Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Red Bull and Reality

If you drink Red Bull you may be due $10 in cash or $15 worth of Red Bull products.

It seems that a class action suit was filed on behalf of customers who drank Red Bull and found that it DIDN'T REALLY GIVE THEM WINGS!

So, the disillusioned drinkers and the ambulance chasing lawyers who thought up this suit nailed the Red Bull company for some bucks.

Actually, I love meeting people who think something like "it will give you wings" is true...because they are children. Children's imaginations allow them to suspend belief and actually believe, "Yeah! If I put this towel on my back like a cape I can climb on top of the shed and when I jump off I'll fly!!" And yes, sometimes the outcomes aren't happy but the kids learn a lesson.

However, when a bunch of adults and lawyers get together and try to find a way to bilk a company out of millions of dollars on something this silly...well...

But, here's the other side of the issue. We all have things, people, thoughts that we believe give us good luck, hold us back, make us faster/stronger/bigger and that's not necessarily a bad thing. If you have a lucky charm, for lack of a better way to look at it, and it gives you the confidence to try...have at it.

Just don't try to sue someone if it doesn't really give you wings.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Monkeys In Sweaters

Recently saw a video of a monkey in a sweater. Someone had put one of those ridiculous Christmas sweaters on him and he was literally tearing his way out of it. Obviously, Bongo didn't appreciate the fashion statement.

Now, think about what you just read and the assumption I made.

While I'm sure that some of the folks in my past would try to make a strong argument that I have no problem understanding how monkeys think I can't honestly say that I don't know whether the monkey didn't like how the sweater looked or whether it itched or whether he simply prefered going au natural.

Which brings me to a point...when folks talk about animals looking "embarrassed" or "sad" or "happy," how do they know?

I heard a great phrase the other day: Anthropomorphic Conceit.

Anthropomorphism is when we humans ascribe human traits to animals or stuff (ex. robots). As humans we use a variety of terms to describe how we think animals feel in certain situations and the truth is that we don't...have...a...clue. And as for stuff, it's inanimate, it's just stuff.

It may be the height of prestige in the dog world to be a beagle wearing a kitten sweater and pushing a little grocery cart with a sombrero-wearing chihuahua in it on the David Letterman Show. All the barking in the neighborhood that night may be canines calling each other and saying, "Hey! Did you see Tommy and Lopez on Letterman?! They were killin' it! Why can't that be us?!!"

Let me stumble to my point here...We do the same thing with other people. We often believe we know how other people feel...but we don't, not really. We know how we might feel or have felt when we've experienced a similar situation, but we don't really know how THEY feel.

I hear people talking about retiring and some of them seem...mmmm...inordinately excited. My first thought is that they hate their jobs. But a lot of them don't, they love what they do. They are just excited about moving on to the next phase of life.

So, when you think  you know what someone is thinking or going through be careful about assuming you know what their thoughts and feelings are. Some of them feel exactly as you would/did...others are simply monkeys in sweaters.

Bundle up and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What's That Ball of Fire In the Sky?!!

A couple of days of good weather after all the cold rain we've had is a welcome change. Get outside and enjoy it!

But, let's be honest, a couple of days of good weather and we're back to taking it for granted.

Taking life for granted is a wonderfully human trait. If things are good for too long or bad for awhile we simply assume that this is the way life will be. We get comfortable, even with discomfort.

Last night I saw a wonderful youtube.com video of Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the meaning of life to a 6-year old. Tyson, an astrophysicist who is director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of the new version of the TV special, Cosmos, is--for my money--one of the smartest people of the planet.

His basic point was that finding the meaning of life is as simple as learning something new every day. He said that if you can, every day, get one step closer to learning everything you can learn, you'll have found the meaning of life.

And what, in the Wide, Wide World of Sports (Thank you, Slim Pickins in Blazing Saddles) does Tyson's advice have to do with being comfortable and taking things for granted?
If you learn something new everyday it's almost impossible to get too comfortable and take life for granted. You are continuously surprised, sometimes delighted and constantly feeling thankful for the opportunity to simply exist.

So, what have you already learned today? What will you learn? And no one wants to hear  sarcasm (I've learned not to read silly stuff about learning!).

Learn one new thing every day and your world changes!

(To see the video simply go to youtube.com and check "Neil deGrasse Tyson Meaning of Life")

Monday, December 29, 2014

Goals vs Resolutions

In about 48 hours millions of people will essentially start lying to themselves and others...they'll start making New Year's Resolutions.

