Blog Post #272 Adaptability

Are you adaptable?  

A while back an accident farther down the road from me and my car backed up traffic for miles.  I had choices – yell, scream, be upset, or … just take it as it was (and pray that nobody was seriously injured in the accident).

All of the cars of the road had to edge together as police and emergency vehicles drove on the shoulder to get around us and to the scene of the accident.  Eventually about 15 minutes later, the police started routing traffic onto a side street for a couple of blocks so that we could get to where we were going.  

Yes, I needed to adapt to the situation.

I have talked of goals frequently in this blog.  Using SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) to move forward.  But sometimes we have to adapt to reach those goals.

Years ago when Mt Everest was determined to be the highest mountain in the world and some people started to climb it by going through China.  There were routes and camps along a promising path to get to the summit. (Although nobody get get to the summit then). But, then China closed it borders to mountain climbers, so the climbers had to find a new route.  

So, if our goal was to climb Mt Everest we might have had to adapt to changing political conditions.

Maybe I have a goal of becoming a “C” level executive in our company, and then some bad financial news happens and I got laid off – time to reevaluate the goal – maybe becoming a “C” level executive in another company is similar enough.  

Maybe we have our education and professional goals, but “aha” I fell in love with the cute girl in my finance course, and my plans changed as we pursued marriage and then a family.  Maybe you were on the fast track to being a partner in one of the Big Four Accounting Companies – and you got tired of the long, long hours and travel (and being away from family and hobbies), and you had to adapt your goals to be a partner is a local / regional accounting firm.  

I know many students who at age 18, 19 or 20, had their plans to major in a particular field and become a professional in the field (like computing), only to hear of other opportunities.

One former student was the son of an entrepreneur who had built a worldwide company.  He pursued his technical degree and was well regarded by the technology company who hired him.  They were grooming him for higher positions in that company, when his father took ill and the son adapted to the family business and eventually took over (and continued to grow that business).

Nature talks of the ‘survival of the fittest’ meaning the weak and unadaptive die off.  Are you adapting to your situation and environment? What does it take to adapt and yet keep your goals and focus?

What about you?  Are you adaptable?  Can you make lemonade when life gives you lemons? Can you make the adjustments needed to more forward?  How are you going to do it?

 

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #271 Make the status quo painful and the new reality beautiful

Change – always tough.  

We are in the process of changing seasons in North America.  People (especially in some parts of the country) are getting tired of ice and snow.  For other parts of the country, this change will lead to a hot summer (like in Arizona and Texas).  The seasons change – not by our will – but by nature. The Earth is on a tilted axis – so the southern hemisphere is closer to the sun in our ‘winter’ and the northern hemisphere is closer in our ‘summer’.  (Of course summer in the northern hemisphere is winter in the southern hemisphere and visa versa).

The change of seasons in the north frequently brings on harsh weather.  A little later in spring we’ll have more tornados (especially in tornado alley of Oklahoma and Kansas).  Battling cold and warm fronts will push storms eastward.

But while change is periodical / seasonal in weather, personal change is determined by us.

As I set today and write, I’m being a ‘couch potato’.  I should get up and outside and get a nice walk in. I should walk to a shop about a mile-and-one-half and pick up something my wife wants – and walk back.  The weather is clear but cooler (mid-sixties) – but ideal for a walk – so why am I not outside and going?

The status quo of just sitting and writing is easier than launching out on the walk.  Inertia is not my friend today (or most days).

One successful ploy is to make the status quo painful.  Maybe I should be sitting in a hard wooden chair. It might be comfortable for say 30 minutes and then it will become uncomfortable.  With each passing minute, the chair will become harder. My bottom will be tired of that hard chair. That would make the new reality more attractive.  

We may need to play mind games with ourselves – “the grass is really greener on the other side of the fence”.  We need to get up and moving on our new projects. Inertia says ‘stay where you are’; motivation says “Get going – there a new horizons and new adventures starting when we move out of our comfort zone.

Make the status quo painful.  Make change inviting and so very promising that we can’t just sit, but we have to move.

So, I’m starting to rush this blog post – so I can get going.  I have things to do and the status quo is not advancing anything!!

