Don’t waste your time…Run to the next window

September 23, 2017

There are quotes that I happen upon that, thought totally unrelated, just seem to naturally go together. Here are two that I have collected over time from the Jack’s Winning Words blog:

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to the next.”  (Brooke Shields)

“You have to be able to laugh at yourself and to take it with a grain of salt.”  (Khloe Kardashian)

While life is obviously serious business, we all tend to take things too seriously, especially when we get down on ourselves. Sometimes we try things and fail. Sometimes we do bored2stupid things that we should have known better not to do. Sometimes life throws a curve ball at us and we react badly. Most of those times result in some amount of our time being spent in an unhappy state of mind. We may be sad or angry or frustrated or disappointed, but we are not happy.

Perhaps we are angry at ourselves, which can be the hardest thing to forgive; just because there is no one else to blame. In any event, we waste time not being happy. Why? Does it really do any good to be angry? Does being disappointed make anything different? Does wallowing in self-pity make you feel any better? Perhaps a good cry depression4relieves some of the pain of the sadness of a lost or a disappointment, but does it change anything? Let the moment pass. Let go of the thing that is effecting you and move on. Step back and laugh at yourself…run to the next window.

I recently got to see this philosophy in action. I good friend had her business literally snatched out from under her, due to circumstances over which she had no control. A big, direct competitor in her line of business bought the building that her business was housed in and basically shut it down by canceling her lease. There was nowhere else to go in the area and the only choice that she had was to shut down her business.

calm personThese events could have been personally devastating for her; but, she has a great attitude and is viewing it as an opportunity to do something new and different. Was she initially bummed? Yes, who wouldn’t be. But, rather than wallow in self-pity and walking around complaining about how unfair life can be; she has decided to see this as an opportunity. She has accepted it better, and probably has a better attitude about it, than the people who were her clients in the old business. She is running to the next window and is actually excited about the new adventure. What a great attitude and reaction to the things that life has thrown her way. I’m sure that everyone who knows her will support her in her new career.

I read a story not too long ago about a man who was diagnosed with a terminal condition and given less than a year to live. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to live to the fullest in the time that he has and to throw a party for his family and friends so that they could all celebrate his life together, rather than waiting for some sort of wake after his death. What a great idea. It is a lot easier to deal with the inevitability of death if you have a firm belief in your faith that this is just a transition point into the next life. You need not fear death as a great the unknown, when you know God and believe in whathelping hands comes next…you can run to the next window of happiness.

So, the choice is yours. You can get down and stay down on yourself, because of what life has handed you; or, you can run to the next window of happiness. Knowing that God is with you makes the journey to that next window a lot less scary. I’ll see you at the next window.

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What are you grateful for?

November 29, 2016

“Gratitude improves your attitude, dude!”  (James Taylor), as seen on a recent post at the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

When you get older even things like waking up for another day can be something that one gratitude-1is grateful for. Being grateful is a realization and acknowledgement that the things that happen to us, the experiences that we have and the successes that we experience in life are not totally within our control. Other powers, or other people, have a causal effect on our lives. When you can acknowledge that, the veil of feeling alone in this world is lifted and your gratitude improves your attitude, dude.

When we can put aside ego for a moment and acknowledge and be grateful for those other people and that higher power, we are embracing the fact that we are part of something greater than ourselves; we are a part of society, a member of the pack called “We”. There is some reward in saying “I” did it; but there is a much greater feeling of goodness when you can say “We” did it. It is much more rewarding to thanks and hug others and receive hugs for having accomplished something together than to sit alone and ponder your success. Gratitude improves your attitude, dude.

gratitude-3Beyond acknowledging and being grateful for the help of others, there is the awareness that a higher power is at work in the world and does not ignore you. You may call out for help in prayer to God or you may thank God for saving your bacon today; in either case you are stepping back from your own ego and acknowledging God and showing gratitude for His presence in your life. A secondary benefit of thanking God in prayer for what he has already done for you is the comforting feeling that you’ll get that the future will be OK too, because He will be with you then, too. Gratitude improves your attitude, dude.

We are in the season when people overload on Hallmark Channel feel-good movies and shows and all of the classics from Miracle on 34th Street to Charlie Brown’s Christmas. In every happy ending to those stories there is a group acknowledgement of gratitude for each other and for God and the spirit of Christmas as expressed in the manger in attitude-2Bethlehem. Every Christmas story ends with a group hug and cheerful attitudes as the characters acknowledge and are grateful for the birth of Jesus and His lasting impact on their lives. What are you grateful for this year? Think about it and then say it our loud. It will make you feel better to do that, because gratitude improve your attitude, dude.

