Category: Life Skills

Learning from my Pee

So I woke up and whizzed – my normal morning ritual.  But today was different.  Today my pee was phosphorescent yellow.  I’m not talking about ‘bright yellow’ or ‘really yellow’.  I’m talking about so bright that I thought someone had dropped a glow stick in the bowl or that a nearby nuclear reactor had managed to send it it’s waste back up my grey water pipe.

This pee was yellow.

My first thought was, “Oh. I’m dying” so I did a quick search to find out by what means I would be going.  I was pleasantly surprised to find this article on a website owned by a monopolist that I would by no other means visit.  The cool thing is that I learned a lot of useful things in this quick article, including that it looks like I won’t be dying from some urine kidney issue.

I recommend spending five minutes reading it as it will help you and your family quickly assess things.

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Special Cafe People – Part 1

Well, at long last it is time to feature the customers that truly make you wonder whether their parents were asleep at the wheel, or, sadly, whether you yourself are off your rockers.  Some of these are your regular customers and you are afraid to ask them directly or the topic is awkward.  Others are one-off wack-nuts that come in like a storm and leave you gasping for breath.  Whichever be the case, they deserve some of the limelight instead of continual sighs.  Speaking of Sighs, you might want to check out www.sighworld.com

Straw-in-the-Hot-Drink Wasting Wilma

Why?  Why do they do it?  It’s usually [blond] females between the age of 27 and 45.  Some have told me ‘It’s to help avoid staining my teeth’ while others have said ‘It tastes better that way’.  No matter what your supposed good reason is, let me help you understand that you are off base.  You are wasting a straw.  It’s bad enough that you have already taken a cup, a sleeve, and a lid, not to mention (probably) more than one stir stick and a few paper sugar packs and a pocketful of napkins.  Then you take a straw – for your hot drink!  It’s hot, girl!  It’s not cold!  Why do you want a small .25cm jet of boiling hot liquid shooting on the thin of your mouth skin?  Are you a sadist?  Leather and chains?  Something like that?  One thing is for sure and that’s that you don’t care about landfills and wastage.  And, once in a blue moon I’ll see a male try this move.  It’s so rare that it’s almost not worth mentioning but I did want to ask whether you were either super confident in your masculinity (like the football player who can dress up as a girl for halloween) or whether you want to be perceived as feminine.  I don’t think you can be both.

For-Here-in-a-To-Go-Cup Landfill Larry

Landfill Larry is Waster Wilma’s close relative and their wasteful mentality runs in the family.  Here are some of the lies that Larry boy has first deceived himself into believing:

  1. The paper cup stays warmer longer than the ceramic cup
  2. I might not finish it all here so I’ll put it in paper ‘just in case’
  3. I prefer paper cups –> I like to show off my brand

Let me address these lies one by one:

  1. I have done a test and the difference is negligible.  Not worth filling a landfill for.
  2. I have almost never witnessed someone take that cup with them in nearly six years.  They all walk over the the garbage and throw their paper cup out before they leave.
  3. Buy a t-shirt or a re-usable mug, fan boy.  There.  Brand Loyalty proven and problem solved.

Sleeve-on-a-Cold-Drink Sissy Steve

Nothing throws me off more than when I sell an iced drink and someone asks me where the sleeves are.  Sleeves?  Did I accidentally screw up your order? Where is the hot drink that necessitates a sleeve?  So, one time I asked “Why do you need a sleeve for your iced drink?” and the answer blew me away.  They said ‘Because it’s cold.”  I said ‘And…..?” and that was it, Jack.  It took everything inside of me to stop my mouth from opening and saying “Does your mommy wipe your butt and change your diapers still?” And yes!  I have seen grown men do this too.  I hope they never have to experience true hardship in their lives.  I bet they use a straw in their hot drink, too.

