Friday, January 2, 2009

Affirmation: Scarcity and Abundance

A fellow blogger wrote a good post called "No One Else is the Same." It's a very thoughtful post that works on several levels.

On the surface it's a piece on coming of age when we realize some of our dreams are unattainable, like unassisted human flight (my dream), or rock-star alter-ego magic earrings (her dream).

But the unrealistic and unattainable motif was also mixed with the suggestion of other dreams that might be impossible. Saphron acknowledges her mother's advice is sound, "Some prayers are answered, but 20 years later." But Saphron seems to worry that some of her very important prayers/dreams remain unanswered, or at best the current answer is "Not now." (Delay is not denial, but it can feel like it.)

A third motif is found in the enigmatic title of Saphron's post, "No One Else is the Same." This suggests to me a that perhaps a lost relationship is irreplaceable. I'll agree that no two people are alike, but...

I have an affirmation that helps me. It goes:

I believe in abundance and scarcity.

I chose to believe that abundance exists. Snowflakes, jobs, relationships, homes... the list goes on. I also acknowledge that scarcity exists: a few custom-fit jobs, a few good friends, some homes that suit, etc. Scarcity acknowledges a small group, but there's still a group. Even rare doesn't mean "only."

Once upon a time, when I was dating, the person I was most interested in, wasn't really interested in being anything but being friends. Ouch.

Was she the "only one?" No.

Was I disappointed and hurt? Yes.

Did things work out for me? Yes!

Why? In part they worked out because I believed in abundance. There are more fish in the sea, and I found one! Right under my nose.

(A few years later, she later found someone too!)

I think that if you believe in abundance, you become a lightening-rod for opportunity.

If you believe in "no one else is the same," you might just miss seeing the other prize fish in the sea.

I believe in abundance and scarcity.

What do you believe?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Affirmations: Puttering in the New Year...

I often self-inflict "honey-do's." A "honey do" is something your significant other asks you to do. "Honey, will you do something for me?" It's usually not a good thing.

Most men avoid these activities like the plague. They seem too much like chores.

But I like getting things done, so I started the year puttering around the house. defines Putter: To waste (time) in idling: puttered away the hours in the garden.

But is time in the garden really wasted? No.

I cleaned a few things, oiled a few things, and then tried to fix a lamp. I needed some pliers, but I couldn't get to my workbench: too much clutter in the garage. Four hours later, after much puttering, the garage was beautiful, and I had my pliers.

Nobody nagged me. I just had fun: classic tunes and time in the garage. Sweet.

What's my secret to enjoying household chores?
In part, it's because of two of my affirmations, my self-made sweet lies:

My house and cars are well maintained and cared for.

That's a nice affirmation and works well, but it's a bit vague. Another affirmation makes is more specific:

I enjoy spending a half a day a week on household and car chores.

Chores? Puttering? Semantics or setting myself up for success by self-managing my habits via affirmations. Too simple? Well, I guess I'm just a simple guy!

Tomorrow, just for fun, I'll probably cut my roses back to stubs.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Affirmations!

I've never been much on making New Year's Resolutions, but I have created quite a few affirmations over the last two years. Here's two of my two most powerful affirmations:

I am in charge of my habits. I set goals, create affirmations, and use them.

I spend time visualizing (image making) my good habits.

I've discovered that I can change my habits. Once I decide what I want to be, I create a positive, present tense, personal, declarative affirmation. With that affirmation, I create a movie. Then I pre-live that movie.

(It's like a positive worry. We often picture the worse, then pre-live it by worrying about it. I simply reverse the process.)

My New Year's Resolution is simple, and it's contained in a companion affirmation:

I consistently review my affirmations and goals.

What if changing your habits was really this easy? Would you try it? Maybe even as a New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A problem of apparent irrationality

I’m on Christmas Vacation, and for the most part I’m having a good time. I’m happy. However, just four hours before school ended on Friday, I got an e-mail containing a request.

