Posts Tagged: risk


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.


11
Feb 13

Don’t Fence Me In

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Yep… me again, and yes one more entry about South Africa (SA).

But before you grimace and start moving your cursor to the exit icon, stick with me.  I think you will find the topic quite interesting.

The pictures above are examples of the typical fence you see here in the US.

For the most part fences here serve as decorative accent and provide visible separation between property lines.  They are meant to keep little kids or pets from darting out of the yard into the streets.

Usually the fences in the US aren’t designed to keep people out.  Yes, we do have security fences around some businesses such as the one below but they tend to be the exception rather than the rule.

In all honesty fences like this are designed to be more of a deterrent than actual security.  A person can easily cut through the chains.  And yes, there are a few affluent areas where subdivisions use security fences and gated entry.

All of this talk about fences brings me to the second thing that screamed at me while I was in SA.

There are massive, keep you out, don’t come near, make you bleed, don’t even try, you’ll be sorry fences everywhere.  I mean everywhere.

Virtually every home, business, and church were surrounded by amazing security fences.  I am not talking about fences in just the nice part of town.  Even in the poorer areas, each little home had a fence and gate of their own designed to keep people out.

Here are a few pictures to give you a sense of the typical fence.

The only place you did not see these types of fences were in the “informal settlements” where the poorest of the poor lived.

Yes, SA has had very violent times in their history.  And yes, poverty is rampant thus making theft a major problem.  I understand all of this.

Here is the point that struck me.

I know the “Why” but I don’t know the effect on the people.

I have really wondered what the psychological affect is on the people where all they know is massive security fences designed to keep one safe by keeping people out.  You live your life behind a security wall.

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Fear is the highest fence.
- Dudley Nichols

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It is obviously fear based.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am not judging them.  I would probably do the same thing if I lived there.

The point I am making is that there has to be an emotional toll living in a world behind a security wall.

What does it do to a person living with the norm of walled security?  Maybe nothing.

All I know is that when I returned home to fenceless neighborhoods and openness between houses I rejoiced in the feeling of freedom not needing to live behind a barbed wire topped wall.

The contrast between the two worlds was striking.

Like most of the entries I post, I don’t have a convenient answer to all the weird life questions I surface.

Maybe you have some insights that will shed light on the psychological or social impact of a world of barbed wire walls.

Well, enough of South Africa.  See you Thursday.

Ciao.



14
Jan 13

Breakdown or Breakthrough?


Blog Note: I added this sentence after reading what I wrote.  The blog may seem negative at first but stick with it… there may be something for you to learn.

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Hello, me again… for the three hundredth time.

Yep, this is my three hundredth blog entry in three years.  This writing feat of posting 300 entries may not be very impressive to you, but for me… I’m ecstatic.

If you told me four years ago I would be posting two blog entries a week for over three years and have over 100,000 hits per year I would have thought you were nuts.  There are three reasons why I thought this would never happen.

First of all I’m not a writer.  I am not claiming they are good blog entries (only you are the judge of that) but I’m happy with most of them.

Secondly, I tend not to be as disciplined as I would like to be.  My life journey road is littered with discarded projects and miscellaneous attempts of meaningful endeavors.  My pattern has been to start things and then after the luster dulls, my effort and interest fizzles.

And the third reason is probably pretty clear to you after reading reasons one and two… I am really good at beating the crap out of myself.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but it’s true.

It’s one thing to be self-deprecating.  There’s kind of an endearing charm of someone who doesn’t take themselves too seriously and are confident enough to advertise their shortcomings.

But when someone beats the crap out of themselves it’s neither endearing nor charming.

Wow, I didn’t expect to be this vulnerable when I started writing a few minutes ago.

I feel like someone who has been muscled out of their hiding place and paraded for public display exposed for the world to make their judgments or take their shots.

Now don’t get all weirded out or start feeling sorry for me.

Let me be clear, this open discussion is not a self-flagellating mea culpa to cleanse my spirit of personal demons.  Not at all!

In fact, on some level it is both a declaration and a sign of freedom.

Yes, I have my issues like everyone else…  just like everyone else… just like you.

Every one of you reading this has things that hold you back from living life to the full.

