Wednesday, April 17, 2013
A man had made a wrong turn on a trip and was lost. He saw a farmer in a nearby field and asked the farmer if he could tell him the way to the nearest town. The farmer looked up from his work and said “Well, to begin with I would not start from here”.
Funny...but also an interesting thought about getting where we are going. A simple idea, to get where we are going it matters where we start....oh yeah and usually determines where we end.
This got me thinking about goals or the lack of.....
Do we have to have goals? absolutely not. Actually it is much easier and less stressful and of course a lot less work to not have them.
The thing about goals is living without them is a lot more fun, in the short run.
Not having a goal will let you spend time doing what you want right now.
If you don't have a goal, you never have to worry about missing it.
If you don't have a goal, there is definitely less work.
If you don't have a goal you don't need nearly as many reasons or excuses on why you didn't show up, pass, or win.
One last thought though, thinking about the people I know who are successful, the people who get things done, who lead, who grow and who make an impact... those people have goals.
Ok...I get it....off now to set some goals.
Posted by Chris Thomason at 3:30 AM
Friday, March 29, 2013
When it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us.
It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. Of course, everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we're more affected by our environment than we think. So with this thought I realize I not only want to be aware of my influences but more importantly how I am influencing others.
Here are results from a recent survey by the University of Virginia of some highly sought after character traits most people would like to have in their life.
The “True Grit” mindset; the ability to hang in there, tough it out, persevere and recover from setback. This is a master trait that is deemed critical to success in life. Researchers Angela Duckworth and Christopher Peterson simply deem the trait “grit” and define it as such: “Perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Grit entails working strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress. The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina. Whereas disappointment or boredom signals to others that it is time to change trajectory and cut losses, the gritty individual stays the course.” Across many different career fields, grit was regularly cited as a reason that star performers became successful, even more so than more “talented” individuals.
Defined; “meaningful connection to others”
Commonly seen as a team-player ability, awareness of others, and the ability to read other people’s emotions and connect with them in meaningful ways. Knowing when and how to negotiate, collaborate, and compromise are elements of social intelligence.
An essential feeling of appreciation for what we have been given. Gratitude is central to a positive outlook on life, and ultimately gratitude to God at every opportunity. Dr. Robert Emmons, a professor at UC-Davis, states that “Gratitude enriches human life. It elevates, energizes, inspires and transforms. People are moved, opened and humbled through expressions of gratitude.” Dr. Emmons also states that gratitude is a “chosen attitude” and must be willing to recognize and acknowledge that we are the recipients of an unearned benefit.
More than simply “being nice,” kindness involves giving of one’s self — something that is a sacrifice of your time, your effort, your true consideration.
The ability to regulate one’s feelings and impulses; to recognize feelings and manage them, edit them, and not be run by them. This is also a master trait that is deemed critical to success in life. One way this is shown in development is the ability to delay short-term gratification for bigger long-term rewards.
The ability to see the positive opportunity in situations. Optimism is linked to self-confidence and a positive outlook on life. In fact, having a 3:1 positive to negative thought ratio is shown to broaden people’s ideas about possibilities, open our awareness to a wider range of thoughts… making us more receptive and creative; says UNC professor Barbara Fredrickson.
A Thirst for Knowledge
In today's fast paced world, if you don't keep learning, you're not standing still, you're falling behind. A great quote from Gandhi nails it when it comes to lifelong learning... "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever."
If these are the most sought after traits then we need to be aware of how we are influencing others and how we are being influenced in these areas.
If as psychologist Viktor Frankl said, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life and everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment.”, then it becomes very important to realize part of our specific mission is to influence not just to be influenced.
Success is . . .
knowing your purpose in life,
growing to reach your maximum potential, and sowing seeds that benefit others. - John Maxwell
Posted by Chris Thomason at 2:00 PM
Saturday, February 23, 2013
The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." - Albert Einstein
Two things I have realized, one, the problem or problems we face are usually just symptoms of the real problem. Secondly, the problems are usually the downstream result of a previous solution. i.e. a decision was made for a reason and it is not working or at least not working like it used to.....things changed.
Most of us use negation as our problem solving technique. Negation problem-solving is like a snow plow, plowing a road in an endless winter. At first plowing is easy and slowly the snow banks build up. Eventually, the snow banks are high and above the height of the plow. The plow merely pushes snow around in the canyon of its own making. If the snow keeps coming eventually the weight of the snow trapped between the banks is too much to move.