Have a grateful week ahead!


You can make it the way you take it…

March 7, 2016

“No life is so hard that you can’t make it easier by the way you take it.”  (Ellen Glasgow) – as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Perhaps you have encountered someone with a sever disability who was still happy or maybe someone so down on their luck that you can’t believe that could still be smiling.

Snoopy joyYou’ve stumbled upon people who live their lives by today’s quote. They never give up hope and they are thankful for what they have, even though it may not seem to be much to us. Most of the time you will have also encountered someone who has a deep faith and belief in God. It is upon that rock that they can build their optimistic or upbeat frame of mind and take life as it is.

Not everyone takes life, especially a hard life, in a way that allows them to be happy. Much of the time that is because they hold on to the belief that they can somehow make things right all by themselves, that they don’t need anyone’s help (not even God’s). I’ve posted here in the past about the importance of being able to let go of things by placing them in God’s hands. That is not an admission of failure or defeat; it is, rather, a sensible way to take things that are out of your control or bigger than your ability to control.

Most of us probably don’t live what would be called a “hard life”; one filled with misery, strife or waves of sadness; yet many of us don’t enjoy the easier lives that we have because we take things the wrong way. We see every inadvertent slight or oversight as an bored
indication that “the world is against us.” We are outraged or insulted at not being included or invited to every party or event at school or work. We are dismayed at not being thanked or mentioned for work that we may have done for others. Maybe we are unhappy that we were not asked to help with a project at work or at church. We basically take everything as a personal acceptance or rejection of us and take great umbrage at the slightest oversight or hint of rejection.

The starting point for living a better life is to realize that it’s not all about you. The world isn’t really out to get you. In fact the world likely doesn’t know that you exist, which may also make you unhappy. Rather the world around you prefers to associate with and invite to events and projects those people whom it sees as positive and upbeat. People do not eeorewant to surround themselves with the Eeyores of life, but rather with the Winnie the Poohs or even the Tiggers and Piglets. While there are some who might come across as disgustingly upbeat; they are still preferable to those who only want to drag you into their personal mental dungeons.

So, your challenge is to take life as it comes at you, do what you can and ask for God’s help when you need it. It’s probably not a bad idea to stat each day prayingwith a little prayer that asks for God’s help as the day goes on. Perhaps something like, “Dear God, help me make the right decisions today on the things that I can control; let me hand off to you the things that I cannot control; and give me the wisdom to know the difference.”

Have a great day and an easier life this week.


So, what’s your problem?

August 12, 2015

On the Jack’s Winning Words Blog today –  “The way we see problems is the problem.”  (Stephen Covey) Jack went on to write –  Everybody’s got problems …big, small, and tweener.  Problems are simply choices that we have to make each day.  S.C. says that problem-solving begins with correctly pinpointing the problem.  “What’s your problem?”  Calmly look for all possible solutions.  Prioritize, and then follow through.  If “1” doesn’t work, try “2”, etc.  And, remember the adage, “Not to decide is to decide.”    😉  Jack
painted into cornerI’ve posted here previously about problem solving; however, Covey’s little quote spurred some additional thinking on the topic. If I was to suggest a slight change to Covey’s quote is would be, “the way we see things as problems is the problem.”  There are, of course, real problems in life; but, then there are the things that we see as problems which are either totally imagined or best just left alone or ignored.

Maybe you know someone who is so paranoid that they believe that everyone is out to get them or that everybody’s talking about them behind their backs. Those people are creating problems out of nothing but their imagination. Of course, since they think there is a problem, they expend a great deal of energy trying to solve those problems. They may run aroundgossip confronting people whom they believe are talking about them or they may spend time denying imagined allegations which they believe are being spread about them; and that’s their real problem.

Others may see things that are best left alone as problems that they should try to do something about. An oversight by someone else becomes a slight against them, in their minds. Not being invited to an event becomes a major problem for them to be investigated and perhaps corrected. These same people may encounter things in life that just occur without thnk about itrhyme or reason and decide that they will try to correct things. They may spend hours or days researching the
“problem” without ever really accomplishing anything. Eventually they lose interest in the problem and wander off in search of the next windmill with which to tilt.

