Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Can Technology Make Us Lazy?

Are you one of those people who avoid technology like it's the plague (or should I say Ebola)? Do you embrace all the newest and fastest gadgets the stores have to offer? Or are you a fence sitter?

Here are a few observations and perhaps you can help me determine if there is a common denominator.

  • Do you call someone and leave them a message only to have them call you back and say, "Hi, I saw that you called." To which you reply, "O.k., did you listen to my message?" And then their frustrating response is, "No, but I saw that you called. What did you want?"
Does technology tend to make some people lazy? Do they take the easy way out, check the caller ID - but not bother to actually listen to the message?

  • Do you find yourself emailing someone and asking them 3 or 4 questions in the content of the email, yet when they respond they haven't actually read the 'whole' email? They respond to 1 out of 4 questions and disregard the other 3. That becomes a gross waste of time because if you still need your answers now you have to email them back again.
  • Then there are those people who will give you their email address but claim they never check it. So ... why do they have one?
Do you think technology overwhelms some people? Do they feel obligated by society to participate, but they don't really want to?
Technology, in its many forms, certainly has great purpose, but I also think it can create a sense of disconnect. Yes, computers and emails and Facebook and cell phones are convenient, but they also make it easy to lose touch. When was the last time you wrote a letter (you know, that thing with pen and paper and an envelope and a stamp)? I know many elderly people and college students who would much rather check their 'mailbox' instead of their 'inbox'.
Which side of the technology fence do you sit on? Does it help you or hinder you? Does it make you more social or more of a loner? What's your favorite forms of technology and why? For example, maybe you like a Kindle because you don't have the space to store actual books ... on the other hand maybe you prefer the smell of a good bound book and enjoy turning a page and using a bookmark.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What's Your Mountain?

Everyone has something they're trying to overcome; a mountain they're trying to conquer. Some may have an addiction or what seems like an insurmountable fear. Many may deal with loneliness, depression, or loss of faith. Some have a goal they're trying to reach. For some, stepping out of their comfort zone may just feel too big for them. What do we do when that happens? How do we conquer our mountains?

For me, I've always found that I get a bad case of nerves when I need to speak in public. It goes back to high school and being paired up with the smartest kid in school on the debate team. Now I know what you're thinking ... if I had a case of nerves why was I on the debate team? Good question. I suppose I like to face my fears head on and try to overcome them. Doesn't always work of course, but at least I'll get an A for effort. I thought, somehow, that I'd start out slow ... observe the other students and learn from them. Boy, did that backfire. We ended up going to the State tournament. I thought I'd never survive, but somehow I did.

To this day I still find myself purposely putting myself in situations that I hope will help me overcome my fears. People will tell me I do well, but of course I never believe them. Why? Because I'm my own worst critic. Someone will say my hair looks good and I suddenly doubt and think, 'Are you sure?' I don't know why I think people will always say nice things just to try and boost me up. Maybe they were right ... maybe my hair really did look good that day. (lol) At some point our confidence has to grow and we need to learn to believe in ourselves and be able to stand sturdily on our own two feet.

What's my current mountain? Still the same old thing; speaking in public. So what am I doing about it? Same old thing; putting myself in a position to speak. This time it's BIG (at least for me). Saturday I will be one of 2 guest speakers at the opening ceremonies of a local Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk. More than 600 people will be listening to what I have to say. What's my goal  - besides getting through it? To inspire 'one' person. If I can do that then all the rest is just icing on the cake.

What mountain are you currently trying to conquer and how can I help?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's All About Choices

According to a recent TV commercial there's a theory that people always make bad choices in horror movies. 

> They make their getaway by running through the cemetery at night.

> Instead of choosing someplace safe they hide in the barn where all the shiny, sharp objects are hanging from the rafters.

I will even go one further and say they usually answer the door ... when it's dark, they're alone, and the phones aren't working. Seriously? Don't forget the ominous music and the creaky door. We all know it's that time of year ... Halloween is just around the corner ... time for the fright movies and even the Halloween Wars on the Food Network channel.

