Don’t Dwell Too Long On Things You Can’t Change–It Will Only Hold You Back

Let It Go

If you want to focus on the future, you’ve got to put the past behind you. And that means dwelling on the little things that happen every day that knock us off our game. You’re going to make mistakes, say stupid things and upset other people. Conversely, other people are going to do things that don’t live up to your standards, offend you or make you angry. There’s a certain amount of reflection on these moments that’s imperative–if you don’t stop and think through it, you’ll gain nothing at all from the experience. But once you do have that period of reflection, let it go.

There’s a reason why there’s a major hit Disney movie dedicated to this very theme. We all tend to hold on to things longer than we should and eventually, those things will hold us back from getting better. Focus on what’s ahead, what will make you better today than you were yesterday and your own core values and standards. Don’t sacrifice your own potential by lingering longer than needed on things you cannot change. Let it go–and go.

If You Want To Get To The Finish, Focus On The Marks Of Success In Between

 

Red Buoy

Imagine wading in one spot in a lake with over 200 other swimmers. Every person looks the same, with their yellow cap and goggles on. Suddenly, a gun goes off and there’s a mass hustle of splashing and arms turning in and our of the water, feet kicking. You do the same and move forward with the pack. The water has an icy chill that takes the breath out of your lungs.

You keep your head down and try to swim forward but everyone is clustered in and there’s a lot of other people grabbing at your feet and kicking at your arms. To make matters even more complicated, green, slimy algae has grown up from the bottom of the lake and is also gripping at your body, forcing you to swim awkwardly. The space is tight and because you’re already breathless from the cold lake water, your heart starts beating too fast and you begin to feel paralyzed.

You stop for a moment, wading in the water, getting pushed left to right by other swimmers, pull off your foggy goggles. The smell of the gasoline from the safety boat engines burns your nose. Your eyes focus and you squint to see the finishing spot, a mile and a half away–or at least what you think looks like the finish.

And you think, “What the hell did I get myself in to?” The self-doubt creeps in. “I’m not a triathlete. I can’t even swim part of this distance.”

But deep in, you know this is not true. You’ve trained. You spent miles on the bike, in the water and one foot in front of the other, running on the road. You have put as much grit in to getting to this day as many of the others around you. You can do this but the far, far distant finish of the swim is making you think otherwise.

But then, you see someone else very close by wading water, goggles off, looking towards the next buoy. They smile and ask you if you’re okay.

“Yeh, I am okay. Thank you!.”

And that’s when you know it. You had your eyes focused on that tiny, little yellow dot a mile and a half away in the distance–the finish. But before you can get to that spot, there are 10 red buoys floating in the water along the path, guiding you to the finish.

Goggles back on, your put your head back in the water–and the game–and you focus on getting to the next buoy. In no time, you’re there. You look up, take a breather, and then head back down, you swim to the next one. One by one you conquer the red buoys until that far, far away yellow dot clearly becomes the finish line buoy for the swim leg of the race. You know you’ve got this.

A lot of the things we do in life are like the swim leg of a triathlon. Change is hard to make and sometimes the long-term challenges will get to us. It’s easy to feel helpless and frozen when the end-goal is far away and has many chances for failure in between. But in times like these, we should focus on swimming buoy to buoy and enjoy the journey. We do not have to get to the finish right this moment, we just have to keep our eyes focused that way and find the things between that will keep us motivated and up for the challenge.

If change were easy, then it wouldn’t be change because everyone would have already done it and it would certainly be the norm–the status quo. Change is always going to be challenging. It’s always going to be imperfect. And the journey is always going to be a remarkable one if we can stay encouraged and positive, despite the let downs and mistakes we will make along the way.

Always remember, to get to the finish, you’ve still go to swim buoy to buoy.

 

photo cred

Be Better Today Than We Were Yesterday

Sweat

Yesterday, I hit the gym for the first time after a few week hiatus due to work and health. I’m lucky enough to have a trainer that understands me and despite being out of commission for a while, the workout was grueling. And painful. And a pain in the ass. But the whole way through, I kept telling myself, ” I can be better today than I was yesterday.”

Every time my legs felt like giving out or my lungs screamed at me for their lack of training these past weeks, I knew that the effort I was putting in was helping me to become better than I was yesterday. And through that mantra, my eyes were on the higher purpose of why I was there in the first place and I not only got through the workout, mentally, I knew I rocked it. 

Life is not very accommodating. Meetings get moved, work gets piled up, kids get sick, pets have issues too and sometimes, even as you step out of bed, the morning just goes all wrong. But it doesn’t mean we should give in to the bad days or weeks, months or even years. Focus on the purpose and know that you can always be better today than you were yesterday. 

15 Ways The Digital Revolution Will Change Our Lives In the Next Decade

The Future

What’s so remarkable about technology of this very moment? 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. There are 2,405,518,376 people with access to the internet–and this number has grown 566% since 2000. 67% of internet users in the United States are on Facebook 

As Dan Lynch, founder of Interop and former director of computing facilities at SRI International, wrote, “The most useful impact is the ability to connect people. From that, everything flows.”

Technology and the internet flow freely through many of our lives like electricity. Entire industries have been rocked by this revolution and many more will follow. We all know, to some degree, that things are changing at a pace we never imagined. But Pew Research Center took it one step further last month, releasing the report, “Digital Life in 2025,” polling over 2,500 digital experts.

