Archive for May, 2012

30 May 2012

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts



So, I open up the front door today and step out side when, all of a sudden, there is this wild commotion in the shrub right beside me. Scared me out of a year’s growth! (Something I can ill-afford as there is an outside chance that my eldest son is contemplating being as tall as I am. It’ll never happen!)

Anyway, the next thing I see is a female Mallard duck flapping madly into the air from behind my irises. Once my pulse returns to normal, the answer to the question, “GAAH! What was that?!” becomes fairly readily apparent. 7 eggs nestled together in a nest under the spirea. We will have ducklings in the yard in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Update: Here is a picture of Momma duck and a shot of the nest on Saturday (3 June). I found out that Mallards typically lay 10 to 12 eggs, 1 per day. There was no new egg on Sunday, so maybe 10 will be it. Although the duck is still skittish, we can come and go through the front door as long as we make our way in and out without making sudden moves or noises.

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17 May 2012

Posted by under Book Review

Brave, Smart or Stupid

 The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin, 2007, Portfolio (ISBN: 978-1591841661)

A month or so ago when I posted about Seth Godin’s Stop Stealing Dreams manifesto, I mentioned this little book, The Dip. I pulled it off the shelf and tucked it into my carry-on when we went to Ottawa and re-read it on the flight out.  It is a little book, about 7 x 5 inches and less than a hundred pages – easily read in just an hour or two.  It takes longer to think through how you might apply the concepts that to read about them. The concept presented in The Dip is simple: count the cost before you start on an ambitious task and if you are not willing or able to persevere to the end – quit now.

Godin postulates that all worthwhile endeavours have a dip – a low point after an initial amount of reward or success where the going gets tough.  The initial rush of feeling good about a new project hits the doldrums of working through the never-ending details and you ask yourself, “Is this worth it?”  And, if you decide that it isn’t worth it, you quit.  It was the right question, but asked at the wrong time and with the worst possible outcome, quitting after a significant investment (in time, effort, money, reputation…) is totally lost.  Godin illustrates this point with the story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – quitting because the posse is making your life difficult as you head deeper into the hills is a stupid choice, it only gets you killed.  The time to choose is before you rob the train – at that time there are two good choices: don’t start if you can’t finish, or summon the strength to see it through to the end. The first is smart, the latter, brave.

Ok, so you aren’t likely thinking about robbing a train – but what about learning a new skill, changing careers or getting behind a cause you believe in?  If the task is worthwhile, it most certainly will have a dip.  In fact, the bigger the potential reward the longer and deeper the dip is likely to be.  Counting the cost before starting is the sign of maturity and the choice to be brave (and see the job through to the end) or to be smart (and find something else to attempt where you can be brave) is crucial to avoid being stupid and quitting in the dip.

I was struck by how this idea ties in with some of the concepts from other books I’ve read – Dan Pink might say that purpose allows bravery, and building mastery underpins perseverance in the dip.  Ken Robinson would probably argue that the passion, interest and opportunity required to be in your element help you to understand what is worth seeing through to the end.  Don Miller could argue that inciting incidents lead you into the dip and character gets you to the other side. No matter what, facing the dip is unavoidable – thus having the foresight to understand the difference between brave, smart and stupid then choosing wisely at the beginning is essential for success.

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03 May 2012

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts

Ottawa Trip – the wrap-up

Ottawa Trip - the wrap-up

Well, we made it home safe and sound – to a tidy house and angelically sleeping children.  We should go away more often!  The weekend away was really nice – we had some lovely sunny spring weather, the tulips were just starting to blossom and we spent time going for lattes and enjoyed being tourists.  We were busy enough to feel like we were getting good value out of our days and relaxed enough to feel like we got a break from the busy life at home.  The kids enjoyed a bit of being spoiled – sounds like they managed to dodge some of their regular chores while we were away.  Next time we will have to leave a copy of the chore schedule for Gram and Gramps!

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