Counter Culture Mindset

I was watching “Doomsday Preppers” on the History Channel the other day and it never occurred to me before but did at that moment that I have something in common with them. They are outside of culture and I strive to be, at least mentally anyway, outside as well. My remote-ness is different in kind but “apart is apart” I hope to be different from the propogandish life protrayed on television and elsewhere in modern culture. I should call that life a lie because it really is. Some channels are deeper lies than others. In “my book,” counter culture is cool because it sustains a purity, at least in theory. A primal urge to meet ones needs and live with as much excess as possible is the goal. Recently I noticed there were two new movies coming out about the Beats (AKA the “Beatniks,” “Beat Generation.”) This is exciting for me! To see Jack Kerouac, William Buuroughs, and Allen Ginsberg on screen would be a treat. They have been like mythical creatures for me most of my life. The Beats represented counter culture and apparently movie makers want to spread that message today.

We live in a time that is for all intents and purposes: “The Matrix.” All we lack are the plugs for the backs of our heads. I don’t find much contentment in the “Doomsday Preppers” since they say the world is going to be taken out. They may be right, but I don’t want to focus on that. I’d rather focus on the now and what I can get from it. It is really all we have. A life that works toward that is my brand of counter culture. To learn is to conquer and I want that in excess. To be made aware of ones shortcomings and suffering is along the path. To obey ones instincts and find happiness in a new and untrodden way is my life’s ambition. This is rarely touched on in modern media. If you don’t measure up to what they tell you, then you can never be happy. I’m out to destroy that cultural myth. Success is the best revenge. I hope I remain counter culture until my dying day. When we dare to break out of our societal constraints, we can see with CLARITY what we need to do for ourselves.

One way to gain clarity on the issues of ones life is via meditation. There are many great books and websites that have been published on the topic. My brand of counter culture seeks calm and clarity through meditation. It isn’t just trendy yoga either. The mere act of a sigh can trigger the relaxation response. When you pay attention to your own body and relax it, your body will take better care of you. While in those relaxing time, I often have realizations about what my life needs. I try to follow through on that. Notice that though I praise the Beats I do not require drugs in my brand of counter culture. I don’t think they required it either but they do carry that stigma so I’m providing a disclaimer. Counter culture is cool, in my opinion. I think the more counter culture movements that arise the better. Obviously the debt and unrest in this country is an indicator that the status quo life we are fed in the media isn’t working for the majority.

Stay Curious My Friends

imageI’ve always wanted to see Ireland. One day, I hope to. Other friends in my vicinity have more exotic wanderlusts, like China or Borneo for example. For me, those places are a little scary, not to mention quite costly. Still, I want to go “farther out” with my curiosity. Everything seems odd when it hasn’t been experienced. Conversely, when you are familiar wit the “other,” it can become a favorite of yours, a close companion, even a place where you belong. With all the hue and cry over illegal immigration lately, I find myself encountering more and more xenophobia all around me. Facebook messages show poor people being shipped back on trucks to Central America and the caption reads “Go Home!” I find this sickening. I don’t think you should be allowed to voice an opinion until you have seen the conditions in the country they are fleeing. To them it isn’t a preference or a wanderlust, they are fleeing for their very lives. It’s really a spoiled attitude some Americans have and I wish it would stop. But back to topic.

I remember tasting sushi for the first time, I loved it! Most people I know who haven’t tried the “raw fish” say it’s disgusting. I remember trying Kun Pao Chicken in the early 90’s and loving the flavor. Back then, a lot of people told me I was odd for liking Chinese food. Little by little, customs and food come into our country from “afar” and it is a wonderful thing. I think we are at a point in American culture where it is time to embrace as much of the world’s ideas as possible. Some of ours are fading and actually failing in many ways. The more we replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity, the better chance we have as a country to survive. Xenophobia is alive and well and ain’t that a shame. I’ll open the comments to you with this question but feel free to “wander:” What favorite foods or customs have you admired from other countries? What do you think of the quote? Did it have an entirely different meaning to you than what I wrote about? If you’re a blogger, You might write about it and pingback here so others can read it.

