Be the Change! Be Better!

 

Lisa in  2007

Five years ago I went on a New Year’s cruise and made two resolutions: To buy a condo and to find a long-term relationship. I had been focused on these items already but now I was ready to make them happen.

By January 18, 2007, I had my first date with George and by January 20 I saw the condo I would later buy. George and my second wedding anniversary was December 19 and I have owned the condo for nearly five years. I also had a secret resolution to lose weight and subsequently lost sixty pounds.

I was reminded of all this reading Atul Gawande’s Better. I have enjoyed all of his books but this one really spoke to me partially because I dropped out of UCSF Medical School and I love to read about doctors who really speak about medicine and its practice and partly because he is talking about how to be your best.

He says, “The core requirements for success are diligence, to do right and ingenuity.” 

His five suggestions for “how one might make a difference” are:

1. Ask an unscripted question
2. Don’t complain
3. Count something “if you count something interesting, you will learn something interesting.”
4. Write something “you should not underestimate the effect of your contribution, however modest.”
5. Change “So find something new to try, something to change. Count how often you succeed and how often you fail. Write about it. Ask people what they think. See if you can keep the conversation going.”

I do think this is a great plan to create the change you want to see in this world. I hope you will make a resolution to adopt one or more of his ideas for how to make a difference and share it with someone!

wedding
Lisa in 2009

I will tell you my resolution for 2012, to find a literary agent for our book about our story of meeting online, quitting our jobs, traveling in Asia for one year, getting engaged underwater, losing sixty pounds and keeping it off for over 2 and a half years, all while crying when snorkeling and of course learning to live without toilet paper!

This is what happens when Julie McCoy of the Love Boat meets a Paraguyan Peace Corps worker!! On our trip I worked hard to stop complaining, write something, change, count something other than the pounds I was losing and the months we were gone and ask lots of great questions.

Sometimes I think who would be interested in our personal story about finding love after 39 or the dramas of online dating when you don’t realize you are more than thirty or fifty pounds overweight. Sometimes I think no one will read our blog or our stories or come to our travel events. But our last event had over one hundred people so maybe someone is listening!

I give you these words from Ralph Waldo Emerson to inspire you to be better:

“Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.”

I wish you courage and that all your dreams come true in 2012.

More about us and our travels and resolutions at: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/

Article first published as Be the Change! Be Better! on Technorati.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

6 responses to “Be the Change! Be Better!

  1. Sent to us from Fortune:

    Hi Lisa and George,
    I'm enjoying your philosophy and knowing more about your romance.
    I'm so glad you two found each other.

    Happy 2012. It sounds as though you off to a great start!
    Best wishes,
    Fortune

    Thanks so much for reading and commenting!! Happy 2012! Lisa

  2. Check out this post by Seth Godin:
    You don't need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.

    sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/12/the-reason-productivity-improvements-dont-work.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+typepad%2Fsethsmainblog+(Seth's+Blog)

  3. From MIA

    I love this email!! Full of motivation and love!! Can't wait to read your book!!

    Happy New Year!!

    Tons of love to you and George,
    Mia

  4. From Mina:

    Hi Lisa.

    I want you to know how much I enjoy your writings and that, yes I would buy your book! I just sent my daughters your Be the Change piece which I’m sure will inspire them.

    Thanks for sharing your adventures!

    Happy 2012,

    Mina

  5. From Lexi:

    Lisa,
    Thank you for the inspiration! I will read every word!

    Keep going, plenty of us are listening.

    Much love,
    Lexi

  6. FROM MR and Daughter:

    "Hi guys.

    Lisa is a teacher I work with. She is very impressive on so many levels. She literally decided what she wanted her life to be and went out and made it happen. I love reading her blog and finding out about her latest adventures. She wrote this for 2012, I think you’ll find it very motivating.

    Love,

    Mom

    MR SENT ME HER NOTE ABOVE and
    From her 15 year old daughter:

    "this is amazing. she looks beautiful"

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