Stretch international cyber book club - Ch. 3

Stretch international cyber book club - Ch. 3

by Kelly Alblinger

Catch up on previous chapters here:

Intro/Ch 1

Ch. 2

OK, book clubbers, this is where we start to get into the good stuff!

On page 46 Sonnenshein lays out the perfect definition of stretching:

“…the foundation of stretching is to focus on what we already have. A stretching mind-set releases us from the anxiety of never having enough and teaches us that we can make more than enough with what’s right here.”

Don’t you love that?

I am tempted to make the leap and state that I’ve adopted the stretching mind-set, but that’s not quite the truth. Like it or not, there’s still a part of me that is chasing. However, I’m comfortable with the chasing aspect, because it’s only a small part of my existence. It’s the part of me that is striving for self-improvement, the thirst for learning and knowledge, the hunger for spiritual and emotional abundance. Yep, there’s still desire for material abundance, but to a far lesser degree than in my younger years.

I appreciate the four concepts that the author introduces in this chapter, and I want to comment briefly on each.

The first concept is psychological ownership, or the idea that if we are emotionally invested in a specific venture we become more dedicated to its success. As a business owner for 18+ years, I’ve employed a few helpers, and I’ve almost always found success when I offer some basic guidelines for a project but then turn over the reins. One helper in particular developed greater efficiency than the process I had envisioned, and even opened new lines of service with the client that I hadn’t identified. When allowed to run with her ideas, she created a model that met a variety of needs and was very profitable all around. She embraced ownership of her project and created much more success than I could have done alone. 

Embracing constraints is the second concept. I’m particularly fond of Sonnenshein’s description of “little c” creativity (page 53) which doesn’t focus on producing creative works, but instead on solving practical problems by discovering new uses and applications of existing resources. Most of my adult working life has been spent with small companies where survival meant wearing a lot of hats and utilizing out of the box thinking to accomplish tasks. One particular instance that comes to mind was entertaining potential Japanese investors. This was a sticky problem, because we had to meet the needs of multiple generations from a different culture. Without a lot of monetary resources, I researched the traditional tea ceremony (God bless you, emerging Internet!) and was able to demonstrate the proper respect for the elder generation. The younger generation was interested in HOLLYWOOD, so I grabbed a map, outlined a route, and hit a number of landmarks one afternoon, plus a taping of The Price Is Right. I can’t claim that my ingenuity was the sole reason for landing these investors, but the deal was inked before they left town, and I like to think that getting creative gave the campaign a big boost.

For me, the least favorite of the four concepts is frugality. I am somewhat frugal by nature, but the example of Bob Kierlin and his company Fastenal felt really extreme. He doesn’t pay a per diem for food for traveling employees because they have to eat anyway? I don’t know – that’s just wrong. I understand his vision of emphasizing long-term objectives over short-term gratification, and I appreciate that frugal people are probably the originators of the “reduce, reuse, recycle” movement. They avoid stressing out over what they don’t have in favor of utilizing what they have on hand, and they use what they have in unconventional ways. I’ve been doing that for a long time, but mostly because I enjoy the challenge (and because my redecorating budget hovers just above zero!)

Which leads us to the fourth concept, structuration theory, or turning trash into treasure. It’s not about the innate value of an object, but what can be done with it that matters. Resources are not things that come from outside us, but rather things that we create and shape. One afternoon of watching DIY Network demonstrates that there’s a huge movement in this direction. “Repurposing” is a watchword these days. Who hasn’t wanted to create something amazing with a bunch of old rulers and Mason jars and a string of Edison bulbs? (OK, maybe that’s just me – but you get the idea.) To find the value in a resource requires action.

As the author states, it’s a matter of recognizing the untapped value in our existing resources, and putting our energy and creativity to work to develop it. We need to free ourselves of simply accepting things at face value, and figure out new ways of utilizing what we have. By unlocking our self-imposed limitations, we can see all kinds of new possibilities. And it’s only when we make this shift in mind-set that we are ready to embrace the skills of stretching. I don’t know about you, but I’m in!!

