Posts Tagged: choice


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.


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.

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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.


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.

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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.


8
Feb 13

More than a SMILE

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If you read my last blog you know that I recently visited South Africa on a church mission trip and talked about the difference between the poor in Soweto and the American poor.

I was taken back by the amazing smiles on the people in the poorest of areas.  Beautiful wide-mouthed, teeth showing smiles.

I am in no way naïve to believe they were happy with their situation.  The surroundings are deplorable.

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Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.
- Dale Carnegie
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But the smiles, not just the children, were infectious.  Their was an endearing quality about the people that made me want to engage and get involved.

The type of engagement I am talking about was not the kind of “do gooder” involvement where you try to lift someone from the depths of their plight because you feel sorry for them.  NO!

I was saddened because of their living arrangements but their countenance did not demand sympathy.  Their smiles just made the desire for engagement easy.

It was as if they were a neighbor who could use a helping hand in assistance.

It has only been eighteen years since the fall of apartheid and full democracy in place.  One would think that a couple of busloads of white people winding their way through the narrow streets would be viewed with distain or considerable resistance or suspicion.

We felt no distain and little or no resistance or suspicion.  They smiled as we passed and freely waved as we responded in kind.

Somehow the American poor seem different.

I am sorry if this sounds judgmental, I don’t mean to be, but I don’t see the smiles or welcoming wave from the inner-city poor in the United States like I did in South Africa (SA).

So here’s my puzzlement.  Why?  Why such a difference?

The SA poor live in much worse conditions, have significantly less governmental support, with fewer opportunities.  To top it off health issues like HIV are rampant.

The majority of our mission trip was to clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  The principle said that about 40% of the children were HIV positive.

Take a look at this video I took of the kindergarteners walking to their toilet break.

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Although the school appeared pretty nice is wasn’t… especially by U.S. standards.

I think there is something to be said for uniforms and order.  The teachers maintained a fairly high level of order while still allowing kids to be kids.

Once again, don’t misinterpret what I am saying.  Just because the people smile and engage more doesn’t mean that people are satisfied with their lot in life.

Crime in SA is rampant.  People are scrambling for survival.  The poor there do not have nearly the amount of basic governmental or NGO (non-government organization) support for food and shelter that we have here.

But for some reason they seem to stand taller, look you in the eye more, smile and engage more readily.

I do believe there is a difference between being happy vs. satisfied.

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Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
- Abraham Lincoln

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I would really like to know your theory or reason for the difference between the poor in US and SA.  It was fascinating to experience.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


30
Jan 13

Back and better for it

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He’s back!  Yep, I’m back… jet lag and all.

Wow, was Kent Nerburn right.  In the last blog entry I quoted Kent from his book Letters to a Son.

I wasn’t planning to repeat his quote but it’s to apropos for the topic at hand not to.  So here it is again.

“That is why we need to travel. If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder.

Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting.

We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.

Don’t let yourself become one of these people. The fear of the unknown and the lure of the comfortable will conspire to keep you from taking the chances the traveler has to take.

But if you take them, you will never regret your choice.”

I’ve had the privilege to travel a good bit.  But for the most part my travels have been what some might say are safe travels.

What I mean is, the countries I have visited have been fairly westernized with the modern niceties that suit our American tastes.

The visits to Europe have been great and I have been stretched by the differences in culture, language and politics.  All of these visits have left their mental stretch marks but nothing to the extent that I faced last week.

I mentioned that I was going to South Africa for a church mission trip.

First of all the flight to and from Johannesburg was about sixteen hours in duration.  It made the typical seven-hour flight to Europe a leisurely Sunday drive.

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Side Note: Wow, that last statement dates me.  Sunday Drive?  I can’t imagine anyone taking a Sunday drive anymore.

Yes, to all of you too young to remember, people would actually just get in the car and drive in the country as a leisurely family activity.

And by the way, I am not nearly as old as the picture illustrates.  Well… maybe.  But I don’t feel that old.

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South Africa is a very interesting mix of cultures and wealth.  There are pockets of extremely nice areas that are jammed packed full of niceties that we pampered American relish.  But all of these pockets were surrounded by extreme poverty.

The focus of our trip was to help clean up and repair an elementary school in a very poor area of Soweto.  It was a church’s version of “extreme makeover” for a school.