Unfortunately for me, it was not a request I could simply ignore: it was more of an attempt at a “friendly” dictate. But it doesn’t matter what adjective you put in front of the word dictate, it’s still an unsolicited directive that can’t be ignored. In my case, I've given this the directive “The Grinch that Stole Christmas Award.”

Why? Because as a rational and reasonable man, my mind has a difficult time following unreasonable orders/dictates/policies. This new policy was going to cost me three to six hours, four times a year, for as long as I worked in this District. (And it duplicates a process that was already in place!) Ouch. The thought of acquiescing to this request haunted me. Not constantly, but enough to get the Grinch award.

Perhaps you’ve had such bouts with unreasonableness that interferes with a good night’s sleep? But what’s a person to do?

Me? I visited an old friend and mentor: Gerald Weinberg. Now, in reality, I’ve never met "Jerry." In fact, until yesterday, I called him "Gerald." But I do own three of his books, which I’ve read multiple times. He’s a “friend” I sometimes visit when I wrestling with a difficult problem. He’s always there for me, and he makes good sense. He helps me. ;-)

I had already pulled the two of the books off my bookshelf to share with my visiting son-in-law, who is working on his Ph.D. I started re-reading The Secrets of Consulting only to find that I’d highlighted just the preface and forward. Rats. No skimming opportunity here, so I started at the beginning.

As I read the preface, I was rewarded with a re-framing of my Grinch problem. I read the following account of Jerry’s approach to dealing with a major challenge of the consulting business:

“Most of the time, though, I enjoyed the direct interaction with my clients, if I could stand the irrationality. If I wanted to stay in the business, it seemed to me I had two choices:

1. Remain rational, and go crazy.
2. Become irrational, and be called crazy.
For many years, I oscillated between these poles of misery, until I hit upon a third approach:
3. Become rational about irrationality.

This book relates some of my discoveries about the rationality of seemingly irrational behavior that surrounds requests for influence. These are the secrets of consulting.”

Since I was currently going somewhat crazy, I recognized that my problem was really a problem of apparent irrationality. Once I could name the problem, I was partially relieved, because the correct naming of the problem is often the first step in finding a suitable solution: Become rational about irrationality.

A songwriter once said, “I may not have the answer, but I believe I have a plan…” I don’t even have a plan yet, but at least I know what the problem is. (For help in developing a plan I've skipped to chapter 8: Gaining Control of Change.)

PS: As an added bonus to reading and contemplating Jerry’s book, I used Jerry’s book as an intro to my previous post on this blog. The next day, lo and behold, I had a comment from Gerald M. Weinberg. You may have seen it. Who is this guy?

He’s the author of more that 40 books, including one listed on my favorite books list (An Introduction to General Systems Thinking). At first, I thought it was a prank. But it wasn’t. I followed the link and it led to one of my favorite author’s websites. I was delighted, nay thrilled. The very thought still puts a big grin on my face. Yowza!

PPS: Pictures today from the Moorten Botanical Gardens and Cactarium in Palm Springs.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Let kindness rule!

One of my favorite non-fiction authors is Gerald Weinberg. He has written several books aimed at those who provide consulting services. (Unofficially, almost all of us serve as consultants to someone.)

Weinberg informs his reader that most problems are “people” problems. He has lots of great modern-day proverbs to help consultants unravel these people problems, but the New Testament informs us how to avoid many people problems. One such bit of advice that I’ve been following during this holiday season is this: Love suffers long, and is kind.

All relationships involve a certain amount of patient endurance with the foibles of another; however, some relationships require larger amounts. Those cultures strongly influenced by Christianity acknowledge love and patience as virtues. We acknowledge that love should suffer long: and we try. But…

But we often overlook or fail on the other component of the advice offered in this New Testament proverb: Love suffers long, and is kind.

What? I’m called to suffer long AND be kind! Ahhhh… there’s the rub: Kindness. While I am being loving and patient (suffering long), I am to do it with kindness. Kindness means no meanness, no sarcasm, no nagging, no belittling, no digs, etc.

Hmmm… Anybody think that there would be fewer people problems among our friends, family, and community if we practiced this simple axiom: Love suffers long, and is kind?

Let kindness rule!