Monthly Archives: May 2019

What to do, what to do…

Which would you want to hear?

“Go Home and Practice!”

“How to face adversity? Grin down the B’ar”

“What makes you think you’re in a Rat Race?”

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Oooh New Project!

Measurable Progress. Moving forward. Learning new things, and becoming a different person are lofty goals. Wait, becoming a different person? Why would you want to be a different person? Shouldn’t you like the person you are?

Let’s rephrase the question. Isn’t the person you currently are based on choices you’ve made and changes that resulted from those choices? If you had chosen to have a fruit smoothie for breakfast instead of an ultimate skillet, would that have affected the way you look and feel today? Well, of course. Would you be a different person?

What makes you you? Looking from the outside, the changes are microscopic, and we know from experience that microscopic changes become permanent and more noticeable when repeated every day. Looking from the heart, do you feel differently about yourself today than you did yesterday? Looking from the brain, how has your perspective of the world around you changed since yesterday? The real question, the one that makes you more like your ideal self, what did you put into your brain yesterday? When you were ordering your breakfast, how far ahead were you looking?

“Wow, I’m hungry!  That looks delicious!  I will have (make) that!” or

“Wow, I’m hungry! I’m hungry now because I ate late last night. It shouldn’t take much to fill me up now, so I’ll have just enough–something to tide me over to lunch.” or

“Wow, I’m hungry! What would be the healthiest thing to eat this morning? This will make me feel full, but won’t shoot all that sugar in, and that will be better than the caffeine that will make me hungry again before lunch. I will have (make) this.”

What did you read yesterday? What did you set out to learn yesterday? What ideas did you expose yourself to? What ideas were sparked from your conversations? What concepts did you explore? Do you think you built onto the self you were yesterday or did you add a branch? The only way you aren’t a different person today than you were yesterday is if you didn’t get up and do anything new. No, that’s not right. That would have been a choice and would have changed you the other way–made you less than you were the day before. In choosing not to expand, you shut down something in your head that looks for opportunities to grow. Your brain, desperate for something new, developed a slightly different perspective on the world, and because it was a microscopic change, you didn’t see it. I guess that regardless of what you do, you cannot be the same person you were yesterday. To put it bluntly, the only way you don’t change the person you were yesterday is if you freeze that moment when you are the person you choose to be and die in that precise moment.

Since this is MY blog, let me tell you what I did.

I wrote about the Rat Race concept because I’d been thinking of it all night. I went to have an adjustment to help me walk without a limp. I went to breakfast and worked on some puzzles so I don’t lose my marbles. I came home and started to learn French! (That’s a rant by the way.) I went to meet a friend of mine who’s collaborating with me on a manual that helps people plan conferences. I had Soul Food! (An Italian sausage with mustard and fried onions on a toasted bun, and some coleslaw.) I started sifting through ideas for an international speech to give for the Toastmasters Contest next spring. I gave a French Horn lesson. Then I watched some TV.

I am following “Criminal Minds” and the geek on the show has been thrown in prison pending his trial. Due to the machinations of the villain, instead of being put into protective custody (as an FBI agent, he’d be in mortal danger) he’s been put in General Population, and he’s not emotionally or physically equipped to handle this situation. So as I’m watching the episodes, I am noting the changes in his character. He has pitted his mind against so many clever serial killers; he has been exposed to many techniques that allow him to go undiscovered as a criminal; he has the IQ of over 150. I have noted his change in stance and the look in his eyes. He’s been bullied all his life, and his mother’s schizophrenic and has developed Alzheimer’s. Had he made one choice in his youth, he might have been one of the serial killers instead of the FBI agent that has caught them. He was tortured and drugged in one episode by a criminal who had a disassociative personality disorder, so he has some lingering PTSD. Will he become the killer he has chased? Will he defeat the villain that has put him into this situation, or will he kill him?

What fascinates me is how well the profilers read the people around them.  They’d be like wizards to normal people. They read micro-expressions, they are hyper-aware of their surroundings when confronting a criminal and can interpret unconscious behavioral traits like how the subjects arrange the pictures of their children or what clothes they like to wear. And yet…the members of this team are constantly flummoxed by newer and scarier criminals. They MUST grow and become different people in order to capture the bad guy.

The top people in industry and education and any other field you wish to examine are becoming, not static. Put something new into your brain every day, then ruminate on it and create some new idea, new thought, new action that will enhance what you put into your brain. It may change the way you feel about yourself and/or how you perceive the people and the world around you. Then you can choose to keep the information or discard it.

But you cannot remain the same person you were yesterday. You will be different tomorrow. The good news is that you are in complete control of who you choose to be.

Why FIX that?

We’ve had some accidents lately.  Don’t judge.

  1. Our mailbox was placed when we moved in and bought our house about 1998. (We rented it for a year.) It has rusted out at the ground level and is now totally supported by the bricks we’ve stacked around it.
  2. Our couch broke. One of the welds broke when Mark sat on it. In order to fix what is broken, we have to remove the covering either directly under the cushion, or turn it over and remove it from the bottom. Then we have to fix the weld, then recover the section. OR we could remove the springs entirely and replace it with plywood with a padded cover.

Which one do we fix?

Let’s look at the cost considerations:

Replace the mailbox…costs for new mailboxes go from $40-$400. Remove old mailbox, put in a new one. Fix mailbox, bolster it with a metal rod assembly and attach current support structure with wire. Which would look better?

Replace couch…costs for new couch go from $250-$2500. Finance the new couch and have the broken one picked up and disposed of. Fix couch, get plywood cut to correct dimensions, cover with batting and upholstery material, attach to couch, cover with cushions. Takes hours of time and care, costs for plywood, upholstery materials. Fixed couch shows no sign of being fixed to the casual looker.

Which one do you think we want to replace? Yup, the couch.

Why would we do that? It makes no financial sense. Because fixing something requires time and care and a place to work on large pieces of wood, we look at it as an impossibly long and complicated process. We’d RATHER NOT. We can slap-dash fix the mailbox, and it would take little time or effort, might last a little while longer, but regardless, it will look like crap. So effort, time and care are higher opportunity costs.  We do not want to pay for that cost. Fix it quickly–buy new or slap-dash. We are now sure of our priorities…minimum effort.

Hopelessly Devoted?

That hit me oddly.

You’re devoted to a person or a cause or whatever and with no hope to ever attain it? Well, that doesn’t make sense. Can you choose what you are devoted to? You’d think so. You can devote yourself to your work, to your significant other, to your family, to your beliefs. You can devote yourself to yourself! But isn’t that devotion something that is supposed to GIVE you hope?

Hope is to Desire with the expectation of attainment or fulfillment.

Hope is to Expect with confidence.

Devotion is the Fact or state of being dedicated and loyal.

Therefore Hopelessly devoted means you are being dedicated and loyal without any chance of attainment or fulfillment. It is a contradiction of terms. Why would anyone choose to do that? Ahhhhh. A Stalker!

It may be just my opinion, but I think anyone that is Hopelessly Devoted to anything is creepy.