Moment of Offense

When someone offends you, there is a moment.

There is a decision in the moment to be offended. To react and to engage.

In all these parts and pieces. The moment of offense is lost. You take action and are moving on and making assumptions or decisions. Acting or overacting and being hurt and engaging accordingly.

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The moment of offense is the match.

Your processing of the offense is the fuse.

And your actions post processing is the dynamite.

The entirety of it all started in the moment of offense. But you are only in control of the fuse and the dynamite.

What if the next time you are offended, you decide to remove the fuse from the flame? Take it away from the burning unhealthy flame that is going to set fire. Instead, you investigate.

What caused your friend to make this decision? Why did they strike the match?

These are questions only they can answer, your assumptions cannot answer these questions.

How do you do when someone offends you? What is a healthy reaction? What is an unhealthy reaction? How would you want someone to respond to you when you offend them? How can you do this for people, even when they might not deserve it?

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Assumptions

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I was pacing around the apartment for uninteresting reasons. As I paced I started finding a warm spot in the carpet.

Once I convinced myself I had not spilled warm liquid, my son had not drooled or peed, and the warm spot on the carpet was not about to spontaneously combust. I then decided that spot in the carpet was warm because of my pacing.

Obviously, I kept stepping in the exact same spot over and over again. The friction from my pacing then started to heat the spot, and only that spot, in the carpet. Then reality came crashing down.

The spot I kept stepping was warm because it was right next to the oil electric heater we had been running in the apartment.

This was a quick, 30 second, event. This is only a symptom of what I do all the time.

Convince myself of something completely inane using flawed logic leading to a crazy assumption.

What are you convincing yourself of? What is your thought process to get there? Where have you been using flawed logic? Who can help you sort out where you are using flawed logic?

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Corner

Mass transit is great for getting a lot of people from here to there on the predetermined schedule. In Europe, the mass transit systems more extensive and reliable than we might be familiar with in the United States. However, most of us have at least experienced the yellow cheese wagon buses that took us to and from school during our elementary school days.

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No matter what, mass transit is a great resource with a very clear purpose and definition of what it is for.

Likewise we have many things we are for or in favor of. From washing dishes and cooking dinner to getting things done at work and running errands on the weekend. We have many things we are in favor of. We even have people we are in favor of. People we are developing relationships with or maintaining long standing relationships.

We also have people who are in favor of us. People who have helped us grow and mature. Decipher between right and wrong. And people who have helped us when things were not going so well.

These are people who have decided they were for us. They put themselves aside and chose to be for us in small and large ways. The network of people we have in our corner can be as numerous and extensive as the European transit system or as simple as a bus getting school children too and from school on any given day. Either way, the system of these people are in favor us and our success.

Who are you for? Whose corner are you in? Who are you supporting and helping? Who do you have in your corner? Who could you ask to be in your corner?

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How You Doing?

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“How has your week been?”

Simple question, and how we respond is what matters. We can respond with an oversimplified answer, ‘good, fine, or bad’. And that will suffice for a surface level conversation or passing greeting.

We can respond in the negative and unload all of the bad things that happened in our week regardless of any good things that might have happened in our week.

We can respond in the positive and blast all the happy-go-lucky positive veneer as if there is not hardly a single thing wrong in our corner of the universe.

Or we can be honest about where we are at and respond with the truth. It might be skewed that day or week depending on the majority of happenings in our week.

None of these responses are empirically right or wrong. When I am feeling antisocial, I will give a surface level response. And when things are generally anything other than really bad, I’ll give a positive response. Maybe it is time for me to be more honest in my responses.

How do you respond? Are you overly positive? Overly negative? Overly shallow? What would it look like to be more honest?

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Stay on Target

You have seen your organization state their goals. You you have seen your organization act on their actual goals. Hopefully the two are aligned.

Spending your time on your organization’s goals will always net a positive. Your role has stated goals. Spending your time on your role’s stated goals will always net a positive.

In your personal life, spending your time on your simple goals will net a positive. So that when you achieve the measured result, you can celebrate. As you execute the actions needed to attain your goal, you can check off the associated boxes. Once more, we can celebrate our completion especially when we hit our goal in the allotted time. And nothing feels better than hitting a goal that is relevant to you, your family, and your personal life.

What goals do you have for your life? Are they simple, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time specific? (Yes, I tweaked SMART goals to fit some of my priorities.) When was the last time you set, tweaked, or took action on your goals?