Up Next: Chapter 4 by Heather Higinbotham

  • 31 January 2018
  • Author: Tracey Yokas
  • Number of views: 922
  • Comments: 27
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27 comments on article "Stretch international cyber book club - Ch. 3"

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Sue Schwartz

1/31/2018 9:12 PM

Thanks, Kelly, for summing up this chapter and telling us some of your experiences. I was hoping this chapter would ingrain some stretching into my thought processes. Even though I dare to say I'm an artist, I don't think of myself as one who thinks "outside the box" often. I typically compartmentalize what objects are "supposed" to be used for. Indulging in art has helped me look at objects differently. A big project I've been working on is re-landscaping my front yard, including making about 20 round stepping stones. The concrete base for each stepping stone is 12 inches in diameter. I'm decorating them with mosaics made from broken dishes. The "broken dishes" idea has so much more character to it than simply purchasing brand new tiles. I've checked out several Goodwill stores to find plates & bowls with colors & designs to my liking. I've found some great treasures from what was pretty much someone else's trash! Today I bought some galvanized metal planters, which will soon be filled with succulants (a water-wise choice). After arriving home with a carload of planters and 10 big bags of special succulant soil, I discovered I needed a big bag or two of rocks to place at the bottom of each planter to help with water drainage. Darn! I didn't want to have to go out again, spend more money and lug more heavy bags around. Luckily, my brain soon stretched and I realized I didn't need to buy anything. You see, instead of throwing away the unused pieces of plates & bowls I haven't used for my mosaic project, I've saved them in case I found another artistic use for them. That pile of broken china would have been in my garage for a long time, I'm sure (as I have so many projects in the queue) or at the dump, but now those ceramic pieces are in my front yard, underneath the succulant soil. I know this is small scale compared to big business ventures, but this is my world.


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Kelly Alblinger

2/1/2018 12:09 PM

Sue, that is an awesome stretch!! Don't discount it, because it means that you are changing your way of thinking, and isn't that the point of this exercise? Two thumbs up for your effort! And when you're done with your yard, come on over to mine. It's just a big, empty canvas waiting for an artistic vision....


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Sue Schwartz

2/4/2018 12:14 AM

Thanks, Kelly! I had the grass removed from my front yard and the yard became a big empty canvas, too. The grass had looked awful as I hadn't watered it in a long time. (I just couldn't justify turning on the sprinklers during a drought, especially since having grass wasn't something that I really cared about). I had a vision of putting together a fun, artsy front yard. It's taken about 6 months of planning & rethinking to now be in the final stages of this major project. I'd be more than happy to share ideas with you. If you want to contact me, ask Tracey for my contact info. : )


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Tracey Yokas

2/2/2018 10:29 AM

I can so relate to what you're saying Sue about outside the box thinking..I, too, have a more traditional view when I look at things. I think..that screwdriver is a screwdriver and meant for installing or removing screws and nothing else. On occasion I have to get creative with things like that if I don't have what I need, but it's one thing about my thinking I'm kind of not fond of. I really notice it in art, when I look at what other people create that is so, well, creative. I hope one side effect of reading this book is that it will stay more forward in my mind to be creative with things in new ways. Thanks for this!


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Jeni

2/1/2018 1:38 PM

Thanks you Kelly for your summaries of each chapter part. I agree that the frugality one was way too extreme. But I get the point.

This chapter reminded me of a couple shows I love to watch: The Profit and Shark Tank. My husband and I are small business owners, and I feel I learn something, especially from The Profit. If you haven't seen it, Marcus Lemonis, chairman/CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, helps struggling businesses. He stresses the importance of People, Product, and Process.

In most cases, the business owners are wasting resources and not using time efficiently. Maybe they have a super old machine that isn't productive, causing them to take way too much time to fill orders. To fix that, they need a new machine, which increases production, and in turn, are able to complete many more orders, keep customers happy, and the bottom line is they have a more successful business and earn a higher profit. It's taking what you have, organizing it so the business runs more efficiently, and figure out where you need to spend money (like on antiquated machines). Spend money smartly.

I like Shark Tank because many of the inventors or people with a business idea have seen a need in the marketplace. They're so resourceful and some of them leave me thinking, "What a great idea, it's so simple." And, why didn't I think of that? :)

On turning trash into treasure... just last week my daughter said one of her friends buys all her produce from a home delivery company called Imperfect Produce (I'm sure I saw this on Shark Tank a couple years ago). They deliver "ugly" produce, blemished fruits and veggies that supermarkets can't sell. They're perfectly good, they just look funny.