Lose weight
Drink less
Get a raise
Go to church more
Lose weight
Stop being so messy
Get more exercise
Save more (or start saving) money
Oh yeah, and lose weight

Yep, I've made'em all and broken them; usually within the first 90 days of the new year.

However, my cousin Susan Makitka has a great way of looking at the New Year. Instead of making resolutions she sets goals.

The great--and different--thing about setting goals versus resolutions is that a resolution is a statement while a goal involves a process.

THIS YEAR I'LL LOSE WEIGHT!!! Ok. How much? By when? And how?

When you start setting goals you start asking simple questions: How will you know you've reached the goal? How will you make it happen? What resources will you need and who can help? What's the deadline?

Stop making resolutions, they don't work. Start setting goals.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

There's a Lid for Every Pot

Celia Rivenbark is wonderful, Wilmington,NC-based writer whose column appears every Sunday in the Raleigh News and Observer. She's the author of Bless Your Heart, Tramp; You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning; and Don't Dress Your Six Year-Old Like a Skank (tips on Southern Etiquette).

Just from the titles of the books  you can see why she'd be great. If you're scrambling for Christmas presents for friends you should check out Celia's work.

The other day she used a phrase that has stuck with me. She said an aunt of hers had noted that, "there's a lid for every pot," meaning that there is a match for everyone.

I think that works on a variety of levels whether it's people, cars, jobs, haircuts, books, TV programs (ain't that the truth), places to live, sports positions, hobbies or seasons.

So often we don't end up with the lid we expected on our pot, but as long as if fits, that's the deal, now isn't it?

In the last couple of years I've been fortunate enough to find a couple of lids that fit me. Luck had a lot to do with it, but I was also actively open to finding the lid and was willing to try different lids.

Believe me, if you find the lid that fits you can flat-out do some cookin'!

Which pot in your life do you need to find a lid for?

Friday, December 12, 2014

What Did You Do With My Elvis Santa?!!!


I never cease to  be amazed at how much change jumps up and bites me.

You'd think I'd be able to handle change smoothly considering how much I teach it all over the country.

Three weeks ago I moved  and we combined houses. I'm delighted about the move (other than the fact that I keep stubbing my toe on things that I don't remember being THERE!)

So, it's Christmas and this is tree and decoration weekend and we need to decide whose ornaments, lights, Santas, dishes, elf hats, reindeer, fake mistletoe, doorhangers, Santas (an army) and footy pajamas to use...ok, that last one was probably TMI.

I pulled out all our stuff and it fills half a room and while it would make sense to start paring down the selection, this weekend is not the time. Next July, with a couple of bottles of wine and some cold beers we can make those decisions.

This year the process will probably go something like this, "I like that, let's put it over there." and "I've always put this out, you ok with it?"

But, there will surely be a, "You're not really going to put that out, are you?" and "Holy S***! Don't tell me you put that out at Christmas!!"

Laughter will follow because we have that kind of relationship, but there'll definitely be an, "Ok, we can put it out, but put it over there (where it's unlikely to be seen)."

Dealing with change effectively in any setting comes down to a few basics; awareness, communications, patience and action.

And, oh yeah, wine and cold beer.

See you Monday, have a great weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Feet On the Floor...1400 Blogs

Today is the 1400th blog for The Perfect Workday. If you are a consistent reader and, especially, if you are kind enough to pass a blog on to a friend or colleague, all I can say is, "Thank you!"

I won't bore you with all that's happened in life since the first blog in 2009. I'll simply say it's been a journey.

The constant, though, has been that every morning upon waking I put my feet on the floor and open my eyes and find some things in the world have changed and some seem to have stayed pretty much the same.

All you can do is either ignore or try to improve what suits you and enjoy/appreciate/do more of the good things.

The scary realization for most folks is that they have to make the choice for themselves; it means they have responsibility for their lives.

Don't just pay lip service to the reality that you make the choices that create your life. Make choices that matter to you.

There's been no magic in writing 1400 blogs. I simply make the choice on most workday mornings to get up, walk to the computer and start writing. But, when most people hear "1400 blogs" they surprise up to and including, "ARE YOU SH****** ME?!!"

There is a goal in life that's important to you and you can reach it the same way I blog, one day at a time.

Remember, when your feet hit the floor and you open your eyes the choice is yours.

The simple fact that you have a choice is the magic.