The Churn

I heard this term used the other day and it both amused me and made me angry. The term, when used definitely had a negative connotation to it. It basically spoke to the fact that there was more effort being spent in trying to organize, communicate, and re-verify than was actually spent doing something productive or moving forward.  It also referred to the fact that decisions and direction that had were made previously were now being re-examined.  Some have called this Analysis-Paralysis.  Whereby there is so much effort in just analyzing (basically shit) that nothing really productive is being done.

This lead me to start thinking about the churn in our daily lives.

How much time and effort do you spend daily just churning ?

I like to think I spend very little time and effort in the churn.  Sometimes it’s necessary to spend the time and effort as it becomes an investment.  Kinda like the old adage “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime“.  But often I think that the personal churn is quite unproductive.  So why is it that this is done ?  Why do we do this ?  Well to be honest, I don’t have the foggiest idea.  However, let me qualify, if you think you may be churning, you may in fact not be.  Say for example you are evaluating something, for example purchasing that new pair of shoes, and whether or not they will work for you… that is not churn.  If you are rethinking your decisions from the days events and are wondering if what you did was correct, you may be churning. If you are re-thinking your days events and learning from them… that is not churn.  If you are thrashing in your emotions… that’s a different story.

There are times I will look at my day and wonder if I made the correct choices, but it’s usually in an effort to learn from the things I’ve done.  Hence, I’m skeptical on whether I’d  call it churn, but instead,  I like to think of  it as productive work.  Productive in the sense that I’m able to better myself.  Learning from my mistakes or seeing what I could do differently to have a better impact.

When I examine my decisions that I made throughout the day, I don’t think of as churn, but Karma-yogamore of a making sure I did the right thing… have I made the right decision or if I’ve done something incorrect.  I like to think that my thought process is more of a Karmic process versus a guilt process.  A while ago I had said that I don’t believe in any one religion.  So after being raised Christian, I find that I have quite a few Buddhist beliefs.  Ya, I know… go figure.  But that’s another discussion.  Hence when I say that I think that my processes are more Karmic, I am thinking, have I done something that Karma would come back to haunt me on this one?   Case and point… did you know there are very few litigation lawyers in Thailand… wonder why ?  Because the Thai people believe in Karma, still trying to figure it out… well,  The Thai people think that if you have wronged someone, that Karma will come back to you.  Hence this governs their actions.  Noodle on that for a while…

Anyway, back to the churn. I think the lesson here is to try avoid the churn and make sure that your time is productive.  It’s ok to be introspective, and to analyse ones actions, but stewing about those actions is (in my opinion) a waste of effort.  Here is a challenge for you,  When was the last time you got a chance to be introspective ?  If you can, take a few moments for yourself, to be with yourself and discover the things that are going well as well as the things that are not going well.

120213105032-roses-lose-scent-story-top

I get that taking time out of your very busy and already over-committed day may be difficult and finding the time to do a bit of “Navel-gazing” may seem superfluous.  But stopping to smell the roses is worth it.  I think that with some practice you can actually turn your introspective time into a time where you can focus on what is important in your life.  Focus on the good things that you have to be thankful for.  May be after a bit of focus, you can see how really unimportant the churn really is.

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mm mmm bmmm mmumf

So we all talk… we communicate, we convey.  What is it that we convey/communicate/talk about ?  What sets us apart?  Is it the way we deliver our message, is it the content of what we communicate… our ideas, opinions, feelings ?  Or is it just sometimes we only want to be heard.  But heard by who ?  Just anyone?  or do the things you say need to be heard by someone who has some sort of connection to you?  Communicating

Communication is a two-way street.  If anyone ever tells you that it isn’t or that they don’t need a receiver they are lying to you.  You can make communication a one-way street, but then you’d be talking to yourself.  I admit I’ve talked to myself, but usually in short bursts (usually to cuss myself out for doing something utterly stupid).  I don’t natter on to myself, and before you pass judgement, I have worked with a few who have done exactly that, talking to themselves (for hours) and about themselves (ie: in the 3rd person), trust me, it is the easiest way to make everyone give you a wide berth.

