Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Help in Unexpected Places

Recently my grand-boss (my boss' boss) assigned a book for the 'team' (employees that fall under his responsibility) to read.  Me being me, I judged the book by its cover- flashy title, banner about being a NY Times top-seller, hearty claims, and even a review in quotes.  It appeared to be the standard "motivational" type self-help book that I was supposed to read and suddendly become an instant success in all ways after reading it.  I mean, that's why people buy it, right? 
The first few pages had my eyes rolling big time as I read about the authors "ah-ha" moments and how he discovered ground-breaking things like the harder you work, the more good things happen, spending small amounts of time and/or money up front on maintence of things can save A LOT of time/money down the road, and that every life needs balance (work, home, social, etc.).  No sh*t.  These themes were drilled in further with highly contrived stories from his personal life (right...).   
We received an e-mail from our grand-boss shortly after I began reading saying that he wanted us to take notes as we made our way through the book, and submit to him. I really had to read it.  So I began highlighting the phrases that stood out, things that I always need reminding of, and continued to make my way through the book.  I know the book was given to us in a work setting, with the idea of applying it to career/work scenarios, but I found that the themes are applicable to just about everything.  Including weight loss, living healthy, fitness, marriage, child raising, education, social relationships, and everything else life entails.  The first three chapters highlighted the need for a lot of internal work/introspection before results can be obtained.  Basically, if you aren't where you want to be in certain areas, or in all areas, you need to shift the way to you think, shift the way you typically respond.  This of course takes practice, and he gave some tools to aid in the process.  The main tool for shifting the way you do everything is to come up with a personal mission statement.  Just like a large business has.  Come up with a statement that suits your unwaivering self and principles.  Then, in theory, when you have a decision to make, such as- should I eat this cupcake or just pass?  or- should I watch TV or spend quality time listening to my husband/child?  or- should I spend an extra hour at work, or go to the gym? you then refer to your mission statement and see what is important to your core values, and act based on that.  So, if your mission statement included mentions of eating well, spending time with family, and taking care of your body, you might choose the second option for each decision.  If you mission statment included statements about living in the moment, relaxing when possible, and making a lot of money, you might choose the first option for each decision.  Oversimplified, but that's kind of how the book is. 
ANYWAY...I decided I could always use a little help/kick in the butt with the tough things in my life.  So, I made the choice to start to change the way I do things, beginning with how I was initially reading the book (cynical, jaded) and open my mind (what!!!).  I understood that how I was reading the book was a metaphor for how I do things in life, the exact thing the book was trying to get across!  So far, I have come up with a personal mission statement that I keep in the notes section of my phone so I can refer to it often.  It's very simple.  Either things fit into how I want to live (eating right, exercise, mental stimulation, family time, and practicing gratefulness) or they don't.  I'm going to test this out for a little bit, and see if it has any far reaching effects to other areas of my life.  Can't hurt, right?  So, yeah, I suppose every cliche is true- positive attitudes make things look different, open your mind to see challenges as opportunities, blah blah.  I will end with my very favorite quote from the book thus far-it's from a book written by E.M. Gray (The Common Denominator of Success) in which the author quotes:
"The successful person has the habit of doing things failures don't like to do.  They don't like doing them either necessarily.  But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose."
Yeah, I'm going to chew on that for awhile. 

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