Archive for the ‘Attitude’ Category

Catch Them Doing Good

August 8, 2022

Keep your eyes open and try to catch people in your company doing something right, then praise them for it.

Tom Hopkins

Business management thinker and writer Tom Hopkins nailed it with this little piece of advice.

How often in our organizations, churches, businesses, do we sit in judgement on people? People around us? Committee members? Leaders? People outside the organization? We can’t wait to catch someone doing it wrong.

I have a vision of elementary school teachers who sit at their desks or pace the floor watching for miscues. When you go to the board at the front of the class, they’re watching for each mistake. And we’re all like that. All the time.

In Jesus time, there existed a group of people who lived that life. They were the antagonists of the Christian Bible story. They were called Pharisees. Jesus was so encouraging in general, but not to the self-righteous. He pointed to the hypocrisy.

How wonderful to refocus our attitude and begin watching for people doing something right. Being helpful. Solving a problem. Trying.

Then, instead of being the voice of judgement, being the voice of encouragement. What a change for everyone.

Personality

August 4, 2022

The woman next door dressed most of the summer in the back yard in very skimpy bikini swim suits. Yet, she did not exude sensuality–that special personality.

A teenage girl talked with me about a career in entertainment. She possessed a marvelous singing voice. Her posture, however, portrayed defeat. I tried to guide the discussion into the areas of self-assurance, personality,

I was a nerd as a teenager with no particular personality until I was almost 30.

Listening to Guy Kawasaki’s podcast interview with Abraham Paskowitz about surfing brought out a key component of personality–that inner joy with being and with doing what you love.

I think Jesus had that characteristic–doing what he was meant to do and enjoying it immensely (well, except for those three days).

The Apostle Paul’s preaching was so bad that once he put a young man to sleep. He was unfortunately sitting in an open second floor window, fell out, died, and had to be revived by Paul–who went on preaching. But he must have exuded that inner joy of doing what he was meant to do.

Having a personality infused with the fruit of the spirit–love, joy, peace, and so forth–shines through the personality. People can tell. We can tell. It’s quite a way to live.

Each Day As It Comes

July 28, 2022

Leaders of the early Christian church faced a problem. Belief that Jesus would return any day soon to establish his kingdom on earth ran through the movement like dropping red dye in a glass of water. That led to problems. No one wanted to work. They just sat around singing and talking…and waiting.

Paul directly addressed the problem. Other writers did indirectly.

We need to live as if Jesus could come at any moment; yet, we also needed to live not knowing if it would be days or years (they didn’t comprehend millennia back then).

Substantial numbers of Christians today feel no urgency toward fulfilling God’s instructions about stewardship of the earth and its inhabitants because Jesus could be (will be?) returning any day now.

I go with ancient wisdom proved out through millennia. Live each day at a time. If I die tomorrow, so be it. I’m ready. If not, I have planned for living longer, too. But for now, I do what’s best for today. Not living in recrimination of the past; not worrying about tomorrow. I work today and let yesterday and tomorrow take care of themselves.

The Power of And

July 20, 2022

Attitude determines almost everything.

Rosamund Zander writes about being in Florida on vacation. It was raining. She says that she could have thought “it is raining, but I cannot go to the beach.” Or, she could have thought, “it is raining, and I can now use this time to practice cooking a new recipe.” Check out The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life that she wrote and published with her husband Benjamin Zander.

It is all a matter of attitude. I can accept defeat. Fail to see the possibilities. Sit in my despair.

I can say and to open the way for an alternate experience. I can learn something new. Meet new people. Experience the place I’m in.

An obstacle appears as if from nowhere. It threatens delay or defeat in my project for the business or organization. I can say, I can’t do this now, and I can choose to do that.

Open up possibilities for the working of the spirit to open you to alternative experiences.

Equanimity

July 7, 2022

I found a new word to learn and apply. Equanimity.

This appeared in a book describing characteristics of the various Enneagram types. Evaluations I’ve taken are somewhat conflicting sometimes typing me as a 4 and sometimes a 5. Reading through this latest book, The Road Back To You, I’ve settled on typing myself as a 4 with a strong 5 wing. That may not mean much, but 4s tend to have more mood swings. You can’t always tell mine from the outside, but sometimes this writing reveals them.

So the author, Ian Morgan Cron, brings out this word for 4s–equanimity. “Fours need to cultivate what’s called equanimity, a sorely ignored virtue in the Christian tradition. Equanimity refers to the ability to remain emotionally composed and steady regardless of what’s going on around us.”

People almost everywhere in the world live on a diet of social media and biased TV news specifically designed to unbalance us emotionally. We too easily get sucked into the vortex of hyped up emotions. Some people thrive (emotionally and financially) on being perpetrators.

