Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 19)

say 19

Today we are going to talk about #3 on our list of things we should say more often.

AAAAAA!

There are some days when it seems like everything is going wrong.  Sometimes you want to just stop everything and scream out “AAAAAA!”  Well, maybe you should.  Maybe you need to find some secluded spot and just yell out in frustration or anger.  Maybe you have a pillow that you can do that into.  Sometimes it is a better idea to just let it out instead of letting it continue to build up inside of you.

You don’t want to lash out at someone else, so maybe it is better that you just get it out away from other people.  It can turn out really bad when you unleash on some poor person who happens to be there when you frustration from inside finally boils over.  Chances are that they will not have deserved it and they certainly will not have seen it coming.

It is OK to unleash pent-up anger and frustration, but we just need to be smart in how we do it.  Get off alone where you can get it out.  Another great release can be to go get a good workout in.  Doing something physical that gets your heart rate up can really help.

Our assignment this week is to find a healthy release for any pent-up anger or frustration that might be welling up inside of us.  It is important to let it out, but not on another person.  Let’s be mature about this and find positive ways to let go.  Don’t keep it inside or it will just continue to eat away at you.

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Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 18)

say 18

Today we are going to talk about #4 on our list of things we should say more often.

I disagree with you, but I still like you as a person who is a human being and I will treat you like that because if I didn’t, it would make everything bad and that’s what lots of people do and it’s lame.  It’s OK to disagree, but don’t be mean.

Leave it to a kid to say something so spot on.  Sometimes I really think that kids really do know this the best.  Somehow, as we grow older, we can tend to lose this innate sense of right and wrong.  As adults, we can get so filled with pride and want to be right, that when someone disagrees with us, we tend to get mean and angry towards that person.  We should not do that.

The world is filled with different ideas and opinions.  It is what gives our world flavor.  Just because someone does not agree with us, it does not mean that they are wrong.  It just means that they have a different way of looking at things.

It is OK to disagree.  But when you disagree be nice about it.  Be respectful of the other person and their opinion.  Treat the person as an equal and don’t look down on them just because they don’t agree with them.

Our world would be a very boring place if everyone had the exact same thoughts.  New and different ideas have the ability to open our minds and broaden our scope of understanding.  But this can only happen if we are open to receiving the new ideas and opinions.  Be a person who is open and not closed-minded.

Our assignment this week is to react in a positive and uplifting manner when someone disagrees with something we have said or done.  Treat them with respect and show that you value their opinion.  You may even learn something in the process.

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Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 17)

say 17

Today we are going to talk about #5 on our list of things we should say more often.

Fart sound

Sometimes you just to have fun with life.  Life can be very overwhelming at times and sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and for others is to just laugh.  I understand that a fart sound my not make everyone laugh, but you are missing the point.  Insert whatever you do find funny here.

Sometimes we tend to get too serious about things.  We can take ourselves way too seriously.  Sometimes we get so focused on what is happening right now in this very moment, that we forget to see the big picture.  Most problems are not nearly as big as we think they are at the time when we are going through them.

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

EE Cummings

I really love this quote.  I really do believe that if you go through a whole day without laughing, it was a wasted day.  Laughter draws us together and makes us put life in perspective.  If laughter was not such a big deal, comedy movies and shows would not be so popular in our society.

Our assignment this week is to try to find a situation that could use some comic relief and then provide that comic relief.  Make someone who is having a hard time and seems to be bogged down by life laugh.  It can really help them out and it will make your day go better too.

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Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 16)

say 16

Today we are going to talk about #6 on our list of things we should say more often.

Nothing.  Just listen.  Sometimes nothing is the best thing you can say.

Keith Whitley and later Allison Krause had it right when they sang, “You say it best, when you say nothing at all.”  I am a firm believer in the fact that God gave us two ears and one mouth because we should listen more than we speak.

People in our society tend to be scared to death of silence.  They do not like periods of time with nothing said so they sometimes talk just to talk.

If we know someone has a problem, we want to solve it, so we give them the best solution we know how.  Sometimes a person isn’t looking for a solution.  Sometimes they just want you to listen.

This happens a lot at funerals.  You know a person is hurting so you want to tell them something and you end up saying something dumb that might seem to be minimizing their loss.  Most people just want you to listen to them and then maybe just give them a hug.

We all need to get better at listening.  Listening to our spouse, our children, our family, our friends, even our enemies.  When we listen to them and don’t try to talk all the time, we are showing them that we care about them and what they are feeling.

We don’t have to have all the answers to be a great friend to them.  We don’t even have to understand what they are going through.  Sometimes we need to just be there for them and just listen

Our assignment this week is to find at least one person who seems to be down or out of sorts in some way.  Ask them what is wrong and then just shut up and listen.  Fight the urge to give them advice or try to sorry their problem.  Just listen to them and show that you care.

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Pokemon Go: Have We Finally Amused Ourselves to Death?

amusing

In 1985, a social critic named Neal Postman, in the introduction to his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, compared two famous dystopian visions: 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  He noted that though many people thought their visions were similar, Huxley and Orwell had very different theories about how people would eventually lose their freedoms.

Orwell thought it would be Big Brother, the all-watching, all-powerful state.  Now certainly, in the age of the NSA and TSA, it sounds like he may have been on to something.

