Random Thoughts


13
Aug 13

The Big BUT of Life

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Good to see you again.

We have been talking about making decisions.  In our last entry we poked at the fact that we are making decisions all the time… constantly.

The majority of our individual decisions, in and of themselves, are not life altering.  But there are some decisions that are so important that they impact the trajectory of our life.  We can easily list these types of decisions – college, marriage, job change, a move, children, etc.

You will note that these types of life altering tangible decisions tend to be linked to a fixed point.   But surprisingly, these decisions are dwarfed in significance by those that are more abstract in nature.

These major abstract decisions are tied to the core of who we are and how we go about life.  The core are made up of the values and the philosophies we have decided to live our life by.  What we decided here dictates our life.

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When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.

- Roy E. Disney

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These core decisions impact all sorts of stuff such as:

  • How we raise our children
  • How we handle our money
  • Our moral compass
  • The standards we live by
  • How we treat people

Who we are and what we believe drives all of our decisions, no matter how small.  Earlier in the blog I mentioned that most of the decisions we make are not life altering in and of themselves.   This is true… but.  Here’s the big BUT.

The aggregate effect of these thousands of decisions define who we are, where we are in life and the direction we are going.  Collectively, they are our life.

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You’ve got to think about big things while you’re doing small things, so that all the small things go in the right direction.

- Alvin Toffler

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Now some of you reading this may be going through an “Oh CRAP” moment right now.  You’re bummed because you are not where you want to be or anticipated being in life.

Let’s say it’s true that many of your decisions have hindered you.  We have all been there to some degree.

The good news is that where you are doesn’t dictate where you’ll be.

How cool is that.  Two years from now you don’t have to be where you are now.  You may not believe it but it’s true.

BUT… (There’s that big “BUT” again.  It always gets in the way.)… But you have a decision to make.

This may sound weird but the decision you make today is this.  What shift are you going to make in the way you approach life that begins shaping the thousand tiny decisions that you make every day?

It may sound ominous but a small shift of thinking will change the lane  of you life.

Think about it.

Let’s talk more about it later.

Ciao.


9
Aug 13

Make up your mind!

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Hi, welcome back.

As I lay my hand to the keyboard I find that I am creatively constipated.  There is no question in my mind that there’s a lot of stuff inside tucked away in a neat little box.  The problem is I can’t get it out.

Yes, I know.  As you can tell from my last entry and the previous paragraph, my imagery has been a bit suspect as of late.  Sorry about that.  All I can say is blame it on my condition.

Since I couldn’t think of anything I decided to just start typing and see what hits the fan.

So decided to cast caution to the wind, take the bull by the horns, make the leap, get off my ass and make a decision.  I decided to talk about… (drum roll please)… Flat squirrels.

Yep, flat squirrels.

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“The highways of life are full of flat squirrels who couldn’t make up their mind.”

- unknown

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Rightly or wrongly I decided that I did not want to be a flat squirrel.  So here I am writing about making a decision.

Everyone has to make decisions.  You can’t get away from it.

People tend to fall at one end or the other on the decision continuum.  Some are much too slow in their decision-making and others make a snap decision purely on gut – fire, ready aim.

Those who tend to be on the slow side of the continuum agonize over their decisions fearful that it will be wrong or it will not be good enough.  Yes, there are some decisions that require thoughtful deliberation.  But these are the exception rather than the rule.

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There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.

- William James

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But all too often some people habitually delay making any decision and eventually allow circumstances to make the choice for them.  All options close except for the last.

Think about it… we abdicate our life to the dictates of circumstances.  How sad.

.It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.

- Thomas Sowell

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Fortunately, sometimes the circumstances work out fine.  Then we have the luxury of salving our indecision with the justification that things turned out ok and continues to validate the way we make decisions.

Very honestly you can allow the flow of life to chart your course and the chances are you will have an okay life.

But if this is the pattern to life’s decisions there tends to be a couple of nagging problems that accompany this decision.