Communal Pre-Ordering Discussion Huddle Buddies

Before beginning this profile customer, allow me to give a quick lesson on what is correct protocol.  In a coffee shop or fast food (no table service) environment, one should walk into the establishment, line up and order (if you know what you want) or stand about 3 meters back and stare at the menu (if you don’t know what you want).  It’s also common courtesy to explain to the staff working that you need some time and you will let them know when you are ready to order.  Some people, however, like to confuse and even aggravate this flow by walking in, occupying sometimes 4 to six chairs while chatting about life, and then, sometimes 10 to 15 minutes later, come up and order.  Here is why that is not cool so you can become a better customer:

  • the staff who are working can’t go and do other tasks (like clean tables, build relationships with regular customers, etc) because they have to hang around wondering when you will order
  • the staff or management might think you aren’t going to order at all and have to plan on forcing you to order to free up space for paying customers.  Don’t be surprised.  People *really* come into cafes and just sit there without ordering.  It’s a real problem.
  • You like strange sitting there at your table all staring at the menu board as a group.

So, walk in, order, and make everyone happy, happy, happy!

Feet-on-Chair Frieda

Yes, it’s always women and I don’t know why.  And, it’s either Korean women or hippy white girls.  Don’t ask.  It just is.  My theory on the Korean women is that they are used to sitting on the ‘bap sang’ tables which are on the floor so it’s kind of natural to have your legs crunched under you on a coffee shop chair…Maybe?  The hippy girls?  I think their parents simply forgot to teach them this very important etiquette lesson.  Don’t dismay – it’s not too late.  First, here are the reasons why you should not put your *shoes* on a coffee shop chair

  • Your shoes have tread in other people’s bubble gum, drunk sports fans urine, and fecal matter from the bowels of a dog.  I don’t need to sit on the residue your shoes leave on my chair.
  • You look bad.  The very sight of you sitting like that reminds people of all the possible things your feet may have tread on (refer to list above).
  • It’s not your chair.  You didn’t buy it.  I repeat, it’s not your property.

Here are the reasons why you should not put your bare or sock feet on a coffee shop chair:

  • How do I know you washed your feet today?
  • How do I know how much your feet have sweat and begun to stink since the last cleanse?
  • Do your feet have fungus and other microscopic gross feet organisms that might stick to my jeans and end up getting transported into my home later?
  • It’s gross.  It’s wrong.
  • It’s not your chair.

Patchouli Oil Patty

If you don’t know what patchouli oil is, you are probably wrong.  When you smell it, you will know it – and your eyes will burn before they pop out of their sockets, roll across the floor, and explode.  If you haven’t read my previous post called ‘Patchouli Oil – The Easy way to Lose Friends and Kill People”  on this topic, maybe take a moment to do so.

Here are some things you need to know about odour before leaving in the morning:

  • Just because you and  your husband like Wagner and Liszt does not mean that the rest of the people you encounter that day will agree.  Same with perfume and other body odours.
  • In the same way we don’t publicly broadcast our music on public transportation, we should keep our body odours at home.  *None* is the safe amount to wear.
  • Some people are actually *allergic* to the thing you think is sexy.  Even if I thought throwing peanuts and walnuts at sexy girls might make them think I was sexy, I’d still restrain because they might have a nut allergy and end up in the hospital because of me.  Same with your perfume or random oils.
  • More people will dislike  your smell than like it, so why bother?
  • If you decide to forsake my advice, please poll at least 10 unrelated people for their opinion at your office before assuming they will like your smells.

 Freeloader Lunchroom Leo

This ‘customer’ is not a customer at all usually.  Their motive is not to help the business, enjoy a drink, or anything at all for that matter.  Their goal is to find a comfortable place to eat the food they packed from home.  Some people will immediately read this and be in disbelief that such a one exists but I assure you they are not without number in this earth.

There are two kinds of Lunchroom Leos: Shameful and Shameless.

