There are always things in life that we can’t control - the weather; the economy; the way other people react to the things we say and do.
And sometimes, it feels like we have no control over anything at all - such as, when a global pandemic is killing hundreds of thousands of people, and harming millions more, or when political divisions threaten to tear our country apart. Or when we suddenly and unexpectedly experience a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or being let go by our employer.
Sometimes, life can seem utterly overwhelming, and if we’re not careful, we can be overcome by a sense of despair, helplessness, and doom. That, in turn, leads to paralysis, keeping us stuck in place, unable to take action on our goals and dreams.
But the truth is, there are things you DO still have control over, and at times like these, it’s always helpful to focus on those things. Doing so will increase your confidence, and help generate some forward momentum in your life...
It’s past my bedtime, on a Sunday night, and I'm just now sitting down to write.
This happens rather too often these days, and it got me to thinking about the excuses we make for our behaviour.
I’m sure you can relate: there are things you know you SHOULD do (like getting to bed at a “reasonable” hour, avoiding sugary foods, tackling that household repair job that’s needed doing for weeks…) but there’s always a good excuse.
“I don’t have enough time to get everything done by 8 pm, so I have to stay up to finish _________.”
“Mom baked those cookies especially for me, so it would have hurt her feelings if I’d declined when she offered them to me."
“The job will take at least 2 hours; I haven’t been able to find a two-hour stretch to complete it, and I don’t want to start and then leave things in a mess.”
You may be thinking, these are...
A good friend of mine set an extremely ambitious goal for herself this year: to walk 100 kilometers in 24 hours or less. That’s a little over 62 miles, for our American friends.
Why, you may wonder, would someone choose to do this?
There are any number of reasons, but the most compelling to me, and likely the one that is motivating my friend, is simply to extend the boundaries of what is possible for her. To see what she’s made of; to see whether she can push through beyond whatever limitations she might have previously placed on herself.
Yesterday, my friend walked 80 kilometers over 16 hours. She set out at 5:30 am, and completed her trek at around 9:30 pm. I have no doubt that, come September, she will complete that 100K walk, as planned.
When was the last time you set a goal that seemed unattainable? Or perhaps one that seemed attainable for others, but not for you?
I’m going to argue that you should be doing this...
A week or so ago, on a whim, I pulled a book off the shelf that I’ve never even cracked open before. It’s one of those Reader’s Digest compendiums of which my parents were ever so fond: “Kings & Queens of England – Murder, Mayhem, and Scandal, 1066 to the Present Day”. Published in 2003, it’s just a tad out of date now, but no matter.
The only reason I kept this book after my parents died, is that I learned absolutely NOTHING about the British royals in all of my school years, and I figured someday it would be good to acquire some knowledge on the subject, especially given that my mother hailed from jolly old England.
Why, you ask? How would this knowledge help me in life?
Well, I didn’t think it would. I just thought it would make for interesting conversation at parties.
“You know, they called King Richard I ‘the Lionheart’, but he managed to go and get himself captured...
I had a rough week.
Not because of anything anyone said or did to me; and not because of anything that happened to me.
It was entirely because of the way I reacted to something that happened.
I submitted a document I’d created to my coach, for a critique, looking for advice and suggestions on how to improve it. But I had a preconceived idea in my head of the type of feedback I expected to receive (aesthetic improvements I could make to the document), and when the suggestions didn’t fit those parameters, I took it personally.
The feedback was mostly about the substance of the content itself, and that shook my self-confidence to its core. I put my own spin, my own interpretation, on the suggestions I was being given, and instead of viewing it as positive information I could use to make improvements, I let myself believe it meant I had done a lousy job.
I had failed.
I was a failure.
I might as well just give up.
Do you see how that escalated? And it all happened within a...
Do you know what you want?
We live in a society filled with choice, and North Americans are truly blessed.
Store shelves are packed (and yes, I know there is some scarcity right now due to COVID-19 and disrupted supply chains, but realistically, other than toilet paper, have you actually run out of ANYTHING important?) Perhaps your particular favourite brand was sold out, but for the most part, we are still extremely well-supplied despite the pandemic.
With online shopping, virtually anything we want or need, and can afford, is at our fingertips.
Social media, the world wide web, and television provide us with an instant and vast array of information sources.
A teenager in high school is faced with an incredible assortment of possibilities for a career. And they are warned early on that their choice of study subjects in those tender years will lock them into a certain career path, or out of one. That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone who isn’t yet even allowed to...
Do you have a green thumb?
I’m one of those people who’s very hit-and-miss when it comes to taking care of plants. My favourite type of gardening is “plant it and leave it” – spring bulbs, perennials, ground cover, ornamental grasses…you get the idea.
But this year, on a whim, I decided to try my hand at growing cherry tomatoes and bell peppers in containers in my back yard. And, to my pleasant surprise, it’s working! No sign of peppers yet (although I’m told it’s a bit early, anyway), but I have a number of tiny baby tomatoes on the way, and I’m beyond excited:
As I watch these little tomatoes slowly develop, I realize it’s like a metaphor for what we go through as human beings.
Our physical bodies renew themselves completely every 7 years; that’s how long it takes for every single cell in the body to be born, live out its life cycle, and die, to be replaced by a brand new version. You can literally become a...
Are you feeling more introspective than usual these days?
It’s been said in various places, including social media, that the COVID-19 pandemic is making us all take stock of our lives, both individually and as a society. For many of us, it’s forced us to slow down the frenetic activity that we pack into our days. Not being able to gather together with our friends and extended families has given us extra time to re-connect with ourselves (whether we wanted to or not!)
For some, this has been a welcome opportunity to go inward, and to really ponder whether we like the trajectory we are on. I’ve heard a number of people say they want to make changes going forward – some minor, but some quite significant.
Spending more time at home is leading some to rediscover the joy of home-cooked meals eaten together as a family. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new bakeries open up when all this is over, if the amazing photos of sourdough bread, cakes, pies and...
In most jurisdictions in North America, we are slowly moving towards re-opening our economy and our society in the new COVID-19 reality.
Not all of us will react in the same way in response to these changes, and not all of us will welcome the changes.
Here are my thoughts on how we can enjoy the additional freedom we now have, while remaining respectful of our fellow citizens.
Sometimes the best way to connect is to just SHUT UP.
We love to talk. We hate long pauses in conversations, and we're addicted to commenting on social media.
But that very tendency can be our worst enemy when it comes to understanding others, and being understood.
In these days of #blacklivesmatter and the fight against systemic racism and white privilege, it's absolutely critical that we learn how not to widen the divide between us, but rather, how to truly connect and engage in REAL dialogue and communication.
In this week's vlog, I explain how we can take the first steps in that process.
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