What about you?  Can you make the status quo painful enough to get you moving and growing?  How are you going to do it?

 

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #270 Fire and Ice

Blog Post #270 Fire and Ice

Using another Robert Frost Poem today – Fire and Ice

Here is the poem:

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

 

Fire and ice – opposites – will we burn up – or freeze up.  Frost uses the word “desire” – which I think is extreme passion as fire; and he uses the word ‘hate’ for the coldness of heart and for the end of the world by ice.  

As I write, Syria is still engulfed in a civil war.  I will admit I don’t truly understand the conflict other than what I hear.  To my ears it seems like the President of Syria is a ruthless dictator who wants to squelch the opposition; to others it seems like the rebels want to get rid of the President.  The consequences are that many in the middle get hurt (or killed). The news coverage shows cities bombed out, and that humanitarian help is frequently too little, too late. I don’t know if this qualifies as ‘ice’ for the coldness of heart to want to destroy others, or fire with extreme passion to destroy others.  At what point is warfare necessary? Was the American Civil War and the terrible death toll necessary? In some respects it said “We are ONE union – and although there has been talk about this state or that state (Texas or California) leaving the union, it just will not happen. Did a northern army have to fight a southern army of fellow citizens to end slavery and to end the argument about state’s rights?  Could a court case solve the issue?

Hatred is part of the human mind.  It is easy to hate another person for their color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, etc.  It was Protestant Christians fighting Catholic Christians in Northern Ireland for years (fortunately now settled); it is Sunni Muslims fighting Shiite Muslims.

People hate others without walking a mile in their shoes.  People hate because of political differences. People hate others for a lot of pretty poor reasons (in my opinion).  

Norman Rockwell painted the four freedoms in the 1940’s – Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship; Freedom from Want; Freedom from Fear.  Shouldn’t those four freedoms still be part of us?

So, fire or ice?  How do you think the world will end?  Mass nuclear bombs killing us all off?  Or might peace and compromise still prevail? AAC

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #269:  Daylight savings time

Today marks the first day of Daylight Savings Time in the United States.  

I do remember the lack of standard DST growing up.  I lived in Cedar Rapids Iowa – a town that observed daylight savings; my cousins lived in Maquoketa Iowa – a farm town that did not observe daylight savings.  I was going to Maquoketa for a week and I reset my wristwatch to the Maquoketa time (that is – non daylight savings).

Time standardization can largely be attributed to railroads.  Communities had sundials or some mechanism to determine when the sun was directly overhead – which became noon.  So, Chicago and Lincoln Nebraska are both in the Central Time district in the United States but the sun time (noon with the sun directly overhead) would come sooner in Chicago than in Lincoln.  Now trains running from Chicago to (say) Denver had a time table. If (considering stops and speed) it took six hours from Chicago to Lincoln, and the train left Chicago at 12:00 noon; it would be 6:00 p.m. when it got to Lincoln.  But, it might be that Lincoln, using suntime, would be 5:45 or so. The railroads standardized the time and the time zones.

But, back to daylight savings time.  I am a proponent of DST. I’m writing this about 8:00 p.m. and it is dark in central Texas.  Even in mid summer (say June 21st), by 8:00 it is getting dark in Austin. But, what if I want to mow my lawn after work, or play gold or go fishing.  By adjusting the clock reading so that sun time of 8:00 p.m. becomes daylight savings time of 9:00 p.m. I can mow my lawn (or golf or fish) later. If I am working, so I get up and it might be still dark or just beginning to lighten up for the day.  That’s okay as long as after work I get that extra time for me – time to take a walk in the light.

The biggest hassle seems to come with schools.  If daylight savings was year around, school buses would be picking up kids in the dark.  

I did find some quotes for (and against) daylight savings time:

  • From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (of Sherlock Holmes novels): “It seems very strange … that in the course of the world’s history so obvious an improvement should never have been adopted. … The next generation of Britishers would be the better for having had this extra hour of daylight in their childhood.
  • Benjamin Franklin: “I say it is impossible that so sensible a people [citizens of Paris], under such circumstances, should have lived so long by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing.”
  • From Victor Borge: “I don’t mind going back to daylight saving time. With inflation, the hour will be the only thing I’ve saved all year.

