Accepting The Question

Do questions open your mind,
or close it?

Accepting someone doesn’t mean giving up your ideals to them.
It means getting along with them.
People’s ideals are their world view. Their perfect scenario.
Knowing that there is no “perfect” leads me to more questions.
It’s up to every individual to make up their own mind.


Hate, or something like it, usually comes from ignorance, from not thinking.
It comes from holding so tightly to an ideal that you cannot even question it.
I’m not proposing that we shouldn’t have ideals. Nor am I saying we shouldn’t stand strong on our belief. I’m proposing that we think about them, question why we believe what we do – and possibly realize that we may never totally get there. That would allow for respect of another’s ideals at least enough to get along with them.


A Belief in Question
A belief has its roots in the question. And science has roots in fact.
You may question someone else’s facts. But they are theirs.
Accepting someone can only broaden your perspective, especially if it challenges it.
It makes you ask questions; in both getting to know them, and in understanding
how to explain what you believe.


Questions both shape and reinforce your beliefs.
If you can get out of your own way enough to ask them.


It’s one of the rare instances where not having the answer brings you clarity.
Accept the question and go forward.


Abundance Should Make You Uncomfortable

Self-control vs. Storage

The User Mentality In Practice
Do you take one sheet of toilet paper?
Can you eat one serving of potato chips? By the way, that’s about 13-16 chips.
Not likely. That doesn’t mean you are a wasteful consumer.
It might mean that we are used to abundance.
When you don’t consider the value of what we use everyday, you tend to use more of it.

And yet with that said,  I’ll bet the people who decided what the recommended serving size is don’t follow their own recommendation. So we are at an immediate impasse.

I know in my life that control of my consumption, meaning that I’m aware of measure,
is something I don’t often do. I suppose I do if it’s scarce, I’ll make it last then. If I have three Rolo’s, I don’t just cow ‘em down. I take my time, extract as much taste and foody goodness as I can. I readjust what it means to enjoy them.

Portion control is something I think I need to do. When I am aware of how much I take, I am exercising self-control. Without doing that I am left without constraint; I get loafy. Living in excess is not good for me. I wear it.


I get the idea of not storing things, like not having too much food stored at home. With the Costco mentality so easily available, I have to use caution in the perceived value of bulk buying. It’s entirely too easy to spend incredible amounts of money on the mentality of storage.
I like the idea of shopping each day for your meals. I know this is done in other countries. In America we have large refrigerators and freezers that support convenience of storage. We don’t get the benefit of fresh foods by instead choosing convenience.
Toilet paper? That I’ll buy in bulk. Insert your own metaphor.


I have noticed that we are now used to this idea in only a few generations. People are still alive on this planet who grew up with the truth that if you didn’t work, you didn’t eat.
Survival was different than it is today.


The unintended results of abundance
With everything available  to us and the fact that it takes quite a bit less work than in previous generations to obtain it, it’s easy to see that we are generally less motivated.
We are certainly less healthy overall, we hold onto things for too long, we eat too much, we don’t exercise, we become disorganized, we don’t get to that thing that we always wanted to – thus the bucket list, our budgets are out of control, our retirements aren’t funded, we have more health related costs than we should, from hospital bills to medication, I could go on.
All that is to say that if I get too many creature comforts, I turn into that comfortable creature, which quickly becomes an uncomfortable creature.


It’s funny too because, while I’ve had this thought before, I sat down to write today with the only thought being that I mistakenly took one sheet of toilet paper to blow my nose with and how it was so obvious that it wasn’t enough to get the job done.
I tried it and kinda made it work for the first round. I took another. Then I thought about where else that applies and I was off to tangentopolis.


I hope that writing out what has obviously been bubbling under my surface brings a slow change to a lifestyle in need of constant tweaking – mine, I mean. It’s so easy to see what needs change, so easy to call it out in another. Not so easy to effect change in yourself.
It’s my challenge, not one I’m putting on you. In the big picture, I’d rather act in abundance than scarcity. I don’t want to hold things so tightly. I want to settle down, there’s more available.


The thing about observing others through a window is that it’s usually convicting after you realize it’s not the other person’s view of the world that you saw.
It’s your view of their world.
Except the window was a mirror.

We Are A Custom Culture

Custom is selfish

Two Kinds of Selfish

Looking in or looking out.
There’s the kind of selfish that includes looking inward, trying to understand ourselves
better – as in self-expression, self-motivation, self-examination, self-correction.
There is also what most think of as selfish, which is looking out for one’s self,
self-absorbed, stereotypically at the expense of another. That can include manipulation and denial with self-deception.
When the rules and laws start to get bent, being purposeful and able to be checked
is recommended – you may be in dangerous territory.


