5 Reasons to Make Yourself Useful

Spring is a time of renewal not just for nature, but also for humans. It’s a time to shed old habits and develop new ones like volunteering or serving your community or being a better father.

I started coaching baseball again this spring. It’s a blast! Here are 5 reasons to make yourself more useful:

  1. People need role models. Not just kids, grownups do, too. The world needs ’em! Be one.
  2. Karma exists. Sometimes being a good person can get you in a lot of trouble. But generally speaking the more good you do, the more you are rewarded in life in terms of opportunities and kindness. 
  3. Connects you with others. Too many of us are shut-ins hiding behind devices, afraid to make eye contact for too long. Talk to people. Look them in the eyes. Get to know them.
  4. Strengthens your community. This country is fraying right now. But there are so many things we can agree on like serving our communities in some capacity. Build community wherever you are.
  5. Feeling useful and purposeful builds confidence which will make you more attractive to your spouse or potential target spouses.

7 Tips to Manage Anger

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All of us struggle with anger to some degree or another, however, the feminization of society is making all anger- even the anger of hockey players- increasingly unacceptable. Here are 7 tips to help you manage anger in a soft, feminine world:

  1. At the moment of anger, meditate, say a prayer, and take a few deep breaths. This can save your hide and perhaps the life of someone else.
  2. Exercise regularly and consider an outlet like martial arts or boxing. Men were evolved to have the capacity for violence and yet we have so few acceptable outlets for it in today’s world. I recently started a boxing class and I’m having a blast.
  3. ALWAYS get enough sleep. I think for most people this is a necessary condition for decent behavior. I know that my anger is like a Porsche versus a Volvo when I’m not well rested.
  4. Get to know any other triggers. Self-awareness is so critical to growth. There are many ways to do it, figure out one that works for you.
    There are a number of tests you can take to get a better understanding of yourself- Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program, and Myers-Briggs are some of the countless options out there. 
  5. Leave the room, take a walk. With some people you just have to do this.
  6. Splash cold water on your face. This is known to work, but requires extracting yourself from the situation somehow.
  7. Try to remember your values at all times. If you are a Christian, try to see the face of Jesus in your enemy or if not or you prefer, the Buddha or Gandhi or MLK.

A mindless moment of anger can ruin your life in 2019, seemingly like never before. Protect yourself.

7 Tips to Simplify Your Life

The modern world is enormously complicated. It can be like waking up in a whitewater kayak racing through rapids every day. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are 7 tips to help you simplify your life:

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  1. Embrace a spiritual or religious practice. So many folks dismiss religion as a quaint notion in this hyper-informed modern world. But there is tremendous wisdom in the world’s great religions. One of the major benefits of this is simply the routine or habit of it. Atheism and secularism don’t offer any structure.
  2. Purge your life of too many belongings. Empty out those closets and storage units and unfinished basements. A lot of that crap you’ve completely forgotten about anyway.
  3. Keep the sabbath. This can be an absolutely wonderful addition to a person’s life. Having a quiet Saturday or Sunday on the schedule every week can be a wonderful period of quiet for an individual or a family. Learn to be with yourself or with others, but not racing to a practice or event of some sort. I love my sabbath. Sometimes I voluntarily give it up, but I miss it when I do.
  4. Express gratitude at every meal or, preferably, MORE often. Your actions follow your thoughts. Think good thoughts. Think grateful thoughts. For even in our worst times, there are always many more people who have it worse.
  5. Limit your time with screens and when you do, make it useful. My parents used to refer to the TV as the “idiot box.” They were right. Now, we carry idiot boxes around in our pockets. Try to cut out the time wasters that squeeze the rest of your valuable time. Or when you do, read something that teaches you something or makes you think. There are billions of options.
  6. Take a regular phone fast. I like to have lots of people over to my place and I tend to be very welcoming of all kinds of folks. So, occasionally I encounter someone who comes from a culture that is a bit more permissive of distractions and interruptions. In fact, it really pisses me off when I’m socializing with people and someone whips out their phone while I’m talking to them, even if it is to look up something that pertains to our conversation. So I’ve pretty much banned the use of phones in my house. I treat it like smoking. Go outside and do it. Another option is to set a time, say 8 pm, after which you do not look at your gadgets. Helps to have a partner in this.
  7. Say NO to too many activities. There are a million ways to spend your time. Driving all of the time should not be one of them. Factor in whether an activity is going to complicate your life or your child’s life in such a way that it puts a burden on the family and try to avoid that. Too often we are tyrannized by the idea that we or our children should be continually accomplishing something. Overall, yes, they should, but not every minute of every day.

