The perspiration dimension is about the building up a business and the idea of keeping going. Perspiration is a sign of hard work and there is no doubt that even before starting the God’s Lily website I had been working hard.
I had on average written a book or a prepared a course every four months for about 10 years. None of them had done my bank balance any good. I had found writing fairly easy and over time had changed and developed my style of writing. The problem was working out how to connect with people and encourage them to reward me for my efforts with a few pounds.
Reviewing old materials
While developing this site I have gone back and looked at many of the old materials I had written. One thing that surprised me was that even after 10 years the first thing that I wrote still fitted in with the ideas I had for this site. During all that time the subject themes had been remarkably consistent. Yes, my thinking had matured a bit and I had more background knowledge and experience of the topic but basically, the same themes come up again and again.
I can remember writing that development manual. I looked at all the material I had on that subject and pulled it together into one manual. I had done something very similar when I was teaching ethics and philosophy to teenagers.
I was working part-time and studying to prepare a study guide for the next exam paper. I was somewhat rusty with the course topics so I had to do something to get myself up to speed. Each student ended up with a reader that I had compiled from various sources that they did not have access to in the college library. I ended up looking like an expert on the subject.
How I work
My style of preparation for teaching a subject has not changed. It is still research and more research then regurgitate what I have learnt in the form of a book or other written materials.
One of the biggest items in my budget is research materials including books, mp3 files and magazines. One of the mainstays of my daily routine is watching videos, listening to recordings and of course reading. I start when I wake up and I end when I go to sleep. I might be doing practical stuff like tidying up or cleaning the bathroom but I can often hear either my phone is playing an audio file or my tablet playing a video. Listening to someone talking and providing me with something to think about while I am working.
Somewhere in the midst of that, there is the regurgitation bit. Books, written course materials, posts and pages for my websites. Yet why do all that when there is so little connection with others? It is all for the one day when they are ready to read because then I will have all these materials ready to for them.
Making the connection with others
This is my biggest challenge. What do I do in practical terms to make a connection? Who do I need to be so that people are willing to connect with me?
One of the problems I had in the early days is that amongst my circle of so-called supporters were a small group who worked together to produce a very toxic weedkiller. I would ask for help and support and out would come the weedkiller. Not much grew in their vicinity. They were not bad people but they each had a different set of negative ideas and when you put them together they brewed a very toxic weedkiller.
I have moved on and have a more supportive group of people around me but it is still not easy being the person I need to be to make the sort of connections I need to make. It is only by making those connections that GLT will be able to work as I would like it to do.
How do I find people who have enough in common with me and would benefit from what I have been doing? There again I have been so busy taking in and regurgitating info that I have not done much to build those sort of connections.
What could I learn from thinking about other sorts of connections?
As I was thinking about connections I remembered where the word modem came from. It is a shortened form of modulator-demodulator. Basically, it is a device that takes in a signal and changes it so that it can be used by another device. Sort of like a translator. You have two things that cannot talk to each other directly and have a device in the middle that changes the signal, translates it if you like, from A to B when the signal is going one way and from B to a when it is going the other.
Then I started thinking about the connections on a computer. WhenI first started using a computer it was attached to a printer via wide flat cable, probably about 2 inches wide. Computers and printers have changed. Today they are connected by a wire with an oblong USB connector at one end that fits into a USB socket in the computer and a different sort of socket more of a square on the printer. Different kinds of sockets and connectors as well as different kinds of wire.
I have just got a new laptop and that has a socket on it that I could not use with any of my old equipment. It has a USB C socket that is smaller and more of an oval than a rectangle. My response was to buy an adaptor. The adaptor actually solved two problems. It made it possible to use the newer style of socket while at the same time increasing the number of rectangular USB sockets I had. This means I can connect it to all three of my external hard drives at once if I want to.
To make a connection to the computer work it needs the right sort of plug and socket at each end of the connecting wire. They need to match and work together if the connection is going to be made. The wire between the connections needs to be the right one and in good condition. You also need to be intentional about making the connections.
