Trouble Makers

wordart forget the dog beware of the kids

Trouble kids.

What is your definition of trouble makers?

When I was 16, we had a new pastor come to our church. When I first met him I was sitting on the counter, legs swinging, in the church’s kitchen. We had a decent size youth group in our small church for the size of our town.

We were active, loud, and enthusiastic. Normal. The one thing I later learned was that I looked like trouble, or so my pastor thought. This perplexed me since I believed I was a good girl.

Going back in time, in junior high about 7th grade or so, I got into a scuffle on the bus ride from school. I was in the coveted back seat, and a bigger boy wanted my seat. I didn’t budge. We scuffled, and we both got suspended from the bus. I don’t remember much except being aggravated because I wanted to win and feeling scared of going to the principal’s office. The one thing I didn’t remember my mom had to tell me later. My dad confronted the bus driver. I was surprised since my family is pretty quiet. We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

I don’t remember much except being aggravated because I wanted to win and feeling scared of going to the principal’s office. The one thing I didn’t remember my mom had to tell me later. My dad confronted the bus driver. I was surprised since my family is pretty quiet. We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

We each handle ourselves and take care of our issues, but my dad was miffed. The boy was big, around 200 pounds; I was a little 80-pound girl. That wasn’t right, and Dad’s all about right.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

So, is it better to raise quiet, subservient children? Not in my world. Sit and take it or cause a fuss?

If you want a quiet, compliant, factory worker then fine, don’t hire me. I taught my children to think, to question what they read. Don’t believe everything. Investigate.

We need to feel free to speak up, to call attention to injustice, and to think of solutions for our problems.

More recently in my life, I’ve had a few minor verbal scuffles. And by a few, I mean six months worth of hell. When asked to help on a project at work, I dove in feet first. I asked questions.

  • Why are we doing this?
  • What do we want to see as a result?
  • How hard do we need to push the software company to modify their product or do we adapt?
  • Are we missing any steps along the way in this process?

I ran across some gaps in our process, so I spoke up. In one instance I noticed we’d have a noticeable loss of income in 2 months. I ruffled feathers. The birdies got angry with me. Would I do it again? Hell yes.

Maybe it wasn’t my job, but it affected me. I knew the software, and I knew the steps that needed to be taken to get the money in the door.

What concerns me is how we define a trouble maker. I see accomplishing a task as getting things done, even if you have to bump a few noses along the way.

Trouble making is causing a problem because you want to stir up attention. I avoid attention, but I like to do a job well. Work done well is what counts.

Or as in the song “Stand Out.”

And if your gonna make a mess make it loud

And if your gonna take a stand stand out

I highly recommend you listen to this episode of This American Life – Is This Working. Act 3 specifically talks about a school with an unusual method of discipline. When the method reached the real world things got interesting. This episode made me want to punch an idiot. The shortened version – Act 3 Is This Working

The Talking Cure! Yeah.

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Introvert Malfunctioning

Do the thing that scares you, that’s the advice I’ve read over and over. And I, the introvert, have believed the mantra. I believed the mantra because as an introvert I function backwards in society. I push myself  to take more action than I am comfortable with.

I remember when my mom, who is an extrovert, constantly reminded me to say thank you and please, like most parents do. It was difficult at that time to get the words to come out of my mouth. I’d watch my older brother and think, he always says thank you; why is it so difficult for me? So in my mind, Difficult = Correct.

Somewhere in my 40’s my brain wiring malfunctioned. And it’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. I’ve delicately reassembled my interfacing, attaching wires in my head to where I think they should be connected. And guess what, I’m still an introvert. I’m an introvert who has learned to respond as an extrovert to society, but with all the fear and discomfort of being an introvert.

Being an introvert is not a malfunction. I must reconsider all of my earlier beliefs and this is one of them, do the thing that scares you. I get it. I know what they’re saying. It’s a quick way of pinpointing what you really want. But sometimes it’s okay to not do that thing. It’s okay to step back and decide, is it necessary to do this? Because sometimes, Correct = Not difficult.

Taking the plunge

Maybe that’s the problem.

Perhaps it’s better to commit to wading instead.

Ship, sure. Not the giant life-changing, risk-it-all-venture, but the small.

When you do a small thing, when you finish it, polish it, put it into the world, you’ve made something. You’ve committed and you’ve finished.

And then you can do it again, but louder. And larger.

It’s easy to be afraid of taking a plunge, because, after all, plunging is dangerous. And the fear is a safe way to do nothing at all.