Shameless Lunchroom Leo will walk in, find a nice spot to eat, finish his bagged lunch, leave a mess, and then leave – all without purchasing anything.  Sometimes, just to make sure he has abused the business enough, he will use the washroom, on his way out, grab a handful of napkins, smile at the owner, and say ‘Thanks!” with a big smiley face.

Shameful Lunchroom Leo has just one level of difference – He will purchase a token purchase of the lowest possible price so that his conscience is appeased because he knows that his behaviour is wrong.

Token Purchase Tom

Token Purchase Tom is very much like Shameful Lunchroom Leo.  His goal is to find a comfortable place to study or camp for many hours at a time.  You can immediately identify Tom because the first thing he looks for is a power outlet to plug his laptop into.  The second giveaway is that he will ask about wifi before looking at the menu.  Tom will often stay so long that the ceramic cup he has used will be impossible to wash.  Tom is also often a For-Here-in-a-To-Go-Cup Landfill Larry which makes him even worse than Larry because not only does he waste but he sucks up valuable cafe real estate.

Washroom-Only Willy

Washroom-Only Willy is a simple creature.  He was trained at the University of Starbucks Ethics and believes that every cafe is a Starbucks offering: free water to go, washrooms without orders and other such ridiculous freebies.  He will walk in with absolute confidence that he will be able to make a meaningful deposit in your lavatory and will be flabbergasted when he is politely instructed to order something.

Willy, allow me to give you a short education in bullet form:

  • toilet paper costs money – you didn’t give any
  • hiring people to clean your toilet costs money – you didn’t give any
  • keeping a clean washroom available for paying customers is paramount

 

No-Order Norman

Norman is very rare, thankfully, because he is truly one of the most offensive kinds.  He only shows up about once a week at most.  He will walk in, grab a newspaper, sit down and enjoy the nice seats and warm heaters (or air conditioners).  Oftentimes he will start a conversation on his cell phone and even interrupt paying customers.  All the while, Norman doesn’t order anything.

When Norman is approached and offered (with pressure) the opportunity to come up and order something, he is offended at the idea.  He rejects the offer and says ‘Maybe later’.  If given the chance, he will prove every time that he was lying and leave – sometimes leaving his newspaper on the table for you to clean up – all without a single order.

 

 

 

 

 

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If You Want Dedicated Bike lanes, Then Ticket the Snot Out of Bad Bikers

I like bikes.  They look healthy and clean and I remember enjoying them when I was a kid.  I’ve also heard they are good for adults.  I’ve even considered riding one again, but I don’t have either money or time thanks to a devastating investment I made five years ago… but I digress.

I’ve been meaning to write this rant post ever since buddy boy decided to approve the questionable bike lanes downtown Vancouver.  Thankfully, my downtown coffee shop wasn’t in the line of their devastation because life is hard enough as a small business owner.  But if it was, I’d be be an even more unhappy camper.

First of all, let it be known to all of you who have driver’s license that a bicycle, has all the rights of a car when they use a car lane on any road.  Surprised?  That’s because you missed a class in your driver’s ed course.  Go back and review it.  They always have had the rights and they still do.  That means that if you approach a bike while you are driving you have to clear the *entire lane* when you pass.  If they are left-turning, you have to wait, just as if they were a car.  You have to respect them whether you like it or not.  It’s the law.

So, my question from the beginning of this ‘bike lane’ fiasco was this:

If bikes have the same rights as automobiles, then why in the world are we spending money on dedicated infrastructure for them?

From this standpoint, you can imagine how frustrated I was when I saw the hurt and inconvenience these lanes caused and are still causing, especially when [get ready for it] *they are riding on the sidewalks and any ol’ place they want!*

So, after all that hard work and pain, I’m still dodging bicycles on the sidewalk and avoiding them in all the non-bike-lane roads when I’m driving my car (rare).

And so there you have it.  My rant is finished.  We erred greatly by not focusing our time, energy and money on educating and punishing bad automobile drivers.

