Are you a Generous Mind?

Are you a Generous Mind? If you are intrigued by the idea, this is a place to explore what it means to you. Our blog focuses on helping you to learn what it means to be generous with what you know. You will find helpful tips and encouraging examples that will inspire you to release your ideas to the world! Find out more at www.generousmind.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

What a Generous Mind looks like Part 4

Part of understanding Generous Minds in the 21st century is to understand social media. Social media is a rich environment where Generous Minds live, thrive and engage with others about their ideas. But not everyone on facebook is a Generous Mind. The key to finding the Generous Minds in social media is to look for people involved in two kinds of activities:

  1. Sharing ideas: if someone is using the power of social media to share ideas, links, videos, concepts in order to help people grow and understand the world around them, they may just be a Generous Mind.
  2. Connecting ideas: if someone is passing on the ideas of others and connecting ideas to others who they think will benefit, they may just be a Generous Mind.

Now you may be saying, “That makes almost everyone in the Web 2.0 world a Generous Mind.” I would respond a definite NO. There are some qualifiers that are very important to keep in mind. One of them is intentionality. Many people send around the YouTube video of a dog dancing. But that doesn’t have any particular value or intentionality to it. It is simply a shared experience.

Another key to distinguishing between the masses of link-happy friends and followers and a Generous Mind is the interaction that goes with the idea. If someone just sends an idea, link or video to all their friends with no interest in what they thought, then they are not Generous Minds. A Generous Mind is looking to use ideas to impact people and is interested in seeing what they learned, thought or how they applied the idea in their lives.

An Ideal Tool
Of all the social media tools, the one that I have found to be most conducive to a Generous Mind is Twitter. It’s not because it is one of the media’s favorites right now and it is not because it is the most personal or engaging tool. The reason is simple…there is no easier way to share ideas and connect an idea with a particular person than those 140 character messages. If you are a Generous Mind, Twitter puts your efforts on steroids. Within seconds you can share an article, a video, a quote with your growing group of followers. Then if you use a tool like Tweetdeck you can email messages and links you find to people even if they aren’t on Twitter. This allows you to target people who are looking for certain resources or need to build knowledge in specific areas.

The Challenge
So here is my challenge to you. If you are a Generous Mind, how are you using these social tools to exponentially increase the ideas you can share? Which tools are most helpful to you? I would love to hear from you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

What does a Generous Mind Look Like - Part III

One of the traits that sticks out about a Generous Mind is their curiosity. They are curious about everything . . . and I mean everything. They will ask you how you made that turkey soup. They might ask you what your favorite movie is. They will most certainly quiz you about your job and your family.

What does a Generous Mind do with all this information? Well, being a Generous Mind makes you fully aware that every piece of information that God brings your way may be able to be combined with other information and used to honor God and bless those around them.

So this means that when you are around a Generous Mind they will say things like, "I met this guy once who was a plumber and he said..." or "My best friend's favorite musician was (fill in the blank) and he gave an interview that might help you with your project."

You might be wondering if a good memory is part of being a Generous Mind. Well, a selective memory is for sure, but more important than a good memory is knowing what to remember and knowing when to bring it out and use it.

Have you ever been with someone who only talks about themselves. You have a whole meal with them and they never ask you a question. That is not a Generous Mind. A Generous Mind would fill the air around your table with questions. They would be focused outside of themselves and on those around them.

So, what did you learn today that you plan on implementing tomorrow? If you share it here, you never know who it might bless!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What does a Generous Mind look like - Part II

The idea of being a generous mind is growing in popularity and interest. We are seeing so many more instances on Google of people talking about the idea and processing how to live it out. So this series on what a generous mind looks like is very important.

Today I want to focus on a key belief that defines a generous mind. That belief is that everyone has something to pass on. It sounds simple and a bit general. However, as we talk with people and probe into their thinking it is very clear that a majority of people out there do not believe that they have something to say that others need to hear.

Of course you have the few who are filled with ideas and compelled to share them. Being generous minds comes naturally to them. Those are the people that we assume the concept is made to represent. But Mindy and I would counter that and challenge everyone reading this to consider the possibility that every living person created by God has something that He has uniquely prepared them to share with others.

That means that the garbage collector who comes to your house has something that you need to learn and know. It means that the young person who hands you your Big Mac and McDonalds has something to teach you.

If that is true then a generous mind is someone who realizes that they have something to share with others and begins to look for ways to share it.

Now the immediate mistake people make is to assume that being a generous mind means being a famous writer or speaker. Actually, the best generous minds are those far from the limelight. They are the people who are asking God to reveal Himself to them and then sharing what they are learning in their sphere of influence. Anyone can do that ... right?

Well, the reason that there are not more generous minds in action out there is because the Evil One tricks us. He tells us that what we have to share is common knowledge, that we don't know it well enough, that we are not good enough communicators. Each of these lies drives us deeper into ourselves and keeps us from sharing what God has birthed in our hearts.

Has that happened to you? Have you been deceived into thinking that you have nothing to share? Have you been robbed of the blessing of being a generous mind?

Monday, February 01, 2010

What Does A Generous Mind Look Like - Part I

Over the next few weeks I want to focus on sharing some core values of a Generous Mind. I hope these values will paint a picture of what a mind truly surrendered to Christ might look like as it focuses outward and allows all that it considers to be a blessing to the world at large.

One of the most important disciplines of a Generous Mind is the commitment to never let an idea slip away. When I say this, you immediately know what I mean. On any given day we let countless ideas float out of our minds never to be retrieved. We don't usually do this because we do not care about the ideas or because we do not want the ideas to impact others. Usually, we have a false security in our memory and tell ourselves that we will remember the idea later.

The problem with our memory today is that it is an over saturated tool. We are inundated with information today and even the brightest minds cannot train their attention on certain ideas when the flood of new information swamps them.

Another problem we have with holding onto ideas is that we do not always know which ones will be important. We have to make a decision at the moment of inspiration about the value and need for that idea in our lives or in the lives of those around us. Many times we judge an idea to be of no value and throw it away when someone in our lives would have been blessed by it. Other times we keep information available to us that ends up serving no purpose or person.

So identifying and remembering ideas must be a discipline in the life of a Generous Mind. It is a discipline that is focused on what might be. That is because we save ideas because of potential, not because of inherent value. We don't know which idea will be a huge blessing and benefit and which ones will get shot down immediately as unproductive or off-base. So we have to mine the fields of our mental activity and save ideas that seem to have value even when we don't know the final outcome.

So how do you do this?
  1. When an idea comes, always write it down without discrimination.
  2. Keep paper or another way of capturing ideas by your bed. The best ideas are lost as sleep overcomes us.
  3. Take those pieces of paper and other tidbits and keep them in a place where you can find them. Some will keep a document on their computer filled with these. Others have a file of ideas. Whatever your process, make sure you know how to find them.
  4. When someone else has an idea, hold them accountable to not let it slip away.
  5. If an idea is coming and you are supposed to go on to another activity. Stop and finish processing before you jump into the new opportunity.
  6. Leave 10-15 minutes between appointments so you can process what you just talked about or learned about at the meeting.
These are simple ideas but they will begin to discipline your thinking and allow you to capture the ideas that will serve as the basis of your generosity. I hope that you will take this challenge and I can't wait to be blessed by the ideas God gives you.