Whining about it is a waste of time…

December 11, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this quote – “Realize that if you have time to whine and complain about something, then you have the time to do something about it.”   (Anthony D’Angelo)

Whining about things seems to be a favorite pastime for many, maybe because it is the easiest things to do when faced with a roadblock or setback or calamity. Whining is sometimes a cry for sympathy or help, but most often ii is just a convenient excuse for doing nothing about whatever it is that troubles the whiner. For them, it seems to take less effort to whine about it than to do something about it. Whining about it is a waste of time…

Now, sometimes having a good cry about something is a healthy emotional release. Once the tears stop, the next step should be about getting on with life and not about going into whining mode. There is an old saying that “misery loves company”, but nobody really likes to be around a whiner. That is why people try to avoid the “Debby Downer” types at work or socially. No one really expects, or hopes, to hear a long list of ailments or health complaints when they say to someone, “How are you?” Whining about it is a waste of time…

So, how do you implement the second half of today’s quote and do something about whatever it is that is bothering you? If it’s a problem that has you down, trying some of the problem solving steps that I’ve written about here many times (to start see my Problem Solving 101 post). If the issue concerns your health, the loss of a loved one or the end of a relationship, there are other steps that you can take to deal with it, rather than just whining about it. Whining about it is a waste of time…

Issues with one’s health can be particularly difficult because the initial reaction to bad health news is that there is nothing that you can do – it is what it is. The fight or flight reaction sets in and many use whining as their flight response. They seek comfort in someone else’s response to their bad news. Those people seldom appear in the nightly news stories about survivors of various forms of cancer or other ailments or afflictions. The people who appear in those stories chose to fight instead of whining. Instead of using what time you may have been told you have left whining about it, why not choose to fight instead and use that time finding a way to prove the prognostication wrong. You will find that many more people rally around a fighter than those who choose to commiserate with a whiner. Whining about it is a waste of time…

For those instances of the loss of a parent, child or life mate, the choice is more focused upon getting on with life and putting your memories of that person into proper perspective. For some, whose loved ones were taken by preventable circumstances; instead of whining about it they turn to doing something about it. That is how M.A.D.D. got started and how many worthwhile charities got started. The people left behind decided to try to do something to prevent the recurrence of the tragedy that befell them, instead of just whining about it. Whining about it is a waste of time…

The end of a relationship can also lead to whining or to actions. Step one is always accepting the fact that the relationship has ended. That is difficult for some and can lead to bad actions or disaster. For most, it is a matter of putting more time into answering the question, “What now?”  It is a time for some self-reflection. The breakup of a relationship is seldom a completely one-side decision. The importance of taking a little time for self-reflection is to understand the role that your own actions or reactions played in the end of the relationship. It is not a time to beat yourself up; but, rather, to understand what you might do differently in a future relationship. Whining about it is a waste of time…

So, did I mention that Whining about it is a waste of time…


What is your goal today?

November 5, 2019

In a world seemingly oriented to goal setting and daily To-Do lists that seem to dictate our use of time, Dyer’s advice seems to be most appropriate. In fact, if you threw away your current To-Do list and just wrote down “Be a better person today than I used to be”, you will have recorded the most important thing that you could spend your time on today. It is a goal, which will help you accomplish all of the important things that you need to do today.

Some people find that it is helpful to wear a little bracelet with the initial WWJD – What Would Jesus Do – as a reminder to them to be a better person. You could have one that says WSID – What Should I Do – that would be just as effective, if it reminded you to be a better person.

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog used this quote – “My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be.”  (Wayne Dyer)

One way to focus upon that goal is to stop and say a quick little prayer – “Lord, help me be a better person today than I was yesterday.” Your mind will take over from there, as God puts thoughts in it about how you can accomplish that goal today. You may see things and people that you overlooked yesterday and you will react differently. You may make better decisions today, because you are more conscious of the need to think things through better and perhaps apply better standards against those decisions. Your personal relationships may improve because today you take the time for a warm greeting or a hug; whereas, yesterday you just hurried on by that person.

