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I’ve been neglecting this blog, and haven’t posted anything here for a long time – despite this it gets a regular 30 or so visits a day, up to 50 some days. I recently started a new blog, Charlton Fun City, writing about music and posting videos and clips, and have been trying to write something for that every day. As is probably inevitable with a man of my age, not much of it is about new artists; so far it seems to mainly be about the new material of old artists.
A few days ago I started to think: I’ve got a load of emails waiting for responses – mostly they’re the ones that need a bit of time and thought to complete – so shouldn’t I be doing that rather than writing posts about Wilko Johnson’s farewell gig? Come to that, shouldn’t I be writing more on this blog? After all, I’m a self-employed person working in a fairly small niche, and always battling to pay my bills and stay on the right side of the Mr Micawber’s famous happiness calculation.
My favourite sibling author duo, Chip and Dan Heath are bringing out a new book shortly, and have been sending out emails trying to drum up trade and build a buzz. I first encountered them through their second book Switch, which is an overview of research into how to get change to work well. As you might expect from the authors of Made to Stick, (which is about getting people to hear and remember what you’re trying to communicate), it is well and engagingly written, in an easy-to-read style familiar from the works of Malcolm Gladwell, who they credit a couple of times.
Even though it doesn’t give as much emphasis to Solutions Focus approaches as my SF chums would like, I think Switch is great, and I consistently recommend it – in fact if you’re reading this blog then I definitely recommend it to you, you can read/download the first chapter here – and I’m looking forward to Decisive, which is subtitled “How to make better choices in life and work”.
One of the points they’ve been making in their prepublication publicity emails, is that we have a strong tendency when faced with a decision to see it in starkly binary terms: should I do A or not? or at best, should I do A or B? Of course the range of possibilities is much more open than that, and the Heath brothers talk about ‘widening the frame’ to look for other possibilities.
So when I was meditating this morning, one of my distractions was the realisation that I don’t have to choose between having a music blog, or a blog about change and growth, or answering my emails – I just have to choose which to do each day. So now, instead of aiming to write a music blog each day, my aim is to write something each day – some days it will be a music blog, some days it will be a response to one of those back-up emails, and some days it will be a blog here.
Now, you may have noticed that the tile of this blog sets up an either/or choice: Either/Or Vs Both/And. The truth is that sometimes we can only have one thing or another – we can have our cake or eat it; I probably only have the time to write one thing each day; you can either use a semi-colon or a comma. So there’s a time for everything – and that reminded me of a song, so why not go for a both/and with this blog post, and make that point with some footage of an old band?
So where could you ‘open up the frame’ to consider both/and options – or even a whole host of different possibilities?