Sunday, May 25, 2008

Courage

Courage. The dictionary defines it as "the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc.; without fear; bravery."

How many things have we not done because we wanted success the first time or because we didn't want to fail and/or "look stupid". Our society has made failure out to be a bad thing. It takes courage to fail, dust ourselves off and have another 'go'.

Failure has its place...it's a great teacher. The trick is in learning how to handle failure with grace, whether it be in sports (do you sincerely congratulate the winner for a game well-played?) or in business when you didn't get the contract for which you worked so hard.

You probably don't remember all the things you learned as a baby - eat, crawl, stand, talk - all involved failure. Did you give up? No. You kept at until you mastered whatever it was you were learning to do. Somehow, we lose that innocence and start worrying about how we look. We fear rejection. We have doubts. We compare ourselves to others.

Time to stop. How much energy goes into that? It's a cycle - a habit that we have developed to protect ourselves. The only thing is that in protecting ourselves we are also limiting ourselves.

One of the reasons I have more energy than I have had in years is because I am stopping the cycle...the endless worrying and negative self-talk that is so draining. Do I have relapses? Of course. Happily, they are fewer and further between.

Photo: Iva Villi

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In Your (Water) Shoes


I have always been a water baby. When we are fortunate enough to go on a "beach vacation", I spend most of the day in the ocean or sea. Suffice to say, that I am extremely comfortable in the water.

Except once.

We were snorkelling in Kaui along the edge of a coral reef. The tide was going out and at the same time the wave action was increasing. In order to get back to the shore, it was necessary to find the narrow coral-free channels. Not so easy to do in these tricky conditions.

At one point, I could feel myself getting nervous, my breathing-rate increased and I was on the verge of panicking. This was something new for me. Fortunately, I was able to engage in my self-talk and use techniques that helped me apply reason and skill to this situation.

I now know first-hand what a panic attack feels like and how debilitating (and dangerous) it can be. There is hope through awareness and training.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Who is in Control?

Further! More! Better! Bigger! Brighter! Louder!

I just had a look at some of the new blog options and as creative and ingenious as they are, I am going to say 'no, thank you.' Now, that wasn't hard at all.

People who read this blog will have to put up with this format - sure, I'll throw in a few pictures from time to time, but that will be it. I am not going to spend my precious time working on making my blog snap, crackle and pop! I choose that.

One of the biggest sources of stress for people today is the fear that what they're doing is not enough and that they'll never keep up. It's true, you can never keep up with the advancing pace of technology. Alvin Tofler wrote about that in his book, "Future Shock" in the 70's. I invite you to read it and marvel at the prescience of the man.

If you're feeling overwhelmed, decide what you reasonably can do, prioritize and say 'no' once in awhile...without the guilt. Once you start balancing your life you will be able to do more, if you choose. T'is true.

Image courtesy of Miroslav Sárička.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Pet Peeve

I have a pet peeve...well, actually, I have a few of them. The one I'm writing about today is about locked doors. Double doors that are locked.

How many times have you tried to enter or exit a building and have chosen the door that is locked? This is not only an incovenience, but for someone with mobility issues, it hurts and makes life that much more difficult. Plus, I would think that it's a fire-hazard.

I started thinking about pet peeves and how we get annoyed...all those little annoyances add up and if someone has a lot of pet peeves, well, you can see how the day can be ruined.

So, what's behind the pet peeve? My guess is that one reason has to do with wanting things our own way. We become irritated because we have to stop what we're intent on doing because something isn't working the way it should. For some people, it could be squeezing the tube of toothpaste at the top (how dare he?) or getting wet socks (change 'em, I say.)

Another reason could have to do with frustration because things aren't as efficient as they could be. We see a way that could streamline things (in our humble opinion).

Are pet peeves such a bad thing? It depends...how do you feel when you have a p.p.v.? (pet peeve violation) Do you let it roll off or is it something you stew about? If it's the latter there's a very good likelihood that you are under considerable stress.

I've noticed that my list of pet peeves has certainly shortened, mainly because I've filled up my "stress cushion".