Rebounding From Disappointment

When people let us down, it is disappointing.

And there are no shortages of disappointments to go around. 

A cancelled appointment, a missed dinner date, a worker who fails to live up to a promise, a friend who blows you off and thinks nothing of it. 

That’s why to overcome disappointment caused by others that can sometimes be hurtful, there is a 3-step approach that is worth pursing. 

  1. Ask yourself, if the person who is disappointing you is as upset by it as you are.  If not, start getting over it immediately.
  2. If a pattern of disappointment becomes evident, invest more of your emotional time in people who do not disappoint.
  3. Protect boundaries that prevent others from upsetting your world whether it is intentional or circumstantial.

If you are the person disappointing yourself, identify this as destructive behavior and start treating yourself as the fine person you are.

There is power in being able to do and be more than others expect from you.  It feels great and makes those around you feel great. 

At the same time, ratchet down impossible expectations from those around you.

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”  — Alexander Pope

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The Advantages of Suffering

Three teenage girls who sat next to me at a recent Flyers hockey game arrived late.

One asked me if had they missed the “tribute”. 

They were speaking of a classmate of theirs who developed bone cancer and had to give up athletics, a normal life and his hair battling the disease.

The Flyers did a between period tribute to this young man who was shown on arena vision beaming from ear to ear and appeared to be the healthiest person in the arena.  The girls were thrilled.  We were all inspired.

To them, their peer represented inspiration.  Hope.  The ability to overcome adversity and prevail in the end.

Suffering is a necessary part of life.  It almost always changes the individual and those around them.  Many of life’s suffering are not fatal but we often think they are. 

Suffering can be transformational as this young boy with cancer proves.  I’m sure you can name an inspirational hero who has overcome the odds.

But everyday suffering from jobs we’re not happy with, relationships that seem bogged down or financial problems that feel insurmountable can be handled the same way.

Courage.

A “treatment plan”.

Determination to overcome the adversity that causes the suffering. 

No need to wait for illness to inspire us when there are so many other challenges that can be met with the same prescription.

Never, never give up hope.

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  • Very touching story Jerry

Battling Rudeness

I have a theory why the world seems to be getting ruder.

We’ve been digitally connected now for well over a decade and it’s a lot easier to fire off a text or an email response without seeing or hearing the other person’s reaction. 

And without thinking.

In essence, we’ve become immune to observing the reactions of others.

And we’re all on digital overload.

We all have some degree of attention deficit and before you say not you, do you own a TiVo or a DVR?  Increasingly we want what we want when we want it on demand.

I’m convinced that people – even rude ones – have a great need to be heard.

And this we can do.

Listen – respond. 

And don’t battle rudeness with rudeness.

Here are my rules:

  1. Fight rude people with attention – listen, observe the message along with the rudeness.
  2. Show them how to do it right – respond with courtesy and respect and deliver the message you have in mind.  They should never get you off message.
  3. Draw a boundary between this type of rudeness and the kind that makes you feel badly about yourself at which point – cut them loose.

You might be saying, I don’t care about rude people, but they get in our space and adversely affect our daily lives at work, at home and in our peer groups.

Best yet, even when you use the three rules to no avail, somehow you feel better, more in control.

“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength” – Edmund Burke

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  • Nicely done, Jerry.

Chasing Your Dreams

One of the characteristics of the 80 million members of Generation Y is that they are dreamers.  They exist to pursue their dreams whether it be at work, at home or in a civic way.

This is good.  It’s inspirational. 

When we’re kids we think anything is possible.  Adults call it being altruistic and somehow time, work and experience dampens that youthful gift most of us didn’t even know we had.

Then we get older and learn to be more mature, more responsible – in essence, more like an adult.

This is also good.

But both youthful dreaming and adult responsibility together is even better.

So, it’s up to us to see what we need to add to the mix to achieve that all-important 50/50 ratio.

Usually, it is being more childlike. 

We need more wonder, more discovery, more fun which comes by allowing ourselves to be “young”.   And if you think this actual youth has an advantage, that would be wrong.  The advantage goes to those with youthful behavior no matter what their age.

You’re saying, could there be anyone on this earth who is half childlike and half mature adult?

The Dali Lama – revered for both characteristics whose enviable comportment makes us believe that it may be possible to be half kid and half adult.

Life is too short to let Mr. Burns ruin our happiness at work.

Or to outsource our childlike wonder to a world that can sap our zest for living.

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  • Was I ever lucky!  My mom was a kid all the time, laughing, energetic, planning for fun, trips, tennis matches, parties and nights in San Francisco.  My childhood was one huge carnival where nothing was impossible.  Yet, when I needed her advice she was calm, attentive and grounded and always made me think and figure things out for myself.  Her zest for living only faded in the last few months of her life 15 years’ dark journey into Alzheimer’s.  What a lucky girl was I!  I miss her every moment of every day.

How to be More Productive

Relax.  Don’t double down and amp up the effort.

Tony Schwartz, author of Be Excellent At Anything and author of a recent article in the Sunday New York Times warns us that we may not want to believe it but research shows naps and vacations lead to more and better output.  

It’s called strategic renewal and you’re going to be hearing more about it because, face it, we’re all too stressed!

Short afternoon naps.  Daytime workouts.  More sleep.  More time away from the office.  More vacations (Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012).

Who does Schwartz think we work for – Google?

But jobs performance, more productivity and improved health are the solid evidence that backs up his claim.

More, bigger and faster is out. 

And believe it or not 50% of us plan to work on vacation, a third of us eat lunch at our desk while we continue to work and employers push this unsustainable work ethic that actually costs American companies some $63 billion a year according to a recent Harvard study.

  • When a Stanford researcher got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, free-throw and three point performance increased by 9%.
  • When night shift air traffic controllers were asked to take a 40-minute nap mid-shift, their performance was better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.
  • 60-90 minute naps actually improved memory.

Our bodies speak.  They tell us too much Starbucks.  Too much stress.  Too much digital.  And yet we don’t listen.

Schwartz says it best:

“When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work”.

I’ve got to work on this one, how about you?

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  • In theory this is great idea and I totally agree – but it only works if you are one of the fortunate ones to have an actual decent paying full-time 40 hour a week job.
     
    How about those of us who are stuck with the dilemma of either working 29 (1 PT job) and being broke or 58 (2 PT job) hours a week to make a living because nobody in this industry wants to hire full-time.
     
    When you work 58 hours a week, you don’t have time to step away.  You don’t have time to take an hour for lunch or to decompress or get 8 or even 6 hours of sleep per night.
     
    Vacation?  If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  Even if I do take a short trip, I’m still working remotely in order to try to salvage my hours.
     
    Holidays?  HA!  I work almost every holiday! 
     
    Weekends? HA!  Work those too as needed.
     
    Seeing advice like this pop up in my mail as I head to another 10-14 hour work day after the fifth consecutive night of four hours of sleep is absolutely enraging.