Reality Check: When We Recommend

Have you ever written a letter of recommendation? Some people, especially teachers, managers, or business and community group leaders, are often asked to write recommendations for people they know.
If you are not involved in the world of formal, paid work, recommendation letters may never cross your mind. However, the idea and the activity of writing them can have value anywhere. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Encouragement of Youth

The recent passing of Prince Philip reminded me about the Duke of Edinburgh award, and that it’s important to encourage youth in positive directions.
Encouragement—or a lack of encouragement—can make a significant difference for us, whether we are youthful or seasoned. The information we receive and the influences we have play a significant role in our choices and our lives.
So, what were those positive directions that the award encouraged? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Realistic and Attainable

It’s difficult to travel now, as you well know. So when Anna got the call that her grandfather was nearing the end of his life, it presented a real quandary. Should she pack up and set off to be with him? Or should she stay home? After all, pandemic restrictions provide a legitimate reason for avoiding travel.
She weighed the pros and cons, just as you would. Ultimately, despite the expense and inconvenience, Anna chose to go. In her mind, it was the right thing to do.
Although Anna’s family welcomed her, she was soon reminded of old patterns and perceptions that she is unheard, unappreciated, and uninteresting. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Adding Value

In the world of work, adding value is what you need to do if you want to keep your customers. Whether you are making a product or delivering a service, people only want to pay for value, don’t they? Customers don’t want to pay for wasted time, for mistakes, or for features that they don’t want.
While we usually associate adding value with workplace activities, we can apply the concept to other areas of our lives, too.
If you are feeling bored or uncertain of purpose during difficult times, you might want to try the “adding value” perspective. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Benefit of Mistakes

“Oops! I made a mistake.”
Is there anyone out there who genuinely believes that they’ve never made a mistake? If that’s you, then I guess you can stop reading now. This column is for the rest of us—the mere mortals.
One of the great gifts of life is the freedom to make mistakes. Continue reading

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Reality Check: A Morning Outlook

How’s your morning outlook? Sunny and bright? Cold and dreary? Maybe it’s unsettled; you’ll wait to see how the day goes.
These outlooks could be describing the weather forecast, but our internal outlook is more interesting. What control do we have over our morning outlook?
Eric Barker, the author of, “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” writes about how we can make life better. In his blog post, “Morning Ritual; The 7 steps that will make you happy all day” he makes this suggestion: If you want a better morning, start the night before. Think of something that you can look forward to tomorrow. Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Companions on our Journey

If you associate Pythagoras with unhappy high-school math memories, then you might be surprised to find a quote attributed to him about friendship and happiness.
Here it is: “Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”
Before I continue, I should point out that it’s difficult to get solid verification about what a particular philosopher may or may not have said over 2000 years ago. Maybe Pythagoras said it; maybe not. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Strategy for Forgetfulness

Anecdotal evidence suggests that lots of folks fear that they are forgetful. Last column, I suggested that one reason people feel overwhelmed is because they are. We’re busy, perhaps anxious, yet tasks keep coming. We lose track and forget.
While I can’t help you fix your memory, here are a few strategies that might help you get more control.
Are your concerns about general life maintenance? For example, do you misplace documents? Forget deadlines? Forget to pay bills? Run out of essentials? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Fear of Forgetfulness

Are you feeling forgetful? If so, you are not alone.
I’d been under the impression that it’s the “seasoned citizen” demographic who is most aware of the forgetfulness issue. So I was surprised during a recent e-learning session when the presenter (who volunteered that he is not yet 30) commented on how he deals with forgetting things.
The session topic was about creative processes, and the comment was how easily our brilliant ideas disappear unless we write them down immediately. For the young presenter, forgetfulness is neither surprising nor worrying. It’s simply reality.
For Marion, however, forgetfulness is a real concern. Continue reading

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Reality Check: What We Measure

Some things we can influence; many others we can’t. It can be surprisingly difficult to accurately identify where we have influence and where there is simply nothing we can do.
If you’ve been reading these columns regularly, then you know that I promote the idea that our perceptions and attitudes influence what we do.
Even our level of happiness can have an influence. Have you noticed that during happy times, you do things differently than during unhappy times? When happy, we may be more likely to interact with people, more open to opportunity or to act with more confidence. All of that can have an impact on our lives.
However, if you can’t control your level of happiness, then that might sound like a bunch of feel-good hokum. So here’s another suggestion; perhaps this one will strike you as more realistic. Continue reading

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