It’s been ages since I’ve done a roundup of articles and resources that have been gathering in my files. Obviously, it’s time for a Weekend Excursion so you can explore them on your own.

There’s no real rhyme or reason or theme to this list of treasures except that they all delighted me in different ways.

Green and Growing

If you’re a subscriber to Winning Ways newsletter, you will recall that I recently did an issue exploring what gardeners have to teach entrepreneurs. Last week, I learned about an extraordinary English gardening writer named Beveley Nichols who chronicled his evolution as an amateur gardener.

After reading his book Merry Hall, I wanted more and came across a collection of his wit and wisdom called Rhapsody in Green. When I read the following passage, I realized he could just as well have been advising someone growing a business:

Gradually my impatient desire for immediate results, which is the besetting sin of all beginners, died down. I began to take a joy in the work for its own sake. Until you actually own a garden, you cannot know this joy.

Before and After

The other day, I received an e-mail from Connie Hozvicka sharing her excitement about taking the big step. Connie is a dynamic artist and her blog at Dirty Footprints Studio is always a visual feast.

However, her post I Want You to Hear Me took my breath away. Go read it for yourself and you’ll see why.

Expose Yourself

It’s no secret that I’m a raving fan of Seth Godin who constantly astonishes me with his regular blog writings. This one, called Expose Yourself, illustrates the importance of choosing your influences carefully.

Follow Your Fascination

I’ve been working on the next issue of Winning Ways and am writing about collectors and collecting. Everyone I’ve known who is a serious collector has a story to tell about how their passion for collecting perfume bottles or old coins or Disney memorabilia began with a mild interest and grew stronger as they explored farther.

So that was on my mind when I came across this short piece called  Innovation Begins with Fascination. Don’t miss the exercise at the end.

Loving a Writer

Steven  Pressfield has this advice for spouses, partners, and other caring folks who may be perplexed by their writer/entrepreneur/musician lovers. If you are feeling misunderstood, you may want to print out Loving a Writer to share with your beloved.

Just in Case

I’ve been raving everywhere about Sandy Dempsey’s amusing video about her adventures with Flat Barbara. You may have been within earshot.

However, if by some fluke this has passed you by, pay a visit now and see how Flat Barbara is learning about the Joyfully Jobless life. (Scroll down to see the video.)

Zoe’s about to turn 6 and I’ve been wondering if she’s old enough for me to tell her about the way cameras used to work. This child of the digital age isn’t going to believe me when I tell her about film, the long wait between the time we shot a picture and actually got to see what we’d done.

I was thinking about this pending conversation on a flight to visit Zoe recently and, as if they’d read my mind, the March issue of Southwest Airline’s Spirit magazine had a fun trip down memory lane with an article called  Last Tech

There are no horse and buggies in this piece, but they recalled things like typewriters, pay phones, gas station attendants, answering machines and boomboxes—all from the not so distant past.

It was another reminder that we are living in a time when change is so constant that it often leaves us breathless. What’s so striking is how different people deal with this rapid evolution in very disparate ways.

One man I know simply ignores it while opportunities zoom past him. He reminds me of Edward Arlington Robinson’s poem, Miniver Cheevy. Remember it from high school?

Here’s a verse:

Miniver cursed the commonplace

And eyed a khaki suit with loathing;

He missed the medieval grace

Of iron clothing.

It isn’t just characters from poems and real life individuals who seem to have one foot in each century. The latest issue of Time magazine showed up with a cover story titled  JOBS: Where They Are

That may not sound unusual given the state of employment, but consider this. Two weeks earlier this same magazine’s cover story was 10 Ideas for the Next 10 Years. My favorite article from that gaze into the years ahead  was the one that declared, “the future of work looks a lot like unemployment.” 

The author talks about the changing world of work and says the future will tend to be homebased, fueled by a new spirit of individualism that also embraces self-sufficiency. Sounds like the Joyfully Jobless are about to become trendy.

Of course, our institutions are often the last to notice changing times. College students today are increasingly reporting that they intend to run their own businesses, but are ignoring college business courses which still seem  designed to prepare students for corporate jobs. 

These kids are on to something, but  I’m not so sure about their elders—especially those who are trying to build a business with tools and attitudes from the previous century. It’s a handicap we don’t need, but we may have to confront our own resistance first.

After all, the highest calling of the Joyfully Jobless life is to use imagination and innovation to create a near future that is somehow better than the recent past. While that doesn’t mean jumping on every bandwagon that comes along, it does require keeping up. 

There are modern trailblazers all around us and they are showing us new possibilities for living and working in the 21st century. Gather and synthesize ideas from these creative thinkers.

Follow them on Twitter. Read their books. Connect with them in seminars. Make peace with technology.

Or adopt (sans drugs) a motto from the sixties that finally makes sense: Tune In. Turn On. Drop Out.

That may be the best description of how to create the business of your dreams in our not-always-so-brave new world.

Last week, the NY Times published a popular article called On to Plan B: Starting a Business. The piece talked about people they called accidental entrepreneurs, folks who had lost their jobs and decided to go out on their own. The story was illustrated with a photograph of one such entrepreneur, Lisa Marie Grillos, who, along with her brother started a business making chic bags for bicyclers. The bags are roomy enough to hold a wallet, keys and a cellphone and hook over the bar on the bike. In many ways, the idea seems so simple, obvious even, but I’d never seen such a thing.

Those bags–and thousands of other good business ideas–seem to be answers to the question that’s been the theme of this blog all month: How Can I Make it Better? It’s a question that calls the creative spirit into action. It certainly is the driving force for inventors and designers. But it doesn’t stop there.

I’ve been quietly studying the most interesting people that I follow on Twitter. Every last one of them seems to be passionate about making things better for their customers and for their followers on Twitter. They pass along useful links, offer encouragement, and enthusiastically rave about the success of their friends. It’s a striking contrast to the folks I see on the news ranting at public forums and rallys. It bears no resemblance to the nasty comments left anonymously on blogs or YouTube.

I’m more convinced than ever that leaving it better than they found it is the driving force behind the kinds of businesses I admire. One of those businesses is Innocent Drinks, the UK smoothie makers. Ever since I discovered them, I’ve eagerly awaited their funny weekly mailings and visit their Web site from time to time to see what’s new at Fruit Towers, their headquarters.

The other day, I received an e-mail from Cheryl Kempton, a Minnesotan-turned-Londoner, alerting me to a surprise she had sent my way. A few days later, I opened my mailbox and found a package wrapper from an Innocent Drinks veg pot. Cheryl knew I would be amused by their clever label copy. She was right.

Then Sandy Dempsey posted a terrific YouTube video of one of Innocent Drinks’ founders, Richard Reed, talking about Integrity in Business. I urge you to spend 9 minutes watching his inspiring talk about what drives this innovative company.

Then get up and make something better.