Ultimate Small Business Bootcamp 2007".

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