Friday, July 30, 2010

Pay the Piper

One very simple concept that we all tend to forget is that everything has a price. If you want to be a millionaire, it will only happen if you pay the price. In the case of celebrities, they may pay the price of a lost childhood or the loss of the freedom that the rest of us take for granted. If you want to be in shape, you will have to work out regularly and control what you eat vs what you would like to eat. If you want to have a good family, many times you will have to sacrifice your needs for those of your family’s. The list goes on but the point is clear, whatever you want will come at a cost. The question is, “are you willing to pay the piper?” Many of us dismiss this by attributing success to luck or “God given talent". We may say, “she/he is naturally fit or can eat whatever they want." I have heard some attribute family success to children being “born that way” or once again “lucky parents”. As long as we attribute all of these things to chance, we close the door in our minds that allows us to see that we can change what we don’t like and create what we want our lives. Once we take responsibility and are truly willing to pay the price, almost anything is obtainable. One of the hardest things to admit to ourselves is that we might not really want “it”, as bad as we think we do. Take a look at where you are today and what you have. I would bet that if you are honest with yourself, it is relative to what you were willing to pay, to get the things that you wanted. All of us would love to be millionaires but are we willing to put in the effort while taking on the responsibilities and giving up the freedoms that come with that. All of us want to look good on the beach but are we willing to go to the gym four days out of the week and pass up on the goodies to get there. Lastly, all of us would love to have perfect families but are we willing to sacrifice some of our personal goals (like being a millionaire) to have that family.

One way or the other, we all must pay the piper to get the things we truly want. No excuses, chose wisely, make the sacrifices and no matter who you are, anything is possible.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Finding It

I find it funny that people “lose their temper”. I don’t know about everyone else but I seem to find my temper or it finds me. I am sure they are talking about losing control when they refer to someone losing “it”. Well I lost, “it” the other day and looking back on what happened, it seems as though while losing “it”, I found a whole bunch of other things that were stuffed inside of me just waiting to come out. As I started to lose it, I started to say things that looking back, where just dumb, hurtful and borderline stupid. At the time, everything I was saying seemed so important. Subconsciously, I convinced myself that if these things did not happen, it would affect me in such a way that I could no longer be happy. Looking back now, it is all so irrelevant. Without knowing, I started bringing up other things that I was upset about that had no relation to the current “crisis”. Within ten minutes, I went from having a normal outlook on life to an abnormally warped view. Once I convinced myself how bad I had it and how the world was against me, it was all downhill. Over the years, I have learned to get out of this downfall but I am embarrassed about how I handled the situation. Unfortunately there were a few casualties along the way. I have tried to undo the damage but as we all know you can’t take back what you say.

So when I ask myself what caused me to lose it, the overwhelming answer is fear. You tell yourself a story as to what will happen if these things unfold and then fear ingulfs your thoughts as it builds its home in your mind. In reality, we may think we have an idea as to what may happen but we don’t really know. It is this build up of internal fear that explodes out of us. We scream, kick, fight, insult and do anything humanly possible to change what we built up to be something that will impact our lives negatively. In the end, many of the very things we were so afraid of and fought so hard for them not to happen, are the best things in our lives.

I wish I could lose my temper and never find it again. It only hurts me and stops me from growing. I wish I could lose my fears and have complete faith in the fact that everything happens for a reason. I wish I could lose the part of me that judges others and forgets to appreciate the things I take for granted. I wish I was a better, dad, brother, friend, husband, person. I know that If I trust and have faith, I can “find” that better person inside of me and it will grow, just as I know that if I allow fear to guide my thoughts, my temper will find me again.  Amazing Little Girl (Listen)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In Your Lifetime

Your estimated lifespan is 75 Years. That's 900months or 3,900 weeks or 27,375 days or 657,000 hours or 39,420,000 minutes or 2,365,200,000 seconds. In that time:

A person who lives to be 80 years old will sleep 233,600 hours / 9,733 days or 33 percent of their life.

For a 75 year old person with average tendencies, he/she will spend 3,650 hours on the toilet over the course of a lifetime.

