Rat Race

Rat Race - Pathmaker Blog“The winner of the rat race is still a rat!”

There is no doubt about it, life is passing us by at breakneck speed and everyone is trying to get ahead of everyone else on a daily basis. To describe this phenomenon we came up with the phrase “rat race.” By definition, rat race is  “a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive  struggle for wealth or power.” Our quote today is most explicit, forcing us to make a poignant determination – are we one of the rats?

You see, we often believe that if we win the rat race, all is well and good.  But, the validity of the statement, “the winner of the rat race is still a rat,” cannot escape us.  So, now we must ask another question: Do we want our families and employees to think of us as rats?

To avoid the idea of being a rat, we must realize that there is more to life, and even work, than just winning!  To deal properly, and effectively, with people, either at home or at work, we must be human, not a rodent – not even the King Rodent! As you pursue career goals and attempt to get ahead at work, remember that you are human, as are those you work with. So, make sure you are more concerned about the human race and less concerned about the rat race as you proceed through life!

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“If you can’t be part of the solution at least don’t be part of the problem!”

“If you can’t be part of the solution at least don’t be part of the problem!”There are a plethora of “communities” that we are part of on an ongoing basis.  These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Families
  • Companies
  • Churches
  • Clubs/Organizations
  • Networking Groups

And, in each and every one of these today’s Bumper Sticker Wisdom is pertainable.  As a result, we need to take a quick look at how we can avoid being part of a problem that may already exist.

There are, of course, several ways this can happen, including but not limited to:

  • You repeatedly complain about the problem at hand.
  • You discourage others who are trying to come up with solutions to the problem at hand.
  • You refuse to follow suggestions others give to resolve the problem at hand.
  • You distract other’s attention away from concentrating on the problem at hand.

It is understandable that not all of us can be problem solvers, but we all can refrain from perpetuating problems.

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“You can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’”

“You can’t spell ‘awesome’ without ‘me’”On the surface that looks like a cute little sentiment.  However, more and more, members of our society believe that’s true.  As a society we are so self-centered and eco-centric that we believe not only are we awesome, but that, because we are awesome we are totally above reproach!

It used to be a joke when someone said, “I’m perfect, and if you don’t believe it all you have to do is ask me!”  Today, however, there is a vast majority of society that actually feels this way!  We are so self-impressed that we don’t care what others think or say – – – even when they are trying to give us constructive criticism!

Perhaps Mac Davis, with his song, IT’S HARD TO BE HUMBLE, summed up much of how contemporary society feels when he sang:

Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble
When you’re perfect in every way

And there in lies the crux of this problem – – way too few people in our society today seek humility!

As a challenge for the upcoming New Year, take a lingering inward look and do some serious introspection by asking yourself, “What do I do, or say, that might indicate that I am seeking humility?”  This is a difficult question, first to ask and then to answer truthfully.  You may find that, if you are serious about being humble, that you are going to have to find a mentor to help you achieve your goal.  If you find it too difficult to seek help, but do want to live a life of humility, consider the steps for becoming more humble, which include but are not limited to:

  • Admit when you don’t know the answer.
  • Appreciate other people’s strengths.
  • Ask other people their opinions.
  • Continue to learn as much as possible.
  • Know when to speak and when to listen.
  • Embrace your strengths, but admit your weaknesses.
  • Focus on giving, not receiving.

If you really want to be awesome, seek to live a more humble life, and enjoy the rewards that will follow!

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Even Scrooge Would have Hated the Grinch!

Even Scrooge Would have Hated  the Grinch!Watching Holiday Movies is a favorite pastime of just about everyone I know.  And, two “musts” is A Christmas Carol and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Now, while Scrooge was “bah – humbugging” all over the place, he never once thought about actually stealing Christmas!  The reason the Grinch was so diabolical, however, is probably summed up by the fact that “his heart was two-sizes to small!”

While it might not be readily apparent, there is an interesting “Business Truth” to be learned by studying these two Christmas Villains – as bad as an employer or supervisor may be, there does come a point where they can “cross over the line” and become totally unreasonable.

Now, this particular blog isn’t being written for those who work for such an ogre as the Grinch, or even Scrooge.  Rather, it is written to those individuals who present themselves in such a negative manner that they garner virtually no respect, and certainly no loyalty.  If you sense that you do, in fact, present a demeanor that is harsh and uncomfortable, you may want to seriously consider setting a few New Year’s Resolutions to change!  These might include, but are not limited to:

  • Be more conscious of how people react when you enter the room.  Everything from a quick exit to cowering is a good indicator that folks may not like being in your presence.
  • If you truly want to change, find an employee you can trust, and who isn’t too afraid of you, and ask them which traits you need to change.
  • Once you have that list, prioritize it so you can determine which “issues” you need to start working on first.
  • Tell your employees, either jointly or individually, of your desire to change and make their work place a better environment.

