Archive for September, 2014

What’s In It For Me?

September 29, 2014

This is a question that drives almost every decision that we make. Those words are subconscious messages from the naughty little voices that we sometimes hear chattering in the back of our minds. Sadly, they sometimes prevent us from doing the right thing because our egos stand in the way.

Most of us want to do the right thing, but life can get complicated and the world seems to be going at such a fast pace. It sometimes feels as if we can barely hang on and handle our own challenges without taking on someone else’s issues. And there are those situations which involve someone hurting our feelings or competing with us for something we want or need. Are we really supposed to step out of our own ego bubbles and defy our “I have to look out for number one” inclinations?

For instance, here are some possible scenarios: If someone hurts me, why should I forgive him? Sure…he may be off the hook for what he did, but what’s in it for me? Someone needs help; I really don’t have the time and it will be an inconvenience. Lending a hand would make life much easier for someone else, but what’s in it for me? After all, we all need to look out for ourselves, don’t we? Someone is being mistreated or bullied. I could intervene and stand up for him, but then I would have to get involved and if I do that…what’s in it for me?

Yikes! What a dilemma! Or is it? Speaking for myself and my own experiences, here is what I have found to be the answer to what’s in it for me:

• The phrase, “what goes around, comes around” is true most of the time. What we send out usually returns to us. Negativity and mean spiritedness usually come back to bite you in the booty; kindness returns to you tenfold. We reap what we sow.
• There is more peace in stepping out of yourself than there is in building walls around yourself. When you practice kindness for kindness’ sake, you find that the question of what you’re going to get out of it appears less frequently in your thoughts. There is a kind of contentment that comes with giving and forgiving without expecting acknowledgement or credit.
• There is a lot to be said for paying it forward. Attitude is like ripples in a pond when a stone has been thrown in. When you are kind to someone, you are increasing the likelihood of that person passing it on to others. It is the gift that keeps on giving. And it works in reverse; as well…snarkiness breeds snarkiness. Don’t be the one who starts the snarky cycle.

The world has a way of balancing things out. But if you are still having trouble doing the right thing because you’re not sure what’s in it for you, reward yourself with chocolate. It works for me! But…I’m easily bribed.

Gull, Goose or Eagle….Choose Your Bird Behavior

September 4, 2014

I think people would be better off if they acted more like birds. Birds are very cool and clever and they do not deserve to be insulted by our derogatory terms like “bird brain” which imply that our little feathered friends are not intelligent. I believe that birds are even ahead of humans in technology; after all, they were “tweeting” long before we ever knew about Twitter!

Actually, birds reflect some behavior that we people would do well to model. However, I’d stay away from the selfish ways of the Seagulls. Although I love them and they are beautiful to watch as they soar above the ocean and then dive down with lightning speed to scoop up a fish which will become dinner, it seems as if they become rather vicious when they see something they want. Remember the movie Finding Nemo and the seagulls screaming “Mine Mine Mine” when fighting over food?

Although it is not the behavior we should emulate, I have seen similar human activity in a buffet line….but I digress.

Moving on to geese; we are all aware of the mystical V formation in which they fly. It is awesomely amazing to me that geese don’t typically fly alone, but tend to thrive in flocks and families. They fly in formation to distribute the hardship of travel. Of course, the front goose in the center point of the V meets with the greatest wind resistance, so the position is rotated every few minutes and the group can fly for long distances without rest. This begs the question: Why can geese figure this out, but it is next to impossible for a woman to get a man to stop the car at a rest stop at least once during an eight hour car trip?
If a goose becomes too tired or ill to continue the flight, it will drop out of formation WITH A HEALTHY GOOSE ESCORT and be grounded until it is able to continue. No one is abandoned. Wouldn’t it be great if all people stuck by each other and put their own agendas aside to assist someone who needed help? Talk about teamwork!

Is there a more glorious bird than the eagle? And they have much to teach us, as well. Eagles don’t panic and get tossed about in bad weather. When the winds come, they simply set their wings and are lifted above the storm. They don’t avoid the storm; they rise on the winds and fly above it. How much we could learn from them!

We can choose our bird behavior. Personally, I would love to have the freedom and agility of a seagull, the loyalty of a goose and the ability to weather storms like an eagle. Now, if I could just get rid of my turkey neck!