Pulp Me Up And Make Me Into Paper…It Might Be An Improvement

So Shakespeare used couplets, well I’m going one better and using triplets! Trios of facts. Starting with the findings of some research I did earlier. I interviewed some folk this afternoon at a select gathering of like minded people…okay, so I chatted to my two godsons as we queued for security at the airport! I asked them to share with me some interesting facts and here’s what they came up with:

  1. Cave spiders can live for 40 years.
  2. Butterflies never go to the toilet.
  3. You can make paper with kangaroo or wombat poo and from jeans too (and yes I have been assured that I could find myself an integral part of a book or a toilet roll by virtue of my surname being Jean).

Today is day 3 of the Your Turn Challenge – 7 days of blogging as a way of getting unstuck and shipping. Check out Seth Godin if you’re unfamiliar with these terms. Shipping is a new one for me! Another term I’ve learnt just today is “forcing functions“. Forcing functions are ways of getting yourself to get things done and increase your productivity.

One of Dan Martell’s forcing functions is to go and work in a cafe, sans computer cord, knowing he has the life of his computer battery in which to get things done. I used to hang out in cafes a lot when I worked in Adelaide. I found it more productive than the office…but I had done my homework…I knew who had good coffee, booths or good sized tables that could cater to my crossword, puta, notebook and old fashioned paper diary, and I knew where the power points were! I like getting to know a good barista, it goes a long way to building a happy, caffeinated relationship.

These days I’m not buying my coffee so much as I donated 500 cups of coffee to a good cause. So I’m my own barista and I’ve improved my ability to wield the stove top espresso maker with finesse (I even take it on holidays with me). Today’s blog challenge is “tell us something you think needs to be improved”. Well, let’s jump straight in there now…how’s your humanness?!

I’m very embracing of the human condition. In a great kindness to myself I accept I am human and flawed and could do with some improving AND THAT’S OKAY…and yes it’s taken a long time to realise that embracing this FACT makes my life a whole lot rosier (let me recommend you give yourself a deep well of compassion and dip in there regularly as you embrace your human self). BUT…I do believe in trying to make change and improve myself. I just do it with grace and acceptance and I’m nice to myself…mostly.

Back in 2004 I moved from Canberra to Adelaide to work for Salisbury local government on their ageing strategy. It was a great community to work in and I made lifelong friends who are whizzes professionally and fab people personally. One of them introduced me to the concept of life long learning. It gave me a way to label my penchant for collecting qualifications. More than that though, it gave me way to reference all of the different and persistent learning I do personally and professionally.

Here’s some facts about my learning that I’m sure you can relate to:

  1. I learn through interacting with people.
  2. I learn through reading (books, blogs, brochures, signs, journals, even facebook).
  3. I learn by going places and trying things and getting involved.

Okay, you get the drift, I’m thirsty and often that thirst is associated with what’s got my attention now.

I’ve been doing the holiday thing and indulging in lots of reading this week. Over two days I devoured a book by Dambisa Moyo called Dead Aid. It kept me asking REALLY?! Constantly wanting to know more. Dead Aid made two things clear to me – that I still find it hard to get excited about economics (it makes my head explode a little bit, but I did stick at it), and that I really didn’t know much about what happens with aid money for Africa and why better results haven’t been achieved. Here’s a few facts from the book (as at when it was published in 2009):

  1. More than US$1 trillion in development assistance has been provided to Africa over the last several decades.
  2. Life expectancy has stagnated and is around fifty.
  3. One in 7 children across the African continent die before they turn 5.

There’s plenty more facts and you should read the book if you want to know what Moyo thinks the alternatives are to change this situation.

On facebook today I read this quote from Buckminster Fuller:

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

So we may need new models of aid for Africa focused on economic development. We may also need new models and approaches to improve the delivery of child survival. Some more facts you should know:

  1. 2008 data suggests as many as 24,000 children under the age of five are dying every single day.
  2. Nearly four million of these children die within the first month of life, with the majority of these deaths being from preventable or treatable causes.
  3. Change is possible to improve the delivery of child survival.

The citizen led initiative Building Bridges is moving into a Design Forum phase, drawing on networks and knowledge and is absolutely about improving outcomes for kids and communities. This initiative has been in front of me over the past month as I’ve followed Matt Jones’ epic stunt of running 24k sub marathons in 10 cities around the globe to ignite a conversation about child survival where a central question will be addressed: “how might we use our networks to improve the delivery of child survival?”

Being the curious person I am, I’ve been improving my understanding about the initiative, about the issues, about human centred design, about child survival AND about myself and what I might be able to contribute in any small way as a global citizen. I hope that you have the chance to do some reflecting on improving and what it means in your life, to your circumstances and to others and I wish you the grace, the will and means to take action.


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