Spend Less Time to Do More
After much thought, I decided to write a blog. Not because I need something else to do;I have plenty to do,
thank you. It's because everyone is doing it and supposedly it gives more value to the visitors on your site. I
also find myself repeating the same advice over and over, so instead of doing that, I will put the answers here.
I hesitated to write a blog because it takes a committed amount of time every week. It's not that I don't have
things to say. I don't want to use up my time. So how does this revelation relate to encouraging others?
Creative souls work less than less creative people. There, I said it. You literally can't think about something if
you don't stop doing busy work. I'm sure there are times when you have struggled over a problem with no
results and finally gave up. And lo and behold, while you're driving to get more Cheetos, it comes like a bolt of
lightning. That's what I'm talking about. Sometimes you have to just sit and stare to let your mind work without
you. So I am going to keep these posts short, so you don't have to read much but can get a little insight now
and again. And I am going to sit on the back porch and think now.
They Are Strong Where You Are Weak
I just had a long conversation with a client who is struggling with how to use her extensive (and expensive)
medical education without actually being a doctor who works with patients. This isn't a case of not liking her
patients or not being good at her job. Or being bored with her career choice. She loved it for years. But she
doesn't like one aspect of it. She feels like she has no life
of her own. She literally can't go home and be off duty. She's always on call for her patients.
Once we figured out that was the sticking point - not always an easy process - we discussed how she could pair
up with another single practitioner so they could take turns covering for each other. Then she objected to the
paperwork - insurance companies and keeping medical records up to date. We devised a way to lessen that
impact by having her swap administrative services (barter) with patients who need health care but had no
Her passion came back after realizing she could shift what she was weak at to someone who was strong in that
area. So what are you doing that someone else wants to do?
Let's Occupy the Freeway Instead
The other night I sat on a stagnant freeway, praying for some movement ahead of me, praying that I could
make it to the next exit ramp before I starved to death. For some reason the Occupy Wall Street (OWS)
movement came into my head. My brain converted it to my present situation and it became Occupy the Freeway
(OTF). The reality is OWS is the same as OTF. Both involve waiting for someone else to move. The frustration
of waiting for a job opportunity literally feels like you'll run out of gas (time) before anything happens.
While waiting, we adapt and make ourselves as comfortable as possible, don't we? So as we inch along in our
careers, we pass a few exit ramps (opportunities), but we don't know where those roads go (after all they could
be risky), so we keep inching along on the road we know.
The solution was very obvious on the freeway - get off it!
I think the OWS protesters couldn't see an exit ramp to corporate life so they blamed the freeway (free market)
instead of the driver (themselves) for being stuck with nowhere to go. The CEO is never concerned about
people behind him, because he is looking forward, even when he isn't moving!
Taking an exit ramp on a freeway is easy, locate the exit you want (have a plan) then turn the wheels of your
car (turn in that direction) then start accelerating (into your exciting new adventure). It's so easy a 16-year old
could do it! What's got you stuck?
If I Had a Hammer
I recently heard the 1970's song that goes "If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning, I'd hammer in the
evening, all over this land..." (I don't know the name or group, so forgive me music lovers.) It got me to thinking
how we spend so much time griping about the tool (hammer) we don't have when we have other tools we could
be using instead.
It is human nature to want what we don't have. Even small children will drop the toy they have to cry about the
toy they don't have when they see it another child has it. This seems to be something most of us don't outgrow.
I don't think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting something else for our lives, but not when it keeps
us from using what we already have in our hand.
Some of the most successful people started with career aspirations other than where they ended up. One man I
know was a well paid attorney prosecuting bad guys but baked cookies in his spare time. The cookie business
was proving to be more lucrative than his law practice, yet he still struggled with wanting his hammer (law
practice). Both his law practice and his cookie business were soon floundering because he couldn't devote full
attention to either one. He ultimately stopped trying to get the hammer back and his cookie business took off.
You really can't build anything well with one hand - you need both. Get all in and build something.
A Disney Moment
I had a conversation with someone today that sparked an interesting chain of childhood memories. I realized my
childhood did not contain a single, what I call oversold advertising commercial moment. I don’t know how going
to Disney World will be the defining moment in a child’s life, particularly for a 2-year old. It won't scar them for
life to miss it.