Wading, on the other hand, gets under the radar. It gives you a chance to begin. – Seth Godin

Under Pressure

You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.

Here are my steps,

  • I have a thought or an idea.
  • I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
  • I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
  • I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
  • When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
  • I find tweeting my progress helps

My pitfalls

It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.

It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?

Run for yourself, not anyone else. – runner’s world

suggested read:

 

Does the Dog Walk You?

Walking a dog is supposed to be good for your health. What they don’t say is what type of dog. I had a dog, a 100 pound German Shepherd dog, that was difficult to walk. She pulled at her leash until she was hoarse. I’d listen to her wheeze and cough like she was a smoker, but it didn’t stop her. In my mind it didn’t make any sense. Why would she keep pulling so hard if it caused pain?

Ha! But don’t I do the same. This last week was a busy one, and the week before and so on. For approximately 2 months my office has been working overtime, catching up. Orders need entered and claims must be sent. You know how it is. We pull ourselves up and stop whining. And once the adrenaline kicks in we’re immortal. We can clean the closet, run a race, groom the dog, wash the car, mow the lawn, give blood, and feed the family. Right? Then it stops.

I realize I was like Crystal, my big lap dog of a German Shepherd, who didn’t know when to slow down. When your body and mind finally realized it’s exhausted, it starts shutting down. Some of us get headaches, others get the flu. As much as I’d like to preempt this, I also realize that I’m task driven and if it’s there, I will do. Just like my dog. I will pull at the leash and wheeze and choke the whole way. The best I can do at this moment is allow myself to crash. Ease up on the pressure I apply and like a fellow blogger put so perfectly, The Virtues of Lowering Expectations, 

When we expect ourselves to do everything  “to the very best of our abilities,” where do we think we’ll get more of the time, energy and focus necessary to be ABLE to  do everything equally well and at the top of our game?

  • Some of us will shut down in overwhelm, then beat ourselves up for our inability to activate, which makes things worse.
  • Some of us have discovered how to transform expectation pressure into a brain-stimulating adrenalin rush that allows us to slip into a getting things done perfectly state of hyperfocus that is just as disabling.

We wear ourselves down to a nub long before we realize we haven’t been functioning very well, so not much of anything was actually accomplished.

Finally exhausted, we slip into depressive ruminations when we can’t “make ourselves” keep up that pace.

There’s a book I read years ago called Three Black Skirts. Basically, it’s organization for young women. Keeping balance, it stated, was necessary for being healthy. I used to think that if I was going to do anything, I’d have to do it forever, such as writing 1000 words a day. I realize now that if something is more pressing, such as working overtime, then it’s okay to let up on other things. Balance is the key. I’m not abandoning an activity, I’m merely postponing or minimizing. Less wheezing. Less pulling at the leash. More at ease with life.

Wannabes and Discouragement

The problem with critiquing is in the measuring. When is it good? When has it passed good and into great? How do you know you’re improving? Enough? If I apply more effort will it help or hurt? With physical exertion, you know almost immediately when you’ve gone too far. Pain. Sharp. Sudden. Stop. That’s your feedback.

The only true measure of whether a piece of writing is any good is the impact it has on its intended audience.

Did it engage them? Did it move them? Did it change them?

All other questions are irrelevant.

Of course, this creates a problem for serious writers like you who want to hone their skills. Because by the time you publish your work and learn your audience’s reaction, it’s too late to make any changes.

And if your writing isn’t connecting with your audience, the most common reaction is no reaction at all:

  • No comments on your latest blog post.
  • No emails praising (or damning) your bold manifesto.
  • No reviews of your latest Kindle novel.

So where does that leave you? How do you get good? How do you know if it’s even possible? – 3 Habits Separate Good Writers Tragic Wannabes

The problem I have with the above excerpt, is the assumption that if you are really good, you’ll get noticed. And tons of accolades. But I have read poems and novels that are pieces of crap and there are plenty of comments. Has anyone out there read 50 Shades of Gray? It’s becoming a movie. The story line is cheesy and it was originally intended as a Twilight fan fiction. The media attention this book received was unreal, but it remains a poorly written book (not good, not great)

No comments

Which brings me to my point, I’ve read a lot of great, exceptional, and life changing blogs that I never comment on. Some have no obvious place for comments, see Seth’s blog And even some that do see receive only a few comments at best. Mostly (not always) the blogs I see with comments are encouraging a new writer to continue writing or comments shooting down what the blogger stated. You can’t write for comments and prizes. You write because it feels good, just as in running. I write because I must write. I must express myself. I need my voice heard. I feel like this lady: You Don’t Have to be Napoleon to Change the World.

