Tag: Self improvement

Ideas for thinking and behaving more effectively

Eyes wide open

The COVID19 pandemic is still with us. I am hopeful that people will continue to help one another to continuously take the steps to reduce the spread of the virus. The wisdom of crowds will have to work in a way that actually reduces crowding and helps individuals to keep their distance while acting to protect others with masks, etc. While the economy is reopening and more opportunities to socialize emerge people can fall into old habits. I hope we can be gentle with one another and lead by example as we battle the spread of the virus. The current president will not lead and chaos lurks throughout our country; as President Obama said we will have to be the change that we seek.

Forming and modifying good habits

The book Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg talks about being aware of our 1. cues (things that trigger behaviors), 2. routines (common behavior patterns we don’t think much about), and 3. rewards (the feeling, event, or praise we receive that reinforces the behavior). All of us fall into loops of behavior and activities that lead us to what we want in life, or further away from it. Duhigg talks about how powerful habits are in our lives and that we should try to control them. I agree with his conclusion. Lets make our journey through life one that is more of what we want by weighing our habits and whether they add or subtract from what we want to be.

Leadership pillars from the book Extreme Ownership

According to the book Exteme Ownership (by Jocko Willink and Leif Babbin) a Leader should do, or recognize the following:

1 – own it all (extreme ownership)

2 – no bad teams, only bad leaders

3 – have Clarity and Belief

4 – Manage your Ego

As I think about the situations I encounter in life and organizations these four pillars stand out as a framework for looking at behavior. Outstanding leaders are examples and not blamers. They ask for help and build people up. You don’t wonder where they are coming from or what they are about because it is clear they want to create solutions based on the truth. Great leaders are not the focus of the conversation and thought because they direct attention on the goal. They manage their own egos and help others to focus on working together for success. Whether it comes from national figures or local people the characteristics of good leadership don’t change. The first person a leader must lead is themselves.

Survival prescription for pandemic and politics

I have written a lot about the current president and the COVID19 pandemic. I understand wanting to move on to something besides the current president and all the dysfunction that surrounds him. The fact that he is the president doing damage to our institutions, society, and security is a reality. In the face of a pandemic and a toxic presidency I thought that I would share some ideas for coping with the stress:

1. This cannot last forever and we should keep our faith in God. Better days are coming.

2. Relax and exercise with good audiobooks, music, podcasts, etc. There is a lot of really excellent edifying free content that will grow your mind and spirit. Get a library card if you don’t have one because there are free digital downloads available. Exercise will strengthen your body, improve your outlook, and boost your immune system.

3. Plan and enjoy good meals that include fruits and vegetables while consuming plenty of water. I try to drink a minimum of 70oz of water per day, starting with about 30oz before breakfast is done.

4. Seek to help other people while staying in touch with family and friends. During tough times there is nothing like being a support to others because it is an even greater boost to our own spirits. Just sharing talk about feelings, meals, events, people, or the day with someone else is a win-win activity.

5. Consume or create art of some sort. Whether it is a virtual museum, a movie, music, poetry, or music setting aside time to enjoy or make art is an expression of hope in humanity. Art is an expression of who we are and helps us to understand ourselves and each other.

I hope these unoriginal ideas are useful to you as they have been to me. Organize your day into blocks that provide some routine and variety of focus for your mind, body, and spirit. Remember as Jocko Willink says “Discipline=freedom”. We all need to develop and structure ourselves and our time to maximize enjoyment of life. I believe we will get to the other side of these dark times.

Loving this life

I make time on a regular basis to count the blessings of my life. Not all of my blessings but those that come to mind. The habit comes in handy regularly and especially at stressful times like the Covid19 pandemic. I can feel the insidious growth of anxiety when I talk with others or listen to the news. We have a lot to think about for ourselves and those we care about. The good news is that because of this threat more Americans and people worldwide will consider science more seriously on climate crisis. Thinking about the joy of taking a breath of fresh air seems more meaningful when it is threatened by a virus. I feel lucky to live in a country that can produce cures for disease despite not providing access to healthcare for everyone. I feel fortunate that so many people know we can be better tomorrow and are acting to make it happen. They say the mind can make energy out of anything including tragedy. I am hopeful that our current problems can be a catalyst for a truly better country.

It is hard not being in control

Most all of us are dealing with the specter of disease having so much control over our lives. As a believer in God it is comforting to lean on Lord in a world of uncertainty. I know that many people do not believe in God, but for me belief makes more sense than not doing so. Life is amazing even with horrific events, pain, and injustice. I feel fortunate to be able to count my blessings and to know that I need to. Coronavirus is scary on a personal level. Fight back by thinking of all of the things you are grateful about that a virus cannot take away.

Is it your life, or are you a puppet?

Increasing information and research shows that human beings need to own their results and behavior to maximize potential. Everyone with experience knows that there are forces beyond our control that impact our lives, but that giving our power away to others or the unknown weakens us. It is important for our mindset to realize the importance of our choices while not being paralyzed by them. Life takes courage, humor, and confidence in the face of shifting fortunes. Whatever happens maximize your ownership, skills, and confidence by believing in your ability to influence the life you lead. Believing in yourself and your power is the best hand you could ask for in this life.