One Kind of Custom

Custom is unique to the individual and less about society in general. Custom includes the pushing of traditional boundaries.  This can be a cornerstone of change and is the mindset in the process of any change. But also know that by separating yourself from the crowd the tall poppy theory applies. If you grow too tall in the field, read that as – stand out –  you will be cut down to match the height of all the others.
That brings the individual into the societal.


Custom And Standardized Culture

There are rules and laws. Do they apply to us equally?
There is the argument of the letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law. Should some laws or rules change in their interpretation when possible, if they don’t affect other people that the laws are designed to protect at the time? Mind you, that doesn’t mean disrespect the rule.
Consider if you go through a red light after you’ve stopped, waited, and saw no cars at
2 AM when returning home from a trip. You didn’t speed through, unaware. Did you break the law, yes. Should you pay the price if, say, an automated ticket was generated?
Again – letter vs. the spirit of the law.
What interpreter is enforcing that? We have police and courts for that.


How about looking at it from the enforcement point of view.
Aren’t we sure that people at seemingly every chance are trying to game the system?
People want what they want and they are all special enough in their own mind to warrant being allowed to their own way. Wouldn’t that get tiring to enforce as your job?
Look at how every call made in a basketball game is challenged by the coach or player called for the foul. Nearly every time the player is aghast and thinks they are blameless.
(Wasn’t me – bad call ref.)


Our Freedom Was Built On Custom

People want their way and our culture has promoted the idea that you can get
what you want. Go out there and get it, work for it, it’s there for the taking.
It’s what made America great but has a custom culture run rampant?
Has the balance been tipped away from freedom of our customs?


We want free trade when it comes to us personally but many respond with vitriol
saying people or businesses should have the restrictions placed on them, they are the ones who ruin it all. Hmmm…

It’s so hard to leave an injustice be. We want to right all the wrongs.
I contend that it just can’t be done. There will always be someone trying to cheat the
system. There needs to be measures in place to guard against or penalize the ones
practicing that bad behavior, but to spend all our time on enforcement changes
the culture to the negative.

Work towards and reward the positive traits we wish to see culturally. That is what
people naturally gravitate towards –  what they are rewarded for – especially if it’s
as easy as trying to cheat the system is, and without the penalty. Take some of the budget spent on enforcement and allocate it to a benefit for those who do it the right way.

Protect custom to mean self-expression and not that the rules don’t apply to me.

Custom is selfish.
This should be seen as the good kind of selfish, the kind that pushes the best of our ideas forward, making better options for us all.
If you don’t like it, be the change that you want to see – that is being custom.


The Reach

Reaching is extending yourself.
The cost is worth it.

Internal doubt

We know a little about you.
Certainly what we see isn’t what you see. You have more insight into you.
As people throw out drive by opinions, sometimes even one little harsh comment stays with you much longer than it does with the thrower. They’ve moved on from you.
You can move on from them too.


You are tough on yourself, aren’t you?
You can let a bad opinion of something you did creep into an evaluation on you.
We all do that.
We might not really understand you, the way you want to be understood –
the way you think you should be.
We know a little about you. What we see isn’t what you see.
You have more insight into you.


Internal turn around

Conversely, people are supportive of things you do too.
Let that stay with you and charge you up for awhile.
You’ll hear something good about yourself if you listen.
Pay attention to those who are in your corner.
You think you can do it, don’t you? Your opinion of what you did or what you wanna do is gonna be the best thing out there. What you can do with that acceptance is far reaching.


When you’re content to hear the right things and let the other stuff go, you can be a voice of encouragement to someone else who is trying to train that voice inside.
That voice inside is always acting up, it’s a child that could use your guidance.


When you’re trying, you’re extending yourself.
Extending yourself is growth. Lack of growth is atrophy.
Seek to grow.
Encourage along the way to promote growth.
First in yourself, then in others.


That’s the reach.

Thanks For Getting Me Sick

No, Really!

If you are ever sick, anyone at work or in your friend circle that gets sick after you
automatically assigns you as the responsible party. Now maybe that’s true and maybe it isn’t. But for them to automatically assign blame is a little like you expecting a share of the winning lottery ticket because you were there when it was bought. Proximity is not enough.


While I’m on it, winning a lottery doesn’t make you instantly healthy either.
Actually, it’s more like getting a virus than you’d ever want to believe. Something so excessively positive by perception draws out an envy that shows some sick behavior. People get goofy when they’re around something they see as over the top good.
They haven’t acquired any of the characteristics in it’s pursuit that would allow them
to handle the rewards. You see a person’s character in their behavior when they’re down and out.