Soweto, if you remember your history, was the epicenter for the movement to banish Apartheid in South Africa.  Now don’t worry, this is not going to be a blog about the ills of racism and the overthrow of the white regime.  There are plenty of history books or web sites that dissect those events.

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Interesting factoids:

1.  I thought the name Soweto was derived from some sort of African word.  But in reality it is the abbreviation of Southwest Township.

2.  Soweto is the only place in the world where two Nobel Peace Prize winners lived on the same street – Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

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Over the next couple of entries I would like to share a few things that stirred my comfortable little world.

Surprisingly, it is different than what you may think.  It’s not the poverty, although it was horrid, nor was it the history of racial oppression, albeit extreme.

It has everything to do with what make people good.

See you Monday.


3
Jan 13

Worry Freak or Worry Free?

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The beginning of a new year always feels kinda weird to me.

There is something about the finality of the numerical year that causes one to assess or rank the previous year and then forces one’s attention to the future to ponder or speculate on the next twelve months.

Let’s face it, we don’t look at March 12th the same way we view January 1st.  We don’t sit up late on the evening of the 11th and reflecting on the year past.

But the end and beginning of a numerical calendar year is different.

I do reflect on the year and tend to give it some level of ranking.  Being that I tend to be a “bullet point” kind of person I’m sure that my evaluation system is much too simplistic to most people’s liking.

My three point ranking system is – Good year, ok year, and bad year.

Then I will typically add a couple of words as descriptors.

For example, my description of 2012 was this.  Overall 2012 was a good year with a huge transition and challenges.

Yep… that’s it.  It may be much too broad and non-descript for you but it works for me.  Like everyone else I have had bad years… 2003 and 2009 were brutal.

My simple process of reflection works very well in the other direction too – looking forward to the upcoming year.

I personally try to keep my head clear of any prolonged or specific speculation about what the year may bring.  The year will be what it will be and I will deal with it as it comes tends to be my basic philosophy.

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If you’re in a bad situation, don’t worry it’ll change. If you’re in a good situation, don’t worry it’ll change.
- John A. Simone, Sr.
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But one can’t help wondering to some degree what type of year 2013 will be.

There’s enough political and social craziness to cause some people to nose dive into the pits of negativity and fear.

But I figure, why get stressed out or worry about something that hasn’t happened.

I have my fair share of concerns about things that can happen and potentially impact my life (the economy as an example) but I don’t tend to worry.

Worry is a trap that corrupts the present.

Maybe I am too simple but I figure why get myself all worked up and stressed over something that probably won’t happen.  If the negative does happen… I will get worked up then.

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“I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles… but most of them never happened.”

- Mark Twain

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Just because I don’t worry now doesn’t mean that I don’t have an appropriate level of concern about those things that may be looming that could impact my life.

As mentioned earlier, there’s a lot of economic and political craziness right now.  I will be careful about what I spend, what I save, etc. because it is both logical and responsible.

The worriers will say that they are doing the same thing, just being appropriately concerned.   Nope, not the same… concern doesn’t rob life’s joy or peace… worry does.

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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.
- Corrie Ten Boom
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Worry robs your life of life.

Think about it, what an interesting phrase – life being robbed from our life.

No one on this earth knows what 2013 will bring.

2013 may give me a bitter cup to drink.  If so, I pray I drink it with grace and patience.  But I decide now not to worry.

2013 may offer me a sweet cup to enjoy.  If so, I pray I drink it with humility and gratefulness.

I approach this year with open heart and hands.

Thanks for checking in with me.  See you Monday.

Ciao.


5
Nov 12

To vote or not to vote… that is the question

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Hi there… welcome back.

No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t keep my mind nor my fingers from swerving toward the topic of the election tomorrow.

Don’t worry… this will not be a political blog entry.  We all have had our fill of ads, promises and the opponents taking cheap shots at each other.

But I do want to talk about the amazing opportunity we have to choose; to select who we want to lead our wonderful country.  Sometimes as a country we make good choices and sometimes we make bad choices… but at least we get to choose.

It’s sort of like a grander version of our personal life.  We reap the benefits of well thought out decisions and suffer the consequences of…. Uh…. Shall we say… not so good decisions.

Now the only troubling thing is if you are trying to make a good decision (in your opinion) but the majority of the population are made up of stupid people who have a different opinion.

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In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from.
-  Peter Ustinov

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Frankly I don’t want stupid people making decisions that affect me.  But strangely enough, people on the other side of the aisle are saying the same thing.

