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Showing posts from September, 2023


Do you agree, or disagree? Independence is a dance best not interrupted. I can be convinced either way. Just please don't interrupt. -- doug smith  

Steer the Wheel

  I've known people who are so creative that they not only let their imagination run wild, it gets them into trouble because they let it drive everything. If you run away to join the circus, you could end up being a clown. If that's your goal, then great. Just know the possibilities of an unregulated mind. You can allow your imagination to run wild without putting it in charge. Yes, we need creativity. Go for it often and with enthusiasm. And, we also need clarity: what are we trying to achieve. We also need courage: will you stay the course when you're challenged? And, we also need compassion: can you pursue your goals while caring about other people? Go ahead and think outside of the box -- just don't fall into a hole you can't crawl out of. -- doug smith

Where to start...

  How do you get where you want to go? How do you achieve your goals? Where do you find the road to success? I don't have all the answers. I don't know all of the twists and turns. But, here's a great way to start: Master y our mind, master your mood, and success will follow, Easier said than done? Of course! -- doug smith

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

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  

No disrespect?

Give disrespect the attention it deserves: none. That does not mean that you accept abuse, illegal, or unethical behavior. It just means that disrespect does not earn respect. I advocate starting from a position of respect. We do well to respect everyone from the start. Respect people in the way we greet them, treat them, and (when in competition) beat them. When someone does not return that respect, or when they begin from a place of disrespect, we don't have to get angry, but we do have to get active.  Often the fastest way to get active when confronted with disrespect is to disappear. Leave. Stop honoring that person with your presence if their only goal is to do you harm. Leaving isn't always possible or recommended when you or others are in danger. Then, opposition to that disrespect may be necessary. Not to create harm or revenge, but to create safety and honor. Is that easy? Oh, no. You already know that. Is it necessary? More than ever. How do we do it? By beginning --

Paying Attention

How you grow is up to you, but you can learn a lot from how others have already grown. You can skip many of the same mistakes. You can build where they have established a foundation. You can grow by developing similar healthy habits. Growth never needs to stop. How are you growing today? -- doug smith  

It's Amazing

Think about your most amazing accomplishment ever. Whenever it was, you arose to the occasion and achieved a great goal. You've done that many times, haven't you? Whatever else you've already done, what you are still capable is even more amazing. Won't that be great? Are you getting ready? -- doug smith  

Here It Is!

  Ready, set, go: here you are! You were busy before, you're busy again. You've learned some important lessons, and ignored some more. Things roll in that were definitely NOT on your radar, and yet here they are and here YOU are.  What to do, what to do, what to do? How often do you feel that way? Breathe. Focus. Decide. This moment is exactly what you've been preparing for. What else can I say? You've got this! -- doug smith

About Your Attitude

How is your attitude today? I'm sure that you've already encountered someone with a healthy attitude and also someone with a less than healthy attitude -- and how has that affected you? There are more things in this life out of our control than there are things IN our control, but attitude fits right there within your own control. Not what other people express in their voice, tone, and body language, but what YOU do control in your thinking, interpretation, response, speaking, and actions. You are the number one specialist for your own attitude and it shows. Treat your attitude well, love it fully, nature it daily, and let it shine. It just might upgrade the attitude of those around you, too. -- doug smith

Gratitude Every Day

How grateful are you? Do you spend some time each day thinking about your gratitudes? It's part of my daily routine. It's usually the first part of my prayers and a silent background during meditation. So many blessings. So many things to be grateful for. It costs nothing to be thankful. And, while gratitude is free -- the payoff is fabulous.  What would your days feel like if you practiced gratitude every day? If you do, then you know, and that's why you keep doing it. If you haven't started yet, try it. I think you'll love it. -- doug smith

Define Your Success

  What makes you happy? What goals do you want to achieve?  You get to define success on your own terms, and until you do how will you ever reach it? Once you do, then your plan is already in motion. Keep going. -- doug smith

Balance Requires Movement

Can you stand still on a bicycle? How about a unicycle?  I remember trying to learn a trick during my Mustard Seed Theatre Company days that involved juggling while standing on a teeter-totter. "You've got to keep moving..." said Peter. "Standing still won't get it done." In today's world balance is highly prized. We want balanced, centered lives where our work hats do not prevent us from wearing the other hats of our lives. But, balance doesn't require stasis. Instead, to stay balanced, we need to keep moving. Steady, controlled, disciplined, calm, we move and find a rhythm that works. How is your balance today? -- doug smith