We just passed the Amtrak train yard as we entered the tunnel under the East River on our way to Penn Station, NYC. There was barely an empty stretch of track in the entire yard for all the idle cars and engines sitting there.
That got me thinking about resources in general and specifically within all of us. How many skills have you developed over your lifespan? How many inner character traits have you expanded through time? What helpful insights have you accrued?
But with such busy lives and so, so many such resources, some of them are bound to have become a bit forgotten. The neuroscience of the brain truly is "use it or lose it". The wiring gets dusty.
But your many work and personal situations can certainly use all the skills, positive character traits, and wise insights that you can situationally bring to use.
What to do? Periodically dust off your powerful inventory. Write or type your 3 lists covering these areas. Take a few moments to assess which you’ve been applying and which have lay dormant. Just these simple acts will stir them into conscious availability for application; at least for a little while.
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"How Much Catbird Do You Have in You?"
Our rail trail came through again. What a magical place. Along with all the other inhabitants living along the 60 mile stretch, it is excellent catbird habitat. While this species does offer a convincing "mew" sound, it’s greater specialty is as one of three North American mimickers; that is, their calls and songs sound like other birds.
So how does that relate to us humans? Well, one of the clear ways that we learn as children is to mimic those around us: parents, older siblings, friends… That’s all well and good as an initial foundation. The failed opportunity though can be that many people act like catbirds even after childhood. They forego creating their own songs in favor of repeating someone else’s song, for life.
The richness of this precious existence can be deepened through self-expansion; through self-expression. There is absolutely no limit on creative living. If you tire of one song, you are free to make up another; to try new notes in new combinations. And a deeply satisfying and inspiringly effective practice that enhances being a superb soloist is when you tune in to other’s songs and add to their efforts by joining in such a way that produces a harmony that is unique and appreciated.
So where are you still mimicking voices long gone? And what new songs do you bring to your communities at work and neighborhood and home? Will you listen with an open ear today?
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I had a dream last night that seemed endless. I was backing a long freight trailer into a loading dock and was so intent on getting the parallel alignment just right (for unloading) that I tried and tried and tried again time after time after time.
Are you one of those folks who shoots for perfection? Or do you know anyone like this. While there are some tasks that require what we would call perfection (think of the tight tolerances for a BMW German Engineered engine or the safety standards for the launch of a human-carrying rocket), most things we do in life do not require endless effort to get something to the inth degree.
So when is it "good enough"? That’s a very useful phrase so let’s repeat it: "good enough". The Pareto Rule or 80/20 Rule (used in lots of ways) applied here says that 20% of our effort yields 80% of our results. That means that we might be spending 80% of our time to gain that last 20%. When is 95% quite good enough? Or 93% or 90%?
Something to muse on as work lives have gotten so overloaded and personal time even more precious.
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"Lasting Impressions" -blog
My old friend the rail trail inspires yet another set of thoughts. The blacktop is the same found on roadways everywhere; it’s very hard! Yet on a certain section I walk and ride, numerous imbedded tire tracks mar the otherwise smooth surface.
Those tread marks have me think of our impact on or influence of others. For those of us not living alone on a desert island, what we do or don’t do, say or don’t say, has an impact on those around us; always.
Coming back yet again to EQ – Life Intelligence, how aware or unaware are you of your influence on coworkers, family members, neighbors… What are their first impressions of your interactions, or the last ones you leave them with? Positive? Negative? Bland? Bold? And like the rail trail tire marks, what are the indelible impressions you leave in your wake? What will you be remembered for? As always, your choice!
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"Common" human beings go through life with each day being fairly similar to every other day. Some call that coasting through life. Safe but not very interesting nor satisfying.
What holds us back from doing what we really want, being who we really want to be? Fear!
But this kind of fear is usually mental-emotional with no real physical danger involved. Even so, the internal response to even the idea of doing or saying something a bit out of the box can be quite daunting.
Two simple strategies (one easy, one not so easy) can help you live a life that is incrementally ever more rewarding:
First – make a list of all the things you want to do, have, or be that have been previously beyond your reach. This wish list is your motivation to enact number two.
Second – start making it a practice to do one brave thing every day. These acts of courage can be quite small. In fact, if you make the courage goal too big, you simply won’t be able to do it. But think in terms of building your courage muscle over time. Imagine yourself a year from now having 365 small acts of bravery under your belt. Just feel the strength of that long-term accomplishment.
So notice today when a voice within you arises when an obstacle comes your way. Assess the risks, and if it feels even remotely possible that you could say what needs to be said (do use your emotional intelligence) or take a step that feels a little scary, then take a deep breath, remind yourself that you’re not going to die from the act, and step into the act of bravery.
When you are done, measure what degree of inner and outer success you achieved or didn’t achieve. Note what you can do differently the next time, and celebrate the heck out of your accomplishment. Even give yourself some kind of reward for your accomplishment in courage. And discover over time how much easier it gets to take even a single brave step as a daily practice.
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