Get Away Spend Big and Splurge

Chicago Style pizza night w Tatonka brews.

One day before Christmas I went out shopping with the intention of buying my wife UGG boots. Considering it was snowing that day, I went with a more practical option women’s rain boots. There is a time when practicality is good. More often than not it seems that sentimental=romantic. This is also true about taking your wife or date out to eat: spare no expense and watch magic happen.

This one goes out to the couples that are feeling somewhat “well done” with regards to the heat of life and it’s demands. Of course, the title has told you

I am recommending a small scale vacation as an antidote to the stress of life.

My wife and I went down to Irvine in one of those ruts to see an independent film. We had an awesome time and caught ourselves doing silly romantic things such as: holding hands, kissing too long, cuddling in our seats (with that arm rest thingie “up,” )  and other stuff you might see only people half our age doing. So, you might ask, what made it so much fun? Simple:

We went AWAY! We spent BIG! We SPLURGED!

I purposefully picked a theater 50 miles away. This opened our hearts and minds to a new place and therefore new experiences. We got lunch while down there, had some frozen yogurt, and generally enjoyed ourselves as we normally do close to home. There was one big difference:

The backgrounds were different!

My wife and I found that traveling outside our normal “stomping grounds” was very healthy for our relationship. That’s why I am recommending it to you. If you think the drive might be too much of a hassle, think again. Why not make a music mix of all your favorite songs, or better yet HER favorite ones. I think the magic of getting away is less of a cliche and more of a time tested reality in my life. I need to make the effort to get away with my wife as much as possible. I know it can be done on the cheap as well so don’t let financial constraints stop you.

This weekend or sometime soon, why not venture out of your town with your wife, husband, or significant other, wherever it may be and just get away. It could be to Disneyland or just a movie 50 miles away! I recommend you do it and watch what happens in your relationship. Food tastes better when you drive a while to get it! To answer the question below, I would drive as far as it takes to get the best food and have a great time on a date!

Some people eat to live, while others live to eat. What about you? How far would you travel for the best meal of your life?

Source: Live to Eat | The Daily Post

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day

That’s an old saying and it’s about having patience. What if you were Rome? Would you listen to that advice and have patience with your own growth? You ought to. We are all in process. I think we yearn for that feeling of completion when we try new projects or expectations of ourselves. The truth is however, we need time to complete most things we set out to do. For example, they don’t give High School graduates the high paying science jobs right?

Got a vision or desire to do something with your life? Congratulations … cherish it!

Relationships, college, reading a book, … these are just three things that take a while to complete. Other endeavors can take months or years longer at times, like adult acne, just to name one. Just because it takes a long time to treat, should a person not try? Patience here is the key. There can be great satisfaction in knowing where one wants to go. This is true despite the fact that things take time.

I think the best way to go through life is to learn to be thankful for goals and directions you make for yourself. They are really where accomplishment begins. If you can be “at peace” along the journey.

Diary Entry 7/7/2017 – I Love to Feel the Rain in the Summertime

A few cool things to share this morning, this:

My wife’s friend at work picked this us at a record store since my wife shared I was a big Alarm fan. I’m in awe!

And this …

Sarah and I went to the movies last night.

Oh and one other thing, I got called up to be on the panel Sunday on the LAMBcast. My good friend MovieROB is Leading because he won MOTM with Saving Private Ryan. I watched it yesterday while eating buffalo wings. I don’t mean any disrespect, but they were so good!

Life is good! I’ll be wise to not fly too high as it isn’t how high you jump but how straight you walk when you hit the ground again. An old church quote I picked up that has served me well.

Damien Scott

 

 

25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind

The world is so full of boring people. It’s important for leaders, teachers, writers, performers, and artists to share an influence that is NOT boring with this starved-for-passion world.

This is a guest post from Chelle who writes about relationships on her blog itmightbelove.com.

Recently I noticed Damien asked a question in his post about what we want and what we need:

What is your thing you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?

