Today is the start of a new series of Lessons at eHappyLife.com. This series will replace the WEEKLY POLLS that we have consistently presented every Sunday for over two years. Our Weekly Polls make up a significant wealth of knowledge on many topics relating to living a more productive, fulfilling and healthier life. They will continue to reside on our website for future reference to learn about the opinions of our viewers between 2002-2004.
We've heard it said throughout our lifetime that most people have to learn lessons through EXPERIENCE. I think it's unfortunate, but this statement tends to be true. With the multitude of resources in our world today to tap people still seem to need the hard knocks of experience to Learn Life's Lessons.
It's no secret that I believe it's much better to Avoid The School Of Hard Knocks. Thus in the weeks and months ahead, I will share some lessons I have learned from my own experiences as well as from those I love and associate with.
If there's one simple bit of advice that can stand the test of time it might be "Never, ever take anyone or anything for granted." Especially your parents! Keep in mind that beside your "Real Deal Relationship" we wrote about last week your parents should truly be special people in your life.
Children come into this world as helpless and dependent individuals with overwhelming needs. Those infants who enter our world to loving and responsible parents, who have planned to have children and can't wait to nurture them, are indeed among the fortunate individuals to arrive to planet earth. I am not an expert on this topic and have no idea on the statistics regarding the fortunate individuals described above. However, my gut tells me that the percentage entering the worldwide population under these circumstances is far too low.
During our lifetime, we become a part of so many different relationships. We interact with others from school, our jobs, businesses or travel. Many of these casual relationships have very short life-spans. However, too often we prioritize our time in these relationships ahead of the most important relationships one can have are those of our family and kids!
This week's lesson is all about sharing. It's especially addressed to more mature individuals who are fortunate enough to have the means to do so. However, the process of sharing should not wait until middle age. Instead it should begin as early in life as possible.
This week's lesson is about understanding the proposition and value of short-term relationships in comparison with long-term relationships. Throughout our lives, we become temporarily attached and loyal to strangers we meet during our travels; in schools; the workplace; and while members of a group or organization. These relationships are formed by the bonds of having somewhat similar interests at a given time-span during our lives. For example, we may take a cruise and enjoy the company of others we meet on the ship.
There is a great deal that we can all learn by being associated with teams. Teams come in all sizes and are formed for all causes. Let's take a look at some examples of teams that form. A team can consist of a loving couple; an immediate family; business partners; co-workers; small or large athletic teams; National Olympic teams, research teams; political teams; Red Cross teams; military teams; or just let your imagination take over from here.
I am not sure at what point in history, human beings became apathetic and numb to the bombardment of lies we have to deal with on a daily basis. Since most people are engaged in multiple relationships or interactions with others each day, it may seem we have to constantly wonder if what someone is telling us is the truth.
In order to experience a more peaceful existence on Planet Earth, it's necessary to accept the following fact of life: We all have different perceptions and opinions regarding the daily circumstances, events, interactions and interpersonal relationships we are faced with each day. The following "lesson to be learned this week" can possibly reduce lots of stress, aggravation and loss of relationships we humans seem destined to experience throughout our lifetime.
In almost any relationship you engage in, I believe it's a good practice to exceed the other individual's expectations. But this practice is truly essential to achieving success in obtaining a position with a potential employer.
Speaking from my personal experiences as a former employee of several companies including a short stint as an employment consultant for a job search agency; as well as my experience of being an employer for over two decades - I would like to share some of my observations, philosophies and lessons to be learned regarding this subject.
Take a moment to reflect on the volume of numbers and stats we are bombarded with on a daily basis. As an example, leading up to our presidential election this past Tuesday, the media touted polls and probabilities of the results from far too many sources. Years ago we left most of the polling to the Gallup organization to predict results in elections. Now everyone is in the polling game from Newspapers and TV networks to internet and private polling organizations.
In the 1980's, Bill Gates of Microsoft set forth a very simple but lofty vision for the PC industry. He envisioned the day would come when a computer would sit on every desk in the business world as well as in every home. When PC's first arrived they were both expensive to purchase and somewhat difficult to use. Many baby boomers of the 50 years + vintage today were slow to embrace Bill's vision. Life was just fine without PC's for many individuals and some still cringe at the thought of having to boot up their kid's PC.