My computer will automatically adapt to the new time.  I will have to change a few clocks, my watch and the car dashboard time.  For more sunlight into the evening, I’m very willing to do that!

And … a small riddle.  What is the safest hour to live in the United States?  Fewest admissions to the emergency room, fewest traffic accidents, and fewest deaths?  Answer:  two to three a.m. on Daylight Savings Sunday – the few statistics come from Arizona and Hawaii that don’t observe DST!!!

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #268:  Basketball Thoughts

March Madness Basketball Tournament is coming, so I thought I’d look at basketball quotations today:

From Larry Bird: “A winner is someone who recognizes his God- given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.”

From Michael Jordan: “You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” and another Michael Jordan quote: “”Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”

Three John Wooden quotes:  “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.” – “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” -“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”

Success thrives on talent, but taking that talent and (as Larry Bird says) works hard to develop the talent and to achieve his/her goals.  

John Wooden says that mistakes are normal – if you are NOT making mistakes you are NOT doing anything.  Take your mistakes and climb over them to success.

There are thousands of universities in the United States.  Some are NCAA division I (which will be the focus of most of the March Madness); some are division II and division III; some are NAIA schools and there are some that do not field athletic teams.  There are many thousand of players in a multitude of sports. Why aren’t all teams successful? Why aren’t all athletes successful?

You need goals (and … not just basketball goals); you need to have a vision; you need to work hard towards your goals and vision.

Maybe you are reaching your goals – like I was as a player on a basketball team – but I didn’t aspire to much more than being on the team – I didn’t work towards being anything but a substitute, a bench-warmer.  If I knew then what I know now, I could have worked harder and achieved more.

Do you have goals?  Are you REALLY serious about them?  Are you REALLY working on them? Maybe your skills are in music or business or journalism or something else – but you need to find your talents and build them to be the best.  

You can do it – but it isn’t easy.  If it was easy, I’d be in the Basketball Hall of Fame!!!

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #267:  Quotes for International Women’s Day (March 8)

Yesterday (March 8th) was International Women’s Day.  I am a day late, but wanted to look at a few quotes about women. (selected from:
https://www.thoughtco.com/international-womens-day-quotes-2833628

From Farrah Fawcett: ““God gave women intuition and femininity. Used properly, the combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met.”

From Margaret Thatcher: “”If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

From Harriet Beecher Stowe: “”Women are the real architects of society.”

As remarked before I greatly appreciate women (more so in the past few years).  I have learned much about women and their roles in society.

I grew up in a man dominated society.  My mother was a ‘stay-at-home-mother’ for part of her adult life, but them roared back into the workforce as a teacher – educating young minds.  My wife was a stay-at-home-mother for our children’s early years, but also roared back as an educator, a grant writer, a federal analyst, a small business owner and librarian.  Our daughter currently is a stay-at-home-mother (the twins just turned five), but I anticipate that she will be a real leader in the coming years when the girls go to school.

Farrah Fawcett’s comment hits many areas.  I see couples where the woman is intellectually above her husband; looking feminine, while he looks like he still is working on dressing himself.  Now looks are not everything – but there is a comfort when an articulate women is using her brain to make a point.

That leads to the second quote from Margaret Thatcher – former prime minister of the United Kingdom.  If you want something done, ask a woman. Men like to talk, while women take action (now, that is a generalization – but worth considering).  My wife can work circles around me – multitasking, organizing (currently organizing the kitchen cleaning products while I write this blog), and directing activities.  

And finally from Harriet Beecher Stowe, writer of Uncle Tom’s Cabin – a very persuasive author – who emulates her quote as an architect of society.

I was listening to an audible book on “How Women Decide” by Therese Hudson; and it talks how men have put women down over the years.  I remember (and cringe) at a friend’s comment that women should be “fat, barefoot and pregnant”. (I think he was trying to be funny as his wife was a senior IT executive at Notre Dame University – and very successful).

Women do have a valued place in society – and men (generally) have tried to put ‘them in their places’.  To my male counterparts – wise up!!!!

