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…

 

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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…

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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