Complacency

Complacency is something that will sneak up on all of us.

People love habits. They like the feeling of accomplishment. They love knowing that things are done. And they like the ease of living that good habits will give the people who use them wisely. More often than not many of us will also fail at long-running good habits.

If you don’t believe me, please take a poll about six weeks after New Year’s day. How many people you talk to set up goals for the new year, and within six weeks, have already failed at them? Did they not care? Did they not believe? Did they not try? The truth is they did care, they did believe in they did try.

In teaching new forklift drivers, safety and control are taught and preached for hours both in the classroom and during driver training on the forklift. You would think that most accidents would happen within a few weeks after the training, while the new drivers are still what behind the ears. Not so.

Most accidents for new drivers of forklifts, according to the statistics, happened about three months after training. Why? Complacency. Brand-new drivers are very cautious. They stick to every safety rule. And, they keep the speeds very low. About the three-month mark, new forklift drivers become complacent. They start to get a little sloppy in their safety, speed increases a little and the next thing you know, they bump into something. Sometimes they bump into someone.

Are they bad people? Do these accident-prone drivers not care? No. They did so well for three months driving the forklift that they started to let their guard down. Often, they don’t even recognize it.

These drivers were taught well. Were watched to ensure good habits were being formed. And, did a good job. Complacency just sneaks up on them.

The trick is if you like the results a habit gives you, pay attention and keep it up. Don’t  become complacent.

More Control within

We hold more control than we ever know.

We’re pushed on by forces beyond our control every day. We do not have to bend to those forces. And most times, it is better if we do not. The forces at play are concerned about themselves, what their needs and desires are, and how they achieve through the skillful use of others.

We have to do this because of the money. We should really be doing that because of politics. We should be doing the other because of the neighbors… It seems as though demands are never-ending and resources are often meager at best.

With all of the above going on in our lives, I would just like to offer a thought. What if we didn’t? What if we gave up on letting others tell us to do this, that, and the other?

I’m not saying not to do anything. I’m talking about finding new voices to guide you. We always follow voices different than us, mainly because they’re different than us. We assume their difference makes them better. I believe I have found something even better than them.

I’m not saying to forget conventional wisdom. I am saying to look inside find that quiet voice within you. Not the one screaming in your head saying you’re doing everything wrong, rather the quiet voice, and consider it.

Do good for yourself and your family, and others. Strive to better yourself. And, help others to find that good within themselves. The real treasures in life aren’t things, the real treasures are the times we share with each other.

Take A Look

We all have work we want to do in life, and we all have work we have to do in life.

If we are lucky, we like the work we do. Yet, some of the work is important whether we like it or not? When we get to this point, we need to stop and think for a moment.

Am I about to tell you that you don’t have to do work that you don’t like? Sorry, no. Some work we do not enjoy is still very important work. Instead, when faced with a task you don’t really want to do, stop and consider for a second.

Stop and consider why the task needs to be done. Consider what will happen if the task is not done. I hate to mow the lawn and trim the trees. So, I have some things to consider. Consider what the yard could look like if I did not do anything. Overgrown, bushes turning into trees, and havoc sprouting up everywhere. It would be a real unsightly mess. I may get some comments, but I sure wouldn’t like them.

Next, consider what the yard would look like if you did a half-hearted job. Wayward bushes and trees may be knocked down, most of the grass would be cut, you might even pile the trash into a central location. Yet the place would only look so-so. Would this really make you happy? Will it make you feel good? Or would it just be one more task done until you have to do it again?

Then, think of what the yard would look like if you really set out to do a good job. Trash bagged and ready for removal, the grass neatly trimmed with care and edges clean and straight, sidewalks swept, and proper maintenance of the lawn. Wow, this may take half the day or more. Just think of how you’ll feel about a good-looking yard when the work is done. Consider how future effort will be easier as long as the yard is kept up and maintenance may end up as little as a couple of hours a week, and that time may be spread over many days.

All of us are individuals, and as such, we all have things we do not like to do. We just need to look through the work, to see if we like the outcome.

What Am I Working On

Ever have a day where everything seems to fall apart as soon as you touch it? The big desk computer has a two-hour patch it started automatically. The laptop is fussy and hard to bring up and wants to give a continuous grief. The iPad beckons, and as you try to use it for business, it directs you towards games. There’s only one thing to do.

