Thursday, November 19, 2009

Effective = Selective

The other day I was talking to my 8yr old nephew about cursing. I told him that although cursing is a part of our language, for the most part it is supposed to be used to show emphasis. Unfortunately, there are many of us who seem to have forgotten this and throw out curse words by the minute. I went on to explain that if he wanted to keep the power within the words, he should only use them in extreme cases. He would want people to take notice as if in shock when he cursed. Then he would truly hold the power within his words. Like curse words all of our actions hold power within them. Anything you do too much of, eventually loses its effectiveness. We all know people who constantly cry wolf and no one pays attention to. Then there is the person who always flies off the handle, we all just shrugs our shoulders and say, “there he goes again.” Like those two examples there are many more. It really doesn’t matter what it is, if you want to be effective, be selective.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Lie for a Lie and a Truth for a truth

You want what we all want, to be treated fairly with respect. You want to not be lied to and to not be taken advantage of. You want to be appreciated for your efforts and given a fair chance. You want people to accept you for who you are and understand your faults. It all starts with you. You want, so therefore You must lead by example. Some people say bad karma, or what comes around goes around, I say, “A Lie for a Lie and a Truth for a truth.” You want respect, give it to others. You want to hear the truth then tell the truth. You want to be appreciated and not be taken for granted then appreciate those you take for granted. You want acceptance and forgiveness, then give it to others. It all starts with you. Instead we live in a world where lies perpetuate more lies, where the list of things and people we take for granted, grows daily. We live in a world where we spend more time talking about the bad things that people do than the good things and then spend our days complaining about the very same things. We take a defensive posture of do on to others before they do it to you and it spins out of control causing mistrust. Tell a lie and expect one in return, take someone for granted and expect to be taken for granted, it’s that simple and the list goes on. “A lie for a Lie and A Truth for a Truth.”

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cirle of Life

My brother sent me this the other day and I felt it  fit in well with my writings.

Every morning on the plains of Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the lion, or it will not survive. Every morning, a lion wakes up and it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re a lion or a gazelle; when the morning comes, you better hit the ground running.
This is an excellent portrayal of the reality of our lives. The balance (or circle) of life shows no bias. It does not know a nice/good gazelle from a bad one, it only knows that there must be continuation of life. The less gifted, must work harder than the gifted to survive and the gifted will parish, if they take for granted what has been given to them. If you want to continue living you must fight everyday for what you have achieved as well as for what you strive to achieve.

From the day we arrive on the planet
And blinking, step into the sun
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to do than can ever be done
There's far too much to take in here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through the sapphire sky
Keeps great and small on the endless round

It's the Circle of Life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the Circle

The Circle of Life

Friday, November 13, 2009

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

One of the things I have noticed is that the true purpose or point of many of the things we do get lost in the process of doing them. For example, something as simple as a women’s haircut can become overly involved. I assume we all go in to get our hair cuts with one purpose, looking good. Somehow along the way, it becomes about with who and where. Then it continues to become more involved by what you will wear to get this haircut. Once you arrive, there may be espressos accompanied by finger foods and idle chatter. Three hours later you’re walking out feeling like a goddess or crying and wondering why you ever let these barbarians touch your perfect head. The reality is that no matter how great of a job they do, two days later your back to running around doing the everyday things and your hair is the least of your worries. Of course, I am a huge advocate of enjoying the process, which is my point. Many of us turn a simple task (haircut) into a complicated process (trip to the salon)and then don’t enjoy the process while it is taking place.

So maybe the trip to the salon isn’t the most universal example but we all have simple task that we over complicate and then complain or don’t enjoy the very process we created. No matter what it is you set out to do, take a look at what the real purpose is and then see if you are overcomplicating the process. If you are, then ask why and if it is for other reasons (like a day of pampering) then enjoy your creation while it is taking place. I would suggest that in many cases we overcomplicate things for all the wrong reasons and create our own frustrations. It’s getting caught up in the rat race or the blinding of our vanity that can make us lose sight of the purpose.

It’s really quite simple, if you want a simple life, keep things simple and a simple life you will have.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

There Should be a Rule

There should be a rule that you can’t complain about the things you don’t like about your life, if you are doing nothing to fix them. Imagine that I was standing outside shirtless, in the dead of winter and I started complaining about how cold it was. First, you would probably think I was crazy, but then you would most likely start giving me suggestions like, “Why don’t you put something warmer on,” or “Why don’t you go inside?” Now imagine that I just stood there freezing and continued to complain, without acting upon any of your reasonable suggestions. How long would you stand there making suggestions and listening to me complain before you came to the conclusion that I either liked freezing my bum off or just liked to hear myself complain? Since most of us don’t stand out in the freezing cold in T’s, here are some examples easier to relate to:

After reading each, ask one simple question: “What am I doing about it ?”

