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BK Blog Post
Posted by Charlotte Ashlock, Executive Editor, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
Charlotte Ashlock is a crazy idealist trying to make the world a better place!
People are terrible at taking time to celebrate. As my dad says, “Do you know what the reward is for a job well done, Charlotte? Another job.” We rush from task to task without ever taking an extra second to pat ourselves on the back. When you finish important projects at work, do you stop to celebrate? Or do you just start worrying about your next deadline?
That’s why our website sale theme this week (Feb 16th-20th) is, “Random Acts of Celebration.” It may seem like an ordinary day for you, but for someone, somewhere, it’s a very special day. Did you know that literally every day of the year is a holiday? It’s true! We're not making ANY of this up, we promise.
For our sale, we chose a selection of holidays that amused us the most— and we hope that you will join us in celebrating each and every one. You can celebrate by buying books at our amazing, almost-never-offered, 50% off discount— or you can celebrate using one of our friendly, non-commercial suggestions below.
Are you the grouch? Are you so overworked, that YOU are becoming a grouch? It’s time for an intervention— a happiness intervention. Do yourself a favor by purchasing your favorite hot beverage or treat and eating/drinking it verrrrry slowwwlllly after putting away all the digital devices clamoring and beeping for your attention. You’ll be surprised at how relaxed just a few minutes of self-care can make you.
Chocolate never hurts. Our author John Izzo wrote this short, heart-warming story about how baking a chocolate cake for the office troublemaker cooled down his tense office. Even if you’re not much of a baker, sometimes it’s the small gestures that make someone’s day. Here at the Berrett-Koehler office, candy hearts mysteriously appeared in all our mailboxes right before Valentine’s Day. When I took mine out, I thought, “Things are looking up now!”
Who needs your kindness most? Do you know who is the most under-appreciated person in your office? I’m going to take a not-so-wild guess, and say it’s the IT person. The nature of IT work tends to be that people only contact you when they’re already frustrated and upset with their computer problems. Sometimes it can just feel like people shout at you all day long. Tell your IT person how much you appreciate their digital rescues. For them, that will definitely feel like a shift in the space-time continuum!
Randomly help a young leader. Berrett-Koehler doesn’t just publish books on leadership- we started a foundation dedicated to helping young leaders grow and develop. We connect them with older mentors, and help make educational workshops and “action learning projects” affordable for them. Why not donate to those young leaders? You can do it here: http://www.bkfoundation.org/donate/
Celebrate the underdog. In 2006, the International Astronomical Union decided to demote Pluto from “planet,” to “dwarf planet,” and Pluto fans all over the world were heartbroken. The folk musician Christine Lavin even wrote a popular song telling the poignant story of Pluto’s fortunes and misfortunes. Do you know anyone who has suffered a reverse in fortune like the one Pluto suffered? Send them some fan mail to get them through this hard time.
Revel in the wonders of astronomy! And where better to revel, than in a science museum? Many science museums, like our Exploratorium here in San Francisco, have “adult nights," when adults can enjoy the fun activities without children butting ahead of them in line. Or if you aren’t lucky enough to have a science museum nearby, try NASA’s video gallery- just as good as an online science museum. In just a few minutes, you’ll get to know all of Pluto’s lovely friends.
Some holidays are not so random. Chinese New Year is an incredibly important holiday, much too important to be called “random." It is the most significant date on the Chinese calendar. Chinese people in a multicultural setting may feel sad that their special day doesn’t get much recognition from their non-Chinese friends and colleagues. If you know someone who is part of this cultural tradition, try wishing them a Happy Year of the Sheep!
Pillow mint that special person. Give your sweetheart (or failing that, your roommate) a chocolate mint on their pillow today. It’s a great way to celebrate them and make them feel like they are staying at a fancy hotel.
Stalk your pet. Our editorial associate at Berrett Koehler, Anna Leinberger, recently purchased a “Pet Cube,” an electronic device that allows her to check her cat’s activities on video any time during the day using a specially designed mobile app. The pet cube also shines out a laser Anna can manipulate for her cat’s amusement. If somebody put a permanent camera on a loved one who was NOT a pet, we’d probably call it “stalking” rather than “adorable.” But who am I to judge? If I owned a cat as cute as Anna’s, I’d probably stalk it too. Just look at her cat. Just look at it.
Spend TIME with your pet. Often when we think about doing nice things for our pet, our consumerist minds spring to things we can BUY for them. Maybe it’s that cute plaid doggy coat, or maybe it’s the fish flavored chew treats or the special brand cat food. But realistically, if your pet is a mammal, what it probably wants the most is your TIME. We mammals are a needy bunch. We want other mammals to cuddle us and validate our feelings.
Did me slamming pet owner consumerism, make you forget that this article itself is pure marketing and capitalism? If so, I’m a better storyteller than I thought I was. But let me tell you, there are two things you never have to feel guilty about buying: books, and salads. They’re both insanely good for you.
And one last special request- I don't expect any of you to actually follow any of my crazy celebration ideas. But if you do happen to take one of my suggestions, will you write me an email at [email protected] and tell me how it went? I'll publish excerpts from your emails in a special follow-up blog post! :-)