In today’s world there seems to be an over-abundance of communication, but I think most of it is one-sided.  So why is it that we have this need to let everyone know what we are thinking and feeling at all times.  With technologies like Facebook, Twitter and blogs people an opportunity to vocalize themselves in an absolute sea of verbal diarrhea.  There is so much talking, that there ends up being very few people to listen, or for those to figure out what to listen to… remember the two-way street concept for communication ?  Think about this; if you calculated the amount of time spent in communications, would you be the person talking, or the person listening ? or do you think you have a balance there ?

I think I have a pretty good balance and that isn’t just because I’m in a profession where I need to do more listening than talking.  There are some professions where that is exactly what you are paid to do… Listen.  My cousin is one such example, a clinical psychologist.  She gets paid to listen to people and their problems.  This isn’t the career for me, and I applaud her for her choice.  Also, I don’t think I could have gone to post-secondary for 14 years, like she did.

Only ChildI’m an only child, and as such,  I grew up with a few friends. So for the most part I grew up by myself.  I don’t regret that, and I don’t look at my parents and think that they should have had another child just for my amusement.  No, instead, I accepted my situation and made the best of it.  I like to think that my formative years prepared me well for my life and career.   I grew up listening.  When I was a child, you spoke when you were spoken to.   Hence, I have a pretty good attention span, as you had to know what was going on, especially on those rare occasions you were actually asked a question.  But, for the most part, I spent quite a bit of time with my own thoughts.  I could quite happily just sit and listen to my thoughts in my head.  Have you ever sat down and listened to your own thoughts ?  Do you know the sound of your own thoughts ?  Do they make sense ?   What do they sound like ?

Have you ever sat in a room full of people and just listened ?   If you haven’t, try going to a pg-sledgehammerbusy coffee shop and doing just that.  You may want to disguise your efforts by putting your ear bud headphones in, but refrain from turning your music on.  Try to listen not to the content of the messages, but in the way the message is being conveyed.  You may be able to learn quite a bit just in the conveyance of the message.

So what did you hear ?  More importantly, who did you hear ?  With the sea of communication and messages, and all of these things vying for attention/time, what do you spend time listening to ?  Just remember, what you consume will feed you, and listening is consuming.  You may want to be choosy.

 

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What motivates you ?

So what makes you get up and out of bed in the morning ?  What makes you do the things you do ?underwater-surfer_52784_990x742

Recently I’ve been reading some material on motivation and the material presented to me  really makes sense.

tom_sawyerIn essence, the material I’ve read says you can be intrinsically motivated or extrinsically motivated to do a task/activity.  Intrinsically motivated is where you do this because you want to.  You have an inherit need to either do the right thing or do it because you want to do it.  Typically in intrinsic motivation, there isn’t a monetary reward for doing something.  Say you have a hobby, such as cooking, or painting or dancing or writing.  You do these things because you gain a personal satisfaction from doing these things.  Now let me introduce you to Extrinsic motivation.  This is where you are motivated by an external factor.  Say, Monetary reward, or you are being told to complete something.   I would say this about your job that you are extrinsically motivated (ie: you’re paid), but some people love their work and would do it even if they weren’t paid.

So try this… apply extrinsic motivation to your hobby now… how would you feel about completing that activity ?   Would you derive the same amount of pleasure from your hobby ?

I’m betting the answer is No.

Or maybe you might, but at some point in time, I don’t think that it will be your hobby any longer.

So with that being said. Let’s define the task.  If you are in my line of work, that means either solving a problem, or completing a deliverable.  In my case, you never want to take you eyes off the prize (aforementioned: problem or deliverable).  In my career, completing the task is extrinsically motivated.  I get paid for completing deliverables and solving problems, and I’m ok with that (in fact sometimes it’s difficult to turn off).  Most of us that work are extrinsically motivated, you get paid to do a job and even get incentives if you do that job well (eg: bonus or other non-monetary rewards).

However, I’m thinking that when you were young, you didn’t say, “Gee, I want to do ____(fill in what you do most often in your work day)  for the rest of my life”. I know I didn’t say “Gee, I want to be a lean, mean,  deliverable producing machine !”  If I did, the school counselors would have been all over me like white on rice. Then I’d be riding the short bus home.

So what is it that you think motivates you…. what is it you want to do most ?

