Madness To My Method (8 Seemingly Crazy Ways I Live My Life)
There are a lot of definitions of madness. The list of synonyms for madness is maddening as well. When people say, “there is method in my madness”, it is usually to assure others that in the chaos of what is being done, there is design. Without hesitation, what follows is a list of ten, seemingly “mad” things, that have helped transform my life, but that do very little to provide structure.
Everybody screws up from time to time. Some people get “it” so terribly wrong, that you wonder if they even try. In both my personal and professional life, there are times when I have been tempted to chastise, complain, “teach a lesson”, or give up on people. In these times, I have found it best to find one positive thing, and build on that.
The truth is, if I am in charge of training someone that is struggling, some responsibility for the “hiccups” lies with me. If I am in a relationship that is troubled, at least fifty percent of what is wrong, can be attributed to my action or non-action. While at first, it is more difficult to build on positive attributes, when they grow, the positives edge out the negatives by default.
When I think I know exactly how a thing is, I rethink the thing entirely. Especially when I begin to react to situations based on “what I think I know“. We will never know enough about our world to be negative. We will never know enough about the worlds of those around us to offer simple solutions to problems.
Often, I need what in some texts, is called a paradigm shift. To change my angle of perception, or see things from another point of view. Last week, I spoke to a team member about staying off their phone while in view of customers. His father had a heart attack just before I noticed the breach in compliance. Paradigm shift.
When it is not a detriment to me, the company I work for, or those around me, my goal is to over deliver. Something about giving just a little more than is expected is good for the soul. It is also good for our capacity to do more, with ease, next time.
Spend a little more time listening. Offer a little more on a gift card than is demanded. Be invested in people more than the job requires. Some say it is “the extra mile”, but in truth, it is only a small way to show compassion. In a world where everything seems plastic, it adds a human touch.
Expectation verses gratitude. It is this simple. When I expect a thing, I am likely to be disappointed and judgmental. When I am grateful for everything, there is only more thing for which to be grateful. This is not always my way, but it is my goal.
If there was difficulty, I am thankful. If there was abundance, I am thankful. When I see an act of kindness, I act on behalf of the universe and thank those committing the act. Before rest, I am grateful, not wanting, and it helps.
I happen to have a college degree. After fifty years of living, that degree seems minuscule to what life, as a teacher, has offered. Ironically, as a manager, I do not spend time learning how to change others, but myself. I try to read a book or two a year on management, but focus most of my study on topics that interest (and change) me.
With the advent of free wifi and smartphones, there is little excuse for not learning. I prefer audio books and I also spend time asking questions of others on a variety of topics. As they say, “we are all experts at something.” Everyone is able to teach me something.
Coach and Be Coached
Regardless of what we are charged with in life, we must coach. No matter how good we are at what we do, we must be coached. All of the free learning that is available in the world today will not help us unless we apply it in some small way.
Most of the pressure of being “the guy” fades when I realize that there are other “guys” around me. When I understand, that in life and in work, I am only a part of a team, possibility, and not responsibility, become my reality. If there is something positive to be said about anything I have done in life, it will be said about the people around me, and I am comfortable with that.
It is hard for me to “buy in” to relationships, organizations, or plans for growth. Here I am, however, three years into a blog, two years into a free Facebook page full of encouraging words and drawings, and working with a company that is growing quickly.
There is something real about sacrificing the present moment for a better moment in the future. Taking time to work through difficult conversations in order to experience more intimacy in the future. Staying focused on what matters and not what just seems real at the time. The world, relationships, and work, require only more. More of the love and commitment we had to get to this level.
Being a Beginner
Perhaps the most maddening thing of all, is that I think of myself as no expert on any topic. Each day brings a newness to life. Every rest closes a chapter in a story that is constantly unfolding. If I am ever tempted to puff out my chest and claim, I know what I am talking about, I quickly bring myself to the realization that I am one of billions of current perspectives, both in, and of, the world. One of several billions that have existed.
Truth is not a hot commodity these days. It remains my goal. Love is not easily distinguished from self, and kindness is a little perverted before it is used to sell goods and services. My goal, as monumental as it seems, is to change the world. But I will do this one smile at a time. Because I am a beginner. There is no plan, other than to create smiles in the most effective way I am able.
With the advent of bells and buzzers to remind us to remove our debit or credit card from the reader, opportunities arise. When able, as I check out of a cashier’s line, I comment on the noise. At the risk of seeming foolish, I say, “Ahh… that noise means you are awesome and that good things are headed your way.”
Say what you will, but each time throughout the day, the cashier hears that bell or buzzer, they will remember what I said. Even in the face of a customer that is rude or disinterested. Is there harm in planting associations of goodness in the minds of others? Not that I can see.
What is true is this. The way we see the world affects what we see in the world. If I were guessing, there are things inside each of us that are negative and positive. We might hear one hundred compliments and one criticism in a day, and we tend to focus on the criticism. Also, if I were guessing, there are thousands of wonderful things inside you. Pick one or two, remind yourself that these are what matter today, and find a way to show them to the world… but most importantly, to yourself.