We All Desire Our Comfort Zone

Did you make your lists for Wednesday? If they caused you any consternation, I first must apologize, and secondly, let you know that is a good thing. Consternation is what comes the when you start to realize that not everything is where you want it. The realization helps you move to the fact that sometimes to get what you really want, changes must come from within.

Change is good. Change happens all the time. Many, though, fear change. If you’re sitting in a very comfortable spot in your nice easy chair, and you’re comfortable, and even though it’s not where you want to be, at least you know everything that’s there.  We call this the comfort zone.  We all desire the familiarity of the comfort zone, no matter how bad the circumstances.

There’s a well-known concept in physics that it takes more energy to start something moving, then to keep it moving. As a process engineer, I used to measure the differences when designing manufacturing lines and how much energy people needed to exert. The same is true between starting and sustained movement from an old comfort zone to a better one.

Yet if we did not venture from our comfort zone, how would we ever grow? How would we grow as a person if we did not leave our happy home and venture to kindergarten or school? How would we grow financially if we never took that first job? How would we grow as a people if we failed to sail the seas, discover new lands, learn to fly, and develop the technology to explore moons and planets?

I like my comfort. I like learning and growing even more. Our assignment for tonight is to think. Will where I am right now last forever? It is rare that something will last forever. Do I like to learn and grow? If I do not grow with my surroundings, does that mean I get left behind? And if I get left behind, what happens to my comfort zone?

These are just some good thoughts that we do need to consider. Often, it’s best to consider these questions before being overtaken, and left in the backwater.

Think of this today, and tomorrow we will explore ways to live, grow and excel.

Help Define if You’re Happy or Would Like to Reach Out

Did you get an opportunity to read yesterday’s blog? If not, I suggest you read it, because there are things in there you might want to consider.

Did anybody stand up and make a move yesterday? Up the stairs, out to the library, to say hi to a neighbor, or something else?

Sometimes it’s hard to know when to start. And sometimes you must stop and think about where that starting point is. And, then it is okay.

Start by getting something to write on, and something to write with, and the list everything around you. Don’t turn this into a novel that makes War and Peace look like a comic book. Just a few simple lists will do. One should tell you who you have around you, those who support you, those you support, those you get along with, those you do not get along with, yet could not do without.

The next list should list what you have. A home, an apartment, a big-screen TV set, bills, list whatever you have. It doesn’t have to be complete but give it some thought; and, then next to each item list whether you like it or not and why.

Now you know where you are. This should help you to find and define where you are, and if you’re happy where you are or if you would like to reach out and do something. Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. Only where you are and what you feel right now.

This will take you a little while maybe 30 minutes or an hour, and it is important. Therefore, I am not going to hold you up. We will meet again tomorrow.

You are way too good and way too needed

Yesterday, we thought on perfection. Do you view the world in black-and-white? Do you view the world as infinite shades of gray? Or do you live in the Technicolor world, where all dynamics, shades, colors, and opinions are viable depending on the circumstances?

By the way, I should tell you, answers are neither right or wrong here. There are the answers of each individual, who has to decide those are answers which are right or wrong for them.

I am not a philosophy major.  I am an education major with extensive education in corporate training, process improvement, and quality.

I ask these questions to have people think.

The reason I like to have people think is for one very clear fact.

I like to sit in my basement either in the easy chair or laying on the couch, watching my favorite TV shows or listening to the radio, or reading a good book. It is not the only thing I do. I take classes, I am at the library every other week, I have my volunteered and other actions. And I write, develop books, and develop courses which often tie in with the books, and develop charts for measurement and process improvement.

I like to do all this. And it keeps me busy. Yet I find that is because I get up off the chair or the couch in my basement turn off the technology and go out to communicate and collaborate with others.

The sad fact is if we sit in our basement or the backyard or the TV room and wait for somebody to come and help us, show us something better, or improve our lives for us, the dust would grow, and we will be long gone before anybody shows up. And those who do will mainly be looking for the source of the smells, and to collect the bones.

You are way too good and way too needed for such a destiny. Now is the time for you to stand and make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Think about how you would like to learn or help and what you could do.  We will talk again tomorrow.

In the Eye of the Beholder

Everybody looks for perfection in the world. Yet finding perfection is tough. Perfection is found in the eye of the beholder. And therefore, it would be very hard to find two ideas of perfection which are the same. It reminds me of the speech from John F. Kennedy who said,” We do these things not because they are easy, we do these and other things because they are hard.”

People like the idea of heading towards perfection, because they look at perfection as black and white. Yet we do not live in a world which lends itself to black-and-white. Rather, the world looks upon all things in unlimited hues, shades, dynamic colors, and variables. What is perfection? That depends, and it is up to each one of us to decide what that meaning is for us.

This week, we will talk about perfection, versus reliability, versus sustainability, versus the ultimate, versus the needed.

I promised to keep this short. And I will.

For today, think of your ideas perfection, and how often you truly achieve it.

Exciting Times for ReadingSticks

I want to thank everybody who’s following my blog. I appreciate you, and I hope that I bring some joy or some good into your life.

