When It Is Good to Lower My Standards

It is not always a bad thing to lower my standards. It is a good thing to do when…

  • I have been too critical of myself (as I have aged, I’ve noticed that my appearance standards {ahem, obsessions} have not contributed to mental health)
  • I am too critical of others (my standards do the most harm when used to facilitate a feeling of superiority)
  • my standards were unreasonable (perfectionism) or alienated the people around me (self-righteous)
  • I based my self-worth on my standards (lack of awareness of how ridiculously messed up I am)
  • I bragged about or felt compelled to talk too much about my standards (insecure)

Or, prepare for the institution.

Yes or Know

“The only ‘no’ in my vocabulary begins with k.” My friend, Joann, got this response when she asked for help. I loved it! The person she asked for help, went on to say, “Just let me know what you need.” 

Great philosophy…

Okay, well, I admit it is not a good philosophy for those of us who have a problem setting boundaries, or for those of us who hang out with sociopaths, or, for those of us who are already in trouble with authorities for saying yes too much, but for those of us who tend to say “no” too quickly, or need to learn generosity, what a concept!

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Anatomical Decision Making. Head North!

This was a good “Two-Minute Tune-Up” for me today. I hope it is entertaining and practical for you too.

Leadership Strikes


In my personal and professional life, I have observed a pattern with regard to how decisions are made…anatomically.

Starting with the Southern part of our body and heading North…

  • Especially in the heat of the moment, the knee jerk reactionis very common. This technique employs minimal insight and information when responding to a given situation.
  • From there, we may opt to the more sophisticated seat of the pantsapproach, where we use our limited personal experience and judgment to come to a conclusion without considering procedures, planning, or other available technology or input.
  • Then, we may advance North to “gut feeling.” At this stage, we utilize intuition, both our own and that of others, coupled with additional data in order to come to a conclusion on how we believe things will turn out.
  • Improving upon this practice, we might continue upward to “listen to our heart,” wherein we now allow our deepest emotional inclinations to have a stake…

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Overreacting or Too Sensitive?

I am just now beginning to see myself through the eyes of those close to me; just now beginning to see how I…

  • overreact to certain circumstances
  • bristle up unnecessarily with anger
  • get my feelings hurt by taking comments too personally

I didn’t know I was overreacting or being too sensitive and argued with anyone who attempted to convince me. But, by recently becoming more aware of, and more healthily detached from, my (mostly useless) self-preservation tactics, my assessment has changed.

I sure could have saved myself a lot of trouble.

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My favorite over-reaction video of all time is a mom getting ready for company. For a good laugh…


Do the Math


This minion’s opinion of taking advice from people was mine for many years. I thought they were wrong, I was right, and I was frickin’ proud of my who-asked-you attitude.

Yet, stubbornness came with a price-tag. Not that I believe I should have listened to everyone. Some of the time I was darn right to be stubborn! (Let’s see, what is that percentage? If I take the number of times other people were right and divide it by the number of times I was right…well…okay…whatever…)

Anyway, for a sanity check, now I consider other stubborn people I know, and how much better their lives could be if they were only willing to see themselves from an outside perspective. That calculation gives me incentive to listen up.

When Humility Is the Only Sane Option


Harsh but sometimes we ask for it. We screw up. We miss all the cues. We listen to the wrong people. We act selfishly. We throw caution and our future to the wind. We indulge. We go against reason.

On those occasions, we do ourselves a big favor by owning it sans excuses.

Minions, Opinions, and Illusions

Some of the biggest falls I have taken in my life have been associated with ignoring the following important facts:

  • What I think people think about me and what people actually think about me are generally two different things.
  • What people say to me is not usually what people say about me (especially when I am their boss, family member, or competitor).
  • Who I think really agrees with me and who really agrees with me are far from the same.

To avoid a rude slap in the face from reality, I must…

  • find my security from within vs. from without
  • remember that we humans, in order to avoid conflict, often say and do what is expedient vs. what is completely honest
  • work daily on an inner life (based on awareness vs. illusion)
  • solicit, accept, and reward honest feedback from peers, employees, and family


Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe’s new book, The Kingdom of Speech, is so intriguing and entertaining that I missed a dozen turns while listening to the audio in my car. Never would I have imagined being so captivated by the history of scientific research on the subject of speech acquisition! Yet, wow, what a journey Wolfe took me on, dicing up historical legends and institutions, serving them up with scathing humor, and alerting me to the marvel of speech and mankind’s embarrassing inability to define it.

Again, I am moved by what I don’t know…and haven’t even thought about knowing. I hope it will remind me today to be more…

  • humble when I am tempted to think I am hot stuff
  • aggressive in using my free time to learn (instead of veg)
  • respectful of all fields of knowledge and their impact upon us all


Get-Real Inventory

In the movie Blast from the Past, Brenden Frazer’s character comes out of the bunker he has lived in for thirty years and just stares with awe at the sky. Everyone around thinks he’s crazy…except a small child.

I included the link, just in case you need a laugh and want to feel marvelous.


In this blog, I try not to waste your time with platitudes about gratitude. But, I wouldn’t mind if you felt just a little guilt after reading the following quote by a blind/deaf/mute woman:


Do an inventory. Get real.

Make other people feel marvelous.

This Is Us

The Thanksgiving episode of This Is Us is a good example why the new US television series has been successful. This Is Us is us, down to the stinking sibling rivalry, parenting screw-ups, and the long-term effects of home-bred insecurities (unsavory stuff that most of us deny or cover up until home-for-the-holidays becomes a full-scale excavation site).

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The episode reminded me of arriving at the in-laws one year and turning to ask the kids to be on their best behavior.

Hoping they would remember that their grandfather had been recently ill, I asked, “Why do you think being on your best behavior would be important?” My son responded quickly, “Because Mamma and Grandad won’t like us if they know who we really are.”

An honest response that revealed the deeper, and darker, state of things.

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