Reality Check: Spinning Our Wheels

One of the rare Choice Theory-related books that I don’t have is entitled Stop Spinning Your Wheels. As I thought I might indulge in a gift to myself, I went browsing for it. That browsing reminded me that the idea of being in a rut and spinning our wheels shows up in many contexts.
For example, perhaps you are in a worry rut or a stress rut. Maybe debt, diet or lack of career progress has you feeling like you’re spinning your wheels. You may even feel like you’re spinning your wheels in an important relationship.
Most everyone is familiar with the feeling of being stuck in some aspect of life. Thus, the abundance of self-help books that promise to help us get out of whatever rut or ditch we have fallen (or driven) into. Continue reading

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Reality Check: How We Use Our Tools

Ongoing learning is a wonderful luxury. We can learn so much if we have the time and inclination to do so. Information is easily available and often free, especially if you don’t care about getting credit for your learning.
For that matter, lots of things are easier if you don’t care about getting credit for them, aren’t they? But that’s a topic for another day.
Personally, I’ve been learning about innovation and it’s reminded me of the importance of keeping events in perspective. Especially now, when so many lives are disrupted and people are facing difficulties they’ve never experienced before. Some are responding with fear, anger, or resentment. It can be frightening to realize that there’s much over which we have little or no control. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Should I Tell My Story?

We could look at our lives as a series of stories. Sometimes we share those stories with others. That story-telling can be helpful, both for the teller and the listener.
Some of our stories are happy ones. Those are the ones that show our triumphs, demonstrate our courage, our good luck, or how we have overcome difficulties. Many of us have no problem sharing those stories. In some cases, we share regardless of whether the listener is keen on hearing them or not.
But we have other stories too, and they are not all happy. We have stories of grief when we lose someone. Stories of anger when we see or believe that we are subject to injustice or unfairness. Stories of fear about a medical diagnosis. Stories of helplessness around addiction; stories of abuse; stories of despair. I could go on, but I know I don’t need to. You know about the unhappy stories, and you may have a few of your own. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Purpose, Feedback and Influence

Defining purpose in our lives is interesting to me, but I didn’t know for sure whether others share that interest. Now I know; it’s not just me who sees purpose as a topic worth thinking about.
How do I know? From feedback that I received. This leads me to three conclusions:
First, purpose is important. Even when folks haven’t defined a clear purpose for themselves, the idea of purpose still matters.
Next, feedback is important. Otherwise, how do we know what other people think and believe? How do we know whether our actions are effective?
Finally, influence is important. It’s worthwhile to examine what we allow to influence us and to consider our own influence on others. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Finding the Good Thing

Humans seem to be wired to easily recognize bad things—danger, fear, hostility—and skip over good things. I’m sure there’s a perfectly sensible survival-related reason for that. However, if the lens we look through shows us only negatives, it makes for a pretty miserable view.
I’m not suggesting that the negativity view isn’t accurate. However, if you want to live a satisfying, perhaps even a happy life, the negativity lens may not be your best friend.
If a lens of negativity, resentment, depression, anxiety, etc. is not working so well for you, maybe you’ve considered trying a different one. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Trade-offs We Choose

In case your mind feels like it’s still on holiday, here’s a little scenario to spark your imagination.
You are going down a hallway behind a person on crutches. They are proceeding hesitantly; giving you the impression that the crutches may be quite new. You follow slowly at a safe 2 meter social distance.
At the end of the hall is a heavy door. The person struggles with it. What do you do?
Do you need to think about it? Or do you know immediately what you would do?
Would you say, “That’s a ridiculous question. Of course, I would go ahead and open the door for a person in difficulty because compassion is essential.”
Or, you might say, “That’s a ridiculous question. Of course, I would stay behind and maintain a 2 meter distance because safety is paramount.” Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Actions of Optimism

The New Year has arrived. This year, the consistent sentiment that I’ve heard expressed is, “I hope it’s going to be better than last year!”
Will 2021 be a better year than 2020?
Some folks believe that it will be; others not so sure. One thing we can say with certainty is that we can’t predict exactly what will happen. Given that, what can we do?
It’ll come as no surprise that I’ll say that we can choose our attitude. We can choose whether we look at the new year with optimism or pessimism.
However, I’m pretty sure that if you feel like you’ve just gotten through a year where you had the stuffing kicked out of you, then deciding to choose optimism toward the new year isn’t all that simple. Even if you squeeze your eyes shut and try really, really hard, you may not be able to conjure up a magical genie who will offer you three wishes, one being a sense of optimism. Continue reading

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Reality Check: To Make a Difference

We’re in to a New Year! But before we leave Christmas 2020 behind, let’s remember the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” It’s an oldie, yet the message is still worthwhile. George Bailey gets to see the difference he made; how his town would be had he never been born.
It’s a fascinating idea, isn’t it? What would the world be like if we were never here? Would it be better? Worse? Unchanged? Does the life of one person make a difference? Continue reading

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Reality Check: A Look at Happiness

What does it mean to be happy? Is it selfish to want to be happy? Do some people seek happiness in a bad way? Is there a formula for happiness?
So many questions; so few answers. But as we come to the end of this strange year, it seems appropriate to revisit fundamental questions about happiness. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Spirit of a Conversation

With limitations on visiting people, how we handle our conversations may matter even more now than during normal times. Why?
When we can’t talk face to face, we can’t see expressions or body language. It’s harder to distinguish between a playful joke and an insult; a genuine question from sarcasm. Even a video conversation is not quite the same as being in the same room, is it?
However, we’re accustomed to using phones, emails, texts, and other communications. What’s different now?
Could it be that when a misunderstanding does come up, we’re less able to say, “Let’s meet for coffee and talk about it”? Continue reading

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