Posts Tagged ‘Perceptions’

Top 10 ListBelow are the most viewed posts on this blog during 2012.  If you missed one of them or have long since forgotten what it was about, check it out.  Most are quick lessons learned of 366 words or less (the exceptions being #2 and #9 – both posts from 2011 that still were among the most viewed in 2012).

1. Be There: Giving full attention to the people you are with and not being distracted by technology or anything else.

2. Trust: The importance of trust between people, and implications if trust is broken, especially in relationships at work.

3. Sometimes All It Takes Is 20 Seconds: Inspired by the movie We Bought a Zoo, thoughts about how 20 seconds of insane courage can change your life.

4. Companies Need Customer Service Like Granny Provides: Based on my regular experiences with a sweet, old lady when I donate blood at the Red Cross, this is what customer service should be like.

5. You Need Someone At Work To Relate To: Being the only person at your business doing your type of work can be very lonely.  Having one other person to relate to can help tremendously.

6. Kisses Are Priceless: From Valentine’s Day, 2012, read about two unexpected kisses, how they made my day and why kisses are priceless.

7. Exhaustion Can Hurt So Good: After an extreme Muddy Fanatic race with good friends, the mind and spirit can be so satisfied even if the body is spent.

8. Don’t Pre-Judge: Whether dealing with people or animals, you can easily make wrong assumptions and treat others differently if you pre-judge them.

9. More Questions Than Answers: Still-unanswered questions from 2011 regarding social learning and the use of social media in learning.

10. Evil Is Real, and So Is the Cure: Reflections following the tragic elementary school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut from my Christian worldview.

Thanks to all the readers who made these the most read.  I look forward to seeing what interests you this year.

It's A Wonderful LifeOne of the annual Christmas season rituals for my wife and me is to watch the movie It’s a Wonderful Life.  We did that again tonight.  Given the number of years we’ve been doing this, it’s safe to say that I’ve seen this movie more times than any other movie.

You know the story line: James Stewart’s character, George, hits a new low when a series of unfortunate events leads him to conclude that things would be better if he had never been born.  Clumsy angel-in-training Clarence gives George the chance to see what the world would be like if that were true, proving to George that he has made a big difference in the lives of others and that he has, in fact, a wonderful life.

I don’t know anyone who always has only good things happen to them, nor anyone who is always the victim of bad.  Life is a mixture of both.  What matters is how we handle it, and that is a matter of attitude, character, determination, effort and faith.

My worst lows of the past year are nothing compared to the heartache many experienced.  I am blessed with a wonderful family, great friends, a comfortable home, a job I love that rewards me financially and intrinsically, great relationships, a church with many friends I love, and a Christian faith that serves as the core of who I am and how I see the world.

I don’t expect any movie to ever be made of my life, and if it was it would more likely be called It’s a Weird, Mixed, Unpredictable, Boring, Hypocritical Life: Why Are You Watching This?  But from where I sit as I write this in my 12-year-old recliner in my 70-year-old home beside my 2-year-old dog after 33 years of marriage, I have to agree with George.  Not because of the difference I’ve made in the lives of others (although I hope there’s truth in that), but because of all the ways others have blessed me and continue to do so, leap year lesson #357 is It’s a wonderful life.

Humble PieI had a kind, good person at work send me an email today concerned about some things I had said recently.  She feared that my remarks could be harmful if taken in a way that pitted one group against another.  While that was not my intent in making the remarks, I can certainly understand where she was coming from.  I thanked her for the comments and the manner in which she shared them and felt duly and appropriately chastised.  I was reminded that it is difficult trying to find that balance between being a change agent affecting how communication happens in a large company while maintaining good working relationships with all, including those with whom you disagree.

It is amazing how open to correction one can be when coming from a trusted source whom you respect and with whom you have a good relationship.  Had the same email come from someone I regularly did battle with, I would not have been as receptive to the correction.

None of us is perfect.  Far from it.  We have our strengths and we have our weaknesses.  We like to be reminded of and praised for our strengths, but as a rule we don’t care much for others pointing out where we fail.  Still, we need people who will do that in a kind and gentle way.  As a former pastor of mine used to say, it’s like someone throwing a velvet-covered brick at you – not as hurtful as the raw brick by itself, but it still packs a wallop.

I’ll take the words of this colleague to heart and try to be more mindful of how my words influence others, for good or bad.  I thank her for today’s leap year lesson #347: Humble pie tastes bad, but it’s good for you.

Last night I spent some time at my son Brian’s home with his roommates and some of their family.  It was my first time meeting the others except for Brian’s dog Jaina.

His roommates have a white pit bull named Roxy similar to the one shown here.  I’ve never been around pit bulls before.  My only exposure has been from occasional newscasts that tell about maulings and problems with them.  I didn’t know before arriving at the house that they had a pit bull and I’m glad I didn’t.  It might have tainted my initial experience with her.

Roxy is 6.5 years old and among the friendliest dogs I’ve ever met.  My dog, Callie, loves to lick on us more than any dog I’ve ever owned.  She and Roxy must be kindred spirits because Roxy wanted to do the same, getting up on the sofa between Linda and me, going back and forth between us as to who got the kisses and eventually laying down to cuddle up with us.  She really was remarkable.

Not having prior experience with pit bulls, I had to ask what breed she was and was a bit surprised to hear.  She doesn’t fit the mold cast by the occasional news story.

What if I’d known going in that she was a pit bull?  Would I have treated her any different?  Would I have been more standoffish?  Probably, at least until I got to know her.

Isn’t that the way it is with pre-judging others?  Pre-judging is what prejudice is all about and it isn’t always founded on reasonable grounds.  Yes, there are pit bulls trained for fighting and raised to be mean, but that isn’t the full picture of the breed.  Yes, there are other people of different nationalities, race, religion and a host of backgrounds – some of which have done bad things to you or those you care about.  But those instances don’t necessarily describe the majority.  You have to get to know people (and animals) on a personal basis to know the truth about them.  It helps if you don’t make too many assumptions going in.

Leap year lesson #327 is Don’t pre-judge.

As the temperatures turned cooler in the evenings this week in Louisville, Kentucky, I was actually a little excited to put on a warm sweatshirt and take my dog for a walk.  Not much beats the cozy comfort of a sweatshirt on a crisp, cool day.  Add my horrible looking, soft lounge pants that would embarrass anyone but me, settle in my man cave with my favorite beverage and my dog nestled up to me, and life is good.  This week we even got to experience for the first time the heated floors we put in during a recent remodel of our kitchen and master bath – another reason to be glad for the chilly temps.  Our feet were very happy.

Each season of the year brings with it its own joys – things to look forward to like the beautiful snow-covered scenes in winter, the arrival of new life and flowers in the spring, the sunny, warm days of summer and the colors of fall before the leaves leave the trees.  I suppose you can find things you don’t like about each season as well, but why would you want to concentrate on those instead of the things you enjoy?

The same goes for seasons of life.  We can’t stop the progression from one season to the next.  We can get disgruntled and dread those changes we don’t like, or we can choose to look forward to the wonderful parts of new seasons of life – independence, marriage, parenting, career changes, grandchildren, retirement, etc.

There is much that is right and good and wonderful about each season of the year and each season of life.  Choose to concentrate on the good and enjoy the season.

Leap year lesson #263 is Each season of the year and of life has its wonders.