“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” –Theodore Roosevelt
“WE ALREADY HAVE everything we need. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fear that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun; all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here.” Pema Chodron Start Where You Are
What could Rough Rider (soldier, big game hunter, President) Teddy Roosevelt and a Buddhist nun have in common?
They both counsel us to live in the day, today. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here.
If you are seeing the world from under a cloud today, know the sun is just above them. If you are feeling the sun on your face, turn that light towards someone else. It can be as simple as a smile, a thank you. We’re in this together. #Goteam
Photo Credit: Buddha Dog Bruce
“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.” – Scott Hamilton
People with a bad attitude (bullies and the like) HATE inspirational sayings. They think they are for are stupid and ‘weak’ people. They feel their anger and bad temper are justified. I remember having a ‘chip on my shoulder’ when I was growing up. (Maybe I still have it.)
My parents were alcoholics, I had my share of problems. Worse, I couldn’t control how I expressed my anger. It just came out. Often when I didn’t want or expect it to. The people I was most angry at… wouldn’t have been able to hear me even if I had expressed my frustrations and fear.
So I’d be at the grocery store and some young clerk would make a mistake and I’d lash out, all out of proportion to the error. When I finished carrying on, I would feel justified at first… then I’d just feel awful. Why did I do that? I was never going to do it again. And then, suddenly, I would do it again.
I finally got sick of being angry. I got help. I went to Al-Anon (free peer support for families of alcoholics), got a counselor, went to treatment for children of alcoholics. My life changed slowly but dramatically.
My story is no different than many others. I was lucky; I had the will and resources to get help. Many caring and intelligent people never get help. They just stay mad, sad and lost.
If you recognize that you sometimes lash out at people, whether at people you love or strangers, I urge you to talk to someone. There are free resources available to you, no matter where you live. No matter what your problem, there are others who have had them too.
Photo credit: Scott Hamilton
I like these. I particularly like #3. Show ‘great’ respect…
If you’ve been reading the news then you know about “Ferguson” Missouri.
I know many people don’t want to talk about it, but that doesn’t make the problem go away.
And there is a problem. It’s no one’s ‘fault’… but if you aren’t willing to confront the truth, if you are not willing to think about what the people in the streets (black and white, young and old) are saying… then perhaps you get to carry some of the blame. In this situation, there is no right and wrong, there is only moving forward by getting involved in the conversation.
If you look at and listen to the conversation of high school students around the country… each of us can begin to have hope. Listen to the students at the Saint Louis High School where the principal is having students engage each other… which he monitors and insists on respect between the students.
“…creating that decorum within the meeting – is really important to having people say what they need to say. And I always tell the kids, you know, how you relay your message has a lot to do with how it’s accepted and whom you influence.” Kevin Grawer, principal of Maplewood Richmond Heights High School.
Are you listening to people who disagree with you or are you just yelling or worse… pretending their point of view is irrelevant? Do you work to see the other person’s point of view? It’s so easy to be righteous. They should do this or that.
But I’ve never walked in their shoes.
I have, however, been poor, afraid and female. I have a glimpse into why some of the anger exists and why I feel it is often justified.
Respect. It all starts there.
What makes someone cool?
It depends on many things: our stage of life, our interests, etc. For me, Steve McQueen (the actor in the photo) was Mr. Cool. Fast cars (Bullitt), motorcycles, independent, handsome, tough.
I think that cool relates to 3 things:
- Self-awareness – how well do I know myself, my shortcomings and strengths. This takes real effort for most of us. It’s easier just to be oblivious.
- Self- asssuredness – this isn’t related to ego, it’s related to believing in our selves long after it’s reasonable (multiple failures!)
- Self-compassion – do I know how to make amends to those I hurt and by extension, do I forgive myself when I make a mistake?
These 3 attributes help us lead, follow, be resilient, learn, grow, change and adapt – they help me to be independent. I like to be independent. More importantly and perhaps counter-intuitively, it make more compassionate towards others.
I think people who accept themselves, are cool. I think people who don’t think they’re cool, are often, cool. People who understand that what makes them different from everyone else, cool.
One last thing, I also think accepting responsibility is cool. When I do something that doesn’t reflect well on myself, I hate to admit it. I learned, through much pain, that it’s better to just own it. As quickly as I can. That’s one thing that makes me cool.
Cool can be about they way someone dresses or talks… but really, it’s much more about their attitude; towards themselves and by extension, towards others.
So my friend, what makes someone cool in your eyes?
Photo Credit: Steve McQueen Barbour
We live in a hurry-up world so I think it’s discouraging for many of us that the world is not a ‘better’ place. We feel helpless when we don’t know what to do to fix things. This is a reflection of how much information we have about the 7 BILLION people who live on our planet. 100 years ago, we knew a lot about our block but not that much about the next city, state or country. Positive change requires effort and patience. To highlight this, think about; “Presence is far more intricate and rewarding … than productivity.” We focus a lot on productivity (I’m all for that) … I’m suggesting we spend time thinking about how we present ourselves in the world.
The reality is we may be limited in our ability to change things quickly, but there are things we can do:
- improve our personal awareness (strengths,weaknesses)
- establish a personal presence that truly reflects our values and unique perspective (without being rigid)
- have faith in ourselves
- take small steps towards improving the world – get involved in something!
- listen more, talk less
- be kind
For today, maybe you could read something that takes some effort and reach out to someone who needs support. Other than being present for those you love, do what you are called to do today. If you’re not sure, you might just need to be quiet and be patient. Two things we are short on in this hurry-up world.
I found the quote in the picture in an article titled, 7 Life Long Learnings from 7 Years of Brain Picking. Check out Brain Pickings.