 

 

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Nik Wallenda, Confidence in Christ, and Assurance of Salvation

I was doing my weekly 3 minute review of what I’m supposed to consider important (scanning the news headlines) when I came across an article and video that actually made me open it in a fresh tab.

Nik Wallenda walked across this wire and became the ‘first person to cross the Grand Canyon on a type wire’.

Before I even read the article I started contemplating deep things about myself.  Would I ever do this?  Though I walk with Jesus, do I really have assurance of salvation (ie. If I were to fall from that wire, would I end the fall in heaven?)?

Then I watched the video and was interested to note that most of what he was saying while he walked was “Thank you, Jesus.”  Apparently Nik has assurance of salvation.  Many Christians would probably come down on me hard for encouraging such irresponsible behaviour and quote the scripture, ‘”Thou shalt not test the Lord thy God.”  To them I would say, “When was the last time thou stepped out of the boat and walked on the water?”

The act Nik performed might be perceived as insanity, but I suggest that we evaluate whether some of the things we do are insane.  Some people are insanely safe.  They hate their day jobs but they keep them because it’s safe.  They have always wanted to start a business or try something different but it’s ‘just too risky’.  I especially see this with government employees.  Many of these people take these jobs and all the associated nonsense because they perceive their path as the wiser and safer path (Pension, benefits, job security, etc).  I serve a lot of these fine folk coffee every day and last month another wave of cuts hit their department (it hit at least two major Federal Government departments in our building) and most of them are watching their lifetime colleagues getting picked off one by one – not my idea of safe or stable.

But not our Nik Wallenda.

He, on his own accord, got out of the boat and started walking. Nick took the ‘unsafe’ path and lives to tell about it (with videos on You Tube to prove it) while the rest of us watched from the sidelines.

Good for you, Nik. As tempting as it is to run back to the safety of solid ground, you have inspired me to continue in faith – not only down the narrow and difficult path of life with Jesus – but also in every part of my life so that one day I, too, might be able to kiss the solid rock of security on which I stand and look back on the exciting journey with satisfaction of a life well lived.

 

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How Honest are Vancouverites – A Series of Social Experiments

Here is a series of ( social_experiments) performed at a downtown coffee shop in Vancouver.  These experiments took place between February 21st, 2011 and August 5th, 2011.  This was a fun experiment designed to test the integrity of the general public walking by a downtown Vancouver coffee shop on a normal day during daylight hours.  Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com.

Special thanks to Tiffany and Rob who helped put this together and provided lots of laughs and raised eyebrows through the tests.

Here is the PDF if you didn’t get it above:

social_experiments

 

 

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Patchouli Oil – The Easy Way to Lose Friends and Kill People

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 03/03/2011 – 20:20
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It started with a gagging feeling in the back of my throat.  You know – the one you get if you stick your finger far enough back.  Usually it causes a kind of automatic ‘wwwweck!’ sound, but I digress.  Then, a kind of dry-eye feeling (if that’s a feeling) arose.  Sounds bad, but it’s actually kind of deceptive. The first time I smelled it, it had a kind of floral innocence to it.

For those of you like me who don’t know anything beyond deodorant, patchouli oil is nothing but bad.  However, if you research it online, you’ll find that it’s nothing but good!  All I can tell you is that if you want to wear that stuff in public, please go and get a permit from the city for transporting toxic material, in addition to gas masks for the rest of us who happen to spend our day working with the public.  Don’t make it awkward for us.  Just notice the great circle of emptiness forming around you.  Then, by using simple deduction ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I fart? No.  Ok.  It’s not my fart.
  • Is the music from headphones bothering them? No. I’m not playing music.
  • Did I shower today?  Yes. I showered today.
  • Do I have body odour?  *Sniff* Nope.  No body odour (*Note – ask your friend to confirm this one)

No?  None of the above?  Ok.  Then ask yourself:

  • Is possibly the cause of the circle of emptiness around me this offensive rare-earth fermented flower oil crap called ‘patchouli’ that I’m wearing?

