Control freak?

The road we travel is imperfect.  The terrain is tough, the path is uphill, working against us and making it difficult to move forward.  It’s wise to do all you can – to use influence, hard work, and help from others to find your path.

Too often, people who do this are labeled “control freak”.

What’s smarter: complaining that the entire planet isn’t carpeted or putting on a pair of shoes?  There’s enough outside our control.  It makes sense to control whatever we can, and ignore the “control freak” label.

Throwing away time and money

Imagine having $1,440 and someone stealing $1 from you.  Would you then throw away the other $1,439 in an act of vengeance?

This is exactly what we do when we respond to a one minute insult or upsetting event by letting it affect the rest of the minutes in the day.  Simple math should reveal something obvious…

We shouldn’t waste 99.9% of our time and attention because of the .01% that perturbed us.

Three things you control

1) Your breath
2) Your attitude
3) Your framing – the story you have about the kind of person you are, and why your current circumstances are what they are

No need to wait for permission.  No reason to wait for anything to happen.  Any of these things can be changed in a moment’s notice – by you.  Take back control.

Achieving without praise

We sometimes confuse our motivation to pursue goals or new adventures with our desire for praise.  These questions help decide whether you truly want to run a marathon, travel the world, go on a meditation retreat or (insert activity here):

1) Am I more excited about the achievement/activity or about announcing it?
2) Would I still want to do it if I couldn’t tell anyone about it?

I’m not criticizing broadcasting accomplishments.  Please do!  Many of us are cheering for you. The questions are merely tools to help clarify your true aspirations.

To be or to have

Too often we believe that life will improve once we “have” (obtain) something.  We can, however, flip this and focus on “being” before having.

If you want to have an outstanding partner, work on being someone worthy of an outstanding partner.  If you want to have a better job, take steps to be someone with the skills and work ethic consistent with better employment.

Don’t wait to acquire something.  Don’t wait to be picked by someone else.  You can work on you before anything happens.

Learning from triage

In medical terms, triage is the prioritizing of patients’ needs based on the severity of their conditions.  This wisdom that can also be applied to non-urgent, non-medical circumstances. Intentionally neglecting hundreds of possible uses of attention to focus on what’s most essential is strategic and effective.  In fact, it’s careless not to do so.

Most of my failures and screw-ups aren’t caused by lack of skill, time, or persistence, but a failure to prioritize.

Job interview hack

Two smart questions to ask in a job interview:

1) What was it that prompted you to want to interview me?

2) If you hired me, what would I accomplish so that in a year from now you’d feel that hiring me was a great decision?

Psychologically both questions force the interviewer to visualize you favorably (this is known as pre-suasion).  From a functional perspective, the answers to both are useful in determining what’s important to the interviewer, and whether the work itself is compelling.