We, the recipients, must cultivate this virtue called equanimity. We need a daily (hourly?) reminder.

Emphasize How We Are Alike

July 6, 2022

More people recognize the dangers and evils that lie in divisiveness. They talk about it more often in public. That in itself is a triumph. Trolls are everywhere to swamp your comments with, well, divisiveness.

Why I wonder do we devote so much effort emphasizing how we are different from one another. And why those on the other side of the dividing line are evil, bad, very unlikable versions of humans.

Our wish to feel superior to others forms the substructure of this attitude.

Christians specialize in dividing themselves from those who are not. But also so do those of other faiths–Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, nothings, and on and on.

Even within Christianity love divisiveness, there are liberals, mainstream, evangelical, reformed, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal (if you haven’t spoken in tongues, are you even saved?)–I think I could probably go on.

Christians who worship in all manner of forms and who hold some tenets stronger or weaker all have one thing in common–Jesus. Thinkers have devoted way too much time figuring out just who or what Jesus was. But at least all agree he existed. That’s a start.

Thomas Merton (one of my spiritual heroes) found common ground of contemplative Christianity and Buddhism. And, after a lifetime of experience, I agree with his path. He was on to something.

I bet that if we tried that we could find more common ground. But we would have to lay aside our pride, and our fears, and open our eyes and hearts. That’s not impossible. But it’s hard.

Freedom From Anger

April 8, 2022

Anger is an indication of concealed hatred, of grievance nursed. Anger is the wish to harm someone who has provoked you.

John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 8

Anger. Could that be the theme of this era? In America, some white people are angry at people with skins of different colors or with those who are not like them. Leaders of nations worldwide are angry at each other or at their followers. Adherents of one religion or sect within a religion are angry with those not aligned with them.

Humans can easily nurse grievances until the anger bursts into flame causing sometimes irreparable harm.

Are we doomed?

No.

Many find the way through anger. John of the Ladder gives guidance.

The first step toward freedom from anger is to keep the lips silent when the heart is stirred; the next, to keep thoughts silent when the soul is upset; the last, to be totally calm when unclean winds are blowing.

John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent, Step 8

I heard three great questions on a podcast during my morning walk this morning. Try them.

Does this need to be said?

Does this need to be said now?

Does this need to be said by me?

I wish you calm today. Namaste.

Why Worry

February 3, 2022

My mom was a worrier. She suffered from anxiety, depression. Even was temporarily hospitalized. She passed that on to her four children. We all dealt with it in our own ways.

If I try, I can remember lying in bed before sleep worrying about tomorrow and next week and next month.

I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.

Mark Twain

I soon discovered a truth that Viktor Frankl had uncovered. We humans have the power of choice. We can choose what to think about. While still in my 20s, I discovered the antidote. When thoughts began to dwell on what could go wrong, I would intentionally direct my thoughts to something pleasurable. It works. Between that and a lifetime of meditation, I have almost cut worry and anxiety from my life.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus taught that we can zoom out on our focus.

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendorwas dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus gives similar advice. Focus our attention on the kingdom of God. That is more profitable than focus on what can go wrong.

Be More Like Jesus

January 4, 2022

This thought is not original with me, but I endorse it and encourage us all to adopt it as this year’s lifestyle.

This year I would like to be more like Jesus

  • Hang Out With Sinners
  • Upset Religious People
  • Tell Stories That Make People Think
  • Choose Unpopular Friends
  • Be Kind, Loving, and Merciful
  • Take Naps on Boats

Oh How The Mind Churns

November 15, 2021

We get caught in a trap. It’s like the little exercise wheel we put in the gerbil cage. Much energy is expended going faster and faster but going nowhere.

What we did or said really wasn’t that bad. Besides, it’s all their fault. Or, how could I be so stupid. Or, everyone hates me.

It’s possible that we could be that patient whom the psychologist told, “You’re not paranoid. Everyone does hate you.”

But, probably not. Most of the time most people really regard you positively.

And, so, it becomes our task to realize that people really will give us the benefit of the doubt. We just need to get off that exercise wheel to nowhere. We must step away from ourselves a bit with some self-awareness. Then deal with it.

A quick apology from the heart when we’ve said the wrong thing or screwed up something keeps us out of the gerbil wheel of blame.

Smile at people you meet. Most return the smile. And both of you have a little bit of sunshine in your day.

The calm mind wins the day. Warriors understand that the calm mind helps them survive and win. Athletes learn that the calm mind leads to superior performance.

It starts with self-awareness. And continues with controlling our breath.