YES, CHAMP, IT IS!   It’s your batch of patch and you shouldn’t wear it in confined areas like…well…in any indoor area within the Canadian borders.

Thank you so much for your cooperation and we hope you can regain those lost friends and the casualties who may have fallen as a result of allergic reactions or excessive gagging causing death.

– Management

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Tutorial: Making the World a Better Place with your Complaining

Originally Posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 09/29/2011 – 21:03

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Intriguing title? I had no choice. I knew that the people who really need to read this wouldn’t if I didn’t word it that way.

The inspiration for this tutorial is based on one of those ‘situations’ that didn’t need to become a ‘situation’ at all. As I was sitting there reading a tweet about my business and rolling my eyes asking myself how this is even happening, what I came to realize is that these ‘situations’ are usually caused by someone saying too much, too fast, or in the wrong way. Thankfully, there is no one more guilty of this crime than I so I feel qualified to teach the course. The great part about this teaching is that if you heed the suggestions, it can also apply to your marriage, and basically any other relationship you can think of where complaints abound. I’m going to use the customer-business example because it’s more generic and easy to understand for everyone, and because it’s based on a real-life situation.

The Cast

Bob: The employee
Fred: The customer

First, what most people don’t think about is that Fred and Bob already need each other. If Fred doesn’t buy his coffee, Bob won’t have a job. If Bob doesn’t make his coffee, Fred will go home and beat his dog. And so on, and so on. So, they are perfectly set up to build a relationship while both of their needs are met. It’s somewhat heart-warming. Except that both Bob and Fred are men and have a hard time communicating and understanding each other.

The ‘Situation’

Fred comes into the cafe and buys a coffee and sits down. He then proceeds to open his bag, remove a home-packed lunch box sandwich and begins to eat it. The cafe isn’t busy. Bob sees Fred eating the sandwich and quickly, quietly, and politely asks Fred to refrain from eating the homemade sandwich while in the cafe and points him to the display fridge where he can purchase sandwiches. Fred seems to understand, puts the sandwich away, and then a short while later leaves. One day later, Bob finds that his twitter account is full of heated messages from Fred about what a rat-bastard he is and how the service sucked Hoover-style and how the chain no longer deserves his business because he obviously isn’t appreciated. Bob is personally upset because these things are spoken of him personally, and the business owner is upset because there are these negative comments floating around with hashtags and @ symbols.

Fred’s expectations: a quiet place to eat his sandwich which should be ok since he purchased a drink
Bob’s expecations: that guests will not consume outside products in the cafe, especially ones that are available for sale in the display fridge

You may agree with Fred that it’s perfectly ok to bring a bite to eat with you into a food and beverage business, as long as you contribute to the business. You might feel that Bob is a soup nazi for enforcing such a petty policy. But what you might not know are Bob’s reasons for enforcing. What you might not understand is that there are many private schools upstairs and that the students, in the past, would swarm the cafe and eat their own lunch, ruining the atmosphere for the customers who are paying good money to not see that and who are purchasing food items from the business. Some of those students didn’t even make a purchase.

It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in this situation. Both parties feel justified in their behaviour. What does matter, however, is the way that Fred went about dealing with his complaint. He didn’t  so much as voice his feelings to Bob on his way out. Even if he flipped him the bird and said, “Why didn’t you just let me eat my sandwich, loser boy!” and left, at least Bob would know he offended someone and could think about whether he acted too strongly, or maybe the way he said it was in the wrong tone, etc. He at least could have known and learned, even if he believed he was in the right. I don’t agree with flipping the bird and walking out, though, because I will not hear the business’ perspective on why they did what they do. I would miss a possibly interesting piece of the world that I know nothing about if I just flip ‘n’ walk. Maybe I was in the wrong? Maybe my parents didn’t teach me this etiquette. I think there is a better way – a face-to-face conversation with someone in management right there, right now. No one stands to gain by letting hours pass before dealing with it. By that time, the molehill has become a mountain and you’ve already plotted how you’re going to ruin this business with your flashy  new smart phone.