I do appreciate what femininity that I have deep inside – and urge strong women to take their place and lead humanity forward.

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #266:  Two roads in the woods

Today I’m looking at Robert Frost’s famous poem about two roads diverging in the woods:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth

(more to the poem)

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference We do come to junctures frequently.  We are at points of tough decisions. Making the tough decisions.  

For many of us, those decisions are challenges for us.  Sometimes we MUST take the well traveled road – the road that is worn, the road that seems maybe easier.  Sometimes we MUST take the road less traveled.

I’m not the expert to suggest which one is the best for you.  There is a suggestion that you can’t discover new lands unless you leave the sight of the shore.  

I have two friends (and their family) that a year ago left their job and moved to Australia for the year.  Their sons got to go to the barrier reef, to the Australian Open Tennis tournament, to many places that were not possible to them if they were in the United States and only were tourists to Australia.  

They recently returned – and are back to ‘almost normal’, but the ‘normal’ will never be normal again.  They have been changed by this year in Australia for them. They saw an opportunity for them and took the road less traveled by.

I left a solid, secure and ‘tenured’ position twice for the road less traveled by.  After teaching high school for seven years, I left for a one-year position at a college; after teaching at a great university for eighteen years, I left for a position in another state.  The first change brought me the ‘desire of my heart’ – the desire to teach at a college. The second change brought me to international travel, to a Fulbright experience, to national prominence and some great experiences.  Then there was the third move – to Texas to be close to our family (and our new-born ‘perfect’ granddaughters).

I also know friends who have worked the same job for 40 plus years.  Not sure if opportunities came their way – or that they saw a ‘road less traveled’.  Maybe they saw the opportunity – and decided not to take it. To be safe and secure.

It is hard for me to say if they were right or wrong.  We all make our own decisions.

How about you?  Have you had those tough decisions?  How did you make the decision.

 

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #265:  FEAR

Blog Post #265:  FEAR

Taking a Zig Ziglar quote today:  F-E-A-R has two meanings – “Forget Everything And Run”; or “Face Everything And Rise”.

So, I’m scared of failing.  So, I just take the safe way out.  Now there maybe be places and times to take the safe way out.  I’m not a stock market expert – so I could invest my money myself – and let a professional financial expert spread it over several stocks and investments.  That would be safe – and probably in the “Forget Everything And Run” category. That just might make sense – hire a professional for the jobs you don’t want to do.

Maybe I have a business opportunity – I can run and hide – or I can rise above it.  It is my decision.

I have been retired for almost two years.  It has been a challenge. I find that I am bored – and I know that when I am bored I can lose interest in life.  I need something to keep me busy. Can I ‘forget everything and run’ and take life slowly. Okay – bring out the jigsaw puzzles; bring out the crossword puzzle books; and the Sudoku books.  Let me sit in my favorite reclining chair and after a couple of hours put my head back and take a cat nap.

I’m stuck on the ‘how to’ part of ‘Face Everything And Rise’ option.  I have applied for several jobs that interest me – tutoring in math for Sylvan Learning and other learning centers; working (or volunteering) at a local hospital; working (volunteering) at the local food pantry; working (volunteering) at the local school mentoring a child (that I am doing); taking the training to be a one-on-one mentor for a person who has some conflicts in his life (like lose of a spouse; lose of a job; some health issues; etc.).  I expect that I will be ‘commissioned’ and start that volunteering in the next two months.

Mentally I need to accept the new challenges and “face everything and rise”.

So, do you have challenges to “Face Everything and Rise”? Or are you in the “Forget Everything And Run” camp?  What are you going to do about it?

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For two years I have considered myself with some transgender tendencies.  I have read, thought, mentally debated various options within that area. I could do nothing; I could cross dress but only in the house on limited occasions; or at the far end of that spectrum, I could openly declare my intentions to be a woman.  That would mean ‘face everything and rise’. I would go on hormone replacement therapy (HRT); I would dress as a female 24/7; I would have to ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ and learn how to walk as a female and work on my speech to talk as a female.  I would need to grow out my hair and have it styled as a female; I would need to carry a purse rather than a man’s wallet. And … I would probably incur the wrath of my wife and daughter and be banned from their lives. For the time being, I’m definitely in the “Forget Everything and Run” stage.  The probability is that I will never leave that “Forget Everything and Run” stage (but it is fun and exciting to think I could do this).

