Have You Ever?

Ever stared at a white sheet of paper knowing that you want to write something, and yet not quite sure what to write? Have you ever gone out to get one item, and returned home with everything except the one item you absolutely needed? Have you ever missed an important meeting, not because you did not want to go rather because you got tied up into any other things? These things do happen.

Why? Why, is an easy answer. We are human, and all humans have frailties. Mix that with a hectic lifestyle which many of us have and the danger of overlooking a need or desire becomes more prevalent. And yet, there is a multitude of possible cures and antidotes to improve the chances of completing what we really wanted to get done in the first place.

The biggest intervention we can use is our attitude. When things like this happen, we don’t want to go berserk or fly off the handle or get mad at ourselves. And at the same time, we don’t want to adopt an attitude of “Oh well,….” We need to find an approach that works for us, and no, not all approaches will work equally well for all people.

Each of us should find what works best for us. Many use a calendar and a to-do list. This works great for those who keep the list in the calendar up to date and in a small enough package to always have it handy. The smartphone works very well for this. The problem though is that we often fail to put things on our calendar or on our to-do list because in the back of our mind we believe they are too big to forget.

Others will write a sticky note at work and stick it to their ID badge, so they don’t forget. This works great until the note becomes unstuck and falls to the floor while walking down the hall. At that point, the note is no longer there to remind them. Four interruptions and one ad hoc meeting down the line, the person, may have completely forgotten about that important ‘whatever it was.’

Some managers will write themselves an email to remind them of what’s going on or why they did something in particular. If they don’t have a good system of filing their email, and if like most managers they get about 300 emails a day, it is easy for the facts to get lost in the electronic pile.

Does this mean that we’re hopeless, that we cannot overcome forgetfulness? We’re people, and people can overcome anything. In the last 5000 years how many things have threatened us, endangered us, tried to wipe us out? And yet, here we still are. To overcome this, we only need one thing. Habit.

We all have habits. Washing the car on a Saturday morning is a good habit. Playing games on the computer because I am bored and want to do something is a bad habit. We need to find habits that work for us, and we need to stick to them.

Can I tell you exactly which habits in which variations will work best for you? I am sorry I cannot. For most people reading this, we’ve never even really met face-to-face. What I can tell you is one habit I believe will work for you. As you are developing habits, try many things, drop those that don’t work, and keep those that do.

The other thing I could mention, cut back on electronic game playing. It’s always the frustrating ones that eat most of your time.

Happy High Road

Would you like to know if the fact that will not only set you free, it will help you to work with anyone, anywhere, at any time, feel great, and get great things done? Impossible you say? Read this blog, and if you still don’t believe it’s possible, write me in the comments section, and I’ll call you, and we can talk for half an hour.

So, what’s the fact? If you can be happy and feel great, the majority of the time those feelings will transfer to the other person and be found in their responses. I hear a question already, about all the people out there who are so negative. Many times, that negativity and wish for dominance that others have for you, has nothing to do with you. The truth is often they don’t even know you.

Folks who display immediate negativity and desire to dominate others are those who have been hurt by other people. The neat thing is (and here is where the real secret lies,) they cannot dominate you any more than you can dominate them. For them to do so, you would first have to give them permission. You do that by starting off acting like they do.

The trick is to find your balance, your happiness, your drive for the path you want to walk in life. And then when negativity shows up in the forms of other people, be nice to the people, and don’t let the negativity in.

Easier said than done? Try this. Keep your positive attitude and your happiness. Then when you have to say something less than absolutely positive to anyone always start off with telling them three good things about themselves or three good things that they are doing. And then you can tell them something less than positive just do so in a positive way. Afterword’s, tell them one more thing very positive about themselves. It is often very hard to be mad at someone the when they’re telling you good things about yourself.

We all have some days that are better than others. However, you do get to choose. If you choose a happy high road, imagine all the others that you could bring with you.

Time Woes

Have you ever noticed how fast time moves?

Time moves forward one second at a time in a relentless fashion. Seconds become minutes, then hours become days, and months become years, and finally, here I am in November wondering whatever happened to the Fourth of July. I am shocked that time never takes a timeout. What is that all about.

There’s something that we have to learn, and many do not learn this until it’s too late. The thought is ignored even though the warning signs, statements, and cute kitsch are found everywhere. The simple truth, each second, minute, hour, day, or year can never be retaken.

This leads us to another simple truth. Time leaves us whether we use that are not. You can’t save it up for an emergency or that planned future vacation. And no one else can control your reaction to time. You use it on something important to you, or you lose it. All of this is up to you.

Take a couple minutes and write down everything that’s important to you. Then put priorities to the list. Ask yourself, are you sitting in a room for days looking at how messy it is and how unkempt? Or are you taking 10 minutes to put pick everything up, throw the trash away, and put everything else back where it belongs? So how much time are you really going to spend in a dirty room, 10 minutes or days?

Please don’t think I’m preaching. Actually, I believe I’m talking to myself.

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.

Yes, I Probably Should

Many people claim that they don’t like or want habits because they just do things when they’re needed. The truth of the matter is people don’t do things when they’re needed. They wait till everything is piled up, and it’s hard to walk across the floor, and you can’t see the sink anymore. Then the idea comes to mind, “I ought to clean this up.”

Usually, as we finish cleaning something up, it dawns on us that the time and work wasn’t too bad. And, as good as the place looks we should do this on a regular basis. And yes, I probably should.

When they’re up and fully running, habits are wonderful. Trying to get a habit up and running is tough. Times don’t work out, things get in the way, and believe it or not sometimes I just get tired.

I have to tell you I do not believe in bribery. I have been known, though, to initiate positive behavior modification. Positive behavior modification is a lot better than bribery. I modify behavior to meet a needed objective by having an incentive which is highly desired and only given after the modification conditions are fully met.

I want the dishes done every night and the kitchen cleaned before we watch TV. However, there are good shows on early in the evening, and I don’t want to miss any of them. Okay, how do I make this work?

I can clean the kitchen as I cook dinner, rinse and stack the dinner dishes into the dishwasher, and if full start it. If I get creative, I could spend about three or four minutes after each meal I eat, to rinse the dishes and stack them in the dishwasher. I could also pick up the kitchen as I cook whatever meal I’m eating. And that would also save time.

Please comment and tell me what other chores plague you, what you think a significant incentive would be to complete them, and how you would make them a habit.

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.