Finding a plug and socket that matches
That is not easy I have spent so much time hiding away in my study cave that I am not sure what life on the outside is really like. I mean is Coronation Street still running? Who reads the news these days? I presume that there are still adverts in magazines and on TV but because I rarely indulge in gossip magazines or watch TV at all they do not have any influence on me.
I sometimes think that I have moved into a different world somehow. I am certainly living in a different world to the one that I used to live in. One person who did not have a very good reputation in terms of treating others kindly is no longer in my life. They got to the point where they could no longer cope with my reaction to their unkindness and we parted ways. I said shortly after I left their world that I struggled to cope in it and did not want to go back to it.
No television and surrounded by people spreading ideas that are different to those commonly communicated. I sometimes wonder if I have retreated into my own little world with a different attitude towards money and politics than most of those around me. It is like being presented with a lot of good food and feasting and feasting until you have all but forgotten what it is like to be thin and hungry. I have been thin and hungry before and found life hard at times, in fact, that is what encourages me to want to do something.
Those shaping the benefits system have listened to the critics who talked about how wrong it is for people to have one child after another while the government either provides them with the whole or part of their income. They are now phasing in the idea that the state will only help people support two children. If they have any more that are not either the result of a multiple birth or rape or other inescapable circumstance then they get the same amount of money as they would for two. One of the ways it is thought that people will get around this idea is farming their children out to relatives who have more money or if they are on benefits don’t already have two children. Others are already been impacted by this and are tempted to seek out abortions. After the experiences I have had, that prospect horrifies me. It leaves me desperate to find a way of helping such people escape out of the benefits system so that they can have all their children living at home with them if they want.
Finding a wire that works
I have a good reason for wanting to find a wire that works. Something that communicates or bridges the gap between where I am now and where the people I believe have a problem are at the moment.
Given my current circumstances, it is hard to believe that I could actually appreciate their situation more than they know. I can look back over many years of consequences. Consequences on my health and well being, in the short term and the long term. Consequences on relationships. Consequences on the health and well being of those around me. It is not easy giving up a much-loved child even if you know that it means that they will have a better life. It does little to build up your self-esteem if you know that you have to give up a child because you can’t afford to have them live in your home. They have to live with them because they have money and I don’t. I can’t have what I want because I cannot find a way to earn enough money to have what I want, i.e. to have all my children at home with me.
Those that work hard trying to sell things would say there is your hook. Build up the problem about what it would be like living without one or more of your children because you have not done what it takes to build a business that you run from home to supplement the low wage you get from the only job that you can find that you can do with the childcare arrangments you can put into place. Develop your idea of helping them find a way to earn money without leaving home into a possible answer to their problems.
Being intentional about making a connection
To make a good connection the wire needs to be connected at each end. The sockets though are often different shapes at each end. The wire can only work if the rectangular plug is in the rectangular socket and the square plug is in the square socket. How do you connect and communicate the message?
Where do I plug in and connect to people? Or maybe I should say where do I find the time to put in the effort necessary to make those connections.
What shape connection am I?
A curious question but unless you know what shape connection you are you do not know when you have found the right connection to plug into. It is also quite a challenge. There have been many times when I have tried to shape myself into what others want me to be. Times when I have been told that it is wrong to be me and to enjoy the things that I enjoy.
This is what happens with all those teach yourself programmes you find online. The seller says to do something their way and it will work for you. They also tend to say that if you do not succeed when you are following their instructions then the problem is you have not followed their instructions closely enough. What tends to happen then is that the person buying the course starts wondering if they are really capable of achieving the goal that they wanted to reach by doing the course.
Imagine going through this process time and again looking for something that will help you make the connection that you need to make. You start wondering what shape you really are. This is how I know the importance of the initiation and recognition dimensions. The initiation dimension helps people realise that it is possible to be accepted for who and what they are. The recognition dimension helps people work out who they are and even to celebrate who they are.
This is what has taken me time to work out. Perspiration is about working hard but it is also about not giving up too soon and actually achieving your ultimate goal.