A side-benefit of focusing upon being a better person is that you won’t end up with a case of the coulda, woulda shoulda’s at the end of the day. There will be no need to say to yourself, “I coulda said ‘Hi’ to Sally, who looked like she needed a greeting”; or “ I wish I woulda ask Mary how her mom is doing “; or I coulda stopped and ask Joe how is wife is doing with her breast cancer treatments”. You won’t have those regrets at the end f the day because you did stop and interact with those people. You were being a better person today than you might have been yesterday. And, didn’t that fee great?

So, after you’ve checked yourself in the mirror; but, before you go out the door on the way to work; stop and say that little prayer – “Lord, help me be a better person today than I was yesterday.”

I promise you that you’ll end up better than your were at the end of thre day.


You can’t deny it, so deal with it…

September 18, 2019

The first stage of grief is often defined as denial, the “I can’t believe that he/she is gone” or “I can’t believe that this happened” stage. That is also the first stage (maybe the precursor is a better description) of dealing with problems in life. Recently this quote appeared in the Jack’s Winning Words blog –

“When you confront a problem, you begin to solve it.”  (Rudy Giuliani)

Zig Zigler put it slightly differently – “ The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist.”

I’ve posted here a few times about problem solving (see Problem Solving 101) and there are lots of great posts and article on line about how to resolve a problem, once you have identified it. There are fewer things devoted to recognizing the problem in the first place.

Confronting the problem means acknowledging that it exists. For many it is that first step that is missing. They can’t see the problem, especially if it is them – how they are acting in or living their life.  Spousal abusers seldom see what they are doing as controlling or manipulative, much less as abusive. Addicts become too focused upon the next high to deal with their addiction. Sometimes it is hubris, as much as anything else that clouds the judgement of the problem; the arrogant and self-important people of the world see things that are considered wrong by others as rights or entitlements. For these people, who can’t see that they have a problem or that they are the problem, interventions by family or friends is often the only way to get them to confront the problem.

If denial is the first stage precursor to dealing with a problem, many times it is quickly replaced by excuses. The immediate response to any threat is fight or flight and excuses provide a little of both by providing a way  to deflect blame for the problem by claiming that it someone else’s fault or caused by someone else. The wife beater may blame the actions of his wife to justify the beating with the comment that “she deserved it”. It is also easy to shift the blame for ones actions on some nebulous entity, such as society or everybody.

Do you remember what your mom told when you used the excuse that “everybody is doing it” to justify something stupid that you did as a youth? That advice still applies to your adult life. You can’t ignore or deny a problem that you might have by citing that excuse. Maybe the “everybody” that you know and to whom you are referring to is a big part of your problem.  Recent Chevrolet commercials have used the tag line “Find new roads”; maybe you need to “Find new friends”.

Perhaps the third stage as a precursor to solving problems in your life is the feeling of isolation or loneliness that overcome you. It is a very lonely feeling when you have that “aha” moment and realize that you have a problem and that problem is within you. All of a sudden, everyone else seems to drop away and you are standing there by yourself with your problem. Or are you? That is the time when your faith can provide you with the support and strength to carry on. You are not alone. You are never alone. God is always there with you and ready to help. You just need to ask.

If you can get to that stage, where you ask God for help with your problem, you have broken through the stages of denial and blame and started to deal with the problem. That is huge!  It is likely that the problem is not resolved just because you have taken that first step, but you are on your way in a new direction (the right direction).  You have taken ownership and sought help. It may be that you need the help of others – therapists or councilors – but you already have God at your side, so that part is easier.

When you reach this stage, you should feel good about yourself, maybe for the first time in a long time. You may still find the next few steps in the problem solving process to be difficult, but they are rewarding as well. The problem is no longer in control of you. Now you are in control of the process to resolve it. Congratulations.

Start your day by asking for God’s help with whatever problems you have (or have been denying). Your day will go much better.


And for all the times in between?

September 13, 2019

In today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack got philosophical with this quote from Wolfgang Goethe – “Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.” 

However, what about all of the times between the joys and the not so enjoyable things, which must be endured, i.e. your normal day-to-day life? The philosophy embodied by the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On” seems most applicable to those times and actually serves the highs and lows of life very well, too. For a Christian that British saying might be translated into Pray and Persist.

