Just a Thought About Common Sense…

Sometimes, in our society (and in my own life), there seems to be a disconnect between our actions and common sense, ie., how we spend money, how we treat each other, how we raise our kids, how we watch TV, what we think is important in our lives.  It seems as though this happens more today than in years past.  If that’s true, does it mean that common sense is becoming revolutionary (something that is rare, a good idea and can change our world for the better)?   For instance, author and TV host Dave Ramsey has made a good living from telling people to spend less than they earn.  Isn’t that a principle of common sense?  But so many people don’t do it that it seems like a revolutionary way of handling money.   Here’s another question…  If Dave Ramsey built a business around common sense, can you?  How can you become a person of influence by simply offering advice on how to use common sense in situations most of us don’t?  What opportunities are out there?  How can you use more common sense in your own life?  Just a few thoughts…

 

What’s REALLY Bothering You?

This is a lesson that took me a long time to learn. Some people get it right away – I didn’t. Here’s the lesson: When you are at odds with someone and their response to you seems way out of proportion to the situation, there’s generally something else going on. If you’re not mindful of this, you can get into arguments that you shouldn’t be in. For instance…

Snow in Middle Tennessee is a rare treat so when it’s in the forecast, lots of people wait with bated breath for the first few snowflakes to fall. A few years ago, a forecast for snow didn’t pan out and I received several e-mails from disappointed viewers. But one was particularly harsh and personal. I was the worst meteorologist she had ever watched and she was never watching again! As I read, it made me angry. I started to fire back an e-mail in response but then I stopped… I tried something different. This woman was way too upset at me for what actually happened. So, I wrote back a note and told her that I, too, was disappointed with the missed forecast. I remembered how let down I felt as a youngster waiting all night for a snow that didn’t happen. Finally, I told her I appreciated her taking the time to write, whether good or bad, and that I hoped she would again one day give my forecasts a try.

Later that day, I received a note back. It was a note of apology. She thanked me for responding and went on to explain she was sorry for what she had written. She wrote a story of some very tough times she had seen over the last few days and that she was just taking out her frustations on me. Last, she told me that she would certainly watch again…

I learned a big lesson that day. What if I had fired back an angry response to her? Where would that have gotten me? I could have made the situation even worse. This is the way a lot of arguments with spouses start. Someone has a short fuse because of a bad day but the other doesn’t give a little grace. An argument escalates and by the end of it, you don’t even remember what you started arguing about in the first place. Sometimes it just takes stepping back and asking, “Is what we’re talking about the REAL problem here?”

So, watch out for those times when the response seems totally out of proportion to the situation. There’s generally something else at work here. Try to remain calm and show a little grace. This could save you, especially in your close relationships, from some very hurtful and unnecessary arguments…

You’re Worried About What???

There was a day I used to stress and worry about much more than I do now.  It took a
lot of life experience to teach me that not everything in life deserves the same
amount of my attention and energy.  We only have so many hours in a day – we all
know that.  But what we sometimes forget is that when we waste our thoughts, time
and energy on something insignificant, it means we’re not spending that time on the
things that REALLY matter in life.

Author John R. Noe, among others, wrote that out of everthing we worry about, only
eight percent is real and legitimate.  The rest either won’t happen, happened in the
past or is out of our control.  That means 92 percent of our time spent worrying is
wasted.  Considering that most of the 60,000 thoughts we have each day are repeats
from the day before, that’s a tremendous amout of time we just throw away.  Almost
shocking…

So, the next time you catch yourself worrying about something, ask yourself, “Does
this really deserve all of this attention from me?”  Because we can only have one
thought at a time, redirect your mind to something positive and constructive.
Become a master crafter when it comes to using your time.  Think more about your
goals and passions, how to serve your spouse, kids, family and community and about
all you have for which to be thankful.

Just remember, God gives us a limited amount of time here on earth and you have a choice each day about how you spend your time.  Make it count…

Balance vs Imbalance in Life

If you’re searching for meaning, joy, happiness, fulfillment, quality relationships, peace in your household and real success in life, they all will be very hard to find without balance. Balance gives us strength, momentum, peace-of-mind and allows us to do things you never thought possible. For instance, look at this picture…

 
Natchez Trace Bridge (Wikipedia)
Natchez Trace Bridge, Williamson County, TN (Wikipedia)

This 155-foot-high bridge along the Natchez Trace Parkway spans 1,648 feet over Highway 96 in Williamson County, Tennessee. When it was built, the bridge received national recognition for it’s design and construction. Whether I drive over or under it, I can’t help but be amazed. It’s a very imposing structure but it has a peaceful simplicity about it as well. Rather than numerous columns, it has just one along with two huge arches that hold up the road deck. This allows for a flowing and uncluttered view of the valley it spans. There’s amazing balance in both the structural and visual function of the Natchez Trace Bridge. There were many obstacles to overcome in it’s design and construction, but with creative thought, out-of-the-box thinking and lots of evaluation, it was completed and is generally considered a huge success by both engineers and those who use it. This amazing bridge is possible because of balance…

On the other hand, here’s what can happen when there’s a lack of balance….