Imperfect Produce is based in San Francisco. I love what it says on their website: "One wonky radish is a curiosity. 11.5 million pounds of them is a movement." I just followed them on Instagram, they have a really smart and cute way to show the blemished produce. They put googly eyes on them, and they have such interesting shapes.

Parts of this chapter will stick with me, along my journey to stretch. In particular, I liked the part when that one employee had psychological ownership. He wanted to figure out a way to sell the cheaply made dresses, so he cut the straps off and made them bathing suit cover ups. And his location sold out of them. Now that's being resourceful!


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Tracey Yokas

2/2/2018 10:32 AM

I was so inspired, Jeni, by what you wrote that I have signed up for Imperfect Produce. What an awesome idea!! They don't deliver here yet, but the website says it will happen soon. I just think it's a brilliant idea, like the example in the book with the chutney. There is SUCH and INCREDIBLE amount of waste going on everywhere. It feels good to do these small things that can make an impact. Thanks for sharing!


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Patricia Young

2/1/2018 5:33 PM

Hey Kelly! You did a wonderful job in taking an entire chapter and making into manageable bite-size pieces! After reading Sue and Jeni's posts above, I now want to learn how to make my own mosque walking steps (How I wish you lived close to me, I am completely overwhelmed by my yard - I know it has possibilities, but I can't seem to 'see' the manageable ones and the big picture just seems to big. And I must another look at Shark Tank. A friend of ours worked for a man who was actually on the show. It was several years ago now, he had developed a jacket that you could carry all your electronic items and have them charging. Our friend Tom was a young but old soul designer if you know what I mean. The fabrics were beautiful and design stylish - however, the owner was one of the rudest men I've ever seen. He walked into the show with a chip on his shoulder and walked out holding the chip and nothing more.

Psychological Ownership truly resonated with me most. I believe in that sixth sense combined with mindfulness, a little faith and the belief in miracles happening. For so many years I did not follow my gut and usually ended up regretting it. Perhaps its age, wisdom, experience or just 'what the hell' do I have to lose - let's just follow what feels right- it hasn't let me down since. But it's hard to jump when you can't see what you're jumping into. Especially if others are not supportive, or money is an issue (and when is it not?), or you allow doubt to come into play. Unlocking our potentials and believing we can is more than half the battle.


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Tracey Yokas

2/2/2018 10:35 AM

Tell me about it, Patty! Sue is quite the inspiration. She may say she doesn't think outside the box often, but I can tell you I can look at any inch of her house and see her creative thinking!! And I think I've heard of that..the clothes in which you can charge your electronics. Pretty clever, I must say. Too bad it didn't work out for him on the show, but a good example of how even a great idea can sometimes not get merit depending on who's idea it is and what the presentation is like. A cautionary tale! I love what you wrote about going with your gut. We are SO taught not to do that. How sad! I'm trying to work on that too (and taking a mindfulness class, which is awesome!!) I use the word intuition. I'm trying to get more in touch with my intuition which I think and hope connects me to more parts of myself in the process. Thank you for your comment!


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Xeno Hemlock

2/4/2018 2:36 AM

Same her, Pat! It is the topic of psychological ownership that I remember and will remember the most from this chapter. As somebody who credits self-help/self-development into giving me the courage to pursue my writing career, psychological ownership was one of the key things that propelled me to where I am today. During the process of adapting that mindset, there was no time to ponder about the idea/theory. But now in hindsight, I look at moments in my life and go "Aha! That's where I starting applying psychological ownership!"


