Thank You. Do you say and hear it enough?

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Thank you.

I would like to share to you about the importance of praise, admiration and thank you, and having it be specific and genuine. And as brief as the opening line, so shall this post  also be  like. 

And the way I got interested in this was, I noticed in myself, when I was growing up, and until about a few years ago, that I would want to say thank you to someone, I would want to praise them, I would want to take in their praise of me and I’d just stop it. And I asked myself, why? I felt shy, I felt embarrassed, the least awkward. And then my question became, am I the only one who does this?  

 It has been a recurring theme in so many movies and reality tv shows that discuss the thing that causes stress, anxiety, depression and even addiction to people is the issue that comes down to something as simple as, their core wound is their father died without ever saying he’s proud of them. But then, they hear from all the family and friends that the father told everybody else that he was proud of him, but he never told the son. It’s because he didn’t know that his son needed to hear it. 

So my question is, why don’t we ask for the things that we need? I know a gentleman, married for 30 years, who’s longing to hear his wife say, “Thank you for being the breadwinner, so I can stay home with the kids,” but won’t ask. I know a woman who’s good at this. She, once a week, meets with her husband and says, “I’d really like you to thank me for all these things I did in the house and with the family.” And he goes, “Oh, this is great, this is great.” And praise really does have to be genuine, but she takes responsibility for that.

So, the question is, why was I blocking it? Why were other people blocking it? Why can I say, “I’ll have my burger with some fries and sundae on the side, I need size nine shoes, etc.” but I won’t say, “Would you appreciate or praise me this way?” 

So, I’m going to challenge us all. Like my wife has been to me the past years of our married life by being vocal and direct in saying what she truly needed to hear from me — I want you to be honest about the praise that you need to hear. What do you need to hear? Go home to your wife — go ask her, what does she need? Go home to your husband — what does he need? Go home to those special people in your life — what do they need. Go home and ask those questions, and then help the people around you. 

I think it’s simple. And why should we care about this? We talk about world peace. How can we have world peace with different cultures, different languages? I think it starts household by household, under the same roof. So, let’s make it right in our own backyard. 

To all of you who happen to read this simple post — I want to say Thank You. And maybe somebody’s never said that to you, by being a father, mother, husband, wife, brother, sister, friends to your loved ones in the purest sense of those words,  you’ve already done a really, really good job. 

And for that, Thank you.

Photo credits: Google photos

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Rest if you must, but don’t quit.

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Life can be challenging at times. Dr. Scott Peck, the famous Psychiatrist once said, “Life is hard and then you die.” That statement seems so pessimistic. His point was, however, that if we expect life to be anything else, we will be sorely disappointed.

And, even though I know Dr. Peck’s statement is true, I do not believe we can live our lives based solely on that premise. It is my belief that our personal attitude towards life’s situations is really the only thing that makes any difference. If we look at situations with a defeated, negative attitude, we will eventually give up and quit. However, if we focus on treating life like a marathon rather than a sprint and we keep a positive outlook in the process, we will be victorious in the end.

Recently, I came across a poem that sums up what I am trying to say. I believe these words will make a difference in your work and relationships if you put them into practice.

Don’t Quit!
(author unknown)

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When the care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.

Life is weird with its twists and its turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won, had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow,
You may succeed with another blow.

The distant goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit!

Why not put the truth found in this poem into practice? Your biggest success may be just around the next corner. But, you will never know if you throw in the towel.

Learn to let your challenges bring you to a whole new level. Anything great in life always comes with a high price tag. With that in mind, get back to your next project and see it through to the end!

Photo credits: Google.com

We really don’t need that much in life to be happy

 

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We really don’t need that much in life to be happy.

This may be counter to what we are sold by the advertising masses. However, the truth is there are literally millions around the world that are living pretty happy and contented lives with little in the way of physical possessions.

Many of these people may have enforced constraints. These could include a lack of well-paid employment options or families abroad they themselves work and send money to.

However, some have also identified their own version of enough and live contentedly within self-made constraints. Working just enough to cover their needs and then making time for family, friends and adventures.

Whatever the case, these people live a life filled with less stuff. It can be done.

The Problem with Chasing More
The danger in chasing more and more is that it’s never enough. Just a little more money and we’ll be happy we tell ourselves. A new car on loan will make us more complete we kid ourselves. Keeping up with keeping up is a path to ruin.

More stuff can mean our lives become cluttered. We lose freedom, we lose agility. We can start to feel stifled and even trapped by all this stuff.