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Side Note: Yes, allowing life to make your decisions is a decision.   Not making a decision, is a decision.

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First, if we are honest, there remains the mental gremlin that quietly eats at our self-esteem with the notion that we were not bold or fearless enough to step out on our own decision.

Also, we can easily fall to the haunting possibility that things could have turned out better if we had made the decision on our own.

Yes, the indecision end of the continuum has its consequences… but so does the snap decision end.

We’ll take a close look at the problems that arise when we are too hasty with making life choices.

See you Monday.

Ciao.

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5
Aug 13

Gifts from the Pile

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Something I find fascinating is how at unexpected times our mind burps into consciousness some deep insight or creative idea.  Almost without warning a thought rumbles through our head and suddenly pops to the surface from somewhere down below.

The “Ah Ha” occurs and a deep insight is realized or idea birthed.

As hard as we try, we cannot manufacture these types of insights or ideas.  Although we can’t command these nuggets into existence we can understand the process that produces mind belches.

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Side Note: Yes, I realize that the concept of mind belches is downright disgusting to some of you.  Sorry about that.  Just be glad that my mind did not gravitate in the other direction.

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As I was saying, there is a process.  Our data filled heads miraculously collects and assembles all sorts of bits and pieces of oddball information and meticulously tucks them away in some closet somewhere in our head for use at another time.

No one knows exactly when or why, but when the time is right our miracle mind begins gathering assorted scraps and pieces from the various closets and throws them in a big pile.

This, in essence, is a mental compost pile.

Now the mysterious process of birthing deep insights commences.  The mental compost pile begins to breakdown the individual pieces as they dissolve into one mass with each other.

Up to this point we have no idea something is going on.  But after a bit we sense a stirring in the pile of scraps because the fermenting process is beginning.

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I do think that I’m a big believer in having an idea or having ideas and just tucking them away in the back of your brain.  Even if you aren’t consciously thinking of them, I think they simmer.  You’re working on them, even if you don’t know you’re working on them, and I think having something in your head for a while is a valuable thing.

- Rian Johnson

When you sense something happening, don’t try to overthink what’s going on.  Just turn the mental compost pile occasionally and let it rest.

Before you know it and when you least expect it the insight is crystallized and pops to the surface.

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.Some of the best ideas I get seem to happen when I’m doing mindless manual labor or exercise. I’m not sure how that happens, but it leaves me free for remarkable ideas to occur.

- Chuck Palahniuk

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In our performance driven world some of you are wondering what you can do to expedite the process.  There is nothing you can to do expedite the results but there are things you can do that improve the chances for quality and quantity mind belches.

Mind Burp Pointers:

1.  Fill your head with stuff.

Seriously.  Feed your head and heart with all sorts of healthy things.  The healthier they are and the greater the variety,  the better.

2.  Be patient with the process.

Let all that stuff you just ingested be sorted and stored naturally.  Don’t try to place the furniture.  Take your hands off and leave it alone.

3.  Be sensitive for the stirring.

When it makes the compost pile the fermenting process will start and rumblings will begin.  Turn the pile occasionally but don’t try to get something before its time.

4.  Relax and go about your business

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Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

- John Steinbeck

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It was great having you stop in.  Hopefully my entry today added to your compost pile.

See you Thursday.

Later.


1
Aug 13

Kidnapped by Aliens

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Good to see you again.

Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I have been totally absent for the past four months.  Off the grid.  AWOL.  Nowhere to be found.  GONE!

Very honestly I wish I had a good excuse for my absence.  I think the best excuse would be something like being kidnapped by aliens (the spaceship type not the south of the border type).

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But alas, I have no good excuse.  I took a leave because I just needed a break.

In all candor, I had a tough time not feeling guilty.  My not writing fed into one of my biggest hang-ups, the feeling of letting people down, and letting myself down.

This may sound strange but I was finally able to let go of the guilt and negative thinking by giving myself permission to take a break.  I did, and it was good.

