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Archive for the ‘Lessons for’ Category

I found this on Facebook today and I thought it worth memorializing for Reese & Finn in perpetuity:

We all want to be successful, but we don’t want to face what’s holding us back. Many of us ignore blind spots, only to fall prey to our shortcomings down the line. So how can we trim the fat, cut our faults to the bone, and get into the habit of success?

Here are 10 toxic habits you need to destroy to allow success to find you:

1. Idolizing those who have already done it.

We all need people to learn from. My concern kicks in when leaders of industry take on a near deity status. I have a huge amount of respect for many of them, but they’re not you. Nobody is living your journey.

Use their experience to help guide you, but nobody has the same path to success. Success has indicators and certain certain patterns, but use the pieces that apply to you and dispel the rest.

2. Comparing yourself to peers.

This past weekend I visited a friend’s summer home. It was larger than my full-time residence. I joked with his wife that I want to be happy for them, but there’s this small part of me that hates them. So, I get it. We all want to have what we don’t have. But there is a time when you need to let go of comparison.

Take that energy and focus on how you can improve your performance as it compares to itself.

3. Rationalizing not trying.

Nothing is worse than saying “if only.” Things are the way they are. Define what you want to change, and go about changing it. If you can’t leave your job because you have to pay your mortgage, I get it. But don’t complain you want to start a business, and say “I wish.”

No more wishing. Stop watching Netflix, or golfing, or going to the Yankees game, and use that time to build your business and break free. Or just shut up about it.

4. Feeding a low opinion of yourself.

I’ve met people who’ve been in one job for years and think they’re destined to be miserable in that role forever. You have the capacity to learn a new skill, and you can jump industries. It will be difficult, but what happens if you never try?

Shake off the fear of the unknown, dispel your self-limiting belief that hugely successful people are more talented than you. They’re just a bit more obsessed.

Become obsessed and make power moves that nobody expects.

5. Pointing fingers.

Nobody is responsible for your good or bad fortune except you. Nobody. Deal with it.

6. Judging others.

Rich people aren’t necessarily entitled. Many of them worked their butts off for what they have. Poor people aren’t lazy, they just don’t know any better, and are stuck.

Get past your judgments, and move forward.

7. Needing to have all the answers.

When confronted with a hard question, the best thing you can say is “I don’t know.” Then go find the answer. You don’t have all the answers, but if you’re smart enough to surround yourself with motivated people who support you, you’ll get the right answer eventually.

8. Seeking perfection.

You will break some eggs on your road to success. Nothing will ever be perfect.

You can strive for greatness, but you can’t lament when you miss the mark.

9. Prioritizing comfort.

Throughout your journey, you will be uncomfortable. You will feel insecure. You will feel self-doubt. You may even feel panicked. Get used to that feeling and keep moving.

Discomfort won’t kill you. But succumbing to self-pity will.

10. Waiting.

There is never a perfect time to start a business, sell a business, or move to the next challenge in your career.

If you feel the need, take the first step. Right now.

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This morning the family and I ventured south to Seward Park for the kids’ third Seafair Kids Triathlon.

It was a memorable morning, but not necessarily for the best reasons.

Things got off on the wrong foot.  No sooner had we parked at Seward Park than I realized I had forgotten the kids’ bike helmets.  I raced back to Laurelhurst, found the helmets and raced back.  I got there just in the knick of time and I didn’t have the presence of mind to inspect the kids’ transition areas.

Big problem.

The kids left the water just fine.  Finn was in roughly 7th place and Reese was a few spots behind him.  But things went downhill from there — for Reese.  While Finn had a fairly slow transition, he recovered to finish 10th overall out of 99 and no. 1 among eight- and under competitors.

For Reese it was quite another story.  First she couldn’t get her shoes on properly — my mistake for not opening them wide enough to slip in.  Worse, though, was her bike.  It turns out when they laid it down they twisted the front wheel, and no one — including me — noticed.  That caused the brakes to lock, which made the bike barely rideable.   So unrideable was it that Reese went from middle of the pack after the transition (slow because of the shoes) to dead last in the entire field — by about fifteen minutes.  I was very proud of her for doing the 1/2 run in tears — quite a showing of resolve.

Lesson learned: failing to prepare is preparing to fail.  I should have packed the kids’ gear yesterday.  Had I have done so, I would likely not have forgotten the helmets, and had I not forgotten the helmets, I would have had time to properly set up their transition areas.  Instead I played golf.

Reese’s resulting disaster is on my hands.  I put golf over the kids’ preparation.

It will not happen again.

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A follow-up to Saturday’s entry in re: Finn’s Zeeks Pizza Panthers team winning Northeast Seattle Little League’s Farm Division championship.  The theme of my victory speech yesterday was simple: we won the championship — and never lost a game in two years — because of the players’ willingness to work just that much harder than the next guy.  I did not realize how true that was until today.

