Monday, October 17, 2011


With the advent of  yet another birthday right around the corner, and considering what I would do on that day, I wondered the following:  
When did the custom of celebrating birthdays begin?  
And - What's the point of celebrating your birthday?  

I know many of you are probably saying:  What?  
Of course it's a good thing.  
Nobody better forget my birthday.  

I recall that when my birthday came around in my younger days I was very excited about it.  Just the fact that we were in the month of October was enough reason to celebrate.  Nowadays, it's still nice, but definitely less exciting as I near 50.  Still, what should my attitude be about my own birthday?  Did I accomplish something by living one more year.  Many times I have semi-sarcastically congratulated co-workers in their birthday card for making it another year.  

What should the occasion of another year of life completed entail?
It's nice to have your birthday remembered, to have people honor your birth and show their appreciation of you.  But what should it mean personally?

My work used to give a day off for birthdays.  They stopped that perk a few years back, but I still (usually) take the day off anyway.  Partially to passively protest losing that benefit, but mostly to have time to reflect on another year in the books.  What did I accomplish?  What do I need to accomplish?  I think there is a benefit to this kind of Self Examination.  It allows you a moment to assess where you're at and think about where you need to be.  Not that you can't do that on any other day.  But an anniversary like a birthday seems a very appropriate time to pause and consider just those kinds of things. 

Don't misunderstand - I'll still eat cake and accept presents too.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Be What You Are

I wasn't planning on writing any more on this blog until I moved to a new site.  But since I'm still getting hits and it's been 2 weeks, I thought I should dust off some drafts I had previously started.

Are you a victim?
Do you have a victim mentality?
Or are you a warrior!
I know that's a question but I'm putting an exclamation mark after it.

You may have heard the saying that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.  How can someone who seems to have been handed a pitiful life situation be upbeat and positive and even seem to make something good out of adversity; while another who appears to have relatively minor problems be so depressed and depressing to be around?

Our attitude decides the outcome.

This is a topic similar to others that have been posted on this site.  My last post about the Pain Benefit is highly related, but these concepts warrant repeating and of being re-reminded about.

Do you have the kind of attitude that can be hit with a negative, absorb the impact and convert the energy into something that's positive?

But that's hard, you say.  Of course it is, but do it anyway.  Find a way.  Search for the reason, and lacking that, seek the upside.  What's the alternative?  The Victim Mentality and all the negativity that can flow, be reproduced even, out of that.  I'm not saying Positive Thinking is the solution to all your problems.  However, I am saying positive thinking is right and good.  Especially when positive lessons and actions flow out of that.  The victim is defeated and helpless.  The warrior sees opportunity for improvement (victory) and the option and ability to forge his own path.  He also has the ability to lift others up with him.  The victim cannot.

Live your life with purpose.  Be an encourager.  Look for opportunity.

Is life an adventure for you?  I was struck by Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 when he said (and I paraphrase):  Do you wake up in the morning dreading what you've got to do that day, or looking forward to it?  He then said if he spent too many days dreading it, he needed to change what he was doing.  I've told my kids that it's wonderful to make good money, but it would be tragic if it was made doing something you didn't like.  40 hours a week X 50 weeks a year X 50 years of working is a long, long time to spend NOT liking what you're doing.

A victim is not on an adventure.  A victim toils in despair.
A warrior finds his path and is energized by walking it- and even struggling with it.

Have you had negative events in your life knock you down?  Of course you have.
Do you like it down there?  Nope.  Then get up.  What's the alternative?
The ironic thing is that most people who have the victim mentality are actually, like Gulliver, tied down with threads.  They can rise up but their mind is shackled with beliefs no stronger than threads that say they can't.  We are in a battle everyday.  Rather than be scared, be prepared, expect it. 
Be ready to engage and facilitate victory.

Be what you are - more than a conqueror.