Having a similiarly hectic life to everyone else I try to at least once a day do something to help me relax and clear my head – otherwise I would probably be spinning in circles most of the time. Most of the things you can do to find inspiration and clear your mind don’t take a lot of effort or time to do.
Here are 25 Ways to Find Inspiration, Relax, and Clear Your Mind:

  1. Music: No matter what my mood is or what I need to get done, music is a BIG source of inspiration. There’s music to fit any mood and sometimes just hearing certain songs can make you feel good. Playing guitar or piano (even if you’re not necessarily a rock star!) is another great creative outlet to find a little inspiration and/or clear your head.

  2. Nature: The world is a beautiful place, and yet most of the time we’re too busy to enjoy it. Whether you decide to watch the sky or just go for a walk in the woods, it can instantly make you feel less stressed and help get that creativity going again.

  3. People Watching: Sometimes its easy to be overwhelmed by the people we encounter daily through work or school or our families. But watching complete strangers can give you the opportunity to view life from someone else’s eyes. You can guess what they might be thinking or feeling or going through. You might find some ideas pretty easily by watching someone else for just a few minutes.

  4. Take a Road Trip: A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to drive 2 hours in a car all by myself. No kids screaming just me, my car, and the open road. It was amazing! It was the first time I had driven that long by myself I forgot how much a road trip could instantly clear your mind and inspire you!

  5. Photographs: Thanks to the power of the internet, there are millions of photos to take a look at and use for inspiration. If you like to take photographs, why not take a day sight seeing and snapping shots? Taking some time to go out and take pictures can be a great source for inspiration and relaxation.

  6. Dreams: Dreams can be very powerful in giving you insight in your life. If you have problems remembering dreams, all you need to do is get into a habit of writing about what your dreams were even if very hazy or foggy at first. You’ll start remembering very vivid details before long. Understanding your dreams is one step to understanding yourself better and even if the dream is complete nonsense it may give you a few good ideas! A good night’s rest can do wonders as well!

  7. Great Food: Inspiration can come from waking up your senses and taste is no exception. Maybe its comfort food or something exquisite. Sometimes ice cream makes everything all better too. If you tend to be overindulgent a lot, cutting back to healthier eating habits can also help improve your mood and help you concentrate.

  8. Aromatherapy: Sure, a lot of people will roll their eyes at the thought of candles and incense and all of that. But smell is another important sense that when stimulated can help you instantly relax. Recently I used an old real estate trick to put a few teaspoons of vanilla on a pan in the oven to warm. The whole house radiated of a warm fuzzy baking cookies smell that put everyone instantly in a good mood. Lavender is also another smell that most people respond well too.

  9. Touch: While we’re on the subject of the senses, touch is another that we often forget to nurture. Whether you hold someone’s hand, sign up for a day at a local spa for a massage, rub your dog’s belly, or just wear you most favorite worn out t-shirt the things your body touches and come into contact with can have a big affect on your mood and your creativity.

  10. Close Family/Friends: The people we are the closest to are typically the ones we take for granted the most. Take a time-out and really listen to them what they are thinking about or doing. You’ll be surprised at how inspiring it might be to see what they have to say or a different perspective on a situation you’re in.

  11. Online Forums: If I’m ever stuck on a blog post idea or need somewhere to let off some steam, online forums are great for this! Complete strangers love to talk about their problems and listen to yours. One of the nicest communities I’ve met are the folks over at MyLot but there are plenty of other great boards too. Sometimes listening to other people’s problems and trying to offer solutions can help you clear your head, give you a place to vent, and get new perspectives you hadn’t thought of before.

  12. Magazines & Newspapers: With everything online anymore, we forget about the thrill of a magazine coming in the mail or opening up the Sunday paper and spreading it across the table or couch. I like magazines and newspapers because they are perfect for my short attention span and they are also full of recent events and opinions to help inspire you.

  13. Brainstorm: Sometimes a good brainstorm can help you think of new ideas and thoughts. You can list pros and cons if you are trying to make a decision, or you can map it out with a list of ideas and cloud bubbles.

  14. Paint, Draw, Color: I am lucky that by being a mom I have a full arsenal of crayons, water colors, and markers at my disposal. Anytime the kids get restless or I feel like we need to calm down we sit down and paint or color. Instant relaxation!

