Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keep Trying!

Yesterday at work we had our Spring Devotional. The speaker was Dr. Charles Litchford, a professor of Sales & Service Technologies at Weber State University. His topic was "Keep Trying!" He started out by telling us that words, whether written or spoken, by themselves only have a retention rate of about 30%. But when you start adding elements to involve more of your senses finally culminating in setting it to music, the retention rate of the message is 100%. Thus the commercial 'jinlge' used to sell just about everything from underwear to jewlery. As an example, he used the following:

I'm not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times that I succeed. And the number of times that I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times that I fail and keep trying.

Dr. Litchford illustrated this by saying the words, then adding elements and finally grabbing his guitar and playing a rythym of simple chords and singing it to us. Must have worked. I can still recite those 40 words today!

He went on to explain why failure is a key ingredient of success with these 5 attitudes and backed each up with examples of where we are taught these principles in scripture:

1. I never see failure and failure, but only as a learning experience.
2. I never see failure as failure, but only asd the negative feedback I need to change my course of direction.
3. I never see failure as failure, but only as the opportunity to develop my sense of humor.
4. I never see failure as failure, but only as an opportunity to practice my techniques and perfect my performance.
5. I never see failure as failure, but only as the game I must play to win.

So remember...

I'm not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times that I succeed. And the number of times that I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times that I fail and keep trying.

Keep trying (keep trying).
Keep trying (keep trying).
You will succeed if you keep trying!
Keep trying (keep trying).
Keep trying (keep trying).
You will succeed if you keep trying!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Rambling About Nothing

We woke up this to snow! Sorry... not a fan - my first thought was 'well, ain't this just jingle freaking bells!' Now it truly isn't all that bad. There's only about an inch on the grass and the streets and sidewalk are clear. And it's forecast to melt off this afternoon.

I think my reaction is more symptomatic of being tired and a bit burned out. It's the end of a stressful week and I am mentally exhausted. It's also been a long time since I had a day off - my office was inexplicably open on President's Day - and I want a day without a dress to just sit in front of the fireplace and sip hot chocolate and maybe putter aimlessly around the house. Maybe I want more than one day to putter... Gotta look into how much vacation time I actually have accrued and use some soon!

You wouldn't think my desk job would be all that tiring. But some weeks I am dead by week's end. Not really physically tired -- it's definitely a mental thing. My theory is that much of my mental stress comes from working with one particular person. Sometimes she makes me think long strings of things I can't say out loud... but hopefully God will at least give me credit for keeping my mouth firmly shut. Unfortunately, the only way I see around this situation is to change jobs. She's not going anywhere and you can bet she won't suddenly stop being a critical tyrant. So change rests with me. And somethings gotta give relatively soon...

Sometimes I can't believe how much I complain. Comparitively, my life is pretty easy and pleasant. I have what I need and a goodly portion of what I want. I have to remind myself of that every now and then to keep from becoming mired down in cynacism, doom and gloom.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Got Love on My Mind

Happy Valentines Day everyone!

That must be what it is... I seem to have love on the brain lately. Everywhere I turn references to love keep popping up like subconcous reminders pulling it back to concious thought. Love is part of everyday discussions with friends and co-workers; I turn on my computer and the home page always has links to articles about love and romance; at night I open my scriptures for a little bedtime reading... and you wouldn't believe how often the book naturally falls open to Moroni 7:47.

But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever, and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

Awhile back I ofund a really good explanation of what this scripture means. A Meridian Magazine article broke charity, the pure love of Christ, down into three basic elements:

Love from Christ.
Love for Christ.
Love like Christ.

It went on further and gave an example of how to apply these elements to our dealing with someone we love (or want to).

I will wait with you
[while you're working through this current affliction].
I will wait for you
[to be ready to accept my love].
I will wait upon you
[by serving any needs you will let me to the best of my abilities].

