If only I hadn’t…

July 27, 2018

Those are some sad words to begin your thoughts about something or someone. Somesorry 3 advice from today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog are well worth considering –

“Before you speak, listen.  Before you write, think.  Before you invest, investigate.  Before you criticize, wait.”  (Unknown)

judge thingsI might add, “Before you judge…” I’ll let you fill in the words that should follow that opening phrase. There’s the old Biblical saw from Matthew 7 – “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” It is the rush to judgement that provides the foundation of prejudices and fears.

In today’s social media world, one could add, “Before you post, pause” or maybe “Before facebook share buttonyou Tweet, reconsider.” The same is true of sending emails or text messages or posting to Instagram. Everything is retained somewhere these days and lots and lots of trials and media stories revolve around the content of those electronic posts that people seem to send off without regard to their future use or misuse.

So, it is good advice to take the time to think about what one is saying or writing or boredposting before opening one opens one’s mouth or before hitting the send/post button. In interpersonal settings, the advice should probably be to listen more than you talk and to carefully choose your words, if you feel the need to express an opinion or to react to something that someone else has said. I recall the quote –

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Unknown

You might not be thought to be a fool, perhaps shy, quiet or somewhat withdrawn; but, jerkany of those is better than becoming well known as a prejudiced bigot. It is better to be considered to be somewhat of an enigma than to be well known as a jerk or an idiot.

I was going to write more about the topic of applying this advice to discussions about politics; but then I took the advice from above, stopped and thought. Enough said and written.

If you are reading this, I decided to hit the post button. If only I hadn’t…

Who’s watching you?

February 12, 2018

From a recent post on Jack’s Winning Words comes this little thought provoker –  “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they’re always watching you.” (Robert Fulghum)

I believe that it’s true that our children learn from watching us and how we react to things that happen.bored They also learn about us from watching how we behave, as do others around us. You don’t have to become paranoid about it; but, it is something to keep in mind, that all of those who are around us on a daily basis either learn something about us from watching or they form some opinion about us based on those observations.

jerkHow many times have you seen someone that you didn’t know do something stupid and immediately you had had the reaction, “What a jerk.” You don’t really know if they are normally a jerk or not, but that was your first impression of them. If you were that person you certainly would hope that this isn’t their lasting impression of you, based upon that one incident.

Every lesson that I’ve ever seen or heard about how to deal with things (usually something requiring a reaction or resolution, such as an objection during a sales pitch) starts with the same piece of advice – pause. It is during that pause that you have the time to collect your thoughts before reacting or responding. It is that moment of reflection that may protect you from being perceived as a jerk, because it gives you the opportunity to respond better than you would have, had you made a knee-jerk reaction (maybe that’s why it’s called a knee-jerk reaction).

You might be surprised, if you pause, how fast your mind can work. You may have seen those sci-fi movies, like the Terminator series where the various options to a threat or problem flash by the cyborg eyes of the Terminator. Our minds can work like that, with WWJDseveral options being quickly presented to deal with the situation at hand. For Christians one option that should come to mind every time is the old standby, “What would Jesus do?” That is a great option because it makes us pause further to think about an answer to that question. Jesus never took the path of the jerk.

Another helpful mindset is to explore the options that an optimist might choose from, rather than visiting the dark list of the pessimist. I used to get angry (my own little version of road rage) when I missed making a stop light or turn signal while driving; but my wife kept calling me out on that smiling-sunand suggesting that I look at the positive side of things by celebrating that I would get to be first on the next green light. Now that has become a little joke for us when I miss a light. She gave me a different place to look for a response.

As you go through this week, keep in mind that all of those around you (including your children) are watching how you handle yourself and react to things that require a response. If you pause and keep the WWJD response in mind or start from an optimistic mindset, you are much less likely to be perceived as a jerk. If you are going to involuntarily be a role model anyway; at least focus upon being a good one.

Who’s watching you?

The pause that refreshes…

December 21, 2017

From a post not long ago to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes today’s inspiration – 

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops, but when you press the pause button on human beings they start…to think, to reflect, to reimagine what is possible.”  (Thomas Friedman)

So often life becomes hectic and we allow ourselves to be swept up in the hustle and bustle of trying to keep up, trying to make snap decisions and react quickly to the changes that are happening around us. What we need sometimes is our own pausepause symbol button for life. We need time to think and reflect, to evaluate things and, possibly, to reimagine our role and reactions to what is happening. How many times we think back to situations and from that new point of view, say to ourselves, “if only I had thought of this back then.” Perhaps you would have thought of that back then, if you had hit the pause button.

So maybe imagining that you do have a pause button is a good way to deal with things. Maybe we should hit pause and step back from the situation long enough to think and consider all of the possibilities and reimagine our future direction. Hurtful things that bored2happen to us often elicit equally hurtful reactions from us and usually just end up compounding the problem. Problems that are so big that they overwhelm us too often cause responses that are overly ambitious and not well thought out. Pausing to see how to break the problem down into a series of smaller and simpler responses can lead to a much better chance of success.

In my life I have a built in pause button in my two dogs. We take four walks a day, starting with the first one at about 6 AM each morning. Those walks, each lasting about 20-30 minutes, require that I pause and give me time to think about things. The first walk of the day is my planning walk, in which I have the chance to reflect on what is upcoming during the rest of the day and lay out a plan of sorts. The two in the middle of the day provide a pause to reflect on what has happened, what things I ‘m faced with responding to or allowing me to make changes to my original plan in reaction to how the day has gone so far. The end-of-day walk allow for reflection upon the events of the day and the decisions that I made. That pause allow me to learn from the day’s events and hopefully to increase my store of knowledge on how to deal with upcoming events.


You really don’t need dogs to walk in order to pause in your daily life; but, you do need to have the discipline to hit the pause button a few times during your day, in order to give yourself time to reflect and make the best decisions on what to do next. The ability to reimagine what is possible is critical to good mental health. The alternative is to allow yourself to become overwhelmed by seemingly impossible situations and perhaps to woman-prayingslide into depression because you see no way out. You may wish to say a little prayer, asking for God’s help with the decisions that you have to make or perhaps you would finbd comfort in the little prayer that I use and have written about here many times – “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

Pause and think, reflect and pray – then reimagine your future. It’s the pause that refreshes.