Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar?

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar was a keynote speech I wrote for a seminar I am developing. I practiced it at Toastmasters on Saturday and they liked it -- except it needs more humor! And a new name for the seminar!

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 9

There is almost never any reason for coworkers to fight. We are people with a common goal whose main purpose for being there is to help each other reach that goal.
Yet we do fight.

But it’s not inevitable. It just that at this moment in time, people have developed a certain way of handling disagreements. If they disagree, they argue. To win the argument, they try to discredit each other. First criticizing the other person’s reasoning and, if that doesn’t work, the other person. Insults are met with insults.
The other side is seen as the enemy and, eventually, evil. The interesting thing is that both sides will act and react in this same way as if it were the only way.

But is it?
If I disagree, do I have to argue?
If I argue, do I have to win?
If someone insults me, do I have to feel insulted?
If I can’t convince someone to agree with me,
do they have to be my enemy?
If they are my enemy, do they have to be evil?

Most people seem to think that way. So it seems like it must be right or natural or inevitable. But what if this is just a rut we’ve gotten into?

In the seminar today, we’ll be learning 25 things that will help us to get out of our rut and change our perspective, to stop doing what is not working for us, to take a mental journey and look for other possibilities. The whole universe is open to us and somewhere in the universe is an answer to whatever troubles us. We can solve our problems, achieve our goals, and be the best that we can be.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 8

Or, a common situation:

Two people are fighting. One of them believes the other one is not working as hard as she is. She thinks there’s something wrong with him, that he’s lazy or crazy or stupid. She wants him fired. He knows she’s after him and he’s attacking her, too.

What if they knew:

We are all doing the best we can. For us to do better than we’re doing, we need more than we’ve got -- more skills, more knowledge, or more motivation. We need assistance, not punishment.

Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses. People working together build on each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses in a way that one person can’t do.

Imagine the best employee in the company. Imagine an office full of clones of that person. See what I mean?

We need to do the jobs we were hired to do. Beyond that, if it happens that one person’s talent or skills or motivation are of greater value to a company, the company needs to pay that person more. We don’t need to fight about it.

There is almost never any reason for coworkers to fight. We are people with a common goal whose sole purpose for being there is to help each other reach that goal. Wow!

Sometimes we need to take a mental journey and look at things from a different perspective. It won’t change who we are. It will allow us to see and make choices that allow us to solve our problems, achieve our goals, and be the best that we can be.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 7

The point of resolving a conflict isn’t to figure out who was right, but to figure out how to solve the problem in light of the situation. The problem is not that we disagree, but that our disagreement prevents us from doing something together.

Here’s an conflict in black and white:

The owner of the company decides that we need a general manager. He hires one and makes him the boss, my boss. He seems all right. Everything goes along pretty much as before. Then he starts messing with my job. Some things that I supervise, he starts supervising. Some things that I supervise, he gives to other people to supervise. Slowly but surely, he dismantles my job. He is my enemy. He is evil. I fight him to the death. We suffer, everybody around us suffers, until I quit because I know they will fire me if I don’t.

What if it had gone this way:

The owner of the company decides that we need a general manager. After a while, he starts changing my job. I pay attention to what he is doing. I consider that it might be a good thing, better for the company. We discuss it. He tells me the reason he is making the changes is that there are too many levels of management around here. That’s his decision to make. We find something else for me to do or he gives me some severance pay, writes me a wonderful recommendation, and helps me find another job.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 6

You learn to tie your shoes in a certain way and you keep doing it because that’s the way it’s done. You learn to think in a certain way and you keep doing it because that’s the way everybody does it.

I don’t mean that everybody thinks the same things. I mean that everybody thinks in the same way. And that even people who agree on nothing think in the same way.

Right and wrong, win and lose, never and always. Good and evil, black and white, friend and enemy. We think in dichotomies, inevitabilities, and absolutes. But nothing in reality is like that. So our way of thinking gets in the way of our thinking. And we can’t really solve our problems or achieve our goals.

When two people argue, is one of them right and one of them wrong? What if they are both right? Not just sometimes, but most of the time?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 5

I was different but I wasn’t really changed. I had discovered something in myself that I didn’t know was there. I had gone on a journey and come back to the place I started. And I had gained another piece of all that I can be.

That is what happens to you. All the research and planning make you think that you, the person you are now, can do this. But you can’t. Because in doing something so far from your norm, you can’t help but make new discoveries about the thing that you are doing and about yourself.

It’s like the difference between being given directions to a place and actually going there. When people give you directions, they only tell you what roads to take. When you go there, you see the grass and the trees and the mountains in the distance, you smell the honeysuckle, you hear the birds, you feel the earth under your feet. That’s the difference between thinking about doing something and actually doing it.

These are things that you can do, physical things. There are also journeys that your mind can go on from which it will return with a whole new perspective.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 4

Maybe you, too, have done something exciting, exotic, and unexpected? Strange how it affects you, isn’t it? No matter how much you research, prepare, and think you have learned everything about it, there are things that people never tell you,
maybe don’t know how to explain, unless you’ve been there.

