Importance of Getting Outside Your Comfort Zone

by Richard Furleigh

Wake up, drink coffee, shower, work, lunch, work, meeting, home. Routines breed comfort in your day to day life, and in some ways they can help regulate your life and help keep you on task. Simplicity in some aspects of your life (like Steve Jobs’s obsession with jeans and black turtlenecks) can help bring creativity to other aspects of your life, but venturing outside of that from time to time is vital to helping your mind stay agile and flexible.

If you’ve ever run across people who can never seem to change anything in their life there is a reason for that, and needless to say those people are often not the most inspired people in the world. In the tech world I see this all the time and essentially it boils down to voluntary ignorance. There is something new to learn or try yet somehow this inspires fear; this isn’t limited to any age, position, or anything else. Last week I wrote about a friends company who is making them do cold calls to drum up business. As a fortune 100 company this would be embarrassing for me to ask my employees to do. Yet those who are in charge at these stoic institutions refuse to use the same time that they are wasting with the antique to work on a new outreach and cultivation program that they could implement.

This serves as an example in the workplace but there are times in our personal lives we need to break out and do something different as well. It’s colloquial, but the phrase “if you aren’t moving forward you’re moving backward” does have a lot of weight to it. One of my professors is fond of saying that entropy will kill all systems that do not reinvent themselves. Now it’s not about reinventing the wheel every day, but simply finding new ways to work your mind so that you don’t find yourself completely stuck into patterns that will eventually sabotage you.

If you find yourself stuck in a loop here are a few really easy things that you can do to help break out of it:

  1. Dress completely different than your normal style: This may seem like a small thing but I know that how I’m dressed can affect my mood and how I feel about myself and can get you thinking a little differently.
  2. Go take a walk around in a park or space that you haven’t been before: The new surroundings may inspire
  3. Get food at that new place you’ve been meaning to try: A different experience may bring a fresh feeling to the rest of your day. Just don’t get the safe option for your meal.

This may be a simplified list, but it usually doesn’t take much to kick start your creativity and move past those blocks we construct in our heads.

My challenge for you is simple: do one out of the box thing this week. Go sing karaoke, drive the LONG way to work, something that is more than a little weird even. Just see where that decision takes you! If you have some fun with it, or have any other ideas for ways to break out, let us know! We’d love to hear about it in the comments. Until next time Pengminions!

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Staying In With Friends

by Richard Furleigh

I never really enjoyed “going out” in the same way many of my other friends did during college and into my 20’s. Being around the people I liked was always important but I would much rather be with a few friends having a couple drinks talking with one another than bar hopping from place to place or the club scene that I loathed. Kristen and I have lived in Reno for over two years now and we’ve been downtown to the casinos for anything more than walking around only once or twice, and entered one of Reno’s many clubs twice: both of those for events friends were having.

Living life creatively has been able to give me more of a focus as to the why of it. For clarification by no means am I antisocial, ask my wife and she’ll tell you it seems I prefer other people to her sometimes (not true, I love you Kristen!), or see me at work laughing and joking with coworkers and customers alike as we talk about anything and everything. Rather after looking back my dislike was always more about the crowds of people and the impersonal nature of the whole thing. Near pitch black lights, music to the point where conversation was impossible, and spending $10 for a beer never appealed to me. I would much rather hang out by staying in.

I have found much more joy from small get togethers at people’s houses or game nights with friends than any of the times in college I dragged myself out to one of the numerous clubs on San Marcos’ Square or headed up to 6th Street in ATX. The ability to have a more than superficial connection and to have more meaningful conversations if you want speaks so much more to me than anything those places have to offer.

Game nights especially have found a special place for us and our time with our friends here in Reno as a chance to relax, laugh way too much, and just enjoy each other. Our go to classic is Settlers of Catan, or for me Settlers of Catanananana. This one in particular has lead to some fun rides home as many of you are aware, and Kristen and her friend Shar debating never trading each other wheat again. One of our new favorites is a little more cooperative in nature and was actually thought up by a duo that Kristen went to high school with in Texas!

Random Encounters Random Encounters is a simplified version of your favorite old school dungeon type games where you pick a character and go beat up some bosses! 
We’ve had a lot of fun with this one since it plays out very differently every time. The cooperative nature of the game as well has you thinking and debating the best ways forward so that (hopefully) you don’t die deep in the forest of
Kwee-quaag.

Is there a particular game you love playing for game nights, or do you prefer doing something else for those nights you and friends stay in? We always welcome new ideas that we can try! Keep those dice rolling…Until next time Pengminions!