But Postman thought Huxley was the one who got it right.  Here’s how he put it:

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.  What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, because there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.  Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.  Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.  Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.  Huxley feared we could become a trivial culture…As Huxley remarked in “Brave New World Revisited,” the civil libertarians and rationalists ever on the alert to oppose tyranny failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In 1984, people are controlled by inflicting pain.  In Brave New World, they were controlled by inflicting pleasure.  In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us.  Huxley feared what we love will ruin us.  “My book,” Postman then concluded, “is about the possibility that Huxley was right, not Orwell.”  And perhaps nothing has so vindicated Postman’s take on American culture like Pokemon Go, a game in which users capture, battle, and train mythical creatures.  Already it has more users than Tindr and even Twitter.

The upside is that this game take users outdoors to look for Pokemon, around cities and town, even fields, using their phones’ GPS and camera.  The downside is that though outdoors, users are still staring at screens, oblivious to the world in which they’re searching, not to mention to other people.

As should have been imagined, there have been casualties.  A couple of weekends ago, hundreds of gamers fought off traffic heading into Central Park, when a particularly elusive Pokemon was spotted there.  A couple of weeks ago, two men fell off a cliff near San Diego playing the game.  Others have been stabbed, robbed, beaten up and shot at by those taking advantage of the unaware users.

As a San Diego Sheriff’s Department spokesman said, “People need to realize this is just a game.  It’s not worth your life.  No game is worth your life.”

Neil Postman’s warning in Amusing Ourselves to Death, however, went further than that.  He warned that we were becoming a silly culture, addicted to distraction, without the ability to prefer the good, the true, and the beautiful to the trivial, the meaningless, and the titillating.  Such a culture, he thought, would be easily taken captive by the inability to discern what’s truly important.

And in perhaps the ultimate indictment on our culture, the Arlington National Cemetery and the Holocaust Museum issued appeals two weeks ago that users not search for Pokemon at these hallowed sites of remembrance.  The fact that it even needed to be said only affirms Postman’s prophecy.

Look, I was a kid once, so I get it on one level.  Games are fun and Pokemon Go is pretty cool.  So if your kids are playing it, don’t panic.  But if they’re addicted to perpetual distraction, it’s time to intervene.  If you, as a parent see that it is becoming a problem, but don’t do anything to control it, you are ultimately responsible for whatever comes as a result of it.  I think it is time that parents take a stand and declare enough is enough.  I’m not saying that we need to ban our children from all technology, but the unlimited use of technology by our kids, without parental supervision is just asking for trouble.  I submit that the next generation could actually be dulling themselves to sleep from reality.  Perhaps they are even amusing themselves to death.

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Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 15)

say 15

Today we are going to talk about #7 on our list of things we should say more often.

My sports team isn’t always the best sports team

Being a Cyclone fan in the state of Iowa, it can be very hard to admit when a Hawkeye team might be just plain better than my Cyclone team, but it does happen from time to time.  There is no doubt that sports are huge in our country.  It is also a fact that many people take their favorite teams very seriously.  Sometimes fights can even break out over whose team is the best.  We really shouldn’t take sports so seriously that we would ever actually resort to fighting someone over sports.

The deeper meaning here is that we need to realize that our way of doing things is not always the best way of doing things.  Other people may do things differently and that does not mean that their way is wrong, it just means they are different.  Just remember that there is sometimes more ways than one to skin a cat.  It could even be that their way of doing things might even be a better way of doing things than what you have been doing.  Maybe you should consider adopting their way of doing things.

To have a friendship or a relationship with someone, it takes some give and take on both people’s part.  There has to be compromise for it to last.

Maybe you should ask yourself this question: Is it more important for me to be right or is it more important to keep the friendship.  If you are a person who has to be right about everything, you may find that you are living a very lonely life.

Our assignment this week is to be willing to give a little the next time someone is questioning you or something you are doing.  Be willing to look at the situation from their point of view and maybe be willing to give in a little.  You may not win the battle on that day, but the relationship will last for another day.

In case anyone was interested, here are my favorite teams:

Iowa State Cyclones

Chicago Bears

St. Louis Rams

Chicago Bulls

Chicago White Sox

Chicago Blackhawks

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Twenty Things We Should Say More Often (Part 14)

say 14

Today we are going to talk about #8 on our list of things we should say more often.

Hello, person I’ve never met before!  Here’s a high-five!

Sometimes we need to put ourselves out there to meet new people.  We don’t know how it will go and that can be scary.  Choose to put yourself out there anyway.  When you do, just go for it.  Be friendly, be funny, be energetic.  Even give them a high-five or a fist bump.  Most people will love your courage to be outgoing.  Sometimes you will meet someone who is put off by that, but if they are, you are best off finding that out right away.  That person who takes offense to your friendly greeting is probably not a person you want to be friends with anyway.

God commands us to love our brothers and sisters here on earth.  That includes family and friends.  It also includes strangers.  That means people that we do not know.  Be willing to put yourself out there because you never know when you will meet someone who could become one of your best friends.  And if you do, you want your first encounter with that person to be memorable so that years from now, you both can look back on how you met and smile and maybe even laugh.  Those are the moments that make life worth living.

Our assignment this week is to approach at least one stranger and start a conversation with them.  Get to know a little bit about them.  If you feel really brave, go ahead and give them a high-five.  People are not as scary as they might seem at first.  Putting yourself out there can really lead to some great things down the road.  Who knows, you may even end up getting a corn dog out of the deal someday.  That would definitely make it worth it because everyone loves corn dogs.

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