What makes you run….

photo by Elaine Aragon, Europeaupif

photo by Elaine Aragon, Europeaupif. http://europeaupif.blogspot.ca/2012_04_01_archive.html

 

 

 

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The attitude of happiness ?

So recently I was on a vacation and part of the vacation I traveled to Cambodia.

Maybe something you should know about this little country, in the late 70’s and through the 80’s this little country went through a horrific civil war and mass genocide.  Estimates are that nearly half the population was wiped out.  If you read the history, you can interpret a different view on the history and see a bit of a different story, depending on where your political beliefs lie.

There is no question, that at the hands of the Khmer Rouge the largest number of Cambodians were murdered.  However, the Khmer Rouge weren’t the only ones responsible for Cambodian deaths, American bombings, and the Viet Cong both took their toll… However, a dead person is a dead person, regardless what faction killed them, either directly or indirectly.

Today, here in this little country, there is hardly a family alive that is a complete family.  Missing grandparents, uncles/aunts, parents and siblings, murdered.  However, it’s here where you can see something amazing.

Happiness. people1

Don’t believe me ? Then travel there yourself and go see it.

Everyone that we encountered and talked to where happy !

It looks impossible doesn’t it.  Well add to the fact that approximately 30% of Cambodians are living below the poverty level (which was defined at earning less than 75 cents a day – Yes, 75 CENTS ! ). And that the average income is approximately a dollar a day.   Now as you read this, tell me how much you spent the last time you went to a movie, or out for a coffee ?   You lead a very privileged life in the eyes of a average Cambodian.

So where does this happiness come from ?

Well if you think its from earning piles of money I would have to argue with you on that, based on what I just saw.

So let’s try again… I think, that happiness can be an attitude.  That’s right, you may think that attitude has a negative connotation, as in “Don’t give me attitude”, but based on the dictionary description:

at·ti·tude

Noun
  1. A settled way of thinking or feeling, typically reflected in a person’s behavior.
  2. A position of the body proper to or implying an action or mental state: “the boy was standing in an attitude of despair”.

I think that having attitude can be a good thing.  Try this on…

You can choose to have an attitude for being happy.  What do you think ? Let me ask you this… do you know of that one person, where, when they walk into a room, the whole room just gets livelier ?  The opposite could be true too, but I’m more focused on that person that brings a ray of sunshine where ever they go.  Everyone just becomes a bit happier and a bit friendlier.  You know that person.  Why do you think that is ?

_CA38712I’m not saying I know who you are thinking about, but I’m betting that it isn’t because they have loads of cash and are just dripping with wealth.  I’m betting it’s because they choose to be happy and to bring that forward.  They have attitude to being happy, it’s their disposition/behaviour.

Ever heard of Bhutan ?  No, well don’t feel bad.  It’s a very small country between China and India very close to Nepal.  Bhutan has elected a government whose platform was based on “Gross National Happiness”.  I know, it sounds odd but it’s for real.  Read it here.  Their idea is “Improving life in a holistic approach”.  Bhutan is not a resource rich nation whose citizens accumulate great financial wealth; however, instead of focusing on richness in dollars, they have chosen to focus on the richness of life/wellness.  I’m betting that if you invite Bhutan to a party they would liven it up.

Something I wanted you to think about as you go about your day.

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Those roses smell damn fine !

Do you ever stop and smell the roses ?

Ya, I know the old saying, and the message behind the saying is, do you take time out to take notice of the nicer things in life ?

I get, that with our busy lives and the constant draw upon our time to do this or that, or the pressures at work, or whatever it is that occupies you.  There is scant a minute to take thru the day.  At the end of the day, you fall into bed, exhausted, your head hits the pillow and you are immediately in slumber land.  Only to  repeat everything the next day.

Many years ago, it was suggested I read this one book.  The book is called “The Wealthy Barber”.  Ever heard of it ?  David Chilton is the author.  It’s a light read, and can be finished fairly quickly depending on your reading speed.  The book’s main character is a (wait for it…)  Barber.  Huge surprise there… but basically the barber extols lessons on how to become wealthy regardless of what profession you have.  The primary lesson in the book is “Pay yourself first”.  So what does that mean “Pay yourself first” ?  It’s really very simple, when you get your pay cheque, before paying your bills, pay into your savings first.  Your savings can be for anything you want.  The book doesn’t suggest this, but I took that away from it.  The book suggests that you pay into your savings/retirement fund first.  Then that way you have forced yourself to pay for your future.  Now don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great idea.  And you should definitely plan for your future/retirement.  There are a number of other very good points in the book, from how to get yourself out of debt, to how to basically be fiscally/financially responsible.  All in all a very good read and some very valuable points.

