6/24 – Podcast 49/50 – Taking a risk

I didn’t want to give up recommending a podcast Sundays in December on account of the Advent Calendar I’m running with quotes from #SethinLondon, so I realized I might as well find some podcasts with Seth that I haven’t recommended before (because I’ve recommended several before: this 4-part blog with Seth at On Being, and this one from GLP.)

Seth Godin London Q&A by Rajesh Taylor

Seth Godin London Q&A by Rajesh Taylor – did we ever have a blast that day!

So I googled. And got lucky. There’s a multitude of podcasts featuring Seth Godin! And I can understand why, since he’s an interesting person to have a conversation with. I started to listen to Smart People Podcast and have to say, even though the episode with Seth is from 2013 I think, it’s definitely a ”conversation that satisfies my curious mind” which is their tag line.

At the end of this podcast, Seth actually talks about what I’ve been starting to do this past year, which is, to not just go for ”the next, the next, the next” all the time. Rather, I rarely listen to a podcast, to give an example, but once anymore. I almost always listen at least two, and often three or four, times. This podcast is no exception. On my second listening, I heard more. Deeper. More profoundly.

If you’re into school and learning, sharpen your ears especially about 19 minutes into this podcast. It’s good. And I mean G O O D what Seth says there!

But. My absolute takeaway from this podcast is a simple mantra. I wanted to find the spot, so I’ve been listening, and re-listening, while packing for a trip, and I simply cannot find it. Makes me wonder if I heard it somewhere else, which is a definite possibly as I’ve been listening to a lot of Seth these past days.

Anyway. I know Seth talked about this (somewhere!), and what I heard was something that goes like this: Every day try to be generous in a risky way.

That really spoke to me. Generous in a risky way. Going out on a limb. Not walking the straight and narrow. Au contraire. Taking a risk, with the definite aim at being of service.

How do you do generosity in a risky way?

Reflection #6 of 24 is a bit of an odd ball, as it’s not from the notes I took and the experience I had at the Seth Godin Q&A-session in London, November 2015. Rather, this is a reflection on a podcast with Seth Godin. These reflections will constitute my Advent Calendar for 2015, and will be posted daily from December 1st to the 24th.

How do you Do virtues?

I listened to Parker Palmer giving this commencement address to the graduating class at Naropa University, and several times I got goose bumps and shivers. For me, those have become telltale signs that there’s something important and/or very true being shared.

The six suggestions Parker provides on living a life worth exploring are simple. And powerful. So powerful I followed my urge to split this recommendation into six consecutive blog posts. You can read my thoughts on the first, second, third, fourth and fifth suggestion here.

BoldomaticPost_Daily-keep-your-death-beforeThe sixth suggestion is: ”Daily, keep your death before your eyes.” – St Benedict

If you hold a healthy awareness of your own mortality, your eyes will be opened to the grandeur and glory of life, and that will evoke all of the virtues I have named, as well as those I haven’t, such as hope, generosity and gratitude. 

We get to chose what virtues we hold high, which ones we try to model in the world. And the beauty is, we get a new chance to do so – model it, I mean – over and over again, moment by moment. And in a strange way, there is no tomorrow. Well, of course there is a tomorrow, but postponing my way of showing up in the world until tomorrow, that’s risky business. Because you might not be around tomorrow, and that’s a fact. There will come a tomorrow when I am not here, in this form at least, and the worst thing about that for me would be if I never got around to showing up as me, with my virtues and values held high, because I kept pushing it forward to the next moment, the next moment, the next moment.

Yes, it can be tricky to live according to your values. We are only human after all. That’s why it’s so important to be gentle with ourselves in our humanness. At the same time – it will never get less tricky, less awkward, less strange and unfamiliar, if I don’t start to act in accordance with my view of these virtues. And that’s actually something to ponder as well. I mean – virtues are all fine and dandy, love, hope, understanding, generosity, gratitude and so on. But how do I do them? How to express them in the world? How do I live in accordance with them, so that my actions mimics my beliefs? How do you do love for instance? Or gratitude?