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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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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