It’s possible I took this article in the wrong light. I admit I can be a bit touchy sometimes, but if you don’t meet the criteria in his bullet list does that make you a wannabe? Or maybe it’s just my definition of Wannabe.  You tell me, am I being touchy, or is it insulting?

 

Your Life is Unfinished

Life is only incomplete and unfinished business. Your life is unfinished. My life is unfinished. Everyone’s life is incomplete. I was thinking this because I was mentally checking my list of things I wanted to do. But it will never be finished. I can take this as frustrating or I can think of it as liberating.

Every day we’re assaulted with facts, pseudofacts, news feeds and jibber-jabber, coming from all directions. According to a 2011 study, on a typical day, we take in the equivalent of about 174 newspapers’ worth of information, five times as much as we did in 1986. As the world’s 21,274 television stations produce some 85,000 hours of original programming every day (by 2003 figures), we watch an average of five hours of television per day. For every hour of YouTube video you watch, there are 5,999 hours of new video just posted! – Hit the Reset Button in Your Life

To keep myself from panic, I made a list of things I wanted to keep or add to my life and things I wanted to remove or keep away from my life. After reviewing this list I realized the keepers were already there. I have family, job, love, health, books, and all the other goodies that I’d listed. So for now, this minute, my life is good. But the next time I feel anxiety over my unfinished stuff, I want to remember that all of our lives are under construction. That’s the nature of the game of life. It’s messy and incomplete.

…no answer is a complete or final one. And I think that there’s so many times when we thought we understood something and then we realized we were totally wrong. I think that it’s chutzpah to think that we know all the answers or that we’ve understood something perfectly. – Adele Diamond

 

We live the life of an unfinished novel, still waiting to be written. Depending on how we live, the longer the chapters. Depending on how interesting we are, the more we appeal to others. We’re often judged by our covers. Sometimes, some people decide to just quit reading us. We’re just forgotten until someone finds us. Our characters can develop throughout the novel, but our chapters can never be edited.
– Unknown

Is It Too Late to Play?

I just finished listening to a podcast with the guest speaker, Adele Diamond. She’s a neuroscientist and has studied child development and talked about a subject I struggle with, The Science of Attention. There’s a lot of talk in the last 20 plus years about revamping our school system. The problem is that we think we know what it should look like, but the ideal education image changes with every generation. For a time we looked to Korea as a guide. Then more of a free-for-all was ideal. Is it rote memorization or phonetic writing? With children it could look one way and be a great school for 20% of the kids, but not the remaining 80%. No child is like another. There are also those dear adaptable kids that flourish in many environments. This just screws up all the statistics.

So what makes a good education? Right now there’s a lot of talk about how we’ve removed all the fluff and it’s the fluff that is as needed as much as the rest. Music, noncompetitive play, art, philosophy and life skills. Good play which can be sports, music, and pretend increases children’s ability to pay attention. It cultivates executive decision making.

Is it too late to play?

Adele Diamond spoke of a normal thing called mirror writing. I remember my kids doing that when they were learning to write.

“And Elena Bodrova has a very simple way, and after an afternoon or an evening, the mirror writing is gone. What she says is, when you go home tonight, and you do your math homework, every time you’re supposed to write a 6, put down your pencil and pick up a red pencil. That’s all she says. That’s the whole instruction.”

Is it too late to play?

Is it possible to increase your adult organization skills by continuing to play? So let’s experiment with some of the things mentioned. This week when you’re defaulting into a bad habit, do it differently. Try standing on one foot. Or using  a red pencil. Take your laptop or tablet to write into the kitchen. Stand instead of sit. Eat your ice cream with a fork. Run without music and watching the mileage. And don’t forget to play, because I don’t think it’s too late.

Here are some educational links meant for teaching but go ahead and take a look:

 

Barriers

There are so many walls, closed doors and iron bars in my mental picture that understanding life can sometimes be difficult. I’ve spent the last 10 plus years unlearning religion and yet I find so much of its cages still there. If I could find proof in a god or even if there was no god it would seem easier. But yet in the old behavioral science experiments the opposite is the case. In spite of the door being opened the animals still had difficulty leaving.

Is there a reason for the friction?

If you want to visit DisneyWorld, you’ll need to buy a ticket and wait in line.

If you want to see the full moon, you can go outside and look up in the sky.