As for me, I recognize and squarely face the things that I tried to keep others from seeing – my flat spots.

This is why this blog has been important to me.  This was one of several steps I was called to take which allowed me to venture beyond the confines of my world.

Maybe you are further along in your journey than I and the insights of this blog entry is old news.

But for some, you remain in your internal “panic room” protecting yourself from exposure to the world.  You’re not about to let anyone know your weakness.

But here’s the dirty little secret – Everyone already knows.

The breakthrough is bringing it to light to face it.

Bringing things to light is risky indeed.  But life is worth the risk.

Hopefully you will show up on Thursday for another visit.

See you then.

Ciao.


10
Jan 13

A walk on the wild side

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Hello again.

Some of you who read my last blog entry may be of the notion to take me up on my offer to step out of your comfortable world and go exploring with me.

There may have been something about what I said that poked a tender spot regarding the possibility that there is more to life than what you have been experiencing.

I am an average guy, with a great life, and blessed beyond measure.  Very honestly, there is nothing special about me.  My wife would say different but that’s because she loves me and can be somewhat biased in her opinion.

But this average guy has a message.  The spark of life you sense has nothing to do with Jerry Rushing.  But it has everything with you cracking the door to begin believing that what I am talking about is real and for you.

Oh my God.  I just re-read the last couple of paragraphs and I sound like motivational speaker Anthony Robbins… only without the big teeth and creepy smile.

But in reality my message to you is nothing like Anthony Robbins.  I am not talking about the power within you to make you great or you tapping into your reservoir of latent potential waiting to be released to change the world.  Nope… nothing like that.

No, I’m not selling fantasies or potential.

I’m not selling you anything.  All I am doing is inviting you to consider that God has more for you to experience and enjoy than you can ever imagine.

There is an interesting scripture in the Bible (Romans 12:2) that says, “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

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Side Note: Now to all my non-Christian friends don’t get all pissy on me because I used a scripture to make my point.  I am not trying to convert you (that’s not my job anyway).

So just move your curser away from the exit icon and hear me out.  Thanks.

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But whether you are a Christian or not the scripture is true.  Our mind, if not careful, will lock us into a way of thinking that keeps us quietly buried in the shallow grave of life I mentioned in the last blog.  We’re dead and don’t even know it.

Growing and experiencing life to the full is a combination of opening our thinking and stepping out and trying something new.

Some of you reading this blog never try anything new.  There is something about trying new things that breaths life into dead bones.

Once again I know there are some of you who will just roll your eyes at my words and chalk my comments up as the ramblings of a small narrow man’s attempt to be profound.

Maybe.  But what if I am right?

I want to challenge you to do two very simple things.  It is a challenge that may prove you right about me or may open your thinking to the possibility that God has an amazing adventure for you to experience.

All I ask is that you sincerely invite God to open your heart and mind to the possibility that He has something for you.  And secondly… just listen.

What do you have to lose?

Now I have to be really honest here.  I tend to be pretty rebellious.  If someone asked me to do the two simple things I’m asking you, I am very likely to blow it off just to spite the person asking.

I’m not proud of that but true none-the-less.

I hope you will give it a shot.  Just ask… and listen.

See you Monday.


13
Sep 12

Look at it my way!

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Yep, I’m back.

For those of you who are regular readers (both of you), you know that I have been pretty good at posting a blog twice a week – but not lately.

But you have to admit, although my postings have been erratic as of late, my commitment to mediocrity has not been compromised.  That was supposed to be a joke.

Today I am going to talk about perspective.  WooHoo, how exciting is that!?

On the surface this topic may seem pretty mundane.  I encourage you to read on because you will find it much more boring than you may think.

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Side Note: Yes, I know.  I am in a very strange mood this morning.

Not funny… just strange.  But read on anyway.

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But on a serious note, I am continually amazed how two people can experience the same reality and walk away with two totally different perspectives.

I am not talking about differences in taste.  For example two people looking at a piece of art and having differing opinions as to its beauty or quality.

Differing tastes are not problematic to me.  In fact, I think that our differing taste about things is one of the greatest gifts of God to His creation.