“I am so fat, I don’t have anything to wear and I hate the way I look”
“I’m not getting any younger, my mind and my body just aren’t the same”
“I don’t have the relationship I would like with _________”
“I want to have financial freedom”
“I need more time to do the things I want to do”
“I want a new job”
“I wish my kids were better ________________”
“I am always tired”
“I want to learn to _______________”

There are hundreds of different things that we all complain about but the one thing they all share in common, is the fact that complaining about them will do nothing to change them. Venting is a worthless release of hot air. I think in some instances we complain, in the hopes that someone will hear us and solve our problems. Or maybe give us the magic solution that we hadn’t already thought of ourselves. Many times, when are pleas go unheard, we become even more frustrated and fall into further hopelessness. The only way out, is to take action ourselves. We need to ask ourselves, “What am I, or can I do about it,” and then start.
Don’t just stand there in the cold complaining, it accomplishes nothing, makes you look crazy and just further reminds you how cold it is. Do something to change your situation. Put some warm clothes on, get inside near the fire and have a tall cup of hot chocolate. Don’t be consumed about the order in which it needs to happen, just focus on getting started. You can instead, have a tall cup of hot chocolate, get inside near the fire and put some warm clothes. You see the order doesn’t matter as much as getting started and the end result.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Don't Judge a Book by its Cover

If you were asked a few years back, who was a better man or who you would rather be associated with, you probably would have given a very different answer. But with just a little information about them your opinion even then, would have changed a little. (I am saying even before the scandals).

Kimbo Slice (Kevin Ferguson) (On the right)
Ferguson was born in Nassau, Bahamas, moved to the United States and grew up in Cutler Ridge, Florida, raised alongside his two brothers by a single mother named Rosemary Clarke. He went to Bel-Air Elementary School and when Ferguson was 13 years old, he was involved in his first fight, trying to defend a friend. He continued his studies with Cutler Ridge Middle School and later with Richmond Heights Middle School. He attended Miami Palmetto High School, where he was the star middle linebacker. In 1992, his house in Perrine, Florida was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew and he continued living in his 1987 Nissan Pathfinder for a month.
For college, he attended both Bethune-Cookman University and the University of Miami, where he held an athletic scholarship and studied criminal justice. He was there for only a year and a half. In 1997, he had a tryout with the Miami Dolphins and was part of the pre-season squad, but was unable to get a place in the first team. He is currently trying out for the UFC where he has been nothing less than a model student of the game.

Bernard Madoff
Madoff was born to Ralph and Sylvia (née Muntner) Madoff in the New York City borough of Queens, on April 29, 1938. He was raised in the Jewish tradition. Ralph Madoff was a plumber before becoming a stockbroker. Madoff graduated from Far Rockaway High School in 1956, attended the University of Alabama for one year, where he became a brother of the Tau Chapter of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, then transferred to and graduated from Hofstra College in 1960 with a degree in political science. The following year, he attended Brooklyn Law School, but did not continue.
I won't go into all the details of the Ponzi Scheme but as they say, the rest is history.

Now that you know more about these two, your opinion should drastically change. Who would you rather be associated with now? Don’t judge a book by its cover no matter how convincing the cover may be. Open it up, read a little, give yourself a chance to fully understand the person or situation before jumping to conclusions or passing judgement. The world is full of Bernie Madoffs and Kimbo Slices, its your job to figure out who the good guys are with all your senses, not just your eyes.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Stay the Course

To many times in our lives we set out to accomplish one thing and along the way get distracted by ego, fears and insecurities. The result is usually a shift in focus and we lose sight of our original goals. It’s difficult to explain it so the best thing is to give an example:
Let’s say your son is on a football team but is not starting. In fact you feel that the coach may be singling him out for personal reasons and not giving him a fair chance. Of course, this causes fears within you on many levels. You fear he will not improve; he will be have a bad experience and possibly associates sports negatively. You also fear that socially he may be rejected by the others on the team. As your fears build, anger grows and you start to focus on what a jerk this coach is. You start planning in your head how you will “show him.” Maybe you will write a letter to the club president or get other parents who are unhappy to leave to another team. Some may think about making their son some super star athlete and then when the coach wants to use him, yanking him from the team, “that will show him even more”. As time progresses your ego and fears have distracted you and the original goal you set out to accomplish, is just a spec in your rear view mirror. So how do you bring yourself back on course? First you must ask yourself, “What was it that I was setting out to accomplish in the first place?” In this case, I would guess the father wanted to have his son to play an organized sport to get exercise, build confidence, make friends and have a good overall experience. Next you need to ask yourself, “What is the best way I can accomplish that goal?” Maybe the father should take a look at the skill level of the team his son is on. It may require more effort and commitment, maybe some private practices to level the playing field. It may also be that the son is playing the wrong sport or just needs to move to another team where his skill level is more valued. Regardless of what the right answer will be, it is more important to recognize what the wrong answers are. Shifting focus on to the coach, teammates or club and trying to change them is the wrong answer. You can accomplish so much more in your life if you stay the course and focus positively on the things you do want. Don’t waste time by losing site and sending out negative thoughts, to counter the things you don’t want. Remember if you assign blame, you are forced to wait for others to change. If you take responsibility, you can take action immediately.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Send a Message