Ok, so you’re probably thinking, What does that have to do with stopping to smell the roses.  Simple.  Take the concept of paying yourself first.  Now, instead of applying it to your financial situation, you apply it to your time.  Seriously !  There are 24 hours in a day.  Given the fact that we need anywhere between 6 & 9 hours of sleep, that leaves you with 15-18 hours.  If it’s a week day, you are off to work for say 8 of those hours, plus the time to commute say 1-2 hours, plus getting ready in the morning – say 30 mins to 1 hour.  Now add in the time for getting meals (either cooking/preparing them yourself, or eating out), and you are down to a meagerly 3-5 hours.  Now what you have to do in that remaining time of the day is likely run errands, if you have kids, spend time with them or getting them to their various events… and you are now down to likely a few mins here or there.

What I’m thinking is that we need a fresh perspective.  So take the concept of Pay yourself First.  Apply it to the time you have in the day.  Yes, even a weekday.  Does this mean you still have to go to work ? Unfortunately, yes.  However, If you could parcel out an hour of your day, where you could do what you wanted that would help you smell the roses, what would it be ?  Yes, you only get one hour.  Just like in the Wealthy Barber, you could only pay yourself first a certain percentage.  The time you allocate to you is also only a percentage of your day.  So what would you choose to enrich your life ?  The activity has to be enriching to you… so doing laundry, cleaning the house or sleeping don’t count as activities.

Ok, time to use your imagination… you remember what that is ?  If you are having trouble remembering how to use it… Then maybe your first activity should be going out and staring up at the clouds and looking for shapes.  Maybe an Elephant ? or a Duck?

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Let’s suppose

From out of the blue….

Some will say that you never actually see something until you are ready to see it.  In other base-jumping-in-the-worlds-deepest-cave-shaft_1822words that opportunities will present themselves when you are ready to take advantage or to start to pay attention to those opportunities.  Fate… Karma, or dumb luck… maybe it’s something more logical than that… maybe you’ve reached a certain point where the pieces of the puzzle fit together, and those thoughts you had ruminating about are actually gelling into some rational idea ?

I once worked with a very intelligent gal that said to me… “Change is very difficult for people… most people need to wait until it’s a 9, before doing anything about it.”  If you don’t understand, that’s ok, let me explain.  If you have ever been to a hospital or emergency room, the doctor will ask you, on a scale of 1-10, what is the pain ?  Well, take that same concept and apply it to change.  Most folks would endure nearly an infinite amount of time with something that was slightly uncomfortable than change it.  It’s only when the pain of something becomes something nearly unbearable that change occurs.  Believe me if you want, but I think my prior co-worker was very observant of human behaviour.

I recently came across this wonderful little video with narration by Allan Watts.  You can watch it here.

“…Better to have a short life, that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way…”

So let’s suppose that you that instead of it being a 9 before we changed, it was a 4, or even less.  Something that was mildly uncomfortable, and we did something about it.  I’m not suggesting that you go quit your job immediately, or that you leave your spouse just because things aren’t going great.  Instead, I think that if you did something about the things in your life.  Let’s say that you make a change that enriches your life and the life of those around you.  A win-win if you like.  For example: you decide that this specific activity that you had always wanted to do, but “couldn’t find the time” to do it, you actually decided to re prioritize the activities in your life to accommodate this new activity.  The pain wasn’t a 9, it was just an idea that you had that you wanted to do something a bit different.

The interesting part of the narrated video is that if you do something that you actually enjoy doing, there is a good possibility that you will be doing this well.  Eventually or in the future there will be a time that you can actually charge a fee for doing something you love doing.

