Reality Check: What you see is…what you look for?

Last post, my focus was, “What you see is what you get.” This time, I’m looking at the connection between what we look for and what we see.
You’ve almost certainly experienced this connection. For example, if you walk a beach searching for sea glass, you often see it. If you have no interest in sea glass, you could walk beaches for miles and never know that sea glass even exists.
What we look for makes a difference in what we see. Continue reading

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Reality Check: What you see is what you get

WYSIWYG, pronounced “whizzywig,” means, “What you see is what you get.” I know the phrase from the olden days of computers—back when it was a big deal to have the display on the screen actually reflect what was printed. Computer technology has come a long way.
Some people use, “What you see is what you get” to describe themselves. (Here’s a little trivia gem: apparently it was Flip Wilson who made it popular.) WYSIWYG essentially declares, “This is who I am, no pretension, no airs, no hidden agendas. I truly am the face that I present to the world.”
There’s a positive to that, of course. People get to know you and trust that there’s no contradictory backstory.
As with so many positive actions, there can also be negative applications. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Strength or Weakness?

Every one of us has specific strengths. If you like to learn about yourself, then it can be quite satisfying to figure out your individual strengths and how to best use them to reach your goals.
Strengths are generally positive attributes; qualities that we take pride in. If you take a few minutes now to make a list of your strengths, what would you find?
For example, your strengths might be: hard-working, self-confident, ambitious, principled, fair. Those all sound pretty positive, eh? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Telling It Like It Is

Do you find it difficult to talk about things that are really important?
It’s easier to talk about the trivial, especially when we agree. We commiserate about the weather and the price of gas. We share our delight about the upcoming spring, and despair of the potholes. There seems no limit to the words we speak about topics that don’t matter all that much. Continue reading

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Reality Check: What makes a difference?

Do you want to make a difference? When asked about their purpose or goals in life, many will answer with some variation of, “I want to make a difference and do something that matters.”
Often, that wish is connected to helping others—to direct one’s energies toward something longer-lasting and bigger than oneself.
That’s all reasonable. An altruistic purpose can be satisfying for the individual and it might even be helpful for society.
However, so often, the sticky part of a lofty goal is in the details. How, exactly, might you make a difference? How big a difference do you need to make? What specific difference are you aiming for? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Building a Relationship – Deliberately

We might take the building of relationships for granted. Relationships just happen—we meet someone; we hit it off for whatever reason, and we have a relationship!
To be clear, I’m not referring to romantic relationships here. I’m talking about the folks at work, in your community, or even at the dog park. They are just people with whom you share some aspects of your life.
Have you ever thought of deliberately building such a relationship? Consider this possibility.
Ray loved his job. But the company changed and he was offered a choice: take a different job or retire.
The company presented the choice as if Ray is a burden, not an asset to the company. So much for appreciation of his long service! Ray isn’t happy, but he’s not ready to retire. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Caution! Mindreading While Listening

When doing an important task, it works best if you concentrate fully on that one task while you are doing it. For example, you and I both know better than to text while driving.
Driving is an important task, and it deserves concentration. So when we’re driving, it’s also helpful if we choose to refrain from fiddling with the radio, fixing our hair, or gazing dreamily at the ocean.
Just because we know that something is helpful doesn’t mean that we always do it, though, does it?
Driving isn’t the only important task that some of us try to perform while devoting less than our full attention. Consider the practice of “listening while mind-reading.” Listening may not seem to demand the same level of attention as driving, but failure to listen could still be quite destructive, couldn’t it?
When Sam was called into Mary’s office, he was certain that he already knew what the conversation was going to be about. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Critic

Do you detect that there’s a lot of criticism in your life? If so, how does it feel to be criticized? Are you grateful to have the errors of your ways pointed out to you? Or not so much?
When you are criticized, do you feel closer to the person who is criticizing you, or do you feel more disconnected from them? Does criticism motivate you to spend more time with the critic? Or less?
Among the foundational elements of Dr. Glasser’s choice theory is that relationships are built through the practice of the caring, connecting habits, and destroyed by the practice of the deadly, disconnecting habits. Among those deadly habits is— you guessed it—criticism. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Choosing to Find Joy in the Process

For a little over a year, I’ve had an orchid sitting on my table. It’s a tiny plant in a tiny purple pot. When it was given to me, it was in full bloom.
The blooms lasted for what seemed like an extraordinarily long time, despite almost no care from me. It was amazing. Eventually, the blooms fell off, the stem withered, and the blooming was over.
However, the leaves didn’t die and the plant seemed stable. It didn’t grow, but it didn’t die, either. So I kept it on the table. Months passed. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Happiness Benefit

Does happiness benefit happy people? Or is it the benefits that happy people have that cause their happiness? It’s the happiness version of the chicken and egg question; which comes first: the happiness or the benefits?
For example, a happy person likely has at least one close friend. Having friends can satisfy the need that we have for love and belonging. This satisfied need can inspire us to support, encourage and care deeply for our friends, which then reinforces the friendships. Continue reading

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