Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 27, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for my family. We had a fun family gathering on Sunday evening for dinner and to celebrate my Dad's birthday. It was a lot of fun and a good reminder of how much I appreciate them.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 24, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for the anticipation of a big snow storm. We're supposed to be getting whopper of a storm in the Twin Cities this weekend and it's been fun to watch people scurry around in preparation. Now we just need the storm!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 21, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for the touch of spring weather we've had the last couple of days. After the deep freeze of the last month 40 degrees and sunny feels so great!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 18, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for patience and the internet. On Thursday afternoon a laptop I use for work crashed and I didn't discover the severity of the problem until Friday AM. I spent most of Friday afternoon trying to recover the system, most of Friday night stressing about my lack of success and what I would have to do, most of Saturday rearranging my life so that I could work on this problem and start to figure out what I would do if I couldn't recover the computer, and then Sunday morning I fixed it!

Without patience and very generous people on the internet I wouldn't have been able to accomplish this task. I'm very grateful for all of these people even most of them will never even know that the information they shared was what I needed.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 15, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for making change in my life. A couple of days ago I woke up in a bad mood. I realized what was behind that mood - frustration with myself for not following through on commitments I've made - and have put a plan into action to change. It feels good to understand the source of these feelings, create a plan and start working the plan.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 12, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for having the opportunity to improve my mode. I've woken up in a bad mood today. This is pretty unusual for me and makes it all the more powerful. What I'm grateful for right now is that I know I'm the one that has the power to change my current mind state and I'm glad that power is mine and that I'm not dependent on someone else to make it all better.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 5, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for a warm home. This cold snap we've been having reminds me of how dependent I am on technology such as indoor heating and, heating fuel/natural gas and double pane windows.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 3, 2007

I'm changing my strategy for my Gratitude-A-Day posts. I've decided to change my priorities a bit and although this exercise doesn't take a lot of time each day it's adding to my cumulative stress. So, I'm going to post a Gratitude-A-Day every 3-4 days rather than every day.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Abundance and Scarcity

When resources (whatever resources are involved in the discussion – can be people, food, time, money, natural resources, territory, prestige, pride, …) are abundant there is less pressure on the parties involved in determining a course of action and therefore opportunities for compromise and “win-win” solutions are more readily available. When resources are scarce it is less likely that “true win-win” solutions are easily agreed upon. Often one or more parties feels like they are getting short-changed in these situations and they will “fight back” in some way or another.

Appropriate Actions – Unspoken Assumptions, Beliefs about “what is right” & Goals

It is not possible for a group of people to agree on a set of actions that should be taken in response to circumstances unless there is agreement on the assumptions, beliefs about “what is right” and ultimate goals. If there is fundamental disagreement between groups or individuals about any of these things then there are two possible outcomes. One is that one party will dominate (either physically, emotionally or due to the structure of relationships/authority) and the second outcome is that there will be direct conflict leading to a new structure of authority. This conflict can be physical (war and fighting), emotional (oppression, ridicule), financial (sanctions, boycotting) or legal (lawsuits, elections). The party that wins in this conflict has the opportunity to initiate their preferred agenda and set of actions.

All to often in communication between parties we do not take the time to understand the unspoken assumptions, beliefs and goals of all participants. We like to jump directly to the discussion of goals and then apply arguments that make sense based on our own unique set of assumptions, beliefs and goals. A good example is global warming. For the sake of argument I’ll discuss this issue in simple terms of two different parties. The first party is represented by people that believe that global warming due to human activity is a bad thing. The second group is represented by people that either are not willing to acknowledge that change is occurring or that if it is occurring it isn’t really that bad of a change. “What’s wrong with winters being a few degrees warmer?” is a common question from this second group. At this point in the debate it is often the first group that will make suggestions for actions that will prevent the continued trend or will potentially reverse the trend. The second group, coming from a completely different set of beliefs, assumptions and goals, does not agree on the course of action and therefore tries to erect road-blocks to prevent any action.

The only way around this dead-end is to initiate a conversation that goes to the root assumptions, beliefs and goals of the parties involved. It may be that there is substantial common ground among the parties involved so that a common set of actions can be developed that fits for all parties. It may not be possible.

What do you do when it isn’t possible? War, unilateral action…

Often the most confusing situations arise when all parties involved assume that they are operating with the same set of assumptions, goals and beliefs. It may be that there is common agreement on the high-level goals, assumptions and beliefs but there are radically different “secondary” goals, beliefs or assumptions at work.

Any time that you find yourself in a situation where there is confusion regarding suggestions for actions it is a good idea to step back and identify the goal, belief or assumption that is behind the action. You may discover that the source of the confusion is a difference at this level.

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 2, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for taking things head on. When something is bothering me I'm much happier when I address it directly. I don't always do this but when I do I'm grateful for doing so.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Gratitude-A-Day Feb 1, 2007

Today, I'm grateful for my triathlon coach. I hired him about 4 weeks ago and having a coach has made a huge difference in my training and motivation.