Posted by: Rael Kalley | January 7, 2017

387. Either we will or we won’t.

I spent some time this week with person who shared her annual challenge of gaining weight during the Christmas and New Year holiday season

It was not just the weight gain that was causing aggravation, it was the fact that the weight stayed throughout the year until the following holiday season at which time she would add even more.

Listening to her bemoaning her weight fate, I could not help but think of those timelesss words spoken by Friedrich Nietzsche more than 100 years ago, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.

Victor Frankel, in his remarkable book, Man’s Search for Meaning, uses this quote several times as he defines our need for meaning as being the sole driver of our will to live. He talks of meaning as being the energy that keeps us going when things are unbearably challenging and how meaning, more than anything else, is what picks us up off the ground each and every time we are knocked down.

The topic of meaning is not new to us. We have visited it before when we have debated the notion that we only ever do one thing; we do what is most important to us in the moment.

Nietzsche said much the same thing and his quote provided a commanding insight why this lady cannot seem to rid herself of her annual escalation in weight.

Her desire to eat moderately over the season was overwhelmed by an even stronger desire to share in the festivities by “joining in with everyone else and eating everything put in front of me.”

Participating in these holiday activities is extremely important to her, which means, by her own acknowledgement, this is more important than displaying discipline and control around her eating and drinking activities.

She agreed it was more important to her (at the time) to be seen to be joining in (why) than it was to eat sensibly even though she knew doing so would mean her own self admonishment, criticism and general feelings of disappointment and low self-worth (how).

Not for a moment am I comparing the tortured existence of concentration camp prisoners with the over-indulging first-world challenges of weight management. I am saying that those, according to Frankel, who survived, did so because their reason to live was greater than their reason not to, and those of us who truly understand that our lives only exist moment to moment –  and it is what we view as important in those moments, and consequently do in those moments –  that will determine the quality of our future.

After some discussion, my friend agreed that it was nothing more than her choices – based upon her meaning – that has led to her present discomfort. She has vowed to lose the weight she has gained over the past two years by the end of June and she has further committed to “behaving like an adult next Christmas.”

Talk is cheap and she has a long road ahead of her. Time will soon tell whether her why is big enough to bear her how.

Regardless of whether she does or doesn’t, she will soon learn what is most important to her.

As will the rest of us as we pursue year those goals we have set for ourselves for 2017.

Regardless of whether we achieve them or not, we will always achieve what is most important to us in each moment.

Food for thought!

Till we read again.

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 31, 2016

386. My New Year’s resolution: No more resolutions.

We are at that that time of year when many of us spontaneously, impulsively and often, on a dare, boldly declare by way of a New Year’s resolution that effective January 1, 12:00:01, we will instantly become a different person.

Old habits will immediately vaporise to be replaced by new and enduring ones.

At that magic moment, we will instantaneously transform from smoker to non-smoker, drinker to non-drinker, 225 pounds to 180 (okay that transformation won’t be instant however, it will begin at that moment and the journey will continue until the mission is accomplished).

We will also resolve to be on time, go back to school and complete that degree, go to the gym – and push ourselves hard – at least three times each week, wake up one hour earlier each morning and go for a run before hitting the shower and off to work and, a whole host of wishful thinking that we have resolved to commence on New Year’s Day many times before.

I have long been an advocate of New Year’s resolutions. My advocacy is somewhat different to most as I have encouraged those close to me to only resolve to do one thing: never again make a New Year’s resolution.

Study after study has shown the short life-span of New Year’s resolutions; few last beyond the first few days of the year and almost none survive January.

And there is a reason why the odds are so heavily stacked against success.

Imagine for a moment you own a laptop that is running on an ancient operating system – perhaps you are the one person on the planet still using Vista. You go online and excitedly download the newest, glitziest app you can find.

You can’t wait to begin using it.

And then, when you do, it is sluggish, slow and performs well below your expectations.

And you realize the problem. Your operating system is old and completely incompatible with your shiny new app.

Now think of that New Year’s resolution as your new app. You’re ready to use it and are excited about what it can do. However, it is going to run on the same operating system you have been using for many years – all those thoughts, feelings and emotions you believe to be true.