Dude? You have a fast desktop, a 64-bit dual core laptop, and an iPad. The last thing you should be doing is whining about anything. If you have all that, you have what it takes to run an empire. Just think about how many great people started with so much less. And how far they rose with many of them having none of those three items.

 It’s important every day that I look in the mirror, and remind myself first off how lucky I am. Secondly, and most importantly, I need to remind myself it’s not about me. It’s about doing well for the others whom I help.

When we are given things or given the ability to earn them, then much is expected from us in return. And rightly so. For as we rise in our status, just as we were helped by people before us (and yes, we were helped,) it is up to us to reach out a hand and help those behind us.

We have to remember that even the highest person cannot go any higher until the lowliest person takes that next step up.

The question isn’t what’s working, the question is what am I working on to help the next person.

Time to Get Up

Today’s an exciting day. The weather is cool, the sun is out, and for a new day in a new week, life is pretty good.

I am embarking on a new idea. One, I hope will help many people. The project is called Reveille. Reveille is the bugle call you hear early in the morning when it’s time to get up, get started, and go out to win a new day.

No one likes to sleep in more than I do. And yet, all those things that I want to do cannot be accomplished with the covers over my head. I need to get up, clean up, drink up the coffee, and get out there where I can accomplish those items I need to do.

With your permission, as this week unfolds I will tell you more about Reveille, and more about how will be structured to meet your needs. For now, thank you for joining me in this wonderful announcement, and please come back to this blog to learn more as Reveille unfolds.

I look forward to seeing you again tomorrow. If it’s is beautiful where you are, go out and seize the day!

 

New Way

We Have a Plan

Plans are important. If you think the plan will never change, you never faced a true enemy in combat. When you face-off in combat the first thing that changes are the plans. These days my plans normally revert to “yes dear” and “I’m sorry.”

As you craft your plans, the best idea to get everyone who is part of that plan involved. Not only do you get overall buy-in to the plan, but you also have the support of everyone, because they know and understand they are part of that plan.

I know this sounds strange that I’m telling you to plan and then tell you that your plans will change. To demonstrate this let me tell you about Boy Scout Troop which I helped run as a leader.

About four times a year the scouts would go out to a camporee, freezoree, or some other camping adventure with all of the troops in the Council. Imagine a vast field with between 75 and a hundred troops of boys in attendance and camping over the weekend. We used to hold an overnight camp-out a week or two before a camporee and train the scouts in our troop on all of the various skills which would be tested on in the games at the camporee.

Does this mean the kids had an automatic guarantee of winning the games? No. Like everything else in life, things do change. The boys were there to have fun and having a little knowledge about what they were doing made it more fun. The games were never exactly like what we taught them, yet having those skills helped to do well. They still had to do it, and adapt as things changed. But, at least they had a plan of how things work.

As you leave one comfort zone, even though you may not have been exactly comfortable with it at times, you need a plan. The plan alone does not guarantee an absolute victory. The plan and a little practice mean you have a good idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.

Will that plan change? Yes, dear, I’m sorry.

We change with the times

We have talked about the fact that nothing lasts forever. Even the glass bottle that we drink from and the glass vase that holds our flowers is actually in a liquid form very slowly, forever changing. And so we have a choice. As everything changes around us do we accept the fact and change with it? Or, do we put a stick in the sand and say, “Here I stand.”

We see this all the time. Because of this, some people are labeled as old fogies. Other people are just dismissed out of hand as not knowing because it was not of their generation. The truth is, it depends. It is actually up to you. Do you keep with the old times? Do you learn and grow and go with the new times? I vote for the latter. I am too young of the mind to start living in yesteryear and begin believing there are no worthwhile changes.

We see others, and sometimes ourselves, occasionally get stuck in the past. Does that mean we are forever doomed to live the life of what happened at the high school football game? Counting the rivets on a B-52 in North Dakota? The pain of a hangover a day after the frat party? The patrol that went sideways? Or whatever else is burdensome on our mind? I really don’t think we have to do that.

We have a choice. For me, I choose to remember the past, learn and live in the now, and celebrate the possibilities of the future.  We remember in order not fall into the same traps or repeat mistakes. Now is where I live. If I am not happy with now, I learned so that I can change it. I also learn to prepare my path into the future.

Right now I should not be living in the past nor in the future. Right now, I should live, except, and enjoy where and what I am now. I do this knowing that like glass, I am not a solid. Rather, I am something that is continually learning, growing, and reshaping my destiny.