Friday Link Love

Today I'm off to a presbytery training on congregational transformation. So in lieu of a long blog post today, I'm going to share some links that I've collected this week and found interesting. The Coming Decade Will Be About Trust

I think the next decade will be about trust. This is the only decade in history that will be formed wholly by Gen X—we are so small that our age of power is brief. But research from sources like Tammy's Erikson's book, What's Next Gen X?, shows that the most pronounced traits of Gen X are no patience for veneers, hierarchy, and BS-laden idealism. Gen X will oversee a decade of trust.

What do you think? I agree about the BS detector. Some interesting thoughts in her post about what it means to be transparent.

The Anti-Social Network: Is Facebook Making Us Sad?

The researchers found that their subjects consistently underestimated how dejected others were–and likely wound up feeling more dejected as a result. Jordan got the idea for the inquiry after observing his friends' reactions to Facebook: He noticed that they seemed to feel particularly crummy about themselves after logging onto the site and scrolling through others' attractive photos, accomplished bios, and chipper status updates. "They were convinced that everyone else was leading a perfect life," he told me.

I'm not sure I buy this. Yes, some people seem to have it all together on FB. (Heck, maybe I seem that way to other people.) But I think there are just as many examples of people using Facebook to kvetch and vent about their lives.

Any folks out there willing to run through their newsfeeds and tally up positive vs. negative statuses?

Comfort Kills

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a leading positive psychologist and the author of the book The How of Happiness, told me a funny story about her parents. They emigrated from Russia when she was a child and often go back to visit. When they come back they always say: Oh, America is so boring! Everything is so easy: you drive to the supermarket, park, get beautiful and fresh groceries for a reasonable price, put them in your car, and drive home. In Russia the same shopping trip is a huge challenge. Not only do you have to go to ten different stores to get what you need (and half of them are probably out of stock) but you also might get mugged on the way there. There's mafia everywhere. They say it's a "high" to be there.

Conclusion 2: Lack of comfort brings excitement, comfort brings boredom.

I'm a little concerned that the article glamorizes what it's like to be poor. Still, I tend to agree that in general, "We live in a society where comfort has become a value and a life goal. But comfort reduces our motivation for introducing important transformations in our lives."

Be More Successful by Planning for Frequent Failure

Every day we try to do well and minimize our failures. The problem is, we're going to fail frequently no matter what. Rather than trying to minimize the quantity of failures, you should try reducing their impact. Here's why...


And lastly, a book recommendation. At our training today we will be discussing Building the Bridge as You Walk on It: A Guide for Leading Change by Robert Quinn. I've read a lot of books about leadership through change, and while this wasn't my favorite, I liked it in spite of myself. I didn't like this term "the fundamental state of leadership"; it seemed clunky and obtuse to me, so in my mind I substituted "authentic leadership." Quinn argues that leadership is more a state of mind than a set of activities. This is a book that fosters self-examination, with each chapter concluding with probing questions and self-assessments. I've decided to focus on one chapter per month over the next several months to see what that gets me. I also like the dialectical nature of Quinn's leadership attributes---for example, "reflective action." Too much reflectiveness and you never get anywhere; too little reflection and you can become capricious.

I'm eager to see what the other pastors in the training have to say about it.