And by January 2 when the clash between your operating (belief) system and your resolution becomes apparent, invariably you set aside that resolution not realizing that it really had little chance of success because you have not upgraded your operating system.

So today, New Year’s Eve, is not the day to pledge great new beginnings tomorrow. Instead, if there are changes you would like to experience in your life then take some time today, identify what they are, ask yourself truthfully how important each item on that list is to you – how badly you want this – and then set it aside as a project to come back to in the near future.

If you truly are serious about achieving the results on your list, then I invite you to closely examine your current operating system and take some time to upgrade it so that it will be compatible with the changes you wish to bring into your life.

By first working on upgrading your operating system, you will certainly take longer to reach your goals. The question to ask is this: do I want fast, immediate and almost certainly short-term results, or do I want permanent and sustainable results?

If you picked Option 2, then let’s work together in 2017 to sustainably upgrade your operating system to V2.0 – the new you.

Happy New Year.

Till we read again.

 

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 24, 2016

385. Judge not.

Last year, at this time, we talked about giving ourselves a gift that would ensure happiness throughout 2016.

The gift is the joy we feel when we provide Random Acts of Kindness and to make this practice a part of our daily lives.

Over the course of this past year I have spoken to a few people who undertook this as a serious commitment and actively sought daily opportunities to deliver random acts of kindness. Each  spoke of how they gained far more than did the recipients of their kind acts.

Today, Christmas Eve, as we gather with friends and family to enjoy the season, reflect on the present year and plan for the next one, may I suggest another gift we might consider for ourselves.

Many years ago I was blessed to have as a teacher, a man whose life was dedicated to making the world a better place one person at a time. He freely and generously shared his wisdom and gave time to all who embraced his views and wished to learn his viewpoints and practices.

During one of our sessions a name was mentioned and I remember I was scathing in my absolute condemnation of that person. I do not recall who we were talking about, but I do recall the intensity of my judgement.

My mentor allowed me to complete my rant and then said something so profound that to this day I remember every word.

He said, “You can never be truly free until you are willing to set aside your own willingness to judge others.”

A powerful statement.

Those words have bounced around my head for more than 30 years. I would like to be able to tell you that I took those words to heart and have succeeded in both complete acceptance and absence of judgement with everyone I encounter.

The truth is, I haven’t. I have worked hard over a very long time to set aside that willingness to judge and I know that I do so far less often, and with less intensity than in the past. I also know that I have not succeeded in completely removing either my willingness or ability to judge others.

Many of us are quick to criticize and to judge and it seems to me that when we do so, we do so comparatively in that by judging and criticizing others we are suggesting to ourselves that “I would never do that.”

Often, when waiting at a traffic light, I will see a panhandler walking amongst the waiting cars imploring drivers to donate some money. It is not uncommon to see a window roll down and to then hear an angry voice yelling profanities.

I would be lying if I said I have not had similar thoughts.  While I have never hurled insults, I have frequently gone into judgement mode, with highly critical thoughts floating around my head.

My reason for suggesting the gift we give ourselves this Christmas season is the Gift of Nonjudgment, is because – unlike the gift of Random Acts of Kindness which fills us with good feelings each time we reach out with kindness to others – all the time we spend in harsh and critical judgement of others is time spent draining our souls of positive and uplifting energy.

Most often when we judge people, we know nothing of them. We don’t know their stories, yet feel justified in leveling criticism at them.

Relinquishing our willingness to judge others frees up a tremendous amount of energy to do some important things that can enrich our lives and the lives of those around us.

A much used and widely circulated quote attributed to many different authors informs us that resentment/hatred/anger/judgement/bearing a grudge, etc “It is like drinking poison and hoping they will die.”

Judgement does nothing to or for the person being judged and yet it robs us of our humanity and clouds our thoughts and perspectives.

Yet again I will be gift-wrapping the Gift of Nonjudgment and placing it under the tree for myself.

How about you?

Merry Christmas.

Till we read again.

 

 

 

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 17, 2016

384. What’s important to you?

If it is important, you will find a way, if not, you’ll find an excuse.   Anon

It has long been said that we humans are rational beings. I don’t know if this is universally true but what I do know is that we humans are unquestionably rationalizing beings.