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Christine O'Connor

2/1/2018 9:23 PM

I was surprised that a professor of management in 2017 wouldn't cite the work of Daniel Pink on the topic of ownership; Pink did great work, I thought, on the keys to employee success: autonomy, mastery and purpose. (Handy summary here published in 2010: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc) The idea of autonomy or ownership was also the basis of the TQM approach, empowering the people on production lines, which Sonenshein also doesn't mention. I know he's writing a popular book, not a research paper, but certainly Pink got a lot of press and his books are probably on the same shelf as "Stretch." So I found myself getting sort of annoyed, like he was talking down to us without necessarily having earned that status. I also found it circular that he praised Kierlin and his company for their financial success -- but what kind of person is Kierlin? Do his kids like him? Does he do anything else other than make money? It seemed like his praise for financially successfully people and companies was at odds with the values he was citing in Chapter 1. I loved the trash to treasure story, and wondered again why he didn't talk about C2C, upcycling, etc., instead of telling just one story and implying that this is a completely new thing. Guess I'm sounding kinda crabby... I'll be open-minded about Chapter 4!


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Tracey Yokas

2/2/2018 10:40 AM

LOL Christine. You don't sound crabby to me, maybe disappointed though! I will check out that link you posted. He does seem in the chapter to take other peoples' works without adding anything to them and present them, not as his own, but without doing stretching of his own..like maybe he looked at the shelf where he wanted his book to be, got great ideas, and combined them all together. It'll be interesting to see where he goes with it. Thanks for commenting! I can't wait to hear more as we go on about your thoughts related to what he writes and your earlier comment about spirituality!


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Tracey Yokas

2/2/2018 10:23 AM

Thank you, Kelly, for this great write up. I'm very curious about this: "Like it or not, there’s still a part of me that is chasing. However, I’m comfortable with the chasing aspect, because it’s only a small part of my existence. It’s the part of me that is striving for self-improvement, the thirst for learning and knowledge, the hunger for spiritual and emotional abundance." I wonder if this is chasing. I, too, love to learn and strive for these things...But is this chasing?? Certainly not in the more traditional sense of the gathering of stuff..."should" the gathering of knowledge and spiritual connection be lumped in the same category? Can there be positive aspects to chasing? I don't have the answers, but it's a fascinating question. I wonder if the author will touch on that at some point.

I'm fascinated by constraint..because of course it seems on the surface to make sense that with more we'd be able to do more, create more, achieve more. Conversely, it also makes such sense that people who have "boundaries" placed on them, because we humans ARE so creative by nature, would figure out how to do more with less. That having more doesn't equate to doing more is awesome and depressing at the same time! I'm trying to look at different parts of my life and see where I can incorporate more creativity--not the art kind--and do more with what I already have instead of acquiring. Oh how I love your tea ceremony story! What great thinking!

And I love the trash to treasure "movement." It seems to me like this is really where the future of almost everything is...even technology. That doesn't mean rehashing old technology, but using what we have to continue to build and create things that will benefit humanity more. Maybe that's pie in the sky. It just seems to me that every time we turn around there's something negative in the news about the way technology and social media are hurting us and our children. I'm hoping that the younger generation is going to use what's here to make positive impacts on society.

Loved this! Thanks Kelly...


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Janice Del Santo

2/2/2018 2:17 PM

Tracey, I was thinking the same thing in regard to self-improvement and desire to learn new things. I don't believe this is chasing. I'm a stretcher. Never used that term to describe myself, but always considered myself "resourceful" and an outside the box thinker. So if "chasing" is the opposite of "stretching" , I guess I'm having difficulty defining it. I think it's an odd choice of words because it seems that "chasing" means allowing restraints and road blocks to impede ones progress.

Curious to hear how others define chasing.


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Xeno Hemlock

2/4/2018 3:10 AM

Good point raised here.

Currently, I am looking at chasing as a "consumer mindset", like "Keeping up with the Joneses" materially and in other non-material aspects of life. Maybe I'll get some enlightening as we dive into the next chapters.


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Kelly

2/8/2018 2:19 PM

Thank you everyone for sharing such insightful responses. I'm so happy to be part of this community where we are able to exchange ideas freely. It's a happy place for me.

Tracey, I want to respond to your question from 2/2. Although the author uses the word "chasing" in a negative connotation, I don't see it that way. I think it's healthy that we always are chasing something. It's that sort of yin/yang balance, you know? And in my case, I think I'm striving for healthy things. Am I a little covetous of other people's enlightenment? Sure, but it's also motivating, because it allows me to see what's possible. And as a goal oriented person, I need that carrot dangling in front of my eyes. Because it's not about me wanting to take it away from them - it's about me wanting to have a similarly positive experience and using them as an example of how to get there.

