Friday, June 24, 2011

Skills That Can't Be Taught & Used Coffee Grounds

This morning, I was laying in bed thinking about Sane & Satisfied. I realized that most of the things that help you become Sane & Satisfied really can't be taught, only experienced and practiced.

Some of those things include:
Critical Thinking - the knowledge to ask who, what, why, where and how.
Imagination - to see what isn't there yet.
Entrepreneurship - to create things with your brain and hands that helps make others lives better and more enjoyable.
Will - to turn your imagination into reality and to convince people who do not believe yet.

And if you think about it, these are the same things that make people successful. Not 4 years of college, not money, but these skills above that are the very hardest to learn.

Used Coffee Grounds

I sell some handmade goods at a local farmers market. One of the things I sell is a Cinnamon Coffee Body Scrub. A guy was inspecting my scrubs and asked, "Now, is your coffee scrub made with used coffee grounds or fresh coffee grounds?" I said, "Fresh." He inclined his head and said, "Ah, Ok...thanks." And proceeded to the next booth.

A little while later he circled back around to my booth and I asked him if he would have preferred used coffee grounds. He said, "Yeah, I would have...You know...then the grounds would have been used twice. If everyone does their little part then it can made a big difference. Every little bit helps."

This was one of those situations when I couldn't think of anything to say at the time but came up with a plethora of witty come-backs after the fact. One of which would have been, " do realize that coffee grounds are bio-degradable, right? I mean, we aren't talking about Styrofoam Body Scrubs here."

I've been thinking about this guy's Used-Coffee-Grounds Logic and the Sane & Satisfied skills I mentioned earlier trying to find a connection or conclusion. I don't like to buy into other people's opinions immediately but I don't like to turn them down without a good reason either.

I understand what the guy meant. If everybody in our city did there part by recycling their coffee grounds or, for instance, picked up one piece of trash everyday it wouldn't be a huge job for each of us but it would result in a much cleaner city. I think this only works, however, in a concentrated effort. Humans work well together but only when we have a clear, common goal, clear tasks toward that goal and only when the goal is within eye-sight. Organizing a group of 50 - 100 citizens and giving each of those citizens an area of the city to clean in 3 hours does much more good than telling an entire city that every little bit helps and expecting them to pick up trash on their own.

So it got me thinking about the phrase "Every little bit helps." Does every little bit really help?

This brings me to the last two, and I think the most important, skills to being Sane & Satisfied:
Balance and Meaningful Action.

Life is balance; constant, tiny movements and accomplishing goals requires big, meaningful action. It actually takes less energy to stay balanced and take big action then it does to run around doing small things that move your goal a tiny bit or even not at all. Sure, I could play it safe and make only 3 coffee scrubs for the farmers market this weekend and if I sell those I could make three more for the next week and if I sell those make 3 more again. Or I could make 9 scrubs now and focus of selling all 9 scrubs this weekend.

Do big or go home.

If you aren't taking the sometimes uncomfortable but big actions in your life, chances are you aren't really moving forward or even living. And much like the used-coffee-grounds guy you probably aren't seeing the big picture either.

I also wish I would have asked him about the government rules that forbid restaurants to give their unused food to homeless shelters or about all the regulations that require packaging to be 50x bigger than the product just to hold the small print or about the mounds of time, energy and paperwork it takes just to file and manage your taxes. These are the big, meaningful, concentrated changes that would actually make a difference.

So maybe instead of waiting for everyone to "do their little part" we could take uncomfortable but meaningful action and change some of things I mentioned above.

And maybe instead of taking baby steps you do something big today that doesn't step you toward your goal but leaps you toward it.

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