Pause To Wonder

I have always found spring to be a favourite time of the year for me. A time of renewal that reminds me that there is so much more to come. A time to focus once more on the idea that “you can be happy anyway”! I came across this quote recently and it just spoke to me again in a warm and attentive way.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” — Albert Einstein

Take the time to really stop and smell the flowers. Look around you. I mean really look and be prepared to be amazed. The buds are forming on the trees and shrubs – again! What on earth is the trigger? I hear the biologists out there getting ready to “explain” it but I stand in awe to watch the buds break open and see the leaves start to open and green up. And this happens every year!

Again I watch the wonderful birds getting “frisky” and chasing each other around my back yard. Yes, it is nature doing its thing but that is exactly what I am talking about. Nature doing its thing! Amazing!

What about the man made stuff around us? Doesn’t it amaze you just a bit to think that there are roads to just about wherever you might want to go to? I often wonder which came first, the road or the group of people that needed to be reached by road. I see a lake and imagine the people who have lived around or near that lake over the past few thousand years. It was a source of water and food. Now I see all the cottages around it and understand that the lake is still providing but people are limiting to which people it is providing. Ownership is a bit of a strange concept. We are finite beings so we are really just borrowing anything we “have”.

We are so busy these days that I think we are too busy living to take a moment once in a while to just look around and be in awe. As Einstein says above, if we don’t, we are as good as dead. Just filling time.

Stop! Take a few minutes every day to relax and metaphorically look around with a bit wonder and be awed by what you see. Be thankful. What amazes you? While you do this at least once or twice a day, remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every single day.

Procrastinator is me!

Procrastination has become a problem for me since I have unlimited and unstructured time available. We have heard for all our lives how work expands to fill the available time. What I did not realize was that anything will expand to fill the available time. Like checking out your social network accounts, like checking out just one more news media outlet, like reading just one more chapter (or six) in that book you are reading. You get the picture. Classic procrastination!

Now you might think that it is not really a problem because you really have nothing else pressing to do. But in my case I am growing so lethargic. At the end of the day I do not feel like I have done anything. But I was having trouble figuring out just what to do to break the cycle. There really are things I want to get done if I can only …

This is where a very timely article presented itself to me. The teacher appeared just when this student was ready. I read an article about productivity shortcuts written by Derek Doepker (@ExcuseProof) In it he suggests procrastinators use these magic words: “Can I just …”. In my case it has started me one a new road (actually it has helped put me back on the road I have been on most of my life). That is the road to getting things done! And feeling accomplished at the end of the day! Happy!

Can I just write one more blog entry? Can I just spend the next 25 minutes going through the things on my desk and throwing away what is not needed, filing what needs to be filed and putting things back where they belong? Can I just do cardio workouts every second day for the next two weeks? And so on. I am back to using my self management techniques that I had let slide because I thought I did not need them. I am back to feeling accomplished and productive. Even if I am not doing work in the traditional sense, I am happy anyway.

What about you? Can’t seem to break the procrastination blocker? Try it! When you are facing some challenge, break it down to a smaller bite and ask yourself: “Can I just …”

Awe and Wonder!

We all know that it is important to be following a “continuos learning” trajectory through life but what does it mean? Obviously in work settings it means keeping up and even looking ahead to move ahead. In every day settings it used to mean that we should be taking courses to stretch our minds and broaden our interests. These days it probably means staying in touch with the continuos changes in our electronic world and the apps that drive it along. Whenever we update our software, it often means a learning curve to adjust to the changes. Get the latest technology once in a while to experience continuous learning!

A note of caution: continuous learning must not end with retirement! It is not a work thing. It is a life thing.

But really, nothing has changed. If you are not interested you are withering. If you are not living with a bit of wondering you are coasting and not engaged in your life. You are dying! Remember, our life is a short time in the whole of eternity so we had best make full use of it.

We live in a world of amazing wonders that must surely inspire enthusiasm for inquiring into the whys and hows of things. Continuous learning is not about formal training or education. It is about looking around and wondering about the things that we see all the time. Live like you are on a vacation. Rush to the next thing and learn as much as you can about it. I love the concept that we have learned more in science in the last 100 years than we have learned in all the previous years of history. We know stuff now that we did not even know that we should be wondering about just 100 years ago.