So, Halloween aside, how confident are you with the real-life choices you make?
  • Do you text & drive or even drink & drive?
  • Do you honor your marriage vows and stay faithful to your spouse?
  • Do you lie to get ahead at work?
  • Do you cheat on your income taxes?
  • Do you gossip with your friends ... OR about your friends?
  • If your restaurant bill is lower than it should be, do you let your waitress know or consider it a gift?
There are endless choices that we are forced to make every day. It can be daunting when you stop and think about it, but think about the fact that every single choice you make today is a puzzle piece to your future. You may not think it'll matter, but in the end it will.

Take the time today to think your choices through. Think of the possible outcomes or consequences. It could be worth the extra few minutes or even seconds to determine if your choice will get you into proverbial trouble like those in the seasonal horror movies.

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    What does your perfect world look like?

    The world today is a tricky place. There are a lot of positives, as well as negatives. They are things we have absolutely no control over and things we can have an impact on if we try hard enough. In a perfect world I'm sure we'd all like to believe there could be world peace, no war, no poverty, no hunger, and no disease. These items all seem to be bigger than the average person though. While I think we all know I have a very serious side and am full of compassion, I also like to try to lighten the mood and the stress level whenever I can. It doesn't mean I don't still think about how to change what many believe to be the unchangeable, but it means I try to lesson the pressure and start small in hopes of gaining momentum and someday tackling the bigger issues.

    So, in the spirit of keeping things light ... 'What would your perfect world look like?

    • We'd be able to eat ice cream EVERY day and lose weight.
    • The ratio of colorful marshmallows to grained cereal would be higher in a bowl of Lucky Charms.
    • In my husband's perfect world he would be allowed to keep the Christmas tree up 12 months out of the year.
    • For me, I would be able to overcome my anxiety of going to the dentist.
    • There would be a 20 minute recess for adults if they had a work day that was longer than 8 hours.
    • In an efficient world, people would be on time and respect each other's time.
    • In a respectful world, people would keep their word. Deals used to be made with a handshake; today even a signed contract isn't always worth the paper it's written on.
    If the bigger and more important issues were all taken care of what would it take for your little corner of the world to be a little more perfect? What would make you smile in anticipation?

    Sunday, October 5, 2014

    New & Improved? Can It Fix Everything?

    Everything these days seems to come with a tag that says 'New & Improved'. Even salesmen will tell you when you make an electronic purchase that your item is practically obsolete as soon as you walk out of the store. But will 'new & improved' change your values or your faith or your sense of worth? I doubt it.

    There are things that will have a definite positive effect if tried. For example ... getting a new hair style or a new outfit won't actually make you younger, BUT they can make you FEEL younger. Getting WiFi in your house can't make you more creative, BUT it will speed things up for you so that you don't lose your momentum. Even going to church won't get you a free pass to heaven, BUT it could help to restore your faith and perhaps clarify your values and priorities.

    There are people who will say that money can't buy happiness, BUT at the same it can bring financial stability and possibly less stress and that could lead to a greater sense of happiness. I suppose there is always a thing called perspective. Stop and ask yourself what you hope to achieve in your life and what your priorities are. Think about what you need to do, or more importantly NOT DO to get where you want to be. Make those choices for yourself and go after them. Don't look for a quick fix to get you what you want. Important things are achievable, but they usually come with a price of hard work and dedication and persistence. Getting the latest this or that might fix or replace things for you that are no longer good, but they can't fix YOU. If you're feeling obsolete or broken or lost don't fill your time and space with things. Get back to the root of why you feel off kilter and fix that. Perhaps it's a relationship or your faith or your physical being. Start by trying to work on you. You can always reward yourself later with something 'new & improved' ... when you're feeling 'new & improved'.

    What are you currently working on to get you where you want to be?