Columns

Thought Targets

Keep your thoughts targeted on the task at hand. If your task is planning, then plan. If your task is building, then build. Don’t argue with people not in the room. And, don’t solve problems that don’t exist anywhere but in your mind. By solving problems in your mind, you must first create them in your mind, then your mind might really create them. It’s better to just focus on real work in the here and now.

Judges aren’t allowed to speculate how they might rule on cases not yet before the court. Follow the same rule: Judge the present.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Chase Your Light

Don’t let setbacks make you quit, not even your own. When you trip yourself up, accept the consequences, settle your heart to limit your losses, then get back up and keep going. The consequences of failure are never that you should quit—don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

That’s a well-kept secret of the world’s greatest victors. Most of their troubles are self-made. But, they don’t give in and throw their hands up, not even from their own problems. If you can dust yourself off and get back in the game after your own trouble, trouble from others is no problem.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Redeemability

Anyone can observe that anyone has problems. Complaining and criticizing neither take insight nor experience. Do you want to be skilled at telling people why they must continue to fail, or do you want to be skilled at telling people why and how they can and must succeed?

Cheerleaders are in greater demand than ‘jeerleaders’. In truth, no one’s heard of a ‘jeerleader’ because jeering doesn’t help a team win. Coaches and athletes in the game know this. Do their fans know? Do you know?

People in your life have a huge fan: you. When they stumble, teach their solution.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Forced Gifts

Sometimes you can’t ask before you give. People might not like what you give at first. They might think it’s too much and refuse your gift because they feel unworthy or don’t want to be in your debt. But, that’s the thing about gifts: No one asks for them.

Asking for a gift makes the gift no longer a gift. You can ask for favors or donations. But, “gifts” in their truest sense are given at the initiative of the giver, not the receiver. So arguably, some of the best gifts are the ones we know need a little force.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Approachability

What draws us to certain people? Is it their good looks? Kindness? Accomplishment? Or, the mere fact that we are drawn to people other people are drawn to even though we don’t know why? Ask yourself these questions long enough, and you will find a character cocktail of diligence mixed with respect.

We love people who do whatever they do well. It’s ontological. It’s nature. We all do things, and we all want to do our things well. We also want respect, and we are even happier when we respect others. Anyone good at whatever, including respect, draws us in.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

What It Means to not Whine

One of the most impossible lessons of personal growth is about not fixing blame. The specific person and specific circumstance that knocked you down were almost surely wrong, somehow. It might have even been on purpose. But, you must ignore all of that and do nothing but take the next step.

You demonstrate how grown up you are by the size of problems you shrug off. Everything should be no big deal. Don’t ball up into your emotional hideaway and crawl into a bed of blame and shame. Take the next step toward your own progress, not justice for yourself.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Plans for Justice Help

Frustration and angst fester where there is no explanation of a conundrum. One important role of the Supreme Court is to provide judicial opinions—both for the majority ruling and the dissenting. The opinion is almost as important as the ruling itself, perhaps even more. By knowing why the right and wrong things are right and wrong, we codify a precedent to carry out the decision before us and to navigate conundrums in the future.

When you’re frustrated, you might decide to look for a simple opinion. Knowing what to do might only follow knowing what to think about it.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Pony Banter

As a general rule, don’t banter with ponies. Horses are glad to take directions and work, as long as they don’t get spooked. So, just work, focus on work, encourage, and stay focused on work.

It can be quite a shock, seeing how many troubles we create and avoid, all depending on where we focus. Get the job done and you’ll be amazed at the disappearance of so many problems that seemed big at the time, but no longer matter when we’re finally finished.

Ponies are there to help, not pontificate. Do the work, stay encouraging, don’t spook, and finish.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Truth vs Marketing

Generally, the public doesn’t like to hear bad news. Then again, in the news business, bad news sells. The public wants to hear something uplifting, but good news never gets watched.

There is a magical balance to strike, and it takes a kind of experienced perfection few ever reach: to deliver the truth in a way people would hear it. Much of the time the message is ignored comes due to much of the public not wanting to hear it.

The days of truth are a magical moment in history, when a messenger speaks perfectly and the people actually listen.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Responsible Complaint

Injustice leads to more injustice in two of many ways: injustice by silence and injustice by whining too much. The only way past the injustice of the past is to level the charge, but don’t wait for the world to agree.

We can’t stop a problem we know nothing about. So, by all means, let the world know your pain. At the same time, don’t yield more power to an apathetic world. Your life needs you on the scene, working and building, even before your enemies make right their wrong. You’re not going to get justice from them after all.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

First Overcome

The unwritten implication about blaming people for your problems is that you have problems. Everyone does, but we shouldn’t publicize problems until they are overcome. That’s different from exposing a public need or coaching willing athletes, but don’t think you’re a coach when you’re not.

The dirty little secret about problems is that the world won’t listen to our warnings while we still suffer from the world’s problems. We must overcome problems from the world, only after inform the world about its need to grow up. That’s a loss for the world, but it’s a win for you. Overcome first.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Step In

Strength is never bestowed, it must be attained by ourselves. You will never get yourself to anyplace you want by blaming or excusing. Your results belong only to you and they can be earned only by you.

Moving along isn’t easy. When we get stronger and better, we enter a new territory. If we’re always improving, we’re always in new territory. Comfort doesn’t find a place there. A life of ongoing growth means a life lived outside the comfort zone—always.

So, don’t just stand there when you see something you want. Gauge your opportunity, then move in full tilt.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Straight Path to the Real Finish

Decisions are simple if we bear in mind two things: Be direct, be real.

It’s no good taking detours without need when you’re in a hurry. The problem is that we like to justify detours, without considering their costs. If we don’t arrive on time, whatever we’re doing won’t get done. Equally, it’s no good going somewhere you don’t want to go. Taking the direct rout over a cliff won’t take you to anyplace other than regret. The problem is that we like to justify being in a hurry, without considering the risk of failure.

Win. Be real. Be direct.  · · · →

Standard
Columns

Thank the Pain

If life kicks hard, it seems unfair. But, no one grows without pain of some sort, sooner or later. It’s never fair, then again it’s always fair. The way pain happens is never right, but the fact that it happens gives us the blessing of growth. So, the unfairness of hardship is the only way life can treat us fairly.

Are you ungrateful for the blessings in your life? People who can’t thank helpful pain can’t be thankful for anything. They will find a way to complain even about the nicest and best benevolences life has to offer. Be thankful.  · · · →

Standard