Aug 4 2011


Jamie Barrows

It’s summer, and there isn’t all that much on American TV to watch during summer. So I end up hunting through Cable channels to find things to watch. One of the shows I’ve found is called Hoarders.

It’s fascinating to me to watch the way stuff has completely taken over people’s lives. These people have let the collection of things (often worthless things) ruin their homes, families, and livelihoods. And they can’t let the stuff go. They fight the cleaners and organizers over every item that gets thrown away. And most of it is junk.

Apart from the entertainment value of watching them attempt to take back control of the “hoard,” the show has really made me look at how much “stuff” I have. Don’t get me wrong, my house isn’t cluttered or too full of stuff. But if I really took an inventory of all the things in my house, I would have to say that there are a lot of things I haven’t touched in at least a year. And if I haven’t touched it in a year, do I really need it? How many shirts and pairs of pants do I really need? I have pants and shirts I haven’t worn in years and I should just get rid of. I have bookshelves full of books that I have read and probably will never read again.

Even though my stuff hasn’t taken over my house, I really have more things than I need. So I’m going to try to get rid of anything I don’t really need.

Aug 3 2011

The 30 day project

Jamie Barrows

I watched the following video yesterday, and was really inspired by it.
There are lots of things that I really want to do but it seems like I can never manage to set aside the time to start them. And when I do start a project, I never manage to stick with it for very long. The idea of doing something for 30 days straight seems like something I could do. Putting a specific time limit on a task or hobby, makes it easier to keep doing it even when I don’t feel like it or when it is inconvenient.

So what 30 day task am I going to try first?
Your looking at it. I’m going to try to get back into blogging regularly. I used to post to this blog more frequently, but in recent years I’ve kind of slacked off and I’ve always regretted it. So starting with this post, I’m going to try to do 1 blog post every day.
If I’m busy or traveling, the post might be very short. But regardless I’m going to try get a post out every day for the next 30 days.

Jan 30 2009

Consideration for others

Jamie Barrows

I was driving to work this morning and something happened that just struck me. It was an act of thoughtfulness and consideration from someone who had no need to do so and gained nothing tangible from doing it.

My drive is kind of long (about an hour) and I end up taking some back roads along the way. The speed limits (with the exception of one small town) are pretty high. So traffic usually moves along at a good speed. But every once in a while I will hit the road at just the wrong time and get stuck behind a school bus.

Now I don’t know how it is in other nations, but here in the US we have some specific traffic rules that apply to school buses. When a school bus stops to pick up a child, all traffic on the road going both directions must stop. The reasoning being that the child will be entering, and possibly crossing, the road to board the bus. So traffic should stop to ensure the safety of the child. And it really is a good rule.

The problem is that if you get stuck behind one of these school buses on your way to work, or wherever you are going, you will be stopping every few minutes until either you or the bus turns off the road. So it can get very annoying. And I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that it was going to take me a lot longer to get to work than I had planned.

But then something happened. The school bus turned off the road. Which at first I didn’t think anything of. That is nothing other than relief that I was not going to have to spend the next 45 minutes to an hour behind it. But then I noticed that the bus had turned off, only to get back on. That is, the bus driver had deliberately turned off the road to allow the cars that were backed up behind it to get past. The driver had realized that there was a long line of cars behind the bus and was going out of his way to let that line past.

And he didn’t have to let us past. He was perfectly within his rights to simply continue along his route and let the line back up. The driver only did it out of consideration for those of us behind him.
Which really made me think about how often I could have been more considerate of others around me. How often have I blissfully continued along with whatever I was doing and gave no thought to others around me?

Jan 10 2008

People are the issue

Jamie Barrows

I’ve been reading a programmers blog called Coding Horror recently. It can get pretty technical in some of it’s articles, so if you aren’t into programming I wouldn’t recommend it. If you are into programming, it really is a great blog and one you should start reading. Despite the programming focus, the latest article I think is one that applies to a lot of different industries. Not just IT based ones. So I thought I would post about it here.

