What matters most

The way we treat others is far more important than how others treat us. We will be remembered by our actions. Make memories good. Treat people well regardless of how they have treated you.

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Fragility of life

A few months ago a young father fell off a roof and died leaving behind a wife and three young children. This week an acquaintance died unexpectedly due to an illness. Life cannot be taken for granted. We wake each morning and go about our daily tasks with blinkers on. We take it for granted that at the end of the day we will be reunited with our family, our spouses, children or parents. Perhaps we live alone. Even then, we have loved ones that we see occasionally. When we say bye, we hug or kiss as a formality. Is it habit or is it truly meant? Each moment that we spend with those we love is precious. Each moment we share has the potential to be either the best last memory or the worst. Is that moment treated as such? 

Just do it

Have you ever postponed a task for no reason except that it was daunting? Then the knowledge of this outstanding thing weighs heavily on your mind. It lurks in the back of your mind, a constant pressure. Eventually factors conspire resulting in you begrudgingly sorting it out. The irony is that you realize in hindsight that actually it wasn’t so bad. Why on earth did you increase your daily burden instead of just getting it done? 

Why did you postpone initially anyway? Fear of failure? Were you unsure of the how? Did you perhaps not feel you had adequate information? Perhaps you thought it would just be too difficult.

With Internet today the how and the information are no longer a valid reason to postpone. Answers are accessible almost instantly. Fear? The easiest way to deal with fear us to face it. Difficult? Oh my goodness!   Life is difficult, I’m sure learning to walk was difficult and yet, you did! 

I get so frustrated (even with myself) when I see people showing an its too difficult attitude. If you don’t know how, ask or find out. Ignorance is no excuse. Just getting it done takes less effort and energy than displaying frustration or irritation. Self defeat or personal growth. That is your choice. You attitude determines the end result. Just get it done.

Seeing people

People are complex. Not one of us is perfect. We are unique. I am the one and only me. When we interact with others it is so easy to notice their negative bits. It is so easy to see the unsightly mole on the face, the skin condition, the bad haircut. It is so easy to see what someone gets wrong. Their mistakes and prejudices ir personal preferences so often become more important to us than their good points. How do I know that the irate or seemingly abusive client is actually a wise and good man if I do not stop to see it? Reevaluate those around you. Try to see the person that annoying individual actually is. Does that employer’ s bad language define him, or is it his love of family?   Does that employees unwillingness to work late define him, or his dependability and client interactions? No. People have both good and bad. It is up to us to see the good.

Purpose, meaning and direction

What do you live for? Do you live each day in enjoyment of the day itself, or are you constantly focusing on wis to come?   The local radio station has recently made me consider these questions. The DJ’s seem to focus on looking forward to the weekend. Monday is considered a tough day as it is rather far to the next weekend… and so on. I do recall looking forward to weekends as a child too. I feel now though that just living for the weekend is sad. Isn’t there more to life than this? Surely dismissing five days is unhealthy?   To me it shows that these people’s purpose in life is the fun of the weekend. Do their lives then have meaning? Are they heading in any direction?  

There are individuals through history that have demonstrated purpose. Nelson Mandela, Sister Theresa, Isaac Newton and so on. Did they just live to get through each day? Or did they constantly work toward their goals? I am sure they had their fun times. I am sure they went on vacation and had days of rest. These can’t have been their focus.

There is an advertisement that shows a girl speeding up her life, skipping entire years of life. If I recall there us also a movie where the actor uses a remote control to miss any moments that were undesirable to him. Precious moments are lost in both stories.

We are in danger of losing precious moments. If work is so soul destroying that you just want to get over it and get to the weekend, then fix it. Each day on this earth is a gift. It is a new day to connect with people. It is a new day to love and be loved. It is a new day to see beauty. There is so much to live for. Find the good in each day. Find what gives your life meaning. Find what gives you a sense of purpose. Give your life direction and joy will follow.

As good as it gets

“What if this is as good as it gets?” (Jack Nicholson). At this moment in your life this is as good as it is at that moment. How you feel about it is up to you. At that moment there is nothing you can change about what is or isn’t. You can either appreciate what you have at that moment or bemoan what you don’t have. That is the key to happiness.

As a student, when looking at a result, do you rejoice in the tally of the answers that were correct or do you focus on the answers you got wrong? We celebrate our good results and learn from our bad. In life we so often focus on the tasks we do not complete rather than on what we do accomplish. Why is life so different to taking tests? I don’t believe it is. Each day is a test. Each day we should total up our points and rate ourselves focussing on the good points. Yes, the mistakes are there and they detract from the total sum, but they are there purely to learn from and not to drag us down.

Difficulty in decision

I read a quote recently that went along the lines that the biggest mistake one can make when deciding to do something, is to not make a decision. There are times when we delay deciding a course until that choice is no longer ours. The greatest gift humanity is given is freedom of choice. Wars are fought for the right to choose. People have sacrificed their lives so that we have the ability to choose. We can choose our lifestyle, our beliefs, our education, our work. Don’t let others choose for you. You have the right to decide. Use it!

