August, 2013


27
Aug 13

The Truth About Lying

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I am not totally sure why I am digging into this topic today.  Nothing has happened in my own life that added the flake that started the avalanche of thought.

But I feel pressed about this topic, so I write.  I am a firm believer that God on occasion (probably a lot more than we think) will reach down and prod someone to do something for the purpose of helping someone else.

So I believe that I am writing this for someone.  I don’t know who it is, but someone out there in cyberspace needs to hear about and think about lying.  I have a feeling this topic will require more than one blog entry to do it

Here goes.  I want to tell you the truth about lying.

First of all, it’s important to know that I am not going to get into the weeds of what constitutes fibs and white lies.  Yes, telling children there’s a Santa and a Tooth Fairy is a lie.  We have our adult versions of white lies too; such as telling someone you’re busy so you won’t have to go to lunch with them.

Spending time to dissect this surface layer of lying will only clutter the landscape and keep us from the deeper truth about lies.

Let’s be real for a moment.  You know when you lie.  You know the kind of lie I’m talking about.  The lie you tell (or the truth you don’t tell) that crosses the line where trust is violated and destruction begins.

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I’m an algebra liar. I figure two good lies make a positive.

- Tim Allen

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There is an insidiousness about lying that corrupts us on levels we cannot gauge and distorts the reality around us.

A lie can be a blatant mistruth or the withholding a truth.  Some people lie just as boldly by leaving out information or a truth as one who conjures up misinformation.

As I said, lies are insidious.

There are some people where lying has become an art form.  They actually take pride in their art to manipulate and distort and then brag about their exploits.

They laugh at the gullibility of the trusting and afterward arrogantly preen their egos by reflecting on their skill to manipulate.

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The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.

- Stephen King

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But what the liar does not grasp is the fact that their mind becomes darkened by the lies they tell and they are unaware of the trap they have created for themselves.

They are consumed in a lie they do not see.  Lost in a life that has no reality.

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The liar’s punishment is not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.

- George Bernard Shaw

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We’ll continue digging in to the issue of truth and lies next time.

See you later.

Ciao.


19
Aug 13

Can I have a decision mulligan?

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Welcome back.

A couple of entries ago I talked about the dangers and consequences of being indecisive.  Today I want to poke around at the dangers of making decisions too quickly.

There are two ends to the decision continuum.  Everyone has suffered the consequences of being indecisive about something or making a decision too quickly.  Even though we have been guilty of both we tend to gravitate to one end of the decision continuum or the other.

Our default toward one end of the continuum or the other is what we need to explore in more depth.  Which end of the continuum do you tend to be… too slow in making decision or too quick?

Let’s dig into the challenges and consequences for being too quick.

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Quick decisions are unsafe decisions.

- Sophocles


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Haste is of the Devil.

- St. Jerome

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I don’t think haste is necessarily of the devil but it will get you in trouble.  But St Jerome looks like he is a little preoccupied with the devil.

Those who are too quick in making decisions are the toughest to get to honestly explore the downside of their behavior… and for good reason.  The world seems to reward quick decisions.

But allow me to dissect this a bit.  I hate to burst your bubble but it’s not the decision that society rewards but the timely action.  Action is honored.

Some of you are saying that fast decisions and action cannot be separated.  Not so.  They can and should be separated.

Yes, timely action is critical.  I have written several times about the power and importance of action.  Do not wait… do it now.  But it is important to take the right amount of time in the decision that drives the action.

Most decisions in life are pretty simple.  You look at the circumstances, examine the important factors, make a decision, and act.

But there are some decisions that require time.  I am not talking about stepping back and waiting weeks and months, but an intentional step back to weigh the options and implications.

Have you ever wished you could have a Mulligan on a decision you made in haste?  Unfortunately life does not give us a “do over”.  We suffer the consequences.

I personally have found that the decisions that require the most thoughtful introspection are those that involve close relationships, long-term impact or tests my core values.  Most of us will slow down when faced with decisions along these lines.

But the dangerous decisions are those we are faced with that seem fairly elementary and simple on the surface but are tied directly to big life issues.

This is where being too quick to make decisions really hurts.  We don’t slow down enough to hear or listen to our discernment that warns us that the seemingly small issue has broader and deeper implications.

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Just be patient. Let the game come to you. Don’t rush. Be quick, but don’t hurry.

- Earl Monroe

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Yes, be quick but don’t hurry your decisions.

Ciao… see you Thursday.


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.