The President’s annual State of the Union address was last night. My tech husband and I are part of the White House online community, so we watched it…online! There were some very cool interactive features, including an hour Q&A with some very impressive, young, senior White House officials taking questions from the online forum, Twitter, and Facebook.
When you think that we have a government of the people, by the people, for the people (Gettysburg Address), then using technology is a natural extension to engage more people. In fact, other Presidents set a technology precedence for their State of the Union addresses: Calvin Coolidge used radio for the first time in 1923; Harry Truman used television for the first time in 1947; LBJ was the first to give his address during prime time when most people were available; George W. Bush had the first webcast in 2002.
The State of the Union address got me thinking about how I step back, assess, plan, and evaluate change and progress for myself. Here are 2 questions I ask myself regularly:
1. Why? When my now-grown-sons were little cherubs, this was their most exasperating question, Why? Every answer I gave, elicited another Why? Their why questions would continue until either they got all of their questions answered or I was exasperated and distracted them with something else.
Children ask why to learn about the world around them. I ask why to understand the world around me. I continue to ask why until I have enough information or understanding to ask a new question:
2. How? The second most exasperating question I received from my little cherubs was how? Their little inquisitive minds wanted to know how everything worked. Once they were satisfied how something worked, they tried it out and, lo and behold, it worked! They now had a new skill or piece of knowledge for future use.
I am no different. Once I understand why, I want to figure out how. How am I going to make this work, how am I going to achieve this goal or how am I going to make this change. You get the picture.
As with my kids, I found that if I answer these two questions until there are no more answers, I have a pretty good understanding of my own motivation, or an understanding of a situation I’m assessing, or the direction I need to go to make a change or achieve a goal. The end result is a fairly useful State of Me address.
What made the State of the Union so enjoyable for me was not having to listen to all of the pundit and political rhetoric. By watching the address through a live stream, we were able to bypass other people’s opinions and rancor. We had an opportunity to hear and reflect on the message without undue influence or distraction.
When I give myself the space and time to ask my two questions, why and how, incorporating what I shared in Cease Striving, my existence, this side of eternity, is pretty good.
What is the State of You?