To wit:  All year long our achilles heal was base running.  Too many instances of running off the base on fly balls resulted in double plays.  By no means were base running problems unique to us, but it troubled me a great deal.

The extra work Finn and his buddy Carter Ellis did the night before the championship game contributed mightily toward the Panthers’ championship.

On the evening before the game, during Laurelhurst Elementary’s ice cream social, I called a special practice.  Finn and his teammates Mats Bashey and Carter Ellis were the only ones who showed up.  We hit a little — I had to throw ’em a bone — but 90% of our focus was on fly ball base running (run off the base just far enough to get back if it’s caught, etc.)   That practice built on our pre-game practice before our previous playoff win.  We later supplemented it with another ten minutes before the championship game.

In the 5th inning of Saturday’s championship game, Carter was on 2nd base.  Wyatt hit a fly ball and third base coach Rick Frederking mistakenly told him to get flyin’.  Carter led off generously, but didn’t do what his coach said and, consequently, got back to second base as soon as the ball was caught.  As Carter was not doubled up, the inning continued with two outs.  Jack Frederking followed that up with a single that turned into a home run thanks to three errors.  Elias Lara followed that up with the same thing.  A 12-6 lead and thanks to the five-run limit rule, we were champions

Had Carter been doubled up, the Bombers would have batted in the sixth inning down 9-6.  I have no idea what would have happened, but I do know the Bombers really wanted to win.

None of this donned on me until Monday night, when Rick Frederking opined that Carter “bailed (him) out” on the aforementioned play.  I pieced it all together and asked Carter’s dad to ask Carter what gave him the presence of mind to run the bases as he did.  His answer: “I remembered what we had worked on the night before.”

Wow.

By no means was Carter the only one who went the extra yard during the season.  Many guys did it throughout this season and last.  In Saturday’s game, however, it is literally the case that his willingness to go the extra yard — during the ice cream social, no less — played a huge part in our victory.  It may not have won us the game, but it certainly prevented the Bombers from getting another chance to win, and knowing how good that team is, that was almost as good.

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The kids frequently ask me about the differences between “the left” and “the right.”  Usually I say something like “lefties are intolerant and have no problem behaving like juveniles.”   But recently I stumbled on a left v. right primer from conservative commentator Dennis Prager and I thought it worth memorializing here:

 

Source of Human Rights

Left: government

Right: the Creator

 

Human Nature

Left: basically good (Therefore, society is primarily responsible for evil.)

Right: not basically good (Therefore, the individual is primarily responsible for evil.)

 

Economic Goal

Left: equality

Right: prosperity

 

Primary Role of the State

Left: increase and protect equality

Right: increase and protect liberty

 

Government

Left: as large as possible

Right: as small as possible

 

Family Ideal

Left: any loving unit of people

Right: a married father and mother, and children

 

Guiding Trinity

Left: race, gender and class

Right: liberty, In God We Trust and e pluribus unum

 

Good and Evil

Left: relative to individual and/or society

Right: based on universal absolutes

 

Humanity’s Primary Division(s)

Left: rich and poor; strong and weak

Right: good and evil

 

Ideal Primary Identity of an American

Left: world citizen

Right: American citizen

 

How to Make a Good Society

Left: abolish inequality

Right: develop each citizen’s moral character

 

View of America

Left: profoundly morally flawed; inferior to any number of European countries

Right: greatest force for good among nations in world history

 

Gender

Left: a social construct

Right: male and female

 

Most Important Trait to Cultivate in a Child

Left: self-esteem

Right: self-control

 

Worth of the Human Fetus

Left: determined by the mother

Right: determined by society rooted in Judeo-Christian values

 

Primary Source of Crime

Left: poverty, racism and other societal flaws

Right: the criminal’s malfunctioning conscience

 

Place of God and Religion in America

Left: secular government and secular society

Right: secular government and religious society

 

American Exceptionalism

Left: chauvinistic doctrine

Right: historical reality

 

Greatest Threat to the World

Left: environmental catastrophe (currently global warming)

Right: evil (currently radical Islamist violence)

 

International Ideal

Left: world governed by the United Nations, and no single country is dominant

Right: world in which America is the single strongest entity

 

Primary Reason for Lack of Peace in Middle East

Left: Israeli settlements in the West Bank

Right: Palestinian, Arab and Muslim denial of Jewish state’s right to exist

 

Purpose of Art

Left: challenge status quo and bourgeois sensibilities

Right: produce works of beauty and profundity to elevate the individual and society

 

Guns

Left: ideally universally abolished, except for use by police, the armed forces and registered sportsmen

Right: ideally widely owned by responsible individuals for self-protection and the protection of others

 

Race

Left: intrinsically significant

Right: intrinsically insignificant

 

