Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category

Broke is temporary; poor is a a state of mind

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

The headline is a phrase many are familiar with, but I felt compelled to repeat it when commenting on Trent’s post at The Simple Dollar. Take a moment to read it here and you’ll understand why.

I have been broke many, many times in my life. I can honestly say I have never been poor. In times of extreme financial crisis (and believe me, I’ve been there), even then (!) I always knew that my circumstances would improve and my setback was temporary.

When it comes to life, we don’t have the luxury of wallowing around in our own self pity while blaming others or outside circumstances for our lot. Each one of us has to remember that “this is MY life, dammit, and I’m NOT going to let X, Y, or Z ruin it!”

Nothing and nobody has a right to control your destiny and your happiness. Nothing and nobody except you, of course…

Trent makes some good points — go check out his post.

Learn from a child

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

My wife and I are not only life partners — we’re business partners too. The nature of our various business pursuits allows us to work from just about anywhere. This is usually a good thing (though my wife is quick to point out that we don’t take many “real” vacations). “Real” vacations aside, we do have the flexibility to be able to go anywhere almost anytime.

For the last few years, we’ve decided we don’t like winters in the Northeast. So we do what a lot of rational animals do — we head south. The last two years, we’ve had to address the issue of school for our daughter. She was in preschool last year and she’s in pre-K this year.

Now before anyone gets the wrong impression, please understand that we know these school years are “optional”, and if we wanted, we could take our daughter anywhere without having to worry about school attendance. But even at 3, 4, and 5 years old, our daughter wants to go to school. She’s the one that decided she wanted to go to a “new” school when we traveled (not the other way around). Our daughter is very special, and yes, that’s a biased opinion.

Anyway, yesterday was her first day at her new school. She’s normally very excited about her first day, and she really looks forward to meeting new teachers and new friends. This time, though, she seemed a little apprehensive. When I asked her about it, she thought for a bit and said “Daddy, at first you’re always nervous, but then before you know it, the new kids are your new friends”.

Did I mention that she’s five?

Here’s a child that’s faced with new faces and a new environment. Like any of us, she’s done this kind of thing before, but she’s still getting a little nervous. She could have resisted, or kicked and screamed, or cried — all things we’ve seen nervous kids do in similar situations. But instead, she played out the scenario in her head, she visualized how she saw it happening, and she saw herself experiencing nervousness and anxiety before ultimately experiencing good things — new friends.

When I went to pick her up in the afternoon, she was on the playground running and playing with a large group kids. She was having a blast! During the car ride home, she told me all about her “great!” day and her new friends. The first day was a huge success, and she’s really looking forward to tomorrow.

So what can we learn? We know that everyone faces situations that make them nervous or anxious. We all have to face things we might not be looking forward to (even when we thought we wanted to do them). The key to having a successful, happy experience (as opposed to a disaster) is to go in knowing the challenges but having a plan to address them. We go in with a healthy, positive attitude, and we use our imagination and visualization skills to experience the positive results beforehand. We do successful “dry runs” before the actual event.

Great athletes do this all of the time. Great salespeople do it. Great speakers do it. Kids can do it too…and we can learn from them.

Someday I’ll tell you all about my son who will be attending the United States Naval Academy next year.  I learn from him almost every day, and he’s a wonderful young man.

Yes, that’s a biased opinion.

Or Be Miserable

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Look one post down and you’ll find a blurb and link to Brad Isaac’s work.  Brad is an extremely positive guy and I enjoy reading his stuff.

But if you’re the type that simply must be miserable, then check out 9 Great Ways to Make Yourself Absolutely Miserable.  The Positivity Blog has decided to explore the dark side today…

Look at that!  A full service effort presented in one “yeah, what he said” kind of day!  You can learn to be happy and effective, or you can brush up on your misery-generating skills.

Psychological Stunts

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Brad Isaac is sharing a series he calls 101 Goal Setting Breakthroughs 2008.

Today he writes about visualization and optimism and how both relate to achieving your goals. In typical Brad fashion, he has a lot of ideas! Check out today’s post here.

I’m going to let Brad do the talking today (and I’m going to engage in the dreaded “yeah, what he said”…see the archives if that line confuses you). Anyway, I’m going to spend the day like I did yesterday — celebrating the birth of a son to our close friends Sami and Jacqui.

Congratulations!

The Branson Outlook

Monday, January 14th, 2008

A family member (thanks Mom!) was kind enough to give me a copy of Richard Branson’s Screw it, Let’s do it for Christmas. I’m not always a huge Branson fan (he’s a bit of a showman for me), but Mom said the book came highly recommended.

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It’s a very quick read, and it’s very straight-forward. I don’t think Sir Richard was trying to do anything more than share his views on life (and he avoided the typical showmanship in doing so).

In my opinion, we tend to over complicate our lives. Here’s Branson’s list of key points to make life a bit less complicated and less difficult:

  • Just do it (a “borrowed” phrase, I suppose?)
  • Think yes, not no
  • Challenge yourself
  • Have goals
  • Have fun
  • Make a difference
  • Stand on your own feet
  • Be loyal
  • Live life to the full

There’s a bit of redundancy in that list, so let’s focus on the basics: we should have challenging goals that are fun for us while making a difference as we see it. We’ve got one shot at life, so let’s get the most out of it and let’s never “settle”. Be positive, and act! Do!