So, with that background, here is the step-by-step tutorial about how to deal with a complaint:

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1. Don’t wait. Don’t leave.
Now is the best time. Later will only make it worse.

2. Face to Face
Face to face is always the best. No one can run away and body language cannot be hidden.

3. I’m not a Problem causer.
Start by making sure they know you’re not planning on bringing down their empire and that you’re only going to discuss this because you are upset and you believe the business will benefit by knowing about it instead of doing what most people do and dumping it online in hopes of hurting their business. Tell them you’re not that kind of person.

4. Stay Calm
The person may not be familiar with face-to-face confrontations. Don’t get upset even if they say something with a knee-jerk emotional reaction – no matter what. You’re in the drivers seat if you remain calm

5. Always Apologize
If you are Fred, start by apologizing for eating your home-packed sandwich in the cafe even if you don’t think it was wrong. It’s obviously the reason why Bob confronted him. Then proceed to explain why you think it should have been ok since the cafe wasn’t busy – or whatever your reasoning was.

6. Express your side
Give details about your perspective. It’s very possible the employee, manager, etc, didn’t think about it from that perspective before. Maybe they are new. Maybe they’ve seen weird stuff in the past. You really have a chance to help someone gain perspective here.

7. Listen to their side
Encourage them to express their reasoning for doing what they did. Everyone needs a podium and loves to know someone is listening. Even if you don’t think this person has anything worth listening to, you may be surprised.

8. Thank them
No matter what, once you are done expressing yourself, thank the person, no matter how much you don’t like them, for their time and for hearing you.

9. Follow up if possible
It doesn’t take much to make a quick phone call, email, or tweet to say something like “Thanks again for your time.”
I can guarantee you that 99% of business owners will be blown away that you are so awesome (they see some real losers during the day, if you didn’t know) that they will probably either a) want to be your best friend b) allow you to do the thing they just hated as long as it is out of sight or c) give you a free product and invite you back. Now you’ve made a friend instead of gain an enemy.

10. Escalate only if necessary
Some people are truly beyond discussion, rare as it is. If you did all the steps above and things still aren’t working well then it may be necessary to escalate your action to something like a public blog or tweeting the bad experience online. However, this should be your last resort. You have no idea if the person you are dealing with just had a bad personal experience, is fighting sickness, lost all their money, or a loved one, etc. They could be completely different person just hours later.

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After typing this tutorial I’ve come to realize also that I have a lot to learn about this process. Do I follow it perfectly each time? No. Am I better today than I was yesterday? Absolutely.

I truly hope this post will help someone make a friend out of a bad experience. Trust me – I’ve seen it happen more times than you will believe. Keep it real and don’t take the easy way out by talking dirt about someone online before you’ve attempted following these suggestions. It’s so tempting, I know. I’ve been there and I’m sure I’ll be there again.

And to help you remember these steps, here they are in an easy acronym: DFPCAELTFE (prounounced ‘defpcaeltuffy’)

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A Forwarded Email from Mom Worth Blogging

Originally posted at www.blenzseymour.com, Thu, 10/06/2011 – 20:38

Mom’s gonna read this for sure so I can’t say anything about her forwarded emails but you know… Moms like to forward stuff to their kids.  It’s like social media to them.  My mom is great because we’ve been pretty open about what I auto-delete and what I actually read so she pre-filters about 800% of the emails she might be able to forward.

I plan not only to share this content but also to re-read it on occasion.  Of course, to make sure you really get that home-cooked mommy flavour,  I left the intro with all the exclamation marks and the conclusion that attempts to make you feel like a criminal if you don’t forward it to others.