The road one must travel to improve their skills can be a dark, bumpy and lonely road. That's probably why so few brave individuals dare to travel down this road very often. Most individuals will find it much easier living their lives in their established comfort zones of familiar activities and daily habits that pose no threats to their ego. They will remain in their comfort zones as long as the conditions for doing so are permitting.
In this week's lesson, we will discuss executing our goals, by utilizing a simple strategy. With January 2005 fast approaching, we must all surely be thinking about setting some goals for the New Year. Too often individuals have a tendency to set goals for a new year that are far beyond their reach. It's wonderful to be able to stretch yourself a bit, by thinking BIG. However, if your plans seem impossible, and you do not have the right strategy to achieve them, you might very well be discouraged by February 1st.
In last week's lesson, we discussed the principle of "Doing the Do-able." We focused on setting achievable goals and continually performing do-able tasks en-route to their accomplishment. As a continuation to that discussion, we will focus this week on moving the people who are move-able and leaving the un-moved-able behind.
Did you ever wonder what this world would be like if people would follow-up on their promises? If they would simply do what they say they will do? I am often intrigued as well as saddened by the fact that so few people can actually come through on what they tell you or promise. Thus, I thought I would ponder in this week's lesson the importance of coming through on your promises and provide a formula that works for me.
Yesterday was a sad day for me and my family as we attended the funeral of my Dear Uncle Mike. During my lifetime, I have never known a kinder, more generous or giving individual than my Uncle Mike. He was a W.W. II veteran who served his country in France as a young Medic. His exposure to the sick and wounded there resulted in a terrible illness that forced him to suffer for four years in an Army hospital. Yet there was never a mention of bitterness, for the pain and suffering he endured, as he defended the freedom of his country.
What are five of the most meaningful words that are put together in one phrase, and can be music to one's ears? How about "You Can Count On Me?" Everyone wants to believe that there's someone out there in their sphere of influence, whom they can truly count on when needed. However, as simple as this phrase may be to say, it's not as easy to always execute as promised.
As we begin a brand new year in 2005, many of us will be searching for ways to make this New Year better than those of the past. What separates us from plants and other animals is we humans have the power of choice to either find a way to improve our lives, maintain the status quo, or regress backwards. We are not like a cornstalk or chicken on a farm whose destiny is pretty much laid out from its inception. We can dream, become inspired, plan and execute with great pride, in order to steer our life in a direction that's different than others of our specie.
It's common for individuals to seek all forms of independence throughout their lives. Small children, teens, young adults, young couples, boomers, seniors, even centenarians all seem to dislike being told what to do or when to do it. Most individuals want to make their own decisions about their destiny and do what they please whenever possible. We are all seeking to be INDEPENDENT!
The title of this lesson is probably the most over-used excuse for not showing up for an important event or getting something done on time. Perhaps you missed your son or daughter's big game they played in? Or maybe you blew an assignment due at school or at work? Or perhaps you keep putting off a promise you made to your loving partner to start an exercise routine or a dance class. Whatever it might be, we all seem to run out of time for things we promise to do or are supposed to do. But hey...there's no need for feeling guilty about not having the time...Right?
Included in this week and next week's lessons, we will be discussing two common strategies to use throughout life in order to avoid more daily disappointments than are necessary. Disappointments as you well realize, are inevitable every day of the week. It's impossible to live a disappointment free life. However if you make it a practice to "Avoid Assuming Anything" whenever possible, and "Never Take Anything For Granted," you will decrease the number of disappointments and stress occurring events.
Unfortunately we all have a tendency to accentuate and discuss every event and interaction we engage in daily that seems to go wrong in our lives. Perhaps we are trained by the news media which accentuates the negative, because it seems more interesting and holds a viewer's attention more than a positive story. The news media focuses on deaths, disasters, disease and discomforting stories which can easily lead an individual to feeling a little depressed. After viewing thirty minutes of an Evening News broadcast, did you ever wonder if anything went right in the world during that day?
Today's Super Bowl XXXIX gave me the inspiration to write about the Power of Fan Loyalty. Since I lived in the Philadelphia and South Jersey area most of my life, there's something special about watching your hometown football team make it to the Super Bowl. Despite the facts that I'm not a die-hard pro football fan or rarely attend games, there's a certain feeling of pride and loyalty that shoots through my veins at times like this.
The world around us is constantly changing. On any given business day, top companies are trying to figure out what changes they can make to improve their revenues and profits. Companies like Intel, 3M and Pfizer invest billions annually, to produce new and improved products. They know that every single product has a given useful lifespan and they want to make sure their pipeline of products is full of new and exciting improvements and innovations.