  15. Hydrotherapy: A hot bath or shower, a soak in a hot tub, maybe even a few laps around a pool can all do wonders in relaxing you and helping you think clearly. Haven’t you ever heard anyone say I do my best thinking in the shower?

  16. Break the Monotony: Most days follow a routine of some sorts. Routines are usually good you’re more organized and better prepared to handle the stress that’s bound to come your way. But every so once inawhile, take a break from your routine. Do something entirely spontaneous. You’ll find yourself rejuvenated again.

  17. Exercise: It wasn’t until about 6 months ago I realized exercise wasn’t a chore but an instant pick me up. I usually workout to my list of 100 workout songs – afterwards I always feel much more relaxed.

  18. Do Nothing: Sometimes when you’re so caught up in the hustle and bustle of everything, what you really need is some do nothing time. Think about how much time you spend doing absolutely nothing there’s a good chance you’re not giving yourself a break if you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed out. Take an hour (or maybe even a whole day) and do absolutely nothing.

  19. Clean House: Damien suggested this a few times and I completely agree. Clutter and disorganization can make you feel overwhelmed instantly. Whether you decide to organize the files on your computer or to clean out the garage or do dishes by hand in the sink doesn’t matter sometimes just cleaning things out can help you clear your mind and give you a sense of order and control.

  20. Write: Writing has always been an excellent way to relax and be inspired, unless you’re experiencing writers block of course! Sometimes keeping a daily or weekly journal can help you sort out thoughts and ideas and feel better as well as take a look back at what you’ve done which can be inspiration. If writer block is a problem, I’m a big fan of freewriting you set a timer for 5 minutes and just write non stop for that 5 minutes. Sure, you might find yourself writing a lot of nonsense but you might also find a few great gems of ideas in there as well.

  21. Add Some Greenery: You don’t have to have a green thumb to enjoy gardening. A few low maintenance house plants or doing some landscaping or even mowing the grass can all provide an outlet to escape the usual stress and help you clear your mind.

  22. Meditate: Spending some time to quietly reflect and clear your head can work wonders as well. Learning how to meditate can really make a big difference on your ability to

  23. Do a Puzzle: It doesnt matter if you do a jigsaw puzzle or a crossword puzzle. Puzzle solving is a great way to exercise your brain and help you get your mind off the more important things for a little while and help you relax.

  24. Laugh: There’s been proof that laughter is perhaps the best medicine and even good for you but it’s a good chance you’re not laughing enough. Next time everything goes wrong don’t start yelling laugh. Make sure you find something funny at least once a day. I try to do this with my totally pointless blog about stupid stuff.

  25. Get Your Frustrations Out: One of our biggest problems is we tend to bottle up emotions or feelings. It’s not intentionally usually, but the day to day aggravation can eventually make you feel like you might just snap. So go ahead and take some time at a batting cage or golf range, punch a pillow, or scream at the top of your lungs. You’ll feel better that you did!

Do you feel inspired yet? There’s a ton of things you can do that can instantly make you feel better and at peace with the world. Most aren’t hard to do – you just need to make sure you put things like these on your priority list right up there with “get dressed today” and “feed kids”. Giving yourself some space and time can help you move from feeling like you can’t get anything done to feeling like you can conquer all.

What we Want and What We Need has Been Confused

That title is a quote from Michael Stipe of the band REM in the song, Finest Worksong. Got two days off (post weekend) and I was thrilled about it.  I figured, here’s an eternity of time to get everything I need to get done, done!  Well, after the first day it hasn’t quite worked out that way.

A reminder that life is longer than we think sometimes.

I’ve done a lot today but a few things I did were really important and restorative.  Let me take you through them in hopes you find parallels for your next short time off:

Got up about 6am with the crying baby and the edgy 3 year old.  Took care of their needs.  Bottle, changed diapers, feed the older one, put their channel on.  The girls really wore me out this morning.  In searching for my “center” I found myself very distracted with their needs.  Not complaining mind you, just explaining that we can’t always get that time we have “off.”  I thought, maybe it is better to spend time with my girls that it is to space out in front of the computer all day.  So that wasn’t all bad.  Meanwhile, my 10 year old was sleeping in (LUCKY DOG!)

