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Welcome to ProcessImprovement.Me.  Each week we will post between one and three blog posts on change, how to improve at something in life or business, or learning something new.  Please join us and participate in the comments.  We would really like to hear your thoughts.  You cannot post a comment on the home page (just the way they set up the site.) All the other pages do afford the ability to post comments. We recommend you use the Blog Page for this.

Please join us, have fun, and interact with others in the same kindness that you would like others to interact with you.

Endorphins

How good is your memory? I have a photographic memory. I don’t have any film, but it is a photographic memory. I was going to upgrade to digital, only I don’t have enough memory for that.

Did you know that when we remember something, we don’t always get the full and complete story? When we recall what we have remembered, we recall an impression of the event. It’s not like going to a file and replaying what the camera actually recorded. It is our thoughts and memories of the event the way we viewed it, with our emotions and foibles edited in.

I remember in Indiana Jones movies he tells his students that archaeologists search for the facts. He also explains to the students that if they want the truth, they need to leave his class and go to the philosophy class down the hall. When we remember something, we remember what we can of the facts. Even playing back the video recording can only show you one viewpoint and not the entire scene.

So why do I tell you this? I say this because of a great chief Master Sergeant that I used to work for. He kept his desk calendar up to date all year long. And, when the year was over, he carefully took it out of its holder, bounded in rubber bands, and dropped it into his bottom desk drawer. He called it his Pearl Harbor File. This level of organization is something I strive for and yet fall short on.

My actual office looks like a cluster of notes, blogs, study material and other paperwork piled in some places over a foot high. Weekly I have to dig, looking for something, and at least once a month I make an attempt to straighten everything out. Just a hint, if you clean the place by moving everything from one room to another, you can have a clean office and no place to sit and watch TV.

I believe the only way to solve this problem is to actually take a stand. Take a three-day weekend and dedicate it to once and for all, straightening everything out. As you do this, make sure everything has a place and the things you really don’t want are appropriately removed. When you do this, your brain will reward you by releasing many endorphins, and you will really feel good when you take a look at the entire place cleaned and organized.

There’s one other thing you have to do. You should give yourself 15 or 20 minutes sometime during the day (usually at the end of the day,) to go through and straighten up. Put away what you’ve been working on, put the dishes and glasses back into the kitchen, and file the paperwork. You do this for two reasons. First, you keep your place looking good, and secondly…  all those endorphins!

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Do You Align

In our day and age, our technologies, education, and attitude towards individual freedoms allow us to be, and to do most things we wish. If we want to be rich, there is a way to do that. If we desire to have a particular lifestyle, we can do that. If we wish to live in a specific area of the country that is indeed possible. Our freedoms and abilities have led us to this point.

Now I have a question for you. Between what you want and the way you act towards obtaining that desire, do you align? There is quite often a difference between passion and action. If you really desire something you work towards it. The work can sometimes be hard, and occasionally you have to give up some things to gain others. Yet, in the end, you can usually find your way to the goal you initially set out to do.

The real trick is you have to work at it. I know some people who become rich by taking what they can set aside and invest that money into stocks or mutual funds. Others buy and sell precious metals or other commodities. Others work hard at other passions to get to where they want to be.  These people are working towards a goal. If they are smart and work diligently, they stand a chance to reach that goal.

If your desire is wealth, and your plan to get there is stopping by the Quick-Mart on the way home and buying a lottery ticket every week, you might still get rich. It might take 2.9 billion tries to do so though. At three dollars a play you could pay up to $9 billion to possibly earn $500 million. In this case, your desire and actions look as though they may be significantly out of line.

I am a large preacher of research. Figure out what you are passionate to accomplish and while researching that path, ask a lot of questions. For each item you have, research qualified answers. Talk to people who are professionals or specialists in whatever you are trying to find out.

Friends, relatives, and fellow workers will always give you advice and hearsay, yet how much of that is true, and how much of that is good (or malevolent) intentions? If you’re going somewhere or planning to do something you need to hear from the people who have done it, not those who have excuses why they could not.

Will getting from where you are now, to where you want to go be easy? Probably not. And, that is okay. Since when has anything really worth striving for ever been easily obtained? Do your research. Do your work. And stick with your alignment.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Can You See the Road

 

In life, you find inspiration and guidance wherever it lives. I had something remind me of an important fact earlier this year. And, I found this nugget of wisdom in the strangest of places.

My wife is a big Lucy fan. She has just about everything that Lucy has ever made, from the Lucy-Desi comedy hour to all the other sitcoms, and she watches them every day. It was while she was watching the Lucy show that I had a lesson reinforced upon me. It was poignant, concise, and help me to realize something important about our journey through life.

