Monday, October 16, 2017

Believe it or not, today is a BIG Day in more ways than one.

First, it’s National Boss’s Day. Whether you have a good boss or one you’d like to drop down the elevator shaft, find one good thing to say about them…to them. (And no, if the boss is someone you don’t respect and admire, the compliment, “You don’t sweat much for a fat person! does not count) Catch them doing something right. They’ll be appreciative and, in some cases, amazed.

Next, it’s National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day so let’s start filing or dropping all those cat photos and I HATE DUKE! graphics into the trash.

Speaking of….it’s National Cat Day. If you have a cat…wait, that’s not right…people don’t own cats…cats decide to stay around. Give'em a treat and laugh at their sneer.

And finally, it’s National Liqueur Day. I’m a Grand Marnier guy, but if you want something that is so good you won’t believe it…try Frangelica.

Big Day!!! You can clean your screen, bump your boss, caress your cat and sip some smooth. This is a day to remember!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What About This Question?

Just received the note below from a seminar participant. She is referring to my suggestion about The Question Corner. In ANY type of meeting you should write, What? Why? Who? Where? When? Where? How? and How Much? in the upper left-hand corner of your notepad. The questions raise your level of attention and retention, help you come up with better questions and lower miscommunication. 

Seems like it worked for her.

Good Evening Mike,

I know we will see each other at class this week, but I was excited and just had to write to thank you.  

Because of your class last week I went into a meeting today with my list of who, what, when, where, why & how much questions.  For the first time, using your tips from class, I was able to listen, ask the appropriate questions and leave the meeting well educated and confident.  I followed up with her after the meeting as instructed.  Because of all this I will be able to put together a strong presentation to the new market.  

Thank you again for your time and knowledge.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Take the Easy Way

A very good friend is trying to sell her house and yesterday I worked like a field hand helping her get her yard and house ready to show.

I spent a fair amount of time raking leaves into piles and then using a snow shovel to scoop and carry the leaves to a spot at the back of the yard. 

And yes, there was a leaf-blower (I can hear some of you detail dragons, “WHY NOT USE THE LEAF BLOWER?!), but it was being used in another area part of the yard.

Two thoughts occurred to me and both addressed the fact that I was working too hard. When I started raking I was using the same amount of energy to rake a few leaves as I was using when trying to rake a pile of them. Just hard-raking the grass—you know what I’m talking about. 

After awhile my forearms started to ache so I naturally started easing up when raking a few leaves. It gave my arms some rest. I realized my mistake and, in some areas, raked more easily.

When I had a good-sized pile I’d scoop as many leaves as I could with the snow shovel. When carrying the loaded shovel palm up I noticed my wrist starting to hurt because it was in a severe position. (I know, I know…and I’m not going to use the I get the senior discount at Golden Corral excuse) 

So, I flipped my hand over so I was palm down and WALLAH! (See, I know you jumped on that one, too!! Yes, it’s VOILA!), no more pain.

Our bodies are often smarter than our heads and will show us, through pain, a better way.

What if we looked at life like that? 

Believe me, I’ve spent 50+ years in gyms and have been an Arnold fan forever so I understand the No Pain, No Gain ethos. But, even the most hardcore bodybuilders now understand that that was more PR than reality.

Let you body—let your life—show you the best way. What brings you happiness, joy, laughter and a higher vibration? 

Try that!

If it doesn’t work you can always go back to beating yourself up.

If you know someone who is working waaaaay too hard at life, send them this.

And, if you know someone who jumped on those few points that didn’t really matter, tell’em to lighten up.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

I'm Human...In Spite of What You've Heard

The last two blogs have touched on seeing the world through mistake-colored glasses and and playing misery poker.

Yesterday, I heard two words that--while they don't make everything fine--can put life into perspective.

I'm human.

Now...I realize there are some folks out there who would disagree with me being human but...well...that's them.

A friend recently paid me a wonderful compliment by telling me, "You're one of the most postive people I know."

Unfortunately, though, I have a bad habit at times of hammering myself for some of the things I do/have done in life. In the last 24 hours, though, I've been focusing on the I'm Human thought and it's slowed me down on the negativity.

Try it. You're probably thinking of something right now for which you've have been putting yourself down.

Think, "I'm human."

As Sister Helen Prejean, the anti-capital punishment activist said in her book, The Death of Innocents, "People are more than the worst thing they have done in their lives."

You're human.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Well, if you think that's bad....Are you playing Misery Poker?

How often do you play “misery poker”?

