Letter Opener

The next time you get a piece of mail in an envelope. Put it up to some light, and look at the ends. One end is lighter than the other. It is empty.

There is nothing in it. The other end is full. Make sure you grab the empty end of the envelope.

Now tear the envelope open across the short and empty end you found. This is going to be a shallow rip across the end. You will likely only need to rip about 1/4 to 1/2 of an inch off the envelope. And definitely I suggest ripping less than an inch.

Congratulations. You have now opened your mail more quickly, more succinctly, and more cleanly than any other method I have found. This is my preferred method of opening mail in envelopes. You did not need another tool to do so. And you don’t have a bunch of little rips and tears in the envelope.

I discovered this about five or six years ago and I have been opening my mail this way ever since. At times I might tap my mail on the table to make sure I get everything into the full end and give myself more space in the empty end. I tap them on the table much like you might do with a messy stack of papers to get them all in alignment.

Only once or twice have I ever ripped or torn the contents of an envelope and it was always in a non consequential way.

What other mundane tasks have you been doing for as long as you can remember? When was the last time you looked up another way to perform the mundane tasks in your life? Is there a better way to open a trash bag? When was the last time you discovered a new way to perform a mundane task? When was the last time you shared a novel way you perform mundane tasks?

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Progress

Progress.

I’m not one much for resolutions. I like the idea of themes and red threads to guide actions. I like the idea of having a lens for filtering decisions and taking actions. I like the idea of identifying the movement already going on in my and maximizing that movement to help me develop the changes I need to be a better person.

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The last theme I had was focus. I make these themes not as a short term decision but as a habit forming decision. I choose the theme based on what I need in my life and the movements I am already seeing in my life. I have felt myself fishtailing a bit as I have been traveling along. Whether I have been going too fast for road conditions or dodging too many obstacles I knew were coming. I have also felt myself making progress in some areas of life.

I know I am in a transition where ‘progress’ is the next step. Intentional, measured, regular, and focused progress. I’ve already started taking some steps. I’ll continue to take these steps and take more steps. This theme is starting now and will really pick up in the next few months.

Whether you’re choosing one resolution, a few resolutions, a theme, or nothing at all. Write it down somewhere you’ll see it every day. Make it your phone’s background. Make it your desktop background. Put a note on your dashboard you can’t miss.

Your change starts with you. Your change happens with one or two people who are going to help you stay accountable. Your change happens when you measure the progress and intentionally choose the difference.

I am who I am today because of the decisions I have already made. The habits I have today are what they are because I have needed them. My movement of late has been progress. I have been making progress and I can see places where I need to make more progress.

Who is going to help you? What change are you making? How will you measure the difference?

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Default Settings

When you open Microsoft Word, the default font is probably Calibri. For better or for worse, it is what you probably end up using whether you like it or not or until you change it when you are done working on your document.

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Calibri may not even be the best font for what you are doing. Maybe you are trying to make a statement piece with a few words to communicate a central idea and what you really need is a heavy weighted font to really emphasize what you are trying to say.

Potentially you are trying to write a long for piece and you need something with good spacing and is easy on the eyes but is not too heavy.

Or potentially, you want to write in a plain jane and you want your font to have look and feel.

Any way you look at it, you still never get there because Microsoft chose Calibri as your font and you have not changed it.

Likewise, when you get up in the morning, you are stuck with the default breakfast options because that is what you buy when you go to the store. You have been trying to eat healthy, but you keep eating the same cereal because it is what you know you are not sure what other options are actually healthy.

You have been trying to read more, but that new year’s resolution really did not stick. You stick with the default of turning on Netflix after dinner and watching your show some more.

You meant to fix that leaky faucet, but you are not quite sure how and the weekends keep filling up with family and friends and anything else, it would be a shame to spend all day inside working on a faucet when the world is full of everything else.

No matter the thing, no matter the excuse, your default is easier.

It is easier to keep doing what you have been doing than it is to do what you want to do. But, now is the time to save yourself and make progress on your one goal or project. One thing for you to make progress on. One thing for you to improve one.

What is your one thing? Who is going to help you stay on track? How are you going to overcome your default?

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Change

Dimes, nickels, pennies, quarters, fifty-cent pieces, Sacajawea dollar, silver dollar, and Susan B. Anthony’s to name a few.

Change, I have some in my pocket most of the time. It is heavy, cumbersome, and ladening. For the most part it is even on the way out as we transfer to a more digital currency and transactions. Long gone are the days of cashing a paycheck, for better or worse.

All the same, the change once so common and regular is now becoming more burdensome than fireman carrying a human sized sack of potatoes all day. It is dirty, germy, easily lost, rarely do we have enough to cover the exact change we need and more often than not, I end up with my change leading to more change.

And life is no different. Change is burdensome. I do not deal with it well. I especially do not deal with it well when it is brought into my life by other people. I want to be in charge of what I do or do not change.

And usually, if something changes, then something else is going to change too. Or whatever just changed will need to be changed further to make it work better for more use cases.

By the end of it all, there are enough changes to necessitate a full on retooling of the whole system.

Whether we like it or not, change happens. It is necessary. And we need it. We cannot expect the same system to work forever, we can expect to have to work together to make it work well.

How do you deal with change? What changes are going on for you at work? How are you dealing with them? What changes are going on for you personally? How are you dealing with those?

What changes do you need to make, but you have been putting off?

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Half Slice

The landline has existed, as far as I am concerned, since the dawn of time. It was a great tool in its time. It worked well. It was relatively reliable. It was not too complicated to use. Best of all, it was a stepping stone to the internet’s infrastructure.

Today the phone is not what it once way. Today, we do not use them much at all in the same way to how they were intended to be used. Today most everyone uses a cell phone and that cell phone is probably a smartphone.

Our tools change over time. They develop and grow into what we need them to be. We needed a way to talk to our friends and family who were far away. Now we can talk to them, send them a picture, send them a video, or write them a message all from the digital half-slice of bread we keep in our pockets.

We all wanted to be able to talk to our friends and family. What we got is way more than what we needed. Where we’ll end up is way more than Ma Bell ever imagined. But these tools are integrated into our lives almost as much as the food we eat or the clothes we wear.

What tools are deeply integrated into your life? What tool could do the job better? What tools do you not need? What tools do you need in your life?

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Loft Foothills

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As I sit in the lofty foothills of the almighty Rocky Mountains, I can sit and watch, slacktivist, and react to what goes on across America. I can project theoretical ideas, offer commentary, and make posters. But I have to come up with an ignition to the catalyst before I can expect to make a difference.

I refuse to fight fire with fire. I have had 2nd degree burns before and I do not wish that on anyone. The way to fight against those I do not agree is to stand up with love and peace. For me, the difference worth making is love. The difference I can make in the world is through peace.

Love

Peace

The reason I know the work of Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela, and Pope Francis is because they are all agents of peace. They want peace through peace because peace always wins.

I might look at the current social political landscape and see only hate and anger. I might feel like all my friends do on Facebook is argue. I might only hear from news outlets about how bad things are all over the world.

But I am not responsible for all these people. I am responsible for my actions and bringing love and peace to the world around me. I have tools such as a smile to a cashier who is having a rough day, helping a coworker who can’t seem to figure something out, and choosing to be a light more often than anything else.

What are the little things you can do to bring love and peace to the world around you? What are peaceful ways you can stand up to the negativity you encounter? How you can you bring joy to the lives of others?

Peacefully,

–JT

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