All of my kids have been involved in sports and they will all tell you that prior to every game, I always instruct them to send their opponents a message. If you start out the game slow and lethargic or weak and afraid, that will be the message you send the opponent. Your opponent will not only get the message but they will feed off of it. It can make a weak opponent strong and a strong opponent that much stronger. The first thing I ask my girls is, “What message do you want to send and then how can you clearly communicate that message.” Of course after telling them this for many years, I ended up asking myself the same question about the messages I am sending. Just as in sports, this translates to life. We send our message out every day, from our first experience in the morning, to the last one before going to bed. What message are we sending? Have we even thought about what message we want to send? I am sure it is an effort for my children to send that message every game but they will tell you it has been worth it. In trying to send a message to their opponents, they have found that the same message was received by their teammates and coaches. Think about what the message is you want to send, make the effort to send it and watch how everyone around you responds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Destination Unknown

How crazy would it sound if I told you I was headed out on vacation and didn’t know where I was going. Imagine you see me loading up my family, with all of our luggage and when you ask where we are going, I casualy respond, “I don’t know.” To add to what already sounds crazy, you see me pull out a map and a weather forecast report. Then as you continue to watch in amazement, I start to vocally express my concerns about things like, tire wear, fuel consumption, food quantities, hotels and all the other items involved in the trip. I would have to assume that at some point you would stop me and ask the inevitable questions, “How do you know what you need if you don’t even know where you’re going and why are you so preoccupied with the items you will need, as opposed to where it is you're going.”

What’s our destination in life? Where is it that we are headed? How are we able to prepare daily, for a destination unknown? We need to set some goals (destinations), whether they are yearly, monthly, weekly or even daily. If we don’t know where you’re going, how can you possibly prepare for the journey? Before deciding our destinations, we need to make sure if we choose to go skiing, we don’t mind the cold weather that comes with it. In other words we need to take a look at the destination we have chosen and understand what is involved in getting there. We need to be prepared to pay the tolls that are sure to come along the way. Once we have decided where it is we are going, we can sit back and enjoy the journey. There will be plenty of great things to experience along the way.

Added bonus: Choosing a goal is most of the work. Once we have a goal in mind and we keep it in our daily thoughts, it seems to just come without a great deal of effort. My belief is that in having those goals in our daily thoughts, it causes our decision making to be focused on achieving that goal and therefore things seem to happen naturally.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Soul Mate

I have heard it said before that our soul mate is not the person that agrees with every word we say but actually, he or she does just the opposite. Our soul mate is that person that constantly challenges us and makes us defend our every move. This person is the person who teaches us the most and makes you work on the things you wouldn’t normally work on. They teach us patience and how to control our temper. They challenge us and force us to re think without becoming defensive. They are the messy when we are the clean. The funny thing is that as much as we complain about them, we continue to go back for more and if that person is to leave us, another one just like them pops in. It is not a coincidence; we seek these people out without even knowing it. We want to be challenged and reassured about what we feel and do every day. The person that sits next to us, agreeing with our every word, cannot satisfy us so we search for someone to challenge our thinking. It is much more complicated than what can be written in a paragraph. Today when you find yourself at odds with another person, don’t ask why in desperation but understand that these people are our greatest teachers and learn what it is they are teaching you about yourself.

Quick story from a lecture Dr Wayne Dyer gave about soul mates:

My youngest and eldest daughters were sitting at breakfast when the oldest turned to the youngest and asked, “If you didn’t have feet, would you wear shoes?” The youngest turned to the oldest and replied, “Duh, of course not, why would I need shoes if I didn’t have feet?” The oldest then grabbed her books from the table and as she walked away turned back to the youngest and said, “Then why are you wearing a bra?” “Those two are soul mates”, Dyer said.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Find Your Switch

Why is it so hard to turn things positive when your day starts out negative? We start out the day with some sort of negative event and then we begin to spiral out of control into a toilet bowl of negativity. If you think about it logically, it makes no sense. Why would we want to be in a bad mood for another minute, let alone, for the rest of the day? Yet no matter how much sense it makes, we continue to get worse as the day progresses. Here are a few things that can put the brakes on.

1. Immediately find 3 things you should be grateful for and say them to yourself, even though you may not want to, at the time.
2. Stop telling yourself the negative story. Stop calling others to tell them your negative story. This only prolongs it and is a weak attempt to justify your misery.
3. Ask yourself if you could stay in this state for the rest of your life or will you eventually want to be happy again. If the answer is yes, then choose to get over it and be happy now.
4. Compare your event to the larger scale of negative things that could happen in your life. If your upset about being late to work, imagine not having a car and or a job.
5. Lastly, change the mood. Find a good song on the radio, call someone who always makes you laugh or close your eyes and thing of the happiest moment of your life.

It’s not easy to find, but we all have a switch that will work for us, find yours.