Of course, these opening lines force the obvious question that someone reading this blog entry wants me to ignore.

What is the thing that has been nagging, eating or dogging you that you need to give yourself permission to start or stop doing?

Seriously.  Someone visiting the site today (maybe you) has been hanging on to something that has been dragging them down.  And out of some sense of false obligation or weird programming they have been unwilling or unable to give themselves permission to take the right step.

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Okay, now you have permission.  But frankly it doesn’t matter what I think.  You don’t need my permission.  You need your permission.

So why is it so difficult to give yourself permission to do something that’s good?  I believe I can answer the question with two words – expectations and lies.

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We become invisibly trapped by the unspoken expectations we have on ourselves or those we think others have on us.

Yes, there are legitimate expectations in life.  They’re real and can be burdensome at times.

But we also need to be aware of the fact that far too many expectations (the majority in my opinion) are fictitious cords we have allowed to bind.

These are beliefs that at one time may have carried a modicum of truth but morphed into lies because the reality or situation changed but our thinking did not.

I have used this phrase several times but it is always worth repeating.

One day I was looking at the word rationalize and it struck me.  Divide the word and it clearly describes the mental and emotional trap.

Rationalize = Rational Lies

When we rationalize away a positive action step or growth we are just telling ourselves rational lies.

Kind of scary huh?  But we all do it.  I don’t know about you but I am finding that life is much too short to focus on the lies that hold me back.

It’s good to be back.  Thanks for joining me.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


6
Jun 13

Out to Lunch

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Yes… you are correct.

I have fallen off the face of the earth the past three months.

But for better or worse I am returning.

August is the date.

If you get bored just read some of the archives… I reread some of them recently and they were actually pretty good.

If you do read them and like one in particular I would appreciate it if you would let me know.

See you in August.

Ciao


30
Mar 13

More than eggs and bunnies

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Hi… welcome.

As you can see it’s Easter weekend with all the eggs, flowers and… bunnies?  Humm, I think the bunny looks a bit suspicious.

The day I am writing this blog entry is Good Friday.  It’s a special weekend.

This weekend is more than eggs and bunnies.

Those who are regular readers know that I stay away from God stuff.   Well, at least talking directly about God stuff.

Most everything I write has an element of Spiritual truth but I avoid being “in your face” or churchy.

I ask that you stick with me today even though I plan on talking about some God stuff.

But talking about God does not mean I will be preachy.  I never will.

Do I believe that God is more than an invisible force in the universe?  Of course.

Do I think a relationship with God is important?  Absolutely.

And since I have encountered a God in a personal way, do I want people to know Him too?  Yes.

But in all honesty it is not my responsibility to get you to believe the way I believe.  I can’t.  If I share something that helps a person in their God search, super.   But I still can’t make a person believe the way I do.

It has always been my belief that if a person is open, God would reveal himself in his own way in his own time.

I ran across a video that describes the last sentence perfectly.

YouTube Preview Image

Pretty cool huh?

I’m sure some people watching the video were okay until Jesus was mentioned.  For whatever reason most individuals don’t seem to mind “God” talk, but throw Jesus into the discussion and people seem to get weirded out and start to bristle.

I think broad God talk is safe.  People feel like they have enough room to maneuver with their own personal beliefs.

But when Jesus is brought into the mix it forces a narrower discussion.

Like most things in life, the things that are the best, most valuable, and potent are the things that require some effort and investment.

Most people like a God relationship but enjoy it more from a comfortable distance.

The reality is, a God who desires intimacy with His creation does not want distance.

Think about it.  Does a parent want a distant relationship with their child?  Absolutely not!

Regardless of where you are in your faith… this weekend is the time to step beyond where you are and explore two simple words.

Consider Jesus.

Yep, just open up and consider the reality and implications of an encounter with Christ.

Even though I talked about “Jesus stuff” today, I hope you will come back to visit.

See you next week.


22
Mar 13

It’s a MAN Thing

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Welcome back.

