Tag Archives: Social Sciences

Never too Late…

30 Apr

I find it amazing that we measure what we do in life in time blocks – justifying our inaction by how much time the action might take.  “I can’t go to school – it will take four years,” is a popular lament amongst high school graduates eager to make their fortune.  Parents, however, lament how a year off before entering college is folly that will keep their kid from ever returning to full time study.

The truth is that no matter what we do (or do not do) in life, time ticks on…. four years will go by no matter if the student goes to college or works.

The fact that time marches on regardless of and in spite of our plans, hesitations, and need to “get ready” for the right time to act ‘should be’ impetus enough to get us moving.  There will never be a better time (for anything) than the present because it is the only guarantee in life. We cannot change the past (it’s gone) or the future (we have no control over what WILL happen), but we do have the present!

It is never too late to do anything as long as you start whatever it is you want to do, now!  It is never too late to return to school, to renew contact with old friends, to contact a lost love, to get a new job, to make amends, to act!  While certain physical dreams (such as being an Olympic figure skater at age 50) may be physically impossible, it is never too late to scale back a dream and make headway (i.e., take up figure skating now.) More typically we invent the artificial obstacles to prevent our own success and keep ourselves from trying something new (which can be scary!)

What better time than today to consider taking a small step towards a big dream – even if the dream started decades ago?

What do you have in your dream chest that deserves to be started today?  What’s stopping you?  Remember if it is something that might take you 5 years – the time will go by regardless so why not move in the direction of your dreams?  If you do not, in five years you will be in exactly the same place as you are today – just five years behind on your dream.

It truly is never too late if you just take one small step – today. What do YOU want to start while it is never too late – today?

Carol

Can all our dreams come true?

6 Feb

Readers of this blog know that I adhere to don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” (search in the blog for past posts on this topic) and I found the following quote to be of special interest:

Our dreams overlap and we each dream a part of the entire dream, the dream of the planet, which is made by the projection of billions of dreams. – don Miguel Ruiz

While Ruiz talks about our reality being the manifestation and interpretation of our mind, and tells us that we are all always living in a world that our mind “dreams”, I consider that what we seek to become (traditionally thought of as our goals or our “dreams of the future”) are part of our personal dream.

Along these same lines is The Law of Attraction (what you wish will come true if you really believe it) which gained popularity as a book/CD/DVD called The Secret.

The basic premise of the Law of Attraction is this:  What you dream/envision/truly desire in your mind’s eye will manifest itself in your life – and all you have to do is put your goals out to the universe and watch them unfold before your very eyes.

So, my question is this:  if each of us individually has a dream for our life (love, prosperity, wisdom, health, etc) and we truly believe in it, what happens if these dreams collide or compete with those of others all vying for attention and fruition from the “universe”?

Is this hokey?  What do you think?  Can your mind manifest the future?  If I envision a future of my dream job/career, living in a place of great natural beauty, in fine health, and surrounded by wondrous people who accept me unconditionally – is yearning for it enough to make it come true? Call me cynical but I just do not understand how the billions of dreams in the world (with conflicting goals and often at odds with each other) can all come true.

What do you think?

Have a great week,

Carol

Normal is whatever you know (or knew)…

2 Mar

Have you heard the saying “this is the new normal”? Every time someone says this, I wonder, what is the “OLD NORMAL” ?

I believe that “normal” is whatever you know to be true, and I liked what I knew as normal before the economy took a turn for the worse in 2008.  I remember people following up on their promises, treating others with respect, giving common courtesy to strangers.

I don’t see that today – and if the new normal means any of the following, I simply want to go back to the “normal” I know with respectful people who live lives of integrity.  Here’s what I find with the “new normal”:

  • An erosion of respect for others: such as cutting in line ahead of others (who are waiting), insulting people without apology, breaking promises, making commitments that cost others money and then not showing up, making false excuses, outright lying, etc.;
  • A lack of common courtesy: such as not saying thank you when someone does something for you, not responding to voice mail or email messages from friends, not letting people know you’ll be late, not acknowledging presents or gifts, etc.;
  • Outright rudeness: such as dominating conversations with others (and then not listening to them talk), ignoring and interrupting, temper tantrums when you don’t get your way, rude remarks, inconsideration, selfishness, etc.
  • Unilateral, self-centered behavior: such as calling friends for support when you need it, but not being there for them when they call you for support;
  • Taking advantage of the generosity of others and then abusing it: such as asking to stay with a friend while you get on your feet, then staying for months (without paying a thing);
  • Talking out of turn with third parties: I have a former friend whose daughter asked to store furniture temporarily in my garage for a couple of months, now six months later (after ignoring my continued requests to vacate the items) she badmouths me to others because I will no longer give her the free storage.

