My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Going The Extra Degree

As I just finished my first quarter of my PhD in General Psychology with Capella University, I am reflecting on how to balance my family, education and work. I have a couple of years ahead of intense research leading to my dissertation to complete the PhD. In the same time I have family concerns and work that I need to keep up with. My desire is to not be burned-out in these life spheres instead to excel in each area. In moving from good to great in each aspect of life I received some helpful ideas from a Simple Truths book, written by Sam Parker and Mac Anderson.

The book is 212 The Extra Degree. It is based on the power of the one degree change in water from 211 hot to 212 boiling. I make a lot of oatmeal for breakfasts so I boil a lot of water each week. I have seen the one degree change as the water is heating all of a sudden the bubbles form and begin boiling. That is good for cooking but what does that have to do with life?

Before going on click on the title 212 The Extra Degree to watch the Simple Truths video that relates to their book. As you watch the short video think over what the authors are trying to say:

212 The Extra Degree

In our spiritual life, relationships, work, and education the ruts of our existence cause us to just move along in OK mode. We say to ourselves, “I am doing good enough. I am doing OK”. But are we created to live this life just OK? Parker and Anderson are saying we can move from Good to Great by having a mental attitude of putting forth the extra degree of effort. Having a 212 attitude in our life and work keeps us rising up to keep growing in our relationships and work life. The examples of winning the race in the video shows the extra degree of effort is the difference between winning and losing. I have always been amazed with the short time difference between first and second place in Olympic sunning races.

Along with this 212 mindset being an attitude, is the thought that our attitudes our shaped by our beliefs. So if we want 212 success we need the 212 attitude but it begins with a 212 belief. The authors point out the importance of belief in stating, “belief fuels enthusiasm, and enthusiasm explodes into passion. It fires our souls and lifts our spirits.” If we want to be great in our work for instance we need to carry an enthusiastic passion for what we do in our work. We need to ask ourselves how can I better serve the customer, the patient the client? How can I do 212 service in my workplace?

Having a 212 mindset attitude can affect many areas of our lives. Each sphere of life spiritual, relational , educational, and career/work can be improved in phenomenal ways if we are open to put the one extra degree of effort to get us to a boiling excitement for each area of life. It finally boils down to personal choice action to take the belief and attitude and be responsible to choose to make our actions match the desire to move from good to great.

Reflection: What area of your life do you need to make the effort to move your degrees up to 212? Write the area down and list a few commitments to practically move you to 212 living.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Dilbert And Writing Down Goals

For my recent lecture to students on setting educational and life goals I reviewed over a book I read years ago. The book is Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser PhD. She has taught English at several Universities and is a writing and communications consultant to Fortune 500 companies. Her book looks at the importance of writing down your goals for what you really want out of your life. The book is full of stories of famous people and not so famous people who accomplished amazing things in their lives. One common element in them was that they wrote down lists and goals of what they wanted to do. The stories show how the goals they wrote down came true.

One of the first stories she mentions is that of Scott Adams. He is well known as the cartoonist behind the Dilbert comic strip. Scott did not graduate from high school and become a cartoonist right away. His early career life was that of a technology worker. He did at the time have a habit of doodling during work. I do not know if that is a basic skill of a cartoonist. That may explain why I never became one as I do not doodle. Henriette points out Scott Adams did something else. He started a habit of writing 15 times a day, “I will become a syndicated cartoonist.” If you know anything about writers and artists rejection is part of their life journey. Scott Adams never gave up he kept trying by resending the cartoon out to possible vendors.

One day it happened that he received a contract to syndicate the Dilbert Cartoon. That is when he changed what he wrote down. He then started writing “I will be the best cartoonist on the planet.” That is difficult to know who is the best at cartooning but one has to admit he made Dilbert very popular as it became a cartoon listed in newspapers around the world. His Dilbert books have sold well as well as Dilbert fans can buy Dilbert mugs, calendars and other items. All of this from a personal dream, turned into a written down goal list.

As you read through Dr. Klauser’s book you can read a variety of stories of personal dreams coming true as people wrote them down in diaries, journals, scraps of paper, or goal statement forms. Is it some kind of magic to write something down and it happens? No I don’t believe it is magic. Just writing it down does not mean it will happen.
There are a couple aspects of writing things down that I believe can help in reaching the goal you are trying for. First of all by writing the goal or desire down you are focusing your mind to work towards the end of reaching your goal. If my mind is more focused I can plan better to reach the goal. A focused mind also allows for stronger levels of persistence. After a couple of rejection letters Scott Adams could have given up his daily writing his “I will become a syndicated cartoonist” list. Then he would have just resigned himself to stop doodling and work quietly in his cubicle. The world would then be a less funny place as Dilbert would have never happened. By writing his list each day he kept focused on not letting the rejection get the best of him. I am not a Dilbert fan but I can say the world is a better place because of Adams humor found in the Dilbert cartoon.

The writing down of your goals also makes you have a higher commitment level. If my goal is just something I talk about to friends it can be just that. Just talk. But if I take the time to write it down I force myself to think through ways of reaching the goal. Writing the goal down makes me take more ownership and responsibility in making the goal happen. If you are trying to accomplish some things that you just keep mulling over in your mind try writing them down. If you need some inspiration in doing this look for the book Write It Down, Make It Happen in your local library and read the inspiring stories of people just like you who have accomplished their dreams by writing it down.

Reflection -- Think over a couple of things you really wanted to accomplish this year and are already falling out of your grasp. Take some moments to write them down specifically how you want your goal concretely to look. Try what Scott did and go back that goal every day writing it down and see what happens.