When my sisters and I used to spend time together, someone always went home with a new hair color. These days we’re more apt to be gathered around a computer, as we were on Thanksgiving showing Becky how to upload her photo on her new Facebook page.

I am appreciative and thankful that my siblings are curious adults who teach me all sorts of things. The day before Thanksgiving, my sister Margaret and I made a trip to Lowe’s, a place I find mildly intimidating. Going with Margaret is a different experience, however, since it’s more like visiting a museum. We had gone to buy some mundane safety treads for my bathtub. I left with a new light fixture for my kitchen which Margaret assured me I could install myself. “If you get stuck,” she said, “call and I’ll walk you through it.” We’ll see.

Because one of the things I am especially thankful for is the free enterprise system, it’s not surprising that I came across all sorts of stories that added to my joy during this holiday week. On my drive from Las Vegas to California, I always listen to an audiobook and I picked a good one, even though I knew nothing about it. Good Business by Mihaly Csikzentmahalyi takes a look at how visionary entrepreneurs create an environment that allows for flow, that optimal state of creativity that the author brought to our attention back in 1991 through his bestselling book Flow. He shares many ideas that an entrepreneur running a tiny business will find useful. And the quotes from Anita Roddick are profound.

Margaret, who had been a volunteer for the Obama campaign, told me a terrific story about Scott Jacobs, a 22-year-old local artist was was evicted from his house on Election Day. He took a half-finished painting of Obama that he’d been working on and set up his easel in front of Ben & Jerry’s, who were giving away free ice cream to anyone who had proof they’d voted. Jacobs attracted a lot of attention–and suddenly his life got much better before the day was over. You can read this great story at the Ventura County Star.

Entrepreneurial artists were already on my mind thanks to a piece in the NY Times called Transforming Art Into a More Lucrative Career Choice. Check it out.

Guy Kawasaki, another personal favorite, has an article called The Art of Bootstrapping that is worth a look. Actually, it’s worth printing out and rereading on a regular basis.

Finally, the latest issue of Newsweek has a Turning Point article by Carlos Mencia called Laughing in the Face of Change. It begins, “Right now, a lot of people are losing their jobs. They’re saying ‘Oh, my God, what am I gonna do?’ I’m here to tell you, this is your chance. Paint. Put out a rap album. Design a car. Do whatever you’ve always wanted to do….Why am I so confident about this? Because I had one of those turning points in my life: long before Comedy Central came calling, I used to be headed for a degree in engineering.” Read the rest of the story. It’s great.

No Responses to “Thanksgiving Week Treasures”

  1. Blair Hornbuckle

    Hi Barbara!

    What a high density page of inspiration you’ve churned out here, pointing us to four stories and two books, all brilliant!

    It took less than 20 minutes to inhale all the articles, plus order both books from the library. The books will take longer, sure. But Guy and Mihaly are both worth spending a few days with!

    Even among my multi-millionaire small biz pals with stupid money to spare, the bootstrap project is ALWAYS the best bet for success. The conventional wisdom that “It takes money to make money,” is nonsense. What it takes is “opportunity awareness,” a little creativity (not too much!), and Implementation with a capital I. That’s the biggie. Kind of a high falutin’ word though. How’s this instead: “ACTION!” Like Einstein said: “Nothing happens until something moves.” Or Napoleon Hill: “I Act Now!” Isn’t that really the bootstrappers First Commandment?

    Thanks a lot for juicing me up right at bedtime!

    All the best,

    Blair

    http://www.blairhornbuckle.com

  2. Georgia Glunt

    Barbara – I really enjoyed the NYT article about making art into a more lucative career! It is so good to read about being able to make a living at art!

    It also reminded me how progressive my 1978 college degree was…if I’d only known! I was the 2nd graduate with a music/business degree at my small college. It was a bit ahead of its time, as (at least locally) there wasn’t a lot of opportunity to advance in a traditional way.

    You & met at a class you gave in Upper Arlington, OH. I had, at that time, two small businesses as a musician and handywoman.(The Renaissance Gal) I’m still in the music business and keep looking for ways to expand it – and perhaps again one day I’ll not have a j.o.b. – as I do now!

    You have been and continue to be a inpiration to me! It’s always a joyful day when Winning Ways is in the mail box!

  3. Barbara

    Thanks for the vote of confidence. I can’t stop myself from gathering and, as Blair points out, when you come from a place of opportunity awareness, you realize you won’t live long enough to take advantage of them all…or read all the books!

  4. Sue Sullivan

    Hi Barbara,

    I especially appreciated this comment in the bootstraping article, “Perfect is the enemy of good enough.” As I worked with our home builder, I saw him applying the principle over and over. It really changed my outlook. I was stuck in trying to do things perfectly, which really slowed and sometimes halted things. He would launch things when they were good enough, then expand and perfect them if the demand was there for it. It works well!

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