The rest of the day consisted in cleaning and preparing: preparing for lunch, dinner and cleaning the kitchen and TV room.  There is so much joy in a clean room.  All this stuff was like therapy for me.  Later on we went out by the pool and I pulled all the strange things out of the skimmer.  I came inside, had some pizza and watched a few shows on Rome.  Typical time at home eh?  I am sure it all was therapeutic, but my head still felt thick.  I knew my therapy needed one more step: relaxation.  I’d cleaned, prepared, read stories, made bottles, and much more but I hadn’t yet been able to JUST RELAX.  Do you ever have trouble just relaxing?  Well if that’s the case, remember to relax before it’s too late.  How did I relax?  I took a hot shower.  It revived my spirits.  When I got dried off I asked my wife to go out for dinner tonight … just us!  We spent all Sunday and Monday in the day with our kids and I figured we both deserved a break.

Point? My relaxing shower was great, but only after I had done the cleaning and preparation of the day.  I think one of the single most powerful tools of inspiration is cleaning.  Having said that, it should always be tempered with relaxation.  So what is your “thing” you can do today to relax your body and awaken your creativity?  Make sure you do that thing in concert with the other stuf “you know you gotta do.”  When you have that breakthrough, let us know!

Strength in the face of adversity . . .

Columbia, SC: Kershaw Co. man cuts off own arm

I read this story and was so inspired. Not because I’d like to cut my arm off, but it shows the capacity we have as humans to do what we have to do, however horrific, to survive. This article is truly an example of a possibility thinker in action.

KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) – A Kershaw County man is sharing his story of survival. He faced a life or death decision when his hand got stuck in a piece of farm equipment, and then a fire broke out around him. What he did next might shock you, and we have to warn you that some of the details might be disturbing.

Life is Short, Eat at the Buffet

This is from some time back, I can tell by the ages of my kids in the post. Life is indeed short. Anyway, I think it’s still a great diary entry so I’m putting it back out for you all today :) You’re welcome!

My son and I were driving home the other day and we were both starving with the dream of a local buffet we love. We called my wife and asked her if she was up for it. As it turned out, she was busy and not hungry so she gave us the green light to go on our own. Since my girls are almost 2 and 4, they are beautiful but often a big hassle to bring out. Needless to say, Dad and son were stoked to get a reprieve. We don’t get to do much alone just he and I.

I think it’s important for us humans to treat ourselves once in a while.

You and I recreate our minds and feed our mental energy when we eat, laugh, and love with those we care about. No need to be a “glutton” but good food and company with a good friend gives health to the soul! :)

As I ate my chocolate cake and sipped my coffee. My son told me all about the book he was reading. It’s moments like that you can’t describe the value of as a dad. I hope you have the means to go to a buffet soon with someone special. Life is too short to miss out on this stuff.

How to Make Acronyms for Personal Development

This post is about self help / personal development. Or, specifically, how to make acronyms and use them for self-improvement. The process of making them can be challenging, but using them is easy and rewarding. At New Year’s cusp, people always think about resolutions but shouldn’t we be thinking about them all year long? Trying to reinvent ones self once every year can have some value but ongoing changes throughout the year yields greater results. I usually make my resolutions around August because that is where my teaching work year renews itself. Continuous improvement is what I strive for and I use self-invented acronyms to make it happen.

These funny little words really work!

There are many quality online personal development courses that attest to the power of acronyms. The reason I use acronyms is because they are easy to remember. Usually all goals can be narrowed down to three words. That’s the perfect length for an acronym. The word you create becomes your personal thing and you carry it with you while traveling toward your goals. This past new year’s eve I read about a great worksheet and used it to develop some of my goal words for the year. Check it out here.

The first three goals are your creation!

At the beginning of the process, write down three words you want to focus on. You might write many and narrow them down to the three best. For example, a horse trainer might list:

patience, people, volume

Each word has a lot of idiosyncratic meaning to the horse trainer. You can imagine what these three words might mean in a horse trainer’s life in contrast to that of say, a lawyer.