The average person will spend an estimated 20,160 min kissing in their lifetime. (If your Latin you may half to double that)

A Child in the US will spend an average of 900 hours a year in school.

Women will spend 5 1/2  years on the phone in an average lifetime

The average person will spend 6 years and ten months eating in his or her 70 year life time.

The average person will spend 9 years watching TV in their lifetime

According to US dept. of Labor people in the US spend at least 1896 hours per year at work. That’s 89,112 in a life time (18-65). 3,713 DAYS

When we look at all of these statistics from a lifetime view, we are amazed at how many minutes, hours or days, we will actually spend doing things. We don’t really realize the enormity of what lies ahead of us. It is for this very reason that we are told to live our lives, “one day at a time.” When we tell ourselves all the things we have to do (on a given day) it is like reading to yourself all the statistics that are written above. We overwhelm ourselves. It’s torture as we reminding ourselves of every last thing that we need to do and how hard these things will be. Of course doing this only makes it harder. As our chest tighten and our level of anxiety grows, we find it difficult to start the very first of the things we need to do. We need to live our lives one minute at a time. We should face what is right in front of us and do it the best we can at that moment. The only way we can truly be at our best is if we are living in that moment, rather than worrying about what is coming next. Most of the time what we think will happen and how it will happen, rarely occurs. I realize we all need to plan and that part of planning is looking forward but once the planning is done, focus on each task as it arrives. We will feel good that whatever we were able to complete that day, was done to the best of our ability. At the end of the day, what was done was done, tomorrow will be another day. Remember, life will go on without you, but you can’t go without life. Don’t just go through the motions of life, live every moment of your life. One last stat, we spend approx 80 hours of our lifetime tying our shoes.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Age Doesn't Matter

Most of us assume that the older you are, the more you know. We will hold someone more responsible for their actions, based on this idea. The reality is that if your ability to know or do something was a direct result of age, we would all be able to play the piano or solve the most intricate mathematical formulas, by the time we were in our 50’s. In truth, we get better at things as we age because we have had more time to practice those things but nothing comes naturally as a result of getting older. We must learn things from someone and then perfect them with practice, through the years. It could be learning to play a musical instrument, learning to play a sport or just the everyday challenge of learning to live. Who teaches us good coping skills? Who teaches us the skill of independence? Do we go to a school to learn these life lessons? Do we get private lessons, like one might get in sports? How is it that we learn the difficult art of being able to take care of ourselves and handle the tough times as well as the good times? As a parent I know I have put a tremendous amount of time into my girl’s education and sports. I have paid for private lessons and spared no expense, to send them to the best schools. I also realized somewhere along the way that more importantly, I needed to teach them the skills they would need to cope with life as independent young women. I realized that these skills would guide them and dictate the path their lives would take. Most of us assume that as you get older these skills should come on their own but just like learning to play the piano, they must be taught to you by someone. It’s not to say that there are not those who have a natural ability to play the piano and can just hear a song and play but most of us are not that fortunate. If we are taught incorrectly are music will always sound off and we will struggle with bad technique.

As you all know, it is much harder to learn to do something at an older age but it can be done. How did you learn your life skills? Are they bringing you success and happiness? What can you do to teach yourself better technique? Lastly, as you look around at others, “don’t judge a piano player by the way they play try to understand how they learned to play. “

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Slurpee Time!

This afternoon while traveling from one of my job sites to the other, I stopped at a 7-Eleven for a drink. As I entered the store, I was distracted by a few kids that were in the back of the store laughing and fooling around near the drink machine. As I approached them, I realized that they were actually getting Slurpees. I strolled around them as if though waiting for the soda machine, while secretly just waiting for them to leave so I could fill my own Slurpee and not look like the 40 year old kid that I really am. Once they left, I took the medium size cup out (after considering the WWF 3D cup), placed the lid on it and began filling it up. Although I did stop prior to it filling all the way, I suddenly found myself engulfing the top of the lid, to avoid the volcanic eruption that was now running down my hand. After carefully looking to make sure that no one had noticed, I proceeded to the cashier with a John Travolta kinda strut (Cue staying alive music) in an attempt to soften the impact of me walking around with a Cherry Slurpee and most likely what looked like lipstick, after my earlier attempt to stop Mt St Helens Slurpee eruption. Once at the counter, I caught a glimpse of a box of colorful, metal, possibly aluminum straws, that they were selling for Slurpees. “What kind of a moron buys a metal straw for Slurppes when the plastic ones are free?” So I bought one, opened it and placed it in the Slurpee. As if magic, the straw instantaneously frosted. Of course I was all out of pennies, so I paid for it the next best way, with my debit card. I finally slithered back to my car, started it up and took the long anticipated sip. With that one sip, I was young again. I remembered all the times me and my sister would walk to the store to buy slurppes. I remembered begging my mom and dad for them. I remembered having them after soccer practice. Most importantly, what I remembered with that one sip was that happiness can be something as simple as buying a cherry slurpee in the middle of your work day, if we would only stop to take the time to enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Journey