Wow… the variety for us all to enjoy in different ways… how cool is that?

This would be a great topic for a different time, but not today.

Seeing things from a different perspective can be somewhat amusing, like the pictures I have sprinkled out in this blog.

It’s fascinating how a simple twist of position can totally distort reality.  How very clever and creative.

The issue of perspective I am talking about are life issues.  The types of situations that aren’t amusing nor fun.

Everyone has experienced times when something happened and you and the other person(s) involved engage in verbal fisticuffs because you saw the same event differently.

This is when frustrations heat up and tensions rise because you know what you saw and heard while the other person is adamant about what they saw and heard.

The communication gets heated and of course you know that their head was up their ass because if it weren’t they would agree with you.

The only problem is, they too are questioning the location of your head also.

Yes, situations like this are very frustrating and totally suck the sweet out of the day.

Now to make a negative topic even worse, there are no easy answers.  Nope.

This is life. Sorry, but true.

Wow, I sound negative today don’t I?  I don’t mean to be because I am not a negative person.  But I am realistic.

Yes, there are days that are difficult because of situations like I just discussed.

As I said there are no easy answers but I do have some opinions that hopefully will help.

Difficult situations like this either make us a better person or we become bitter and more locked in to our point of view.

Struggles in life sharpen us, educate us, and develop us… if we are open to it.

Every one of us has been programmed by what we’ve been taught or by life experiences.  Some of our perspectives are perfectly accurate… but frankly, these are fewer than we may think.

The majority of our perspectives have varying degrees of distortion.  And some are totally distorted.

This is how we learn and grow… going through the tough times.

Yes, I like to write about the kittens and rainbows of life where we walk away smiling coated with a happy mental salve.

But life’s tough times make life… life.  Personally I don’t like the negative things but I am thankful for them.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


31
May 12

Watch out for the cliff

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Me again.  Welcome back.

In the last blog I talked about having a life that is happy and fulfilled.  Toward the end of the blog I asked this question…

What really does constitute happiness and fulfillment, and how does one attain it?

It was then that I threw out the possibility that I may spend some time talking about this lofty topic.

I am probably stepping off the edge of a cliff but I think I will step out on the topic and see where we land or what we hit.  Hopefully it will prove valuable.

Believe me when I say that I have no illusions that I can bring any new insight to a topic that has been the central question of everyone’s existence.  Not at all.

The reality is, I will have no new insight… but don’t stop reading.

Just because I will have nothing new to add to this looming question of life doesn’t mean you won’t get anything out of this blog.

Here’s why.  It’s not because I am gifted… it is because you may be ready to hear and receive.

I may by chance have the privilege to lay an important stepping-stone of insight or stimulus on your journey to happiness and fulfillment.

Or, something I say may not extend your path but it stirs a thought that helps remove an obstacle in your path, something that has hindered progress.

Once again it is not that I am particularly insightful or bright… it is because you are ready to take it in.

Just so you know, my attempt to talk about this topic of happiness and fulfillment will not be a linear line of logic.

I will throw out things as I think of them and build on them accordingly.

So grab my hand and let’s step off this cliff together.  Look out beloooooooooooooow.

THE BIG QUESTION

What constitutes happiness and fulfillment and how does one attain it?

The first thing that pops into my mind regarding happiness and fulfillment is – PURPOSE.

I ran across two quotes about purpose and happiness that I found pretty interesting.  I would like for you to choose which one you think is most true.

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The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
– Dalai Lama
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True happiness… is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
– Helen Keller
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So which is it?  Is the purpose of our lives to be happy or does happiness come from purpose?

Nothing against the Dalai Lama but I think he has this one wrong.

Happiness is a “what” while purpose is one of the “whys”.

So if you believe, as I do, that Helen Keller is more on target then this begs the next question, what is the purpose I build my life around?

Humm… good question.  We’ll tackle that on Monday.

See you then.

Ciao.


11
May 12

Huh? Where am I?

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As you know, we have been talking about this life journey thing since the beginning of the blog over two years ago.

I have touted the adventure, blessings, and joy of being willing to step out of our comfortable world of the known into the unknown.

