What’s the Payoff?

Why do we get so much enjoyment out of telling people how busy we are, how hard we work, how little sleep we got, how people disappointed us, or what went wrong at the restaurant or auto shop?

I understand the need to vent or get sympathy from others, yet this type of complaining often becomes our conversation MO.

Is it because we don’t have anything else to talk about?

Do we think this gives us some type of status in the brotherhood/sisterhood 0f whiners?

Is it because we think other people don’t have enough frustrations of their own?

Whatever the reason, complaining only adds more unrest, emptiness, and static to our already crowded lives.

When we decide to bring “music” instead of noise to the world, our conversations might sound more like this…

“I was thinking about you today and how glad I am that you are in my life.”
“Tell me the highlight of your day.”
“Have I told you lately how proud of you I am?”

Want a better payoff?

While You Do What You Do

This quote by Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, captures a most remarkable secret for staying out of trouble with ourselves. “I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge.” 

(Sadly, instead, many of us learn to ignore the simple voice within, and spend a great deal of our short lives attempting to convince ourselves and others why we had to.)

It’s never been about proving yourself to someone
It’s never been about how you compare to anyone else or get revenge for injustices
It’s never been about your fame or success
It’s never been about your money
It’s never been about your education or how smart you are
It’s never been about your face or your body
It has always been about the kind of person you are
While you do what you were born to do

My Insomnia is a Mental Junk-Food-Junkie

The author of Alphatudes, The Alphabet of Gratitude, wrote the book because she suffered from insomnia. Instead of counting sheep, Michele Wahlder decided to go through the alphabet and count all the good things that began with each letter. Before she made it through “D,” she was sound asleep.

So brilliant.

For those of us whose minds go on a feeding frenzy at the wrong time of night: chewing on our screw-ups, problems, and random mental junk food, and/or regurgitating every conversation and event from the last decade, this tactic may be worth a try.

Even if it doesn’t put us to sleep, we will have fed our ravenous, nocturnal mind a much more nutritious bedtime snack.

Image result for insomnia quotes

Will You Hear It?

Today, I found encouragement in the messages of The Glass Castle movie (in theaters August 11, 2017).

The message that we don’t have to be ashamed of those things over which we had no control.

The message that there is hope for kids and employees and spouses who are under the thumb of crazies.

The message not to give up on the escape plan.

The message that there are essential things to love about everyone.

The message that we can survive (and somehow thrive under) radical pain and confusion.

The message that all of our stories hold much more mystery than we ever dreamed.

 

Laugh or Cry?

Enjoying the comic episodes of life more could actually save our lives: bearing us courageously over the inevitable rough seas of disappointment, doubt, and despair. A good laugh tells our cells there is hope somewhere on the horizon, somewhere in this mysterious, whacked-out world.

It also makes us less of a drag to be around.

Want more hope? Want more companions?

Smile at the absurd.

Is It Black or Is It White?

This quote is not for the faint of heart, the young crusader, or the know-it all. I was all three when I argued on the black and white side. Similar to author Jeannette Walls, I graduated to gray after failing to force an ambiguous, mixed-up world into a tidy black and white box. Good people did screwed up things. Bad people did good things. Bad things turned out good. “Good things” turned out not so good.

No one managed to have a tight rein on truth.

Jeannette Wall’s parents (as chronicled in The Glass Castle) often let her go hungry. Despite this fact, she knew they loved her. Their behaviors took “dysfunctional” to a whole new level, yet their whacked-out worldview toughened and trained her voice to speak for millions.

August.

AUGUST.

au·gust
[ôˈɡəst]

ADJECTIVE
respected and impressive:
synonyms: distinguished · respected · eminent · venerable · hallowed · illustrious

Who says we can’t make this month impressive, distinguished, respected, eminent, venerable, hallowed, and illustrious? However we arrived here (even if July dumped us unceremoniously) on the doorstep of August, we made it. There is no mistake about it.

Maybe we should remind each other to treat August as it deserves.

 

 

Why “I Understand” Is Not Enough

If we want someone to hear our side of the story, we can’t start with it. We must start with their side of the story, so they know we get it.

If someone communicates to me in this manner, I find no need to defend myself (because they are defending me) and I can listen to the other side of the story with ease.

For example, if someone felt as if we had disrespected them when, we feel they misunderstood us and were overreacting, the following would get us the best result…

  1. I understand that you felt disrespected.
  2. I never want you to feel disrespected.
  3. I am so sorry that you had to go through that experience.
  4. (Then (and only then), the other side of the story)

If, instead, we merely say, “I understand,” be prepared for the other person to roll their eyes.

 

 

Living “Palms Up”

Preparing people for depositions, attorney, Bob Goff instructs his clients to sit with their palms up. He maintains that following this simple instruction works to prevent defensiveness, reacting in anger, or tensing up when stakes are high. Good advice…not only for depositions, but for life.

Rather than approaching life with clenched fists, open palms signifies a non-threatening posture of acceptance and openness.

A palms-up morning routine of meditation is now my reminder to offer up all that I have for good, trusting that what I have will be multiplied to meet the pressing needs around me. By doing so, I replace the feeling of overwhelm with a feeling of confidence in the abundance of the Universe.

Here’s to a palms-up kind of day! Cheers!

What Difference Does It Make?

Craving significance is a huge part of our human condition.

When we understand how our work matters, everything changes. We have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. We have a reason to overcome obstacles. We have a reason to keep going when pain is unbearable.

One of the greatest gifts we can give each other is to acknowledge the difference we make. Great managers do this. Good people do this.

“If it breathes, it needs encouragement.” -Charlie Chaplain