Reality Check: Defining the Good

“There is good in everyone.” I expect that you’ve heard this declared; perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. Granted, sometimes it’s coupled with a caution that we may have to dig pretty deep to find good in some people.
Perhaps it’s true. Or maybe it’s wishful thinking—this hope that deep inside even the worst-acting person is a spark of good.
What is good? If we set out to look for it, how will we know when we’ve found it? Different people define what is good in very different ways. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Does Blaming Stop Us From Doing?

If you are down on your luck, you may heard that you need to adopt a “can-do attitude.” The most effective promoters of “can-do” are folks who have been through hard times themselves. It can be inspiring to hear a story of success from someone who has overcome poverty, addiction, discouragement, childhood traumas, negative influences or other barriers.
Is attitude everything? Or is success dependant on luck, fate, and circumstances beyond our control? I’m sure that you can find examples of individuals with undeserved success just as easily as I can find examples of folks who have created success out of misfortune. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Getting around to procrastination

I’ve been meaning to write about procrastination for a while, but I couldn’t seem to get around to it.
Now you’re wondering, “Was that a joke?” Or did she mean it? The answer is yes to both questions. But procrastination isn’t always amusing; it can cause real problems in our lives.
I don’t need to tell you why people procrastinate. If you procrastinate, you already know. In fact, making a list of reasons why we put things off is a fun thing to do. It’s much more fun than doing whatever we’ve been putting off. Come to think of it, pretty much anything is more fun than doing the things we’re putting off. Continue reading

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Reality Check: What does it mean to be strong?

When people face difficulties, observations are often made about the strength of those who are suffering. It is admirable to be strong in the face of adversity. Strength is also beneficial for a helper who wants to support others through difficult times.
Whether you want to bolster your strength for yourself or for others, let’s start with a few clarifying questions. What does “to be strong” mean to you? When you are being strong, what exactly are you doing? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Important! Read This Immediately!

The envelope looked like something from the government. It was that familiar brown kraft paper that we associate with official mailings. It even had a maple leaf logo printed on it that looked like a flag.
The printing on the outside indicates that this is “Private & Confidential,” “Important,” and to add to the impact, it directed me to “Open Immediately.” I guess that means I have to open it right now. I can’t have my coffee first or let out the cat. Nope. The envelope has spoken. Continue reading

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Reality Check: Go, Team

Are you part of a team? If you play sports or belong to a work team, then the answer is easily, “Yes.” You might belong to a less formal association, like a community group where people come together with a common goal.
Many of us are in groups that we don’t think of as teams. There’s your family, for example, or your circle of friends. Even our community, county, or province could be considered a team.
What actions and attitudes help a team work together? Conversely, what activities undermine team success?
Let’s play devil’s advocate. Pretend you are a secret agent sent by the opposition. Your role is to demoralize the team. What would you do? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Dissatisfied But Not Sure Why?

Do you ever feel out of sorts? When you have a sense that things are not right, but you can’t quite put a finger on exactly what’s wrong?
An explanation that often pops up now is “the virus.” Everything seems connected to it, with a sense that if only we could get back to normal, then we’ll feel better and live happily, like we used to.
A question worth pondering is, “Were you living happily before?” But that’s for another day. For now, let’s stick to potential causes of dissatisfaction. While virus-related actions are certainly disruptive, is there a possibility that they are not the only trouble-maker? Continue reading

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Reality Check: Choosing Your Lens

When we try on different glasses, it’s clear that the lens we use makes a huge difference in what we see. Some lenses make everything clearer; others muddy and distort.
In these troubled times, some are looking through an exclusively negative lens. For example, a young man feels anxious all the time. A middle-aged woman feels resentful because she is not allowed to travel. An older gentleman feels isolated because he can’t attend the social outings he enjoyed so much.
Are these feelings widespread? Or is it just these three people? Continue reading

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Reality Check: The Unexpected Kindness

Asparagus season reminds me of an incident that’s been a helpful example for me over the years.
One spring long ago, when the emerging asparagus was at its peak, I had invited some acquaintances for dinner. Among my guests was Paula, known as a “foodie” because of her organic farm and gourmet knowledge. From my youthful perspective, she was both fascinating and intimidating.
While chatting with me in the kitchen, Paula talked about the joy of asparagus. When it’s perfectly cooked, tender-crisp, there’s nothing else like it.
At that time, multi-tasking was well beyond me, and I certainly couldn’t manage cooking and talking at the same time. When I turned away from our sparkling conversation to take the lid off the asparagus pot, Paula and I simultaneously peered in. What did we see? A soggy, over-cooked mess. Continue reading

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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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