Got a mom?  You can call just copy the link of this article and email it to your her and tell them to forward it to their friends :-0

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This is something we should all read at least once a week!!!!!

Make sure you read to the end!!!!!!

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio.
“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.
My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Its estimated 93% won’t forward this. If you are one of the 7% who will, forward this with the title ‘7%’.

I’m in the 7%. Friends are the family that we choose.

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Cutting Out the Rust

rusty <–CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO RECORDING OF THIS POST. RIGHT CLICK ‘SAVE LINK AS’ WORKS TOO. 

One of my fondest ever memories is that of my 1977 Honday Civic.  This thing was dope.  Four speeds, a super long stick shift, felt like you were going 200K on the highway when you were actually going 85, and had those external flashers on the hood..with chrome.  I put some boom in there too so the license plate rattled real good when I was listening to the Dream Warriors (look ’em up).

It had just one flaw – rust.

Around the wheel wells of every Honda Civic of that era water would somehow get in and rust away the  metal right above the rear tires.  Obviously rust spreads so I did my college best (I was literally in college) and cut as much of the rust as I could and used one of those rust kits and bondo to fix it.  I repainted things and it looked good.

But the rust came back.

Just a few months later bubbles started to appear and the paint started to bulge. A few months later the red rust was breaking through the gold paint screaming ‘let my people go’.  I attacked again but could never quite get down the wheel well far enough with my residential toolbox and the problem would always resurface.

Lately I’ve been noticing ‘rust’ in my life, the lives of others and in business.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people when they are caught in a sin (I define sin as anything that is rooted in selfishness while disregarding the commands of God that produce a joy-filled life) try to remove the sin by means of replacing them with good habits, by controlling their thoughts, or by patting themselves on the back when they don’t sin.  The last one to me is funny if you use an extreme example:

“That’s great, Tommy! You only murdered three people this week in your anger.  That’s down two from last week.  Keep that up…I mean down.”

The problem is that sin is like the rust in my civic.  That beast will eventually re-appear because it’s rooted in my sinful nature.  Once people realize that the cause of many of their personal problems are rooted in sin, they can seek a solution. The cross is their solution.  If you want to stay on your merry-go-round, no one will stop you.  Feel free to keep trying your failing methodologies.

I’ve also seen rust in business.

I’ve been monitoring a fairly large retail chain these days.  This chain had a heyday a few years back and the brand was really starting to kick some kahoahoa (I just made that word up).  They were carving out a piece of a market where few had attempted to travel and creativity, life, excitement surrounded it.

But then Mr.Arrogance came by for sales call and the chain bought what he was selling in wholesale quantities.  The rest is history.  On the outside it still looks somewhat as it did but on the inside is dead man’s bones.  The writing is on the wall.  They only have one choice left: a full scale repentance and willingness to come clean with all people involved and even to the public.  Nothing short of full confession of past foul-ups and immediate remedies will suffice.

This retail study will very much help my future investments, too.  A company that is being eaten by the rust of arrogance will show symptoms:

  • lack of creativity
  • lack of excitement from the inside
  • infighting
  • trash-talking
  • positions filled by people who shouldn’t be where they are
  • words that don’t match actions
  • no apologies – ever
  • a heavy reliance on lawyers evidenced in one-sided contracts in their favour
  • selfishness
  • leaders who don’t get their hands dirty with the troops – ever
  • and more

If you see these things, keep your good money as far away from this as possible.  Search for companies or organizations that display the opposite and you will sleep better at night.

Rust.  Cut it out.

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When to Fight and When to Fold ’em

I’m not a fighter.

If someone were to attack me I would just curl up in a ball and try to protect my vital organs.  I tried Tae Kwon Do to remedy that back in high school but I still find it easier to curl up in a ball.  I’m not lazy, but I just figure even dirtbags would feel dirty if they were kicking a helpless man curled up in a ball and may stop sooner than wasting more time provoking them.  I never won arm wrestles either which was embarrassing, especially in front of girls and even worse when I was the one challenging someone.