How about failure? Do you know what it would like to fail at your goals? Do you know what it would feel like to fail a your goals? When will you assess these decisions so you do not accidentally set yourself on the path to failure?

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Acting Out

Children react to things that they do not want to do with a pretty standard reaction. They push back on reasonable requests. Say no. Throw a fit. Or just plain ignore you and do what they want to do.

As they mature we help them see healthy ways to have these conversations. We help them see when they should do things they do not want to do. We help them convey their emotion in a healthy way. They start to develop their own ability to process their thoughts and feelings and convey them in a socially acceptable way.

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Through the process, they become more mellow.

Their behavior changes when their parents call them out on unacceptable behavior.

How are you acting like a child (saying no, throwing a tantrum, ignoring requests)? How are you acting like a parent (calling others out when they act in unreasonable ways)?

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Habitual Nature

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We are creatures of habit for the most part. We will do the usual thing in the usual way. Our habits and repetitive nature keep us predictable.

For someone you love, their predictive nature is why you love them. For someone who annoys you, their predictive nature is why you are annoyed.

What if you used the habitual nature of those who of others for your success? What if you took action in expectation of others’ habitual nature?

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Switched

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“This is like shooting fish in a barrel.”

I have never shot fish in a barrel, but I am pretty sure it is not actually that easy. These fish are not sitting still. They are swimming around and bouncing all over the place. Especially when they get the scent of another dead fish in their water. How much will they be bouncing around then?

How about your teammate you just asked to take care of some odds and ends? It seems like it is going to take more than you expected. They are reasonable people. They are the expert in their field. That is why you went to them for help.

Maybe it is not as easy as flipping a switch.

Who is helping you? Are you doing everything they need to help them help you? Are you actual weighing the cost of your actions?

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Name Time

Giving your money a name or a category is nothing new. Dave Ramsey even says it is essential for budgeting. You give your money a name before you spend it so it ends up where it needs to go.

Ideally, you would prevent yourself from spending money frivolously. But there are tools like YNAB [You Need A Budget] or Mint that will automate the process helping you retroactively finding out where your money through classifications.

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But still, why stop there? What about time?

Our time is worth more than money. We have a limited number of years, months, days, and hours. Why do we only dictate the purpose of our money. We can earn more money. We only get so much time.

We cannot invent more time. We cannot rewind the clock.

How can we create categories for our time. Fill our calendars with intentional blocks of time dedicated to what we care about. Instead of letting our days be wasted by people who want to constantly steal away our time for pop up meetings and unplanned non-emergent meetings.

Where are you spending your time? How are you keeping track of your time? When you look back on what you have done this last year, month, or week, did you do what is most important to you?

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Say It Ain't So

You can say whatever you want, whenever you want, to whoever you want.

Go look at your Facebook feed. You can say whatever you want and there is little to no recourse for saying something wrong, offensive, or polarizing. You might get some rough comments from people polarized the opposite direction as you. You might get affirmation from people who agree with you.

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But either way, you can say whatever you think to be true to a community of people who have decided they want to be your friend.

Is this really so different from two thousand years ago sitting around in the local city gates or town square and talking about the politics of the day? You could say whatever you want then too.

If you walked up to the conversation and someone didn’t want to hear what you had to say, they could walk away. But I am guessing people still sat around and agreed with their counterparts and objected against the other side.

The only difference I can see today is scale. Facebook connects us to more people than before. Today we are responsible for what we say just as much as we were 2000 years ago. And the same as 2000 years ago, the guy who thinks the earth is flat was not persuaded otherwise over the campfire or the Facebook post. Nothing any of the round earth people said ever made a difference. Why would they be persuaded today?

Should you post the next opinionated Facebook post? Should you gush your opinion into the comment section of your friend’s political post? Should you really post that? Should you really?

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Chapstick

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I have never finished a stick of chapstick.

They have melted in the car or the drying machine. They have been lost in my regular routine and while traveling. I have accidentally thrown them away. And I have loaned them out and they were never returned.

As much as I would like to assume there is some creepy gnome out there with a hoard of partially used chapsticks, I am sure the issue is my ability to keep track of this little tube of lip balmy goodness.

What would it take do you think to finish a stick of chapstick? How much time, concentration, and routine would it take. Would it be the difference of buying some bulky Bluetooth tracker and then making sure it was in my vicinity at all times? Or maybe I need to take the gas station bathroom key approach and attach a one foot long piece of 2x4” to my chapstick.

