Rise above the little things

“Rise above the little things.”

—John Burroughs, 19th Century American essayist

Have you heard of the book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?

There is a companion workbook to help you put many of the techniques and strategies from the book into practice.

I suggest a three-step process to help you rise above the little things that often bring us all down:

EXERCISE:

Step One: Conduct a 5-10 minute inventory of the “little things” that hold you back, personally or professionally. A list of 3-5 in each category is a good start.

Step Two: Clarify the specific benefits or desired future possible if these pesky or intolerable issues were handled.

Step Three: Summon the courage, fortitude, and grit to become a bigger, more capable version of yourself. Take the necessary action and/or shift your perspective to have many of these “little things” fade away.

Feel free to reply to this post and let me know how things go.

Think like a proton and stay positive

“Think like a proton and stay positive.”

Image of Professor Proton from "The Big Bang Theory"

Image from hollywoodreporter

 

I happen to be a fan of the TV sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. In recent years they added a new character named Professor Proton, played by Bob Newhart.

Professor Proton had a significant influence on young Sheldon, which eventually led him to his career as a theoretical physicist.

Beyond the always humorous, engaging antics of the shows characters, I am always left with pleasant and positive perspective at the closing scene.

EXERCISE:

How can you shift your world from the negativity of an electron or the neutrality of a neutron, to be far more positive – like a proton – today and every day?

The greatest pollution problem

“The greatest pollution problem we face today is negativity.”

—Mary Kay Ash, late Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

Image of a smoke stack

Image from Unsplash by veertezy

How much do you care about the environment? What are your feelings about the pollution level in our waterways and air? How close to your home is the nearest landfill, toxic dump, treatment plant, or abandoned lot?

Negativity is a form of noise pollution. How bombarded do you feel by the incessant verbal, video, and other media messages spewing toxicity into your world?

EXERCISE:

What actions can you take to stop contributing literal and figurative pollution, to create a more positive and beautiful world? What additional actions can you take to clean up or help reduce the various forms of negativity/pollution caused by others?

To Set the World on Fire

“To set the world on fire, warm up to your job.”

—Arnold Glasow, 20th Century American Humor Writer

Image of a match on fire

Image from Jayroeder.com

If time is the “coin of life,” then what we do and who we do it with in our careers has a huge cost.

How satisfied and fulfilled are you in your career?

To what degree do you think and feel it is time well spent?

Unfortunately, 60-70% of the workforce doesn’t leap out of bed every morning. That fire, or even a hint of a spark, is missing.

What if we could rekindle the flames of enthusiasm and passion we had when our careers were just starting, or when we transitioned into a new venture?

EXERCISE:

Examine your current job through a fresh set of eyes. Look for what is working, what can be improved, and what’s possible, to fire up your engagement and fulfillment.

Consider picking up Adam Grant’s book, Originals, to explore many new and innovative approaches to making this important part of life more “toasty.”

Elbow Grease is the Best Polish

“Elbow grease is the best polish.”

—English Proverb

Image of "elbow Grease" tins

When I was a boy, Vaseline was always in our medicine cabinet. This magical goo is simply a brand of petroleum jelly used for cosmetic purposes like removing makeup or soothing dry skin.

We also found that a little dab of Vaseline could put quite a shine on our shoes, and provide a bit of waterproofing as a bonus!

For us Baby Boomers, the term “elbow grease” simply means hard work and doing what it takes to make something good even better.

EXERCISE:

Which current personal or professional project would shine a bit brighter with a bit more elbow grease from you or others?

You Must Look Into People as well as at Them

“You must look into people, as well as at them.”

—Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, 18th Century British Statesman

Image of a man on the beach staring into space

Taking a sincere interest and seeking to fully understand the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of another could be one of the most important things we can do to change the world around us.

How many of your problems and life challenges – not to mention those of the world – are due to breakdowns in relationships and communication in general?

How often do you find yourself or someone else engaged in surface observations of others, with a critical or judgmental perspective? How does doing so diminish the relationship qualities including respect, trust, and cooperation?

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you look more deeply into the people in your professional and personal life, to change your world for the better?

take a bath in an imaginary rainbow

“Take a bath in an imaginary rainbow. Let its colors and light rejuvenate you.”

—Barbara Ann Kipfer, Self-Meditation

Image of Horseshoe Falls at Niagara

Image of Horseshoe Falls from Flickr by ihrivera

As part of my Personal Excellence core value exercise, I often ask my clients what inspires them. On many occasions, the answers nature and beauty, or natural beauty rises to the top of the list.

With this in mind, I often remember trips my wife Wendy and I have take to Niagara Falls. On sunny days we have seen rainbows, even double rainbows, as the sunbeams shine through the spray of the pounding waterfalls.

This colorful and magical splendor always captivates and energizes us, to the point of losing track of time.

EXERCISE:

How would the practice of bathing in your own imaginary rainbows add more vibrant color to your world and energize your spirit on a daily basis?

All in the same boat

“We didn’t all come over on the same ship, but we’re all in the same boat.”

—Bernard M. Baruch, 20th Century American Philanthropist

Have you ever watched the procession of countries an the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games? Summer or Winter, you will definitely see thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries, each with their own languages, cultures, and traditions. This makes it appear that we are separate and distinct from one another.

With technology, we are in a hyper-connected world, with increasing evidence that through economic, social and environmental factors, we are all in the same boat. We sink or swim together.

EXERCISE:

Consider reading the latest edition of The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman, or his latest book, Thank You for Being Late, to explore your own place in this global boat.

Hard to See a Halo when you’re looking for Horns

“It’s hard to see a halo when you’re looking for horns.”

—Cullen Hightower, late American quip writer

Image of a halo hanging on devel's horns

Image from VG24

Are you a good person?

Most of us like to think we are – and could even prove it through the kind and generous gestures we make throughout the day.

Take a moment to look at the variety of people in your personal and professional worlds. How many have the same size halo you see above your own head? Perhaps more disturbingly, how often do you see their not-so-pleasant horns, because you are focusing on their faults and shortcomings?

EXERCISE:

Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I need to get to know him better.”

How can you, too, rise above your own fault-finding perceptions and discover far more halos in those around you?

 

Don’t Argue Your Path

“Don’t argue your path with other people. Walk it.”

—The Lazy Yogi

Meme of today's quote

Check out this cornucopia of statements that may help reduce arguments and improve your worlds:

  • Actions speak louder than words.
  • Walk your talk.
  • I don’t trust words. I trust action.
  • Let your success make the noise.
  • Don’t tell people your dreams. Show them.
  • Practice what you preach, or change your speech.
  • The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.
  • Characterize people by their actions, and you’ll never be fooled by their words.
  • People lie. Actions don’t.
  • What you do speaks so loudly I can hardly hear what you are saying.
  • Good words won’t cover up ugly actions.

EXERCISE:

Select at least one of the statements from this list and display it in your professional and personal space, where you will see it throughout the day.

Please let me know which you selected, and how it impacted your day.