I’m not sure what’s going on with me today but I have this urge to talk about men stuff.  What that means exactly I don’t know, but somehow this blog will be about men stuff.

Maybe this outburst is because my “T” levels are elevated today.

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Side Note: For you ladies out there, “ T ” is man jargon for testosterone.

Well… that’s what the commercial I heard said while driving in this morning.

Women like their high tea and men need their “ T ” high.

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I’m sure that when my wife reads this blog later today she will suddenly pause, lean toward the screen, scrunch her nose and squint her eyes, and in her head (maybe out loud) she’ll scream, “what in the world is he doing?!”

My response is, “I don’t know.  It just happened.  Blame it on high “T”.  Don’t worry I won’t embarrass you.”

But who knows for sure about embarrassing her because the blog isn’t finished yet.

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There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
- Will Rogers
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Men for the most part are pretty simple.  It doesn’t mean we’re dumb, it just means that we don’t have as many moving parts.

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I don’t know about you, but I find that women can be pretty complex.  Now don’t take my word for it… just ask a women.

This is not a put down on women; it’s just recognition of how we’re made.  The simplicity of men and the complexity of women are part of the divine creation.

A couple of years ago I shared the two-minute version of this video. I ran across the expanded version of The Difference Between Men & Women.  It is both very insightful and very funny.

It is definitely worth viewing.

I was right huh?  Insightful and funny.

Yes, I really like my cozy little “nothing box”.  If you have no idea what the last sentence means you need to go back and see the video… seriously, you’ll be glad you did.

Although we men are pretty simple it doesn’t mean we’re easy to get along with.  We have our issues like women have theirs.

As all of you know, men can be a bit stubborn at times.  Not only can we be stubborn… we don’t need to stop for directions.

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Stubborn isn’t a word I would use to describe myself; pigheaded is more appropriate.

- Michael Bloomberg

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My “T” level must be waning because I have this sudden urge to stop for a cup of tea and watch Oprah.

Humm… nah… I’m going to watch the NCAA basketball tournament.

See you Monday.


18
Mar 13

Lost in Cyberspace

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Wow… I had written about two thirds of my blog and somehow I lost it… it evaporated into cyberspace.

It was weird.  You would think that I could simply retype what I had just written, but Noooooo!

I couldn’t remember a thing.  Pretty sad huh?

Just so you know, you should be aggravated too because you missed out on some amazing insights.  Your life is a little less rich because of those little computer gremlins.

So here I am writing about the perils of modern technology.  If not careful I will start sounding like an old fart that spews criticism and annoyance over any new fangled contraption.

I have some years on me but I’m not that old (if you’re a tree).

As I said, I’m not that old, but I do remember…

  • the sound of a coin going through a pay phone
  • that typing classes were noisy
  • what “cc” on an email really means
  • stores were closed on Sunday
  • you dressed up to fly on a plane
  • what 45’s are (if you know what the picture is above then you know what 45’s are)
  • paying extra for Airmail
  • party lines
  • getting up to change the channel

Yep, time flies and the world changes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t miss 45’s or party lines.  I of course have a nostalgic soft spot for these things but I don’t pine away for days gone by.

As you know, keeping up with change is tiring.  But it’s worth it.

A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were at a conference where the presenter asked that we identify our family values.  We both were able to identify them rather quickly but it was a good exercise to articulate them and capture them in black and white.

There’s something powerful in tangibly getting things out of your head and heart on to a piece of paper.  Seeing it in front of you seems to cut through the clutter.

Our values were as follows… but not in order of priority.

  • Adventure
  • Fun
  • Growth
  • Our Faith
  • Family / Relationships

It was pretty cool to quickly articulate and agree upon our values.

Since one of our values is growth it means that I can’t (must not) hang on to the things that were.  We must hold loosely to the events and things of yesterday and keep our eyes forward.

As one gets a few years under their belt it is an easy trap to begin facing backwards.  It’s logical and natural… but deadly.

What dies are our dreams and ambitions.