 

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #264:  Sarcasm

A friend recently wrote about sarcasm.  Sometimes sarcasm is okay; but it can go wrong.

A definition of sarcasm is: Sarcasm is “a sharp, bitter, or cutting expression or remark; a bitter gibe or taunt”. Sarcasm may employ ambivalence, although sarcasm is not necessarily ironic.

Here are some examples (from:   http://www.k12reader.com/term/sarcasm/

 

  • I’m so happy the teacher gave me all this homework right before Spring Break.  (No, they are not happy – but being sarcastic)
  • I work 40 hours a week to be this poor.  (It could be true – but the implication is sarcastic)
  • I love the fact that my neighbor’s dog barks at me whenever I go outside. It makes me feel noticed.  (no, she doesn’t like the dog)
  • That speaker was so interesting that I barely needed to drink my third cup of coffee. (sarcasm – the speaker was so boring I got through three cups of coffee to try to keep me awake)
  • “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying that I approved of it.” — Mark Twain (it wasn’t good enough to go to the funeral)

 

Back to my friend Shanti Feldhahn’s comments on sarcasm:

Here are her bullet points:

  • People stop trusting you – you think it is in good fun, you didn’t mean to be nasty, but the message comes through
  • You are training yourself to be cruel – You think your sarcasm is fun and cute – you laugh at it; you start to think of more sarcastic things to say.  
  • You won’t get honest opinions or answers from people.  They will think you will send back a zinger – so best to not say anything at all before you get mocked.
  • Forget real closeness.  Your friends (if you have any) don’t want to become an object of your tongue
  • Sarcasm tends to see the negative not the position.  From the first example above, the student is being negative – I got all this homework right before Spring Break – that isn’t very nice of the teacher – I wanted to laze around over spring break and not do any homework.
  • Sarcasm sets the tone of the room – soon more and more are becoming sarcastic.  

Don Rickles was a master of sarcasm – he would insult people he was with.  It was funny as people laughed at how he threw zingers around.  He was a pro at ‘roasts’ – when the intent was to honor somebody by telling stories about him.

Maybe I’m back on the concept – “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Some irony might be okay, but keep everything in balance.

And … if that writer is correct, watch the sarcasm and the bitter tongue!!

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments

Blog Post #263 Positive affirmations

From Zig Ziglar: “You never know when a moment and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life”

Zig Ziglar has had a profound influence on my life (even though I never met him, I like his books, his tapes, and more).  He talks of his southern drawl and how bad it is for us Northerners to not have it.

I do remember a story he tells of a man going through a cafeteria line.  He stops to talk to most of the people behind the counter.  He looks them in the eye, smiles and says something like “I’m glad you are here.  I’ve noticed you over the years and I like your smile and your style.” (varying it from person to person).

The person hearing it reacts well – gets a big smile.  

But it can’t be contrived, it needs to be sincere.  

A group I am a part of calls these ‘affirmations’.  Affirming the other person’s positive traits.  I already affirm my grandchildren a lot – but do I affirm my wife and my children (and their spouses)?  

It might be just a quick passing my daughter-in-law in the kitchen and tell her how happy I am that she is part of the family and what great things she is doing with our grandchildren, or how loving she is to our son.  Maybe it is the janitor at work – tell him/her that you really appreciate having your trash emptied, your floor vacuumed and that he really does a great job.  Again, do it sincerely.  Try it slowly and then keep it going.  

For example, the janitor is almost never really noticed.  Find out something about him (like he loves the New York Yankees baseball team).  Ask him how the season looks.  Just talking with him affirms him as a person – not just a cog in a big machine.  Maybe someday we’ll have robots come down the hall and grab the trash can and empty it; maybe a quick vacuum of the floor – but it won’t be the same as having a flesh-and-blood real person.

Be an encourager, affirm people, be positive in all things out of your mouth

What do you think?

Let me know at:  brucewhitecoaching@gmail.com

Have a great day!!

Bruce

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments