Real Friends

In a way, if you reclaim the time you spend with people who are not real friends, you would have a lot of free time.

Sometimes it takes an illness, a near-death experience or the loss of a job or a marriage to find out who our real friends are.

Just because we spend time with people does not mean that they are friend-worthy.

And social media has nothing to do with friends at all – you don’t count the number of friends, you count on them.

When families live in a neighborhood and their children play together, it is not unusual for those ties that bind to be loosened when one of the families up and moves elsewhere even in the same town.

The “friends” we accumulate at work by proximity are often sacrificed when our place of employment changes.  We make new friends with those close to us.

Even though I am Hoboken-born and Jersey bred, one of the lessons I have learned from the state of Arizona, home of rattlesnakes, is that snakes take on the camouflage of their surroundings making it harder for other predators and hikers to see them.

They become like their surroundings.

That’s why it is important to increase the time spent with people who are true friends – the kind that will last a lifetime (and even beyond in some cases) rather than hang out with those who may be friends by proximity.

Up the time with true friends and be 100% present in their lives.

Reduce the time with so-called friends who you could live without someday and it is a guarantee that you’ll never have to live without the people that really matter.

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Problems That Follow You to Work (or Home)

What a great world it would be to leave our troubles behind but in today’s connected world that is harder to do than ever.

If what happens in Vegas really stays in Vegas, why can’t what happens at work (or at home) stay there, too?

People are created to think holistically which is why it is difficult to have a work persona and a home persona.

One way to keep problems from seeping into parts of life that don’t deserve being affected is to put aside time to deal with problems.

How does it look?

If your boss puts you in a bad mood when you walk in and see your spouse or children, put aside 15-30 minutes to deal with all that bad stuff.

I had a friend whose marriage was in jeopardy because when he returned from work his wife was anxious to tell him everything that went right or wrong in her day.  Their psychologist suggested they build a buffer in – an hour in their case – from work and returning to family.  It saved their marriage.

Look down at your phone and you’ll see your life at a glance so another way to disconnect for everyone’s sake is to put the phone down and be 100% present with the people you love.

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Starting the Day Tired

When things go our way, it seems that our energy is boundless.

When frustrated, discouraged, overworked, anxious or depressed, we tend to feel it the moment we wake up.

Make the first thing you do in the morning something that energizes you.

Exercise, yoga, reflection or prayer.  Coffee only goes so far.

Allowing a new day to start feeling defeated is likely to bring on another frustrating day.

But find something that energizes you – even temporarily – provides a real chance to deal with problems and move on.

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The Nastiness Sweeping Our Nation

Both political parties nationally and locally play hardball at election time. This year was worse where all parties are guilty of taking nastiness to a new level.

To those who can’t fathom a Trump presidency, there is another election in four years.

To those concerned about lying, lack of trustworthiness and broken promises from Secretary Clinton, the best advice is do, don’t stew. Get to work to bring about change you can live with.

But today’s nastiness goes beyond politics.

Bullying on line.

Cold relationships built on texting and email without the softness of a voice or emotion.

Rudeness from looking down at phones instead of looking into someone’s eyes to get the measure of emotions from the people we talk to.

No law can be passed that will make people nicer but there is no reason not to continue to live the life of your dreams by treating people the way you would want to be treated.

When I talk to a senior, I refer to them as “sir” or “ma’am” out of respect to my parents who would want me to talk that way.

In talking to a child, treat them with respect.

Dale Carnegie changed my life – I taught the course for 11 years – every Dale Carnegie principal is as relevant today as when he wrote the book decades ago. Live by his principles and teach them to those around you by example.

Dale Carnegie principles are your blueprint to changing a world of nastiness.

If I ate pasta every night, I would get sick of it (okay, it would take time, but still). We crave variety and should crave the differences in others and see it as enrichment of our lives

Agree to disagree. Even when others stand for things that I find unacceptable, I must say to myself – dislike the deed, not the person or we will live in a never ending world of hate.

We change the world one person at a time.

And yes, we can change the world – those around us, tomorrow’s leaders who may be looking to us today – by being the person who is big enough to say I will fight for what I believe but I will not become my own worst enemy.

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Doubting Yourself

The only reason to doubt yourself is to look for a way not to believe in you.

When a football player breaks loose from a tackle and runs for a touchdown, they don’t momentarily say, I wonder if I can make it for a touchdown.  They just go as far and fast as they can.  No second thoughts.

If a kicker has the game on his foot with the next field goal, if he doubts he can kick it through the uprights, he’s toast.  Maybe that’s why opposing coaches call a time out so late that the kicker can’t stop and then has to stand around, think about it, and do it all over again.  Coaches know that mind works both ways.

The mind is a tremendous asset or adversary if we allow self-doubt into it.

Doubt that you will meet the right person for you someday and you won’t.

Doubt you’ll get the promotion then be prepared to be passed over and if you do get it, the chances for success are hanging on a thread of no confidence that got you there.

Doubt that you can be a great parent (as opposed to a great friend) in this era of self-absorption and you will be rendered ineffective.

Failing is no excuse for doubt.

No one succeeds 100% of the time.

Remember the Ted Williams story.  He bats over .400 one year, an almost impossible feat, but he still failed 60% of the time.

Who cares?

Failure is temporary.

Success is permanent.

Unless self-doubt is allowed in.

No second thoughts unless they are the same as the first thought which is “go for it” and never doubt your ability to succeed.

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