You should…

…worry more, trust less, find the worst in others, assume the most dire, focus on your failures, doubt yourself more, aim lower, be less enthused, try nothing new, believe you are destined for failure, and when all else fails – give up.

Sounds ridiculous when you put it that way – is there a way to put it where it sounds less ridiculous?

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This is life…unplanned

We spend a lifetime planning…

we plan for our education

we plan for our wedding

we plan for our family

we plan for our retirement

But most of life unfolds before us unplanned.   We live day-to-day with our family, spend time with friends, work with our colleagues, and generally go about our business.  Most of life isn’t planned…it just is.

Rather than looking forward to the milestones in life and expecting fulfillment in those events, we should plan to find joy in the present moment – where life is lived.

Blinded by the light

Dr. Orin Gelderloos would remind us (students) in his field biology course to keep the sun to our back when identifying birds in the field.  Looking toward the sun would distort the image and lead us to an improper conclusion.

Facing the sun in business or in life may result in a distorted image as well.

  • Get blinded by your most recent win, and you might start to believe your own hype.
  • Get blinded by the most recent defeat, and you might just believe that you are a failure.

Balance, perspective, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Quit

Tired of trying?  Tired of digging deeper…yet again?

Have no more tenacity of purpose, no more sticktoitiveness, no more “one more tries” left in you?

Can’t even consider another class, one more counseling session, one more revised business plan?

The answer is easy – quit.

That’s right, quit.  No more disappointments, no more frustrations, no more trying to find the right formula, the right words, the just-right solution.

Total surrender to the inevitable; mind, body, and spirit.

There is a reason we struggle with quitting and why it doesn’t settle well with us – it may be that “still small voice” reminding us we are not designed for quitting.   It goes against our very nature.

As difficult as “it,” whatever it may be, is…quitting isn’t the answer.  Quitting can be damaging and even damning to our soul.  As Douglas MacArthur said, “Age wrinkles the body.  Quitting wrinkles the soul.”

One more try…till we take our last breath.

 

 

Choosing Wisely

We have a choice, I think.

Either the events that unfold in our life can teach us, change us, shape us, and make us better than we are…

Or we can (wrongly) assume that we have already arrived at perfection and it’s everyone else that needs to change.

One leads to frustration and regret, the other leads to growth and a life more fulfilled.

Five years ago I wish I would have…

Most of us have a few regrets in our life, things we wished we would have done.  Sometimes they are big regrets or events that we passed on (usually for lame reasons).  But many times it’s the little regrets that pile up that lead to a life unexamined.

There are some classes at the local university that look interesting.

Maybe next semester…next semester never comes and you miss an experience that could have changed your career and your path in life.

How would you like to meet a new group of people at this event?

No, I have to get up early…lifelong friendships are never forged.

Join us for worship?

No, I’m just too tired…self-pity, rather than soul searching, begins to define your life.

I would like you to meet someone!

I’m pretty introverted and quiet…and a relationship that could have been…never is.

Consider those seemingly small decisions, those “no thanks, not this time” in the context of tomorrow.   What will you be glad you didn’t pass up in November 2012?

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

Work is Good

Long hours, dealing with adversity, overcoming challenges, the project that had everything go wrong, the project where disaster was averted because we figured “it” out.

We recall with fondness the times of hard work, perseverance and overcoming challenges.

Not so much the times when our talents were not being used.  Not so much when we were not part of the team.  Not so much when perhaps we faced a time of no work.

Work is good.  We are hard wired to be challenged and it violates our nature not to work and use our skills.

The lack of work and lack of purpose may help explain problems from inner-city crime and decay to fading focus in retirement.

The first thing God does after the creation of mankind was not to create the list of laws and rules, He said, here is a garden, tend to it.

Tend to your garden…joyfully.

Lofty or Lowly Matters Not

Your current struggle.

Your recent victory.

Your “circle” of friends and family.

Your job.

Your joys, your angst, the really big problems, your physical and emotional ups and downs…

That you are on top of the world or in the lowest of lows…

They all share one thing.

They might be grand.

They might be unimaginable.

They might just be…but

They are all temporary.  Plan accordingly.

Give

Our society celebrates getting stuff – a new car, a new home, winning a jackpot!

But if getting is supposed to bring such happiness, why is it the most joyful people I have ever met are givers rather than takers?

Giving of our time, giving of our heart, giving as we have been gifted, will bring real joy

How About a Nice Shiny Apple?

One of the markets we work with in my “real job” in environmental consulting is agriculture. I also write about environmental issues affecting agriculture and have done research in grad school on ag-environmental issues.

One thing that is very apparent to me about today’s consumers (I’m one of them) is we have lost an appreciation for what it takes to get food from the farm to the plate. I often cringe when I hear ignorant and misinformed criticisms of agriculture. To see my soapbox treatise on this issue see my company blog.

We assume the apples will be fresh, crisp, and without blemish, the meat will be marbled to our taste, the milk fresh and wholesome, and the beans will be on sale to fit our budget. We are divorced from the process that brought “it” there. We don’t appreciate the effort that it takes to create abundant, safe, and nourishing food. We have lost the appreciation for the hard work, science, and dare I say; we have lost our sense of awe.

How about in the workplace, do we assume that the accountant will balance the books and transfer the money into our account on payday? Do we assume the support staff will do what is necessary to allow that project to off without a hitch? What about the work that is in the door? Have we forgotten what diligent efforts are put forth by sales and marketing folks to get that work in the door and on the books?

My point is…it’s good to take time and appreciate the work of your fellow employees as well as those who bring goods and services to the market. And before we jump to judgment about someone else’s work or feel we should offer someone our sage advice on how they should do their job, we would do well to remember what we knew in childhood, we are not a “know it all.”