Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How Do You Decide to...Decide?

You know, there are some decisions I'm great at making and others...well...

I can't tell you how much money/time/stress/heart-hurt/physical pain indecision has cost me. My tendency to see a wide range of options/opportunities and want it all has been stunningly expensive.

And yes, I get it that that outlook would be judged as immature by lots of folks...however, I know others who see it as optimistic and hopeful.

Suggestions for dealing with indecision range through:- Flipping a coin- Examining the upside/downside- Acknowledging the outcome of indecision (what happens if I don't decide?)- Sleeping on it- Doing a survey among friends and/or experts- Trusting instincts- Setting a deadline- Getting out of your head by changing the environment

How do you deal with indecision? Zap me back and let me know!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Hit the Spinner!

Ok...you didn't expect this....the device above is a potty training urinal. Now, stick with me...

You use 4 powerful suction cups to hold it to the wall in your bathroom. Little boys try to hit the orange spinner in the middle so it teaches focus. Then, a parent comes in and lifts the light green container out and empties it in the toilet.

Understanding how little boys--and sometimes, big boys--think and the need for potty training, whoever came up with this is a genius! While there is a serious purpose, it teaches a necessary skill and there's a fun aspect to it! It's learning and conditioning without thinking!

Let's take this one more step...what do you need to learn in life? Is there a way to make the learning a little more fun? DON'T BE SO GROWN UP! Some of you are thinking this is silly...well, sometimes silly creates success.

My philosophy is, "Whatever makes it happen makes it happen."

If this gadget interests you for kids or grandkids (it's a perfect baby shower gift!) go to https://amzn.to/2GZouET.

Remember, hit the spinner!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Ever Crimped a Beer Can?

Anything that makes life easier is a good thing. If you go into almost any room in my house you’ll find a pen and paper; all the better to catch ideas or jot down reminders.

That’s a life hack.

We all know hacking first referred to cutting something with rough blows, but for the past few decades the term has meant using a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system. In other words, hacking is a shortcut. 
The term, life hack, has popped up as a way to describe any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency in all walks of life.

You can use empty toilet paper rolls or binder clips to organize computer cords; a pants hanger can hold a cookbook open; you can use an old ketchup bottle to squirt pancake batter into a pan instead of slopping it around with a ladle.

A friend of mine always puts a little crimp, an indention, in the side of a cold, sweaty beer can to make it easier to hold.

Search life hacks, or go to https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/100-life-hacks-that-make-life-easier.html and check out some of the cool ideas.

What do you do to make life easier?

Friday, April 6, 2018

Thanks, But No Thanks

 We’re all busy. 

But, some of us have a bad habit that makes busy even more challenging. We regularly take on more than we should. The habit’s source can be anything from having a lot of responsibilities and no one else to help to having trouble saying, “No.” 

Think about this for a moment: Do you have someone in your life who continues to lay responsibilities on your doorstep? They could be a family member—young or old—coworker, friend, neighbor or fellow church-goer. 

If you’d like to try an interesting experiment, the next time they bring you a pile of something to do simply say, “I’d love to help, but right now I’m totally swamped.” And then, shut up. 

See what their comeback is, if they have one. There will be a percentage of folks who will keep at you and it will be a wonderful opportunity to simply repeat, "As I said, I'd love to help, but right now I'm swamped." Don't say, "Maybe later, or give me a few minutes." Simply shut up. 

They'll probably give you that LOOK...you know the one that says, "I don't know who you are now." That's a good thing. Simply offer a light, "I'm sure you understand" smile.

However, you’ll be surprised how many will say, “Oh. Well. Ok. Thanks anyway.” And, you won’t have to worry about them as much in the future. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

How to Best Use a Cellphone at Lunch

Learning a lesson that can make you much more successful is always a great thing! I just learned had one of those lessons; I learned the most effective use of a cellphone at lunch.

If you’re like me you see people on their phones at lunch all the time. Recently, saw a table of four people and all four were on their phones at the same time!

Today, I was eating lunch at Whole Foods and the person sitting next to me at the counter was reading a book…that’s right!…a book!…with pages and a cover and everything!

The wonderful lesson I learned was that she had placed her phone horizontally at the top of the open book as a way to hold the pages down so her hands were free. It was the best use of a phone at lunch I’ve ever seen.

What if, for one lunch hour a week, you read something? I don’t mean reading the newspaper or a current magazine; give that trying-to-stay-up-on-the-world part of your mind a rest. You could pick a book you’ve always wanted to read; remember those books you should have read in high school and college? Or, read a book about a topic you’ve always wanted to explore, but never thought you had enough time?

Now, some of you are thinking, “Well, Mr. Smartilonia, I could read a book on my phone.” True…but, it isn’t the same…and research proves that.

