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Watch It

Getting a fix on your location can be hard when we don’t want to face the ugly truth about where we really are. Maybe you don’t want to know where you are in life because it would say something bad about someone else in your life—the truth about where that person is in life. But, navigation requires knowing your location.

Mirrors are good, as every musician, dancer, and actor knows. They give us a fix on the status we need in order to navigate. But, don’t just look at it every once in a while, keep watch on it.  · · · →

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Strong Compatibility

It’s not our weaknesses which determine our ability to work with others; it’s our strengths. Strengths cover our weaknesses, but that is not to say that covering a weakness makes a team strong. Somewhere, a team must carry all different, necessary strengths somewhere among its team members. Whether those strengths compensate for a weakness somewhere on the team is irrelevant; it is the recipe of strengths that leads a team to its victory.

How much time is wasted on evaluating people’s weaknesses or need to improve? As you improve and grow, remember: We get more of whatever we focus on.  · · · →

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Succeed Together

We go forward together. That’s part of the concept of “we”—it’s a “together” sort of thing. We fail when we’re not together. We are defeated by untalented, useless, even evil people because they work together when we don’t.

No one is an island. Many twist this wisdom to mean we should let others boss us around or we should share what shouldn’t be shared. But, the insight that humans aren’t islands has a deeper undertone that victors can’t ignore: cooperation. Synergy, teamwork, strengths covering weaknesses—call it what you like. You’ll only succeed if you’re not the only one.  · · · →

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Focus Forgives

The line between forgiving and spoiling is rarely clear. It’s not a boundary that lies on the ground. But, the line is there. And, it’s easier to walk by keeping focused on the bigger goal, whatever that may be.

If you’re trying to win a sports game, stay focused on the game, not who fouled who. If its about business, just make money honestly, use that as your distraction from petty, personal squabbles over who snubbed who. When the task gets completed, all the bumps on the road behind seem so much smaller. And, whatever spilled feels easier to clean.  · · · →

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Own Your Stone

Sad fact of life number 271: other people can hurt you. Sometimes we are over-powered. Other times we are fooled. Sometimes we are fooled by people who mean well. Sometimes we are fooled by people who mean ill. More often than not, we are fooled by people who fool themselves more than they fool others. So, that makes the victim the bigger fool. That’s sad fact of life number 272: you were the bigger fool.

The arch of destruction in your life has a thousand stones; one of them is yours. Yank it and the whole arch collapses. Focus on your stone.  · · · →

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Rule Actually

Dealing with messed up people is hard. These days it’s more exhausting because so many people are messed up. It started when the nuclear family blew up after Lyndon Johnson’s so-called “Great Society” created slums out of ghettos. It’s funny how that grand failure became both an argument against and for government-funded housing. Those outside see the problem. Those in the problem think its normal; it literally is. It’s like dealing with an addict. Often times it literally is.

The only way to help each other is through: patience, allowing failure, preventing disaster, and not inventing rules in God’s name.  · · · →

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Whomever You Remain

Living a life as desired by other people can’t get you very far. In essence, it makes one fake. The only benefit is short term gain.

When you don’t have much attention, speaking your mind can offend what few people you know. But, given enough time and voice to whatever you think, word will spread—especially from that free press you get from dissidents. The people who want you as you are will only find you if you be yourself and speak yourself loud enough, long enough. But who are you really? You are whomever you remain after fierce objection.  · · · →

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Build up the Positive

When you make a mistake, you know it and you regret it. You don’t always apologize right away, if ever. You want to know how to do better without being told to want to do better. After all, you didn’t make the mistake from lack of lecturing. You made the mistake from some combination of your own folly and your own inexperience. The less the folly, the less painful the mistakes. But, we all must make some amount of mistakes.

Do you think others are different? Do you think others don’t silently regret their mistakes? They do. So, encourage them.  · · · →

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Pushing Water

Laws, rules, management, parenting, and mentoring—all follow the same laws of physics. Every action has a reaction that is both equal and opposite. This is the challenge: Leaders can’t make the rules, but only coach by them.

If a leader forbids an activity, some part of that activity is immutable and will reappear at another place, one the leader would not imagine. If the leader had enough insight to guess where it will reappear, then the leader wouldn’t forbid the activity in the first place. Leaders who reject the immutable push water in a pond and call it progress.  · · · →

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Love and Shine

Fixing people is wearisome. It’s not really our role, anyway. Maybe that’s why its so wearisome. So, if fixing people isn’t any job for people, what is?

Light is abundant in our electric-powered civilization. Before electricity, light was valued and the night outright oppressive. Travel was nearly impossible at night and usually cost the price of lamp oil. Simply being a free light for others can make a difference that the ancient world may have understood better than we can today. Showing unexpected kindness, repaying hostility with love, and making difficult peace does more than fixing could ever hope to.  · · · →

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Let It Fall

When someone is determined to self-destruct, don’t watch with anger; watch with love.

Of course, sometimes people won’t hear advice—they won’t listen, they won’t accept warnings, they can’t heed to save their own lives. It is as if they want to force everyone else to watch them self-destruct. Some of us grow up to the point where we are willing to throw up our hands and not interfere. But, most of us only grow up enough to let go with resentment. That’s not enough either. We must let other people fall because we love them, not because we don’t.  · · · →

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Rolling Patience

Taking surprises is connected to patience. Rolling with punches means being fluid—something patience requires. Things never happen how we expect; if they do then we should be suspicious. Navigating life means going with the flow. If you can’t learn that, you’ll want to give up. If you can, then you will see every surprise as an opportunity to become more fluid. And, being fluid is its own reward.

You know the feeling of being on a calm ocean or a beach or a high overlook in nature. If you can be fluid, then you can become that calmness yourself.  · · · →

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Share Silence

Conversation can be good. Teaching can be good. Learning can be good. Stillness in our time alone can be good. But, shared silence can also be good.

If silence is golden, shared silence is platinum. We have a need to be with other people and for silence. Putting the two together—to enjoy mutual silence—is part of what it means to “just be with” people. No relationship has any constant need to teach, antagonize, energize, encourage, or even support—except that relationships require being with someone. The “be with” part is the only constant. Sometimes, practice just that part.  · · · →

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Relearning Trust

Trust is difficult. Once trust is broken, it can be nearly impossible to learn to trust again. This opens up two challenges: knowing how to deal with people who refuse to trust and knowing who it actually was who truly, really, broke trust in the first place.

On the matter of dealing with someone with trust issues, it’s best to not compound the problem. Even the smallest thing can trigger an avalanche of self-justification for why that person shouldn’t trust you. Patience is your best bet. On relearning trust, admitting the challenge and accepting friendship are the first two steps.  · · · →

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