So, maybe Covey should have started his advice on the resolution of problems by saying that first it is important to take a moment to decide if this is really a problem and then maybe is it really your problem? Trying to “solve” something that is not really a problem is frustrating and taking on problems that aren’t really yours is seldom successful. There are problems that are so large and general in nature that they spawn movements to resolve them, so maybe joining a cause is the best solution for you. You won’t solve the problem by yourself, but you can help.

If the problem really is yours, you can follow Covey’s advice and perhaps read my post on Problem Solving 101. Almost all advice on problem solving follows the same path. Another good piece of advice is to keep problems in some perspective. Almost no problem that you will encounter in life is a life or death situation and most are way less critical than we make them out to be. The world will not end if you do not resolve the problem at hand. Don’t let your problem solving efforts totally consume your life. Step back or step away from them every now and then to catch your breath and to re-evaluate their importance to your life. You may be surprised how many of them just evaporate before your eyes as you are e-examining them. Some of them you may just decide to let be andhand reaching for heaven
stop your efforts to solve them; and that’s OK, too. Some of them you may need to take to God and ask Him to
take them off your shoulders. There is an immense sense of relief when you take your problems to God, because you have now engaged the best problem solver ever. You gotta problem with that?


Take a risk and learn something today…

June 29, 2015

From my favorite source for topic inspiration, the Jack’s Wining Words blog, came this thought –

When you take risks you will find that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important.”  (Ellen DeGeneres)

I believe that Ellen’s point is that you can learn something from both successes and failures and that makes them equally important. I posted here recently about not being afraid to take the first step. That advice was aimed at helping people see how to get over the fear of failure that holds many of us back.

take a riskIf you really take Ellen’s advice to heart you’ll actually move to a different level. That level says that we shouldn’t expend a lot of energy ahead of time worrying about possible outcomes and the risk of failing. That is all wasted energy and mental effort. Rather we should focus upon executing the current plan and then learning from it, no matter what the outcome. If we take a risk we go into it knowing that it is a risk and that the outcome may not be what we had hoped. Hopefully we also know what the risk was and remember what the alternative might have been. That way, we can assess the outcome in light of possible alternative for the next time that we try.

Probably the most insane thing that we could do is to take the same risk again without having learned anything from the failure of our first attempt. There is a definition of insanity that says that it is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome each time. Don’t go there. Frustration is the end point of that journey.

Maybe the risk that you can take today is to say “Hi” to that person that you’ve been dying to meet. What’s the worst saying hellothat can happen – probably that they ignore you altogether. Put on a smile and say, “Hello, I’m (your name goes here). How are you today?” You may be surprised that a large number of those people that you greet were just waiting for someone to say “Hi”. And, if that fails, what have you learned? Maybe that person that you thought would be so great to meet isn’t really all that great after all. Or, maybe you need to try a different approach. Try to learn from the experience.

Have a great and educational week ahead – trying new things and learning from your efforts, both successful and the failures.


When Life gets in the way…

June 10, 2015

As seen on a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog – “Reality has a way of intruding into one’s life.” (Joe Biden) Vice-President Biden recently lost his son Bo to brain cancer and has suffered other   big losses in his life.

I often use the little phrase “life gets in the way” as a way of explaining why I didn’t get something done or why I had to change my plans. Life is reality and reality is life and they do have a way of intruding and changing one’s plans.

We all tend to live in our own little worlds of hopes, dreams, plans and routines and very often all of those things are put man rushing
on hold when reality (life) gets in the way. I don’t know about you; but I tend to get annoyed if I’m late for some appointment or commitment. For me it seems important at the time to be on time; however, many times the thing that I’m rushing to get to or do isn’t really all that important and my wife will bring some reality into the situation by saying something like, “why hurry; what have you got to do for the rest of the day?” She’s usually right; whether I’m there right on time or a few minutes late will make no difference. Life gets in the way.

The other thing that happens often is that all of the careful plans that I may have spent hours worrying about go out the window if there’s even one small change or thing that I didn’t consider (which is often the case).  Over planning or over thinking situations is an unfortunate character trait that I seem to have passed on to my son. My wife is much more laid back, with a “whatever” attitude about most things in life (as is his wife, thankfully). I surrounded by sharksjust have trouble letting go of any perceived control and “going with the flow.” Life gets in the way.

I think the biggest problem that most of us have with the intrusiveness of life is the fact that we’re trying to live life as if we did have some control over it. At best, we have control over how we react to the things that the reality of life throws at us. It’s sort of like we’re over here living in our own little bubble (our perception of reality) and things (real life) keep poking at our bubble. We can choose to ignore some things (the things that don’t make it through our protective bubble); but some things break through and demand our attention. We have to stop what we were contentedly doing and deal with this new reality. Life gets in the way.