So, take a book to lunch. Plop your phone on the open pages to hold them down and as you’re reading look around. When you meet the eyes of one of those folks who’s shoveling sushi in their mouth and talking on the phone at the same time…just smirk.

I promise they are looking at you and thinking, “I should be doing that.”

Monday, March 5, 2018

How Good Can You Be?

Whether you like sports or not, hang with me for about 2 minutes.

This past weekend was extraordinary for two athletes; one at the end of life and the other at the beginning. 

Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to run a sub-4 minute mile died. In 1954, at the age of 25, Bannister ran a 3:59:4 mile at a time when “experts” in sports and medicine thought the effort could be deadly to those who tried. The accomplishment unlocked potential—both physically and psychologically. Six weeks later Bannister’s record was broken…but, he led the way. Eight years later Jim Beatty, a member of UNC-Chapel Hill’s track team was the first to run an indoor sub-4 at the Olympic trials in Los Angeles.

At Oxford, I had the opportunity to visit the track on which the record was broken and speak with folks who knew Bannister. He was a doctor and academic in town. By all accounts, he was a wonderful person and a outstanding professional.

The intriguing part of the story that is rarely told is that Bannister was a medical student in the early-50s and did not have time to train as other athletes did. He broke the mile into quarters and knew the time he needed to run in each quarter in order to break the record. He trained for short, intense periods. He believed that if he focused on the quarters he could last the 4 minutes it would take to break the record. Today’s high intensity training proves what Bannister believed over 60 years ago.
On Saturday, Shaquem Griffin, a linebacker from the University of Central Florida, also stretched physical and psychological boundaries by  bench pressing 225 pounds 20 times at the NFL Combine. The event showcases future college players who hope to be pros. In attendance are scouts, team executives and the media. The “Deuce and a Quarter” as it’s sometimes called is not a lot of weight for these guys, but it’s the standard for strength testing at the Combine.

Stephen Paea, a defensive tackle from Oregon State University, did 49 bench presses with 225; the most ever.

So, why is Griffin’s number important? Because, when he was 4 years old his mother found him in the kitchen with a butcher knife trying to cut off the fingers on his left hand. He had amniotic band syndrome, a congenital birth defect, that led to constant, excruciating pain. Doctors amputated the hand the next day.

Even with only one hand Shaquem kept up with his twin brother, Shaquill, on and off the field. The two played at UCF together. Shaquill was drafted last year and plays defensive back for the Seattle Seahawks.

The day after his bench press success Shaquem ran a 4.38 second 40-yard dash (the standard for speed), the fastest time by a linebacker in over 10 years. He certainly is no slouch, he was the 2017 American Athletic Conference defensive player of the year.

He said, “I always hold myself to a higher standard than a lot of people just because if we’re running drills, if I drop a ball, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, he dropped the ball because he has one hand.’ If anybody else drops a ball, they’re going to be like, ‘Well, maybe it was a bad ball.’”

Griffin was fitted with a prosthetic hand as a freshman and wasn’t able to lift the 45-pound bar. His best effort until Saturday was 11 reps with 225. He hoped he could do 6 at the Combine with the crowd watching. On Saturday, as his numbers went up, people were screaming for him.
Both these men showed what we, as humans, are capable of with determination, focus and effort….and you and I complain when our latte is too hot?


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

So, What Are Ya Afraid Of?

During the past few months I’ve felt like I was running through an obstacle course with crocodiles, dragons and pits full of lions with my pants on fire. 

Unlike many men I have no trouble admitting that my fear factor was pretty high.

Interestingly, over the last couple of days I’ve been getting messages from all kinds of sources about how to deal with fear. Online notes have just popped up, articles in magazines simply appear and TV commercials kick out the word “fear” on a regular basis.

I may not be the fastest dog on the track, but I can take a hint. Here are five of the best tips I’ve seen for dealing with fear: 

1. Do something! Get moving and take a step towards a solution right now. The interesting topic of micro-progress encourages us to take a small step.
2. Use positivity. Do something that makes you feel good. Be careful, though. Don’t choose a negative stimulus like alcohol, drugs or too much food.
3. Imagine the best. Imagine what it would be like if this situation worked out for the best. Feel what the success would be like. Use the mantra, “This is going to work out for the best!”
4. Accept that fear is part of life, it’s an innate reaction that kept us alive as cave people. I was a reaction to what we perceived as a threat to life. Understand, though, that fear today is very different than when we worried about being eaten.
 5. Ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Once you understand the worst threat you can come up with a plan to deal with it.

Even those among us who seem the bravest feel fear at various times. The difference in them and most of us is that they have learned to put fear in its place and keep moving.