everyday success


Setting the Stage for Great Ideas

Where are you when you get your best ideas?  You know the ones.  They’re the ideas that make you wonder, “Whoa, why didn’t I think of that before?”  Where are you and what are you doing when your really great ideas come to mind?

Researchers1 have found that some of our best ideas, our most original and creative ideas, actually happen when we are literally standing outside the box.  That’s right, they actually did research using room-sized boxes and even shapes of boxes taped on floors.  What did they learn?  They learned that people are most creative when they are standing outside a box.

This does not mean you need to stand on your front porch in the pouring rain to get a good idea.  Where are you when you do most of your idea generating? 

For some, it’s while they drive.  If that’s the case, why not spend a few minutes walking when you reach your destination?  See if a breakthrough idea doesn’t pop right into your mind.

For others, it may be at their desk at home or in the office.  Again, try a different space apart from your regular space.  See what happens when you set yourself apart from your regular thinking or working space.

Use your hands.  Researchers also tested the adage on the one hand or the other and found that extending one’s hands forward as if weighing ideas helped generate fresh thinking.

One researcher2 even learned that better ideas were generated when one’s hands were free.  Put your iPad down, move away from your computer, leave your vehicle, free your mind and see what great ideas come your way. 

1 When Truisms are True by Suntae Kim, Evan Polman and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burkes, New York Times, February 25, 2012. 

2 To “Think Outside the Box”, Think Outside the Box by Angela Leung et al, Psychological Science, January 2012.

Giving a Daily Nod to the Good in Our Lives

The sunrise was amazing.  The berries at breakfast were delicious.  There was a text from my granddaughter.  I’ve already written an article.  So goes the day.  It’s starting well and for that I am grateful. 

Grateful.  Some of us are more inclined to notice the good things that happen in our lives, the things around us that are good.  Others of us are less aware, less inclined to notice the good, positive or pleasing things in their daily life.  Some, in fact, count the unpleasant things in their day.   

In the past decade, researchers have confirmed that our sense of well-being grows with our degree of gratitude.  When we are grateful, our sense of well-being is increased.  When gratefulness is not a part of our daily thought process, our overall sense of well-being will likely be lower.  

Gratitude is very simple; it’s a matter of giving a nod to the good, the positive, even the beautiful in our lives.  What we are grateful for is personal.  We can be grateful for just about anything and it’s likely the objects of our gratitude will differ greatly.  If you wonder what others are grateful for, visit Encyclopedia of Gratitude. With gratitude as its purpose, this website offers a “witty and wide-ranging compendium of things to be grateful for.”

How you tally the things for which you are grateful can be of your own design.  Many have taken up the popular gratitude journal.  Others make a mental review of their day as they prepare for their night’s rest.  For those whose sleep is not easy, count the good things instead of lambs!  Research shows that a gratitude mental review just before falling asleep improves the night’s rest. 

Whatever the method, whatever the time, daily recognition of all that is good can grow happiness and satisfaction.  Are you counting the good?

When The Path to Success Encounters A Few Curves

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every plan we made followed a perfectly straight path?  No interruptions.  No slow-downs.  No surprises along the way.  So often, however, we’re confronted with a curve or two that impede our perfect progress.

Case in point, the start of a new business.  The business plan is polished and perfect.  You’ve planned for the eventualities.  You are ready for the natural surprises that come along the way.  In fact, you are proud to say that you anticipated a couple of rough patches.  You planned and you were ready.  Those rough patches didn’t slow you up, not one bit.

Even so, no matter how well constructed the plan, the perfect path to your start-up will likely encounter a few curves.  Remarkably, those curves come from the most unlikely sources. 

Consider this website.  Business insurance was simply a line item to be checked-off, right?  Who’d have thought that ideas for success would pose a challenge?  Not me.  But, we couldn’t launch til insurance was in place.  It took a big bite out of our calendar.  As an aside, be sure your insurance is in place before you start your business.  Equally surprising, converting a print concept booklet to something that made sense on a data CD or downloadable book took another large swathe of time.  We couldn’t start the store til there was at least one product to sell!

Whatever your venture, whether you are planning a new business or a vacation, your plan will keep you on the path.  Don’t be surprised, however, by the occasional zig or zag arising from one or more of the details.  Acknowledge the change, find your best solution, even modify your plan if needed.  Use the curves on your otherwise straight path as lessons, as instruction for future planning.  Then, get right back to it. 

Where Does That New Years’ Resolve Go?

Is it a wistful memory by June?  Does it fall into the “meant to but didn’t” category?  Is it that note in a stack of stuff you’ll get to?  It is New Years’ Day 2012.  How did you do with your resolve in 2011?  I’m mortified to say it.  My net weight loss, year over year, is three and a half pounds.  That’s right, I wrote it in words not numbers so it can look a little mightier.  It’s not the twenty I resolved.  It’s not even the fourteen I actually lost.  No, a measly 3-1/2 pounds.

What happens to that New Years’ resolve? Often, it’s as simple as life happens.  We get so busy, so caught up in the demands of our lives that fledgling habits, small battles won, get lost to the busyness.  Perhaps that New Years’ symbol of a baby should sit at the top of our list reminding us that a resolution starts out in its infancy, a change, a f way of doing something.  That means it will need to be nurtured, carefully looked after – throughout the year.

Experts advise that we can build a new habit in thirty days.  That may be true but that habit remains new and needs care.  It is so easy to slide right back.  The slide back is not out of complacency so much as it is out of everyday demands.  Suddenly, our eye is off the ball and those tiny early-in-the-year successes are replaced by the immediacy of other demands. 

My New Year Resolve 2012 comes with an image for my mind’s eye.  It’s of a seedling emerging with tiny green leaves that, with my personal care, will burst into full life as a tree.  I like trees.  You may prefer to see a rose or a tomato plant or even a house from its foundation to its roof.  It’s a simple reminder, an image to help keep that resolve alive even when other demands fight for first place.      

Beginnings and Staying Power

Everything we do has a starting point.  If we’re runners, there was a time when we began running.  If we’re a great cook, there was a beginning to our cooking experience.  If we’re great at math, there was a time when it clicked and we began our life with math.  There was a beginning for each of our friendships.  Our married life began on our wedding day; our parenting began when our first child was born.  The same is true in our working lives, a first day, a first month and a first year at our job. 

There are so many beginnings in our lives.  Even our days have a beginning, a time when we can decide what we will or won’t include in our day. 

Sometimes, we begin a new commitment and it’s a toughie.  We know it will take time to grow our skills, to nurture our new commitment into a full-fledged accomplishment.  Knowing we can begin again tomorrow is of some comfort but that has its own risk; frequent unsuccessful starts can prevent accomplishment. 

Practice is just as important as the start.  Acquiring knowledge and mastery means repeating the process day in and day out.  Through repetition and practice, we shape our early starts into enduring abilities.  In our first job, we’re only beginning to translate our acquired knowledge into meaningful abilities.  In the first weeks of a marriage or committed relationship, we’re just beginning to gain the skills of a sustained and intimate relationship. 

Over time, our daily effort can move us from novice to expert.  In work, our personal drive plus the experience gained over time, moves us towards mastery.  We become a valuable asset.  So, too, with friendships or marriage or parenting.  We may not have the skills at the start, but daily effort sustained over time, can be the catalyst for good, strong relationships.  Our work becomes accomplished, our marriage and friendships blossom.  Our one-time starts become enduring successes.

This blog is a beginning, the first for me.  My staying power won’t be known til my fiftieth blog or maybe my hundredth.   Over time, it may become a sustainable process for me and a source of insight for you, the reader.  It’s a beginning.

« < 4 5 6