Next in the process come up with a three letter word you will use as your acronym. It doesn’t matter if it’s related to the three words you just chose or not, but you should find the imagery of the word pleasing. You may find this list of three letter words intended for Scrabble players useful. This is in a way the game of your life.

To illustrate these first 2 steps, let’s say the horse trainer chooses the goals listed above and then chooses the word “ACT” as his acronym.

That leads to the most fun and rewarding step in my opinion. It’s also the step that takes the most time. The step is to come up with three words that start with the letters A,C, and T. Each word should represent one of the word-meanings you came up with when you started the process ie; patience, people, volume.

This can take a lot of trial and error until you get it right but once you are done you “own” the acronym. Take this as a possibility:

Allow (patience)
Culture (people)
Tons (volume)

The words you assign to the acronym don’t have to be exactly the same meaning as your goals but they should have enough to do with the original goal for you to remember the goal when you recall the acronym.

Now the horse trainer can go to work thinking about his meaningful acronym “ACT.” He has given his job and life a more precise focus.

I chose nouns for this example, but you can choose action verbs as well.  A resource you might find useful is this list of action verbs by letter. You can even make up a sentence like “I will Always be patient,” where Always is the A part of the acronym. This is helpful when you just can’t think of a word to match the goal.

When it comes to personal development and self-improvement, I swear by my acronyms to improve memory and other stuff. I think once you give it a try, you will too. If you are a trainer or a mentor, acronyms can assist you greatly with your time management training program. On a last note, you should check out this make an acronym engine, it is helpful.

So What do You Want on Your Tombstone?

tombstoneNo this isn’t a pizza commercial. It’s a blogger way to refocus ones goals. The idea is that by imagining the end we can do better NOW. I write movie reviews here and thus I see a lot of lives on the screen. Watching the characters move toward their goals is what makes movies interesting to me. I invite you to try this as a personal growth exercise. What to you want on your tombstone? Here are two questions to ask before you decide your own epitaph:

1) What would you like to be said about you at your funeral?

2) Think of a deceased loved one – what is the one thing you’ll remember the most about him/her?

As for #1, this is an interesting question. I think it morbid to fantasize about my own death, so I’m going to try and not do that. Instead, I will imagine what I would want my kids to remember about me and then translate that into a snippet on my tombstone:

Loving dad, disciplined artist, and student of life.

(make your own tombstone)

As for #2, this one is easy. My maternal grandfather died at 85. I will remember many things about him, he had a dramatic impact on my golf game and the formation of my personality. If I had to say one thing I will remember most about him it will be this statement (You have to be a golfer to understand it’s life application):

Keep your head down, take a big back-swing, and follow through.

That’s how I try to teach, play, love, and live . . . thanks to Gramps for those early mornings at Cherry Hills. I’ll never forget that crisp cold air and the lessons I learned in his shadow all those days.

This isn’t an editorial piece but rather something to keep you thinking. When you have passed from this life, what will you leave behind? It’s psychology we all could use because it helps us define ourselves. I think George Bernard Shaw said it well when he said:

Life isn’t about finding ourselves, it’s about defining ourselves.

One final time: What do you want on your tombstone? If you have a blog, make a post on this topic. If you don’t, feel free to answer the questions in the comments.

Plan to Go Big

Vegas is a great place for thinkers and visionaries to go. It goes “at the speed of life” to every extent of the phrase. I was in Vegas the last 4 days and the same subject to write on was underlined everywhere I went. While in the casinos, I noticed the new ones had gigantic, multi-level parking garages. They of course aren’t filled yet but I am sure they will be soon and the new casinos will be ready. We stayed in one on the older end of the strip our first night and were barely able to find a spot. Let me remind any of you who have been on vacation with a family how much bad parking situations suck.