In comparison, I have finished many sticks of deodorant. I do not struggle with losing them or misplacing them. They are always right where they need to be.

I use deodorant less than I use chapstick. I use chapstick multiple times a day but deodorant, for better or worse, only once a day. Why then do I struggle with losing one but not the other? They are both similarly important. They both require me to be consistent and careful about putting them away in the same place And still. I continually lose one but not the other.

How many other things in my life are like this? How many other things could easily be more useful if I was more careful and attentive to them? What other details am I missing or losing because I am not being careful enough?

How many relationships are you as careful with as you are your deodorant?

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Terminal Beard

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There is a phrase referring to beards called the terminal beard length. It is the maximum length a man can grow his beard. This is the longest a given man can grow his beard.

It is not limited by the man’s ability to curate and encourage his beard to grow, but instead it is limited by his genetics. He can’t grow a longer beard because he just does not have the capacity to grow a longer beard.

There is no cream, oil, or balm that he needs. There are no supplements to make it grow longer. There are only genetics, a healthy grooming regimen, and the beard. Most other factors do not matter. Therefore, he is limited to his given terminal beard length.

Similarly, we are limited in our given capacity for friendships and relationships. There are many different hairs of relationships. Short and long, the random gray hair. The hairs that end up knotted even though we just combed them last night. Or even the hair that feels like an iron spike despite the fact that we condition every morning.

There are many hairs and lengths of hairs. But we are still limited by the terminal beard length in the deepest relationships we have. The relationships that stretch all the way out to the very longest points in our beards. We are careful to condition and oil these hairs to keep them from falling out.

Our relational capacity is then limited to our ability to be there for the relationships that matter most to us. We might care about all the hairs in our beard, but we have to stop and invest in the ones longest and strongest.

Who are your friends who mean the most to you? Do they know they are so important to you? What are you doing to curate those relationships so they continue to be your longest strongest hairs?

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Pressing Embarassment

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Invented in 1440, the printing press changed the world. Before the press, a book was hard to come by and expensive. Much less reading a book, touching and holding a book. A library was a storehouse of books. All of which were one of a kind or hand copied.

Rare one of a kind treasures.

Between 1440 and 1500, the world went from these few rarities to twenty million volumes. By the end of the 1500’s there were potentially 200 million volumes.

Literacy was suddenly on the rise. People everywhere had access to the volumes being printed.

Eventually, volumes turned shorter and shorter. Magazines and newspapers were born. They started adding pictures and figured out how to reproduce images.

Children would stay up way too late. Reading books. These books would leave an imprint on a child’s face if they fell asleep reading. A 16th century Facebook I guess.

Parents were concerned for their children’s safety. All this reading and media they were consuming. It would eventually have to turn to something evil and rot the brains of these young innocent minds.

It all seems so silly now to think about. How could reading too much or staying up reading a book ruin a child?

If only there were a good analogue to today’s culture. What do you think they will look back at us and laugh about?

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You Ready For This?

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The great part about the new year is it is new and fresh. A great opportunity to start over. Resolutions to stop eating bad. Resolutions to start working out. Resolutions to stick to my budget. Resolutions and goals galore.

The issue with the new year is I am still the same person on January 1st that I was on December 31st. I do not magically lose the baggage of the life I lived before January because the clock rolled over another year.

But the more I make decisions today to make changes and improvements. The more today I start sticking to my budget, eating right, and working out. The easier it will be come January to keep doing those same things.

Come January, it will not be any easier to start the good decisions and stop the bad decisions. I will have the comfort of knowing I am not alone as I ignore my resolutions. And we all know misery loves company and when will I ever have more company than for New Year’s Resolutions?

I would sure like to finish 2017 strong rather than give up because I did not live out the year perfectly.

What are your New Year’s Resolutions going to be? What is stopping you from sticking to them now? What excuses or lies are you telling yourself to keep yourself from succeeding at the goals you are not starting? Who can walk with you for the resolutions you want to start next year, but today?

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Discount Products

The industry sets a price for something. The consumer decides how much it is worth.

A conference. A phone. A house. A bag of chips.

The industry set the price on all of these things.

We will only pay so much for each of them. However, at some point we will trade our money for a discounted version of each item. We no longer get the original item, we only have access to the discount version because we do not value the product or service as much as we did.