We are brilliantly creative when it comes to rationalizing, justifying or simply explaining why we did, or didn’t, do something.

Last week we revisited the idea that we only ever do one thing – we do what is most important to us in the moment.

And experience has taught many of us that decisions made based on importance in the moment are often not the best decisions.

We have all said yes when we should’ve said no, we have all chosen the TV and the couch over the gym and the treadmill and decided that coffee with a friend was time better spent than managing the potential rejection that sometimes accompanies sales calls.

So, if we do what we do based on what we feel to be most important in the moment, how do we decide on importance?

The answer is both simple and complex: we do what we do to either gain pleasure or avoid pain.

On the surface this is seemingly simple, but our decisions around importance are heavily influenced by another factor – time.

Let’s use an example familiar to many – losing weight. Let’s say we have established a goal of losing 40 pounds and chosen the method of getting there. That goal is distant, somewhere out in the future.

We are in a restaurant at lunch time today. As we peruse the menu our eyes are drawn to the broad selection of pizza. We notice the server delivering pizza to the next table and it looks delicious.

Really delicious.

We have done well. We have dutifully followed the program and when we stepped on the scale this morning we were down 7 pounds. We’re off to a great start, aren’t we?

Pizza is not on the program but surely, having pizza today and then really redoubling our efforts tomorrow is not such a bad thing, is it?

Standing on a scale when we have lost the 40 pounds is going to bring us a great deal of pleasure. The feelings of victory and confidence and just general pride are going to be amazing. But that’s in the future and the pizza is in the now.

Saying no to the pizza and ordering the salad is somewhat painful and not really what we want to do in this moment.

Ordering, and then devouring the pizza will bring us a great deal of pleasure right now.

And so we order the pizza. And enjoy every mouthful.

And by so doing we have traded – or delayed – what we want (40-pound weight loss) for what we want NOW, which is pizza.

We chose immediate gratification at the possible expense of future pleasure.

How many of us have been (repeatedly) guilty of this practice?

So, if we truly are serious about that 40-pound weight loss in the prescribed time we must make its attainment more important than pizza, ice cream and beer.

There are three questions that, if we habitually ask ourselves, and then pay attention to the answers, we will hugely increase the likelihood of achieving our goals.

The first question is, “What am I focusing on right now?”  Pizza? Salad?

The second question, “Is what I am focusing on moving me towards or away from where I want to be?”

Our answer to the second question will determine whether we even need to ask the third.

If the answer to question 2 is, “Yes, my focus is moving me toward where I want to be”, there is no need for the final question; order the salad and enjoy.

However, if what you are focusing on (pizza) is moving you away from where you want to be, you need to immediately change your focus. And whether you do this or not will depend on how badly you want that 40-pound weight loss.

When you finally tell the server your choice, you will know whether losing that weight is something that would be nice to have or something that you absolutely must have.

Some would call this a conundrum, others call it choice.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 10, 2016

383. It must be important.

A friend called a few weeks ago, asking for help.

It wasn’t help he was seeking as much as suggestions as to how he could “motivate” himself in order to focus his energies on building his business rather than spending time addressing those many things that challenge us all by nipping away at our heels, vying for our attention while often offering comfort and relief from doing what we know we should be – and don’t feel like – doing.

One of the great myths we have been sold is the ridiculous declaration, knowledge is power.

Nothing could possibly be further from the truth.

Not for a nanosecond am I discounting the immense value of knowledge. Knowledge acquired through education, experience and just from being alive is an immeasurably valuable asset that can mightily enrich every facet of our lives.

And yet, in and of itself, knowledge yields no power. It is merely data.

Power comes not from what we know, but from what we do with what we know.

So, when my friend called and, said, in exasperation, “I know better than that,” he was trapping himself in the commonly held misconceptions that cons us into thinking that because we know better, we will do better.

And then he asked the key question: “why do I keep doing this?”

Before answering his question, I reminded him of that famous line from Jack Nicholson in the movie a few good men, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.”

You see, the true answer to his question of why he keeps allowing himself to be distracted from doing those things necessary to building his business is quite simply because it is not important enough.

Now I know from sharing this tidbit of wisdom with others that a statement like that often opens the floodgates of angry responses and denials, but the truth is, if building his business was more important than whatever other activity he chooses to do instead, he would be doing it. Because the simple fact is, we only ever do one thing: we do what is most important to us in the moment.