Perhaps I'm not articulating it properly, but in my mind there's a difference between negative chasing and positive chasing, and I'm on the right side of that equation!


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Xeno Hemlock

2/4/2018 3:06 AM

I felt in this chapter what others felt in the previous one. It was underwhelming for me. Maybe it was because of the topic (the 4 elements of stretching) which sort of hindered the expansion of discussion? Maybe the examples needed more "stretching"? Maybe it's because I read quite a number of self-development stuff in the past few years, I couldn't help but sometimes make mental comparisons subconsciously so I go "Hmm... where have I read this before?" But it's not a loss. The 4 elements were good and seeing them enumerated would definitely make them stick in my mind from here on out.

Now, I'll relate the 4 elements into the current path of my life (which is balancing a day job while pursuing writing):

1. Psychological Ownership

Under the name "accountability" or "responsibility", I wasn't unaware about this concept before. In fact, it has been one of the key things that gave me courage to pursue the road less traveled instead of following the life template other people gave me. What goes with PO for me are:

- the death of self-entitlement: I chose the indie route of writing so I know I have to work hard and will not be handed on a silver platter my dreams

- self-confidence: Since I treat myself as the sole driver of my career, I have conjured a mental sword and shield against the demons of life such as fear, opinions of others, failures, disappointments, and even road bumps towards the goal

- faith: Though I am not religious, I have cast away doubts about the destination. I'm more focused on the journey knowing that in the end, I will get "there" anyway.

2. Embracing Constraints

Since I have a day job, time is not "completely mine". In a way, I see this situation as a constraint in my pursuit of a writing career. There are days I just want to write and write but the day job gets in the way. Do I get mad about it? Sometimes, it cannot be helped. When the daemon (thank you Steven Pressfield) inside gets agitated, it's a cop out to point fingers and blame the day job for taking the role of the "antagonist".

In a perfect world, I'd have all the time of day to write without worrying how food would come on the table but it is not a perfect world. It doesn't mean it's a horrible one. Embracing constraints, I've learned to work around my schedule so I can still write. The more I internalised that I don't have all day to write, the more I found time to do exactly that. Lately, I get to balance blogging + online flash fiction series + editing work for another website + my day job. It's a miracle!

3. Frugality

This one is a bit tough to admit but I was forced to be frugal this year. The coffee shop I spent most of my writing hours for the past 3 years closed last January 1. Moving to another one is kinda hard because the old coffee shop mentally became my writing home. After a month of being "forced" to spend more time and write at home, I saw the money I was able to save by no longer going to a coffee shop almost every day just to write. It will not be a permanent thing, I believe, since a change of environment is always good for the mind. But right now, I am learning that I can write even with all the distractions at home, plus I get to save some money too. The image of a writer writing in a coffee shop was just an image. I didn't need to sit in a coffee shop at all just to write. Yay to frugality!

4. Structuration Theory

This one I'm not really sure. Maybe it's in the form of me reviving some of old, unpublished work to make something out of them. I have yet to figure how this relates to my life.


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Tracey Yokas

2/5/2018 7:02 PM

Hey Xeno..I am always so impressed by the way you can concretely attach what we're reading to the journey you're on to becoming a full-time writer. So inspirational! Not only the way you write about it, but how astute your self-reflection is...thank you for sharing. And, I love your Yay Frugality! especially in light of what Karen writes below...here's a situation where one is happy to experience the up side of being frugal. Love it!


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Xeno Hemlock

2/11/2018 4:15 AM

Thank you, Tracey! I didn't have good impression on frugality before. It's good to learn something now haha.


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Karen Abercrombie

2/4/2018 1:14 PM

Hello, everyone. Thanks, Kelly, for such a great summation of the chapter and for sharing your experiences with the four concepts included therein. In reading through many of our comments, I've picked up on something I find very interesting.To my recollection, there's been nary a mention of shifting from a chasing-more-things/resources mentality to a becoming-more-spiritually-rich one, yet several of us have mentioned how in curtailing our chasing of things (I wish I could italicize that word), we have found more spiritual meaning in our lives. (By spiritual, I don't necessarily mean religious.) Which brings me to Tracey's observation/question about whether or not we're just replacing one form of chasing for another. I don't know. Part of me thinks that either is a form of wanting something we don't (think) we have, whether that's yachts, bigger budgets at work, summer homes in Colorado, or finding peace without them. In the end, is it all striving (aka chasing)? I really don't know.

