TAKE THE HIGH ROAD

highroadFirst of all, let me clarify what “the high road” isn’t.

  1. Stoners will tell you the expression means “get stoned.”  Not what I mean.
  2. Nor am I referring to the British soap opera from 1980 – 2003.
  3. It certainly doesn’t mean a treacherous mountain pass in the Himalayas

When you “take the high road” it means doing the right thing even if is not popular or easy. However, many people believe that for one person to “take the high road” infers that the other person isn’t.  Sometimes this is true, that one individual is treated unfairly by another.  In this case, taking the high road means don’t stoop to someone’s tactics and be drawn into the muck. You can control how you respond to any situation. Things happen but time marches on. Remaining calm and civil will prevent any argument from escalating. Never, ever, say anything or do anything that you would regret at a later date.

But too many times, a person has to feel that he or she is the victim, and that they are taking the high road by burning at the stake.  True victims have all the rights to be justified in their anguish, but negative energies only take away from the possibilities for positive energy. Consider heroes like Gandhi or Mandela who could have easily thrown in the towel. Bad karma merely manifests. Taking the high road leaves the poison below.

Let me also suggest to you that just because one person takes the high road, it doesn’t automatically place the other person in the gutter. Two people can simultaneously become polar opposites in how they feel, yet neither is necessarily wrong. Just look at politics. If such disagreements can’t be resolved, each person should take the high road, although it is not always going to be on the same pathway.

Even when the chemistry of a love affair or long-term friendship has soured, it’s better to drift apart rather than to blow apart. Feelings can sometimes change inalterably during a long-term relationship. Taking the high helps prevent the ruination of that relationship.  Hopefully, if love makes the world go around, Dating for Life will always keep it spinning. But even if a marriage must end, when two people both take the high road, they can preserve a friendship.  The Golden Rule is golden with good reason.

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DATING FOR LIFE VERSUS ROUTINES

Same Old Sign.Let me guess.  Every morning you get up and for the first 30 minutes, you routine is pure Pavlov’s Dog.  In terms of getting ready for your day, it’s more efficient to prepare for the day in the same way.  Why reinvent the wheel, as they say.

Now you’re entering your daily activities, most likely work or parental responsibilities, which is surely also a form a work.  Your commute to work takes the same route, unless the traffic reports on the radio suggest otherwise. You grab a coffee and/or breakfast en route, and finally settle into your day, perhaps at a desk, retail store, construction etc.  If you are at a desk, there are important e-mails to read, phone calls to make, meetings to attend.  Breaks are normally mid-morning, lunch and mid-afternoon.  Then, finally, you’re done! You can leave work and go back home to…run errands, eat dinner, watch television etc.

If your life is anything close to this kind of routine, imagine how easy it can be to treat your relationships in routine ways. I don’t have to tell you that routines create ruts.  Chivalry actually doesn’t die, it slowly lapses into a coma. But if love makes the world go around, Dating for Life keeps it spinning. The four keys to “dating” anyone for any aspect of life (romance, friendship, business colleague, neighbor) will break the routines that lead to relationship ruts.

Now that Valentine’s Day is over for 2014, don’t think that you’re off the hook for chivalry until next year. One day of resurrecting any relationship doesn’t repair 364 days of taking it for granted.

In my next few blogs, I will give you several simple ideas that will break the monotony and open the door to spontaneity in friendship, love and romance.  Stay tuned.

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ARE YOU BETTER OFF SETTING NEW YEAR’S REINVENTIONS?

pastFutureSo, how many of you out there have already broken every one of your New Year’s resolutions?  My guess is that if you haven’t broken them, you may already be on a slippery slope of a broken promise.  As there are millions of resolutions floating about in the ether of hope, there are also millions of ways for these solemn vows to be dashed as well.  But regardless of your specific resolution(s), here’s an idea that will apply to all:  pursue New Year’s Eve reinventions rather than resolutions.

First of all, a resolution is usually fairly black and white.  For example, “I resolve to stop swearing.” (I do, dammit!) But if have established a pattern of swearing for whatever reason, unless that pattern is broken, it is unlikely that my resolve will be achieved. Therefore, what is the trigger that prompts swearing, and what is the methodology to permanently disable that trigger?  Thus enters in reinvention.

A former minister of mine suggested that every step taken in life is either a step toward good, or a step toward evil.  Equate this statement to climbing up a mountain.  Now and then you may slip or fall if the pathway is steep or hard to navigate. But you can only climb any mountain one step at a time. I like this concept, because anything worth achieving normally takes a commitment to the process.  Einstein didn’t wake up one morning and invent the Theory of Relativity. And John Wayne Gacy didn’t just decided to commit heinous crimes.  There was a long pathway that led him there.