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All things Soirée and…..We need YOUR help!

Pengminions!

It is I, Kristen, the lady of this duo you will oh so soon be able to refer to as: The Furleigh’s!
Hello you all. Hope everything in your world is going gloriously. It is going very much so here for us. We are head over feet in planning and work and projects. It is grand. I love being this busy!

It has been a little bit since updating you all on planning and things soiree related. It has been interesting trying to organize everything on our own since this whole thing is a little foreign to us but we are managing it. LISTS are our best friends, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them a.) for life and b.) for an undertaking such as this. It will probably be what saves our butts in the end because if we just tried to “remember it” all we would not have anything to show come April 13th.
We went to check out our venue a couple weeks ago and it is plain but it has potential. They provide tables which actually are perfect for our theme. They are kind of a brushed metal top. *perfect* The chairs we might have to change up somehow but we will work with them. Lately we have been on the hunt, stopping in many Goodwill Stores and thrift stores and just recently started going garage sale shopping, to find the perfect trinkets to put together for interesting centerpieces and decorations around the venue. My parents so graciously and thoughtfully sent us gift cards to Michael’s for our Christmas presents (I can’t tell you how excited I was when I opened it) and got a few things to start the process of Invite Construction!!!

Oh my, oh my. Shame shame shame on me. Did I share with you all that my custom designed dress is in the process of being made…as in…decision made and deposit PAID! Eeps, It all just keeps becoming more real.

A couple of other big things we are working on is food, flowers, cake.
The food we are trying to keep reasonably priced and MAN flowers are EXPENSIVE oh and so are cakes. Which we have been tossing around the idea of making it ourselves. Yes you read that correctly. Home-made-cake for our reception. The key to this decision being made will be based on us deciding we will spend a day in the near future and do a cake test run. We will let you know how it goes. If successful, it will save us so much money.

Some thing that we have to remind ourselves throughout this process is to stop and KISS! Keep.It.Simple.Stupid. A little acting nugget you can take with you and use in all of life. Try it. Please. It works wonders!

And here is where you all come in:
Whilst in the midst of all this planning we have come to realize that we also have to come up with a list of music to fill hours of entertaining. We have started a so far short list with a collection of songs that range all over the music spectrum. For the shindig we would love to know some of your favorites when it comes to music so we might stay ahead of the curve because I am sure we are going to miss some good ones by just not thinking of them. Anything! We would love to hear it. We want some ambiance music but we also wanna get people out on the dance floor when the time comes! What would get you up and on the dance floor? What are some songs or types of music you have heard at a reception that you thought were spectacular choices? We appreciate any and all input from you.

Thank you so much pengminions! This is going to be a most glorious occasion so, many thanks to you for helping make it so special.
So much love,
Kristen B

We have a venue! Now what…

Greetings Penguin Lovers!

Richard here today coming to you live from the PA Ren Faire where we are just about to open our third weekend of our run! It’s been hectic for sure, and between rehearsals and trying to plan things there isn’t a ton of time left for much else. Kristen has been amazing in her work so far and fits supremely easily into her roll as a frolicking, gleeful, silly gypsy (who would have guessed!) Desdemona Galosha. She also makes one of the most ferociously adorable lions you will ever see. My work in the faire has been interesting to say the least. Sir Richard Bingham is essentially the opposite of who I am in many ways but is entirely something that I enjoy playing with. I’m also in love with the fact that I am involved with so much of the stage combat throughout the day.

On the reception side of things we have officially booked our venue. YAY! The venue it’s self is absolutely nothing special; just a large community center we got for a steal. However we were more than satisfied with our choice after spending quite a bit of time looking at most conceivable options in the greater Houston area and finding that anything that we were excited about carried a price tag of at least twice our budget. The additional bonus to spending so little on the venue is now we get to spend more on decorating and really bringing some steampunky life to the otherwise sterile venue. This is actually somewhat of an exciting prospect as we’ve started planning and looking at decorations we can create and come up with for the soiree. I’ve also begun to start thinking about ways to get around the whole “the whole ceiling is nothing but florescent lights” problem. Initial thoughts are to bring in some theatre lighting to shoot up at the ceiling and create enough ambient light from that to set the mood properly or to cover the lights already there with some sort of thin fabric to at least tint the white light coming from them. On the floral front, one of Kristen’s brothers was even kind enough to begin growing a rare variety of plant Kristen came across while we were in Chicago in hopes of using them for our reception. No details on what they are yet, wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Needless to say it’s a madhouse here in planning and life!

Stay frosty out there penguin peeps!

Richard