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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Big Little Change digest - August, 2015

Weekly small change challenges

Week 1 - find a simple pleasure.

One of the most touching stories about making room for fun even when you have very little is told in "Secrets of a millionaire mind" by T. Harv Eker. In the chapter about financial buckets (charity, savings, fun, etc.), he talks about a woman who was in very dire straits financially and had only one dollar at the end of each week to distribute between her "buckets". This meant - she had only 25 cents to spend on fun. Her solution? She bought a 25-cent pack of gum that came with a little cartoon insert - and that was her fun for the week. Eventually, through discipline and wise use of the "buckets", she pulled herself out of the financial hole and was able to move on to a better job and a better life.

Not all simple pleasures have the same impact, but they are important and necessary. We are not meant to work all the time - and there is plenty of proof that, after a certain point, more work doesn't mean better productivity. In fact - it can mean less.

Find a simple pleasure that is easy to enjoy on a fairly regular basis and make it a regular ritual. Something you can always rely on. Something you can always look forward to. You deserve it.

Week 2 - do something you've always wanted to do but haven't.

If it costs money - brainstorm how you can make it happen. If it costs courage - meditate, ponder, do whatever you have to do - but make it happen. If it requires help from friends and family - be brave and ask them. Some will look at you like you are crazy. Others will pitch in and cheer you on with delight.

We all have dreams - great and small. We deserve to allow ourselves to find time and means to bring those dreams to reality. Pinpoint one - and get to it.


This concludes our second year of small change challenges. I'll probably do a few "re-runs" from prior years, but not with the same regularity as before. The first year's small change challenges are available in "Big Little Change" the book. This second round will come out shortly in "Big Little Change - the journey continues". As always, group members are welcome to contribute their own small change challenges and stories of big and little successes.

Week 3 - supplemental.

Find a body part and/or a character trait and tell yourself why you love it. For example, I love my big butt, because it hurts less when I fall on the ice. Seriously, I took a bad fall on a slippery ramp a year ago, and my chiropractor said, had it not been for the extra padding, I would have broken my hip.

So... pick something and figure out why you love it. Extra points for a trait or a body part you feel REALLY self-conscious about.

Week 4 - supplemental. Don't be a prisoner.

Some time ago, we had a zumba class with a whole bunch of new people. Now, it's pretty normal for the new folks to be a bit lost to start with, and our instructor always makes a point of telling them it's completely ok. One group of the new attendees took her advice to heart. Even though they were lost and stepping on their own feet, they were clearly having fun. By the end of the class they were actually catching up very nicely. The second group didn't even try. They just barely shuffled their feet and moved their arms. They looked like they've been dragged there and forced to stay.

My husband's teaching colleague calls such people "prisoners". Instructors see them quite often, regardless of what they teach - people who are in the classroom making an extra effort to show just how much they don't want to be there.

Don't be that person. Don't be a prisoner. If you go somewhere because you were told to (like mandatory work-related training), make the best of it. If you are in a fitness class, and realize halfway through it this might not be for you, don't suck the energy out of the room - finish it gracefully. Having "prisoners" in the room is very tough both on the instructors and on other students. Not only such people undermine themselves - they undermine others. Don't be that person.


Big Little Stories

- Artists get fed up with inhumane homeless policies and set out to change things.

- A new fantastic initiative to give kids the right start in life.

- Students get to work to make sure their low-income classmates never have to worry about groceries.

- A well-kept secret changes lives.

- A golf course gets a makeover - as a farm.


Big Little News

Big Little Change: the Journey Continues is now available on Kindle, Nook, as a paperback, and as a hardcover.

For all things Big Little change - the group, the books, the store - please visit our web site.

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