One more piece of advice:  don’t set goals that are a one-time finish line.  For example, when a person vows to “lose ten pounds by the end of the year,” what is the motivation to keep them off the following year? A reinvention goal would be more likely to be to modify a lifestyle habit and establish the methodology to do so.  Losing the weight is only one metric to monitor the process.

Consider what you want to accomplish and design a strategy on how you should live your life to become the vision you desire. Your New Year’s resolutions will quickly fade, but a New Year’s reinvention could last a lifetime.

 

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A METHODOLOGY FOR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!

NYELet’s talk about goal setting.  Psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, Professor of Psychology of the Dominican University of California, recently conducted a study related to goal setting.

Matthews recruited 267 participants who were randomly assigned to one of five groups.  Her methodology is stated below:

Group 1 was asked to simply think about the business-related goals they hoped to accomplish within a four-week block and to rate each goal according to difficulty, importance, the extent to which they had the skills and resources to accomplish the goal, their commitment and motivation, and whether they had pursued the goal before (and, if so, their prior success).

Groups 2-5 were asked to write their goals down and then rate them on the same dimensions as given to Group 1.

Group 3 was also asked to write action commitments for each goal.

Group 4 had to both write goals and action commitments and also share these commitments with a friend.

Group 5 went the furthest by doing all of the above plus sending a weekly progress report to a friend.

Goals were a wide-ranging as completing a project, increasing income, increasing productivity, improving organization, enhancing performance/achievement, enhancing life balance, reducing work anxiety, and learning a new skill.  Specific goals ranged from writing a chapter of a book to listing and selling a house.

Of the original 267 participants, 149 completed the study. At the end of the study, the individuals in Group 1 only accomplished 43 percent of their stated goals. Those in Group 4 accomplished 64 percent of their stated goals, while those in Group 5 were the most successful, with an average 76 percent of their goals accomplished.

“My study provides empirical evidence for the effectiveness of three coaching tools: accountability, commitment, and writing down one’s goals,” Matthews said.

So if you are planning on making a New Year’s resolution that will actually come true, remember to:

  • Set a goal that is realistic and attainable
  • Write it down
  • Put together an action plan with metrics
  • Share this goal with a friend or publicly
  • “Inspect what you expect” and measure your goal until you have achieved it.

So, what’s your New Year’s resolution?  Write me and I will post it on my website, so you are effectively telling the world what you hope to achieve in 2014!

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INTERESTING TRENDS IN DATING

textI find it interesting that with all of the development of “Love Apps”, technology that makes it easier to find a date, it seems harder than ever for people to fall in love. Although men seem to be having “their cake and eating it” in major metropolitan areas, there is a backlash developing.  Here’s why:

  1. Texting has digitized the emotionality of asking someone out for a date, thus depersonalizing romance.  According to a Match.com study, 50 percent of guys reach out within 24 hours of a date by confirming interest.  If a girl doesn’t hear back within this time, her odds of a next date are slim.  Picking up the phone is a complete passé protocol.  Question:  do you feel that this sets up a deep seated (justifiably) resentment of women toward men?
  2. Ghosting is the current term for guys that no longer want to pursue a relationship, even after several dates with a woman.  Is chivalry that dead?  Or, even more bluntly put, are relationships that undervalued?  Question:  do you feel that women that feel undervalued will eventually turn the tables in the future?
  3. In a recent British poll, 62 percent of men said that they turn down sex more than their partners do. This is symptomatic of women that have become more aggressive toward “one night stands” and who only want “boy toys” similar to men’s attitudes in the past.  Question:  What does this do with regards to the attitude of men toward woman and what values they represent?
  4. In major cities, unmarried young women out earn young men by a median of 8 percent.  The catch—Researches at the University of Chicago found that in these cases, there is a much larger incidence of divorce. Some of these divorces are prompted by the frustration of the man not being the major “breadwinner” but this is only symptomatic of the deeper root cause, where the woman is simply fed up with the man’s attitudes and no longer needs or wants him.  Question:  do you agree?
  5. In Asia, Africa, and Latin America, there is a rising rate of divorce, as women are abandoning men to better their careers and perhaps personal lives as well. Laws are softening to allow women to do this, whereas in the past they were more-or-less indentured into marriage.  Question:  Why do you believe that women are taking this course of action?  Could it be that they are tired of being treated as true partners?
  6. Time Magazine did a recent survey of people born from 1957 to 1964 which shows that a bachelor’s degree not only increases the likelihood of marriage, but it also lowers the risk of divorce. The well-educated tend to marry later, so their apt to be more mature and financially stable.  The median income of a college grad is 116 percent more than someone with a high school diploma.  There are multiple reasons for why college grad marriages are preserved, not all of which are related to love, such as there is more at stake to lose.  However, there are also higher-evolved relationships where partnering is at multiple levels of business, charity, family, trust, respect and love.  I would also offer that males who marry very early in live haven’t evolved nearly as much as post-college grads who are established in their careers.  In fact, if “thirty is the new twenty-one” then this means the males focus on career and having fun is a higher priority than settling down, as a rule.

