Monday, January 25, 2010

Going Forward

Many people deal with tough situations in their lives. While these can certainly make life miserable in some ways, they can also be used to allow us to have more compassion for others going through their own struggles. After all, it is easy to say, "Just keep your chin up," without a thought if we have not faced our own challenges.

While I am sure I can lack compassion in some areas, my experience in the adoption arena (see Brad on Adoption, my blog on that topic, for more details) has definitely given me more compassion for those going through their own adoption struggles.

An interesting outcome is that I am less tolerant of those who claim to understand what I am going through because they faced (or face) struggles with their own grown children. While some things are similar, many things are different when someone else can be legitimately called "dad" in your place. That changes the equation greatly.

I suppose I need to watch my own compassion in that case. I have been trying to not argue how I am different in those cases and just focus on being friendly, but it can be challenging to not just shot off, at the least. How ironic that compassion gained in one area reduces it in another.

Something to think about whenever you think you are becoming compassionate. Check that your compassion for one thing doesn't become intolerance for another!


Thursday, January 07, 2010

Keeping a Mental Focus

One thing I have found in my own life is that I usually learn better in a live environment if I am doing something relatively simple to engage my mind while I am listening to the instructor. Playing Farmville while someone is speaking usually allows me to get more from what is being said that keeping my whole attention and focus only on the speaker.

This seems wrong in some ways and certainly would concern some instructors. After all, how could I be focusing when I am playing a completely unrelated game? Ironically,. I think the mental activity keeps my mind sharp while keeping it from getting bored and wandering much further.

Unfortunately, such things were not available when I was in college, though I did try Rubics Cubes and other twisty toys, but I never found anything that was engaging beyond a few minutes, at best. I did great in most classes, but paying attention to the lecture was never my strong suite, though I could usually master the material easily in spite of this.

I do have to watch out here. It is very easy to use something that requires too much focus, such as an online game of Bejeweled, so this is not without its hazards. Still, I think the fact I can keep my brain running is ultimately a worthwhile effort.

I do listen to a lot of podcasts and different kinds of teaching as "background music" during my work, so I wonder if this has any impact to things.


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Productive Motivation

We all face the same problem. Everyone has the same 24 hours each day, plus or minus an hour on some days when the clock changes. What we do with that time now determines what we will have in the future.

That focus on future reward for actions now is a hard thing to stay focused on in our society. I grew up in a generation that wanted it NOW and we are even more that way today. This aspect of delaying gratification, possibly with hard work now for better results later, is harder to ingrain in when other habits are so common.

We can know what we should do, but we are not going to be well off until we do it. We can read book after book on the topic, but it ultimately does come down the the tired cliche of "just do it!"

A support network that helped us in the process would be very helpful in this, but most of us are missing such support. Even if we have close friends or family, few of them will get in our face and tell us to stop slacking off when we decide to goof off rather than laying a solid foundation for the future.

How do we get that hard support today? I am not sure. Most of us will leave if we don't like what we are being told, making the "kick in the seat of the pants" talk we may need rather ineffective. Most people struggling really do know what to do, they just don't really want to do it. I know I often fall into that camp, even though I want to avoid it.

All we can do is keep pushing forward and trying to find the group of supportive people who will also challenge us to accomplish great things, even if it "hurts" at times.

Are you ready to be challenged? Who do you allow to challenge and truly inspire you?