The Worst Punishment

I learned something important this week. Something that I had thought of in the back of my mind and was able to confirm through observation. And, I figured out what the worst of all punishments anyone can ever have. Nothing to do.

You may be thinking I need something to do myself, because of all the people who would love a little time with nothing to do. The truth is we were not built to be idle. When we have absolutely nothing to do, we tend to atrophy. I figured this out by observing our homeless population who have so much time and so little to do. If you go to a park and just sit and watch, you can start to understand.

The problem is that rather than thinking of what to do next, or positive endeavors, people with nothing to do often find themselves focused on the past.  When dealing with the past, remember the people and the lessons learned, and do not dwell on it.  You cannot change the past or make it better.  The times gone by are gone and behind you.

We need to consider ways to help those stuck in the past to shift to future thinking and ways to make the future a more positive experience. I am not sure exactly what the answer to this is, and I’m going to have to work on ideas which could help this population.

If you have any ideas, please share them. I believe this can be made better. I also think that there is no quick fix to this. We will have to face the problem one step at a time.

You’re In Charge

One of my favorite actors and comedians announced today that he had Parkinson’s disease. Although I felt a little saddened by it, he stated that he felt great. He spoke of all the great things he was doing and the various ways in which he was actively helping people. 

I was moved by the fact that this fantastic person could, instead of dwelling on misfortunes, reach out to help others and live a very meaningful life. I think we should all take a lesson from this. I do not feel any life comes with a guarantee. I do believe that each and every one of us, no matter what the circumstances or how the odds are stacked, are the authors of our own stories.

It is up to us to understand where we want to go, what we want to do, and what paths we need to climb to get there. Sometimes there are traps along the way, trying to hold you back. Many times, some good people and resources can help you along your journey. Although all of this is found along the paths to your goal, only you can walk your path.

With all the well-meaning people, brilliant technology, and mentors along the way, it comes down to you. Only you can determine which goals in life you wish to achieve. Only you can set yourself and motion. Only you can choose the mentors, family, and other significant people and things you take with you.

This does not mean you’re alone. It just says you’re in charge.

Enjoy your life and remember to laugh with others. It is good for the soul.

Good or Bad

No person makes it by themselves. The poets and the singers got it right.

It is incredible, when we think of it, that for all the foibles and failures in our society, we actually function best with a community. As a matter of fact, lack of community only serves to stunt our ability to grow and do better. Although I focus on emotional growth and growth of knowledge, health and physical well-being are also often compromised.

A community is not for sissies. Just like Yin and Yang, there are positives and negatives in anything. Being part of a community is no exception. You will find much good in interacting with others, sharing, and learning as you grow within the community. At the same time, you do open yourself up to emotional pain. You find yourself open to some negative people. And not everything that you learn will turn out to be true.

This does not mean we’re better off walling ourselves off from the community. For good within the community far outweighs the bad. What we need to do, is to go into the community as I believe one great person put it, “as gentle as lambs, and is wary as wolves.”

The real trick is to absorb everything you can and then weigh it. Do your research to know what’s true or not. And, do your considerations to understand the meeting of what you have learned and whether it is good or bad based on the morals of the community, and more importantly within your framework of right and wrong within life. Only then, do you really know if this knowledge is relevant, accurate, and helpful.

Utilize and grow with the right and confident knowledge. Do not dismiss or flush out of your system the false and harmful knowledge. Instead, keep a file in your mind of things that are negative or untrue. Having the record on hand helps you from having to relearn or possibly remaking the same mistakes.

Giving Advice

There are times when it seems that everyone has advice about what you should be doing. Just because they do not know your circumstances or your needs, or how you perceive a situation, they are still there with what they believe is the way to fix your mistakes. I know I make my fair share of errors.  It just aggravates me when someone who only sees a small sliver of the concerns tries to force their solution into my life.   

This happens to everyone. And I have a secret for you, it’s also perpetrated by everyone. Yes, in one way or another, at one time or another, we all fall into the trap of thinking we know what’s best for someone else. And sometimes, we do this whether we mean to do it, or not.

If you find someone has taken you under their wing as their fix-it project for the week, thank the person kindly, take a quick check to make sure whether or not they are correct. And then move forward with what you know you need to do. Taking a few moments for a sanity check is always considered a viable action.

If the person giving you advice becomes aggressive in seeing suggestions implemented, your only real action is avoidance. You’re not saying they’re awful people. Because most people like this, including ourselves when we do it, are well-meaning. And yet, when push comes to shove, each and every one of us can back into the blunder of trying to force our way of doing things on someone else.

I do not wish to superimpose my thoughts into how you handle such offerings of this kind. I can only tell you what I strive to do in such situations. The first thing is to wait until asked to provide any ideas or comments. And secondly, when and if I am asked, I respond genuinely with care and understanding.

