Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are you in a rut?...

and struggling to climb out?

This may help.

My "break" is not turning out to be much of a break.

And why is that?

Frank, the man half of  Frank and Fern has this to say:

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

Been paying attention to the news lately? Well, you know all the problems in Greece are solved. The Chinese markets are all doing great. Our unemployment problem here in the United States just about doesn't exist. You know those precious metals we talk about all the time? Gold and silver? They're going through the ceiling. The European economy is going great guns. Our economy here in the 
United States has set record highs this year. And that pesky Middle Eastern war? Everybody has just kissed and made up. Life is grand and we're all back on the happy train again! I can hear them singing, Happy Days Are Here Again! So let's all run down and buy us a brand new car, refinance our house, take out more student loans, and go into debt just as far as we can, because we all know that debt is good! We've been told this for the last 50+ years, so it must be true.

There's only one problem here. One very large problem. Everything just stated above, is a lie, or if you're a politician, someone misspoke. You see folks, everything mentioned above is not true. We sit in front of our TVs and let talking heads fill us with information that is a lie, and we believe it

because we want to believe it. We are a very comfortable nation. Just go into any Wal-Mart and look around. Look at all the grossly over weight, middle aged men and women dragging their fat little kids behind them with a candy bar in one hand and a sugar laced drink in the other. Yes, we are a comfortable country, but we have gotten too comfortable. We've become complacent. We expect everything to be done for us and all services provided. So when we watch the news, we want to hear happy time stories. Well, everyone of those stories mentioned above, as repeated before, here it is again, they are all lies.  Read the rest and then come back and we'll talk more

My "break" was to reassess how I was spending my time.  That part was pretty easy.  I'm online waaaaaay too much. Simple as that. 

As soon as I tried to break away, I was sucked right back into the fray with all the fracas over Trump, Kelly, Erickson, et al. 

The point being is that none of that silliness has any bearing on my life, or your life, either.  Mainly because, like it or not, there is absolutely nothing we can do about any of this.  Is Trump a Judas Goat?  Maybe, maybe not.  Is Ted Cruz the great savior?  Same answer. 

Sorting out the lies from the truth has become a full time job, and I really don't want to spend my time like that anymore.

Like most people who are on a quest to have a better and more productive life, I continually stumble around looking for a magic bullet; the one thing that will "change my life."  Yesterday it was browsing for articles on "motivation."  Really!  Can anything be any stupider?  Being online too much is the problem, but here I sit, online, looking for motivation. Guess what?  I didn't find any.  What I did find was an awful lot of people trying to sell me their foolproof approach to a better life.

When I taught religious ed at church, I used to tell the adult class that if they're waiting for a burning bush moment to attest to some miracle or another, they were going to have a very long wait.  Meantime, miracles are happening all around them, but somehow, are never seen or acknowledged.

Which brings me to this from The Art of Manliness:

We think a magic bullet will save us. Let’s say that we’re able to overcome the torpor-inducing effects of aiming for radical personal change, and we start taking action towards achieving our goals. As humans are wont to do, instead of just getting right to work doing the boring, mundane, time-tested things that will bring success, we typically start looking for “hacks” that will get us the results we want as fast as possible and with as little work as possible. We want that magic bullet that will allow us to hit our target right in the bulls-eye with just one shot.
The danger of looking for a magic bullet is that you end up spending all your time searching for it instead of actually doing the work that needs to be done. You scroll through countless blog articles on productivity, in hopes of discovering that one tip that will make you superhumanly efficient. You listen to podcast after podcast from people who earn their living telling people how to make money online, hoping one day you’ll hear an insight that will unlock your businesses’ potential, so you too can make your living online, telling other people how to make a living online. You research and find the perfect gratitude journal so you can be more zen.
The insidious thing about searching for magic bullets is that you feel like you’re doing something to reach your goals when in fact you’re doing nothing. Magic bullet hunting is masturbatory self-improvement. All the pleasure, without the production of metaphorical progeny.
  The authors go one to explain the concept of Kaizen, which roughly translated from the Japanese means "continuous slow improvement" and was originally applied to businesses. 

Toyota used Kaizen to eventually become the leader in auto sales. I first heard about Kaizen when, during my piano selling days (eons ago), a representative from Yamaha came to our store and did an all day workshop on Kaizen.

How many of you have sat around writing down your goals?  Looks good on paper, but it rarely works out well because it's just overwhelming to try and make many big changes all at the same time.  I do it all the time and the end result is frustration and angst.

A better approach is to make very small improvements every day. 

 That's it, wrapped up in a tidy little package. 

I will have to acknowledge that all the time online was not for naught (cute, huh?)

Off to my haircut (a small improvement), Costco, and deciding what small changes I will be making over the next few weeks.  I already have my first teeny tiny change lined up.  I am forbidden from looking up every article on personal Kaizen ever posted on the web!

NB:  I take answering my comments very seriously.  Anyone who takes the time to comment should be acknowledged, but it will be later today.  Thank you in advance.

For a bit of relief from the news:

These gals made small improvements every day and ended up being able to do this:

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