The article is called, No Matter What They Tell You, It’s a People Problem. The gist of the article is that the main reason why software projects fail is a lack of a cohesive team. It’s not the only reason, but it is a big one. And it’s a reason that is hardly ever looked at or considered. No one wants to think that the reason their project isn’t going well, is because they don’t like or can’t get along with their coworkers.

Here is a quick excerpt from the article that I thought was really telling.

“Do you like the company of your teammates on a personal level? Do you respect your teammates professionally? If you were starting at another company, would you invite your coworkers along? Do you have spirited team discussions or knock-down, drag-out, last man standing filibuster team arguments? Are there any people on your team you’d ‘vote off the island’ if you could?”

So who would you vote off the team in your office?

Nov 18 2007

Paying Bills

Jamie Barrows

Lately I’ve been more than a little depressed. The reason is that I don’t feel like anything I’m doing is worth anything. Not just not worth anything, but actually pointless. Every week all my actions are based around a single goal. Paying bills. I go to work every day for no other reason. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job. The problem is that the only purpose for my job, is to pay bills. And paying bills is not something that is really a worthy goal to have in life. It’s actually very worthless.

I need to have a point to my life that goes beyond paying bills. I need a goal that is really worth something. I really don’t know what I can do, but I need to find something. Otherwise, this pattern of depression about my life will keep pulling me down and leave me in a state of depression.

Finding that goal is the hard part. The problem is that I don’t have the skills and abilities to do the obvious things. People I know are going to suggest that I get involved in missions work and the church. But I’m already involved in my church, and the truth is that they don’t really need me. And I don’t have any of the usual skills that missionaries can use. No church planting or preaching skills. No building or construction skills.

About the only skill that I do have, is an aptitude for computers. My computer skills are not really any use to most of the churches around here. Computer skills like mine are just too common in the US. But possibly my skills could be useful on the mission field. Specifically in third world or impoverished nations. Maybe there is something I could do that would take advantage of the skill set that I do have.

I don’t know if it is even possible, but I think I will try to find out. If I can make some contacts with groups who are working in those countries, then I might be able to find out what I can do. Maybe my computer skills could be used, or maybe there is another area I could help out in. The only way I can find out what I can do is to ask. So that is what I’m going to try.

Because I don’t want my goal in life to be “paying bills.”

Jun 1 2007

Motivation: What motivates you?

Jamie Barrows


Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about motivation. What motivates you to do the things you do? Specifically what motivates you at your job? Is it money? Recognition? Perks? The work itself? What exactly makes you get up every morning and go to your job?
You say, that’s easy. I get paid to work there, and I wouldn’t go if they didn’t pay me. And that’s true. None of us would go to work if we weren’t getting paid. After all, we all have bills to pay and we need to eat. But that isn’t the whole picture either.

So aside from being able to pay bills, why your current job over some other job? When you are at work, what makes you more eager to do certain jobs, rather than other jobs? What makes you feel satisfied with the work you are doing?

Everyone has different things that motivate them. For some, the motivation is money. They work harder in anticipation of bonuses and pay raises. For others, work needs to challenge them. If it doesn’t challenge their abilities, then it becomes a drag. They always need to be learning or trying something new. For still others, it’s the work environment. Interacting with their fellow coworkers and customers makes them feel alive and excites them. Some people, like my brother, need for things to be a competition. They have to be the best, and will work as hard as they have to in their job to “be the best.”

For me, it’s not any of the reasons I listed above. Sure, money is important, and it’s nice to have a challenge. And who doesn’t want to be the best? But for me it’s responsibility. I need to be “needed.” Knowing that people are depending on me pushes me to work harder. I have to know that people are counting on me to be there on time, and to get things done on schedule. It’s having people come to me for help and assistance, that really motivates me to try harder and do a good job.

So I ask again, What motivates you?

By the way, the picture above is from Despair.com They have a lot of other un-motivational posters and calendars that are pretty funny.