If you didn’t notice it before, watch it again and listen to the roar as it passes by the camera.

This huge tornado shredded parts of Weld County, Colorado, on Thursday of this week (5-22-08). It was the result of a very unstable and highly sheared atmosphere. To say it another way, the atmosphere was very imbalanced. In nature, all extreme weather is caused by imbalance. It’s simply cause and effect. It a matter of physics. It’s just the way it is…

You and I are products of God’s nature and we fit into this equation as well… With this in mind, wouldn’t you rather be a strong and balanced support for your family rather than an imbalanced monster that leaves nothing but destruction in your wake? I know I would. In what ways can you be more balanced in your life beginning today?

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Got a Problem???

Hail is one of the most destructive forces in weather. It’s responsible for billions of dollars in damage to homes, cars, windows, crops and anything else outdoors each year. If you don’t believe how damaging it can be, watch this amazing video from a storm chase by Cloud 9 Tours back in 2003…

How about that? Hail is formed when strong updrafts in a severe storm carry a raindrop high into the cloud where the temperatures are below freezing. The drop freezes into a ball of ice. It then fall back toward the earth where more rain coats it before it is carried right back up into the subfreezing air where the coating of water freezes into another layer making the hail grow. With very strong storms, this can happen over and over until the hail is the size of a marble, golf ball, baseball or even softball. The largest hailstones often develop large spikes that make them that more destructive…

Life’s problems often act like hailstones. They start off small but the more we ignore them, the larger and more destructive they get. This happens all the time. A small problem in your relationships can grow into large, divisive issue if not tackled early. Charging small amounts on your credit cards each day will end up as a big bill at the end of the month. Not taking the time to really think about where you want to go with your life in the next month, year or five years can put you on a path to disaster. Don’t ignore the warning signs that something isn’t right. The housing crisis was predictable. An eventual run-up in the price of oil was predictable. A credit card crisis is likely coming because people are spending more than they make in these tough financial times. Without their homes to take out equity, more and more people are turning again to credit card debt (Financial figures from last month showed a substantial increase in unsecured debit – mainly from credit cards). If this trend continues, bankruptcies will begin rising by the end of the year. This is a relatively small problem right now that has the potential to grow into a much larger problem down the road.

So, what small small problem are you dealing with now that could grow into a destructive monster if you continue to ignore it? Think about how you can tackle it beginning today. Don’t let grow until it’s an overwhelming force. Think about the problem, come up with a plan to conquer it and then take massive action on that plan. If you don’t feel motivated, just watch the video again and picture yourself being showered by that huge hail. If you don’t work on solving the problem, that picture may become all too real all too soon!

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Thinking for a Change…

The art of thinking about where you are and where you want to be is, I believe, the most important step in changing your life for the better. You have to take action on your plan once it’s made, but you have to work on designing it first. With that thought in mind, here are a few questions to help get you started…

The biggest factor to our happiness in life is the quality of our relationships. When our relationship with our God, spouse, friends and family are good, life tends to be good. When those same relationships suffer, we suffer. For instance, think about the last time you had a fight with your spouse. What kind of day did you have? I bet it wasn’t one of your better ones. What can you do right after reading this blog to make sure those who love you know how much you care? Just a few loving words, phone call or note may be all that’s needed to do this.

Something else that helps determine the quality of our lives is where we are in relation to where we want to be. The greater the distance between these two points, the higher the level of anxiety. That’s because what you’re actually experiencing doesn’t match your expectations. That’s can be very frustrating.  We have all experienced times during which life threw us a curve ball and in the end, it was for the better. But, many of us have the potential to do and be much more than we are but we’re not taking the time to nurture our growth. To have a great life, it starts with creative thought then followed by planning and action. Like anything, it takes time, effort and energy. Don’t be afraid of that – complacency will keep you right where you are. If you like the way your life is, that’s fine. But if you get up each day frustrated and stressed with the way things are, it’s time to think for a change…

Let me give you an example. Yesterday, I saw a report that stated that the amount of unsecured debt (mostly from credit cards) is skyrocketing. This is happening in part because with the downturn in the housing market, fewer people have the opportunity to take out equity in their homes to meet their expenses. So, people are turning again to credit cards. Some are running up thousands of dollars in debt. Like the housing market crash, this trend could lead to a credit crisis. It’s predictable. The more households that try to fill the gap between their expenses and income, the deeper the hole they dig and the closer to bankruptcy they are. If this continues, watch for the rate of personal bankruptcies to rise over the next few quarters as more people get in over their heads (Rising gas prices won’t help this situation).

If you are in this trap, you’re going to have to make a plan to get off that track. Think about how you can either make more money or reduce your expenses, write down your plan and then take massive action on it. But again, you first have to think about what’s wrong and how you want to fix it. That’s step one. Start here and you’re well on your way. Don’t put it off. You can begin to change your life just by thinking. Pretty cool, huh?

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