Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Drinking water in, cleaner water out

A few years ago a heard an amazing story and so wanted it to be true! I mentioned it today on an OU forum and now have a link to the full story: http://www.iehn.org/publications.case.rohner.php

A commercial furniture provider wanted to develop a "more environmentally responsible fabric." They hired a design guru in the form of Bill McDonough and worked with Rohner Textil AG to produce it.

I find the story incredibly inspiring, not willing to settle for options that would have improved the situation, they kept pushing the boundaries of what was possible until they had radically transformed the entire production process. McDonough is quoted writing: “The team decided to design a fabric that would be safe enough to eat,”

They eliminated dangerous chemicals from the production process ending up using only 16 "that they deemed safe and appropriate, and from those completed the entire fabric line."

Amazingly for a company that was paying heavily for producing dangerous waste product and water, once the changes in the design process were implemented, the factory was able to sell the now useful waste product and regulators found waste water from the factory was cleaner than that going in!

You can find the companies website here: http://www.climatex.com

What if we all made this sort of improvements in our lives and workplaces!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

January goals

I've had an understanding with my wife that I would achieve Goal 39 – to finish the little DIY jobs in our kitchen before I started my next university course. At the beginning of January I went back to basics and wrote a list of all the jobs that needed doing, agreed it with my better half and have set about working away at the list. Number one: fit window sill...

Agile methodology states that the most risky project task should be tackled first. This allows the project to be cancelled if the risks cannot be overcome in a reasonable time frame or for a reasonable cost before too much time and money has been invested.

I should not really apply methodologies to a completely different field but occasionally I do put off DIY never having done a particular job before and the risk isn't about time or money, its simply the fear of never having done something and not having a scooby what to do about it.

So, on the one side, fear of the unknown. On the other, I had a clear goal, enough time to achieve it and at the beginning of January anyway, a whole Saturday to drink tea and mull over the problem. I've been told that tea is good for the brain. I find that chocolate helps too. By the end of the day I'd decided I could fit a window sill, had a plan to achieve it, had prepped the area, planed down the wood, drilled necessary holes and sealed the wood with wood stain.

Amazing what a cup of tea will do!

I reckon that many days most of us tackle jobs that stretch our abilities and demonstrate that we are quite capable of planning and achieving goals. But, often, when we attempt something bigger or that will require a longer commitment, we fail. Why is that?

I found in November and December that I could not write as much as I had planned to. Since the 4th January I've gone back to aiming to write 100 words a day with a simple commitment to writing at least 100 words every week day. Reducing the pressure but making a solid daily commitment has enabled me to get back into the flow of writing this month. Though, it is now 11pm and I still have to meet my daily target, you can check my website: http://www.fallenwarriors.co.uk/ to see if I'm keeping it!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

No more New Years Resolutions!

In spare seconds during the weeks leading up to New Year I decided that I could finally rid myself of the concept of New Years Resolutions. I have a set of goals that I'm happy to work towards and a plan for achieving those I feel are most important.

Still, I have always felt that dates and anniversaries are important and a chance to reflect and consider the future. I've been trying to categorise my current list of 100 life goals. As many of them really fit into several categories, it doesn't work that well but it does allow me to see some patterns that are interesting.

Sixteen of my goals are 'just for fun'! Many of them there simply because they came to mind while putting the list together and yet they are goals that I have found myself thinking, "If I had the time, I would like to..."

Fourteen of my goals are related or are important in some way to my family.

I have twelve ambitions which are slightly more achieveable than my five childhood dreams...

I have slightly more goals to educate myself, eight, than goals to financially better myself but have listed the same number of health goals, seven, as financial though suspect that I spend far more time working towards financial goals than health ones...

I listed eleven goals related to writing, four work related goals of which I've achieved two, three practical goals and 'only' three spiritual goals.

I've probably struggled the most in thinking about the spiritual goals. When I first started telling people about my 100 goals, a few people pointed out the difference between aspirations and achievable goals. Spirituality is an aspiration and yet deep down there is a part of me that cries out it must be more.

Jesus is my model of a true spiritual man. Yet almost everything he said was practical. When I have tried to apply in my own life what Jesus has said, it has usually benefitted me in ways that I have been able to quantify. Not in every case though. Jesus was quite clear that anyone who sought to do as he instructed was taking on increased levels of danger, risk and adventure. In my experience this is true but has also been worth the risk.

A friend challenged me to place goal 31 as a higher priority to see how it would change my list of goals.

Goal 31 was to be and do all that God wants of me. I believe in God, I believe that his son Jesus gave several very clear goals to work towards, for all who believe in him, and literally dozens of minor goals that can also have positive influences in our lives.

But, I do not believe that God wants us all to be mindless copies, or expects us to only do what He wants. I do believe that God has given us amazing skills and abilities that we can use and honour him with.

My aim is that in all the goals I have set, I will work to be and do all that God wants of me.

Still, I am curious about going further and expanding this aspiration into sub goals that can be measured. I am considering setting some sub goals and ways to measure them. Specifically: fasting and praying regularly.

I have had some interesting and exciting experiences with both these activities in the past but have not documented them until now. I still haven't decided if this is the right time to explore this but if I do and exciting things start to happen, I'll let you know.