There is something I see most every day.  I see people where they aren’t doing the things they love doing, and instead I hear comments like, “when I retire, I’m going to do ____”.  GREAT ! I say, then why don’t you start doing that today !  Start doing the things you love, trust me, there are people in this world that will pay you to do the thing that you love.  Don’t believe me, then just go do a search on Sustainable Travel.  Yeah, go figure, there are folks out there that are making a living by travelling.

I have a website, I built it myself and I had fun doing it.  Has it generated me any revenue, nope. But I can tell you this… I know there are a ton of folks that read it.  Should I change it and include things like advertising… I’m not sure I want to do that, but could I ?  Of course.   What ever your love is, you can turn it into something that you can charge a fee for.  If you want to that is… Let’s suppose that you could… where would you like to take this new venture ?

 

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Fanatical

fanatical

“A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts when he has forgotten his aim.”

– Chuck Jones

This is one of my all time favourite quotes.

I see this in real life all the time.  I see people jump through endless hoops, redouble their efforts and for what ?  To get to where ?  or to get what ?  If you have ever watched a Wile E Coyote and Road Runner cartoon, you will see Wile E go through seemingly infinite amounts of Acme products to try to get a skinny little bird.  Honestly Wile E, just order a Pizza for delivery.  Ya, I get it… pizza delivery doesn’t make for good entertainment.  Chuck Jones knew that when he created the Looney Tunes cartoons and his various characters that he animated.  In fact in an interview, he said that Wile E Coyote would never catch Road Runner.

The great part of Wile E was his undying determination.  Nothing would shorten his resolve.  I give the guy full credit for determination, but failing marks on executing it effectively.  Do I see this all the time… you bet your boots I do.  Am I guilty of doing this… oh, very likely.  One thing I don’t feel bad about, is that this happens to much smarter and more highly paid people than me.  In fact I just finished watching a video that so epitomizes this, that it’s actually extremely frightening.   Here’s the video:

Breaking the Taboo (it may be a bit long, but it’s worth watching)

The most frightening part of this video is seeing all the people who have been murdered and the families and communities that have been destroyed along the way, due to the “War on Drugs”.

Ok, let me set the stage here… and don’t get me wrong here… I’m not saying drugs are necessarily a good thing.  And also, this is the part where I do not make any judgement calls on you if you are a drug user, that is your prerogative and your choice.  A drug dealer, well that’s a different story.

The wonderful part of this video is that some very intelligent folks have gotten together and have decided to do something to try to break the cycle of the violence, murders and criminal activities.  Prohibition didn’t work, and the tactics being used today are no different from those used back then.  This my friends is called being Fanatical.  Thinking that throwing more money, more guns, more whatever; and that this will help solve the  problem.  Ultimately the people benefiting from this method of thinking,  are arms makers and funeral homes.

The old mindset is to do more, more money in policing, more arrests, more technology to track shipments…  That spending billions of dollars and the loss of countless lives is acceptable.  This method is basically continuing to do the same thing all the time and expecting a different outcome… that is what Chuck Jones so aptly referred to as “Fanatical”.   The best part of this video is that the message of doing something different, and that different method is finally gaining some traction.

The new mindset is that by doing something different, and approaching the problem differently, then you can expect a different outcome.  I’m not saying all narcotic drugs should be legalized, but I’m not against it if this can be done in a regulated and safe method.

Bill Clinton has a fantastic line in this video and I couldn’t help but quote it here;

The truth is that the war on drugs, is a war fought inside the heart and mind of everybody who thinks of using them, but I know that lives can be saved, that their worth saving, that it’s never too late to start, and as long as you have your personal freedom, the ability to think, you have the chance to do better. Don’t give that freedom up. That’s my message

The quote doesn’t only apply to the War on Drugs.  I think that the most important part of that quote is this.. “ it’s never too late to start, and as long as you have your personal freedom, the ability to think, you have the chance to do better. Don’t give that freedom up.”

It’s never too late to start.  So start !  Be different, think different, don’t let someone else kill your creativity.  Don’t let someone else tell you it can’t be done. Don’t look Down.  You have the chance to do better !  Make a difference, and try not to be Fanatical along the way.

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Checking Out.

Have you heard about this… and no, I’m not talking about checking out of a hotel.  Although the concept in it’s most simplistic form is the same.

