Learn Virtues Like You Learn to Golf


I love to play golf, but in full disclosure I must inform everyone reading I am not a great golfer. But I love the game, and I love being out on the grass. Being surrounded by all the trees and grass can be very therapeutic.

The golf swing is a very complicated thing, and any number of coaches or pro’s could give you literally thousands of different pointers on how to improve your swing. Here are just a few of the basics:

-keep your head down
-don’t grip the club too tight
-swing with your hips
-follow through
-don’t swing too hard
(this list could go on and on for days)

These are just a few of the pointers that you will hear when learning to golf, but the biggest secret is this- YOUR BODY ALREADY KNOWS HOW TO SWING. Its a natural motion, and if you over think it- you will miss the ball altogether. So what I learned from a pro was this:

FOCUS ON ONE GOLF TIP AT A TIME

So for me, when I get out on the golf course and prepare for my swing- I make sure I’m loosened up, I take a couple of practice swings, and then I focus on ONE thing- keeping my eye focused on the ball. I let my body do the rest. A smooth, crisp drive along an open fairway is a thing of beauty. Sometimes I will focus on a single golf tip for the entire summer- training myself is not easy. It takes patience, focus, and hard work.

Practicing virtues in our life is a lot like practicing a golf swing. If you try to do everything at once you will be overwhelmed, but if you can focus on a single virtue at a time- whether it be honesty, patience, courage, or charity- the other virtues will follow because they are already part of you.

RETURN TO VIRTUES is all about going back to the principles we as a society and as individuals know, but sometimes forget. With facebook, twitter, blogs, and google we are flooded with information- but what does all of it teach us? All the blogs in the world won’t make a difference in society unless we can implement the lessons we learn.

William Faulkner said it much better than I could in his Nobel Prize Speech. Speaking about how authors must re-learn the most important truths of our society, he said:

“[The Author] must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

-William Faulkner (excerpt from his Noble Prize speech)

I have challenged all of my Virtue Volunteers to make March the Month of Integrity- to focus just on this one virtue. I will document how it affects every facet of their lives. I anxiously await the results.

The Virtue Experiment

The Hypothesis: If an individual will focus on one virtue each month for the next twelve months, they will experience greater achievements and a more fulfilling life.

The Sample Group: a professional athlete, a school teacher, a president of a not-for-profit organization, a director of a production studio, a dental student, a law student, 2 young couples, a risk management specialist, and 3 stay-at-home mothers. (15 people total)

The Variables:

  • All fifteen individuals will be given a colored wristband (much like the yellow “live strong” wristband) to represent the virtue of the month.
  • Each individual will be expected to set a goal for that month dealing with that particular virtue.
  • Couples will share the goals with their spouses, siblings with siblings, and the single individuals will write their goals down and email them to me.

How the experiment will be monitored:

  • Each individual will be expected to report back at the end of the month, and share any unique experiences they enjoyed. Both positive and negative. With their permission, the stories of the test subjects will be shared on the site http://returntovirtues.com/
  • Those who fail to report back will receive a brief call and interview to evaluate the results of the month’s goal.
  • The results will be used to supplement my manuscript.

Let me know what you think of the experiment, I can be reached by email atdayon at gmail.com or on twitter. I reply to all comments.

How To Make People Like You

To gain followers online you need people to like you. Here are the top reasons people will like you, your blog, your tweets, and your style.

1. Be Famous- everybody likes famous, so just do something truly exceptional and people will like you. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong are great examples. Just put together a pattern of work in your life making you one of the foremost in your field in the history of the world, and I can pretty much guarantee people will like you. For 99.9% of the world, myself included, this technique will most likely be impossible. Not everyone can be famous, but everyone can be liked.

2. Be Interesting- check out guys like (I am using twitter names here) @mashable, @problogger, @guykawasaki, and @jowyang. These guys post interesting information on their blogs and twitter that is relevant and unique. You don’t have to post about social media like they do, but you do have to post information that is quality. That’s how the internet weeds out what is good and what is crap.

3. Be Nice- this could also include be respectful, be courteous, and be civilized. Language does matter. You drop the F-bomb on twitter or your blog and you will lose followers. I know what your thinking- “people that are offended by that kind of language aren’t the type of people I want to follow me anyway.” That’s fine, keep swearing like a sailor if its your thing- but people notice. Also, disagreement is in fact encouraged, just make sure it is respecful and never make it personal. Disagreeing sometimes starts the best discussions.

4. Be Complimentary- If you like a post, say so. If you like an article, share it. People will remember your kindness. It’s kind of the golden rule of the internet, do good to others and it will return to you. This is probably the easiest thing to do online to make you more liked.

5. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Self Promoting- The first rule of sales: People buy things from people they like. It is far more important to get people to like you, then to check out your site, your products, or your services. Once they like you they will check out your services out of curiosity. If they really like you they will tell others about your service. You want the connection to be personal, not product based.

Is you disagree, reply here, or I can be found @adriandayton on twitter.

Open Letter to My Wife: Why Twitter is Worth My Time



Honey,

I know you have been giving me a hard time for spending so much time on Twitter, so let me just say that I have proof that it is not a waste of time. Here are a few examples:

Today I met a guy on Twitter named @retireat21 – I don’t know anything about him in real life, but what if its true? What if there are all these people out there enjoying the four hour work week, flying first class, and getting paid to shop? Honey, that could be us! Sure I’m older than 21 now, but that should make it even easier. I also met someone named @easymoney – see Honey there is easy money to be made and all I have to do is join twitter and the money starts coming in. Right? Well maybe it isn’t that easy.

You have asked me in the past, who ever made it big just because of Twitter? How about our current President? Heard of him? During the final days leading up to the election 1-3 million twitter messages about him were exchanged pointing out the best articles, most accurate polls, and the latest messages coming directly out of his campaign. The Mccain camp couldn’t touch that type of real time news. Twitter may have turned the tide for Obama.

So in conclusion, I may never make any money on Twitter. People may never use Twitter to hire me as a corporate attorney, or to locate one more aspiring author, but believe me there are some of the most fascinating people on Twitter. I have been on for only one week, and I have learned a ton already. It’s so entertaining as well. There is nothing as exciting as someone re-tweeting your post, or asking a question that really gets people to buzz.

It’s a wonderful market of ideas. The good ones get passed on, and the bad ones are ignored. So give it a chance Honey, you might just find a way to work from home, make millions while drinking low-cal smoothies in bed, or even figure out a place to get free make-up. Imagine the possibilities!

Love,

Adrian

Grow Your Twitter Following in Your Sleep

For those of you who haven’t joined twitter, you seriously need to try it out- it is a blast. For those of you that are already using twitter here is a new pointer I got from twitter pro @mike_wesely

If you want to grow your following in your sleep (I know it sounds like a cheesey marketing pitch), here is what you have to do: find a few twitter stars- those with 10,000 plus followers that are in your target market- then late at night, say 11:00 or 12:00, right before you go to bed- tweet a good night message to each of these people. The message will likely stay on all night due to far less activity during these hours. Your @name will show up on their very popular blogs under their twitter feed for hours.

I tried this last night @posting to just three popular twitterers before I went to bed, and I awoke to over 30 new followers. Not exactly hundreds of followers, but it took me less than five minutes to send those posts. Imagine if I had sent tweets to all the top 20 twitter celebs? Try it out, and let me know how it goes for you.

Act Like Friends, Live Like Strangers

Is social media in fact anti-social?

Here is a conversation that I overheard from an acquaintance:

“I have so many friends on facebook that I would never talk to in real life.”
“Seriously?”
“Yeah, yesterday I was at the Mall and I saw one of my facebook friends, and I purposefully avoided eye contact because I didn’t want to have a forced conversation with him.”

What is the point of social media if it doesn’t translate into real offline connectivity with other people?

I know what your going to say, that social media enhances our existing relationships through sharing pictures, coordinating activities, sharing information, and etc. I think that might be overstated.

My point is that the most important relationships we have in this life require time, sacrifice, and dedication. Our relationships with parents, children, spouses, or other loved ones won’t grow and flourish if we only maintain them through facebook hugs, and twitter nudges. We must be comitted to putting these relationships first, or we will be left feeling utterly alone even while virtually surrounded with hundreds of friendster, followers, and readers.

At the end of a hard day at work, after our son has gone to bed, there is nothing as valuable to me as the quiet time my wife and I spend together talking. I close my laptop, turn off the t.v., turn down the music, and we just enjoy eachother’s company. Its my favorite part of the day, and that is something I really digg.

When is social media at its best/worst?

After writing the post I found some other great articles on the subject

HERE

and

HERE

Anti-pirates Don’t Even Realize

According to the AP they have special training now just for killing pirates. What next? When will this anti-pirate media bias stop? I swear the media never publishes anything good the pirates do. We never hear about the schools they are building, pirate counsels they are holding, or advances in pirate seamanship. We always hear just the bad stuff.

And I can tell you from seeing multiple vaguely historical Pirates of the Caribbean movies that not all pirates are bad. Some pirates are cool, hip, funny, and/or hot. So next time someone starts telling another “pirate joke” or does another pirate impression (so tired). Just look him in the eye and say, not cool man…. not cool.

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