Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Tips for Solving a Major Challenge

The pyramid builders got the job done.  They found a way to win.  No computers.  No electricity.  Just a bunch of limestone and a large labor force.  I read an article the other day about how they poured water in front of the blocks of limestone in order to lower the resistance and allow the stone to glide across the wet sand.  The story inspired me to take a look at my life and find better ways to solve the current challenges I face.  Try these ideas and see if they make a difference in your life...
  1. Every problem needs a deadline.  Without a deadline, you can't calculate how much time you have to solve the problem and it drags on forever.  Give yourself a deadline to solve your problem and stick to it.
  2. Break the problem down into smaller parts.  The Egyptians built the great pyramids one stone at a time.  Focus your energy on one component at a time and don't move on until the first stone is in its proper place.
  3. Find the best way to move the stone.  Can you ask others to help you?  Is there a more efficient method?  Experiment.
  4. Rest before you get tired.  Your project will fail if you burn out.  It's like driving a car and running out of gas before you reach your destination.  Refuel while there's still gas in your tank so you can go the distance.
  5. Avoid distractions.  This was easy for ancient civilizations.  They weren't tempted by television or video games.  Stay focused until your problem is solved.
Don't forget to thank others for helping you solve your problems.  Acknowledge them and give them credit whenever someone compliments you on your success.  And remember to share your tips with others so they don't have to re-invent the wheel.  If you have any ideas to add to the conversation, please share in the comments section below.  Good luck with your pyramid building.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Life is a Test, Are You Passing?

I'm glad I woke up this morning.  There are some things in my personal life I'm working on that need some adjusting.  I believe my test scores need some improvement.  The words of my Kindergarten teacher written on my first report card are as true today as they were almost fifty years ago... I think he can do better.

Today is a new day.  I'm going to put my heart into this day and raise my scores.  It's all about continuous improvement.  How about you?  Are you satisfied with your grade or do you think you can raise the bar?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

All Life is an Experiment

"What's for dinner?"  I asked when I greeted my wife last night.  "It's a surprise," she answered.  I grabbed a bottle of beer and hustled down to the basement where our youngest son was waiting to watch a prerecorded match-up between the Padres and Cubs.  I took my first bite of my heavily seasoned surprise, served on a hot dog bun.  My wife peeked out from behind her book to get some feedback.  I tried a bite of the side dish.  "The Zucchini is amazing," I responded, withholding comment on the main course.  I searched for the proper words but I couldn't find them.

"This is the best Zucchini I ever tasted," I said.  "Thanks for being so positive," she said.  I congratulated her for making our food dollars stretch.  Rather than throw out something none of us liked, she took a mulligan and tried enhancing it.  That's why I love her.  She's full of surprises.  Most of them put a smile on my face.  All life is an experiment.  Go for it.  The more experiments you make, the better.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Change Your Appetite, Change Your Life

"This candy is evil," declared one of my co-workers.  "I'm done eating it."  She did something few of us do, she found a way to change her desire for something most of us can't resist.  It's not easy to change your appetite for something so tempting, like sweets or excessive spending.  I'm working on both and I'm on target.  It's life-changing.  Here's my secret:

In order to change your appetite, you need to give your brain something more desirable.  Your brain controls your taste buds.  If you can paint a better picture of what your life will become, then your brain will be willing to avoid short-term temptations.  There are two ways to win...
  1. Hope for gain.  Imagine what your body will look like when you reach your goals.  See yourself wearing slim jeans or wearing a swim suit at the beach.  Visualize how fun it will be to go on nicer vacations that you pay cash for.
  2. Fear of loss.  This is a powerful appetite changer.  Show your brain what your life will be like if you don't change your appetite.  This is like to TV shows where troubled kids visit prison for a day and get a chance to meet their future room-mates.  The scarier the picture, the better your chances are that you will change your appetite.
What's on your menu today?  Are you willing to make permanent changes that will enhance the quality of your life?  I'm rooting for you.  Today is a great day to change your appetite and change your life.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Is it time to let go of your grudges?

I know a few people close to me who choose not to forgive.  They may never know the peace you find when you let go of past grudges and forgive.  It's impossible to hold on and let go at the same time.  Everything changes when you choose to let go.

Imagine you're holding a bunch of grudges in your hand.  They're like balloons.  Maybe you're afraid of what will happen if you let go of all of them at once.  Let go of one.  That grudge is now gone forever.  Do you feel better?  If the answer is yes, let go of another balloon.  Keep repeating.  Watch all the balloons floating away.  Today is a new day.  Your grudges are gone forever.  Have a great day.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Best Time to Handle Your Most Important Tasks

My schedule this week is one of the oddest ever.  In order to accomplish my most important tasks, I'm doing some re-arranging.  This blog post was written 48 hours early.  So, the question of the day is, "when is the best time to handle your most important task?"

The answer depends on your time constraints and your body rhythms.  My most productive time of the day is when I first wake up.  I like to handle my top priorities first and then proceed to everything else.  The key is to assign time to each important task so it gets done.

Please share your best time for handling your most important tasks in the comments section below.  I would love to hear your ideas.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Learn to Say No

Saying no can be scary.  Others may think your no is a sign of rejection.  The truth is you're capable of doing just about anything but you can't do everything.  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  And you're fooling yourself if you think you can please everybody.

Here are some suggestions to help you soften to blow of your no:
  1. "Let me think about it."  Say this to give yourself time to ponder if the request can be handled.
  2. "Not yet."  Say this when you want to help but you're overburdened at this time.
  3. "So and so can do a better job."  Recommend an alternative person who may have more time and talent to handle the request.
  4. "Sorry, I'm all booked up."  Say this when you're already overloaded.
  5. "No."  Sometimes softening the blow doesn't work.  You need to be firm with your kids, telemarketers, debt collectors, and anyone else who won't stop pestering you.  Ask to be removed from the mailing lists.  Put your name on the "do not call list." 
Your life will be better when you learn to say no.  Try it.