They actually think that I am a stouped person… go figure.

I can see it now on Wednesday morning, about 51% of the population will be ecstatic while the other 49% will be pissed because their candidate did not win.

So what do you do if you happen to be one of the brilliant 49%?  You continue to love our country and work harder to make it better.

Yep, no matter how distasteful, we have to support the decision.

Now in full disclosure, if my candidate doesn’t win it will probably take me a month or two to work through my depression.  But I do believe that it is important to support the office of President.

Once again, regardless of who wins or looses… I would rather live in a country where at least we have the opportunity to choose.

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Democracy makes us articulate our views, defend them, and refine them.
- Lee H. Hamilton

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I think Lee Hamilton hit the nail on the head.  Democracy forces us to work at and define what we believe.  It forces us to articulate with clarity our stand on issues.

There is no question Democracy can be messy… especially during election time.

But I would not want it any other way.

Hopefully you will be one of the ecstatic 51% on Wednesday.  If not… support the President and work to make it better.

Ciao.


19
Oct 12

What’s in a name… more than you think!

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Hi, my name is Jerry Rushing.

I’m sure that it was pretty easy for you to figure out my name without my needing to inform you.  Pretty obvious huh?

Just so you know, I did not plan to name my blog after myself.

Side Note: Stick with me as I talk about the name of my blog.  Believe it or not I will be making a pretty important point.

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Three years ago when I was thinking about writing a blog I had a friend volunteer to set it up for me.

I jumped at the chance for him to create the blog structure because first, I didn’t know how to do it and second, he has a top business blog on the web.  What could go wrong… right?

I figured he would title the site with something that would be both discrete and compelling.

Little did I know he would title it with my name… talk about feeling exposed.  I was hoping to talk about life stuff and stay anonymous.  But in hindsight I believe it was a “God Thing”.

Side Note: True confession… I have never really liked the name Jerry.  Rushing is ok but the first name of Jerry never did anything for me.

It doesn’t feel like a strong name to me.  Maybe I should change my first name…. hummm….  How about “Steel” or some other strong romantic novel leading man name?

I don’t think so.  I’ll just stick with Jerry.

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Now the interesting thing about my name is that if you Google my name you will find that the first Jerry Rushing who pops up is a quasi celebrity.  He was a former moonshine runner that the Dukes of Hazzard was based on.

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The real “Jerry Rushing”

Wow… Jerry Rushing a moonshine runner.  Neither his celebrity status nor his moonshine reputation has ever effected me.  Who knows, maybe my reputation has effected him.

But what if you had a name like Charles Manson, Saddam Hussein, or Jerry Sandusky.  OUCH!

The catalyst for this blog entry is because of a story I heard about a fellow named Jerry Sandusky.  Only his first name starts with a “G” not a “J”.

Gerry Sandusky is a sports commentator for the Baltimore Ravens.  Because his name sounds like the infamous Jerry Sandusky of Penn State Football he has received all kinds of hate mail and threats.

The point of this blog is not to talk about the challenges a person has because they share the name of some horrible person.

The point of the blog is how Gerry Sandusky has handled the situation.

Gerry Sandusky was encouraged to change his name or use a middle name to avoid the backlash of the horrible things the other Jerry Sandusky did.

But he refused.  He wanted his name to stand on its own.  He was not about to let the evil of someone with the same name to corrupt his.  He felt he would be compromising who he was and who his father was if he changed his name for his own personal convenience.

Gerry Sandusky had the right perspective about the situation at Penn State.  He said that he’s not a victim.  There are others who are the true victims.

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I’m not a victim, I’m inconvenienced.

- Gerry Sandusky

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People of character are able to rise above the nastiness of their surroundings.  There is a sacred quality to good people.

Gerry Sandusky redeems the name that Jerry Sandusky destroyed.

Well-done Gerry.  You’re a great example for us all and especially for your children.

I’ll be back on Monday.

Ciao.


16
Oct 12

Distorting the distorted truth

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Welcome back.

As you know we are in the throws of a very aggressive Presidential election.

Yes, I do plan on talking about politics.  But NO, I am not going to talk about a particular candidate or party.

I of course have a preference as to which candidate I think will be the best option for our great country but that is irrelevant to this blog.

This blog is about the fact that I am extremely frustrated with all politicians in general and both political parties.

