Blog Post # 282 – Upon Reflection

How often do we review our day?

 

Examine the things that happened to us and the things that we did.

 

Check in on our accomplishments, both big and small.

 

The hurts that we may have caused another.

 

Do we carve out time at the end of the day to reflect on whether we spent our time wisely?

 

Too often, it seems, that we go through our day on autopilot.

 

Bouncing from task to task.

 

Event to event.

 

We may get a lot done, but our activities are mindless.

 

Or, perhaps, to put it another way – that we could be more mindful as we go through our day.

 

And then use 10 minutes at the end of the day to reflect.

 

Time well spent.

 

A bit of reflection at the end of the day may help us think new thoughts.

 

Make new observations about ourselves.

 

And then help us to craft a different day tomorrow.

 

For today, let us be mindful as we glide through our day.

 

And for tonight, let us set aside 5 or 10 minutes to reflect on everything that happened.

 

We can then calibrate our tomorrow as well.

Blog Post # 281 – The Wrong Wall

What if our ladder is leaning against the wrong wall?

Maybe we are putting way too much effort into something that is either unnecessary or is a goal that does not move us forward.

We need to distinguish between effort and effectiveness.

The difference between working very hard and working very hard towards the right goal.

Stephen Covey likened this to someone climbing a ladder that was leaning upon the wrong wall.

Effective, and fast, implementation of the right idea or ideas is what we are after.

To cut down on unnecessary effort.

Distraction.

So that we may focus on the things that will truly move us forward.

For today, let us question what we are doing.

Ask ourselves – why am I doing this?

Listening for our own answer. Then asking, perhaps multiple times thereafter, why?

Until we are crystal clear that our ladder is leaning upon the correct wall.

Blog Post # 280 – The Greatest Freedom

“The greatest freedom is to be free from blaming others.” – Dan Sullivan.

So easy to blame everyone else for our woes.

Our problems must be caused by our spouse, our kids or our parents.

We may take responsibility for some things, but not everything.

We think that we know that someone else screwed us.

That our lack of happiness is not our fault.

That our poor physique is not our fault.

That our country’s woes are not our fault.

So we blame others.

We do this on the personal scale, as well as the national level.

But when we surrender responsibility for our happiness to others, we lose a lot.

Instead, we should admit that we have no one to blame but ourselves.

To break free from the trap of refusing to take responsibility.

People may harm us, may threaten us, may stymie us.

But we should refrain from blaming them.

Think of our greatest heroes – Lincoln, King, Mandela.

If they had blamed others for all of the world’s woes, they would never have achieved greatness.

Blame is a trap.

For today, let us strive to step out of that trap.

And remember to blame no one other than the one in the mirror.

Blog Post # 279 – Precursors to Change

What comes before real change?

The circumstances which must occur before we make meaningful change.

The pain caused by the way that we have been acting.

The emotional rollercoaster caused by our choices.

Waking up angry at ourselves for the things that we have done.

Awareness.

Awareness of how we have been going along must come before change.

An awakening. A slight shift.

Another precursor to change is the promise of something different.

Something better.

Doing things in a healthier, more productive way.

If we don’t have a goal for how things could be and if that goal is not massive enough, we may not find the drive to bring about that goal.

Small goals yield small results.

So if we want to bring about real change, the two major precursors are awareness of how we have been behaving, as well as the consequences of that behavior.

Then we need a vision of how things could be different.

Changed.

For the better.

Blog Post # 278 – If A White Man Does It

If a white man robs a bank, it is because he needs money to send his girls to a private high school.

If a black man robs a bank, it is because all black men are thugs and criminals.

If a white man blows up a federal building, it is because he is a fringe, disenfranchised loner.

If a Muslim man blows up a building, it is because all Muslims are terrorists.

If a white man grabs women by their vaginas, he gets elected President.

If a Mexican man assaults a woman, all Mexicans are rapists.

For some reason, the media never scapegoats white men when white men behave badly or commit crimes.

The acts of one white man never, ever represent white men as a whole.

The media search for existential excuses as to why a white man did the bad thing that he did.

But when a perpetrator is a person of color, thoughtful analysis goes out the window and the incident feeds into a repeated narrative about “those types of people.”

We need to be aware of this.

We need to filter our news with this lens.