If we are fortunate enough to avoid an accidental or catastrophic end to our existence, we may be a candidate for a long and natural life. If a natural life is our destiny, we probably will enter this world and exit it at a predictable VALLEY of our life cycle. Of course there are some exceptions to our status at exit time, however few will disagree that when we enter this world, we are weak and dependent beings with no place to go but up.
Our lesson on Peaks and Valleys discussed the notion of trying to make the valleys temporary by attempting to continuously reach for higher peaks, by learning and reinventing your skills, abilities, systems and processes throughout your life. The process of reinvention is never an easy one if you have a tendency, like most adults in our species, to fall into comfort zones. Going the extra mile every day for yourself, your family, friends or clients takes lots of energy, effort, and most of all the will to serve the needs of yourself and others better today than you did yesterday.
I always found it both fascinating and pleasurable to be in the presence of individuals who possess great wisdom. There's a lot to learn from wise people and they can save you a great deal of time, energy and provide a clear way to get exactly where you want to go. For the purpose of this discussion, we will define the word wisdom as follows: "the trait of utilizing extensive knowledge and experience with common sense and insight."
In last week's lesson we discussed WISDOM and described it as: "the trait of utilizing extensive knowledge and experience with common sense and insight." We discussed how wisdom regarding a topic develops over decades of experiences. Miraculously, during this same time period, I believe most of us are simultaneously developing INTUITION and INSTINCTS to deal with many of life's choices and perform skills effectively.
Throughout the many roles I have engaged in during my lifetime, I have been a proponent of accomplishing worthy goals "a little bit at a time." As a child, my mother would always remind me to try and finish whatever I started and always do it to the best of my ability. Whether I was sitting down to eat a meal or doing a project for school, her message was the same. FINISH IT! She didn't care if I was a slow eater or how long it took to complete my assignments. Her message was the same, Always do your.....don't give up.....and finish what you start.
From a young child, I learned that SPEED can make a significant difference in your life. As a kid at the schoolyard, speed was extremely important when your peers were choosing up sides to play baseball or football. No one ever wanted to be chosen last or maybe not even get into the game at all because there were too many players. Your ability to RUN QUICKLY really counted and the fastest kids were usually chosen first.
A great deal has been written about the mystical 80-20 Principle or Rule, often called the Pareto Principle. Its origin dates back to 1906 when an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto studied the distribution of wealth. Pareto concluded that 20% of the people received 80% of the wealth. I don't believe that anyone would be surprised today, in our statistically overloaded world to learn that the majority of the wealth and assets are controlled by a few. However in 1906 when there were no computers or even calculators, this was probably a surprising revelation.
You would be hard pressed to find many individuals in this world who do not enjoy feeling appreciated by their love ones, co-workers, family and friends. Yet I have learned that there's a "law of diminishing appreciation" that occurs in too many relationships as people take others efforts totally for granted. Before writing about this topic, I want to preface that this topic can hit a nerve in sensitive individuals who may read this and be quite an upsetting topic to discuss candidly.
Many of the greatest feelings of satisfaction can result from the times you were able to "Think through, Focus and Finish Things!" Throughout our lives, we will always be faced with a multitude of challenges. As young children, we were challenged in school with math problems, homework assignment and projects. Then we moved on to high school and the math gets more difficult; the homework assignments more time consuming; and the projects more complex. If you continue on to college, expect a repeat of the same, less perhaps the math, unless you major in a field that requires math.
If you have invested any time reading the lessons, articles, polls, or resources presented at eHappyLife.com, you probably are familiar by now with my philosophy regarding the importance of life-long learning. Every day presents us with new challenges to overcome; regardless of your age, health status, financial status, marital status, or any other measurement, group or category you would like to compare yourself to. So it's important to keep your seat belts fastened and stay prepared for the roller coaster ride of life.
I have conducted many polls on the eHappyLife website and written many articles through the years, devoted to the topic of TIME. As with this article, I continue to write about TIME because it always tends to remind me to value my own time in the context of being my most precious asset.
Today is Mother's Day and an opportune time to discuss these "Wonderful Ladies" in our lives. I have been a witness to watching unselfish and tireless Moms give and sacrifice unconditionally for their children during their entire lifetime, as they display the incredible will and strength that human beings possess. As I see it, the whole process of motherhood is quite a miraculous journey.