The journey in most cases, can be just as much fun as the destination and in some cases, better. So many of us are in such a hurry to get the things that we want, that we forget to “smell the roses” along the way. As we get older we become more aware of the journey and reflect on the aspects of the journey we enjoyed. This obviously is related to the fact that the older you get, the more of a past you have. We look back and smile at the good and bad times we experienced, that got us to where we are today. We find warmth and found remembrance in “the journey”. Think about two these examples:

1. When we first started dating, at times it felt tortuous to go through the newness of the relationship. The first time holding hands, the first kiss, the first fight and many other first were not as exciting as you now may remember them to be. At the time we just wanted everything to be perfect and were in a hurry to get to a certain level of comfort not realizing that it was the discomfort that was exiciting and fun. Now looking back, although they were not the easiest times, those were some of the best times of the relationship

2. When we buy a new home, we want it to be perfect the day we move in but in most cases cannot afford to do all the work at once. We slowly but surely begin to add furnishing, remodel, paint and do many other things to get it just the way we want it. We hurry to get it all done so it can be “perfect”. Once everything is “perfect”, a lot of people will chose to move or change styles and start all over again. If it was the journey that was going to fulfill them, why is it that once they get there they want change again? No matter what, they will always look back fondly and with admiration on all the work they had done (The Journey).

Like these two examples, there are many more I could give. The idea is that every day is the journey and the final destination is when it is all over. Slow down, smell the roses and enjoy the journey. Realize that even the very things you may be complaining about today will be missed and laughed about later.
If you can really get in this mind set, you can learn to enjoy even the worst of situations because you will have the ability to look at the present as if though you are looking at it from the future. That perspective will show things for what they truly are and bring you comfort.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Hear You Loud But Not Clear

All of our lives are going at such an incredible pace that we barely have time to really pay attention to the details of our conversations with others. We hear what they are saying but we don’t take the time to listen to the message they are trying to convey. When I was a kid, I remember hearing my dad complain that I was hearing what he was saying but not listening. Listening to what people are saying is really somewhat of an art and takes a tremendous amount of focus and interest as to what the message is that is trying to be conveyed. It is also very important for the listener to have an open and trusting mind as to what the other person is saying. Here are some very basic examples of what is being said, what is being heard and what is trying to be conveyed. (They may not apply to you but you should get the point)

1. Said: “You always come home late from work”.

Heard: “You must be having fun or prefer being away”.

Message: “We love having you around and worry when you’re not here”.

2. Said: “I do everything around here and it would be nice to get some help”.

Heard: “ You are lazy and do nothing all day”.

Message: “Your interest, help and support, makes my workload easier to deal with”.

3. Said: “Mom/Dad, how come you always have to go to ________ with your friend".

Heard: “You’re a bad mom/dad and don’t deserve time for yourself”.

Message: “Sometimes I feel like you prefer being with your friends over me, can you reassure me that you love me and that I am important to you”.

4. Said: “I remember when we use to go to the park and throw Frisbee, that was fun”.

Heard: “I like reminiscing about going to the park and Frisbee throwing”.

Message: “I like spending time with you, can we do something together again”.