It is worth repeating: we only ever do one thing: we do what is most important to us in the moment.

We decide what we are going to do (what is important to us) to either gain pleasure or to avoid pain. Those are the only two determinants that drive our actions.

And we frequently choose to avoid immediate pain at the expense of delaying (or denying ourselves) future pleasure. It is, for example, easier (in the present moment) to take time out to meet a friend for coffee than it is to stay in the office and subject yourself to the potential rejection brought on by calling strangers with a sales pitch even though doing so regularly will ensure a great deal of pain and discomfort at some point in the future.

My friend is in the network marketing business and his success is dependent on recruiting, and then helping, others build successful businesses. It is a business with unlimited potential, however, the pathway to that potential is often filled with rejection and disappointment.

My friend is also a competitive bodybuilder who, by his own admission, spends far more time in the gym than needed.

After a somewhat lengthy conversation, he grudgingly admitted that going to the gym was a far more comforting and rewarding experience than making phone calls and meeting with people who may have neither interest nor desire in listening to his business proposition.

And he painfully acknowledged he was trading the future he wanted to not have to do the uncomfortable things necessary to assure that future.

I suspect most of us have been guilty of the very same thing.

So, what do we do to change this?

I’ll keep you in suspense until next week.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | December 3, 2016

382. Here is the key.

Last week we touched briefly on the practice of discretionary effort.

Indeed, if there is a true magical secret sauce to instantly transform ordinary organizations into extraordinary companies it is the massively quantifiable effect brought about by an boost in discretionary effort.

The magical ingredient in the secret sauce is the word discretionary. Discretionary effort cannot be mandated or directed. It can be neither encouraged nor requested.

Discretionary effort is that enchanted result that comes about from extraordinary, above and beyond effort and contributions made by employees and performed with absolutely no expectation of reward and nor any fear of reprisal or recrimination for non-delivery.

In other words, discretionary effort is performed for one reason and only one reason; the person doing this extra work is doing so because they want to. Period.

The rewards for discretionary effort are purely internal; pride, satisfaction, perfectionism and attainment of personal goals are but a few of the rewards offered to those who gleefully devote themselves to its delivery.

Last week we talked about people coming to work either willingly or grudgingly. We agreed that both result from the (real or imagined) way in which people believe themselves to be treated and valued in the workplace.

And few would argue that discretionary effort is a by-product of the way employees feel about the workplace environment, the quality and value of the work they do, how they are treated and the degree of fulfilment they derive from their work.

Which is why it truly is the secret sauce in the recipe for greatness.

The dictionary defines secret as:

  1. done, made, or conducted without the knowledge of others: secret negotiations
  2. kept from the knowledge of any but the initiated or privileged: a secret password.

And it remains, surprisingly, as much a secret in 2016 as it has been for decades and perhaps even for centuries.

So in the interests of bringing enlightenment to the 21st century, I’m going to blow the lid off this clandestine recipe and reveal a few of its long-held mystery ingredients.

You see, discretionary effort is nothing more than a consequence. As you know, a consequence is simply the effect, result, or outcome of something occurring earlier: an act or instance of following something as an effect, result, or outcome.

Years of conducting employee engagement surveys, retention and exit interviews, focus groups and individual discussions have revealed those mysterious ingredients that form the recipe for discretionary effort.

Here are a few of the magic ingredients people have shared with me which have contributed to their desire to deliver above-and-beyond effort.

  • A feeling that their work is important.
  • A feeling that their work is fulfilling.
  • A feeing that their voice is heard.
  • Finding fulfillment in their work.
  • A sense of playing a vital role in something bigger than themselves.
  • An environment they look forward to coming to each day.
  • Being treated with respect regardless of the circumstances.
  • Hearing the words “please” and “thank you.”
  • Having a boss, manager or leader who has their back.
  • Having a boss, manager or leader who is never publicly critical of their efforts.
  • Having a boss, manager or leader who treats all as equals.
  • Having a boss, manager or leader who seeks opportunities for heaping praise when it is deserved and provides constructive, helpful feedback when it is deserved.
  • Never being yelled at nor insulted, intimidated or humiliated.
  • Feeling appreciated.