Yep, it’s great but in the spirit of full disclosure I have to admit there are some potential pitfalls (“Oh great, now he tells me.”)

Now this may sound stupid but when you step into the unknown… guess what?  You don’t know where you are.

First of all, to calm any of your fears, not knowing where you are is not a bad thing.  Not at all.  In fact it’s normal.

Remember, this journey we have been talking about is a journey of exploration.  When you explore one does NOT know the destination.  You’re just looking around to see what you can find.

You can only explore in areas that you don’t know.

Now there is an important life insight to all of this.

Important life insight!!!

Not knowing where you are does not mean that you are lost. Huh?

There is actually a very big difference.  Seriously?  Seriously.  Weird I know but true none-the-less.

The key differentiator between the two is “destination”.  If you have a destination defined then the journey you are on is in reality a trip.

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I am not referring to trip from a hippie definition.  Sometimes a trip is just a… trip.

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Here’s the bad news.  If you are looking for a destination and you don’t know where you are, then you are lost.

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LOST!  As in being stranded on a Pacific Island with all kinds of weird happenings?  Uuuh… not that kind of lost.  Just lost.

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I ran across this video that is really clever.  It talks about the whole topic of losing things… even ourselves.  Then we are “lost”.

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YouTube Preview Image

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All of this begs some important questions to ponder.

Are you exploring or on a trip?

Are you wandering or are you lost?

Good questions.

I hope I made you think today.

Later… see you Monday.


4
May 12

Hold on to your hat!

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In the last blog I mentioned that life can be an amazing adventure.  Well, this week has been proof of that… WHEW!!!!!

I started a new chapter in my life.  Things in my life jumped from a comfortable safe cruising speed of 55 mph on a well-marked spacious Interstate highway to about 120 mph on a curvy mountain road in one day.

Wow, what a wild ride.

I’m going so fast I can barely keep my hat on.  Maybe I am carrying this “life’s an adventure” thing a bit too far.

But not really.

What happened is that I actually took my own advice.  I was presented with different options… and I took the bolder.

This came from a quote that I used in the last blog entry.

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When you cannot make up your mind which of two evenly balanced courses of action you should take – choose the bolder.
-  Sir William Slim
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Frankly, jumping into a car speeding on curvy roads is quite scary.  I am not talking about doing something foolhardy but the bolder choice does involve a higher degree of risk.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to fail or look bad.

But the “want” for a well-lived life was greater than the fear of failing.

To put it another way, the desire to stay in a secure successful place was seduced by the Siren’s song of the “what can be”.

As I said earlier, I want to live a life of adventure but not of being foolhardy.

I believe most people fall on the end of life’s continuum where it’s easy to get in a safe rut and go through life.

These are people like me who need to step out and live life fuller… and the rewards are absolutely amazing.

On the other hand there are another group of people on the other end of the continuum.

These are the people who are adrenalin junkies for new things.  They jump from one thing to another trying the latest, greatest and most dangerous.

If not careful these folks never set down roots, working through the hard issues and reaping the blessings, stability and joy this provides.

It probably sounds like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth… there are rewards to stepping out into adventures and there are rewards to a stable life.

Yes… that’s exactly what I’m saying.  There are blessings on both ends.

It’s just that we tend to gravitate to one end or the other.  Because this is where it feels the most natural and comfortable.

To experience the fullest life has to offer we must move ourselves toward the other direction.  But to do so is hard work, very hard work.

Yep, I took a big step this week.  It has been stressful but stretching.

I can’t wait to see where this new path takes me.

So I tighten my chinstrap to keep my hat from flying off.

See you Monday.


12
Apr 12

Go with the flow!

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Yep… me again.

In the last blog entry I started digging into the power of constancy.

On the surface it may sound boring but the implications for our life and the fulfillment we can experience in our life is profound.  Seriously, really, really profound.

Stick with me and I’ll prove it.

According to the dictionary constancy is invariable, uniform, continually occurring or recurring.  It is marked by steadfast resolution or faithfulness.

Okay, enough with the academic.  What does this mean for us in the real world?

I mentioned that there are three things that are Universal constants.  They are – Change, Changelessness and Choice.