I'm Outta HereWhat I’m referring to is checking out of the norm, checking out of the societal expectations, and checking out period.  If you have read the book Atlas Shrugged, you’ll understand this.  The first line of the book is  “Who is John Galt?“.  A question that gets answered, but only once you are about 2/3rds the way through the some 1000 pages.  In effect John Galt checked out.  He saw what the societal/governmental expectations were and he decided to checked out.  He decided that no longer was he going to play by the rules.  Rules he thought made no sense, but also that confined him in such a way that it stifled his creativity and freedoms.  He instead took that energy and those ideas, and he decided to build his own society.  He brought together the brightest minds and those with passion and drive to build a grassroots society one that is not confined by rules that stifle creativity and one that fosters an environment where there is mutual benefit, instead of being taxed for those ideas.

I think you get the picture.  Considering that Atlas Shrugged was written by Ayn Rand in 1957, this is hardly a new concept.  Although, I think that when Atlas Shrugged was written, it likely flew in the face of the general populous and was likely regarded with disdain for the method in which John Galt stopped the motor of society.

That was then… So Fast Forward to today.  Recently a movie has been made from the book (part 1 at least).  And I can’t help but look around and observe.  There are more and more people I know that are either doing it, or thinking about it.  Yes, checking out.  They are tired of the societal expectations, they are tired of the big corporations dictating the schedule of their work lives.  Now I know I said previously I would limit my usage of the word “they”, so let me just say, I know friends and other acquaintances.  These are people that have been contributing members of society.  These folks have families and they are well respected, however these folks have reached a limit.  Don’t believe me ?  Go do a search on it.  I found several examples of this.  Folks that have decided they’ve had enough of living in cubes, or where it didn’t matter how much money, clothes, cars, etc they had… Happiness wasn’t there.  So instead of trying to go for more, the decision was to figure out what enough was, and then live at that level.  And when I say live, I mean changing job/careers/life to be at that level.

Think of it this way… if I took away your financial obligations, what would you do ?financialfreedom_2

Would you still want to work ?  Would you want to pursue other interests ?  Be more creative… paint, play a musical instrument, travel, be fucking awesome? … Ultimately what would you like to do ?  Interesting concept huh ?  Well I’m not taking away your financial obligations, and sorry to burst your bubble on that one… but you have it within you to do exactly that.  I recently came across a website where a couple decided they were going to take a year off.  Yes 365 days.  This couple decided to take 2 years to save for their 1 year off.  A plan was made via spreadsheet, and options of the level of comfort were outlined.  Here is one such example

Trip_spreadsheet1This couple decided that a specific amount per day was going to be budgeted for and they figured they could live within those means.  This couple also felt that they could likely travel for longer than a year, because they felt they could live on less than what was allocated.  To them, every dollar not spent, meant more time away.  I don’t know this couple, I’ve only read their stories from their blog.  One thing, it’s not that difficult to find examples exactly like this. (if you want, this is their website)

Yes, I get that the internet has made information like this readily accessible.  However it makes me think there are some many options out there.  If you aren’t truely happy in what you are doing… then exploring those options is not only something you should investigate and consider.  You owe it to yourself to evaluate the idea…. what would it hurt if you did a trial check out period.  Maybe a year off would be a good start…

I think I’ll open up my spreadsheet.

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…and it’s from the mistakes that the really interesting things happen

Ok, so tell me this… think back… what do you think has been your biggest failure ?

Ya, I get it. Not the thing you want to think about.  Nor is it likely something you want to dwell on.  So tell me, what happened after this epic failure ?  Or don’t tell me…

I’m betting that it was something fairly large.  I’d go so far as to say, life changing.  Agree ?

So whether or not you want to agree with me on this one.  Likely every failure you have encountered, every mistake you’ve ever made, you have likely rebounded from that failure to move on to something much grander.  I can tell you that every single failure in my life has lead me to something bigger and better than before.  It’s almost like fate is giving you a kick in the ass, to say, get moving, and if you aren’t moving fast enough or in the right direction, then fate will throw a road block in front of you to make you do something better or different.   I’m using fate as an example, don’t get me wrong I’m not a strong believer in fate.  So call it what you will, fate, faith, divine intervention or just dumb luck.  Pick whatever works for you.