Below are the 15 theses that Pew arrived at based their research:

1) Information sharing over the Internet will be so effortlessly interwoven into daily life that it will become invisible, flowing like electricity, often through machine intermediaries.

2) The spread of the Internet will enhance global connectivity that fosters more planetary relationships and less ignorance.

3) The Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and big data will make people more aware of their world and their own behavior

4) Augmented reality and wearable devices will be implemented to monitor and give quick feedback on daily life, especially tied to personal health.

5) Political awareness and action will be facilitated and more peaceful change and public uprisings like the Arab Spring will emerge.

6) The spread of the ‘Ubernet’ will diminish the meaning of borders, and new ‘nations’ of those with shared interests may emerge and exist beyond the capacity of current nation-states to control.

7) The Internet will become ‘the Internets’ as access, systems, and principles are renegotiated

8) An Internet-enabled revolution in education will spread more opportunities, with less money spent on real estate and teachers.

9) Dangerous divides between haves and have-nots may expand, resulting in resentment and possible violence.

10) Abuses and abusers will ‘evolve and scale.’ Human nature isn’t changing; there’s laziness, bullying, stalking, stupidity, pornography, dirty tricks, crime, and those who practice them have new capacity to make life miserable for others

11) Pressured by these changes, governments and corporations will try to assert power—and at times succeed—as they invoke security and cultural norms.

12) People will continue—sometimes grudgingly—to make tradeoffs favoring convenience and perceived immediate gains over privacy; and privacy will be something only the upscale will enjoy.

13) Humans and their current organizations may not respond quickly enough to challenges presented by complex networks.

14) Most people are not yet noticing the profound changes today’s communications networks are already bringing about; these networks will be even more disruptive in the future.

15) Foresight and accurate predictions can make a difference; ‘The best way to predict the future is to invent it.’

 

photo cred: BSR

10 Actions That Embody Happiness

Path To Happiness

On Saturday, while standing in line at 7-11 to buy a bottle of water, I noticed a man and two boys around the age of 13. They were standing near the rotating wheel of hotdogs and were literally scarfing their own hotdogs without even bothering to chew each bite. I felt the urge and so when it was my turn to pay, I quietly asked the girl at the register to ring up the trio’s six hotdogs. I paid and went on my way.

Those three likely never saw me. They had no idea who I was. I imagine that the man got to the counter to pay and was probably confused when the clerk told him their food had been paid for. But then I imagine he smiled. I hope that smile was a little bit of genuine happiness and most of all, I hope he was able to share that happiness with someone else later in his day–maybe by speaking a little bit kinder when he got home from a 14 hour work day, maybe by holding the door open for the man behind him in line, or maybe he just smiled–smiles are contagious, you know.

What was the point of it all? When I got back in my car and drove away, I had a new sense of happiness. Somehow, the day seemed lighter and less serious and when I got home, I recognized joy in the wagging tails of my dogs, beauty in the birds at the feeder out back and gratefulness for my amazing career–even when I opened the computer to 100 emails after just checking a bit before.

A survey conducted by the charity Action for Happiness, in collaboration with Do Something Different, found a strong link between self-acceptance and happiness, despite the fact that it’s a habit not frequently practiced. For the survey, the group identified ten everyday habits which science has shown can make people happier–even though many of us take very little time to be sure and do these things.

Here are the 10 habits (notice that the first letters of the ten spell out GREAT DREAM):

  1. Giving: do things for others
  2. Relating: connect with people
  3. Exercising: take care of your body
  4. Appreciating: notice the world around
  5. Trying out: keep learning new things
  6. Direction: have goals to look forward to
  7. Resilience: find ways to bounce back
  8. Emotion: take a positive approach
  9. Acceptance: be comfortable with who you are
  10. Meaning: be part of something bigger

Happiness is a combination of dreaming and doing. We have to live with purpose and drive as well as acceptance and the ability to live in the moment. Take a moment to copy this list of happiness–carry it with you, and see if you can make a difference in your own happiness.

Don’t Forget Who You’re In Business For–The Customer

Customer Service

Customers, patrons, patients, viewers, clients–for any business, these groups of people should be the #1 priority. They are the reason business exists–to serve the customers.

Online and on social media, positive and negative customer service experiences are being shared at an exponential rate. Networks such as Twitter, Google and Yelp empower people to record their experiences and share them with the world. 

I recently had a an issue with my internet service through Comcast. It took 5 phone calls, 2 visits to the store and a lot of reaching out via Twitter before they bothered to fix the issue–that was theirs, not mine! On the flip side, when Zappos sent me something wrong in my order, they not only made it right (on the first go-around), they reached out to me again to be sure I was happy and even gave me a $20 gift certificate.

Zappos often refers to themselves as a Customer Service Company that sells shoes. That’s something we should all remember. No matter if you’re your one person in a large company or if you’re running your own business–you can make a difference. I encourage you to step back and stop trying to sell people. Listen to what they’re really asking for and deliver it. And once you’ve done that, exceed their expectations by over-delivering in every way you can.

It’s much more difficult to find new customers and make them believers than it is to please the loyal ones you’ve got right there at your side. Go the extra mile for the people you work for and never forget that the customer is the focus of every extraordinary business.

 
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