We often pray when we are under the duress of a problem or loss and we pray to thank God on the occasions when we have something to celebrate. But what of the time in between? We find guidance in the Bible –  Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12)  

Prayer has a calming side effect, because it serves to offload from the practitioner the sole responsibility for resolving the issues that you are facing, whether they be things that must be endured or just common, everyday occurrences. Once you bring God into the picture through prayer, you no longer bear the weight of resolving those things by yourself.  Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Since, before starting out on each day, one cannot predict the occurrences or tribulations that might happen; perhaps a short prayer for God to give you the calm and wisdom to make good decisions is a good way to begin each day. At least it puts you in the right frame of mind to face the day, with God on your side.

So, thank God for the things that you enjoy, ask for God’s help with the things that you must endure and pray for Him to guide you and be with you in all of the time in between. Pray without ceasing and have a great day!


Don’t let the uda’s get you…

September 11, 2019

Some people always seem to let the uda’s take over their lives …the propensity to keeping saying I coulda or woulda or shoulda, when they don’t do something. They should heed the advice of the quote in today’s Jack’s Winning Words blog – “The six W’s…Work Will Win When Wishing Won’t!”  (Todd Blackledge)

The law of Inertia in physics states that a body at rest stays at rest unless some external force is applied to it.  Usually what is holding it in place is friction or maybe just gravity, so the force applied must be great enough to overcome whatever is holding it in place. In the frictionless environment of outer space, even a very small force applied to an object will cause it to move.

We face many cases of mental or emotional inertia in our daily lives. We are most often held in place by fears, prejudices or simply ignorance. We avoid someone who does look like us and thus never meet one of the most interesting people we may ever encounter. We don’t go to certain places or attend certain events because we are afraid of some imagined outcome and our lives are less rich for the loss of exposure to those experiences. We don’t try new things because, well, we just don’t try new things… we go with what we know. We let the uda’s take over our lives.

So, how can we apply the advice of today’s quote to this situation? The key is found in the first word – we must work at it, so that we don’t end up wishing that we had done (or sometimes not done) something. For many the best way to work at overcoming their personal inertia and spring into action is through prayer.  Long before Nike adopted it as a slogan, the bible had this to say about prayer –

Just do it – quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out… The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. – Matthew 5:4-6

Pray for the courage to try. Pray for an open mind to accept others as they are. Pray for patience and persistence in difficult pursuits. Pray for the willingness to accept temporary setbacks and learn from them. Pray, most of all, to be the person that God wants you to be this day.

You may find that the days go a lot better for you when you start them out in the right frame of mind by taking that time to pray before you set out for whatever is ahead. You will sense His grace throughout the day and that grace will take away the friction that preventing movement in your life.

So take the advice of Matthew or maybe of Nike and Just Do It! The laws of physics also state that a body in motion stays in motion. Overcome your personal inertia by starting your day with a little prayer to get you moving. Don’t let the uda’s get you.


Live in the moment…

July 19, 2019

A recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog had this advice from Will Rogers – “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” That’s good advice and I suspect that Will would agree that you should also not let tomorrow take up too much of today either.

Having memories or yesterday isn’t bad, nor is making plans for tomorrow; however, dwelling for too long on either is usually just a waste of time.

Our minds are wonderful things that allow us to recall moments from the past orinsight fantasize about the future. Both can be pleasurable retreats from the reality of the moment or they can be the source of pain or fears and concerns that can temporarily paralyzing.

Some people who have suffered a loss or a set-back in life get stuck reliving that event, perhaps second guessing themselves and what they did at the time or maybe just being unable to accept things and let go of the relationship or job or loved one.

In the case of the future, many people find themselves unable to settle on a course of action or cannot stop themselves from considering and exploring all possible alternatives. They literally “What if” their time away.  

depression 5Living in the moment is an exercise in focus and self-control. It is the inability to focus on the present that opens the door for the mind to wander into the past or begin exploring the future. There are all sorts of helpful Web sites, on-line articles, videos and other ways to get information about living in the moment. Just Google “Live in the moment” to see a list that is pages long.