Do you know Debbie Millman? She’s a writer, educator, artist, brand consultant and host of a radio/podcast show Design Matters. Check her out too.
photo credit: Israel Smith
How do dogs spend their days?
– Eating, sleeping, sniffing, barking, chasing
We human beings can learn a few things from them. The eating and sleeping part we all get. But what about:
– Sniffing – this is the equivalent of learning, but hands on learning, not the… oh I went to college kind. The kind where you have to get right in there and possibly not be ‘perfect.’ This is where the real learning happens.
– Barking – this is the communicating part of the day. We all communicate in various ways, we whimper, we brag, we talk etc. But dogs don’t gossip, they don’t shame each other, (okay they may bully a bit but they do it for a survival reason.)
-Chasing – My dog watches the squirrels, chipmunks and birds out the window. She was bred to dig varmints out of holes so she’s happy to let the critters be. But occasionally she finds something so compelling, she just has to chase it. Can you relate? I can.
One last thing. When the wind blows, instead of turning away, she puts her face right into it. The harder it blows, the longer she stands facing it. This inspires me: when the wind is blowing in my face, I work to stand firm, sniff and see what I can learn.
As leaders do we see ourselves as coaches, mentors and teachers or as managers, bosses and the person “in-charge.” The distinction may be subtle but the influence you may have on people and the results you drive may not be subtle. In the book, “Leaders East Last,” (title derived from the Marine Corps where enlisted men always eat first), Simon Sinek says, “whether a leader puts themselves or their people first, determines if they are worthy of our love and loyalty. Leadership is a decision not a rank.”
Many people think that the ‘younger generation’ is lazy and entitled. I say every generation has this type of person. I see so many 20-30 somethings doing such great things; I hope you see them that way too. I loved this article, “Meet 6 Entrepreneurs Who Use Tech to Change the World.” Each young entrepreneur is doing something simple to solve a problem. My favorite is HandUp started by a young woman named Rose Broome.
“HandUp is direct giving for homeless people and others in need in your neighborhood. Your donations are redeemed for basic needs like food, clothing, and medical care through our partner organization Project Homeless Connect.”
Like all start ups, this one will have critics and bumps along the way. What I like is that Rose didn’t just give the homeless woman a dollar and forget her. She’s looking for a way to help stabilize her situation. It may be a handout right now, but hopefully a hand up is on it way too.
Photo credit: photo leroys
“Failure is a process … you have to fail over and over and over again to get anything that’s worthwhile.” Jules Feiffer cartoonist
Feel like a failure? You’re actually winning. Watch this 40 second video about the power of failure. According to Mr. Feiffer, you need to continuously try new things and fail in order to create anything worthwhile. Think about raising children. If you think you didn’t fail over and over again… I suspect you are kidding yourself.
Think about nature. Evolution is a series of failures in order to find the best way forward: the flower that is drought resistant or the leaf that absorbs water more effectively.
I am teaching a new online course. Learning the software is driving me crazy. Just when I think I have learned something, it appears that I forget it. And this is happening live, in front of my students. Humbling to say the least.
Think of the last time you failed. Did you curl up in a ball? Did you try to deny it? Were you ashamed? This last is the worst of it. Failure is a sign that you are trying. If you can’t think of the last time you failed, then you are either not paying attention or you aren’t trying anything new. The old saying, nothing ventured, nothing gained, warns us to keep trying new things. To live fully we need to fall on faces from time to time.
Photo credit: Fig leaf John Leach
If you are unfamiliar with Jules Feiffer’s delightful cartoons (as well as the rest of his body of work), check him out.
A dog can never tell you what she knows from the smells of the world, but you know, watching her, that you know almost nothing. Mary Oliver
This is my dog Gildie. She is the first dog I have ever had.
What is there to learn from your first dog? Wow. Everything. She is so excited to wake up every day and play. I need this.
She is motivated by food and people and toys. She is completely engaged in life except when she’s asleep and then she’s completely engaged in that.
I got a dog so I would have to go for a walk everyday. Rain or snow, whatever the weather, I needed a reason to get up and walk. Since she has the energy of 2 toddlers, I am compelled to play, walk, laugh and be completely engaged with her.
The quote above about how a dog perceives the world — through her nose– was brought home to me on one of those walks. She trusts her nose more than her eyes and it got me thinking. Which of my senses do I trust the most?
I am certain my eyes deceive me. Happily, I learned to trust my gut. Take all the information and sift it through the sensor that is my years of experience.What do you rely on? What you see, what you hear, what you believe? Do you jump to conclusions about people?
Understand how you learn and make decisions and you’ll be more effective in everything you do. How free are you with your opinions? Do you offer to give everyone the benefit of your wisdom? Or do you use your experience to let others find their own path? Use all the information given to you to help you be a better friend, co-worker, partner and parent. We’ll all benefit.
I have two children; they are wonderful people. There are times when I wonder what I gave them. Oh, I think I was a good mother. I’m not questioning whether I gave them a good education or a nice home, but I wonder – what did I pass on to them that they only could have received from me?
I love this quote from Thomas Edison. Whether you call it passion or enthusiasm – it is the “estate of incalculable value.” How does a parent pass this along?
There is really only one way. That is by example. What you do. Your behavior. How you spend your time. How you treat people. How you learn new things. How you accept the good and bad. Your precious time – how do you spend it? How do you act when you think no one is looking.
Are you excited to be alive? Are you grateful? Do you complain everyday about the weather, your boss, why you don’t have this and that?
Or do you focus on the beauty? the joy? the positive? the kind? Do you greet each day with an energy that says, “life is an adventure.”
Bring passion and energy to your children today and everyday. They might just thank you.
Image credit: Thomas Edison and GE That’s Genius Pinterest Board