Choices, choices, choices…

July 30, 2018

The primary elections are coming up in a little over a week and the choices ae hard to figure out. Do I vote for the homophobic bigot or the gay socialist? How do I choose between the scallywag and the scoundrel? What is the difference between the near-do-well and the do-nothing candidates? Is one candidate less of an opportunistic professional liar than the other is? So many questions and so many bad answers.

For some, I suppose, the sleaze factor in our modern politics is just an accepted part of the game; although I have a hard time imagining that one wakes up one morning and decides to enter a profession where character assassination and mudslinging aredebaters required skills. The allure of power is very compelling and apparently sufficient to overcome common sense, personal morals and a sense of good taste in most of the political candidates. One almost feels sorry for those unwilling to lower themselves into the pit that is our current political arena. There is no way in this era of dark-money, PAC-based, mudslinging that their good names will not be dragged down to the level of their opponents.

We do not have a political environment that is necessarily based upon the voters making educated and considered choices; but, rather one that is highly susceptible to appeals to emotional messages based upon our fears and insecurities. The electorate tend to seek arrogantout and vote for those candidates with whom we can best identify in the never-ending “Us vs. Them” battle of self-interest. Since those battles are almost always based upon fear, the candidates who can best feed upon and amplify those fears often get our attention and our votes. The poor candidate espousing doing what is “right” is seldom heard above the shouts of “protect what is ours.”

There is, of course, a case to be made that this system has been with us from the beginning of the country. Political battles from the very beginning of our nation wereThomas Jefferson often filled with unsubstantiated accusations that one of the candidates was somehow unfit to serve. The Chicago Tribune did an interesting article about the history of political mudslinging during the last presidential election – see http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-campaign-mud-slinging-history-flashback-perspec-1002-md-20160930-story.html.  Somehow, the nation has survived a long procession of elected scoundrels (at least that’s how the winners were characterized by their opponents during the election cycle).

So, on August 7th, we will once again hold our collective noses and vote for the candidates whom we found to be the least onerous. Admittedly, it is sometimes hard to votesee the good that is within those for whom we vote, since their opponents and their PACs have covered them with so much mud. And, remember that this primary election is like one of the undercard matches at a WrestleMania extravaganza. We haven’t seem anything yet. Wait until the main event, when the real fireworks start going off. You want mud? We got mud. Let the real mudslinging  begin!

Ahhh, politics. Choices, choices, choices. Get out and vote on August 7th. At a minimum you can then sport one of those bumper stickers that reads, “It’s not my fault. I voted for the other guy.”

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Distance yourself from negative things and have a better day…

February 23, 2016

“Everything is going to be alright, maybe not today, but eventually, because beautiful things happen in life when you distance yourself from all the negative things.”  (Unknown)

As we start a new week, we once again have choices to make which will impact how we view things, react to things or let things affect us. We are constantly bombarded by negativemind at work things in the news, since the news media thinks we want to see and hear about the misfortunes of others, or at least the sensational bad things that happen in the world around us. In our daily lives both good and bad things happen all around us and we choose which we will focus upon. We encounter people as we go through the day and we can choose to greet them with suspicion and cynicism or with a smile and an open mind.

We can’t really be like the cartoon characters who loudly yell “La, La, La”, in an attempt to ignore or not hear the bad things in life; however, we don’t have to focus upon them or feel obligate to react to them or let them drag us down. Some people might misinterpret your lack of negative response as being uncaring; but just the opposite is true – you care; but, you just refuse to let it overwhelm you and change your approach to life and towards others. In fact, you care enough to remain upbeat and positive to help others out of their funk.

The British created the saying “Keep calm and carry on” as an expressnever give upion of this approach
to life. The sometimes stoic British ability to remain calm in the face of great danger or threat, especially during World War II, was what Winston Churchill tapped into in his famous speech that exhorted his people to “never give up.”

In our daily lives it is important to pause when negative or bad things happen before reacting to them. I’ve written here in the past about being able to say, “So what” to those things; to be able to put them into perspective and realize that most will not have the dramatic and dreaded impacts on our lives that we might initially think. After all, if you’re still there to think about them; and well, you’re still there. It didn’t kill you and that a good start and a positive thing.

rainbowSo, instead of spending any more time dwelling on that past incident, take the advice of today’s little quote and distance yourself from that and all negative things. Focus instead on finding the beautiful things that are also happening in your life. Meet someone new and perhaps make a new friend. Try something new and perhaps discover a new passion. Look for the rainbows in life and not the dark clouds

 


Three little words – Choice, Chance, Change

February 10, 2015

“Choice, Chance, Change.  You must make the choice, to take the chance, if you want anything to change.”  (Unknown) – from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

How often we dream of things we’d like to do, places we’d like to go or people that we’d like to meet; only to sit and watch those dreams evaporate because we don’t make the choice to the take the chances that are needed to make the dreams come true – to man daydreamingchange things. A dream without a plan to accomplish it is just an idol wish – a waste of the time that it took to dream it in the first place. Choice, Chance, Change.

Maybe you have a dream of a better job; but you can’t make the choice to take the chance, so nothing changes. That job is not likely to come looking for you and maybe it even requires some skills or education that you don’t have yet. The choice then might be to enroll in a community college or a businessmenregular college and take the chance of learning what you need to know to change your life so that you are equipped for that new job. Choice, Chance, Change.

Maybe your dream is to meet Mr./Ms. Right and have a lasting and meaningful relationship, perhaps even marriage. There are TV commercials for sites like Match.com that constantly ask why you have not signed up for their service; why you have not made the choice to take the chance that this site and their service will change you r life? Whether you believe in
handshakethose sites and services are not the real questions that they are asking you are about what overt actions you have taken or are willing to take to realize your dream. Choice, Chance, Change.

Many people have the desire to travel, or so they say; yet too many never get away. They claim that they are too busy with work or with family to be able to travel and see the things that they dream of seeing. Many say that they will travel when they get older; while the elderly often lament that they wish they had travels when they were younger and could still participate in the many activities that might be available (there are few geriatric para-sailers). Taking time off and getting away to relax and rejuvenate is an important aspect of our health and most people will never be in better financial positions than they are when they are younger and working. So why don’t we go? Choice, Chance, Change.

At some point in many people’s life they start thinking about less about themselves and more about others; what could they do to help someone else. Sometimes that is forced upon us as we assume caregiver roles; but, many times it is just because we have finallytutoring become at peace with our own life and started to see more of the need around us. Perhaps we have had some cathartic religious moment or maybe we just finally looked up from our own feet and noticed that not everyone has been as fortunate as we have been. Whatever the reason, many people eventually turn to philanthropy and service to others, no matter how small the gifts or efforts. Many look back as ask why they haven’t been dog this all along. Choice, Chance, Change.

So where are you with your dreams? Have you made the choices that you needed to and taken the chances that are required to make the changes that were necessary; or, are you still sitting there dreaming about things? If you at least make the choice to try, then you can at least move on to the planning stage. That will expose the risks (chances) that you must deal with and give you a road map of the changes that are rewardrequired.

An interesting by-product of getting started is that by making choices and taking chances it will change how people perceive you – you will become a doer and not just a watcher; you move from being a fan to being a player and that will make you a whole lot more interesting person to know. You will also find that you have a different and improved self-image. No more will “coulda, woulda, shoulda” define your life; but, rather, “been there, done that and now I’m movin’ on”, will be what you and others see. Choice, Chance, Change.

What’s your choice today?