Often, we’re tempted to create friction, barriers and turnstiles. We try to limit access, require a login, charge a fee… sometimes, that’s because we want control, other times we believe we can accomplish more by collecting money. Clearly, people value the moments that they spend at Disney–with hundreds of dollars on the line and just a few hours to spend, there’s an urgency and the feeling of an event occurring. – Seth Godin

When I can, I don’t make life so difficult. If I see a need and I can help, I help. God doesn’t need to be consulted or any religion. If I need money, I work. If I can make money at what I love doing, then great, otherwise I’ll do what someone else will pay me to do. I’m not going to sit around and worry because I’m not making money by being impressive. I want to just live my life without difficulty.

 

Up

Change.....
Change….. (Photo credit: B Gilmour.)

Change is a lot of work. I’ve update my life and restarted more times than I want to think about. Packing, moving, unpacking. I went through a 5 year period in which we moved 5 times. Crazy. I’m the girl who has lived 40 plus years only 30 miles from her home town.

This week my office was doing some reconstruction around my cubicle. It’s funny to me since I’m the only one left in the area and I’m expecting to hear at any moment, “you have to move.” They’ve asked if I want to move and no, not really. I like my quiet corner of the world. It’s dark and I’m not bothered much. I sometimes feel like the old guy from the Disney animation, Up (2009)

I ponder buying a new car or moving to a new place like I’m looking at a spreadsheet of credits and debits. Is the thrill and novelty of changing worth the effort it takes to change? Even in just trying to set up a new habit, the benefits have to outweigh the effort. Some are worth it. For example, working out, or more specifically, running has been worth it. I enjoy it and miss the effort when I can’t hit the pavement. Even beyond the euphoria of the run, the sweat makes me feel I’ve accomplished something.

Most of my changes are for progress. It’s not the novelty that makes me put in the mileage or sign my money away. I will sweat and endure the pain if it’s important to me. Maybe we’re all that way.

I just watched a family member move to another city and state. It’s difficult to watch someone go. It’s difficult to see the emotions on their face. There’s the uncertainty mixed with the excitement. New experiences and new people. A bigger city means more opportunities for the activities you like, but there’s also the trouble of finding a place to live and new friends. It takes time for the new place to feel like home. Finding a favorite store or a favorite running trail.

If you’re feeling like the earth has moved out from under you, don’t worry. Just breathe. And remember why you’re doing it. Over time you’ll find your balance again.

Bread Crumbs of Fun

Which is better, momentary happiness or long-term fulfillment? Do I eat the cookie or imagine losing 10 pounds? It’s easy to diet when there’s no ice cream melting in the bowl in front of me, but it’s not easy late at night and the craving for something sweet starts. There has to be a way for me to stay with my goals. 

Plan All the Way to the End

The ending is everything.  Plan all the way to it, taking into account all the possible consequences, obstacles, and twists of fortune that might reverse your hard work and give the glory to others.  By planning to the end you will not be overwhelmed by circumstances and you will know when to stop.  Gently guide fortune and help determine the future by thinking far ahead. – Robert Greene 48 Laws of Power

I’m wondering if it’s possible to have a goal, plan a way towards it, and create road markers or breadcrumbs to keep myself motivated. I can sometimes get so caught up in a goal that I forget the short-term pleasures. I’ve got the nose to the darn grindstone and it hurts. Getting up and resting can feel quitting. So I’m thinking that if I mark my path with simple reminders, I can take up where I left off and not feel lost along the way.

Let me tell you, I’m a bit obsessed with the show Doctor Who. In the The Parting of the Ways (2005) episode, Rose, by cracking open the power core, absorbed all the energy from the time machine, Tardis. Why? She was separated from The Doctor and had to save him. Oh the craziness of love. With eyes full of burning Tardis light, she tells The Doctor how she made her way back and found him. Of course it’s not her talking, it’s the possessing force of the time machine that’s glowing through her. 

Rose Tyler: I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words (“BAD WOLF”)

[Rose lifts her hand and takes the words from the Bad Wolf Corporation sign]

Rose Tyler: …I scatter them, in time and space.

[the words float off away from them]

Rose Tyler: A message, to lead myself here. –IMdB Quotes

When I go for a run I make a point to find one moment of thrill. Whether it’s the grass or the trees or the view of the city, something along the way should make me smile.  What do you think? Any ideas?

Here’s a video of Robert Greene at TEDxBrixton – The key to transforming yourself

48 Laws of Power