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What to Keep?

  It's an effort in refinement. As we move ahead, creating new forms of success, we face the challenge of what to keep and what to discard. What matters to some of us does not matter to all of us most of the time. If we're not careful, we end up discarding something that turns out to have been valuable, like for instance ethical standards and rules that prevent chaos from destroying everything in its path. Part of learning is differentiating the obsolete from the classic. One might look like the other, but they are not the same. Before you break a rule, maybe find out what it is holding together. -- doug smith
Recent posts

Right and...

You've been working hard. You've been learning, growing, and evolving. Now is not the time to stop. Even as we master our work (which is never fully mastered, is it?) we find new opportunities. You're doing it right AND you can do it better. Discover how to do it better. It will be fun. -- doug smith

A Better Assumption

Some people assume that you get what you deserve. Others insist that in an unfair world, there's no way to balance things in your favor once they become stacked against you. True or not, those types of assumptions are not helpful.  Here's a better assumption (true or not...): You have earned whatever you have. Whether or not you get what you want next depends on how hard you are willing to work for it. It's better because it gives you control. Isn't that what you want? -- doug smith   

Critical Gifts

  Sometimes the toughest critics are those who could never do what they are being critical about. Who knows why that is -- maybe they're bitter from previous attempts like a film critic who failed at making films or a theatre critic who could never act. Or, maybe they're just unhappy. Criticism may be necessary. We do need to know what mistakes to avoid. We do need to improve. But criticism can also (usually) be kind. I'm working on easing up on my supply of criticism. Before unloading on someone, it's always worth checking to see what the motivation is. To improve them, to make yourself feel better, or something else? Be kind with other people's talents, gifts, and abilities. Maybe they are doing the best they know how to do. Maybe they're even doing more than you could in the same circumstances. If it's not your gift, don't unwrap it. Maybe work on your own gifts first. -- doug smith


  What's the life span of wisdom? We learn all sorts of things that expire, that become untrue or useless. For example, all those hours I spent learning Wordperfect. Gone. All the knots I learned as a fire fighter, mostly forgotten. The lines that I memorized from productions years ago -- gone. But learning need not be frustrating. While we can't remember everything (or even most things!) the lessons that lead to wisdom will benefit us forever. The wisdom we acquire that allows us to treat other people with dignity and respect. The wisdom that makes us cautious enough to avoid mistakes we've made before. Wisdom does not expire. What have you learned today? -- doug smith  

Find the Joy

  What's the hardest job you've ever had? Factory work? Kitchen work? Military service? Law enforcement? Fire fighting?  Some jobs are tough physically, some are tough mentally, and some will tax you both ways. I have seen people be completely miserable in their jobs while other people were perfectly focused and prospering in the very same jobs. Those who were happy knew that no job needs to be forever and that all work has dignity in it. Everything we do can lead to something better to do when we always do our best.  I've had tough jobs and yet no matter how tough, there was always some joy to be found in the work. Fellow team members, friendly customers, understanding managers, meaningful work -- there is always something if you find it. You may need to look for the joy in the job, but once you do you can find it. When you find the joy in the job the work gets easier.  When you must work either way, why not make the work better? -- doug smith

How to compliment someone...

Do you want to really compliment someone and make them feel truly valued, really respected? Giving someone your complete attention is the best, most sincere compliment.  You'll feel great, and they will remember it a long time. -- doug smith  


  One brilliant, fabulous, wonderful moment: now. -- doug smith

Not too short

  We like things short. To the point. Skip the filler. Brief is good, but sometimes deep is necessary. Deep takes longer at first, but eventually produces more -- when it's needed. -- doug smith

How to Deal with Boring Meetings

When was the last time that you bailed-out of a boring meeting? In-person meetings are tougher to bail-out on because everyone in the room will watch you leave. They'll be looking for a reason. They'll be criticizing your commitment. In a virtual meeting, it's easier. Especially if there are dozens of people in the meeting. You wouldn't think twice about leaving a meeting of a hundred people that turned out to be a droning infomercial for someone's product or service. I don't like the choice to bail-out, but it's not the worst choice. It's just a choice.  Finding myself in a boring meeting I gave it some thought and drew this chart. These aren't the only choices for reacting to a boring meeting, but they do give us a range of options. Influence Escape Partical Escape Disrupt Influence My first choice is to influence the meeting. Make it better. Help it get back on track. Even when we aren't in charge or leading the meeting we can influence the pr

Flexible Beliefs

  How flexible are your beliefs? Not so flexible that you consider switching to unethical or illegal choices, I hope. Flexible enough that you aren't codified in place. Flexible enough that you are willing to consider other people's ideas and, yes even beliefs. Your belief system is flexible so why not make it work for you? It's a simple way of expanding your possibilities. -- doug smith Notes: "Wait, is that a reference to the matrix?" "What do you think?" "I asked you first." "It depends on what you believe." "I believe that you meant it to refer to that movie..." "If it helps. But no, that's not what I meant. We aren't sleeping. We aren't living in a dream. We aren't extremely inefficient batteries keeping our robot lords alive. We're people who make choices every day and those choices are sometimes limited by what we believe." "How do you know what you believe is true?" "Exact

Your Powerful Attitude

You are the number one specialist for your own attitude. Treat it well, love it fully, let it shine. Even when others try to disrupt or destroy your attitude, it is still within your control. How powerful is this? Sometimes it makes all the difference between misery and happiness. Why not choose happiness? -- doug smith