Changing My Way of Thinking

Winter BeachI think the universe is trying to tell me something. Yesterday I posted,”What Are You Afraid Of?” after reading Seth Godin’s post about rehearsing failure versus rehearsing success. Along with reading Mr. Godin’s blog, I’ve also been catching up on the blog Mr. Money Mustache. I say catching up because I ran across it for the first time a few days ago and now I am reading my way through it from the beginning. (It’s a great blog that will force you to rethink your finances.) As I am reading along, I came upon a post from May 28th, 2011 called The Magic of Thinking Big. The author wrote about his experience with the book “The Magic of Thinking BIG” by David J. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Here’s the part that caught my attention:

“In the early chapters, your mind is described as a Thought Factory which employs two Foremen: Mr. Triumph and Mr. Defeat.

If you put Mr. Defeat in charge, he will very patiently have your factory workers present reasons you cannot achieve what you would like to achieve. You’re too old, or busy, or too overweight, or not qualified for the job.

If Mr. Triumph takes the floor, he switches the thought production completely. Now, every goal you set starts with the immediate assumption that it IS possible. Mr. Triumph already knows he will win, his job is simply to lay out the steps required to get to that goal, and to keep you excited about cranking through these steps.”

Okay, I’ll grant you, it seems a bit hokey. But remember, I’ve just been spending the last couple of days meditating about how often I rehearse failure scenarios in my mind. To hear the same thing from a book from the 80s that I haven’t even read feels like the universe is seriously tugging on my sleeve.

There is something else out there I should be doing, I can feel it. I’m not sure what form it will take or what the next steps are, but I think it is time to start dreaming big.

…and shove Mr. Defeat back under the couch where he belongs!


What Are You Afraid Of?

Yesterday I read this on Seth Godin’s blog:

Rehearsing Failure, Rehearsing Success

Sunrise on Silver LakeThe active imagination has no trouble imagining the negative outcomes of your new plan, your next speech or that meeting you have coming up.

It’s easy to visualize and even rehearse all the things that can go wrong.

The thing is: clear visualization, repeated again and again, doesn’t actually decrease the chances you’re going to fail. In fact, it probably increases the odds.

When you choose to visualize the path that works, you’re more likely to shore it up and create an environment where it can take place.

Rehearsing failure is simply a bad habit, not a productive use of your time”

Seth usually writes about business, especially internet marketing and creating great companies and products, but in this case, I think he has hit on a prescription for life.

I started this blog because I have been doing a lot of thinking about my future – what I want to do, who I want to be, and so on. This post from Seth made me face the fact of how often I am afraid. I am afraid to make certain leaps of faith, to risk too much, to make too many changes all at once.

To make matters worse, it isn’t just fear. I spend too much time in my head rehearsing all the terrible things that could go wrong. I don’t frame it that way, of course. Instead, I tell myself that I am planning out how to react to various scenarios – but how often do those scenarios end in me having complete success?

Practically none.

I think as a culture we tend to not want to “set ourselves up for failure” or “set our expectations too high.” We call it being practical. How often as children were we encouraged to be more realistic? We are afraid of dreaming too big, of wanting too much, of being disappointed. But what is the alternative? Planning for failure …and getting exactly what we expected.

Photo credit: longviewhill

Winter Walking

winter quote

The truth is, I actually enjoy winter walking. All you really need is decent gear. A good set of boots, gloves, a warm coat, scarf and hat, and perhaps a set of ice fishing cleats, and you are good to go. I complain about winter a fair amount, but that is because I hate driving in it. Walking, however, is another matter.

Yesterday the weather was beautiful – sunny, clear and in the high 30s. I went for a walk on my lunch hour, something I haven’t done in awhile. With all the walking I do before and after work with the dog, I haven’t felt the need to walk on my lunch hour as well. It was nice to walk at my own pace though… and not have stop every time Hermes picks up an interesting scent on bush or tree!

I’m starting to think about walking more. A couple of weeks ago we had some pretty severe weather on a night I had a commitment. I am the President of the Board of a nonprofit organization, and that night they were having an event that I had to attend. The snow was coming down pretty hard and driving home from work that night was rather unpleasant. Walking, however, wasn’t bad at all. Hermes and I had a very nice stroll about the neighborhood. So, I decided that instead of getting my car back out and fighting through the snowy streets, I’d just walk it. I wore comfortable clothes, packed fresh makeup and a brush, and gave myself 45 minutes.

It took me 18.

That’s what started me thinking about walking. I burned calories, not fuel, and I felt safer. I also felt a little smug about not having to find parking during a snowstorm. So, this weekend I walked to the salon where I get my hair done. It is about a mile away and took me roughly 17 minutes. (I would have made better time if the sidewalks weren’t still pretty snow covered.) I like walking with my pooch, but as I say, it’s also very nice to walk without him, and since I am trying to lose some wight anyway, I think I will see if I can burn a little more shoe leather, and a little less rubber.

What Makes You Happy?

I ran across this question in a blog today:
question mark by Bilal Kamoon
“What if you were to write down the top ten activities that make you happy and are good for your long-term happiness and health, then start spending most of your time doing those things?”

The blog is about managing finances through a frugal lifestyle, and it interested me enough I’m going back to the beginning and reading my way through. (You’ll see if you click the link that it is from an early entry.) When I read this question it got me thinking.

I thought I would pop over to my own blog and answer it.