I’m not a fighter – physically.

I learned early that the battles of this world are not fought physically but that there was a greater force at work that I could not explain.  First of all, why were they kicking me in the first place?

Let us turn for a second study someone who knows more about this topic than anyone else – God Almighty – Jesus the Lord.

One of the greatest battles of history (I almost typed ‘Epic Rap Battles of History… go to Youtube to figure out why that’s funny in a bad way’) was when Jesus defeated Satan on the earth in Round 1 in the book of Matthew chapter  4.  Here Satan tries to make Jesus fold ’em and take the bait with the hook.  Note that Satan didn’t sucker punch Jesus or beat him like a rented mule when no one was looking.  He leaves that kind of buffoon work for his underlings.  He used words.  He cut right to the core of the human vulnerabilities and used manipulation skills in an attempt to achieve his nefarious goals .

And that’s the battle we face.  Words and manipulation for selfish gain.

So our battles are, at the core, battles of the words (not much unlike Epic Rap Battles of History…. I really gotta stop promoting these guys but it’s hard)

Good manipulators don’t put anything in writing.

Companies hesitate to put in writing anything other than that which will benefit them.  I told my mom to call up her ISP and try to get a new modem and a better rate.  I told her to get them to email the quote to her and then she could forward it to me for approval.  When I asked her for the quote later that day she said, ‘They weren’t allowed to put it in writing but they gave me a faster download speed and bundled something with it.”  Not surprised I then asked, “And the new modem?”  She informed me that the company ‘doesn’t have new modems like the one she has but only modem routers’.  Gimme a break.  She ended up with a plan that will save her a bit of money now but, at the end of the fine print (and there is always fine print) she will likely pay more.

Lawyers know this, too. They are Wordsters.  They can word you into certain death or they can word you right out of a mess. They can outword anyone and using a language that only they know.

With that preface, now that we agree the battles are with words, what battles should we fight and which ones should we pass up?

I believe that if your battle is for selfish gain you won’t have any long term joy from the victory.  If your battle is just simply to take someone down that you will spend your energy and time and even when you are done, you won’t have made any great significance in the world.

If your battle is to pave the way for helping others in the same boat as you, and your victory will not only help yourself but many who come after you, then you must fight.  You cannot avoid your duty to put on the verbal gloves and wordcraft your way to victory.  So what do two examples look like?

The classic example of a battle not worth fighting is the divorce battle.  Obviously I’m completely against divorce from the get-go, but for those who have chosen this path, read on.  The sick stories that I’ve heard related to one ex trying to destroy the other ex seem like they are from a twisted Hollywood movie.  The only people who win in these stories are the lawyers.  And I’m not talking about a ‘fair divorce’ (if such a thing were possible) where both sides divvy up the bounty.  I’m talking about divorcing but then going that extra step to make sure there is salt in the other person’s wound.  Forget it! Move on.  Seek God and He will heal your heart, not auctioning off your ex’s motorcycle for a dollar.

I’m not saying that I agree completely with where many unions seem to have gone in the last few decades, but I think they are a good example of a battle that was worth fighting.  Unions formed because companies were abusing people.  Companies that have only their own selfish gain in mind are still very much present and, oh yes, right here in Canada, right here in Vancouver.  Unions used peaceful demonstrations, and words of negotiations.  No punching (well I’m sure a few angry union dudes lost their cool).  No beating of rented mules.

So, I recommend using a basic gauge for your battle.  Will others benefit from your battle?  Will you be helping others beside yourself?

If the answer is ‘yes’ then by all means go down fighting and die trying if you must.  Take a round-house kick to the head for the team.  Curl up in a ball and let them boot-smack you.

But if you are the only ‘winner’ in the battle, pack up, fold the cards and move on – your battle is in vain.

 

 

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