We will go get a discount oil change from a non-expert, in a conveyor style environment, with a cheap oil that won’t last as long, and protect our engine as well all in the name of saving a buck.

Even though, what we wanted was the dealership oil change with the right oil, and the expert care that can hear the timing belt being out of alignment in the engine.

So willing so quickly to discount the service before you even get close to receiving it. Willing to cheapen the whole experience all in the name of saving a couple bucks here or there. But you must have it. Or do you really need it?

Was saving a buck really worth it? Did you actually save anything in the long run? Where else are you discounting the service you actually want? What else do you need to pay full price for so you can get the experience you actually want?

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Production

I started school in a kindergarten, much like many of my peers. We went to kindergarten, some even had the privilege of going to a pre-kindergarten environment. After that we had the pleasure of working our way through first grade right on up through twelfth grade progressing from an elementary school to a middle school or junior high, and then culminating our early education with high school.

Like clockwork, we showed up at the allotted time. Each time we graduated to the next school, we would start waking up and showing up earlier and earlier to accommodate the limited supply of busses our given school districts had.

In accordance with our teachers we would do enough work to graduate to the next grade, thus proving we had learned everything we needed from the previous grade. At some point we even began to have a little bit of a say in what classes we were showing up to.

By the time we’re in our late teens. The system spits us out, ready for the the final step, college.

When we graduate college we are then fully educated for adulthood. Class after class graduates with degrees.

Post graduation is a chaos induced bucket of ambiguity. No more rails to follow.

What are you trying to produce? What is your metric for success? Is what you are trying to produce actually what needs to be produced? Is your final product actually designed to be successful?

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For Patrons Only

“Restrooms for Patron’s Only”

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Because it costs too much to let other people use it. Then you might have to let everyone use it. I’m sure the cost per flush on that bathroom would bankrupt you. The cleaning process would overwhelm your labor costs. The toilet paper costs would throw off the ROI of people using your bathroom.

Or you just don’t want to deal with all that other stuff, so you don’t. You tell people ‘No’ unless they buy a pack of gum or stick of beef jerky.

Most people won’t. They will walk up the street to your competitor, use their bathroom, and probably end up spending more than they would at your establishment. They might even make a meaningful connection to the clerk who is focused on saying, ‘Yes.’

But at least your bathroom is clean and readily accessible.

Where are your priorities a little cockeyed due to a social norm? Where are you saying, ‘No’ where you could be saying, ‘Yes’?

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Right To Peace

Freedom. Almost synonymous with Ol’ Glory. Our right, our privilege and our banner. As an American, freedom has been one of the most monumental pillars of my identity. I have the right to bear arms. I have the right to freedom of speech. Right to freedom of the press. Right to…

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Rarely have I ever considered the cost of freedom. The method by which freedom is attained. Freedom is not given, it is earned. Earned through bloodshed. Fighting. War. Revolution. Rebellion. Absolute and complete defiance.

Freedom comes at the cost of war.

Peace comes through a very different means. Peace comes by choice. Peace comes in the face of war. In the face of oppression.

I do not have to cause conflict to gain peace. I have to give up conflict to live out peace. Peace is not brought through fighting. Peace is a decision I can make in any circumstance. I can prioritize the other party enough to find resolution through peace.

Freedom through peace.

When was the last time you worked to live out peace before you worked to have freedom?

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Well Balanced Diet

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We have all heard it before, you are what you eat. Over consume alcohol or candy or bread or beef, and you will see a difference in yourself and it will be reflected in your health. Eat a good balanced healthy diet and your body will reflect it.

Likewise, you are what you eat. Watch a strict diet of dark angry movies and tv shows, you will see it in your attitude. Constantly watch popular news and digest their firehose of angry news, you will see it reflected in your personality.

How is a bad movie going to effect you any different than eating a half an apple pie in one sitting? Maybe you went the extra mile and ate the pie while watching the bad movie. You know what you can handle. You know yourself. I know myself. I know what I can handle.

The same way I have to pay attention to what I eat and how I am taking care of my body and what I am taking in. I have to watch my social media, movies, news, and tv shows to make sure I am not overeating bad media.

It is all equally available. The internet is a flattened landscape, for now, and we can only blame ourselves for finding bad media to suck down like it is going out of style.

What makes it onto your tv? What makes it onto your phone screen? What makes it onto your computer screen? Do you want to be more or less like what you are putting on your screens? Do you want to have friends who are emulating what you are putting on your screens?

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