In the show, Lucy and Desi, along with Ethal and Fred, are starting on a trip to California. When they go to pack everything they are going to take with them, there is a sudden realization they have too much for the car to carry. That’s okay because Fred has a plan.

Fred tied everything onto the car. By the time the job was done, he had things hanging well off the back of the convertible.  And, hanging well off the front, and all the sides of the car. He even had the hood of the car layered with different objects to the point where the driver could barely see the road. When I saw that, I realized something.

We are on a journey ourselves through life. If we fail to plan, we may end up trying to take everything and everyone with us. We could have packed many items that we may never use in the future. These items could be both physically in our life and mentally in our head.  They could block our vision until it becomes tough for us to see the road we want to travel. And it means we will either not go far or end up in the wrong place.

What we need to do is make a plan. Sit down with those who are going with us and figure out where we are going. Then we need to figure out what we need to take with us, what we can pick up along the way, and what items would just get in our way as we move forward. Think of this as an exercise in physical, and mental housekeeping. We checked to see that everybody’s on the same page. That we are taking steps to ensure everyone’s needs are met. And we understand the differences between what we need to go with us, and what we will either pick up along the way or as we attain our goals.

In the case of Lucy and Desi going from New York to California, they finally took only what they needed and mailed everything else forward. You may believe that you can’t do that moving to the future. However, you can send yourself future encouragement and ideas. You can write a series of letters or emails to yourself. You can set them up to be mailed to you or opened at a future date. These can help remind you of where you’re heading when you set off on your adventure and where you’re planning to go.

Just something to think about.

Thanks for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Am I the Cause of Me?

We all have some concerns and angst in our life, no matter how much or little it is.  Often, we find an out for our troubles by blaming them on one thing or another.  In taking an advanced course on life coaching, I had a training that helped me to see things a little differently.

Am I worried, concerned or afraid of doing something, or am I avoiding it because of the worry, concern, or fear of not getting it done? Actually, it’s a fair question. We all like to procrastinate to some extent. Yet, why do we continue to do so when not getting whatever was needed to be done is giving us grief? Not getting some things done can cause us not only fear, angst, and consternation, it can also cost us in penalty fees for a missed bill, loss of prestige for a late report, or even a ticket warning for a messy yard.

It takes less time to do whatever needs to be done up front. It’s not hard to keep up on what is required and when. A to-do list looked at daily allows for a quick reminder. For those who are very organized a calendar that clearly shows what to do when. And for the super organized, a set of folders for days of the week, where the bills and envelopes are kept ready to be filled out and mailed off or taken care of on the computer.

We all have things that show up unexpectedly and are more important than what we need to get done. None of those things, though, include video games, television or goofing off. Maybe you can set aside a few minutes of the morning to go over what you really need to get done that day and establish a plan.

I have heard that there is even added help for feeling better when you complete things. When you complete something be sure to check it off your list. I have heard it said that when you check something off your list endorphins are released in the brain, helping you to feel better for your actions.

We are human. We do make mistakes. No one is perfect. And yet, with the simple list, or calendar, or a set of file folders, we can accomplish what needs to be done, and we can also feel so much better for doing so. All we need to do is start to act. It’s as easy as placing one foot in front of another.

Looks like it is time to go and release some endorphins.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

What Are You Waiting For?

We all have ideas, and we all want to see our plans work out. And yet, many of us do not reach out and attempt to turn our dreams into reality. If they are our dreams and desires, I think we would work harder on our dreams than most of the other things we do in life. It turns out that’s not always so. And yes, there are scientific reasons for that.

When I worked at a contract manufacturing facility, one of my additional duties was working on the Safety Council. In some areas of our plant, we built electronic systems into racks. The racks had casters and could be pushed from station to station. Depending on what the customer ordered, the racks could grow large and heavy.

One of the tasks I had to do was to measure the force it took to start an electronic rack rolling. I also had to measure the force it took to keep an electronic rack rolling once it had started. Anyone who has studied physics will have no shock or surprise when I tell them it takes more energy to start something moving, then it does to keep the object moving.

This brings me to several conclusions about our topic today. First off, it takes a lot more energy to start something, then it does to keep it going. And, our dreams are no different. If we don’t get out and make an effort to start something, our dreams will fade, and all of our plans and up as a could’ve been.

Our first take away is, ‘Nobody will do it for us, so we need to get out there and make our dreams work.’

The next thing I realize in looking at this scenario is the more massive the object you’re trying to move, the more energy you spend in trying to get it started, and you have to expend more energy trying to keep it going. This is true not only for physical objects; it’s also true in trying to bring your dreams to life. Many of the biggest and wealthiest companies on earth started in a garage here or there. They grew slowly until they caught on. Part of this is because it takes more energy, capital, and backing to start a larger idea. Start small, and build your way up.