I long for the days when kids fully participated in family activities (picnics, going to the park, Sunday dinners,
etc.) that included their parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. Everyone was invited and everyone
came. Real family activities in and of themselves are more interesting than the lives of fictional kids portrayed in
today's everyone-has-an-expensive-car-and-a-credit-card TV shows. We all know those families aren’t real
When children participate in family activities, where the focus is on the family and not the event, it produces
healthier and more mentally stable children. Most adults fondly remember helping their mom to cook more than
they remember going to Disney World. Children have stronger bonds with the people in their lives (doing
ordinary things) than they do by having expensive material things.
I remember cranking ice cream on the back porch with my brothers. I remember lying in the hammock with my
dad. I remember raking leaves and jumping in the big pile with my dog. I remember eating Sunday dinner with
real china plates and linen napkins with my grandmother. I remember catching fish in the creek with my bare
hands with my cousin.
My parents told me we went to Disneyland when I was around 7, but I don’t remember it. But I do remember the
smell of the ice cream, the sting of the rock salt on my feet, the sweet taste of the ice cream, and my father's big
feet showing up in front of me while I knelt next to the ice cream maker.
Children remember the smell of their mother's perfume, how their father's beard scratched their face when he
kissed them, the way the floor squeaked when their parents peeked in to watch them sleep and how they
pretended to be asleep. They remember the smell of bubble baths, the taste of their aunt’s green bean
casserole, and the feel of wet grass brushing their ankles in the morning.
Life isn’t about getting more. It's about enjoying what's right in front of you.
When Is Enough Enough
I went to the dollar store at lunchtime because I basically had a dollar to buy lunch. I decided on a tuna salad
snack kit. It contains a tiny can of tuna salad, six small crackers and a tiny paddle for spooning the tuna salad
onto the crackers. It wasn’t exactly the lunch of a champion but it was enough to take the hunger away for
It got me thinking about how so many things in our world have been super-sized while other things have been
covertly shrunk. This is particularly obvious with our food since it’s something we interact with every day. While
my French fries grew larger – large enough for a family of four to share a *single* serving – I noticed the
evaporated milk I cook with shrank from 16 ounces to
14 ounces. This has made it difficult for one of my favorite recipes to turn out right without cracking open a
second can to get 2 more ounces while leaving 12 ounces to spoil before I need to use evaporated milk again!
This reminds me of the story of the frog who is in a pot on the stove and doesn’t know he’s going to be boiled to
death because the water warms up slowly until it’s too hot for him to live and he cooks to death!
Our dreams are like that too. As we begin to pursue the easy path of *I need money right now* we slowly lose
sight of our dream. Each passing day our commitment to doing whatever it takes to fulfill our dream seems to be
more trouble than it is worth, because it isn’t bringing immediate rewards. So like the frog, we don’t realize our
life is over until it’s too late.
The weather has been warm so I’ve been driving around the last few days with the windows down. One of the
things I noticed was the smells coming in the car windows changed constantly. Sometimes I was smelling road
smells – diesel, exhaust and asphalt – and other times I was smelling food – chicken, fajitas, grilled onions,
bread and old grease. Occasionally I would catch
the smell of nature – pines, wet grass, flowers and cow manure.
As I tuned into the various smells it occurred to me that we get more of whatever it is we start to pay attention
to. So if I want to bring good things into my life, I need to think about good things. If I think about bad things, I
get those things too. The idea of bringing the things of your imagination into reality is not a new concept, but it
does seem to be particularly difficult for most people to do. So dream today – you’re in good company.
“Everything you can imagine is real.” ― Pablo Picasso
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.” ― Kurt Vonnegut (in
“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” ― Mark Twain
“Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create.”
― Maria Montessori
Are We There Yet?
Around this time every year, I wonder if summer will ever be over. I moved back to the south because I like a
warmer climate, particularly in the winter. But when the warm weather starts in mid-February, by the end of
August it’s been very hot for five months already, and I’m ready for some cooler weather. Unfortunately, the hot
weather isn’t over yet. It continues until Thanksgiving. Ten and half months of heat!
There are times in our life when we want something so much we pursue it without thinking of what it really
means. When we pursue a love relationship, a job opportunity or just the shiny things of this world, we are often
disappointed later when we realize just what we’ve really pursued. Without God’s guidance, blessing and favor
on what we do, we either fail miserably or are unhappy when we get what we thought we wanted.
Today pray for guidance in everything you do, before you do it, while you’re doing it and after you’re done.
If you don't know Jesus, please meet him. (I Want to Meet Jesus)
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