I have also gotten the feeling that the book is, in one regard, pretty surface. It reads like a business book, although I suspect the author expects us to find deeper meaning in stretching -- beyond finding new uses for shoelaces. Perhaps he'll take it deeper in subsequent chapters. Perhaps not.

When reading the chapter, the part about frugality, this statement made me sad: "Most people don't have a positive opinion of frugal people or frugal organizations. They're [I assume he's referring to frugal people, here, and how they are perceived] either stingy or poor." Hmmm. What a sweeping statement. In a book espousing frugality, that hits hard. I feel like he's basically saying, frugality is good, but if you adopt it, people are going to think you're a loser. It didn't settle well with me.

Oh well.


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Tracey Yokas

2/5/2018 6:56 PM

I totally get your point, Karen, about the frugal comments. That didn't strike me as I was reading it, but in retrospect I wonder, if we took some kind of poll to discern the connotation the word frugal has for people what would they say..negative or positive? There's a lot that goes into a point of view regarding a word like that. We didn't have much when I was growing up so "frugal" was a synonym for not enough. I never knew it, but not enough food, not enough money, etc. That inherently still doesn't make the word good or bad...but it seems that frugal often does seem "not good." Very interesting..thanks for bringing that up.


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christina montoni

2/4/2018 1:59 PM

Though, most of these concepts I understand and have followed both in personal my life and my business they at times were not as simple as he made it out be. i could give a few examples that happened to me, but I choose 2. In personal life, there is something simple such what my husband and I decide to take, junk or RESTORE for our move when we finally sell our house. We have decided to keep our bedroom furniture, which we have had since we were married (25 years) and restore it. The furniture is in excellent shape and I do not want to part with style, so why not keep it? No brainer for me. In my store, which is now closed, I had tried all 4 concepts, but the one I never got quite right was staffing. I paid them well for their knowledge and experience hoping they would bring their "A" game to the table. It was a misjudgment on my part. They were not as invested as I because it was a tough time in the economy. The same time as in this chapter. We were all hurting financially. I lost momentum. I still think I could have done more if given one thing----TIME.


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Tracey Yokas

2/5/2018 6:46 PM

WOW Christina, awesome point you make about time. This is one aspect that I don't think the author has touched on...I sure hope you'll share more along the way about the store you had..what type of store was it? etc etc. It's an interesting point you raise about your employees and how, even though you took care of them, they didn't take care of you. Maybe during that time in our American history people weren't as able to give their A game..I don't know, but the point of having more time to work on stretching and making a business or a life or a marriage or anything else work is well taken.. Hmmmm, more food for thought!


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Marci Goldberg

2/6/2018 2:08 PM

Sorry for the last minute post. It's been a busy week.

Thanks, Kelly, for a terrific summary and to everyone for your insightful comments. I agree with the general discussion that the author tends to treat his thought-provoking ideas with superficially broad strokes. Ironically (and I won't credit him for this), his restraint seems to brings out in us as readers many of the aspirational qualities this chapter discusses. As a group, we seem to have responded to the void by taking psychological ownership of the concepts, expanding upon the lessons, adding rich examples from our own experiences, Jeni and Christine citing works from authors who explored similar applications with greater depth . . . Just saying.

One more group observation before I share my personal reaction to the chapter. I don't have a theory for this, but I wondered why most members related business examples to the positive aspects of these stretching concepts; whereas the discussion seem more personally centered in the previous chapter's negatively skewed chasing posts.

For me personally, I very much relate to the stretching ideas presented in this chapter. While I admit to a chasing addiction (largely for the numbing affect we discussed), the artist in me has always been drawn to the thrill, pride, and creativity of finding new and quirky uses for items that no one else would ever have thought of. I've been known to create pieces after finding a rusty bicycle chain, old driftwood, or a weirdly shaped piece of plastic.

