Do you WORK your quirk?


I hope this post finds you well!

So, I just read a powerful book chapter, and it so made me think that I wanted to share.

Here’s an excerpt:

Chapter Title: I’ll Just Take the Shrimp: Embrace Your Weaknesses
Book: 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman, pp. 52, 53, 54

[Set up: Geoff, a very, VERY rich man, refuses to pay $1 extra–just $1!–to exchange salmon for shrimp on his salad, as he had desired to do.]

“What do you call that? Cheap? Strange? Dysfunctional? I call it the secret to his success. Not yours, by the way. His.

Geoff has a fixation on value. He can’t stand the idea of spending a single extra dollar if it doesn’t provide at least two dollars of extra value. Maybe that’s extreme. But so is a fortune (and foundation) of hundreds of millions of dollars. He’s not successful despite the quirk; he’s successful because of it.

And what’s made Geoff successful is that he’s not embarrassed about it. Or ashamed. he doesn’t hide or repress or deny it.

He uses it.

. . .

‘The most interesting novels,’ Newsweek editor Malcolm Jones wrote in a recent book review, ‘are the ones where the flaws and virtues can’t be pulled apart.’

That’s even truer for people. The most powerful ones don’t conquer their dysfunctions, quirks, and potentially embarrassing insecurities. They seamlessly integrate them to make an impact in the world.

Another man I know was the driving force behind health reforms that saved the lives of millions of people in the developing world. Literally millions. Certainly he achieved this feat with great strengths. . . .

But he had a quirk. He lived and worked in the hyper-intellectual world of the academia, where nuance is valued far above simplicity. Success as an academic traditionally lies in one’s ability to see and expound the gray.

But he never saw the gray. He saw the world in black and white, right and wrong. This simplistic view of the wold is something that people in academia try to hide or overcome all the time. But he never hid his simplicity. He embraced it. And that was the source of his power, the secret ingredient that enabled him to save so many lives. He cut through the morass of a debate and arrived at the simplicity of righteous action.

. . .

We all have quirks and obsessions like these. Maybe won don’t admit them, even to ourselves. Or we worry that they detract from our success and work hard to train ourselves out of them.

But that’s a mistake. Our quirks very well may be the secret to our power. . . .”

So, aside from your feelings about Bregman’s characterization of the academy, do you have a major quirk that you work?

I’m inspired! I keep centering on the sentence “They seamlessly integrate them [those quirks of theirs] to make an impact in the world.”

So, I’ve been viewing my quirk as a problem, and it would be AWESOME (and is highly possible, I think!!!) to have it work in my favor as a researcher-writer and joiner-to-my-field.

Just wanted to share! Thought-provoking, no?



The Good that COULD NEVER Have Happened without the Bad That SHOULD NEVER Have Happened


When I’ve been thesis-ing for hours and just reach a point where I can’t process another dat-gum thesis-related thought, I switch to some other activity such as (a) watching episodes of “Suits” (USA) or “The Big Bang Theory;” (b) taking a walk; (c) “fixin'” myself a healthy snack; (d) or reading what I intend to be non-thesis pleasure reading or personal development reading.

So, I just read the most INTERESTING phrase in one of the personal development -type books I’m currently reading during thesis down-time. It is:

“In the case of human-caused evil, it will be a good that never could have happened without the evil that never should have happened. We’re dealing with the mystery of paradox here.”–Paul F. Knitter

Mm. What a profound description to bring to the fore the neatness and coolness of such occurrences, ya know? It’s like in the bible story of Joseph when he tells his brothers, “You meant it for my bad but God meant it for my good” (serious paraphrase).

So, once again, my non-thesis related reading takes me straight back to thinking about my thesis and graduate school and life in general.

Question for you: Has this happened in your thesis or diss writing, or in your graduate school experience as a whole . . . that something really important and good has come of and is only possible because of something bad that never should have happened?

It might be some good idea, good resource, good connection, good meeting, good class, good opportunity, what have you, that happened precisely because initially something “bad” happened.

I dunno! I’m sure this has occurred for me, but I’ll have to think about it a moment before I have clarity about it.

And you? Any such joyous, inspirational, and/or victorious stories of this nature to share?

Regardless, it’s a thought-provoking phrase, yes? Food for thought indeed!

Blessings, and I hope your day is bright today.  


A Lean, Accuracy-Centered 4-5 Program-Using Academic Workflow: The Digital Side . . . (Paper Side Post To Come Next Month!)

Greetings, all! I hope this post finds you well!

Every so often I hone my academic workflow. As far as I’m concerned, this comes with the territory, and it is important to sharpen the saw and increase in efficiency and accuracy. The workflow in the PDF shared below works for me for a good and relatively simple but accurate flow (as far as the DIGITAL side is concerned).

ASIDE: About the “sharpening the saw” metaphor: I learned of it from reading Stephen Covey’s books. The metaphor of “sharp­en­ing the saw” is sim­ple: It is coun­ter­pro­duc­tive to spend all of your time saw­ing and neglect­ing to sharpen the saw when a simple SHARPENING OF THE SAW could enable you to get the tree cut down in just a few strokes, saving TONS of effort and work and time in the process.

Number of programs involved in this particular configuration of the digital side of the academic researcher-writer’s workflow:

  1. Mendeley (There’s a FREE version. I use the paid version so that all of my PDFs and notes and annotations are backed up!)
  2. Google Scholar (a website that’s FREE to use)
  3. Citavi (There’s a FREE version that’s just as good as the paid one. The paid version simply allows more than 100 sources for each Citavi file. NOTE: Be sure to back up your Citavi file via the Citavi menu option to do so.)
  4. MS Word (not free)
  5. OPTIONAL: Scrivener (not free)
Image preview of the PDF
(please click it to view it in a new browser window where most browsers will allow you to enlarge it, often by clicking on it):

Please let me know if you have any questions about this workflow.

NOTE: I am aware that a Prezi with embedded video demonstration of each step in the flow chart would be awesome. Once I’m done thesis-sing, I hope to create such a Prezi! In the meanwhile, feel free to email me or post a question via the comment feature (simply click the “quote bubble” icon above to do so): I’ll answer any questions I can!

Wishing you PEACEFULNESS and ENJOYMENT in your academic work. Onwards and UPWARDS!!!