Packing Lightly
Beyond our most basic needs of food, water, shelter, health, family and friends, how much more do we really need to be happy?

There are plenty of other things that can add value to our lives. Books, music, a creative outlet and so on. None of this needs to turn into large houses full of stuff we rarely use. None of this needs to turn into large debt that we never escape.

We can decide to pack lightly for life’s journey instead.

Just enough of our most cherished possessions can outweigh an abundance of stuff we collect but never really get much value from.

Having one TV in a home can be enough, rather than one in each room.

Having a closet with 30 items in that we constantly wear and use, rather than 100s of items that take up space but rarely see the light of day.

Instead of chasing more stuff we can make space for more living. We can make space for passion projects and hobbies that are important to us. We can make room for more quality time with our loved ones. This is the sort of more we should be chasing.

We can decide to live lightly. Making the most of what we have, not focused on what we don’t have. As we journey through life, we can decide that travelling with enough is all we really need and live accordingly. 

Photo credits: Google photos

“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different.” – Indra Nooyi

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It’s easy to get hooked in our modern world. Meaning many times each day we feel resistance when conversations, outcomes, projects and meetings don’t go the way we hoped they would go or as we had planned. Perhaps someone who works for you delivered an underwhelming performance, or you disagree on strategy with your boss or manager, or a friend/family member holds views that are very different from yours – regardless of the scenario, the feeling we experience is similar.

Some common emotional responses when things don’t go our way are we feel wronged, invalidated, frustrated or at times angry, and likely our responses (conversations and actions) reflect that. This only compounds the feelings we are experiencing and creates a mirror reaction in the person or people with which we are engaged.

At times, we may feel as if the person or people who triggered us did it intentionally or on purpose -which rarely ends up being the case. Most people wake up each day with a desire to do good and be good in this world.

We live in a world composed of 7 plus billion unique people each with his/her own idea of what “do good” and “be good” means – none of which are more right or more wrong than the other – just different. It is true that at times we harm each other with words and actions, disappoint each other, miss expectations or plainly act as a jerk. And it’s also true that most times these choices are not premeditated – the intent of the action is not to harm, disrupt or divide.

There is a different choice each one of us has when we feel hooked or triggered and that choice is to assume positive intent. This doesn’t mean ignore your feelings of displeasure. Rather, address them from a different place – one that starts with assuming the others involved started with a positive intent that just didn’t land. Extend the benefit of the doubt.

Next time you feel hooked or triggered experiment with making a choice to acknowledge that it was positive intent that created the situation and can get you out of it as well. The choice is yours.

Photo credits: Google photos

 

There is no such thing as a “Blank Page”

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Sometimes a blank page is so welcoming… a gift! You get to create the story fresh, the way you want it!

As a blogger or a person fond of writing, I know that there is no such thing as a blank page. You start, crumble, delete, erase and start over again until you get it right… sometimes it isn’t even right but it is the way you want it. Often, at least in my case, it goes against the grain of other people’s views and opinions. At that point you have a choice… cave in or write your article! I’ve always chosen to write about my views and opinions.

So much like life… no blank pages, just taking the pages you already have and creating the story of your life out of the story of your life. You can cave in and live a life less than you want or go against the grain and really live with no regrets.

Let us not forget that every day is chapter one. The incredible thing is we can change the story and even the table of contents any time we want. It is simply a decision, which isn’t so simple sometimes. But absolutely necessary if you want the book of your life to be yours and not something someone else wrote!

Are you living your book, or are you allowing someone else to be the author of your life?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

 Photo credits: Google photos

The “Lost Connection”

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I am an inveterate people watcher, and lately, I have witnessed something that profoundly troubles me. WE CAN’T SEEM TO KEEP OUR FACES OUT OF OUR SMARTPHONES FOR EVEN A MINUTE OR TWO. Some people call it an addiction. Others call it an obsession.

For example, how many times have you seen someone pat their pocket and smile, having been reassured that their phone was still safely nestled close at hand? How often have you experienced “phantom pocket vibrations” where you felt a tingling near your pocket area—or wherever you keep your phone—only to discover that rather than the alert or notification you “thought” you just received what you felt was just some neurons near the surface of your skin randomly firing? A few years ago I would have just reached down and scratched that itch. Now I am supremely disappointed that it is only an itch.

