I’m back, can’t wait to see my dogs!

I’ve been traveling a lot the past few weeks and got home on Saturday.  The traveling and time off was nice but I’m glad to be home and sleeping in my own bed again.  My 2 beloved dogs are staying at the “Doggy Hotel” AKA kennel and unfortunately they don’t allow weekend drop-offs or pick-ups ($$$) so we had to wait until today.

Here’s Irie:

and Sierra:

This is the longest I’ve been separated from the dogs since we rescued them from the pound almost 9 years ago.  In anticipation of their return, I thought I’d post this cool video, from a US soldier who was reunited with his dog.  You can see how excited the dog is.  So cool!  Can’t wait til you’re home, Irie and Sierra!

 

All the best,
Greg

Happy Father’s Day

Today I want to salute all the great dads out there.  Being a dad is wonderful, terrifying, trying, exhausting, beautiful, and AWESOME!  I love being a dad and I’m so thankful that I am.

I’m proud to be a dad and I’m so glad to see more and more dads involved with their kids.  This is a good cultural shift.  It’s good for the dads, it’s good for the moms, and it’s especially good for the kids.  To me, dads have been marginalized over the past few decades and I’m pleased to see good dads quietly showing the world that dads are good, viable parents, who are a critical part of a child’s life.

Fathers now spend much more time with their kids, even taking paternity leave to bond with their newborns.  I see more and more dads at recitals, school functions, plays, rehearsals, games, you name it.  This is a good thing for mankind and I’m really happy to see that.

Lastly today I want to give thanks to my father.  I’ve learned so much from him.  He exemplifies kindness and calm.  I’ve never seen him get riled up, lose his cool, or his temper (except when I gave mom a bad time!).  In fact, I’ve never heard my dad say anything that could even be construed as negative about my mother.  He’s showed me how to be creative, motivated, and driven.  He’s now in his 80’s and is still working on websites, creating videos, and traveling the world with my mom.  I love you, papa.

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there!

WHY is more important than HOW

For many important tasks, the question isn’t whether we have the capability…a lot of it is a test of our will.  If there are others who’ve accomplished something similar to what you want to accomplish, then it is possible for you to do it.  It’s not guaranteed, it may not actually happen, but it’s possible.  If you’re like me, too often you’ve gotten overwhelmed or stuck, trying to figure out how.  My suggestion is to focus on the why, because why is much more important than how.

I was an above-average student at my public high school who quickly realized that at a private university, I was a below-average student.  I consider myself intelligent, but not ‘school smarts’ – kind of intelligent.  After my first semester at college, I was put on academic probation and after my 2nd, I was kicked out for poor grades.  It was humiliating and I felt totally defeated and lost a lot of confidence.  Why couldn’t I succeed?  I attended (most of) my classes and did the coursework and studied with fellow students who succeeded and yet…I was unsuccessful.  In fact, it seemed like I was doing everything that other, successful friends of mine were doing.  I was so discouraged and felt like a total failure.  Worst of all, I didn’t know what to do or how to do it, or even what to do next.

After a two-year break and thanks to a generous program to give kids like me one more chance, I was able to try again.  The conditions were that I could come back for a half-semester, taking challenging classes from a select list, and had to deliver a 3.5 GPA minimum in order to return to full, normal status.  It was a one-time chance for me.  Because it was a half semester, the classes moved at twice the pace and it was very challenging.  It was a struggle to keep up but I did it.

How did I do it?  Did I magically become a different person, somehow with more school smarts? I had tried to be successful at college for 2 previous semesters and failed.  It seemed that I didn’t know how and/or didn’t have the ‘goods’ to be successful there.

But there wasn’t a strong enough WHY for me until that time. I took the challenge as a last chance to redeem myself for a shot at college.  If I didn’t succeed, I knew that college was out for me and that would have a huge impact on the opportunities available to me in life.

What changed?  The classes weren’t easier and I didn’t suddenly become school smart.  The difference was WHY.  I had to buckle down and learn to do something that I wasn’t very good at or comfortable with (left brain school smarts) and develop it.  See Life Begins at the End of your Comfort Zone

Being forced to develop the skill and discipline that I didn’t have at the time, so that I could be a moderately competitive student was a great lesson for me.  Right brain, creative talents like music and drama are relatively easy and fun for me.  Left brain, school-smarts are easy and fun for others.  Learning to be marginally competent in something that I wasn’t particularly good at, was a good life skill.

Getting back into school and eventually graduating (my 4 year degree in 5 years…<ahem>) was an accomplishment for someone like me.  It was difficult but I got it done.

When I figured out the WHY, the HOW fell right into place because the biggest thing that I lacked was the self discipline to succeed there, no matter how hard it was for me or how easy it seemed to be for my peers.  There were many who barely studied and got A’s.  I had to work twice as hard and fight for every passing grade.

My college days are long gone but now when I’m struggling with figuring out how to do something, I try to remember to start with the WHY.  Is this task important?  Why is it so important?  The answers to those questions help me to stay motivated and on task.

I hope this is somehow helpful for you.  All the best,

Greg

And because I simply can’t resist, here’s a very cheesy video for today’s theme:

 

 

 

 

What Rod Stewart taught me about Gratitude -or- “Perspective Brings Happiness”

Years ago, I had a good friend and roommate who was very shy and had a hard time meeting girls, and he desperately wanted to have someone in his life.  We’ve lost touch, but every time I hear Rod Stewart’s “Some Guys Have All the Luck”, I think of him, because he said that song was a perfect description of his situation and how he felt.
I can still hear him saying, “Some guys have it sooo good, they’ve got everything and they have no clue!  The ones who have it the best are the ones who whine the most and it pisses me off!”

The chorus:  “Some guys have all the luck, some guys have all the pain.  Some guys get all the breaks, some guys do nothing but complain.”

OK, so what does this have to do with problems and gratitude?  The lyrics of the song do a nice job of creating the contrast between what someone wants and the fact that those who have what he wants, don’t really appreciate it.

In my opinion, one of the best traits we can develop is the habit of gratitude.   Gratitude is completely a function of perspective because all meanings in life are subjective and defined by the perspective that we take.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so”.  Hamlet

My recommendation—the next time you’re feeling upset about something, try to remember that the fact that you have something to complain about, means that you actually have something good.  In other words, ‘problems are evidence of blessings’.

For a recent personal example, in the last 10 days I’ve had to get both a car and laptop repaired.  These sudden, unexpected (and EXPENSIVE!) situations were unwelcome, frustrating, and very inconvenient.  But using the thought process above, I was able to remind myself that in reality, we’re very fortunate to have cars and laptops!  And part of having something great will be problems.

If you don’t have any problems or obstacles, then you’re not living.  The money-miser in me was upset by these 2 large, unexpected expenses but even then, I realized that fixing the car and laptop are much cheaper than buying new ones.  So even that gave me gratitude.

As a recap, how you feel at any given time is the direct result of how you’re looking at your situation, and what meaning you’re giving it.  For any and all situations, you can choose the “problem meaning” for unhappiness, or choose the “happiness meaning.”  It’s entirely your choice.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve forgotten to do this many times and get caught up in the drama of the moment, plenty of times.  This is more than just a semantic, mind-game of “half empty/half full.”  It’s a more resourceful way of looking at things and appreciating the good in your life.

Is there something you’ve felt like complaining about right now, that’s reminded you of something to actually be grateful for?

All the best,
Greg

follow me on twitter:  @gregnmusic