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Do you want to shoot him now or wait till you get home?

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Posted here on LifeToolkit.net.


Don’t worry, this post is not about shooting rabbits. Although Daffy would really want that.Daffy

In this very funny classic cartoon, Bugs Bunny asks Elmer Fudd: “Would you like to shoot me now or wait till you get home?” while

Daffy Duck yells: “Shoot’im NOW! Shoot’im NOW!”
Unfortunately Daffy always ends up being shot himself.

This post is about the “NOW”.

The Marshmallow Test

Do you remember the Marshmallow Test? I read about it first in Daniel Goleman’s “Emotional Intelligence”. Dragos Roua writes here about it, on his blog (and does an excellent new perspective on it).

Here’s my take:

A bunch of kids were given a marshmallow, and were told that if they resist NOT EATING IT NOW, they would be given another one in a few minutes. And the kids who succeeded in NOT eating the first marshmallow were the ones who were successful in life later on. It’s called the principle of deferred gratification.

And I say, isn’t this just the way we were educated?
“Do your lessons, so that you can enter a good college.”
“Learn well now, and you will know how to have an interesting conversation and people will like you.”
“Work hard now and you’ll have money for a house when you retire.”

I’ll have to wait until I retire

My boss told me something that startled me a few weeks ago. He was talking about his oldest son graduating highschool and going to college. Then he mentioned he can’t wait for his daughter to do this as well, so that both his kids would be on their own and start their life. Then he could retire and do what he wanted.
Whoa! Do you have to wait 10 years to do that?

What about me? I’m 27 now. Do I have to wait until I have all the money/raise my kids/spend my life to do what I want? That’s gonna be ages!!

Life around the world

Here’s an empowering example. A Romanian family (but the idea belongs to a French family) sold their house, bought a caravan, and together with their kids roamed the world. Kids were learning about the Magellan Strait while they were sailing it. How’s that as a perspective?

Their full story (in Romanian, French and Spanish) here.

In conclusion

Don’t wait until you’re old.
Do what you dreamed of NOW.

You might never get a second marshmallow.

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Written by effectivenesscoach

November 25, 2009 at 9:55 am

On the benefits of going HOME

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One of my close colleagues at work exclaimed the other day: “I want to go home to mom!!  I am going next week! And I can’t wait!!” For the record, she is happily married and spends quality time with her husband.

This is devoted to the benefits of going home – where home means mom and the bed in which you spent your restless teenage years.

1. Most obviously – Mom. Also known as the person who loves you the most in the world. And whom, hopefully, you love back just as much. Who asks you very concerned how much you’ve been eating, why you’re drinking coffee again and at what time you usually go to bed. If that doesn’t mean being taken care of, I don’t know what does. Sure, to the extreme, it gets into the way of our adult independence, but hey, that’s why visits home are short and pleasant.

2. Mom’s food. My mom is the person who cooks the most healthy foods in the world. I’ll always find plenty of fruit, vegetables, tea, and never any sweets. But I know that when I come here, I soak in vitamines.

3. The quietness around. I am blessed to have a home in a mountain town where the silence is so great that it makes your ears pound. We took a walk through the woods today, and picked up some yellow leaves which she planted in a vase on my desk.

Rasnov, my home (via Trekearth.com)

Rasnov, my home (via Trekearth.com)

Finally, and this was pointed out to me by Mom herself, being home is simply, being HOME. She said “I had a home here with you, and a family, and still I dreamt of going to my parents’ courtyard and treading on the wet grass with my bare feet.” The smell of earth in the woods, and the colour of leaves is always different here than anywhere else.

So, if you need to have your batteries recharged, go HOME. Enjoy it.

Written by effectivenesscoach

October 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

On obligations

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If  I’m to think about one thing that’s been constantly popping up into my vocabulary, it’s the “I have to…” explanation. Like I constantly have to make an excuse to myself. Does it occur to you?

“No, I can’t come today, I have to work.”

“I have to do the laundry, wash the dishes, wash my hair, clean the room etc before I go to bed.”

and the best one “I have to put up that blog post today or I won’t get to it by end next week.”

So obligations are the most annoying thing I’ve come across. They’re either pressured upon us by society, or by ourselves.

Long long time ago, when I was very young (:) ) there was a guy who startled me with this personal belief: “You know, I only do what I like”, he said. “If I feel like eating, I eat. If I feel like getting out, I do. If I feel like kissing a beautiful girl, I’m gonna do that.” Back then I didn’t know this is called hedonism. (also, some can argue, it’s called being a teenager and behaving like a rebel.)

But what sticked to my mind since then was the overwhelming possibility “Whoa! You can actually do that, do what you really want?”

Yes, you can. And you should. At least, more than doing what others want.

So, getting to the more pragmatic side of it, here’s a take-away. Do every day one thing only for yourself and only because you want to.

1. Doing the complete opposite of what everyone else is expecting. Do you really have to visit your parents each Christmas? Why not go on a well-deserved vacation instead? How about that fancy dinner you need to attend? If you’re sure you’re going to feel stuck up in that suit talking to people you’re never going to meet again, don’t go. Since I spread my “roles” throughout 3 weeks, or even 1 month, I don’t feel pressured anymore to visit my grandmother. Sure, I call, but I get a few more hours free each weekend if I stay at home instead of paying my regular visit.

2. Doing what you want. Remember that guy I mentioned before? Why don’t you give yourself the break to do what you want, if not every day, at least once per week? How about that movie you always wanted to watch, or that place you never found time to go to? Why postpone? If there are other things you have to take care of, remember, there’s always solutions.