Going anywhere for a vacation, walking around tourists-frequented spots,  I could not find one person who was not gazing into a phone, even those who were traveling with others. My friends around the world tell me that they see the same behaviors. The other day at a  party I watched a young woman dining with her supervisor pick up her phone while he was talking and check her Facebook. And the more interesting part is that he kept on talking to her and didn’t seem slighted at all. 

Last summer, my wife and I, took a road trip with some friends and visited some of the most beautiful scenery around the area traversing four top class tourists spots along the way. One instance we hiked all the way up to a magnificent mountain peak  only to find that since there was a cell connection up there nearly every hiker was looking down rather than out at the magnificent vista. And those who were looking were busily snapping pictures instead of simply looking and experiencing the magnificent views. I doubt whether they can have the same experience of nature through that small lens. Will those who were taking videos get the same enjoyment by reliving the views rather than experiencing them? Will they even watch those videos again?

Another interesting and somewhat troubling observation is that many young people, and a lot of older ones too, carry their phone in their hand. I often ask them why and the answer is always the same: “So, I know immediately when I get a text or an email or someone posts on social media.” I guess taking a second or two to take that phone out of a pocket or purse is not soon enough in our tech-rich world.

And I find it amusing (and somewhat disconcerting) that people even make excuses to escape whoever they are supposed to be spending time with so that they can check in with other people who may not even be real-life friends. Sometimes when my wife and I go out to dinner with friends (or other acquaintances) I am bewildered at how many people put their phone on the table and if it vibrates they interrupt whatever is going on to tap a few keys and return to the conversation often asking, “What did I miss?” Some people call this FOMO—Fear of Missing Out—but by choosing to not miss out on their virtual social world they are missing out on their real social world right in front of their face.

It is sad that this technology which was supposed to connect people is (actually) making them disconnect from each other in person.

I am still a believer in the major benefits technology brings to our world but I sincerely hope that what we are seeing is just another pendulum swing where we become so excited about something new that we want to use it obsessively and as time passes we become less captivated and use it less often until the next new thing comes into our world and the pendulum swings again. But the observer in me shakes his head and wonders whether the pendulum has reached its apex yet and, if not, what that will do to our relationship with the world and the “real” people who inhabit it. I remain optimistic.

Photo credits: Google photos

Perseverance makes a difference!

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If I had to pick one trait that is key to achieving nearly anything in life it is this. Perseverance. That’s it. It’s the one thing that sets achievers apart from those who complain that they aren’t reaching their dreams.

Perseverance is about doing what you set out to do, day in day out. Even when it gets boring, even when you don’t feel like it. Even when it seems like you’re on a road to nowhere.

I’d love to say that being better than average, super talented or gifted will ensure success. But none of that is true. Once you establish your big picture goals, whether it’s writing and publishing a book, making your blog successful and/or profitable, getting paid to post photos on Instagram, or buying a house for that matter, you need to persevere in the face of difficulty and boredom. And that’s where most people trip up.

Say you want to write a book. And you start it. And by the second week or even the second month of writing every day, you hit a wall. You’re uninspired. You’re tired. You stop. But the book won’t write itself. You need to keep on going. If you don’t persevere, you won’t meet your goal. Then you will complain that writing a book is hard. Well, sure. It is. But if you really want to do it, there is no other way around it than to keep on going. This is one lesson I’m trying impose to myself lately.

Or maybe you want to excel at social media. You want to make money as an online influencer. You open a Twitter account, set up your Facebook page and start your Instagram feed. You post a few times and then a month or two later, you give up, because “it’s not working out.” Brands aren´t filling your inbox with lucrative proposals to work together.

Let’s take blogging as an example — to work for you, you have to work at it. You need to persevere. You must be consistent over time, whatever that looks for you. If you need to publish posts once or twice every day, or once every week or month, to keep the juices flowing, that´s what you do. Day in, day out. Whether you are being paid for it or not. Whether you feel it´s moving you forward or not. Until you produce content consistently for a while (maybe months, maybe a couple of years), you aren’t going to know for sure whether you’re on the right track.

It suffice to say also that there is nothing wrong with trying out different things before you find out what you really want to dedicate your time and efforts to. But throwing in the towel before giving yourself a real chance to succeed, is cheating yourself. Don’t do it.

Stick it out. Keep on going. Post it somewhere you can see it daily: “Perseverance.” It’s a small word that makes a huge difference.

If, after persevering, you eventually decide to quit, then it’s a choice based on facts and feelings, not something that simply happens to you. Give yourself the chance to make that choice.