I believe that writing can be a wonderful skill to develop, to help one learn, share and communicate their knowledge and thoughts with others. Speaking from my own experience on this topic, I believe that I have been able to greatly enhance my understanding about a multitude of life topics, by reading, researching and subsequently thinking about and discussing what I've learned via written communications.
Last week we discussed how writing can help you to learn and share. The same could be said about listening. There's a great deal to learn from listening intently to others. By doing so, you will also become better at sharing your knowledge and create mutual win-win solutions . Too often we relate how well we communicate through the spoken word by the breadth of our vocabulary or how eloquently we can deliver an explanation, presentation or speech. However, I believe that listening can contribute up to 70% of our verbal communication effectiveness.
When you are growing up, Memorial Day is associated with a great barbeque and the official start of the summer season down the shore. Since this special day was changed to always fall on a Monday to create a long weekend, it lost the true significance of why we even celebrate it. I'm sure that if Jay Leno did a "Jaywalker" routine, where he polls people on the street asking them simple questions about American life many of those he might poll wouldn't have the slightest idea about the meaning of Memorial Day. That's not only unfortunate, but also very sad.
To say that "Changing is Difficult" can be quite an understatement. Sometimes it appears that changing one's learned or acquired behavior, habits or routines seems nearly impossible. From decades of my own experiences, serving in roles from student/teacher; employee/employer; customer/supplier; participant/coach; follower/leader; son/father; etc. I have witnessed first hand how difficult change can be for myself and others. Just when it appears some positive changes are occurring, the old habits seem to slip back into the picture like nature grows weeds on a beautiful lawn.
By now, you are probably just as tired of hearing the pundits warn about a real estate bubble as I am. Once the media gets a hold of an idea of interest to the public, they will over analyze it 24/7 on TV, radio, magazines, books and newspapers. The front cover of almost every business magazine I subscribe to features a headline mentioning the real estate bubble. But like all predictions that are inevitable such as this one, no one really goes out on a limb to pinpoint the exact time that this bubble will burst.
It's Father's Day 2005 and a perfect time for a perspective regarding the important "role of fatherhood." Just like being a mother, fatherhood can be one of the most challenging roles you will ever encounter during your lifetime. Unlike any job or business with a distinctive starting and ending date to your tenure, being a father is a life-long commitment with life-long responsibilities.
Throughout my lifetime, I always believed it was extremely important to treat customers, or anyone I interacted with, in a courteous manner. Anything less has proved to immediately put others on the defensive and lessen the chances of engaging in win-win interactions and relationships. However with each passing day, I notice that being treated with courtesy is becoming a lost art. Thus I thought I would shed some light on the importance of this lost art, with the hopes that we can all improve in some fashion.
As with many holidays that are celebrated around the world, the citizens of countries can sometimes forget the true significance of why we celebrate a particular holiday. Tomorrow being July 4th and Independence Day, I made it a point this weekend to listen to the Best Selling Book titled "1776" by David McCullough to put me into a true holiday spirit. David McCullough is a very thorough author who knows how to bring history to life.
I was inspired by a sermon at church today regarding the fact that individuals need to LEARN how to use the tools that are available to them, by trying to develop new passions and skills. A good example was used in the sermon, referring to the great artists who used simple tools like paint brushes and chisels to create beautiful paintings and sculptures all over Rome, Italy. The beauty that men and women have the ability to create is absolutely extraordinary. The sermon led on to the fact that all of us have hidden talents, yet unfortunately too many of us will never use them.
As you know, the Baby Boomers are about to change the economic landscape once again, as they plan to retire soon. During the last five decades, every move that this large group of individuals have made, has had a great impact on the sales of products and services sold in the United States. Dating back to the phenomenal sales of hoola hoops, to the incredible strength of the Lexus Brand today, the Boomers have had tremendous influence on the marketplace.
Throughout our entire lives, we participate in many games. Every game has some established rules that were created before we became either participants or spectators. Although the rules may not be to your liking, if you're going to participate, you need to follow the rules or face expulsion from the game. The range of activities and games are so broad that they cover just about every spectrum of our life from birth to death.
It's quite naive to believe that the technology advances all around us, are for individuals other than you. Too many middle-aged people are sitting on the sidelines while technological breakthroughs are happening all around them. Today it's becoming rare that your job-position doesn't require some interaction with computers or some form of technology. Whether you work in factories, offices, or as a cashier or clerk in a retail chain, you will probably have to learn how to interact with your company's computer system.