This is by no means a complete ingredient list for discretionary effort. It is however, the basis upon which a great organization can be built. Removing even one of these ingredients will weaken the organization’s footing and, as we all know, a structure is only as strong as the foundation upon which it rests.

This is the time of year when, for many, our thoughts turn to New Years resolutions. If you are a manager/leader planning on introducing new policies and/or implementing new strategies in 2017, then please, before doing so, take the time to ensure you are doing everything you can to promote an environment where discretionary effort is the norm.

You’ll be so glad you did.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | November 26, 2016

381. How do you go to work?

 

You get up every morning and you go to work. Work occupies an enormous part of your life

The question is this: when you leave for work in the morning do you do so grudgingly or willingly?

More than 20 years of working as a consultant in many different organizations and across a broad range of industries, in both the private and public sectors, and having conducted interviews and surveys with thousands of employees, has convinced me that employees come to work either because they want to or because they have to.

And sadly, my findings have led me to believe that grudgingly outnumbers willingly by about 2 to 1.

Here’s the interesting part; whenever I conduct an interview with the person who tells me they are a grudging employee, I always ask if that were true the morning they arrived at work on the first day of the job.

And the answer, predictably, never changes. It is a resounding no

Which means between day one and now – be it two months or 20 years – something has changed causing those folks to shift from being willing to grudging participants, from coming to work because they have to and no longer because they want to.

So, what happened?

For many years, in my company, we have conducted Exit Interviews. These are interviews with people who have resigned from their jobs and our mission in conducting these discussions is to discover their reasons for leaving and illicit their viewpoints on a host of other topics of interest to their employer.

Certainly, there are those who tell us their primary reason for leaving the company is financial – they have found, or are seeking, greater financial reward elsewhere. The folks who tell us this represent fewer than 5% of those we interview.

There are those who give as the reason for leaving their decision to change careers by changing their profession as they no longer wish to continue doing the kind of type of work that is available with their present employer. They too represent a tiny portion of the total.

Another small percentage provide us with a mixed bag of reasons leaving us with the primary cause more and more people share with us as their principal reason for moving on.

And what is that reason?

The number one reason people share with us for quitting their job is their perception – real or imagined – of how they are treated, and the degree to which they feel unappreciated.

We always ask for examples and, while we are not investigators and take no steps to verify the truthfulness of what we are told, hearing the same things repeatedly from so many different people, in so many different organizations has led me to unequivocally believe that the following list of poor behaviour still exists in organizations today.

Here is a top 10 list of complaints people have shared with us in surveys and exit interviews.

  • Being reprimanded in public.
  • Being publicly humiliated, e.g., being told to shut up or to grow a brain or being reminded, “a monkey could do your job – probably more efficiently than you.”
  • Receiving only critical feedback. (A 2008 study on criticism vs. praise in the workplace revealed a disturbing ratio of 53 critical comments for each praising statement).
  • Managers who will not deal with conflict and instead choose to ignore it in the hopes it will go away.
  • Receiving no feedback after submitting suggestions.
  • Constantly being reminded you are “only a…” or “just a…”.
  • One set of rules for some, another set for others.
  • Being bullied. (This is a very difficult allegation to gauge as it is highly subject to interpretation).
  • Unmanageable workloads with constant “dumping” of additional work to be completed in impossible deadlines.
  • Having no voice. A disempowering feeling of not being listened to, which contributes to a strong sense of not being valued.

It is estimated that the cost of replacing a skilled and talented employee ranges from 0.5 to 3.5 times their annual income and yet each week, as we conduct exit interviews, we hear stories of people being driven away by behaviours like those above.

It’s hard to believe that in 2016 these behaviours are still prevalent, but it’s even more difficult to imagine under what possible theory the perpetrators of these behaviours can possibly believe these to be acceptable.

Great organizations cannot be built without something known as “Discretionary Effort.”

Discretionary effort is the “secret sauce” for developing greatness. It cannot be mandated and can only be fostered by an environment conducive to doing so.

More on this next week.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | November 19, 2016

380. Do you do windows?

You are a window washer.

Not only are you a window washer, you are the world’s best, most efficient and fastest window washer.

