Stay still and get ideas

FaceBook hadn’t even been thought of yet, and YouTube hadn’t even been made yet. Back then, there was no way to have KasCare or Buy1Give1, but we’ll talk more about that later.

Paul Dunn, CEO of B1G1, said at a recent seminar that we live in an age of speed.

Paul is a strong supporter of enterprise that comes from inspiration. He moves around the stage with a lot of energy as he makes a convincing case for it. In the fast-paced world of information we live in now, his main message is that you have to inspire or you’re out of the race.

Did we know, he asked, that every 48 hours, all of the information from the beginning of time to 2003 is thrown at the 1.4 billion people who use the internet? And that this will happen every four hours by the year 2020.

If these calculations made by Yuri Milner, a Russian businessman and investor in companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify, during a meeting with the G8 leaders in France in June 2011 are correct, then we are, to use an old phrase, being sped up at a rate of knots.

Getting the information age to people quickly
Most of us who work in business are constantly connected to the Internet. Every day, all day, we sort through a huge amount and speed of information. We seem to think that we can do things in a week that wouldn’t have been possible even a few years ago.

If it’s not the Internet, it’s your inner dialogue, which is always sorting through a variety of opportunities whose potential you don’t want to miss.

Even though this isn’t the kind of thing that would be in a Shakespearean tragedy, if this mental flagellation isn’t dealt with, it can make it hard to be calm and focused.

Why stand there?

The opposite of this chaos is stillness.

Entrepreneurs caught in this web of responses need to learn to be still to get out of it. It breaks the habit while giving your brain a place to think of solutions and giving your batteries a boost.

It’s not just about being still either. On the other hand, being still can often lead to strong bursts of clear, creative thinking that give you energy, help you make decisions, and inspire you to take action.

Far from being a master of stillness yet, what came from last year was the desire for stillness, not the habit.

Everything worth doing takes work and discipline. Paul wisely pointed out that it’s usually the small things you do regularly that make the biggest difference.

Like knitting just one square.

It’s so much easier to be inspiring when you’re not stressed out.
Here are nine ways to find stillness and work toward a purpose that inspires you. They are not in any particular order, and their success varies.

1. Stop asking “what if?”
What-ifs are about the worst things that could happen in the future. As a thought experiment, think about the last time you asked yourself, “What if?” Did it happen? If it did, did all that suffering really make a difference? If it didn’t work, didn’t you just waste a lot of time that you’ll never get back?

2. Stop saying “if only.”
They’re about the past and usually have a touch of regret, guilt, or longing. No one can be still when either of these thoughts are going through their head. If you catch yourself doing it, you can end the conversation.

3. You should eat the frog!
Ask yourself every morning, “What’s the best thing I can do today to help me reach my goal?” Often, it’s the thing you’d rather not do. Then do what you need to do. When we don’t want to do something, we all know how to find things to do.

It’s called putting things off.

Putting things off won’t make you calm; it will just make you feel guilty and overwhelmed. When you finish a hard task, you reach a place of calm.

Think about what it would be like if, just by doing that, you could give 100 people who were thirsty blankets or water. That’s a great idea.

4. Accept threes
After you’ve eaten the frog, you should work in groups of three. You’d be surprised at how quickly you feel better and how calm you are when you know exactly what to do.

Many of these little kids have lost their parents and are sick. They are cared for at Itumeleng, a small makeshift day care center in a shack settlement in Soweto, South Africa.

The pictures show what the area looked like before and after we gave out mattresses and blankets. The squares that make up the blankets came from knitters in 53 countries.

5. Turn off your email
Message alerts are the most annoying thing ever. It’s hard to stop. You have to find out what’s going on. Switching from a task to an email and back to a task is much more disruptive than you think it is. Being upset is the exact opposite of being calm or inspiring.

6. Talk with someone
Instead of writing your answer or thinking about something else, try to be respectful. Listening carefully is a quiet activity that takes place in the present. It also makes the other person like you more.

7. I love a brown study
Give your brain what would be the same as a 40-second nap. Look at something you can get lost in, like the condensation on a glass, a cloud, or the inside of a flower. This is a way to do a short meditation or “brown study.” It’s really nice to be there.

8. Take 33 bites of your food!
If you focus on chewing, you can stop your mind from racing and it will also help you digest. It’s a really bad habit in every way to gulp down food.

9. Inspire
Giving is the most peaceful thing you can do. Giving without an agenda is helpful in many ways. It helps the person who gets it. Most of the time, it helps the community around the person who gets it. It gives life meaning.

When you talk about your purpose with passion, it gets people excited.

“Reducing inequality is the greatest thing that people have ever done.” Bill Gates is a businessman who has made a lot of money

Effecting change
If we don’t try to make a difference with our business ideas and efforts, they just become noise.

It’s true that you can’t be still or inspired if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. We found this out after running our charity, KasCare, for two and a half years without getting any money.

Now, B1G1 has given us the chance to help KasCare and the other charities it works with through its 688 projects around the world by doing what I already do. Even better, every dollar you and I raise goes straight to the projects we chose.

Because it’s such a simple idea, I’m going to start here, with this post.

So, I just went to the B1G! site and promised that 20 kids in Malawi will get clean water for one day for every like, tweet, or link to this post.

No matter what you do—comment, like, tweet, or link—500 children will get clean water for a day.

But B1G1 and I would both like it if you spread the word.

Soon, I’ll figure out how to do what I do to help more children like these feel warm and safe. Now I see what you mean. The more you do what you’re good at, the more you can help other people.

There is complete quiet, or peace, and that is the best thing I got from last year to this year.