The Healing Benefits of Being Sick

While I don’t get sick often at all, and certainly don’t like it, I appreciate the re-zeroing process. I am humbled. I am forced to realize that something totally out of my ability to stop with any level of certainty, and something so infinitely small, can take me completely out of commission.


I always come out of a sickness with a renewed sense of drive, feeling like I need to make up for lost time. I get after it. I clean up the messes I was operating in and get re-organized. It’s a clean slate restart.  Like a flu-years resolution.


After I look back, having gone through the misery of a sickness I can be thankful.
I’m stronger now.


Wonder Away the Mundane


Can the profound be in the mundane?


Are we capable of a profound thought or concept every day?
Most of our every day is spent in routine, habit.
We still think big. Maybe it’s not original or groundbreaking.
But maybe that spark of inspiration comes out of even the smallest break from the routine.


What would happen if you allowed yourself to be wowed – like a kid is?
What if you allowed someone else to point out something that changes the way you see your normal?
Can you allow yourself to be inspired?


What came first the question or the answer?

More questions lead to more answers. Are there any answers without the question first?
Try letting a question hang, to look at it for awhile from a few sides. Don’t answer it quickly as your instinct and intellect so desperately want. Try being full of more questions by it. In other words, answer the question with a question.
My son looked at a sign at the gas station for free air and did that.
“Free air? It’s everywhere. What does that mean? It’s not like were choking here.”
I look past a sign like that. I already accepted what it’s supposed to mean.


Is air really free? Where does air come from? How do you explain this to someone who doesn’t know? Heading in that area are the next questions.
With an increased fascination of more questions, even if you know something about the real answer, you will always get to the point where you don’t.


That is wonder.
That is where inside mundane, the profound is found.


Growing Down To Learn Again

Remember when you were
first learning to talk?

Me neither.

We didn’t mind that we were wrong much of the time.
It was ok because we knew we were learning.

We were figuring out how to put words and sounds together to express ourselves
and let another person know what was up with us.


I don’t think we got that much better over the years.
Just because we use words these days as grown-ups doesn’t mean we’re really sharing information well with others.


When you grow up, you learn principles of adult life.
I’ve seen many eschew this challenge. (see what I did there?)

When you grow down, you admit that you have more to learn and you position yourself into the spirit of learning as you did when you were a kid.


If you’ve ever seen a true craftsman or expert, they are confident enough in their understanding that they don’t need to impress upon you their level of knowledge.
They are comfortable with learning a new piece of information about their craft because of their secureness with it.


They have grown up to adopt that spirit. They have evolved back into the open mindedness of a kid, who happens to have attained a great deal of knowledge.


3 reasons to grow down


1. We were more honest as kids
Now we have all these things we hide, things we protect from other people when we talk with them. So we can’t really be honest too much or they’ll know something we don’t want known. We learn that there are times we don’t want people around us peering in to our lives and that being honest makes us too vulnerable.


2. We use our words incorrectly
We might know some smart words but we don’t have any real idea
what they mean. Still we use them to sound all big so people will think we’re smart. Using big words that people don’t know is only smart if you’re using it right, and/or in the right setting. Otherwise you’re not being smart AND not communicating. Why talk at all then?
Nobody’s really listening.


3. We think we’re done learning now
Why? Because we’re grown up?
The more you know, the more you know there is to know.
But we get content. Then our content gets content. Then we flatline.


I wonder if the reason we were so able to be happy as kids is that we were fine with the spirit of learning. That’s the mode we accepted. We gained a greater sense of self as we learned more, but there comes a point when most think they know all they need to know, and stop learning at that kid rate.


Our sense of wonder stopped growing. Our sense that more was possible, that we could accomplish what we envision fades away slowly.
That we could envision something that might not be common or understood gets scary and so we conform.
School teaches us that too – conformity.


What does growing up mean?
Why are we in such a hurry to grow up when growing up means moving to standards not dreamed by you?


Grow down.


Admit that you’re still learning. In continuing to learn you can let go of the social pretenses and allow yourself the freedom of wonder in a statement like “I don’t know, let’s find out”, or one of my favorites, “what if…”


You’ll remember how to dream again.
That charges you up.


In professing to know you’re refusing to grow.
And any dreams just won’t be as fun to push into.


Roots grow down.

I Think I Saved Someone Today

My mistake.
It was my fault,
I admit it.

It was my morning drive in.
There is a section where I take a frontage road and it has a quick left, then right turn to make. There was a car waiting, unsure whether I was going to continue straight or make that quick turn onto the frontage road.

