A bird does not sing because it has an answer.  It sings because it has a song.

31 August 2009

No Extra Charge

I get periodic e-mails from Michael Port, the author of "The Think Big Manifesto." He ends each e-mail with a cute postscript: "P.S. I don't charge for typos, they're just my gift to you :) " This got me thinking this morning about how attitude impacts everything we do, large and small.

This postscript accomplishes three things:

First, it acknowledges, and even celebrates, the little imperfections that are inevitable in life because we are all human. In so doing, it lets Michael worry less about spelling and more about content, which is a perfectly reasonable approach for a quick e-mail update.

Second, it shuts down the trolls -- the people who feel compelled to pick things apart and send mountains of critiques and corrections. When this happens to me, it tells me the reader was paying more attention to the spelling than the content. And while I myself am a stickler for such things, and find errors terribly distracting in written work, I work hard to strike a balance between appreciating the intent and helping refine quality only when that help is appropriate. Criticizing is a lot easier than creating, which is why there are a lot more complainers than there are creators.

Third, it emphasizes the positive. Michael seeks to be a giver and a sharer of good stuff. He brings the attitude to his work that it is a gift to those who care to receive it. The message is, "everything I create - even the small mistakes - is a unique gift I am giving to the universe." With that approach, he's bound to be inspired by what he's doing, and strive to make it the absolute best it can be. And by focusing on the positive, the rest is seen for what it is: a minor distraction in the periphery of the critical path.

Incidentally, I've never seen a typo in any of those messages. :)

What are you doing today that is a unique, creative gift to the universe? How does your present task, no matter how small, make a positive impact? If you don't feel like you're doing good in the world, what needs to change - the task, or your attitude about it? What specific, concrete thing can you do about it right now?

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