Monday, September 18, 2017

In The Dark

Gary stepped outside and knew at once that it was going to be one of those terrible days.  Everything was dark and gloomy, like a thunderstorm was only moments away.  But it was strange – the weather reporter had said the day would be sunny.
Gary continued on to his favorite coffee shop.  Inside the coffee shop, the lights were dim, as if some bulbs had burned out.  He thought, “What kind of lousy restaurant doesn’t change the light bulbs when they go out?”   
Gary sat down and looked at the menu, but the dim lighting was making him more and more depressed.  When the waitress came by to take his order, Gary ordered his food, but he stopped her as she started walking back to the kitchen.
“Why don’t you guys fix some of these light bulbs? It’s so dark in here.  Do you think your customers like to eat in the dark?” Gary, whose mood had gotten progressively worse since he left the house, spoke angrily and a little too loudly.
“But sir,” the waitress said, looking confused, “No bulbs are burned out here.  You’re wearing sunglasses.”
Gary pulled his glasses off.  It was true!  He had grabbed the wrong pair of glasses out of his dresser drawer.   He apologized to her and made sure to leave a big tip.
What an eye opener! Isn’t it true that the fault we find in the world around us can often be traced back to what’s inside ourselves? It’s so easy to project our problems onto others when taking ownership of the issues would actually help us solve them much more quickly.
How often do we try to make a spouse or a roommate change behaviors, to no avail? We all know we can’t change others! We can encourage and persuade, but we can’t make people do anything we wish. 
Knowing this truth, we ought to be able to see how counterproductive it is to get irritated by things going on around us. We automatically think those problems are someone else’s responsibility when we already have the power to stop the irritation!
Just like Gary in the story, when we think problems belong to someone else, we spend a lot of time grumbling and complaining that those people won’t fix their issues. We go around in a rotten mood and make things miserable for those around us. 
Now contrast that unhappy picture with someone who takes responsibility for his own unhappiness. “Am I a part of the problem or the solution?” a wise person might ask. When things aren’t going well, the key is to stop and think about your attitudes and actions.

Blaming others keeps us from finding solutions to the root cause of the issue. Taking responsibility and examining our weaknesses, mistakes or contributions to the problem allow us to take positive action toward improvements.
Self-reflection lets us take off the sunglasses and put on the clear lenses. Maybe there are still a few bulbs in the restaurant that need to be changed, but at that point, we’ve done everything we can to improve the situation on our own.
Sometimes we can do a whole lot to improve a situation, and sometimes not so much. But taking ownership and moving forward always makes us happier than blaming others and waiting for them to change. Blaming others is automatically a recipe for frustration!
Questions to ask:
Are there issues in my life where I’m blaming others for things not going well?
What am I doing that may be contributing to the problem?
Is my perspective causing my own unhappiness?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Check Out Your Squirrel Nests

We have a lot of oak trees around our house and sometimes it looks like a squirrel paradise. Squirrels are always racing around the yard and sneaking up on the deck. They can be pesky at times but for the most part they are fun to watch.

I've seen their nests for years up in the trees and always wondered about stuff like what they're made of, how deep it is, and how many squirrels can share a nest. One day I stopped wondering and got out the ladder to check one out up close.

It was fun peeking inside the nest and noticing how they had weaved the sticks and leaves together. The nest was empty but still I didn't touch it with my hands, I didn't want them to know I had been spying on them. But I did give it a good look over.  I think it made me appreciate my squirrel friends a little more. 
It also got me to thinking that I, you, and all of us, have many "squirrel nests" in our lives that we have never stopped and peeked inside.  Maybe we should slow down and take five minutes or so to explore some of the things in our lives that we have took for granted so many times. You never know what you might find or where it might take you.  Explore and Learn.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Few Older but Good Quotes

"Laughter is an instant vacation." - Milton Berle

"They cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them." -Mahatma Gandhi

"Only Robinson Crusoe had everything done by Friday." -Author Unknown

"Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." -Winston Churchill

"Patience is the ability to count down before you blast off." - Author Unknown

"Freedom lies in being bold." -Robert Frost

"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." -Robert Byrne

"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." -Author Unknown

"Don't find fault. Find a remedy." Henry Ford

"We don't show up FOR work, we show up TO work."-Unknown 

"If you look for the bad in people expecting to find it, you surely will." - Abraham Lincoln

"The doors of wisdom are never shut." - Benjamin Franklin

"You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want." -Zig Ziglar "

"Minds are like parachutes, they only function when open." - Unknown

"A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams." -John Barrymore

"In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." - Theodore Roosevelt

"The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago-the second best time is now." - Confucius

"You say I started out with practically nothing, but that isn't correct. We all start with all there is. It's how we use it that makes things possible." - Henry Ford

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 1, 2017

Opportunity Knocking

Many like to sit back and wait for an opportunity to come knocking. Unfortunately, wishing for opportunities doesn’t make them happen. You must look for possibilities in your life and strive to make something happen when you find them.

Recognizing opportunities when they show up, and creating your own opportunities, are the best ways to achieve success. If you give yourself the chance, you may find that there’s an opportunity knocking on every door.  

Don’t wait for someone else to find opportunities for you. Learn to recognize opportunities and take action promptly.  Be open to answering the call when new opportunities present itself.

Like Milton Berle once said:  "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

The Value Of An Idea