And, as Karen and others have said, I thought the author's use of "frugal" as a label to describe the avoidance of spending money was a terrible choice because it purports to know and ascribe one specific motive to that behavior. The author actually undermines his own thesis with this presumptive and stigma'd attribution because regardless of the desire or ability to spend money, a spendthrift or penny-pincher embracing a reaching philosophy would opt for the satisfaction and pride of creatively using resources, helping the environment, and taking psychological ownership.

Two more quick thoughts:

On psychological ownership as it relates to raising kids. The author discusses the idea of looping employees in on the financial health of the company, giving them psychological ownership of the company to invest them and improve performance. I've experienced the same concept to be a healthy way to raise kids. Obviously, kids shouldn't have to be burdened and worry over the struggle to pay bills, put food on the table, and pay for healthcare, but when they are included in a general sense of the family's financial situation --"what we can afford," what things cost, what choices we make, and what we choose to save up for--they grow up less entitled, more considerate, more aware of the value of money, and more prepared for their own adult lives.

Too many other notes in the margin. I'll spare you all!

But one personal note for Xeno. I love the idea of repurposing some of your old writings. My son is a writer as well. He had the same idea and came up with some some clever gems to weave in old writings . Use that as a creative prompt and see where it goes!


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Tracey Yokas

2/6/2018 5:50 PM

What astute observations, Marci, about the group dynamic here!! I'd love to believe that the author wrote the book on purpose to generate this exact discussion about his writing style...but, hmmmm. Kudos to all of us though for taking his material in the myriad directions that we have. Thus..the point of the book club!! Such fun to read where everyone comes from and have our minds expanded. At least, mine is being expanded. I hope everyone else's is too!! I love your point about money and raising kids, Marci. I don't think that Tom and I did enough of this. Sometimes Olivia has an entitled attitude, but now that she's a little older, not so much. What I see with her in college though is exactly as you say, lacking in depth knowledge about what things cost or how money "works" in the world. I know she'll figure it out, but it stresses her out. I wish we'd done more to make this a regular part of our conversation when she was growing up. Great comment!


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Marci Goldberg

2/6/2018 6:24 PM

Thanks for being so great about comment on everyone's posts. By the way, I can't take full credit for including my kids in discussions about money. Some of it was born of necessity post divorce when I could no longer provide them with the life style to which they'd grown accustomed and to which they still enjoyed with their dad. Rather than feel guilty, I decided to focus on the learning opportunity we all gained from this monetary blow. I had a kind of running dialogue with them when they complained about even little things like not using the $10 valet service at a hotel we were staying at. "Yes, we have the $10, but I'd rather put it towards (fill in the blank) that we'd get much more enjoyment out of the saving ourselves 2 minutes of walking." By the way, this strategy occasionally backfired when I bought something frivolous and my son pointed out waste of money it was, explaining how much more we would benefit from a basketball hoop in the backyard, for example. Then, we had the "I'm the mom" discussion! :)


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Sarah Hunter

2/6/2018 6:37 PM

Thank you Kelly and everyone for your thoughts above. I apologize I'm late to the party this week. The idea that struck me most forcefully was about structuration on page 65:

...both the small and the big work hand in hand, meaning the small actions individuals take produce big structures such as norms, traditions, and regulations that, in turn, shape the smallest of our actions. On this view, we are never fully constrained by big structures because our actions, in part, create these structures. At the same time, we're also never completely free from big structures because they always shape, even in the subtlest ways, what we do.

We've been discussing the push-pull of chasing and stretching and that seems to fit in perfectly here. We are constantly engaged in a feedback loop that, depending on our view, either supports or defeats us. It's like turning a supertanker. One, slow, painstaking degree at a time, but eventually the enormous ship is going in a different direction.

So, for me, this means to pay attention to the small stuff (write and read every day) and look up periodically to see if I'm headed in the right direction and adjust accordingly.


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Tracey Yokas

2/7/2018 10:35 AM

Thank you for highlighting this Sarah. It hadn't stuck with me from the reading, but seeing it here. Yes. What an important observation. I guess it helps me feel greater agency in daily life..that even the small stuff actually loops into the bigger stuff..that the small stuff matters. Sometimes I forget that in my desire to "get my shit together." Whatever that means! Thank you for this insight!

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