A couple of other scriptures come to mind on this topic. Romans 13:10 says:

Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

And Matthew 22:36-40, where the Pharisees were questioning Christ, says:

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
40 On these two hang all the law and the prophets.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with our society's popular lotion of romantic love... and I say it has everything to do with it. People who put effort into developing and putting into practice this Christ-like charity are going to be, by their very nature, loving and forgiving. Experience says those are very important characteristics to just getting along and being happy with the people in your life. And many so called relationship experts say these are probably the two most important characteristics two people hoping to build an enduring marriage can have. For once, at least, they give good advice.

So how do we incorporate and show these qualities of Christ-like love into our daily lives? This is not an all inclusive list, but here are some of the things that I think of:
  • Recognizing its need and importance to my happiness now and eventual salvation.
  • Simply being a good and true friend.
  • Repenting of my wrongdoings.
  • Making forgiveness to those who grieve me unconditional.
  • And in forgiving letting the grievance go rather than bringing it up again and again.
  • Offering a sincere smile and greeting to those whose paths I cross.
  • Listen. People will tell you through words and actions what they lack in their lives.
  • Willing offer meaningful service to those in need.
  • Graciously accept service offered by others for my own needs.
Doesn't that sound like a pretty good description of a loving, and lovable, person?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What I've Accomplished 2009... So Far

With the new year came a (once again) renewed resolve to improve my health status. And I've been doing a pretty good job of it for a little more than a month now. Don't they say that it takes 3 weeks to form a new habit? Well, it's been a bit longer than that and while I will admit to some fits and starts and a couple of relapses... I'm kinda sorta impressed that I've stuck with it this well.

One thing I've been doing is making a conscious effort to increase my daily steps... using the stairs, taking the long way around, walking at lunch (there is a beautiful plaza in front of my office!) and doing stuff upstairs and down at home in the evening. I haven't really noticed much improvement in endurance or speed even though I do try to push myself. So, you ask, what have I managed to accomplish with all this walking? A mild case of shin splints.

What's the deal with that? Is it the universe just flipping me the bird?

But rather than stop, I'm trying to be more gentle about it for a couple of weeks and be stretch the muscles in my lower legs several times throughout the day. Hopefully that will give my shins the time and wherewithall to heal.

Another thing I've been working at is eating more healthy food and a lot less junk. So far that is mostly cooking and eating at home instead of going out. This is harder! When I get home from work there are just some nights when I am mentally spent and it is near to impossible to find any desire to cook. I'm finding it is more likely to happen, however, if I have a plan made ahead of time and I arrive knowing what I'm going to be cooking so that's where I'm focusing most of my effort now. I'm making and shopping for a meal plan 2 weeks at a time. Again you ask, what is this accomplishing? Well... I *think* I feel less sluggish. And it's saving my financial situation from complete chaos.

Along this same nutritional bent, I've also been taking a multivitamin in the morning. And I'm managing to get it down me most mornings. I think I'm averaging 5 out of 7 days. Admittedly not a perfect record, but much better than... oh say, NEVER.

I'm also working on my mental health. Paper clutter has been [one of] my major downfalls but I've made a goal of getting rid of one garbage bag full of it every week and when a bill/statement comes in the mail I've been logging on to that website and getting myself set up for electronic delivery. I find I am much more likely to look at it when I get an email notice than when it's just one more envelope taking up space on the coffee table. That is an unexpected benefit and it's helping me get better control of my spending... which helps me get the roof paid off faster... which will help secure my financial plan. Much happier about this than the darned shin splints!

Also for mental health, was a goal to post to this blog at least 4 times each month. Made it for January! Writing is a great stress reliever for me and for a long time I've been making it a goal to write more. That's even the main reason I started this blog. But I think I needed that mandatory measuring stick to really make it work for me. Also a surprise here... I've found I really like writing about applying scriptural thoughts to everyday life. I'd always thought of myself as more a short fiction story writer, but writing about the scriptures has really been satisfying. So I think I'll keep it up. Someday I may even get brave enough to submit something to real publisher!

I'll post on my success (or lack of) periodically. Kind words of encouragement would be welcome!