The second take away is ‘When you start small it takes less initial energy to start moving, and once your dream is moving, it takes less energy to keep it moving.’

The other take away that I got from this is that nobody can start your dream moving except for you. If you want it to get started, you have to put in the initial force to start the movement. If anybody else does it, they are not powering your dream, they are now powering their dream. Those who don’t step up to try, and up only standing on the sidelines, watching everyone else.

The third take away is, ‘If you want it you are going to have to provide the force to make it happen.’

Please consider these ideas when you start to dream.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Power Your Project

It is incredible how much we can do if we put our mind to it. Many people come up with ideas, and some of those ideas are excellent thoughts. Unfortunately, many of those neat ideas fail because the people who have them are going to get them done. They talk about the ideas they mull it over, they make it sound good, and they will get to it… Eventually.

The trick of ‘eventually’ is the fact that it never comes. Eventually is something like a carrot on a stick. The stick is strapped to your head and eventually dangling out there in front of you, just out of reach. Every time you take a step forward trying to get towards eventually, it moves that one step away from you.

So, the question becomes, is this a game that’s rigged for the bemusement of others? Is this some cosmic scam to make us want more and yet keep us in our place? Why should I play the game when it’s fixed? These are all excellent questions. Unfortunately, they are the wrong questions and are on the wrong track to getting things done.

Don’t eventually get something done. Get it done. Do it, figure out what goes wrong or what could make it better, and then do that. Every time you do something to make your idea better and more tangible, evaluate your work. You need to know what is working with your thoughts and projects and what is not. Plans are like a plane, they need to be flight worthy.

Just like a plane, your project cannot get off the ground carrying a bunch of excess weight that doesn’t add to the lift or speed of the project. Your aircraft cannot immediately go from ground level to 40,000 feet. It will fall back to earth. Aircraft need to take a slow, smooth rise from takeoff until they’ve gathered enough power to start a climb. When they have the ability, and everything is stabilized, then they can begin to gain altitude and climb higher. We have seen it before where some pilots try to fly at too steep an angle when taking off and end up crashing back to the ground. Unfortunately, we have seen many small businesses do the same.

The trick is to start small and then build on what you know and what you learn. The Wright brothers did not attempt to develop a DC-3 and launch it from Kitty Hawk. They started with essentially what was a powered kite and built from there. In the beginning, every time they flew, they learn something new. It was that painstaking step-by-step learning curve which allowed them to get better. That same learning curve moved on to the marvels we have today. Imagine less than 70 years after their flight, we had grown to the point where we put men on the moon.

70 years from powered flight to a man on the moon. If you give your project the time it needs and work at it, think of where those projects might take you.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

And Yet It Continues

When I started this series on Monday, I was focusing on shootings and violence in America. Attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, which happened overnight prove once again no one on earth is spared from this heinous violence. I am very saddened by these acts and pray for all affected by this outrageous and undeserved massacre in such a peaceful and loving nation.

From space, there are no borders. We are one world, and one people. We do not live in domes separated from everybody else, and what happens anywhere in our world tends to have an effect on all of us. We do not deserve these attacks. We cannot blindly accept these attacks, wherever they happen, blindly, believing that that is just a new way of life.

All people are precious. All people have a right to exist. And no people should have to tolerate being preyed upon by evil, no matter what shape it takes, or what superficial reasons are given. This is not a pipe dream. This is something that is fundamental to the core of every living being on earth.

The work to subdue lethal violence will not be easy. There are many hard obstacles to overcome. And yet look at everything the world has done in the last 5,000 years. Look at how far we have come as a people and what we have learned to do. We can overcome this and learn to coexist peacefully. We just need to set it as a significant priority.

Destruction like the one last night in Christchurch, the devastating attacks in Paris, the Canadian Parliament, in England, in Spain, in New York, and the Pentagon and everywhere else in the world cannot go on. Innocent people going about their daily routines should never be turned into targets of opportunity for madmen and empire seekers using the innocents in a vain attempt to garner attention for their misguided plans.

All it takes is enough of those innocent people to get together and say no. Refuse to accept the commonplace, and refuse to give in, and something will have to change.

This one-week thought process on the subject of violence is not the end of my work. It is merely the very beginning. I am looking for a way we can have a discussion on this and maybe share ideas and thoughts. Each person stands as one. Together we stand as many, the more we have, the better to share thoughts and make positive inroads to making lasting changes for the good of all. Not to take anything over. Not to proclaim ourselves as the way. Just to stand there together and help shine a light on positive changes that can help the entire world.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again soon.