If you are unfamiliar with the term, misery poker, it’s when someone tells a tale of woe (“it’s just my life”) and another person says, “Well, if you think that’s bad, here’s what happened to me”…and they proceed to tell their tale. 

Whoever tells the most misery-laden story wins. The truth, though, is that the telling and listening to the negative story means both people lose.

Julia Rogers Hamrick, author of Choosing Easy World, writes about Easy World (where you do want to be) and Difficult World (where you don’t want to spend your life and thoughts).

She says, “When you tell someone all the details of your experiences in Difficult World, you are asking to stay in Difficult World and even go deeper into it! That can only generate more problems. Not only that, you are providing an invitation to the person you're talking to to dive on into DW, too, which doesn't just harm them, it also serves to strengthen DW's hold on you as well! So best to keep your DW stories to yourself. Better yet, just let them go.”
Science is beginning to prove Hamrick right. Amanda MacMillan, writing on, says, “You can actually catch a good mood or a bad mood from your friends, according to a recent study in the journal Royal Society Open Science.”

The new study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that happiness and sadness—as well as lifestyle and behavioral factors like smokingdrinkingobesityfitness habits and even the ability to concentrate—can spread across social networks, both online and in real life. 

The study’s lead author Robert Eyre, a doctoral student at (England’s) University of Warwick’s Center for Complexity Science, says, “The fact that these negative feelings do spread across networks does have important health implications.

Thankfully, the study also found that having friends who were clinically depressed did not increase participants’ risk of becoming depressed themselves. “Your friends do not put you at risk of illness,” says Eyre, “so a good course of action is simply to support them.”

However, while you may believe that listening to their complaints is evidence of being a good friend you should understand that too much of that kind of caring is not good for you; it drags you down.

Here are two suggestions I’ve implemented with friends to lower the misery poker factor: In one case, my friend and I agreed that when a misery tale gets started either of us can ask, “Is it helping you to tell this?” If it is, ok. If not, the person stops telling the tale. In the second case, my best friend and I have a deal that each of us gets 3 minutes to complain and then the other person says, “OK, time’s up, what are you going to do about this?”

Either solution keeps the misery-wallowing factor to a minimum and changes the gears to a pro-positive focus.

And, just so you don’t think today’s blog is an example of misery poker, researcher Eyre notes, “The good news from our work is that following the evidence-based advice for improving mood—like exercise, sleeping well and managing stress—can help your friends too.” 

Here’s the bottom line, hang out with happy people more often than sad, depressed and negative—because all those moods and attitudes are contagious.

If you have a friend who plays misery poker on a regular basis, share this with them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Are You Looking Through Mistake-Colored Glasses

 The devotion I read yesterday hit on an interesting I am, sadly, too guilty of.

In the September issue of Science of Mind Magazine, Rev. Terry Drew Karanen wrote, "Sometimes people accuse others of looking at life through rose-colored glasses. However it seems that when we are besieged by the energy and thoughts of our past missteps and mistakes, we see life through mistake-colored glasses. Out ability to live openhearted and wholehearted lives is deeply impacted by this shut-down energy that is focused on our negative past.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Uh Oh, Watch the Crossbar

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in my garage watching the world go by and, once again, life offered up a lesson worth learning.

There’s a greenway that runs through our neighborhood. One of the entrance/exits connects to the sidewalk across the street from The Tree House (what my friends call my home…the house is surrounded by trees). In good weather lots of folks take advantage of the greenway to get a little exercise.

It’s about 2:30 and a young guy—he looked to be about 30—came cruising down the sidewalk and attempted to make the right-angle turn onto the greenway. Evidently, weather and a lot of folks trying the same maneuver had worn away the dirt at the edge of the right-angle turn and there was a hole…which his front wheel nosed into.

Let me stop at this point and explain that, if you are a male, you probably cringed when I wrote that last line; because you know what’s coming. 

The young guy pitched forward and straddled the crossbar. He threw his head back, cursed the biking gods, and reached down to make sure everything was still in place.

Then..and this is where the lesson appeared…he turned and flipped The Bird at the hole.


Then he quickly looked around to see if anyone had seen him (I was hidden in a garage with a mosquito screen across the front across the street).

Now, I’m sure the more mature among you are mentally chastising Mr. Hurt Pride for his reaction. But, there are certainly times in life when it seems that unseen forces jump out and bite us. I don't see a thing wrong with lashing out at those forces as long as you keep it private and don’t get too crazy. 

It’s said that former president, Lyndon B. Johnson would exclaim, “Godfrey Daniels!” when he was upset. Very often, I use, “Sunny Beaches!!” Again, having a standard response such as those is not a bad thing.

What do you use to get back on track?

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