One might think that I am talking about someone at least sixty plus.  But I have see people in their forties become dulled by time.  They actually believe that their prime has peaked and the “what could have been” is lost.

How heartbreaking.

I am well past forty and it is an absolutely wonderful feeling to know that my best days are ahead.

How cool is that?

See you Thursday… hopefully.  I haven’t been too good at getting two entries per week written.

Ciao.


11
Mar 13

You Can Do It!

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Howdy, me again.

And yes, I have one more blog entry on the topic of creativity.

I realize that a third entry on the topic of creativity is not that creative but I’ve a couple of more thoughts to throw into the mental mix.

In the last entry I talked about the amazing freedom and joy a child experiences when they create things.  I still feel joy when I create but the innocent unbridled freedom to create has been sadly dulled.

Maybe it’s not that way for you but for me reliving my childhood experience was both refreshing…  and sobering.

I saw a video one time where an educator talked about how and why children begin to loose their creative edge and energy.

The educator is Sir Ken Robinson.  Obviously he is British and has faired pretty well in the “Sir” category.

He is remarkably insightful and amazingly entertaining for an educator and a Brit.

Take a look at the TED Talk video.

YouTube Preview Image

Pretty good, huh?

But having dulled creativity does not mean all is lost.  I do believe we can breathe life into dormant creativity.

It does not happen by accident.  We must be intentional and risk taking.

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Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.

- Dee Hock

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As we rekindle the creative fire I believe that one experiences greater intimacy with their Creator.

Why, because we bear the marks of our Creator.

Think about it.  Humans are the only animal species that can create something out of nothing.

We can imagine, design, plan and execute.

Imagination… creating something out of nothing.

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Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

- Erich Fromm

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To be perfectly honest with you, any attempt to type any more on this topic would be trying to create something out of nothing.

I could give it a go but I don’t want to waste your time or mine.

Have a good day.

Ciao.


4
Mar 13

The Joy of Dirt

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Welcome, it’s good to have you visit.

In the last blog entry I tried to tackle the topic of creativity.  I’m obviously not an expert on the topic but, as you know, that has never stopped me before from having an opinion to share.

I mentioned that the creative genius, which we all possess, is one of the divine DNA markers of our creator.  Yep, we all bare the fingerprints of the one who created us.

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Creativity makes a leap, then looks to see where it is.

- Mason Cooley

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One of the things that stirred me about what I wrote earlier is the joy and happiness one experiences when they create something.

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Side Note: I’m not sure what it says about a person who is stirred by their own writing.

It probably says that I’m weird and I need to get some counseling.  It’s nothing a few meds can’t cure.

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But it’s true… there is amazing joy in the feeling one has after creating something or coming up with a creative solution to a problem.

I remember as a kid building a little town in the dirt for my toy cars and army men.  I would spend hours building roads, clearing a path for a river and constructing cardboard houses.

The interesting thing is that once I completed the town the playtime was relatively short.  The joy was in the creating, not the using.

I am not the only one.  I’m sure you look back on those times as a child when you experienced the joy of playing and creating… just like this person.

We had this big dirt pile in our backyard when I was a kid.  We were back there every day with our Star Wars figures. I would construct these intricate waterways with rivers, dams, and lakes… would work on it dry for hours, and then the big moment would come when I would bury the hose in the side of the pile so that the water would spurt out from the head of the river as if emanating straight from the aquifer. I was filled with satisfaction as the raging headwaters coursed down the winding path I had built.”

Do you remember the freedom you felt during those times of play and creativity?  It was the freedom to explore.

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Creativity is the greatest expression of liberty.

- Bryant H. McGill

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Growing into adulthood somehow dulls our innocent expression of creativity we experience during play.

Our creative juices tend to shift from the innocence of play to the reality of work and life.  Life stuff has a way of robbing the innocence of creativity.

It is this type of freedom we yearn for as adults.

We are made to create… to be creative.

Since I have tapped into the topic of creativity I have at least one more blog on the topic.

See you next time.