Here’s where I’m a Dufus, did I spell that right?
Anyway, I didn’t blinker.
Yes, I’m that guy from time to time.
If I’m taking my drivers test, I’d have gotten points taken off though I don’t think
they’d fail me for that offense. I mean it’s not criminal, just legally inconsiderate.

The guy waiting though – this was his switch.
I hit the big red button.

As I made my selfish turn, moving past him, I look and see him pressed right up to his door window, yelling what I can only guess to be fire siren loud, with his face as red as the fire truck that would make such a sound. He was shaking that head he owned for impact, in a way that I was supposed to feel the weight and intensity of, so as to teach me some lesson that I would never again break.


I imagine that if you were a traffic officer, being off duty would be hard for you.
You see the road offenses happen, you’re trained to see them, but when you’re off duty you’re not able to have the same authority with all the tools by your side and you have to let it go.


As soon as I saw this guy’s display, I was glad to have just swallowed my sip of coffee
before the turn or else I would have had a spit-take to contend with.

I burst out laughing. Wow! I caused that?
This guy was hanging on by a thin thread.
I guess I saved someone.
Not him.
But I gave that valve a release.

What if someone at work would have unknowingly hit another one of what must be many buttons on this Baron? There could have been an incident. Someone was all ready to step in a big pile of red buttons he laid out there.
I hope that on this particular day when that minefield was crossed by a co-worker and a red button mine went off, that he just reacted by cursing them under his breath. Maybe snapping a pencil or an extra forceful two or three mouse clicks.
Tough life if that’s the norm.

He looked normal otherwise. You never can tell.
I suppose the right thought should be that you never know what another person is going through and this one moment wasn’t their best.
They should be treated with compassion.

Yeah, maybe.
But what’s also pretty likely is that there is a pattern of this.
I mean, c’mon, that was a major display.
I’m in no position to judge.
I am in a position to notice.

Oh well, that was fun, now on with my day.

I always hope that a little bit of thinking can slowly release the valve enough to avoid a pressure blowout.

There’s big red buttons laid out there and they squawk when you step on ‘em.

Yes Man Or No It All?

Are you a ‘no’
first thought person
or a ‘yes’
first thought person?


What is your initial reply
when asked to do something?


The yes firsters are more rare because it immediately requires something from you.

With no, it’s over unless you reconsider.
You aren’t expected to reconsider.
If a no’er changes the no to suddenly say yes, they are lauded for an unexpected
act of kindness.
With a yesser, others have learned to presume things from them and it’s a tougher
expectation to undo.

Kindness is taken for granted. It’s easy to take advantage of.

Living out the way the world is seen

No’ers may be more practical and unwilling to overburden themselves.
The overabundance of yessing would make them ineffective by dilution.
They have focused plans designed to benefit and they are enacting them on their own.
They are busy affecting their world and there are those who are not a part of it.
One person can only do so much, they may be choosing what can best be done by them.


Those who give freely are happy– generally so, that’s their default.
But a yesser can burn out. They can even become embittered.
That is their challenge. They must confront why they say yes in the first place.
If they say yes out of inadequacy, they are making it about themselves.
The reason it’s a tendency is most likely that it feeds them in a way they value.
What they get in return affirms, circles back to them and repeats.


If all else is equal, no is internal (you) and yes is external (others).


Having an understanding of this helps us keep it from going awry.
It’s easy to get in the way of truth, distort it and change it’s perception.

Are You Full Of It?


You think you’re
getting away with it.
We’re onto you.

If you’re telling me all this info and I come to find out that you’re full of it, that is a huge waste of my time. Of course, it goes well beyond that.

I spent time getting to know you, and then this? It’s hard enough to find out what’s real.
I have to know what’s real to be able to make my best decisions for my job, my responsibilities, my goals. I cannot solve a single thing in my head if what I’m basing it on is not true. Any decision I would make from your information would at best be inefficient and at worst negatively affect my reputation.
A good reputation is of high value.

 Once I find that out about you, I cannot give you much of my time.

Be real and we can solve most anything.
If that’s not you, then I question what I actually know about you at all.

Goodbye, I have to move on for now until, hopefully, this gets solved.

 That sounds harsh to read.

But enough mention isn’t given to being manipulated or lied to.

We all make mistakes and do this on occasion, even the most honorable.

We’re human and we all fail. Without some leniency, we’d all just be circling vultures.

 But, when it’s a uncovered to be a pattern of consistent behavior, that’s a turning point.

It has then been a character discovery that goes beyond lapses.
It is especially noticeable when there’s larger weight to the manipulation and deception.

 It leads to all the wrong things and I’m not going to play.

“Nice” has to have it’s boundaries that allow honesty in any relationship to be the achievable goal.