A new paragidm – Election 2010 and social media

Election 2010, Australian ElectionAustralian Election 2010.

As anyone who follows me on twitter will know I have been actively participating in the #ausvotes commentary about the Australian Election 2010 (Again, apologies to any of my friends on various social media platforms around the world who are not Australians… I’m sure many of my tweets had you confused! Election 2010 has been an interesting time and this post is about my personal perspective on Election 2010 and social media, and a new paradigm that I needed to adopt during the election.

Before I go any further with this post I want to make a disclaimer in relation to Election 2010.

1. I am not a member of ANY political party

2. Comments in this post are my personal point of view.

Contemplating Getting Involved

While I do have an interest in politics until this election I have never been actively engaged in any political commentary or lent my support to any political candidate but have always closely examined the policies of the various political parties involved in the pitch for my vote.

Whenever I look what is going on within the political sphere my thoughts and ultimately my vote are driven by a number of personal values.  Those familiar with this blog will know that they include Passion, Persistence, Patience and Resilience. But my values also include Social Justice, Compassion and as an over-riding position being a Catalyst for positive change in people and systems.

Social Media Community – discussion, access, influence

More so than in any previous election I have been actively involved in a number of social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. This involvement provided an interesting and different perspective to previous elections. In previous elections my involvement and analysis was based around consuming the dominant “traditional” media and its associated analysis by political pundits and to my own investigation of the various parties websites to explore their policy positions etc.

Election 2010 was really different and the major difference was the ability to follow discussion about the election through a twitter hashtag #ausvotes. The really interesting part about engaging in the twitter stream was the diversity of participants from right around Australia (and even a few from other countries). The stream provided points of view from the far left, the far right and every point of view in between.

This diversity of opinion and commentary provided a lot of links out to interesting reading (both within “traditional” media and lots of “new” media) from the various perspectives, and contrary to what a few in the twitter stream may think, I actually looked at and devoured a lot of material from the various perspectives. I think a lot of people felt that it was OK to put out there a perspective on various aspects of the election campaign and opinions on various candidates.

There where some really interesting discussions and debates to be had over a number of issues  within the #ausvotes stream (unfortunately interspersed with some very low brow and uncalled for personal insults… but hey trolls are everywhere aren’t they?) I think the #ausvotes twitter stream actually encouraged a lot of people to engage in the discussion that may not have otherwise been involved in these types of discussions. I also think the enormity and diversity and to some extent anonymity of twitter gave people some space to engage that may not exist within their usual physical social settings.

Ultimately my position about election 2010 and my choice about participating in the #ausvotes twitter stream were guided by my personal values as outlined above. Participating in #ausvotes was a really interesting and more often than not enjoyable part of election 2010 and provided me with a whole new paradigm about social media access, influence and how it can play a role in so many aspects of life.

In the next post I will continue with an exploration of what the new paradigm meant and how it changed my involvement in the campaign, followed by another post on my thoughts about the Election outcome so far….

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Capturing the sunrise on a nightshift

If you are intentionally awake and awaiting the sunrise they are a beautiful and inspiring part of the day, especially when nature turns on a spectacular show of colours.

Today I had the pleasure of witnessing one of natures beautiful displays of colour.

Unfortunately it was not my intention to witness it, it came at the end of a night shift and after a few hours of activity.

Although seeing the sunrise wasn’t intended, it was hard not to take notice of a great display. As I took this photo a few drops of rain were beginning to fall, their effect on the photo was stunning!

In previous posts I have talked about missing life’s miracles, and about where to focus attention. Finishing a night shift would cause a lot of people to not pay attention to what was happening around them and to miss the beauty right before them.

We all have things that grab our attention. What things grab your attention in life, regardless of what is happening around you? Share your attention grabbers in the comments.

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What if……

What if...

IF…… many people spend a lot of time saying “if only” but we are going to spend some time saying “What if……. ”

There are so many things in life we could apply the question “what if” to.

In his famous poem “if” Kipling provides a range of “if” scenarios that provide a recipe for developing into a mature person. Granted Kipling’s last line might only apply to half the population, but I think we can forgive that line and just accept that it applies to self-development for all of us.

What if ….. leaves a million possibilities doesn’t it? and that is just the point.

What if…. we came at a familiar situation with a different a mindset?

What if…. we accepted that we are where we are because of choices we have made in the past?

What if…. we accept, to use a comment that has been used here often….life is what it is?

What if…. we accepted that in every choice we make today we are deciding a little bit of what our future will look like?

What if…. you asked yourself “what if” and spent a moment thinking about that when faced with a choice…. would you make better choices?