I have been quiet this week because here at ReadingSticks we are hip deep, building new websites and developing maps for moving in new directions. I do not want to spoil the excitement by letting the cat out of the bag too early. However, starting Monday blogs will probably come to you either on a daily, or every other day basis. Each blog, will be short and take up his little of your time as possible.

Please watch for these blogs as they will direct you to many of the new and exciting projects and programs that we are developing for you. Until then, I thank you for being with us. I also want to wish you a great weekend. We have a new month and the start of the new season ahead.

I look forward to our next blog on Monday.

Some truths are universal, and they will never change.

One of the greatest things that we are going to have to learn soon and many smart people have already learned now is self-determination. It used to be that manufacturing, whether it be the wool industry, cotton textiles in America, early watchmaking or weapons manufacturing for settlers and the military required a vast army of workers both skilled and unskilled to build the quantities of finished products required. Automation, taking the place of workers, is not new. It was always sought by the best and the brightest of manufacturing.

The desire to build something cheaper, faster, or better has lived with us since the first product was made and sold. In our own colonial days, a rifle was sold by the purchaser piling up pelts next to the rifle stock, standing on end, until the gun and pelts were of equal height. One pile pelts for one rifle. The traders got smart fast and built rifles with longer barrels to maximize their profits.

The watch, which until around 1850 was too costly for most people, was affordable to almost everyone once the small gears and other parts became mass-produced. At the cost of only $13, rather than hundreds of dollars, the watch could then be purchased for military personnel, anyone needing to synchronize with railroads or children, mainly young men who were given the watch as a sign they were going to go places.

The fact is if somebody or something does a job better than you, faster than you, or smarter than you unless you are an outlier, you are not going to be able to take their job away from them. If you are an outlier, you’re probably not going to try to take that job away. Mainly because you know better.

You need to work on what you can do better. Better than others, better than computers, better than the present technology. If you can do this, you will probably be able to have jobs continuously. There are some catches involved.

If you want a job or series of jobs that you can count on you need to be an outlier. Outliers are not followers. Outliers are the people that others follow. Outliers do so because they are driven, not because someone is driving them. Outliers are like the young cadets at the Air Force Academy. Cadets are told the first day they came to the Academy, I’m sure most days after that, that they cannot go through the Academy for anybody else. Cadets must go through the Air Force Academy for themselves. If cadets don’t want to put up with the Academy’s rigid standards, and hard work, they will not be able to survive the riggers, just because somebody else wants them to. The same is true of outliers.

What do outliers do? Outliers figure out what they’re good at and what they like to do. Outliers learn everything they can about their profession and stay abreast of all current trends, usually setting those trends. Outliers never follow the crowd, they lead the crowd. Outliers never worry about being alone or lonely, because leaders rarely find themselves along, everyone else is looking to follow them.

Jobs will change. 

Times will change.

Needs will change.

People will change.

Some truths are universal, and they will never change.

And Yet I Wondered

As I drove to work today, I passed the high school. I noticed an old man, sitting on the corner by the high school, looking tired and dejected. Next to him was an old baby carriage which held all his earthly possessions piled high, covered over with blankets and tarps, all in a heap just about as tall as he was. It made me wonder.

I went on to work. After a while got up to stretch my legs. I walked out to the corner of the block. A crew of construction workers was digging up the street to replace the storm drains. The storm drains had not been replaced in over 100 years and were well in need of the updating. I watched the crew as they tore the road apart. They had the sidewalks close in two directions, denying people from my corner the chance to cross the street. And, they were dismantling the traffic light base. It made me wonder.

On the way back to my office, I said hello to a lady who was walking by. She stopped and talked with me for a few moments. We talked about the way the town used to look.

We talked about the pride of keeping up with infrastructure. We discussed the copper thefts of the decade ago when thieves stole cable to many of the streetlights. We talked about how copper was so valuable to someone that sprinkler systems and copper statues were stolen. Even air conditioner condensers were stolen from the backs of buildings because of the copper tubing inside. We agreed that we had a great new counsel who would help us to bring the city back to its greatness.

And yet, I wondered.

I wonder how we can build a better  infrastructure.  How we can balance the care of material things and the care of people. I wonder why people end up on the street pushing an old basket of worldly possessions, because I seem to see them more and more.

I also wonder why people would be so destitute, they would be willing to steal electrified copper wire, providing electricity to street lights which are a safety concern of all of us. I wonder why as we build our infrastructure renewing it and keeping the city current and beautiful, we still have those whose life is so difficult and are so far out of touch.

It is said the poor will be with us always. This is true. And yet, we must understand that society is caught in lockstep. The height of society can only go as high as the lowest member of society can allow. For society to climb a ladder and go higher, the least of society must be able to move up the ladder an equal distance. If this does not happen, growth stops, everyone stagnates, and entropy enters the mix as the society starts to crumble.

Today, I still wonder. What can we do as a society to elevate the poorest and lowest among us so that we may pave the way and climb higher? I also wonder if we do not take on the challenge to raise the least of society how will we ever climb higher. I also wonder as we start to crumble, what will the entropy look like.

Please add your ideas and thoughts to this blog.  Thank you for reading.