I Am Groot

Rupert is Groot.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy stole a lot of hearts over this year’s blockbuster season (I would say “summer”, but it’s winter here in Australia!), including my own. As you know, I love finding lessons in non-traditional places and there were lessons aplenty in this comedic space western. Spoiler alert: engaged.

Establishing Your Personal Brand Ain’t Easy

Peter Quill would really rather be known as Star-Lord (legendary outlaw) but he’s having a hard time getting it to catch on. Still, he persists in his efforts by embodying the values that he would like people to associate with Star-Lord. He has no time for the authorities, lots of time for the ladies and just the right amount of swashbuckling swagger for an outlaw cut from the John Stamos mold. His efforts are ultimately rewarded, paying off in a deeply satisfying and hilarious way toward the end of the film.

Sometimes It’s Best To Jump Right In

It’s usually a good idea to carefully plan your next actions, lest you wander too far down the wrong path. However, it can sometimes be easy to fall into a trap of planning paralysis in which you spend so much time trying to develop the perfect plan that you never make any real progress toward your goals. Groot takes this to an extreme when the Guardians are imprisoned toward the beginning of the film and are planning to escape. As Rocket Raccoon lays out his plan (complete with superfluous steps installed for his own amusement), Groot gets immediately stuck into his own assignment of removing a battery from the alarm system. Unfortunately, this forces the rest of the team into immediate and rushed action, but you have to admire his go-getting attitude.

Don’t Let Emotions Cloud Your Judgement

Drax the Destroyer blames Ronan (the film’s main villain) for the death of his family. Unfortunately, his drive for revenge handicaps him with severe tunnel-vision that nearly gets himself and the rest of the Guardians killed. Fortunately, he learns his lesson and – seeing at last that his own goal aligns with that of the Guardians – he finally chooses to join forces with the other Guardians in order to avenge his family.

Think Outside The Box / Never Give Up

When guns of all sizes and one spacecraft-turned-cannonball fails to stop Ronan from reaching the surface of the planet Xandar, Quill tries one last thing: song and dance. With Ronan moments away from laying waste to the entire planet, Quill busts a move and urges Ronan to “listen to these words” as he breaks down O-O-H Child. Naturally, it was all a ruse to distract Ronan and create the opportunity to destroy his warhammer, and it works to perfection. As long as there’s time on the clock, be willing to try anything and everything.

Take Time To Celebrate A Job Well Done

I am Groot.

Coping With Ignorance, Better Brainstorming, A Ticking Clock

Rupert is reading 'Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles'

This weekend: cope with not being the smartest person in the room, execute better (and less painful) group brainstorming sessions and get served constant reminders of your mortality (in the name of wasting less time, naturally).

7 Tips for Working With People Who Are Smarter Than You (via)

We’re not always going to be the expert, so how do we deal with our relative ignorance? As this great piece points out, the kicker doesn’t show up to training camp to compete for the starting quarterback position – instead, he focuses on his specialization. Another gem: consider the alternative of being surrounded with genius. Yeah, not as good. Working with those who are smarter than us is a proven avenue for personal development, so don’t be intimidated if you’re not the smartest guy or gal in the room.

The Myth of the Brainstorming Session (via)

It’s no secret that brainstorming as it was initially conceived is next-to-impossible to actually pull off – new ideas are scary and even those of us who embrace failure may not prefer to put possible failure on public display. Here, then, is an alternative proposal for a group approach to creative thinking – one that begins with the individual, allows for incubation and doesn’t get in a hurry.

Motivation Shows Your Life Ticking Away to Fight Procrastination

This isn’t really a read but I thought it interesting all the same (seeing as we’re all trying to make the most of our time). Motivation is a Chrome browser extension that shows your exact age (to a frighteningly precise decimal point) when you open a new tab. Morbid? Maybe. But if you were opening that new tab in search of a distraction, maybe you’ll think again.

ToVa Rewind:

You Need  A System To Convert Inputs Into Outputs
You Can’t Create A New World Until You Handle This One

Rupert is reading: Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles by Ron Currie, Jr.

Have a great weekend!

Rockin’ Productivity, Self-Compassion, Noble Pursuits

Rupert and I are reading 'Careless People'

This weekend: rock and roll productivity, the importance (and one method) of practicing self-compassion, and perspective toward our problem-solving efforts.

The Best Productivity Tricks You Can Learn From Rock Stars

love personal development ideas that come from non-traditional sources. This is a great piece from Lifehacker featuring tips from Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and other musicians, complete with fun anecdotes that put their tips into creative context.

The Truth About Self-Esteem (via)

“Be mindful. Be gentle. Be honest.” At a glance, this is great advice. This piece takes things to the next level, however, by suggesting that you should apply these principles not only to others but also to yourself. It’ll help strengthen your self-compassion, which is different than your self-esteem and – since it only exists in your own mind – is somewhat harder to zero in on.

What Problems to Solve – By Richard Feynman (via)

Not everything we do is going to alter the very course of humanity, so a little perspective is healthy. Solving the simpler problems in front of us may not make us feel like world-beaters, but it is a positive contribution all the same and should be considered as such.

ToVa Rewind:

Enter ‘Output Mode’ To Realize Your Vision
Step Away From Your Desk To Be More Productive

Rupert and I are reading: Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of ‘The Great Gatsby’ by Sarah Churchwell.

Have a great weekend!