Earl Nightingale said, “We are all creatures of habit. We can do most things without even thinking about them; our bodies take charge and do them for us.” I agree!
Perhaps my most obvious habit occurs five days a week on my daily drive to work. My course is routine and safe, but as our friend Earl Nightingale pointed out, it’s also mindless. No planning or other form of thought is really necessary. Though I’ve driven the same route to work for the last three years, I have recently come to realize there must be a dozen different ways to reach my destination. While none are likely to be quicker, most are likely to be more scenic. Why not vary my daily routine, arming myself with the only requirement necessary – a few spare minutes? Who knows, maybe I’ll spot a new house under construction, or discover puppies frolicking in a dog park. Maybe I’ll find an autumn grove of trees that varies its colors and shades and hues daily like a chameleon would in a paint factory. Or maybe I’ll see the same old buildings and houses I currently see every day, but this time from an entirely different perspective!
Of course, we never start out believing we will fall into a spiceless routine. John Lennon sang eloquently about it in 1980: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” When we begin a new endeavor, opportunities are endless and everything is fresh…colorful…different! Quickly, time passes and what was once vibrant presently becomes old…mundane…expected. Surely our same old, same old path to work could never extend to other parts of our lives, could it?
It’s practically impossible to listen to a speech, or read a book, magazine or newspaper without hearing a quotation. Quotations or “quotes,” provide insight, humor or inspiration and fill our daily lives. While one friend may pride himself on knowing every movie catch-phrase ever uttered, another may appreciate motivational “pearls of wisdom” from positive thinkers such as Zig Ziglar. One of Zig’s most defining quotes states, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” This simple, yet powerful sentence speaks volumes about the importance placed on relationships and how these interactions weave throughout everything we do. Click here for some other “pearls of wisdom” for all conceivable occasions.
William James said, “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” Does this sound familiar? Let’s imagine that you receive a project at work that is due in two weeks. Because you have done this type of project before, you already know that it will take about three days to complete. Do you start prepping right away? Are you gathering information from your resources now, because you might realize that other responsibilities will surface before the due date? Are you thinking that some of the people you’ll need to talk to might be unavailable or necessary supplies could be out of stock? Pondering this exercise further, will you wait until three days before the drop-dead date, suffer through extreme stress and anxiety, wonder aloud why you chose this line of work at all and angrily curse your supervisor for even thinking about assigning you this project? If you selected the latter, please read on…
Last month 190 million viewers tuned in to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver to observe the United States achieve victory in the medal count and see many wonderful and emotional performances from across the globe. In the hockey finals alone, 22 million Canadians witnessed their team triumph over Team USA in a tremendous battle, finally decided in overtime. The world watched in awe, as 24 year-old Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette performed a near flawless short program, earning a Bronze Medal…only two days after the sudden passing of her 55 year-old mother. The games were full of these awesome personal and team performances, some simply amazing! What sets these people apart from the rest of us?
My lovely wife uses two phrases that I shamelessly use and claim for my own, “pick your battles,” and “agree to disagree.” Both refer to a form of conflict resolution called “Cooperative Problem Solving,” or “CPS” for short. Within this process, one would;
1. Raise the issue
2. Listen to one another’s point of view
3. Identify interests, options and possible solutions
4. Develop a plan to meet as many interests as possible
Harkening back to when we were young, we remember choosing up sides, selecting the spot to congregate and answering the all-important question of “what will we do today?” It is surprising to realize that our ability to negotiate was determined during childhood.
It’s an interesting thing to watch children play. Ask a child what she wants to be, and she will tell you — doctor, lawyer, astronaut, etc. without giving it a thought. Of course, no regard is given to the education, time, expense or any other obstacles that could get in the way – nor should it be. But then we grow older, and develop a remarkable and debilitating disease, called “cantmakeithappenitis”. Yes, as the drudge of time goes by, we decide clearly and concisely what we can’t or won’t be able to do for the remainder of our days on this planet. See if you are a positive or negative thinker by taking this quiz
Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness….” So began “A Tale of Two Cities” in 1859. You may remember that Dickens wrote this as an observation of a world in change. A century and a half later the same philosophy might apply. Many people across our great land have lost their savings, their jobs and their homes. Hope seems lost and the fallout from the last several years has been staggering. How can one stay positive in these tough times?
Some of you are aware I was thinking about writing a book. A few may be aware I was considering authoring a blog. Not to disappoint, I’m happy to report that the day is here! Starting at the beginning (as they say), this will serve as the inaugural copy of “The Second Half.” Why would anyone name a blog, “The Second Half,” you ask? Simply stated, I’ve proudly marched past my first 50 years on this planet, and feel I’ve only completed half of my life’s work. Thus, I’m officially in my “second half.”
I’ve always had a particular fascination with motivation and human behavior. It’s quite interesting to watch people of all ages, just to see what they do and how they react to all sorts of lifes’ challenges. In fact, I’d rather just sit on a street corner, at a mall or beach and be entertained for countless hours then spend a bunch of money for dinner and a show, a sporting event or concert. Besides, you won’t have a fraction of life’s learning to draw from if you didn’t people watch!