Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - ENOUGH?


"I don't have digital;    
I don't have diddly squat.
It's not having what you want;
It's wanting what you've got." 
- Sheryl Crow
  (Soak Up the Sun)     

How will you know when you finally have "enough"?

Comparing yourself with others won't work. There will always be someone with a bigger, a faster, a newer, a more expensive, a more glamorous, a  more  exotic  . . . whatever.   There will always be someone with more. As long as the focus is comparative and the answer is relative, you will never have enough.
The relentless accumulation of more stuff won't work. There is never "enough" in the multiplication of material things or anything else that won't last or that you don't really need. "You can never get enough of what you don't need, because what you don't need won't satisfy you." Dallin H. Oakes. If you're chasing the wrong scent in the pursuit of happiness, you won't be fulfilled even if you catch it.
I believe the key to "enough" is being grateful. "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It turns what we have into enough, and more." Melody Beatty. Only in wanting and appreciating "what you've got" will you ever have "enough." Even if you don't have "digital" or even "diddly-squat."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Analysis Paralysis

"As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it." 
- Buddy Hackett 
In the 14-person yours-mine-and-ours family I grew up in, there weren't any choices about what we were having for breakfast: Monday was pancake day; Tuesday it was oatmeal; Wednesday we had scrambled eggs; we ate cold cereal on Thursday because that's the day we all changed our bedsheets; Friday was french toast; Saturday it was rice cereal; and on Sunday we had to fend for ourselves, which usually meant danishes or cold cereal again. It was an era of three TV channels, three car companies, single-employer careers, and life-long marriages. There were fewer options back then.
Those simpler times have given way to a world in which we are bombarded with seemingly unlimited choices for virtually everything, from food to entertainment to transportation to employment to relationships. In the midst of this "abundance," we can feel overwhelmed trying to sort out all the opportunities. We may find ourselves stuck in "analysis paralysis," unable to move forward in the face of too many possibilities. What do we do when we have so many choices? How do we winnow through a proliferation of alternatives and identify the best way to go?  

The approach that works for me is to write down all the possibilities and then ask myself, "What are the two best ideas here?" Two is manageable; twelve is not. I"ve found there is something magical about choosing the top two. Once those champions go head to head, their strengths and weaknesses can be evaluated and their ultimate outcomes can be visualized. I can sort through the pros and cons. That leads to clarity and confidence. That in turn leads to action and results.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - World-Class Listener

"When I eventually met Mr. Right I had no idea that his first name was Always. " 
- Rita Rudner  
My wise and observant father-in-law, Henry Ware Hobbs, Jr. (1923-1993) once described a fellow attorney as "suffering from the delusion of certainty" and said of him, "He is frequently wrong, but never in doubt." Like Rita Rudner's Mr. Always Right, Henry's arrogant colleague was an insufferable boor and a lousy listener. He lacked the humility and curiosity required to listen well because he was not open to uncertainty, the possibility that he did not already know everything.

Henry, by contrast, was an exceptional listener because he was insatiably curious, especially in conversation. He yearned to uncover the other person's perspective, to see the world through their eyes. He was fascinated to discover what stories or insights would spring forth if he listened generously and energetically. He believed every person he met had something meaningful to teach him. For him, the focus of any discussion was what he was learning rather than what he already knew.
Henry was also humble. He recognized that as much as he already knew, he still had much to learn about the world, about people, and about himself. Regardless of any disparity in age, education, wealth, achievement, rank, status, or power, he saw others as fellow human travelers, each with unique experiences and remarkable brilliance. Henry was a world-class listener. As a result, he was constantly surrounded by an adoring circle of admirers from all walks of life. When he died unexpectedly, dozens of tearful people told us privately they considered Henry their dearest friend. What a rich legacy!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Wednesday Wisdom - Taxes

"The tax collector must love poor people, he's creating so many of them." 
- Bill Vaughan  
The tax deadline is right around the corner and I'm still struggling to get my numbers in order and off to my CPA. I never have trouble getting my clients' work done promptly, so what's that all about? Is this a surprise, something that just sprang up out of nowhere? Hello!?!
When something we really dread must be done, we tend to find every excuse not to do it. Filing my tax returns definitely fits in the "something I really dread" category. Why? Take your pick: A) Because of the amount of money the government takes; B) Because the government wastes so much of the money it takes; or C) Because of the work required to gather the data; or D) All of the above. I'm going with D) All of the above. Final answer.
Procrastination isn't helping me with this and I know it. So, what to do? Perhaps I should schedule time on my calendar and then make myself stick to it. It might help to enlist a friend to keep asking me if I've got it done. Maybe I could promise myself a delicious reward when I finish. Actually, I think I just need to put on my big-boy pants and get to work. Give myself a stern talking-to, grit my teeth, bow my neck, and forge ahead. Oh, why didn't I do this back in January like I promised myself a year ago last April I would do? I'm starting to detect a pattern here.