Life is what it is, but what life becomes is decided by your answers to “WHAT IF…”

image by Marco Bellucci

How a doorknob can keep you sane

The light can shine from a doorknob!

OK you’re thinking Mick has lost the plot…. he’s talking about door knobs and sanity, two subjects that surely don’t belong in the same post!

But wait…. it’s not as crazy as it sounds.

How many times do you put your hand on a doorknob in any day? Interesting question isn’t it, I bet your mind is now trying to fly through a day doing a quick tally of how many times you open a door.

OK OK… but what has  doorknob got to do with my sanity you’re asking?

Well that depends. If you are prepared to STOP for a second or two everytime you put your hand on a doorknob it could have a LOT to do with your sanity.

The doorknob was deliberately chosen because it is something that we frequently touch yet put little thought into. It is precisely these things that offer us a chance to become more mindful and to create a moment of calmness and clarity many times over during our day.

A doorknob for a moment of clarity.

If every time we put our hand on a doorknob throughout the day we pause, take a deep breath, relax our shoulders and briefly examine what is rushing through our heads, and ask ourselves a couple of quick questions we have an opportunity to take part in many mini meditations everyday.

What Questions?

The questions can be tailored to meet our individual needs but a good starting list of questions are:

What am I feeling right now?

Why am I feeling like this?

What am I about to do?

What is my intention on going through this door?

Who am I going to meet on the other side of the door?

Am I ready to really “meet” with them, and give them my FULL attention?

Other options?

The other option is to simply take the moment to relax yourself to take that deep breath, relax the shoulders, pull your posture up a bit straighter and experience the calmness that this brings, and carry that with you through the door and into the next part of your day.

The Challenge!

I dare you to take the doorknob sanity test. Choose a time-frame, a day or week and every time you put your hand on a doorknob do one of these mini meditations…. You never know you just might find that like in the picture for this post the light CAN shine from a doorknob!

creative commons image in this post by Dospaz

What are you going to focus on TODAY ?

Looking forward or backward?

Where are you looking?

“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you haven’t done much today” – Mikhail Gorbachev

Are you still focused on what you did yesterday, are you basking in the glory of what you achieved, or are you rueing yesterdays failure?

If you are basking in the glory or yesterdays achievement, what is it stopping you from doing bigger and better today with that time?

If you are rueing yesterdays failure, are you wallowing, or are you actively exploring it to learn something that you can apply today and beyond?

Do you think Mikhail Gorbachev achieved what he did by focusing on yesterday’s achievements or failures, or by focusing on today’s possibilities?  Based on the quote above you would have to say by focusing on today’s possibilities.

Like all of us not everything Mikhail Gorbachev did was ultimately successful and may have had some unintended consequences, but he has certainly had his share of success, and he did not get there by resting on his laurels or letting a failure stop him from moving forward.

From a man who has achieved a hell of a lot in life,  including such awards as the Nobel Peace Prize, 4 Honorary Doctorates, A Grammy Award and a host of other honours and awards, the opening quote has a very challenging concept.

But this post is not about Mikhail Gorbachev it is about YOU!

I want you to think about a truly successful person that you admire and respect…… (go on…. I’ll give you a minute…. queue thinking music in your head.. … … .la lala la la)

(Music stops….OK your minute is up)  What is it about that person that earns your respect and admiration?

Surely it is not because they are a person who is gloating about what they achieved in the past (as they say for all investments….. past results are no guarantee of future returns…and think about it, if you are giving someone respect and admiration you are investing your energy, time and focus in them to some extent… ), and anyone who is busy constantly reminding you only about their past achievements is a has been.

Surely it is not because they are a person who is always boasting about what they will achieve in the future without a track record of actually doing something… these people are  referred to as life’s gunners  (…. I’m gunna do this, I’m gunna do that…).

I would hope that if you are investing your energy, time and focus in someone it is because they have demonstrated that they have achieved things that are truly worthy of your admiration, that they are showing you (even if they failed yesterday) that they are still moving forward, growing and actively working towards something bigger and better than they have done  in the past and that their past achievements (or failures) are stepping-stones to a brighter future. I also believe that if they have your respect and admiration then they are a person who is not fixated on the past, not fixated on the future, but fixated on doing what needs doing, and are doing it NOW.

If you have followed a few of the posts here, it brings us to a relatively constantly theme……. being present in the here and now…… the past is what it is…. and the future will be what you make out of today. So this leaves only one question…….

what are you going to focus on today, and regardless of whether you succeed or fail will that still look big to you tomorrow, or the day after?