You use the latest and best technology and the latest and best cleaning products to clean your windows.

There is no possible way you can improve your speed or efficiency and get windows cleaned in less time.

You have seven windows to clean.

Each window takes 10 minutes of your time and there is no conceivable way of cleaning a window in less time.

You have exactly one hour available to you to do your work.

What are you going to do?

This is a conundrum facing hundreds of thousands of people each day as they toil away at their jobs.

How do we possibly get everything that needs to be done, done in the time allotted to us?

It seems to me that rarely does a week go by without me meeting someone struggling with a seemingly intolerable workload while often serving more than one master.

I frequently hear of people having unplanned and unscheduled work dumped on them by bosses who seem to care little about existing workflows, while insisting their direct reports drop everything they’re doing and turn their attention immediately to the task dropped in their laps.

Sadly, these same managers see nothing untoward with their expectation of all tasks expected of their direct reports to still be completed and delivered as if no other responsibilities had been dropped on them.

So, when you have seven windows to wash with each window chewing up 10 valuable minutes of your time and you have 60 minutes available to you, what you do?

You clean six windows. Because that’s all you can do. And the seventh window gets cleaned later.

Knowing that your capacity is six windows and one hour, would you, Mr. Window Washer, reasonably expect your assistants to clean seven?

In the workplace, wishful thinking, devising new strategies and allowing yourself to become stressed to the point of desperation will contribute absolutely nothing to getting the seventh window cleaned.

There is a simple arithmetic component to task completion. A three-minute egg is not ready after two minutes and 45 seconds regardless of how rushed you are for time.

For far too many, the solution lies in staying late and/or coming in early in the hopes of getting caught up and pleasing everybody.

When we do this at the expense of time away from family, friends and other activities, it will not take long for resentment to kick in as we find ourselves shifting from being willing to grudging employees.

We can only do what we can do in the time allotted to do so. There needs to be reasonable expectations placed upon us without additional and unreasonable ones following.

Many managers believe their title (and authority) give them the right to place unrealistic demands on their direct reports whenever they please and, sadly, the hierarchical structure of many organizations encourages them to do so.

I have frequently been asked to speak to managers on behalf of their employees and point out the stresses being placed on them by seemingly unreasonable demands.

Each time I’m requested to do so I follow a very simple strategy.

I tell the manager a story. It begins like this.

“You are a window washer…”

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | November 12, 2016

379. Our true heroes.

How much time do you spend each day reflecting on all you have to be grateful for?

For me, the answer to that question is “not nearly enough.”

I have long been a great believer in taking time every day to acknowledge, with gratitude, all that life has placed in my path.

And yesterday, Remembrance Day, reinforced the importance of “counting our lucky stars” every day for those of us fortunate enough to live in this, the best country in the world.

A few years ago, a brief walk from where Gimalle and I live, a memorial was erected in memory of the hundreds of Albertans who have sacrificed their lives in times of war.

Each year we walk over to this memorial to pay our respects to the many heroes who selflessly laid down their lives to preserve the remarkable freedoms we all too often take for granted.

Every name engraved on those memorial pillars reflects a life lived and lost. Every person memorialized said goodbye to parents, siblings, spouses, children and friends and went off to a faraway place to do their best to ensure those they left behind would continue to enjoy the rights, freedoms and quality of life that Canada offers to all its citizens.

And each one of them gave the most precious gift of all – their life – to serve this noble cause.

My limited vocabulary does not afford me the use of words adequate to describe the enormity of the debt of gratitude we owe to all who have proudly donned the Canadian military uniform in service of the country.

And we need extend that gratitude to the thousands who continue to do so today.

As we sat in silent reflection alongside the memorial, I could not help but think of the thousands of men and women in uniform today who have volunteered to face the same risks, and possibly suffer the same consequences, of all those named in stone on the memorial in front of us.

Shortly afterwards we wandered over to the local Safeway and I watched a young man explode in anger at a store clerk as she explained to him that they were temporarily out of stock of his favourite brand of peanut butter.

And I thought of the tens of thousands of innocent Syrians trapped in Mosul, terrorized by Isis fighters on one side while being bombarded by Russian and Syrian bombs on the other. And I couldn’t help but wonder how angry those same folks would be if they too discovered their local bombed out store was out of their favourite peanut butter.