The things that may not make it through our protecting bubble could be things like racism or prejudices. We may think woman in a bubblethat we can ignore them and look the other way and continue to be content in our own reality. For many that seems to work as a day-to-day way to live their lives. Refusing to acknowledge that there are problems for them means not having to confront and deal with them. Occasionally one of those problems may break through because they hit too close to home – a racially motivated incident in our own town or perhaps witnessing directly the hate that can accompany prejudice. In those times we must react and find our own way to deal with the intrusion of this new reality. Life gets in the way.

I suspect that the main difference between those who might be called “regular people” and those labeled as “activists” is that the activists have dropped the pretense of life in a bubble and seek to confront and affect change in the realities of the life that they see around them. They have found that they cannot ignore the injustices that they can clearly see and have decided to take action. They have decided that when life gets in the way, they will find a way to change reality rather than just accept it. You have to admire that.

woman boxerSo, what will you do when life gets in the way and when reality intrudes on your life? At a minimum, you are in control of how you react and deal with the intrusion into your bubble. Will you try to turn away and ignore the intrusion, in hopes that it will just go away; or will you decide to take action and change the reality that you face. If you start each day with the attitude of “bring it on, I’m ready for whatever you’ve got”, you’ll be much better prepared for when life gets in the way.

Have a great day, but be ready for when life gets in the way.


Do you need to change before you go?

May 15, 2015

“A bad attitude is like a flat tire; you can’t go anywhere until you change it.”  (Guideposts)

Many times when we are going out, whether for diner or something else, we may feel the need to change clothes. Perhaps we get a little more informal, if we’ve been working in a suit all day, or maybe a little more formal, if we’ve been in jeans all day and we’re going to a nicer place or event.

bad attitudeSometimes it’s our attitudes that need changing. A tough day at work can result in you bringing home a grumpy or down disposition and perhaps being too abrupt with our family members. Sometimes a bad day that can result in incidents of road rage before you even get home. A recent incident involving road rage actually resulted in one of the participants being killed and the other party being convicted of murder. Those were both attitudes that needed to be changed before they got on the road.

Sometimes we wake up with a bad attitude – called getting out on the wrong side of the bed by many. Perhaps we are facing a day with something scheduled or expected during it that we dread – having to let someone go or maybe a break-up with someone; or perhaps we fear being let go that day. Whatever the cause, we really need to try to change our bad attitude before we proceed. There are things that we can’t change in life, but we can approach them with the outlook that we will get through whatever it is and that we will make the best out of it.

So, before you set out to whatever is ahead of you next, check your outfit and your attitude and see if either needs changing. You would just embarrass yourself if you showed up at a swanky event in your jeans and it can be just as embarrassing to realize later that you were acting like an ass at an event or with a family member, or whomever, becausemirror you had the wrong attitude on. You can actually see both in a mirror if you look. The clothes issue is perhaps more obvious; however, that scowl that you may see looking back at you is not appropriate attire either. No one wants to see you show up at the party in a Speedo or with a scowl on your face – both are embarrassing.

I have found that, if I stand there for a minute of two just looking in the mirror, I will eventually ask myself, “What’s that scowl all about? What are you mad at and why?” Then I might make a funny face at myself to break the mood. That usually works and helps me re-adjust my attitude.  I may get one of Red Nose Daythose red clown noses that will be used on Red Nose Day and keep it by the mirror for future attitude adjustments. I have a feeling that sticking on a red nose and standing there looking at yourself with it on will break just about any bad mood. Get one and try it.

One thing that most people are unaware of is how they look in their normal, relaxed state. It’s not that you really are scowling at the world, but rather that most people’s faces just naturally droop into what looks like a scowl. So, you may have to be more conscious about trying to smile and look friendly to those whom you encounter. People may initially wonder what you’re smiling about, but that’s better than them trying to avoid you because you look so unhappy. People will actually ask, “What’s got you looking so happy?” If you answer, “The thought of meeting (or talking to) you”; you will be off to a great start with them and have a great attitude at the same time.

Have a great weekend and start it off right by checking your attitude and making adjustments as needed. And, if youbad attitude cartoon
should happen to see someone who obviously has a bad attitude, see if there’s anything that you can do to help them change, too. Perhaps just being around you will be enough, like Kevin Spear showed in this cartoon. It’s better to glow than to glower.