Archive | November, 2011

Busy busy busy

22 Nov

Do yourself a favor and find a children’s album called “Philadelphia Chickens” by Sandra Boynton.  It’s billed as “an imaginary musical revue” with a cast you won’t believe – Patti LuPone, Meryl Streep, Scott BakulaEric Stoltz, and more singing these crazy-fun kids’ songs.

The whole album is great, but you must-must-must listen to Kevin Kline singing a delightful patter song called “Busy Busy Busy.”

Why?  Apart from being a hoot, the song shows how ridiculously obsessed we are with “doing.”

For example:

We’re busy busy busy and we’ve got a lot to do and we haven’t got a minute to explain it all to you for on Sunday Monday Tuesday there are people we must see and on Wednesday Thursday Friday we’re as busy as can be with our most important meetings and our most important calls and we have to do so many things and post them on the walls.

Now, seriously… is this you?  I know it’s been me for way too long.

Busy busy busy…

Too busy to “be”, too busy to be content with… well, with anything.

However, today I am content that I can share something with you that illustrates exactly what I’m talking about in a fun, provocative, and interesting way.

I’m getting better.

Dribblings

18 Nov

As kids, we loved to visit the grandparents.  They always had such cool stuff, like the Magic 8 Ball that provided such sage advice as “Ask again later” or “Don’t count on it.”  Or the dippy bird on the windowsill which turned out to be a scientific display of a heat engine.  (Who knew?)

The all-time favorite that only came out on special occasions was the dribble glass.

A dribble glass looks pretty ordinary.  Visually, the only difference is that it has a decorative texture rather than a solid surface.  That texture hid the holes in the glass which made it impossible to drink from without having something dribble down your chin.

It was a great joke, and we all loved it, but think about it for a moment.

That glass would never be full.  It was impossible.  No matter how much you tried to fill it to the top, something would dribble out.  Even constant attention, relentlessly filling just a little more each time it dripped, would not fill that glass.  You just couldn’t do it.

Now take a look at your glass.  Are you constantly adding to it, and, no matter what you do, it’s still not full?

Are you dribbling away your energy, trying to fill a glass than can’t be filled?

Is it time to use a different glass?

 

 

Raise Your Glass!

17 Nov

You might wonder what your glass looks like.

Is it a delicate crystal wine glass that sparkles in candlelight?  A tough, rugged jelly jar that won’t break if it slips out of your hands?  Or a simple water glass?

Does it matter?

No, not really.

That said, there are some DOs and DON’Ts.

DO make sure your glass is clear.

You must be able to see through the glass to its contents.  There must be no illusion, no distortion.  If you can’t see clearly into the glass, you may never truly know how full it is.

DO make sure your glass is yours.

You must use your own glass.  It can be any size or shape you like, but you must choose it.   If you use someone else’s, that glass may never satisfy you.

DON’T leave your glass in the cupboard.

It may look pretty in there and it may appear to be safe, but admiring that glass from a distance isn’t very useful to you.   Take it out.

DON’T  limit yourself to only one glass.

You should have many, many glasses representing all the wonderful facets of your life – your needs, your dreams, your desires – each glass, a unique opportunity for  satisfaction and contentment.

Raise your glass!

Choose!

15 Nov

There is an astonishing variety of glasses to choose from in all different sizes and shapes, and yet, most people don’t take the time to choose the right glass.  They use whatever glass they find, inherit, or have been given, and try to make it fit.

In other words, they are passive.  Getting that glass just “happens,” and they rarely consider that it may not be the right one.

Let me give you an example.

A friend of mine owns two homes, each with a yard.  Each yard requires regular weekly and monthly attention in addition to the  seasonal sprucing up.  Proper maintenance is a personal investment of time, energy, and money.

And he hates yard work.

So why did he choose to take on all that responsibility for a project in which he has absolutely no interest or desire?

He didn’t.  His parents did.

His parents can – and do! – spend hours poring over seed and nursery catalogs.  They map out potential landscaping plans, tweaking until they are finally satisfied.  They are happy and content to devote full weekends to the sweat and toil required to design and built  their back yard garden oasis, complete with a Victorian gazing ball and benches for contemplation.

While he appreciates the final product, my friend has absolutely no interest in the process.  After decades of losing miserably to a plot of grass, he is now considering that maybe he’s using the wrong glass.  His parents are personally satisfied and content working in the yard, but he is not.

Is that wrong?  No!

What is wrong?  Continuing to try to find satisfaction and contentment when the likelihood of filling that glass is pretty slim – that’s wrong.

He needs a different glass, something that suits both his backyard needs and his personal interests.

He needs to find his own glass.

Don’t be passive with your personal satisfaction and contentment.

Choose your glass.

 

 

Form and function

6 Nov

Before we can talk about the right glass, we need to define what we mean by a “glass.”

  • Glass: a transparent or translucent vessel intended to contain beverages or liquid foods for drinking or consumption.

This definition contains two critical pieces of information: form and function. You can’t have the right glass unless you understand how you’re going to use it.

  • Fact one: We need liquid to survive.

Two thirds of the human body by weight is composed of water. The human brain is 70% water. The lungs are nearly 90%. Even bone is 22% water. If you lose just 2.5% of your body weight from water loss, you will lose 25% of your efficiency.

  • Fact two: We need to be able to contain that liquid.

This is where we tend to get into trouble.

Why? Because we’re greedy. It’s hard-coded into our DNA. Collect what you need to survive, as much as you can, because you don’t know when you’re going to find it again.

What was critical for the caveman is rarely valid in industrialized countries. Still, our limbic brain controls us. Our food-finding and self-preservation system wants more, more, more until our houses are over-stuffed, our bodies are super-saturated, and our brains are on stimulation overload.

If all you need is eight ounces, why are you putting it in a sixteen-ounce glass? Compared with your real needs, the larger glass is an energy hog. It takes up more space in your cupboard, more soap and water to clean, and even requires more energy to lift that over-sized glass.

You want a glass that fits your real needs.

Who wants the extra work of maintaining something you don’t really need?

 

 

 

It started with a joke….

3 Nov

A politician, an accountant, and an engineer sit down at a bar. The bartender slides a pint glass with eight ounces of beer in front of them and says, “You look like pretty smart guys, so tell me. Is that glass half empty or half full?”

The politician says, “That’s easy! It’s half full! I know things have been tough lately, but we’ve got a lot of new programs that are going to turn this country around and there are good times ahead.”

The accountant says, “Are you crazy? My clients are losing their shirts in investments. Some are even filing for bankruptcy, and when they do, that’s money out of my pocket because I’ve lost a client. That glass is definitely half empty.”

They all look at the engineer to break the tie….

“You’re using the wrong glass.”

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

We all get asked this question. Are you an optimist who sees the glass half full, or are you a pessimist who sees the glass half empty? The optimist is praised for having an inspiring attitiude and the pessimist is criticised as a doomsayer.

But they’re both wrong.

It doesn’t matter whether you see that glass as half empty or half full. You’re still seeing only half. Worse, you’re paying attention to what’s missing instead of appreciating what’s there.

We human beings like to see things as whole and complete. There is a contentment in knowing that nothing is missing, things are as they should be, and life is full. When something is perceived as missing, we can get anxious about how to fill that, how to make things whole.

There’s eight ounces of liquid in that sixteen ounce glass. If the goal is the have a full glass, the answer is pretty simple: use the right glass.

Are you using the right glass?