I wondered if the angry young man had any idea how blessed he was to live in a country where a massive problem of this magnitude – peanut butter – could be the cause of such anger.

We have a duty to honour the memory of all who sacrificed their lives to give us the wide selection we have of peanut butter to choose from, and as we remember these true heroes, we need to take time to truly feel gratitude for so very much we all have.

I invite you to take five minutes each morning and select three things in your life for which you are truly and deeply grateful.

Spend those five minutes reflecting on those three things and ask yourself what life would be like without them or without their memory.

Doing this each morning will set the tone for how your day will unfold.

And on those days when things don’t quite go your way, take even more time to be grateful for all that living in this marvellous country has given you.

And remember all those whose names are cast into memorial stones.

Till we read again.

Posted by: Rael Kalley | November 5, 2016

378. Take nothing for granted – you may live longer.

I spent three fascinating days this week as a guest in a workshop on a subject with which I had no familiarity, delivered by a presenter with whom I have great familiarity.

The topic was on developing Competency Maps and I came away convinced that I would be remiss in my duties by not introducing the power of this method to all of my corporate clients.

The presenter was my wife Gimalle, and despite the 21st anniversary of our first date rapidly approaching, this was the first time I had ever observed her delivering a full program.

I have long believed her to be a gifted and articulate speaker and both her obvious comfort with the topic and her skill in conveying the message confirmed that presenting in front of groups is her gift, what she was born to do.

The central theme of this model was safety in the transportation industry and as I listened to the discussions around the table I was reminded of a conversation from many years ago with a traffic police officer.

This man had attended hundreds of traffic accidents many of which resulted in serious injuries and fatalities.

He explained to me that the common theme behind virtually everyone of these tragic incidents was the role played by that easily controllable component, human error.

He pointed out that each of us who drive a vehicle, and have done so for an extended period without incident, have sheer luck to thank for the fact that we have all our body parts functioning and intact.

He stated an undeniable truth that everyone of us has, at some time, while operating a vehicle, done something that under a slightly different circumstance could have produced a horrifying, life-altering result.

We have all driven too fast, followed too close, taken our eyes off the road, sped up to avoid having to wait at a red light, crossed the centreline into the adjacent lane, sent a quick text and done a host of other driver-careless things.

He said that nothing other than good luck has prevented us from becoming a statistic thereby being the cause of him having to begin another investigation.

The word he used to describe our behaviour is complacency and it is a word I have given much thought to over the years.

Dictionary.com defines complacency as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.

To me, complacency is a false sense of comfort, the taking for granted of a future result based principally on our own experience of performing these same functions many times in the past without any form of ill consequence.

There is a new condo building being developed right across from where we live and Gimalle and I have watched as workers go about their duties inches from unsecured ledges, many floors up from the ground, without taking the time to put on the required fall-protection equipment that would save their lives in the event of a fall.

We have complained to both the site management and the governmental authority responsible for overseeing workplace and yet we have seen no change in the conduct of these workers.

I stopped to chat with a few of the workers as I walked by their site during their lunch break a few weeks ago. I mentioned I had seen them working and asked why so few of them used the required safety equipment.

Their replies fit right in with the above definition of complacency. Ranging from: “I’ve done this a million times before,” to “It is such a pain and waste of time to hook up to all this equipment.” Their replies were no different from ours when asked why we didn’t wear a seatbelt to drive to the store and we respond by saying, “It’s only four blocks away.”

Had someone three years ago forecast that the province of Alberta would have an NDP government, that person would surely have been locked away in an asylum.

Today that government reigns and it is my belief they do so simply because the previous government – with more than 40 years in power – had become so complacent in their actions, and too comfortable in their belief victory would always be theirs.

History is filled with stories of powerful regimes crumbling principally because the leadership convinced themselves that the past will equal the future and power would be theirs forever.

The past does not equal the future and believing it does is lulling ourselves into a false sense of security that can produce deadly results.

I believe the opposite of being complacent is to be vigilant, to take nothing for granted, and to put as much energy, effort and focus as we did the very first time, into everything we do, even when doing it for the millionth time.

Till we read again.

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Categories