In the last blog I poked at the issue of Change.  It is constant, never ceasing, relentless.

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“You never step into the same river twice.”

- Chinese Proverb

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The first time I read the proverb I tilted my head and had this puzzled look in my mind.  I didn’t immediately understand it at first.  Yes… you’re probably a brighter bulb than I am.  So don’t scoff.

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“He who laughs last, thinks slowest.”

- Unknown

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It took me a moment because I told myself that I have been in the same river many times.  But in reality, it wasn’t the same river.  The river is in constant motion and constantly changing.  It was always a different river.

Once again, life is in constant motion and we must continue to adjust and shift or change will force us to move.

Let me speak from experience, getting to the point where you are forced to change or move is not pleasant.  And it is never a gentle process.

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The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.
- Charles Kettering
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Our attitude toward change dictates our success in navigating the shifting landscape.  If not careful we can waste an inordinate amount of energy and life fighting the inevitable.

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It’s the most unhappy people who most fear change.
- Mignon McLaughlin

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The most fulfilled and successful at navigating these waters are those who accept change and work to be on the front edge.  This allows them to help channel the current in productive directions.

Wow… sorry if I have hammered this change thing too much.  But it is critical that we understand and accept this life dynamic.

I am probably like most of you in that it’s pretty easy to understand but accepting is pretty tough.

In good conscious in need to ask a couple of pretty pointed questions.

  1. What is something in the past you have hung on too for much too long?
  2. What were the consequences?
  3. Is there something now that you know in your heart that you need to release and shift with the change?

In the next blog I will talk about a constant that will sound exactly the opposite of what I have been saying.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I have NEVER said anything like what I am about to say.

The next blog entry will literally transform our life if we take it to heart.

See you Monday.

Ciao.


26
Mar 12

Saucy or Syrupy?

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OK, my venting is over.  I am back to the lovable me again.

Usually I recommend that people go back and read old blog entries, but in this case… it’s not worth your effort.

Anyway, if you read it you might get all riled up and someone would have to sedate you.  I want to save you from the embarrassment.

I promise to be more genteel today.

Humm… genteel doesn’t become me either.  For some reason the thought of being genteel makes me nauseous.

So, I’ll just be me… to your chagrin I’m sure.

As you can see from my writing thus far, I’m torn.  I don’t like being a venting angry person and I don’t want to be too loveable and genteel.

If I am really honest I’m generally a very nice person.  Historically, probably too nice.

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I was like one of those nauseatingly nice children. I was very, very well behaved and boring.
- Helena Bonham Carter

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Yes, that probably describes it… nice but boring.

Don’t get me wrong, nice is a good thing – a very good thing.  But if not careful the tendency is that if a person is nice they are vanilla.  I want to be nice but I don’t want to be vanilla.

The more I think about it, I want nice with spunk and personality.  I have no idea what flavor that would be but for sure it’s not vanilla.  By the way, I would appreciate any flavor suggestions.

Some people think that if you’re nice you can’t win.  You’re a loooossser!

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Nice guys finish last.

- Leo Durocher

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That’s not accurate at all.  If Leo’s statement is true then it means that only mean people finish first.  You mustn’t confuse nice with being non-competitive.

Also you must make sure you are playing the same game and that you have the same definition of “win”.

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Nice guys may appear to finish last, but usually they’re running a different race.

- Ken Blanchard, The Power of Ethical Management

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Remember… I am a fan… a big fan of being nice.  I even try to live by the motto of There’s always time to be nice.

But if we are not careful, nice can cross a line.

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The difference is too nice – Where ends the virtue or begins the vice.
- Alexander Pope

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That’s interesting… nice as a vice, not a virtue.

If someone is too nice they may be perceived as being a person who stands for nothing or will not fight for anything.

So this begs some interesting questions.  Are you willing to fight for something?  If you do fight for something, do you have to be nasty and mean to fight?

To me the answers are simple… Yes and No… in that order.

I feel pretty good with this.  I don’t like to fight but I know what I believe and can take stands pretty forcibly when needed.

So I guess I am a self described nice person.

I would like to think that I am a saucy nice not a syrupy nice.

How would you describe yourself?

See you Thursday.