How’d I do? Branson’s ideas aren’t necessarily new, but the ideas have been put into (successful) action. That’s good enough for me. You?

The Trouble with “Or”

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

I headed down to a local hospital yesterday to visit with friends expecting their first child. They’re both around 40-ish, so they’re “old enough” to be excited while not taking anything for granted. There was a lot of nervous energy in the air.

Too often, life throws us curve balls, and in the case of my friends, the curve ball came in the form of a baby determined to make his entrance six weeks early. Soon-to-be Mom and Dad are hoping to spend today watching football while keeping Baby tucked away for a few last minute upgrades.

In these situations, everyone has their own way of dealing with the stress and the worries. The Dad half of the couple is starting to reevaluate where he stands in life. He’s considering what he really wants to do, and he’s doing a little self-examination exercise to consider changes.

This led us to an interesting conversation over a quick dinner. Why does life always have to be this OR that? Soon-to-be-Dad is a very successful guy. He’s incredibly talented and one of the best at what he does. Most people look at him and think “man, he’s got it made”.

In many ways, he does “have it made”. But he’s not feeling that way right now. He’s faced with the trouble of “or”.

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“I want to continue doing what I do professionally but I also want to spend a lot of time with my son. I can’t do both — I have to pick one OR the other”.

“I enjoy my current lifestyle, but I can’t keep it up with a new child. I have to give up the things I enjoy OR sacrifice time with my family.”

As we talked, it became apparent that the “OR” was the problem. Very few of us want to be faced with this OR that — we want it all!

“OR” is a self-imposed limitation. “OR” is the result of a flawed thought process. We don’t have to do anything in life, and we certainly don’t have to accept “OR”. We can have ‘A’ AND ‘B’ — we simply have to change the way we approach the situation.

As we talked last night, it became obvious to both of us that once you decide not to accept “OR” as an option, the “AND” becomes clearer. When the thought process is adjusted, a whole new world of options opens up. These were options that went unnoticed and might never have been considered if New Dad didn’t refuse to accept “OR”.

He’s got a lot of planning ahead of him, but New Dad is about to really “have it made”. He’s going to have a son to welcome and love AND a successful, well-balanced life. His old life will likely seem empty by comparison.

Life tossed him a curve ball — he is in the process of hitting it out of the park.

Never settle. You can absolutely have everything you want once you decide you want it. An unborn baby just proved it.

Loving What You Do — Case Study

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Okay, so maybe it’s not really a case study, but it is a real life monologue about doing what you love.

Steve Tobak wrote yesterday about the Back-to-Work-Blues (at Train Wreck — a CNET.com blog).

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Steve says he’s never had the Sunday night/Monday morning blues, and he attributes it to pursuing the things that he’s passionate about and that excite him. It doesn’t hurt that he seems to have a healthy, overall attitude as well.

Look, at this stage of the game, maybe you’re tired of reading about this “do what you love” drek. But as Tobak points out (and as Jobs pointed out yesterday), life is too short to be caught up in doing things that hurt you rather than excite you.

We’ll move on, okay? But let’s keep excitement and passion at the back of our minds (that’s excitement and passion about your day…not the gutter-minded things that just popped into your head.)

Steve Jobs

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

Many of you are probably familiar with Steve Jobs’ Commencement address delivered at Stanford University. It’s brilliant.

I encourage you to hit the link (above) and read the entire text. In continuing our discussion, here are some excerpts to consider:

You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And as important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Wow.

Check this out

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

This is a great post on The Positivity Blog.

I’m not big on guys that link to other blogs and write something like “yeah, what he said”. But in this case, that’s about all I can do. The post says it all, and it certainly doesn’t need any additions on my part.

We may (or may not) do more of this kind of thing down the road. If the authors/bloggers are okay with it, and if the reader response is good, we may include a kind of Daily Summary of notable posts by other great bloggers.Let’s see how it plays out.

But in the meantime, hit the link (above) and read some great stuff.

Another Pause

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

Writing at Dumb Little Man today, David Bohl presents a different point of view than the one presented here over the past few days. (This love, happiness, and productivity stuff sure is popular at this time of year…).

Get the other side of the story here.

You are free to reach your own conclusions (obviously), but I think David is taking a halfway approach. (I am not bashing the guy! I’m simply disagreeing with his conclusions in a mild kind of way…).

Life is not an either/or proposition. You may not necessarily love what you do today, but you can certainly aspire to ultimately do something you truly do love. The student/required course work scenario discussed earlier is a perfect example of this idea in action.

Many things in our lives are parts of the journey towards our ultimate goal. These “things”, and even our goals, are not static — goals will change or be modified, things we feel are important today may not seem so important tomorrow.

What we’re really talking about is a mindset. An attitude. A way of life. You don’t have to “accept” anything. You can do, or be, and become anything you choose.

That includes being in love with what you do and being happy.

(Steve Jobs is going to tell us more in the next post.)