Dating for Life is a methodology based upon treating anyone whom you associate with in a respectful manner.  The Greek origin of the word “date” is didonal which means “to give.”  The onus is on anyone who invites someone else out on a date to show them a good time.  Treat life as a date and eventually a mutually respectful relationship will evolve, whether it be in business, friendship, or romance.  The FOUR KEYS of Dating for Life show you the way.  Chivalry needs to be resurrected, and cannot be replaced by technology.

  • The only purpose of Texting is to communicate time-sensitive information.
  • The only purpose of dating sites should be to filter out those people that don’t fit within either male or female’s horizons.
  • Lose the PDA and get to know someone whenever you go out on a date.

People matter.

Romance matters.

Both require cultivation.

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FREE FOR YOUR SWEETHEART!

sweetestdayHere’s a gift for you to give to ANYONE you consider sweet—a FREE DATING FOR LIFE e-book. In an age when chivalry is tarnished and needs some polishing, it never hurts to brush up on how to treat anyone you associate with as if you were on a date. In case you forgot, the four keys to Dating for Life are:

  1. Pursue common interests
  2. Set no expectations
  3. Learn and grow
  4. Express gratitude

But how do they apply to everyday living?  FIND OUT.  Please go to AMAZON on SWEETEST DAY, Saturday October 19, and download your free e-book, DATING FOR LIFE. This free gift from me to you will run through Monday, October 21.  After you read my book, I guarantee you will have a healthier outlook on how to interface with your friends, business colleagues, family, and of course any romantic interest. Download my book, and please subscribe to my weekly newsletter by going to my www.DATINGFORLIFE.com site.  I promise to give you valuable tips and insights throughout the entire year. If friendship and romance make the world go around, then DATING FOR LIFE keeps it spinning. Best wishes, Craig S. Wilson Author

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EVERY DAY IS LABOR DAY

labordayI’m marveling at the evolvement (mutation) of people’s perception of Labor Day.  Here’s how it started, according to Wikipedia:

In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor first proposed it in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada. Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day. Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation’s trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers’ Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers’ Day. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.

But what is Labor Day today?

  1. Labor Day is the symbolic end of the summer. Fashionistas feel that it is inappropriate to wear white or seersucker after this holiday, until Easter.
  2. Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons.
  3. Most US public school districts that started summer vacation 1-2 weeks into June will resume school the day after Labor Day, although this trend is changing.
  4. It is the second largest retail day of the year, second only to Christmas season’s Black Friday. Retail counts on the Labor Day weekend for big sales, and those employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. Retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States, even though only 3% are members of a Labor union.

What does this mean?

  • Americans still live to work, not work to live. As the world becomes increasingly competitive, achieving a high standard of living is still possible, but not without a high price.
  • Work and play are largely co-mingled, thanks to PDAs. People are unchained from a physical desk, but their work never leaves them.
  • Labor Day is a dated holiday, honoring a time when there was a division of work and play and most workers slaved away in more of a physical endeavor. This is still true and necessary in many jobs, such as construction, farming, and manufacturing industries. However, when Labor Day was created, most workers went off to work as single-income earners. Today, everyone works!

Conclusion:

Whoever you may be, throw a steak on the grill and enjoy a beer. You earned it!

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PET PEEVES

whineA pet peeve is a minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying, to a greater degree than others may find it. For example, a supervisor may have a pet peeve about people leaving the lid on the copier up and react angrily, be annoyed when others interrupt when speaking, or by messy desks of their subordinates. That same supervisor may witness employees coming into work late, and not feel any annoyance whatsoever.

Check out http://www.getannoyed.com/ if you want to see the web’s largest list pet peeves. Some of the funnier ones are:

  • The way people walk in flip flops (as if Amy Vanderbilt suggests a correct way.)
  • Cats and dogs that are inconsiderate of their human’s sleeping habits, and decide to romp, play, and destroy stuff at 4 AM  (as if animals are rational in any way)
  • People who don’t dress their age (as compared to what?)
  • Air Guitar. Don’t do it. You look like a dork. (What is a dork?)
  • PeOpLe WhO tYpE LiKe ThIs. (nO CommenT needed)

Oh, there are some legitimate gripes that really don’t qualify under the definition of “pet peeve” because the act is more an inconsiderate act, such as leaving hair on bar soap.

The term is a back-formation from the 14th-century word peevish, meaning “ornery or ill-tempered”. So, in other words, people with too many pet peeves are more likely to be ornery or sarcastic.