It’s my opinion that your failures don’t define you.  It’s what you do after you fail that defines you and your character.  After you dust yourself off, assess the damage, dust off your pride, and gather yourself.  What comes next is the truely remarkable part.  You look at what happened.  Maybe you think to yourself “How did it all go so sideways?”  As I hear in my yoga class, falling out of a posture is normal, its what you do after you fall out.  In other words, get right back in and try again.  Failing is just part of life.  Mistakes are a part of Life.  Did you think that early hominids were able to hunt successfully every time.  I doubt it.  But they learned from their mistakes, they figured out how to do it better, and eventually with enough attempts they had successes.  I can say that reassuringly because otherwise I wouldn’t be here now speaking to you.  They figured it out by learning from their mistakes.  The old Trial and Error method.

So what have you learned from your mistakes ?  Do you make mistakes ?

I would argue that if you aren’t making mistakes, then you aren’t really living.

Oh !!!! There’s a statement that will not be liked by everyone.  However, if you aren’t making mistakes, then you likely are not taking any risks either.  Taking risks, puts you out there.  Beyond your flexibility, beyond your comfort zone.  It’s the taking of risks is where you make mistakes, and its your mistakes and what you do after those mistakes that you really begin to learn…

And it’s from the mistakes that the really interesting things happen.

What mistake do you want to make in order have something really interesting happen ?

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Please tell me what there is to complain about ?

“Please tell me what there is to complain about ?”  This line comes from a song that I just love.  The song is called “Good Life” by OneRepublic. If you haven’t heard the song, here is the video for it.  Good Life.

I love the lyrics in the song. It reminds me that, really it is a good life.  I know that this statement/opinion will likely fly in the face of a number of people’s opinions, and will definitely fly in the face of pretty much every newscast I watch.  Hence, I’ve pretty much stopped watching the news.  I’m not saying you should be disconnected from society, but sometimes the application of a good filter on what you watch is required.  There’s an old adage, “You are what you eat”.  I like to say you are what you consume.  Consuming can have a broader meaning, and your consumption of food or any other stimuli is no different.  Watch the news and you may become the fear monger that you see so much of.  Should you live your life in fear… well if that’s your prerogative.

A friend of mine used a term call “First world problems”.  I appreciated the light in which this was used and delivered to me.  So many of what we think are huge problems are exactly that, first world problems… The following is a pretty apt description: “First World Problems, also known as “White Whine,” are frustrations and complaints that are only experienced by privileged individuals in wealthy countries. It is typically used as a tongue-in-cheek comedic device to make light of trivial inconveniences.

Think about what it is you have to complain about.  Often times it takes a different perspective to understand what exactly the problem is, and the magnitude of said problem.  Is it really just White Whine ?  I’m not saying that every problem you have is nothing more than some trivial little issue.  Some have very legitimate issues.  This is the point where I make no judgements on your issues or the emphasis you place on those issues.

The problems you face… I know they seem almost insurmountable.  But are they really ?  Let’s try an experiment.  What is the largest problem that you face today.  Write it down.  Put it in an open place, ie: the fridge door, or post it on your home notice board or, some place that you’ll see it.  Leave it there for 1 week.  In one week, I want you to go back to that problem.  Has anything changed ?  Has the problem gone away, or has your perspective on the problem changed ?  Has the problem been replaced with a new problem ?

Whatever your answers were to the above, I am almost certain, that the problem you identified previously is weighing less on your mind than what it was one week prior.  Does that make the problem trivial.  Not at all, but it does say one of a couple of things; one, that you will either get over it, or two, you make efforts to resolve it.

So what did that little exercise tell you ? I think it should tell you that the things you think are worrisome today, may not need to be as worrisome as you think they should be.  Should you change your attitude towards your problems and throw up your hands and say, no I’m not going to do anything about these problems.  Not at all.  What I’m saying is that stressing over the problems may not necessarily be the best thing either.  Instead, be observant towards what is going on, know what things are important, and know what you truely have to be thankful for.

Which brings me back to the lyrics in the song  “This could really be a good life….” and  “…I feel like the window closes oh so quick ”

Don’t let your windows close without making the most of it.  Make it a good life.

Please tell me what there is to complain about ?

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