What is your experience with “normal” behavior in today’s society?  It is easy to blame the economy for the downturn in niceness, but I think that rudeness is becoming the “new normal”.

I long for a return to niceness and common courtesy – is that too much to ask?  I want the “old” normal that I know and loved where kindness and positive comments prevailed.

Be kind to one another today!

Carol

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Survival trumps friendship during a recession…

20 Dec

How many of your friends are struggling in this economy?  Have you noticed that these same friends do more cocooning and are less receptive?  How about you – do you find yourself withdrawing from social occasions when your own finances head south?  Of course if one does not have money to go out, it is obvious that spending will decrease.

Do you think this recession (and its continuation) affects our overall society and friendliness?  Has the sociological effect of the downturn been a consideration by our U.S. congress?  Could our global outlook and our friendship to the world be affected by this economy?

I wondered about many of these questions both professionally (as work has decreased and my own financial situation has worsened) and personally (where friendships seem harder to keep up) – and I finally think I have discovered a link between the economy and friendships in the world.  Read on…

One of the most famous models used to explain human behavior is called

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

Maslow Hierarchy of Needs

In short, how humans behave is influenced first by our physiological needs (food, shelter, clothing and other basics of survival), then by our safety needs (personal safety, job security, medical needs), both of which must be satisfied before the social or other higher-level needs enters the picture. At the top of the pyramid is self-actualization or the ideal “nirvana” situation for people whose lower level needs (including social and self-esteem needs) are satisfied.  According to Maslow, the highest achievement any person can do is to reach the top of the pyramid.  (Of course, there is a full school of knowledge and sociology that accompanies this model and ample internet materials about each level – I simply wanted to present the basic premise of the model here.)

Have you noticed a lessening of overall friendliness and friendships during the recession?

I’ve been puzzled by some of the personal interactions with friends and how more and more people seem to be cocooning these days, then it hit me that it may be due to Maslow’s hierarchy.  Here is my theory:

When people are without sustainable income, have lost their jobs/livelihood, or are scrambling to make their mortgage payments (shelter), pay for food or give the essentials to their families – their entire world and survival is affected. Moreover, as a result, wherever they may have been prior to their current situation (i.e., self-actualized or social) – they end up being at the base level of the pyramid.  The same situation happens when the economy forces people to revisit their spending habits when their own job or medical security is affected (level 2).

As such, friendships are the domain of level 3 – social needs – and when people are challenged to succeed in level 1 or to reach level 2, their social needs fall by the wayside.  This recession no doubt will count among its casualties the demise of many, many friendships and relationships.  Not only will these relationships be those that are personal neighbor-to-neighbor type relationships, but rather also global political relationships between nations.  When a country’s people are foraging for work and barely surviving, it is no wonder that their outlook on the world is degraded.

So, consider this – perhaps instead of equally withdrawing from people who withdraw from us due to their own survival needs being first, we should be friendlier and extend our hand with more patience and consideration of their plight.  After all, if they are in basic survival mode, they cannot possibly see their way into putting friends or relationships as a priority.

A few suggestions…

Here are a few ideas of how you (and I) can make a difference in today’s “survival trumps friendship” state of society:

  • Smile and be patient with sales clerks and restaurant service people who seem to be frustrated;
  • Open a door for someone or help someone carry a package that they seem to be struggling to carry;
  • Let someone else have the closer parking spot;
  • Let someone go ahead of you in the grocery line even if they have more than the express line number of items;
  • Pay for a friend’s cup of coffee instead of going Dutch;
  • Give someone a compliment (sincerely);
  • Show understanding when someone is slow at a checkout line or in traffic;
  • Give a homeless person at an intersection a few dollars;
  • Forget that someone cut you off in traffic.

Remember that those who cross your path may not be as fortunate as we might be at the current moment.  For me, when I see someone less off than I am, I consider the phrase “for the grace of God, go I” – because our roles could be reversed if not for good fortune and opportunities I have had.

What do you think?

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe weekend ahead!

Carol

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