The newer resorts we stayed in had mega parking. They are thinking ahead. We stayed in a total of 3 resorts and in the third one, everything seemed geared on going big in the near future. The folks at the Red Rock Resort in Summerline (about 10 miles off the strip) have created a “wide-open” atmosphere. Of all the places we stayed, it allowed me to relax and open my mind to new ideas. That is exactly what I need when I go to Vegas or anywhere else for a vacation.

I got the message to “plan to go big” for my teaching, blogging, and leading my family. What good is a temporary place when you can plan to be now in the vision you have for tomorrow. Maybe the founding fathers didn’t plan big enough and now we have all this “occupy Wall Street” bullshit going on. Or, maybe they just didn’t have enough information and now we have to rewrite the constitution. Either way, They planned and here we are.

Be rad, be quality, burn baby burn … in the end we are all just melting snowflakes so plan to go big. You already know what to do if you don’t go big but what if you do? Be ready.

On my tombstone, I would have it say 2 of 3 things:

1) Here lies Damien, he planned to go big but never did.
2) Here lies Damien, he went big and planned for it.
-or-
3) Here lies Damien, he went big but didn’t plan for it.

Plan big, because epitaph 1 is better than 3.

Save Today's Sun for Tomorrow's Rain

When I’m in raw nature, I get inspired and feel peaceful. I think about the beauty around me as I swim, hike, relax, and make bonfires. I don’t miss a thing. One thing I fail to consider sometimes is that I am recording memories that I will summon throughout my life. I can use these as an escape from any stressful situation. Continue reading “Save Today's Sun for Tomorrow's Rain”

Customer Service and its Conundrums

I grew up in retail. My first job was at a grocery store then I spent over 10 years working for Pizza Hut. After that, I became a teacher where I have needed to handle customer satisfaction issues with students and parents from time to time. The first lesson of customer service is: never lose your cool. They are there for a reason and you need to take their complaints/needs 100% seriously. Without them there is no system. The measure of an argument’s success with customers is how well you kept your cool and how well you satisfied their complaint. This is simple logic that anyone in teaching or retail needs to remember. If we don’t remember this, no one is happy and that can lead to a breakdown of any company or system.

So what about when the customer is wrong? It’s been said, “The customer is always right.” That’s an illogical statement. What you can say, if you are using absolute statements like “always,” is that the customer is always “the customer.” Sometimes the customer is right and sometimes they are wrong. Being kind as you are realistic about what you can do for the customer should be second nature to anyone dealing with the public. We should never get so set in our ways that we let “gut reactions” cause us to be rude or even yell at them. Let the payoff be that you can celebrate when you’ve kept your cool. It is very gratifying also when you can get to a win/win with the customer, you feeling good because you solved the problem and them feeling good as well. If you ever get a direct complaint from a customer, return their call right away because if they want to talk, they are still open to resolving it with you. It’s not always true but sometimes when they go above your head they aren’t interested in resolution, they want blood (metaphorically). Good luck as you navigate customer service and its conundrums.

The More You Learn the Less You Know, When You're a Teenager

Teens need to understand that a project worth its salt takes work, time, and dedication. Not much is instant like a video game. The question is, how do we teach this with minimal pain.

Youth is the time for being risky, for being bombastic and loud. I can say that through my teens and twenties I was the loudest around, and often the most annoying. I would make my feelings known on any topic without holding back. Through that time I learned through trial and error that our perception can change on a given subject that we never imagined before. My son has a hard time seeing that truth, he’s 14 and I am 43. There’s a big gap of life lessons in there.At my age I am very aware of the fact that the facts may affect my view of something. In fact, they often do. My son is sure he can play a gig with his “band” that has only practiced once together.

He himself has been playing (according to him) 3 months. The band has practiced once. I will probably pay the $5 admission to the ASB show they asked his band to play at. I will hope for one of two things to happen: Either he will impress me with what one practice did or he will come to realize it is embarrassing to perform music when you have nothing to offer. As for now, he knows I am wrong and a mean old man for being so critical. I just want to see him be real and make the best art out of his life that he can. To have an influence, you have to have your act together. He may “know” that isn’t true now but the more he learns by experience, I hope he “knows” less than he does now and has a more open mind. And, of course as his dad, I am always open to be proven wrong.