Thank you for reading the blog. I’ll write another one again on Monday.

 

 

 

Community

Lately, it seems the country is caught between floods and fires. Here in the Springs, we had terrible smoke and haze on Sunday from the fires in California Oregon, and even locally in Woodland Park. Monday, we had heavy afternoon storms that caused some of the worst flooding in the last few years. The water came down Ute pass and through Manitou Springs.

The mess left from hail, which was more than ankle-deep, and the gunk from the stream overflowing, brought the small tourist town to a standstill. The next morning civic togetherness was in full demonstration as many people in town showed up to help clean up the mess. It would take a few days to get the Town back up and running again. And, of course, the loss due to property damage and lack of tourist trade will set the town back.

The most helpful thing to come from this is the fact that even with the property damage, interruptions to routines, and loss of business, the entire community came together to help each other and clean up the mess. The town stood together to ensure everyone was safe and could recover from this devastation. Manitou Springs once again is a positive role model of a southwestern community.

This is one more occurrence that makes me step back and ask myself, “What have I done for others lately?”

Getting It Done

Some days it seems hard to concentrate. I don’t know if the lack of concentration is from age, or from too many things pulling me into many directions. I just know that I often feel as though I should be doing something else.

When I am working on the lessons I’m learning, for new projects I am about to undertake, I feel I should be working more on my courses or writing my books. When I’m writing my books, I think I should be marketing. When marketing I feel as though I should be doing something else.

I know that I tend to take on more than I can do. And, I tackle it head-on. I like to stay busy. The fact that I have a lot to do means I can get a lot done.

If I watch television shows of interest, they can give me a real guilt complex. Why am I watching TV when I have so much to do? And we’re not even getting started on iPad computer games. If you want to know what addiction feels like innocently find a game to play. Three weeks later, you can see yourself playing it when you first wake up, and before you go to sleep at night. You will be trying to find time during the day to play it.  Kids hooked on games, never stand a chance to get other things done.  Having multiple apps and playing them when you really should be doing other things is a guilt trip you would not believe.

The thing to do is limit game time. List and rank-order what you must get done, what you would like to get done, and what is just some minutia you can do whenever you find free time. The next thing you have to do is schedule what you can, and then fit the rest of the items in, as they fit.

The trick is to schedule the big things first. Those are the things which will take the longest time. Then I can fit smaller jobs in around the more significant time blocks. Then, add the minutia wherever possible. You can also use computer office assistant, and apps such as automatic bill pay or calendar reminders, to take off some of the burdens and keep you on schedule.

I’m not going to say you have to do this or should do that. There are plenty of great systems and applications on the market for setting something up. The trick is to find what works for you, and the ones that you will follow.

We hope to see you tomorrow, have a great day

Getting Started Is Hard

Sometimes getting started is hard. When these times come, the real heroes are the ones who get up and take a step forward anyway. What direction they go, or how far they go, or how fast they go does not matter. The important thing is that they make the initial move. Starting to move is always harder than keeping the momentum going.

Many things can get in our way of that first step. Whether it is a physical problem or a mental block does not really matter. The seeming inability to get started, always feels the same.

There is a trick I used to teach my team when anger, fear, resentment, or other problems blocked a path to moving in positive directions. This is something that I have used and seen work, and I’ll share with you now.

I used to supervise an assembly team for computers and servers. Whenever grumblings, complaints, or other items that detracted from our ability to work would show up, I would take everybody into a conference room. I would explain to them that they were all outstanding workers and yet we had some concerns about actually getting the job done and doing it right. And then I would put a trash can in the middle of the conference table with an entire team of up to 27 people sitting around the table.

I would look at the trashcan and look at the people. And I would explain to them that we were carrying things we absolutely did not need, and these items hurt our ability to build. The elements of this pain were the contrary ideas we had.  The thoughts were also destroying our ability to have a fun and productive shift.

I then had everybody take their hands and wind-up all their negative feelings in a ball. They wound up all the petty problems, all the trivial concerns that were preventing them from having a fun and productive shift.

I would have them take this imaginary ball that they had built with their own hands, smooshing it together as tight as possible so nothing would get loose. And, I would have them throw that ball into the trashcan. With the concerns now on the trashcan, I explained to them some of the good things that they had done in the past, and some of the great things they were capable of in the future. Then I explained we were going to go back to work. I said to them that no one was to reach in the trashcan on the way out and take their ball back out with them.

This actually does work. It is a physical moment in which people can clear their mind, leave troubles behind, and actually go forth to do great things. You don’t have to have a team of 27 people to do this. You can do this by yourself. Just set the trashcan on your desk or in the center of the room.  Get all those disturbances which are blocking you from doing what you want to do out of your head, and into the trashcan.  Sometimes, it’s even reasonable to take the trashcan out the back door and empty it.

Have a great day. Please do not pick up any imaginary problem balls on your way out.