We need to stop attributing the acts of an individual to a group as a whole.

We don’t do it to white men.

We shouldn’t do it to any class of people.

Blog Post # 277 – The Grand Delusion

We tell ourselves that we want to work real hard now so that we can travel the world in our retirement.

So we put off any fun travel for now.

We tell ourselves that we are going on the world’s best diet in January.

So we eat too much and decide not to exercise for now.

We tell ourselves that we will save lots of money later on down the line.

So we spend way too much each day.

Our grand visions for the future may cause us to neglect our present circumstances.

Nobody ever lost 40 pounds in a single day.

People lose weight because they change their habits.

Aligning their present reality with their future goals.

Doing the little things today to get us on the right path.

Maybe the grand illusions for the future are part of the problem.

Do we justify doing whatever we want now because we think that later we will do the right things?

The things that put us on the path to success?

Dreaming about an idyllic future scenario does us a deep disservice.

Instead of daydreaming about what might come some today, for today, let us focus on the here and now.

What we are doing right. What we are doing that is not so right.

And thereby bring about that ideal future by working through what we need to do today.

Blog Post # 276 – Our Unrecognized Fear

Unrecognized fear.

Sometimes, our fears are obvious.

Danger.  Threats.  Scary situations.

We see the fear right in front of our eyes.

We know it is there and we react.

Some other times, however, our fears are buried.

Deep down.

In a place that makes them hard to identify.

We may be acting strangely and not know why.

Our fears may be playing on our emotions.

Making us angry, resentful or just plain mean.

We may not know why we are acting that way.

Unrecognized fear can be a dangerous thing.

Our job, therefore, is to locate that fear.

To keep asking ourselves why.

Why did I act that way?

Why did I feel that emotion?

What is really bothering me?

Until we recognize the source of what is bothering us – our unrecognized fears – we will be unable to address those fears.

For today, let us sit quietly and see if we are worried about anything.

Fearful about anything.

Obsessing over anything.

It may all be going on in the background.

Our job today is just to identify it.

We can deal with overcoming the fear later.

For today, let us simply name it and own it.

Blog Post # 275 – The Pain of Starting Over

Sometimes, we fail.

We lose.

Come up short.

We slip.

Lose our way.

Become adrift.

Once we become aware of our misdirection, we have a choice.

Continue sliding.

Or make a change.

This is our choice.

A choice available to us each and every day.

Will we rise?

Or continue the fall.

Strive?

Or slide?

We always have this choice.

For today, let us stand, turn away from failure.

Chart a new course to success.

The choice is ours.

Today.

 

 

Blog Post # 274 – Extraordinary Greatness

What does it take to lead an extraordinary life?

Hard work? Yes, hard work for sure.

Perseverance? Definitely.

A little luck? No doubt.

Can someone choose to lead an extraordinary life?

Yes.

For sure.

The stories that get to me are the stories of people overcoming amazing obstacles to lead an extraordinary life.

Nelson Mandela.

Jackie Robinson.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Mother Teresa.

It is the struggle that leads to extraordinary greatness.

The determination to make things better.

Being unwilling to accept the status quo.

The amount of effort it takes to bring about change can be daunting.

Mind-boggling really.

In 11.22.63, Stephen King’s hero goes back in time to try and stop the Kennedy assassination.

With every step that he takes to prevent one of our nation’s greatest tragedies, the forces of nature and the universe conspire to slow him down.

I believe this to be true in the real world too.

Takes great focus, enormous will power and internal fortitude to bring about change and lead a life that is extraordinary.

For today, can we humbly acknowledge our greatness and strive towards building a life that is remarkable?

Blog Post # 273 – The New Leader

When we are asked to lead, we are probably not ready.

We may feel that we lack certain qualifications to lead.

Too young.

Too inexperienced.

Too temperamental.

But oftentimes, we grow into the leadership position.

We figure things out as we go.

Surround ourselves with smart people.

We read as much as we can to make us the most effective leader possible.

We strive to improve each day.

We try to listen to others more than we talk.

And we take and consider all of these inputs – our own experiences, the things that we have read, the opinions of others – and we make decisions.

We lead when we chart a path for ourselves and our team.

It may seem like we are in unchartered territory.

But if we don’t lead, who will?