I’ve also posted here a few times about not living in the past – see “Don’t fixate on the mirror…” and I’ve occasionally written about not spending all of your time daydreaming about the future – see my 2017 post on “The future starts now…”

So, how does one focus upon the now, rather than the past or the future?

I recently met with a Developmental Optometrist. I had no idea that such professionals even existed or that there is a need for them. What she does is work with patients, mostly children, who have vision problems that impede their ability to learn. She explained that the most common issue for many young children is the inability to properly focus their boy imaginingeyes on the books of other items in front of them. Since most are too young to have a very rich vocabulary, the issue is exacerbated by their inability to explain the problem that they are having. Her practice involves working with the children to determine the nature of their problems and to provide them with exercises to help them focus their eyes on the objects that they need to see in order to learn.

A take-away from that visit is that we may all need to develop exercises that help us focus on the things that are right in front of us. In the context of this post that means developing exercises (or habits) that bring us back from dwelling on the past or dreaming about the future and return us to living in the moment. For some it man prayingcan be as simple as keeping a calendar and taking a quick look at it every morning to reset your mind on the things that you’ve committed to do today. For many the creation of a daily To-Do list is a morning ritual. For some starting each day with a prayer allows them not only to refocus upon the day, but also to start it off in the right frame of mind and with the confidence that they are not alone in whatever the day has in store.

While I have used the terms exercise and habit as if they were interchangeable, the fact is that one precedes the other. Exercises are ritualized or repetitious sets of steps that one consciously goes through, while habits are sets of steps that one unconsciously performs because the body and mind have been trained by repetition.

Maybe you need to develop some exercises to help you focus and live in the present. Maybe taking the time for that daily morning prayer is a good exercise for you. Whatever works for you, just keep repeating it until it becomes a good habit. There is much less angst and much more satisfaction when you live in the moment.

So, join me in the now and live in this moment.


Technically – misused, overused and generally abused

March 3, 2019

If there is a word in the vernacular that I would nominate for banishment it is the word “technically”. Look it up on Google and you find this –

technically/ˈteknək(ə)lē/- (adverb)

from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

1 : with regard to or in accordance with a strict or literal interpretation of something (such as a rule, a term, or an official description or designation)

2 : with regard to technology

3 : with regard to technique (as in a performance or movement)

from Vocabulary.com – Something technically true is actually, really true or correct but it may not be the way people think about it. For example, although people call a tomato a vegetable, technically it’s a fruit.

and the definition that I like the most and think best describes its current usage –

jerk

 

from the Urban Dictionary –  What 12 year olds say to sound smart. Often found said by smartasses to make someone look wrong and stupid.

Recently I called into the local Detroit Free Press office to report that I had not received a paper that morning. I usually find the paper on my front lawn when I return from the first dog walk of the day at about 6:30 AM. That morning there was no paper and none when I checked again at about 7:15 AM. So, I called to report that I had not received one.

Of, course, I got an automated voice-response system and dutifully worked my way dinosaurthrough the various menus and options until I got to the place where I could say No to the question, “Did you get a paper this morning?” Upon answer that I had not received the paper, the machine (a machine!) proceeded to make me feel stupid by replying, “Technically, the carrier has until 7:30 to deliver your paper, so it is not yet late.” There was an implied “dumbass” at the end of that sentence, but the machine graciously left that part out. Perhaps the machine was programmed to say that by some 12 year old who found it amusing to make the machine sound superior to whatever dumbass was calling in before the deadline. Technically, I was not amused.

Also from the Urban Dictionary definition comes this further explanation –

When used at the beginning of a sentence, this word is a variety of the ‘filler’ word basically. Another direct replacement for technically is essentially. Maybe the speaker sees his or her own bad speech patterns and recycles these three words while speaking. Filler words add absolutely nothing to the sentence being spoken. Other filler words include like, just, and stuff and y’know, but they tend to be in the middle of or at the end of a sentence. Filler words are rarely used in writing and are part of acquired speech habits.

So, technically, the use of the word “technically” adds nothing to the sentence. It’s, like, just a verbal indication on one’s own level of ignorance or verbal incompetence. Y’know? Just sayin’, dude.

Say or press “1” if you understand or 2 if you are technically lost.