We don’t know everything. We do not have all the answers – yet. Actually, we won’t ever have all the answers. Before Galileo we thought that everything revolved around earth. Then we thought that our solar system was the centre of the universe. And then, … well you get the point. We don’t know what we don’t know. Stay inquisitive. Look at things with the wonder and enthusiasms of a kid. Go discover! Learn! Wonder! LIVE!

I want to continue to be inquisitive. I want to stay interested in seeing and experiencing stuff that I have not yet come across. I want to keep learning. In short, I want to keep living fully. THAT is the way to staying Happy Anyway! 🙂

My Dad is gone but …….

My Dad died in 1996 but I continue to be Happy Anyway because of all that he was to me. You see, he is not gone in my mind. I still turn to him regularly for advice, opinions, guidance and praise.

Any guy can beget a child but it takes lots more to be a Dad.

  • A Dad loves the child unconditionally and allows that love to show all the time.
  • A Dad “plays” with the child in ways that teach great life lessons without needing to nag and pester.
  • A Dad lives and openly demonstrates the values that are important to live by and this is what the child will see and emulate.
  • A Dad will correct and impose age-appropriate discipline so the child learns how to operate in our society in ways that will bring success in whatever the child eventually chooses to do.
  • A Dad will offer age appropriate advice when it is requested (or needed) and then will trust the child to make his/her own decision.
  • A Dad will respect the right and need of the child to make theses decisions as part of the maturing process ( that never stops it seems :-)).
  • A Dad will sometimes say no.
  • A Dad will never stoop to “I told you so”. Rather, a Dad will be there and listen and give advice as and when requested.

A Dad does lots of other things. My Dad did all of these things and much more. I was always amazed that he continued to be “Dad” even as I approached middle age and beyond. What is a wonder is that he remains “Dad” and is there when I need him even though he is no longer with us. I don’t think a guy could ask for more.

Dads, be a strong and loving example to your children. Live your values. Do what you say! Give them the tools and then stand aside.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day with you children.

Find A Way!

I love creative thinking. I hear about a situation or problem or opportunity and I immediately want to take some time and think about it in different ways. Many call this thinking outside the box. I not only love creative thinking, I am good at it.

I don’t particularly love being dutiful or even being very thorough in the doing of things. To me, this is keeping me from doing what I love to do. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very good at doing these things – I just don’t like it as much. Even though that is the case, I DO THESE THINGS ANYWAY! And I do them as well as I can.

There is a great life lesson here. If you choose/have to do something, do it to the very best of your own ability. Not the best in the world (unless that is your goal) but the best YOU can do. Just compare yourself to yourself and do your own best. Then you need to find/make time to do what you really love to do.

I want to shift gears just a bit now. We often have a hard time knowing what the right things are for us to find time to do. All I can tell you is that it has to come from inside. You will know because you will feel “right”. How about a few tips that have helped me?

Remember that you are always a role model whether you are aware of it or not. So take a bit of time and think about what you would like to hear as the eulogy at your own funeral many, many years in the future. What would you like to hear from your family? Friends? Work colleagues? Bosses? Your life partner? And so on. Then think honestly about what you imagine they would actually say/think today. Now you have a list of things to work on. 🙂

Most of what gets us into diss-equalibrium revolves around the respect or lack of respect we have for others. I have learned that I am not always right so I try very hard to be open to learning from others (who are also not always right). So stay respectful. They just may be right if they are so insistent on their viewpoint. If you KNOW they are wrong and they do not seem open to hearing another point of view – let it go. They don’t have to tell you that you are right. Keep in mind that you just want peace and happiness. You do not need to tear down others and their ideas to stand tall. Just always be open to learn new stuff.

I have said this before. Everything is a choice. Does the choice you are about to make reconcile with your own values? Will it bring peace, joy and happiness? Or will it bring conflict, contempt and anger? All those things your Mom or Dad told you was very valuable advice. “Think before you act.” “Look before you leap.” “Take a breath and count to 10 before reacting.” “You can’t unsay anything so think about what you are about to say.”

All of the advice has to do with taking some time before doing or saying things. Why is that? I think it has to do with the reality that negative emotions are much quicker to rise to the surface. It is probably related to the flight or fight response that allowed for survival in earlier times. But if we just take a moment to let our analytical mind work we can usually see a “better” action. You will recognize a true flight or fight moment, trust me. Most of the time these days we are not faced with true flight or fight moments.

Find a way to do what you love. Find a way to choose better actions and reactions. Find a way to be the best role model you can be.