And my personal favorite –

Cooking. You shouldn’t have to do that. Luckily, I live with a wonderful person who doesn’t require this from me. But when I do cook, it’s for the delight of the senses. Take for example the great apple juice I’m gonna prepare in a few minutes.** An inspiration here to me was Mazilique, who started cooking only a few months ago, and became a local sensation.

And also a great example of how cooking can help unwinding, exploring and giving your best self space to manifest, here’s a movie I can’t wait to see:

** just so you know, I wasn’t kidding – here’s the result, one hour later:

Apple Juice, home made
Apple Juice, home made

Written by effectivenesscoach

October 11, 2009 at 12:04 pm

5 steps to Contemplation

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Despite general opinion, you don’t need to be a Buddhist monk on the top of the mountain in order to allow yourself contemplation.

Here’s some easy steps to allowing yourself to experience a bit more of the world around you.

1. Close your phone, computer, and door and spend 1 minute in complete silence. Listen to the sounds around you. Water running, cars honking on the street, birds chirping (if you’re lucky and live in an area where you can hear them), people speaking in rooms nearby, wind rustling the leaves. One minute should do. Once you get back to what you were doing, time will seem to pass a whole lot slower.

2. When you get out of the subway, on the escalator, look up. Can you see the sky? For the 30 seconds you spend on the escalator, look up. Notice what shade of blue it is. If you spend some time outside every day (and you should), look around you at what has changed. Look for the subtle differences like the shade of colour in the leaves, or the new cat that appeared in the neighborhood.

3. When washing your hands (or the dishes, if you prefer), allow yourself a moment longer to feel the water. Switch temperatures from warm to hot to cold. Put some bubbly soap.

4. Read. Immerse yourself into someone else’s story. No, magazines, newspapers and blogs don’t count. When was the last time you had a really good piece of literature? The kind that you felt like talking about to all your friends?

5. Cook something. It can be as simple as a sandwich, but do it with a gourmet mindset. 🙂 Put some extra spices and flavors. (my favourite “cooking” is french moldy cheese and red wine – see? not that difficult!). One of the highlights of my day was to make a plum jelly, with the remains of what has become a plum juice. Adding some vanilla and cinnamon has made it particularly tasty!

901010-05-2TThere’s a nice anecdote about Zen weather forecast with a rock.

“If the rock is dry, it is not raining.

If the rock is wet, it is raining.

If the rock is white, it is snowing.

If the rock is invisible, it is foggy.”

Written by effectivenesscoach

September 20, 2009 at 9:28 am

Posted in Enjoy, Relaxing

Tagged with ,

Siesta

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van_gogh_siesta

There’s a habit in some countries (especially Latin-American ones) to take a nap right after lunch time. That’s cause the full stomach causes most of the blood in your brain to go to ease digestion, making you groggy and sleepy.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier to have a room to rest for a few minutes after lunch?

And if you would have such a room, would you use it?

More and more offices have implemented this “benefit” for their employees. However, I’m not sure how many use it. I was just thinking yesterday that we’ve lost the habit of savouring time passing by.
When was the last time you’ve indulged in watching the rain fall down, or as they say “smelling the roses”?

I feel that the rhythm imposed by today’s modern, fast paced, fast growing society is slowly killing us. It’s the main cause for stress. You feel compelled to achieve more, faster, with less resources. You work so much you lose track of time. It’s always for a good cause, for later, when you’ll be able to rest, enjoy the slow life, get a house by the beach, spend time with the dear ones. But by that time, this rhythm will be deeply carved in you, and you won’t be able to slow down.

So, how about that one hour daily break after lunch? How about getting up and going outside to smell the fresh air?

Written by effectivenesscoach

September 7, 2009 at 11:05 am

Posted in Enjoy, The Good Life

The alternatives trap

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Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to say that having alternatives is a bad thing.

Only…that they tend can mess your life up a little, and add a lot of complexity.

I’m a woman, I know. Should I wear the red blouse with the white shoes or the green blouse with the brown shoes? [Now that I think of it…Hmmm…That’s a very good question…]

In coaching, as in real life, the most effective way to solve a problem is to break it into issues. And then to start working on the most important issue at the moment. The one that, once changed, will make the largest impact.

You know they say the best way of eating an elephant is to cut it into bite-size portions (apologies to all vegetarians out there, but you do realize, it’s only a metaphor 😉 ) .  So, there you go. You have your problem. Instead of wondering “Should I take this approach, or should I take the other one?” try asking yourself “What are the issues of this problem?”.

If I am a manager and my subordinate is having performance problems, instead of asking myself “Should I give a pre-notice for performance improvement or should I cut the salary?” I would rather check out the problem and break it into issues. Maybe the subordinate has some personal issues at home. Maybe he/she doesn’t get enough training or coaching. Maybe I as a manager have given her the wrong things to do, or the wrong action plan. So the first step would be?…

…That’s right. Go right to the problem. Find the underlying cause. And then find the one thing that, once worked upon, will have the largest impact on the effect.

[Now, coming back to the dressing issue, I would probably look in the mirror and ask myself, what am I looking for in this day? Do I want to be comfortable? If so, I’ll wear those shoes 🙂 ]

Finally, in order to keep alternatives in perspective, and to remind you that they can mess up accidentally, take a look at poor Daffy:

Written by effectivenesscoach

August 29, 2009 at 7:23 am

Posted in Enjoy