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A List with a Twist: The Gift for the Person Who Has it All

A List with a Twist: The Gift for the Person Who Has it All

Gift-giving is no ordinary business, and there is nothing more delightful than giving a gift that makes someone else’s face light up with delight. There are the box gifts where the present is tiny and the box is big and filled with lots of paper, scraps of material, ribbons and string so that it becomes a treasure hunt, or a big box gift filled with lots and lots of small presents that are all related to an activity like a tea set or toy box or a letter-writing set.  There are  funny gifts, food gifts, adventure gifts and activity gifts, and the right gift can be found for everyone if we put some thought into the whole business (or rather art) of giving.

The Difficult Person To Purchase For

Then there are gifts for my friend. She loves debating, thinking about the grey areas in life and weighing each side of an argument . She loves reading, writing and poetry. When it comes to buying her gifts, we start moving into the realm of the impossible. She has the best of everything  in every shape and size possible, so I have to resort to creative genius when it comes to giving her gifts. I have a few other people in my life who fall into this category as well. We all do. They are the ones who we really want to give that extra special gift to, but achieving that is hard.

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Two years ago, I bought this friend an art journal by artist Sabrina Ward Harrison. Instead of giving it to her straight away, I kept it for a while and filled it with my own ramblings, musings and questions. Once I had filled a satisfactory amount of pages to make it feel lived-in, I printed out a number of black-and-white photos which I slipped between the pages. I wrapped it up, placed it in a box and sent it to her. Her reaction was priceless. She set to work almost immediately: answering my questions, posing her own and leaving her doodle markings on every other page. The journal has now crossed the Atlantic twice as we have exchanged it back and forth, filling it with moments and memories. It is starting to bulge in a happy, overflowing kind of way.

One lazy Sunday morning while I was browsing through the bookshelves in Avoca coffee shop I discovered “Listography: Your Life In Lists” by Lisa Nola and Nathaniel Russell. It was a perfect gift for her.

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This is a life list, a legacy and memoir all bundled into page after page of lists. Think: favourite movies, people from history you want to talk to, favourite toys from your childhood, lovers, all the cities you have spent time in and you are only just getting a sneak peek. The book is thick, and trust me, by the time you are done listing all of these things, your life might as well be caught in a snapshot in book-form.

There is a listography app too which means the lists don’t have to be confined to a book but they can accompany everyday activities and travels.

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I haven’t packed and posted this gift yet but my guess is that my friend will enjoy it even more than the previous journal. I cannot wait for her to receive it. And yes, if you think about it, I bought myself a gift too because I get to enjoy all her list musings when she is done.

Seven Questions To Help You Find That Perfect Gift

So, when buying gifts for the friend who has it all, keep the following seven questions in mind:

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  1. What do they love to do? 
  2. What is something they do, that very few people know about?
  3. Can you buy this person a gift that involves you, or someone they love, to enrich the experience?
  4. Will this gift be  a lasting treasure if their children and grandchildren were to discover it one day? 
  5. Will this gift last over time? 
  6. Will this gift create a lasting impression? 
  7. Will this gift create memories? 

Featured photo credit:  christmas woman with gifts box via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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The leap happens when we realize two things:

  1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
  2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

“Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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