7 Tips to Boost Your Career

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If you’re dissatisfied at work, and let’s be honest, most of us are, here are a few things you can do to get moving towards something better:

  1. Update that resume (regularly). It’s crucial to update your resume regularly so that you are ready whenever a new opportunity arises or you connect with a new contact. And consider sprucing it up. That pathetic Times New Roman font you’ve been using since 1998 is outdated. Of course, do what’s appropriate for the industry- creative or otherwise.

  2. Practice interviewing. I’m not kidding. Find some interview questions on the Internet then get out the iPad or your phone and film yourself answering questions. Notice if you sound too casual or lazy or inarticulate or say “like” too much. This is REALLY IMPORTANT! People will go their entire lives without knowing what idiots they sound like most of the time.

  3. Take some aptitude and personality tests. There are a number of tests you can take to get a better understanding of yourself- Johnson O’Connor Research Foundation, Jordan Peterson’s Self-Authoring program, and Myers-Briggs are some of the countless options out there.

  4. Do something “extra” at work. Organize the office trip to a baseball game or a happy hour (be careful) or bring in a speaker on some important subject. Those things are not part of the job description, but they give you some visibility with the boss and other higher-ups.

  5. Accept feedback. This is a tough one. If you are sensitive or thin-skinned or prideful, this one might hurt. So prepare yourself. Toughen yourself up. Learn some assertiveness and learn to face your fear of negative feedback. It’s hard to, but remember it is a learning opportunity.

  6. Explore online training options. There are countless ways to cultivate your skills while you are in a job that you don’t love. Look for things that interest and will help you. Learning to write better, speak better, and generally present yourself better is a good place to start.

  7. Dress better. It sounds weird, but it makes a big difference. Your appearance, your attitude, all of the little things you do are part of what will earn you opportunities in life.

5 Reasons You Should Swim

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There is a ton of advice out there. This bit REALLY works. Here are 5 reasons you should swim regularly:

  1. Your body will never feel better. Swimming utilizes your entire body and the repetition creates enormous flexibility and strength in your neck, back, and legs.
  2. It’s great for the mind, too. Swimming is extremely calming, even meditative. At the same time, it can help you focus your mind if you need to delve into an issue. After I swim, I’m usually unflappable for the remainder of the day.
  3. Beats a chiropractor. I used to have constant pain in my left shoulder blade stemming from an injury that occurred while moving furniture over 10 years ago. I would occasionally go to a chiropractor who was able to make the pain go away… for about 45 minutes. It wasn’t until I started swimming regularly that the pain finally went away.
  4. Lets out aggression. Like punching a pillow, swimming can be a safe outlet for expressing your frustration, even pretending to take a few swings at some imagined underwater foe. I’ve been known to let out a roar underwater from time to time and I urge others to do the same.
  5. It’s a good discipline. In addition to all of the aforementioned benefits, swimming, like running or bicycling, builds discipline that carries over into other areas of life.

If you knew something would take away your back and neck pain AND put you in a relaxed mood for 12 hours or so, why would you NOT do it?

7 Tips to Start Your Day

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A regular morning routine, with a few pleasant additions, will make you a happier, more productive worker bee. Here are 7 tips to get you started.

  1. Drink a glass of water.
  2. Meditate for 3 minutes or more.
  3. Read something inspirational.
  4. Give thanks for what you have and pray (or wish) for a good day for you and well, everyone else. It’s okay to be specific. Even for yourself.
  5. Plan ahead as much as you possibly can. This is the key to any important activity in life. Take a bit of time to plan ahead and everything will go much smoother.
  6. Take a few minutes for humor or fun like reading the newspaper or doing a crossword puzzle.
  7. Get as ready as you can the night before and you should probably get in bed by 11.

How to Stop Being Irritable

Excellent advice here. I can verify…

The Psych Talk

Everyone experiences irritability at some point in their lives but for some people, it can become problematic and affect their relationships and personal well-being. In this case, there are many things you can do in order to reduce your levels of irritability and have more productive encounters with others.

Avoid triggers and Change Environments:

Removing the things in our life that cause us stress can greatly reduce our levels of irritability. Sometimes this is not possible, so reducing contact with our triggers can help. When your trigger involves another person, it is often best to walk away until you are feeling less irritable. Try and find a relaxed and tidy environment to spend your time in. Environments free of clutter can be calming to the mind, so if you cannot change environments perhaps take some time to tidy up.

Empathy and Communication:

If you are feeling irritable its best to…

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