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Ninety percent of the politicians give the other ten percent a bad reputation.
- Henry A. Kissinger
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I don’t know about you but politicians really irritate me.

It seems that all politicians ever do are take shots at each other and speak to us in scripted sound bites.  They don’t give us the big picture of their philosophy or values.

It doesn’t matter what side of the political aisle they because both sides are just as guilty.

They must think the American public are a bunch of idiots.

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If career politicians had the solutions, we wouldn’t be in the mess that we are.
- Rick Scott

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Just for the record, there is no question we have our fair share of really stupid people… all you have to do is look at any one of the several Jackass movies.

But for the most part we are a country made up of hard working people trying to make a life for themselves and their family.

It’s true that some people have more formal education than others, some make more money, we’re large and small, pretty and plain, and many different religions.

But the vast majority loves their country.  We may have different views on what the country needs, but love it nonetheless.

I believe everyone has some basic God given common sense.  There are things that we intuitively know to be good and bad or right and wrong.  I am not talking about a moral sense of right or wrong in this case but a right or wrong in regards to dealing with life situations.

The problem is we don’t get “real information” to make an assessment of the situation.  Everything we hear is spun, twisted, distorted and completely altered to benefit the political bent of the person providing the information.

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I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.
- Charles de Gaulle

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We are forced to make important decisions based on truth that is projected through the lens of a kaleidoscope.

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They make it look all pretty but truth is not to be found.

The sad reality is that this distorted truth poisons the well of our mind and then we mangle the truth even more because of our faulty lens.

This all sounds dreary and heavy, but not necessarily.

If we are willing to set aside our programmed notions then we have a better chance to sort through the clutter and find truth.

The most difficult thing as an individual is to realize that our lens is distorted and are willing to test the very beliefs we have.

This takes work and is extremely challenging but oh so rewarding.  Take a chance.

See you Thursday.

Ciao.


12
Oct 12

Digging out of a Funk

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Hi all.  I’m vibrating at a pretty high speed today.  I know that you are thrilled for me.

If you have no idea what I mean by vibrating you will need to check out the last blog entry.  Just so you know, vibrating at a high speed is a good thing.

Also, please be assured that there will be no vibrator jokes today.  I am sure you can see a person can easily go in a lot of different directions (no pun intended) with that topic.

Now that I have escaped the Monday funk, life is all blue skies and happy dust.  I can’t help but smile and bob my head back and forth in happiness as I vibrate in my chair.

OK, enough with the happy dust and vibration.

In the last blog I passed along some helpful hints on how to get out of a funk that I found on the web.  Frankly, they were pretty pitiful.

Those ideas may work for some folks but for me they just depressed me more.  They were too gooey or something.

So I thought I would share my own tips on how to get out of a funk.  I will call them my Funk Busters.

FUNK BUSTERS

Buy a Vibrator – sorry… I couldn’t help myself.  It was too good of an opportunity to throw in at least one vibrator joke.  But then again, it could be a Funk Buster for you.

The Andy Griffith Show – I am actually somewhat serious about this one.  You can’t help but feel better when you watch something upbeat, funny, and especially wholesome.

Actually the point isn’t The Andy Griffith Show specifically, but something that lifts you up, takes you to a better time, and appeals to the better part of us.

For your entertainment pleasure I found a rare video of someone singing the words to theme song with some scenes from the show.

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Find a puppy to pet – How can anyone stay in a funk if they pet a puppy?  I found a couple of cute videos.  The first is about someone putting puppies to sleep and the other is waking a puppy up.

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Feel better?  I do anyway.

A Baby’s Laugh – Yep, my reputation is officially ruined.  But the joy of a baby’s laugh is infectious.  And frankly, this is the kind of infection we all need.

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I do have one more Funk Buster.  There is no video for this one but it is the most important one.

Do Something – Seriously.   I am no different than anyone else when I am in a funk.  It feels like I am swimming in molasses.  Everything is difficult… even the simple things.

The trap of a funk is that it causes us to focus on ourselves.

The videos I showed are a small start because they make you feel better.  This is when you need to make the decision to do something.  Take the joy of the moment and translate it into action.

It doesn’t have to be something big.  It can be anything that causes you to move and change focus.

So… after watching these great videos and reading this blog, turn off your computer and take a quick walk, go get a coffee, do something.

See you Monday.

Ciao.