These are just a few examples, of some typical situations but every conversation is full of what is said, what is heard and what the real message trying to be conveyed is. Sometimes, even the person conveying the message, isn’t aware of what they are truly trying to convey becuase they get lost in fear and anger while trying to convey their message. In our conversations with people today, see if we can tell the difference between what people are saying and what their message is. I think you will find it to be extremely interesting, how easy it is to pick up on, if you take the time to “listen”.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mistaken Identity

Sometimes we find it difficult to do the things we usually do so naturally and what was once fun to us becomes pressure filled and tiresome. Every one of us at some point becomes identified with something in particular that we do. We can forget that this is not who we are but just something we do. We make the mistake to build our entire identity around how well or badly, we do these things. When we do them well and we feel that others perceive us as successful, our spirits are high. On the other hand, when we stumble and are not as successful, we can be hard on ourselves and feel like we are under the microscope. Of course feeling this way can only make it harder to find fun in what we once enjoyed and while no longer having fun, the chance of success fades.

My eldest daughter Elle was an excellent cheerleader and tumbler. From the age of 6, that was her “thing”. We traveled all over the country competing and wherever we went, she was identified as a cheerleader. Her senior year in high school she was the captain of her team and once again, a big part of her identity in school was this. Now, she is in college and her cheerleading days are behind her. Is “Elle” not Elle anymore? Is she less than she once was? Will everyone treat her differently? The obvious answer is a resounding no. We were all great bubble gum bubble blowers and bike riders as well as many other things during our lives, but if our success in doing those things meant as much today as we thought they did back then, all of us would be in trouble. The best way to have success doing the things we do today, is to not identify ourselves with them and just enjoy them for what they are. How well we do things for ourselves at particular stages of our lives, will not define who we are. It is how well and what we do for others throughout our lives that will truly define us.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

What Do You See?

What do you see in this picture?

Do you see a storm approaching or the skies clearing?

Do you see an eroding shore line or an endless beach?

Does the thought of traversing to the other side, tire you or excite you?

Are you overwhelmed by the challenging terrain or taken back by the beauty and variety of the landscape?

Are you disappointed with the lack of sunlight or satisfied with the absence of rain?

Is this a silent landscape with light sounds of calm oceans and distant rain, or is it filled with thunder and crashing waves?

Our perception can change how we feel about things which in turn, can change how we feel. When we learn how to have a glass empty way of looking at things, we can spiral into a negative spin that can eventually lead to depression. What is hard to realize is that it is all based on how we look at things. The picture above illustrates how so many different feelings and perception can come from the same thing. Someone who has a “glass full” kind of mentality, can tell you the wonders of this picture while others may not. How is it possible to have two different descriptions of the same thing? The only plausible answer is that there are two different perceptions. From the moment we open our eyes every morning we are bombarded with a constant slideshow of pictures. In nanoseconds we form perceptions of what we are seeing. We have it within ourselves to decide what direction we want to take with our perceptions  and in turn where they will take us. Reality will never change but our perception of reality can. Change your perception and watch how an incredible world with everything in it, will unfold for you.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Use It Or Lose It

What happens to anything that is not used? Depending on what it is, it may rust, wither, weaken or break. The law of physics is that everything will basically deteriorate in some way or the other over time. All of us enjoy the idea of being youthful and if you take a look around, you will notice that youth = using it. If you continue to stay as physically active as you did in your youth, your body (muscles) will be forced to keep their tone. Just the same, if you keep your mind active it also will be forced to keep in shape. As we get older we become less active and complacent. People say they don’t have time for this, yet they seem to find plenty of time for dinners, movies, TV , etc.. I say, we can’t afford to not have the time. We have to find the time to keep our minds and bodies in shape. My grandparent’s health began to rapidly deteriorate when they were forced to become inactive due to health issues. Once they stopped moving mentally and physically, it was a rapid, compounding decent. If you want to stay mentally or physically in shape, ask yourself, “What am I doing on a daily basis to keep mentally sharp and physically fit.” If you want to maintain, there is a minimum. If you want to improve or advance, you need to do even more. It goes without saying, that are mind and bodies will change as we age but the rate at which they change, is directly correlated to the amount of use. It’s not my message but natures. It is very clear and supported with overwhelming data, USE IT OR LOSE IT!!!

74 year old man who is obviously using it.