Anybody can see that driving a truck would be fun. Remember how competent you felt when you first drove a car alone? Well, multiple that a hundredfold when your vehicle weighs 40 tons. But there were other things I didn’t expect. That the whole country would become like my home neighborhood, familiar and friendly. That I would always see a few people I knew on each coast to coast run because they were traveling the same routes as I was. That I would talk to so many strangers, because we were always talking, talking, talking to keep ourselves awake and alert.

Whether or not you stay with it, return to what you were doing before, or go on to something else, it changes you. Or does it?

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 3

You developed the habit of believing that everything was known or else unknowable. At least by you, the young and inexperienced. For everything you wanted, there was someone to teach you how to get it or else to tell you that you couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t have it. Why? You asked. Because that’s the way it is. They said.

I remember, just after my 25th birthday, I was sitting in front of the tv after my boyfriend had gone to bed, kind of watching it and kind of not, entertaining stray thoughts. It suddenly occurred to me that I was late in doing what I was supposed to do. I didn’t have a husband or children or a house. I didn’t want any of those things. I just realized in that moment that I had believed all my life that those events would be automatic. But they weren’t. I would have to do something to make those things happen. And I didn’t even want them to happen. But, if not, my whole life didn’t have a plan! And that was so scary it really freaked me out, as we used to say.

Within the year, I had become a truck driver. I found a truck driving school and learned how to drive an 18-wheeler. A man I knew, the father of a friend, told me about a place where I could get a job and I moved a thousand miles from the place where I had lived all my life to go to work as a truck driver. That was back when there were hardly any women truck drivers except for the few that drove with their husbands or boyfriends.

Sometimes it amazed me that I had done it. You might be proud of me and think that I was daring and independent. But that wasn’t it. I was just more afraid of my life as it was than of the unknown. I saw a way to get out of my rut into a different one, one that looked more interesting. And it certainly was!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar 2

What's all that got to do with the journey? It's this. The point of the journey, of life, is what happens on the journey. If we stay on whatever path we were set on to begin with, by the circumstances of our lives or someone else’s design,then we will stay the undeveloped beings that we began as.

You remember being a baby, don’t you? You could barely make out that there was a world outside of yourself, dim and distant and incomprehensible. There was satisfaction that sometimes slipped over into pleasure. There was discomfort that sometimes worsened into pain. And nothing else. You waited for things to happen to you, having no choice. You hoped they would be good things.

Time moved on and your body developed. You found out that those things on the ends of your arms were your hands. You learned how to use them to get your own cookie.
You learned how to tie your shoes, which was very difficult at first. Still is. The outside world came into clearer focus. That was where the pleasure came from, and the pain. But still beyond your understanding.

As you grew, you relied on other people to teach you how the world worked, how to get what you wanted, and even what to want. Just like they had taught you to tie your shoes.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Better Life Success Enrichment Seminar

Life is a journey... And we might make that journey in a straight line from beginning to end, traveling as safely as possible down the road that is right in front of us... No! Getting to the end the easiest way is not the point.

What is the point, you say? What are we here? What is the meaning of life? I don't know! In my youth, maybe like you, I spent a lot of time trying to figure that out. I read the philosophers. Okay, not all of them, they were pretty boring. But I saw there are no certain answers to those questions. I finally came to this conclusion: Whatever human beings are here for, whatever our purpose is, it must have something to do with being human. And if we only strive to be the best human beings that we can be, then whatever comes, we're doing what we should be doing. And we're the happiest when we're being the best that we can be, too. So, our purpose is in our lives and the way we live them.

What's all that got to do with the journey? It's this. There's no growth in doing what's easy, what other people have given you, what's expected. Growth is in doing things that you didn't know you could do, that you have never done, that no one expects you to do.

Preparing Book for Print

I haven't really been idle the last week, just getting ready to have the book printed or make it available for print on demand (POD). More about that later.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Star Trek Experience

There really is a difference between just cruising through life and really paying attention to what you're doing. It's like the difference between sitting in one of the back rows and sitting in the very first row on the virtual reality ride called the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton in Las Vegas. From the back row, it's like watching a movie. From the front row, it's like flying in space ship! A few feet, a different perspective, you wouldn't think, but it's completely different.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Life is Many Journeys

Life is a journey and, if we're lucky, it is also many journeys, each of which takes us out of whatever safe haven we have created for ourselves into something exciting and new and then brings us back again. When we return, we are the same and yet, we are more than we were. As if we had discovered some part of ourselves that had always been there but that we hadn't been aware of.

I went on a journey like that. I didn't intend to or even know it was possible. I was just cruising along, enjoying my life, enjoying my work, trying to stay out of trouble, which wasn't too hard because I was content. Kind of humming through my life. Not really paying attention or giving anything much thought because everything was pretty easy. And it seemed like everybody around me was mostly doing the same. Just cruising. And then one day, I was talking to a man and all of a sudden I realized that he was paying attention. He was really listening. He was thinking about what I said, what he said. He was talking and acting deliberately.
It was as if everyone else, including me, was sleepwalking and he was awake and standing there looking at me. It woke me up. I started paying attention. And I learned.