Racial, Ethnic and Gender Diversity at Universities

Left: most important

Right: far less important than ideological diversity

 

Black America’s Primary Problem

Left: racism

Right: lack of fathers

 

Greatest Playwright

Left: entirely subjective; there is no greatest playwright

Right: Shakespeare

 

War

Left: not the answer

Right: sometimes the only answer

 

Hate

Left: wrong, except when directed at the political

Right: wrong, except when directed at evil

 

Cultures

Left: all equal

Right: some are better than others

 

America’s Founding Fathers

Left: rich white male slave owners

Right: great men who founded the greatest society

 

Purpose of Judges

Left: pursue social justice

Right: pursue justice

 

National Borders

Left: a relic of the past

Right: indispensable for national survival

 

View of Illegal Immigrants

Left: welcomed guests

Right: illegal immigrants

 

Nature

Left: intrinsically valuable

Right: made for man

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Ski Etiquette

With all the skiing we’ve been doing this year, I thought this would be an appropriate post:

Ski-Etiquette-2

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I quite like these:

Rules33

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My favorite happy people.

My favorite happy people.

More and more often I’m finding useful tidbits showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.  The latest: a piece entitled “8 Habits of Happy People.”   They are:

Figure out your strengths, then engage them: According to “The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work“: “When 577 volunteers were encouraged to pick one of their signature strengths and use it in a new way each day for a week, they became significantly happier and less depressed than control groups. And these benefits lasted: Even after the experiment was over, their levels of happiness remained heightened a full month later. Studies have shown that the more you use your signature strengths in daily life, the happier you become.” I can vouch for this one — a year ago I started a project to engage my creative, visual side, and it is the single greatest joy-bringer to my days outside my partner (and my cat!).
Spend time outside: If you can clock 20 minutes a day outside, studies show you’ll not only maintain a better mood, but your mind will be more open and you’ll improve your working memory too. Sunshine (even the brightness of a cloudy day is often brighter than indoor lights) and fresh air feel good too.
Put effort into being happy:Two separate studies in the Journal of Positive Psychology have confirmed that when people actively try to be happy, they raise their baseline moods, making them feel, in the end, happier than those who do not try. According to a release from Taylor and Francis, “In the first study, two sets of participants listened to ‘happy’ music. Those who actively tried to feel happier reported the highest level of positive mood afterwards. In the second study, participants listened to a range of ‘positive’ music over a two-week period; those who were instructed to focus on improving their happiness experienced a greater increase in happiness than those who were told just to focus on the music.”
Exercise regularly: All exercise releases endorphins in your brain, which directly leads to a better mood, and if you workout regularly, this mood boost even carries over to non-workout days. Don’t just take my word for it; according to research from the University of Bristol: “On exercise days, people’s mood significantly improved after exercising. Mood stayed about the same on days they didn’t, with the exception of people’s sense of calm which deteriorated.”
Protect your health: Good health, on average, leads to a 20 percent gain in overall happiness, so spending time and money improving or prolonging your good health is a wise investment in something intangible but incredibly important.
Care for others: People who spend time every month helping others (whether that be animals, people or a space or place you love) are happier. There’s even an immediate effect, similar to a high, that most people feel directly after doing good — including random acts of goodness. “Volunteer work was good for both mental and physical health. People of all ages who volunteered were happier and experienced better physical health and less depression,” says Peggy Thoits, a Vanderbilt University sociologist. Other studies have shown that it’s not just happy people who are volunteers — depressed people who do work for others show an elevated mood from the work.
Cultivate strong social relationships: whether you have a few close friends, a large and loving family, or strong ties to the community, almost any kind of connection to a social group can improve happiness, according to “The Happiness Advantage”: “Turns out, there was one — and only one — characteristic that distinguished the happiest 10 percent from everybody else: the strength of their social relationships. My empirical study of well-being among 1,600 Harvard undergraduates found a similar result — social support was a far greater predictor of happiness than any other factor, more than GPA, family income, SAT scores, age, gender, or race. In fact, the correlation between social support and happiness was 0.7. This may not sound like a big number, but for researchers it’s huge — most psychology findings are considered significant when they hit 0.3. The point is, the more social support you have, the happier you are.”
Hang out with happy people: This can be hard to do at work, where you don’t always choose who you are working with, but you can control the people you spend time with outside your job (and who you pass your lunch hour with!). Just as studies have found that people who exercise with a motivated partner are more likely to stick to workout plans, so do the people around you impact your mood — which means you also impact those around you with your attitude.
Feeling like you want to make some positive changes? Here’s a few more — mix and match, and find what works for you. And oh yeah, don’t forget to get some sleep — sleep deprivation bums everyone out.
Missing from this list: keeping a family blog for six-plus years and counting.  😉

 

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