Friendships

The past few days I was blessed to find myself in the company of an old friend. What was great about it was it felt like old times. Yes there were a few nuances of change, but it was pleasant. This brought me to thinking of another friendship that has passed. Isn’t it strange how sometimes one person may view a relationship as more than it was. I suppose unrequited love is a strong example of this. The one individual may feel that the other is their closest friend or confidant. The other may have others whom they view in the same light. Do we ever, as human beings, actually bring Ourselves to an understanding of another’s feeling for us and is it even important? “It is better to have loved and list than never to have loved at All”. If this is the case then, I guess I should not bemoan the friendship that I have lost, but rather remember the good. Up to this point I have struggled to understand why the loss occurred. However, short of asking why (because of course being human I have pride, not to mention I am no longer a Teen), I propose to myself that I should remember the good and move on. This in fact, is on line with a conversation I had. with another person I had not seen for some time. I asked her about a close friend she had had as a student. Her comment was that once you had moved on from a situation, you find that perhaps what you had in common was your experience at the time. Once that experience was over, then your relationship too had ended. The stress of trying to keep that relationship as it had been was I’m the end too emotionally draining. I propose that we focus on current relationships, learning from our past, but giving our all. Yes, we may again find ourselves moving on. But

Focus

I often look at CV’s for prospective employees. Many of them have a covering letter of motivation. A phrase that is used frustratingly often is “Able to Multitask”.

I had a discussion with a teacher at the school recently who has just been given a new role. She mentioned that she is struggling to get her teeth stuck in as she feels all over the place. As soon as she starts with one task, another arises that takes priority. At the end of the day she looks back and feels that although she is exhausted, she has not accomplished anything. Nothing is as frustrating as this.

A few days ago my husband made a comment regarding the fact that I read while I eat breakfast. He said that it takes me longer to finish. It is something that I am aware of. As a teen I used to attempt to read while washing dishes, ironing and cooking. I know it slowed me down. In retrospect I wonder how frustrating it was for my poor parents. 

These experiences along with some articles I have read have made me consider that perhaps we try to do too much without focusing a hundred percent on any one thing. We check emails as they come in, while we are working/writing/reading studying/marking.  Ditto for BBM. Ditto for Facebook/twitter/whatsapp. This interrupts our flow of thought costing us time and causing mental frustration.

Surely this adds to the ills of modern life. So many struggle with IBS, ulcers, obesity, heart problems, anxiety and depression. One solution I have heard is to take time out twice each day to meditate. This would help to reduce stress, I agree, but it reduces the symptoms rather than the cause.

I feel that making life more manageable is key. Focus on one task at a time. Answer emails at predetermined times. Make a list of tasks to do as queries come in and complete them on a first come first served basis. The time saved by reducing interruptions will assist you to get more done thereby reducing stress as well as reducing anxiety and b

Service in Work

Today I had a meeting with a service consultant.  This particular person arrived with an attitude of “Ok, I am here, what do you want?”  There was no feeling emanating from the individual to say, “How can I help you?”.  Despite this, I expressed my requirements, hoping that she would be willing to assist.  My husband then entered.  He demands 100% from himself in service to his clients and expects the same when receiving from others.  As a result of this, we have tried various consultants over time.  Perhaps he can be viewed as a difficult client, however, I have to admit, when I deal with a difficult client, I amend my approach accordingly.  A client is a client whether easy to deal with or not.  This particular consultant made gems of comments along the following lines:  I will only provide service during office hours and it is unacceptable that you may ever request assistance out of office hours because God says that it is wrong to work during family time;  Perhaps you misunderstood or misinterpreted a previous incidence of non-disclosure;   Not one consultant that you have dealt with gave imperfect service (for the record, perfect service has never been a requirement);   A consultant cannot give up their personal advancement for you (this has never been asked by us or even been implied, I mean, who in their sane mind would want this?). 

This episode made me think about our reasons for working.  Many many years ago, work was primarily about providing food for our families.  Over time this has developed and although the end result is still about providing for our families, it is no longer about survival, but more about desires.  Unfortunately as our desires increase so we start focusing on the money to buy what we want.  Therefore our work becomes about money. 

Then there is also the type of work we do.  How many of us have chosen our careers.  Are we doing what we enjoy doing?  Or is it just a job?  I had a discussion with my elder son this afternoon, even he has noticed who enjoys what they are doing and who does not.  There is a security guard at the school who always gives a happy face and a happy greeting.  She obviously enjoys her work.  This in contrast with the individuals in call centers that we have dealt with recently, they say the correct words, but seem to take shortcuts wherever possible.  This situation has arisen in my opinion as a result of the money focus.  When kids finish school, the pressure is about earning an income as soon as possible.  Perhaps in addition their education has not been adequate.  The poor kids end up in employment that they might not enjoy and lets face it, it is much easier to provide excellent service when you enjoy what we do.  Perhaps we should teach our children at a young age to give the best of themselves in whatever they do, that enjoyment of what we do is important and not to settle for anything less.  Most important, change the focus.  It is NOT about the money, it is about the person on the other side.  It is NOT about the money, it is about satisfaction.  It is NOT about the money, it is about personal esteem.