  • Spending time playing with my nieces.
  • Long rambling conversations with my boyfriend.
  • Talking with and spending time with my sister.
  • Hanging out with my girlfriends.
  • Preparing food – especially trying new and interesting recipes.
  • Spending a quiet weekend up at my cabin.
  • Long walks with my dog where we explore new places.
  • Spending an hour or more with a great book.
  • Writing – in this blog, in journals, wherever.
  • Being creative, working on projects, building things and making art.

Hmmm… why does it seem like these are the things I spend the least amount of time doing?

Photo credit: Bilal Kammon

Broccoli in the Breakroom


“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are.”

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

So, do you think my coworkers are reading my blog? This platter of broccoli was sitting on the break room table when I came in today. Also note the spinach dip, and more insidious, the bags of potato chips behind it.

All of this calorie tracking is really changing the way I look at food. I have always loved food – reading recipes, preparing it, shopping for it, and of course, consuming it. Food has always been a big part of my daily life, and I don’t foresee that changing. I don’t think I will ever be one of those “food as fuel” people, but I am definitely looking at things differently.

It is funny to realize how wrong about food I have been. Looking at the nutritional values of dishes at restaurants has been a real eye opener. Portion sizes – actually measuring them out – that’s been another. I thought I pretty much had a good handle on nutrition before, but, man, I was wrong. I do like the idea of being more conscious about my food. I tend to like feeling that I am control of something, and I am certainly getting a better handle on this. It is a slow process, of course, but I am learning, and it is all going to pay off in the long run.

so she took the road less traveled

so-she-took-the-road-less-traveledImage and quote from the wonderful blog: we wander and wonder.

Weight Update AKA My Coworkers Hate Me:

In the couple of weeks, the following items have appeared in my company break room:

Pizza (x2)
Chocolate covered macadamia nuts
Potato chips (x2)
Waffles (Including chocolate chip, my favorite – with real syrup.)
Coffee cake
Cookies (Lofthouse sugar cookies and peanut butter fudge no bake cookies)
Tortilla Chips
Hershey’s miniature chocolate bars
Tootsie pops
Tootsie rolls
Klondike ice cream bars
English muffins with a variety of toppings
Almond Joy coffee creamer
Chocolate covered granola bars
Chocolate covered malt Easter eggs
Homemade, gooey chocolate and nut cookie bars

These are all free, left on the “help yourself” table.

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Tabloids, Begone!

Grocery Store AisleYesterday on my lunch hour I made a quick stop over to the grocery store. I had to smile at all the last minute Valentine’s Day shoppers. The card aisle was packed. The floral area was teaming with people picking up last minute potted orchids and bunches of cut flowers. What I liked about it was that everyone seemed to be in a good mood. It wasn’t at all like those last minute Christmas shoppers, with their wild eyes and that “Grandma would love a Justin Beber CD, right? Sure. Okay, who’s next on the list?” panic. These Valentine’s Day shoppers all seemed a bit bemused as they sorted through the cards for the least terrible one still left.

Laughing to myself (and admittedly feeling a bit smug about having bought my card two weeks ago,) I got in line. And that is where it happened – where my light and happy mood became something else entirely.

We all know that grocery store checkouts are a gauntlet of terribleness, but let’s face it, after you go through enough of them, you become mostly immune to their evil. I can easily ignore the shelves upon shelves of brightly wrapped sugary confections; all marked with big yellow sale stickers …because nothing makes a better Valentine’s Day gift than a box of spearmint Tic Tacs. (Then again, maybe it is the perfect gift, who am I to judge?) I can laugh at the shelves of “last minute emergency items.” (A lighter, a laser pointer and dog treats? Oh yes, I absolutely need those!) There is, however, one other section in the checkout – the tabloids.

I’m not a tabloid reader, and never have been, but when stuck in line behind others, I will glance over and scan the headlines from time to time. Yesterday, I was shocked and sickened by what I saw. No longer was it the standard so and so’s divorce, marriage, pregnancy, etc. that I remember from days of yore, instead every headline was cruel and mean viciousness. They seemed to be calling out for people to laugh and make mockery of these celebrities. Some were so extreme I doubted they were true, but even if they were, it felt like… bullying. Look, I know celebrities have a certain price to pay for their fame. I understand that being in the limelight also means being under the public microscope, but it all felt like we’ve gone way too far. By the time I got to the point of where I could put my groceries on the belt, I felt dirty, cheap and mean just for looking at this kind of stuff. That is when I decided: no more.

I refuse to look at tabloid covers anymore. I don’t need to feel like that, and honestly, if these people are going through a hard time – I wish them well and hope they get through it okay. I don’t need to see their dirty laundry aired in lurid colored photos. I know that my resolution means nothing to the tabloid industry, I’ve never actually picked one up while in line, let alone bought one. I’m simply not a customer. This choice is for myself only. While in line I will look up and think about blog posts I need to write, or stare down into my cart and try to remember whatever item I meant to get but forgot, or even look over at the “last minute” shelves and make up stories about what kind of evening someone was having that they would need a car air freshner, fingernail clippers and a Matchbox car. Whatever I do, I refuse to look at the tabloids titles again. It just isn’t worth it.

Valentine’s Day Card for My Niece

This is the poem that was on the Valentine’s Day card I sent my niece. She’s far too young to understand it, but it almost made me cry when I read it in the card shop. I wish there had been more cards like this when I was a kid.

Wooden HeartSome girls are quite tall
And others are small
And some are in between.
Some girls like the color pink
While some prefer lime green.
A girl can be athletic
Or write poetry and prose,
She might wear little flowers on
her fingernails and toes.
A girl can be so many things –
Like kind and smart and fun…
And if she’s you, it’s certain
That she’s loved by everyone!