Do you know what my pet peeve is?  People with pet peeves.  :)

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GROWN-UPS VERSUS ADULTS

grownupsHave you ever considered the subtle difference between an adult and a grown-up? Which would you rather be?  This isn’t really a trick question. Webster’s dictionary defines a grown-up as “characteristic of adults” whereas it defines an adult as “fully developed and mature.” Dave Barry says you can only be young once, but you can be immature forever.” This quote is funny because there is certainly a hint of truth in it. The movie series Grown-ups and Grown-ups 2 are perfect venues for comedians to appeal to the desire in everyone to be a kid.

There is another side to grown-ups and adults. I have several friends that are highly successful in business, and are mature in almost every way. Yet they still owe their personalities, quirks, and sibling rivalries to their childhood. Think about your own childhood—your interactions with your brothers and sisters, or perhaps how you saw your parents interact, or who your heroes were and why. Do you now imitate the same patterns today as a grown-up?  Of course you do.  In many ways these patterns are incredibly funny, but they can be very sad as well.  Victims of divorce or child abuse often repeat the same patterns in adult life.

There are essentially three things any parent should be doing in raising children:

  1. Keeping them safe and alive
  2. Establishing healthy practices and values
  3. Nurturing them with love and guiding them toward their goals

Did you know that one of the most traumatic times in your adult life is when you lose your last parent?  This is because there is no longer an adult parent to turn to in your life. I suggest that one of the best things you can do for yourself is to continue to balance your child-self (now grown-up) in your life with your adult-self who is supposed to watch over him.  To do so is to understand the difference between them.  Once you do, here is the perfect combination:

  1. Listen to the child when it comes to remembering how to imagine, capturing the passions you once held, and living each day with a completely open mind to the possibilities.
  2. Listen to the adult when you find senseless, illogical, or even dangerous urges or patterns driving your decisions

As logical as we adults may act at times when we are required to do, there is still a child lurking inside all of us.  Master the art of effectively being both, and you’ll be amazing!

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“CUSTOMER SERVICE” JUST PLAIN WRONG!

customerserviceLet’s visit Merriam Webster for a moment. The origin of the word “service” is derived from a Latin word, “servus” which means, “slave or servant.”  Maybe that’s where the expression, “the customer is always right,” comes from.  After all, if you are a slave to someone, then your master has the final say. Here are some of the Webster’s definitions for the word “service”:

  1. Employment as a servant (“Entered into service”)
  2. The work performed by one that serves (“good service”)
  3. Use, help, benefit  (“glad to be of service.”)
  4. Contribution to the welfare of others
  5. Disposal for use (“I’m entirely at your service.”)

The list goes on, such as “the act of a male animal copulating with a female animal.”  None of these definitions make me feel all “warm and fuzzy”. How about you?

Now let’s take a look at the definitions of the word, “Customer.”

  1. One that purchases a commodity or service
  2. An individual usually having some specified distinctive trait. (i.e. a real tough customer.)

No wonder an individual may be skeptical when they are asked to provide good customer service. To boot, then are evaluated and rated like no other time in history. How many times have you bought something, and then been asked to participate in a survey afterward?  Even worse, thanks to blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and sites like  www.yelp.com, www.trustedplaces.com, www.buzzillions.com, www.insiderpages.com, www.sharedreviews.com,  www.viewpoints.com the customer can blast you with almost no chance for you to defend yourself. You are basically guilty before proven innocent.

But why do individuals and/or companies sometimes get blasted through social media?  I would wager that a few negative comments stem from a basic failure to provide a value in the fees charged for services rendered.  Most negative comments occur when basic tenants of human interconnection are violated.  Ever had a great meal in a restaurant, but given a lukewarm review because the service was barely acceptable?  Sincere effort and a genuine smile go a long way.

So what’s the solution?  I propose that two paradigms need to change.

First, everyone is your customer.  Certainly, if you are trying to sell someone something, then that person is a customer. What about your work colleagues? Do you ever need something from them?  Let’s drill down deeper. What about your wife or husband? Isn’t this person also a customer?  Do you need their support to get through the day?

Second, if everyone is a customer, then customer service should be looked upon as providing acts of benevolence, courtesy, grace, indulgence, kindness, or mercy depending upon the circumstance.  A job description for any position is merely the ante or bare minimum of how an individual is required to interface with another in a work capacity.

If everyone is a customer, then why aren’t there also job descriptions for a wife or husband?  Why not for a parent?  Despite countless books written on any type of job or on marriage or parenting, every situation will be unique. In the end, great service boils down to a positive mental attitude.

In my prior blog, I gave credit to Lennon and McCartney’s lyric, “In the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.”  The great rewards for superb customer service are compliments that go far beyond a mere tip.  The ultimate reward for extending consistent, heartfelt courtesy is a consistent heartfelt courtesy and gratitude that is indeed, priceless.

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