"The most serious mistakes are not being made as a result of wrong answers. The truly dangerous thing is asking the wrong questions." — Peter Drucker
So we have to look for a better way to leverage a solution against the problems without causing more problems. Each step of a solution addresses current reality with an implemented solution. Each step fully anticipates a future solution and naturally produces both short term results and provides leverage for achieving the ultimate long term solution.
So, here is what I have and more importantly am learning: "structure determines performance". Our solutions when implemented create structure and these structures support our desired results.This direction is the opposite of the snow plow problem and is more like building bridges where sometimes the step by step building of a strong structure gets us to the other side.
And...just a thought (pointing to myself) to remember.....problems are problems but problems even though caused mostly by people are not more important than people. How we approach and respond to problems usually impacts positively or negatively someone.
Lastly, even though I would like to, I don't have all the answers. I need help. I need a team. Most importantly, I need God who does have all the answers.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. - Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message)
Posted by Chris Thomason at 11:21 AM
Sunday, January 20, 2013
We have been watching the BBC's new version of Sherlock Holmes at our house and we are totally hooked. This series is set in current day London with Sherlock and Watson doing what they do best, solving mysteries. The characters are compelling in this current incarnation but with some new twists to their well know "character" qualities.
I am sure if most of us could choose to be one or the other of these characters most of us would probably choose Holmes. He is incredibly brilliant but also incredibly perceptive being the consummate problem-solver. Holmes is capable of reading anyone in the room based on his ability to read the smallest details....even the dirt on shoes or food stains on their clothes or dirt under their finger nails.
"The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes." -Sherlock Holmes -The Hound of the Baskervilles
It is much more exciting to think like Holmes bur if we are honest most of us are more like Dr. Watson than Sherlock. We are perfectly observant and well-intentioned but most of the time we easily jump to conclusions and oblivious to the details giving us the clues to the best solutions.
Of course Holmes and Watson are fictional characters and even their fictional characters have "human flaws" we should not aspire to implement into our own lives but here are a few "observations" that could possibly help us in the real world:
1. Expand the knowledge - Holmes has a wide range of knowledge and Watson is a great researcher. Education is valuable and being willing to learn new things will make life interesting and valuable.
2. Consider the facts - When problem solving it is easy to jump to conclusions before knowing all the facts....seek the truth.
3. Alternative problem solving - Sometimes the best problem solving solutions have been proven but there may also be other options yet to consider.....trying a different approach just may reveal the answer!
4. Your reputation precedes you - Holmes' ability to solve problems leads to success and his success leads to people seeking him out to help them. He does seek out cases but he is also never lacking for opportunities. Character, abilities, and work ethic are important factors to any success.
5. Team is important - Even the brilliant Holmes has someone to bounce ideas off of and help execute a plan. Watson's experience, education, and background are invaluable to each problem. No one is an island......the right team makes a big difference
6. Details matter - Whatever version of Holmes, classic or modern is your favorite, his famous quality is his eye for detail. A passion for the details doesn't come as easy for me as Holmes of course but the dividends of being diligent in the details even when it would be easier to skip some steps pays off big dividends in any project.
I may never be as brilliant as Sherlock Holmes but maybe I can use some of his techniques to solve some future challenges.
In our way, a problem, and its solution is its own reward. - Sherlock Holmes
Posted by Chris Thomason at 3:17 AM
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Robert kindly sent me a copy before the release date and I started reading it immediately. I felt like the old joke about the the guy who read the book on "Anti Gravity"....they asked him what he thought and he said "I couldn't put it down". Get it? Anti Gravity...I couldn't put it down? ok bad joke. But seriously, this is book is no joke, Robert has provided us with an insight in 20,000 Days and Counting that truly relates to each of us and I believe will change the way you think about the rest of your days here on this earth.
A book of hope, encouragement,
and no kidding life impacting results!
The book will officially release January 3rd but you can find it and order on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, or Booksamillion.com.
Robert asked me to read it and tell him what I think and I did....but I couldn't stop there, I had to tell you as well!
You can see my official Amazon review by clicking HERE.
Happy New Year and Happy counting your value to the world in the 365 days.
Here is a video from Robert telling you a bit more about the book:
Posted by Chris Thomason at 1:46 PM