If you are brave enough to actually do this, what you will undoubtedly discover is that Fezziwig got a whole more out of his staff that Scrooge could ever have hoped to get out of his!!  And, what you may also discover is that, like the Grinch, “your heart will grow three sizes that day!”

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I finally got it all together but now I can’t remember where I put it

“I finally got it all together but now I can’t remember where I put it”If I had a dollar for every good idea I have ever had I would be at least a hundredaire!  Seriously – I do have a lot of good ideas, what I don’t have is either the time or the finances to get them implemented into moneymaking endeavors.  And, as I am closer to my 100th birthday than my first one, I can only wonder, “what is going to happen to all of those good ideas?”

That thought led me to another – – what did I do with all of those great ideas that I know I wrote down and put somewhere? Which, of course, leads us to the truth of our BUMPER STICKER quote – – sometimes, even when we get it all together, we can’t remember where we put it! Now, contemplating all of that led me to yet another thought – – everyone should keep a “special” Journal where all we record is our great ideas.  That way, they would be saved for posterity and, perhaps, be part of the legacy we can pass on to future generations and they might be able to turn those ideas into a Family Fortune!  Every once in a while I stumble across one or two of these ideas and think, “Man, I know that will still work . . .”  But, human that I am, I just put them back in the file where I found them and, within a week, not only do I no longer know where they are, I don’t even remember what they are!

All of this reminds me of a story I read one time about someone who was taking a tour at one of the early FORD plants.  As they went through the offices a door was opened and there sat a man with his feet up, a pen and pad on the desk before him, but apparently not doing anything.  Intrigued, those taking the tour asked who he was and why he wasn’t working.  The reply was, “Oh, he is working, he’s Mr. Ford’s designated thinker.”  Now that, I believe, would be the perfect career for me!!!!  Armed with pen and pad, once I got it all together, I would never have to worry about where I put it!

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Attitude Outweighs Aptitude

Attitude Outweighs AptitudeBeing an under-paid educator for most of my life, I have had the opportunity to hold down a number of jobs during the summers to make ends meet.  And, while I was not overtly checking out the various work places that I labored at, I did come away with some pretty interesting observations.  And, one of the main things I observed is, “Attitude Outweighs Aptitude.”

While I am talented and skilled in several areas, I discovered that most bosses would choose me to do “special projects” over other more proficient workers because of my “Yes, Sir!” attitude. You see, I think John C. Maxwell summed it up pretty well when he said, “People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” No doubt about it, a positive attitude will give off good vibes!

Some people may look at the idea of “attitude” with a jaundice eye, but I happen to agree with what I consider three major intellects and what they say about it:

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.”
Albert Einstein

 “Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”
Zig Ziglar

In closing, I would just like to point out that your attitude will determine the importance of your work and the value of you to your employer and your work place.  You see, I totally agree with William J. Brennan, Jr. when he said, “There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.”

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If God is your co-pilot you need to change seats!

Have you ever noticed how often someone asks us our opinion when, in reality, all they want is our approval or confirmation?  For example, your wife might come out of the bedroom and say, “What do you think of this dress?”  Now, invariably, they have already decided to wear it and what they really want you to tell them is how nice they look in it!  You know, sometimes that’s the way we are with God – – we don’t want him to “pilot” our life, we just want Him in the cockpit in case something goes wrong!

If you fall into this category you are not alone.  Far too often we put together a plan for our lives and then take it to God for His rubber stamp! We want Him to check and make sure that “All Systems Are Go,” but we don’t want Him to draw up our flight plan – – we are, we are sure, totally capable of doing that ourselves.

Now, and this is really the interesting part, when we relegate God to “co-pilot” status and something goes wrong, we blame Him!  We wonder why He allowed us to “crash and burn,” even though we never really allowed Him to “captain” the ship!

In a day and age when we are bombarded with the concept that we need to be self-sufficient and rely on our own capabilities, it truly is a step of faith to give up the pilot’s chair and allow God to take over.  However, if yo want your life to experience a “smooth flight” and end up with a safe landing, you need to make sure daily that you have not allowed God to be only your co-pilot!!!

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He who dies with the most toys is still dead!

He who dies with the most toys is still dead!You may be more familiar with the original Bumper Sticker, the one that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  The reality of the one we are addressing, however, is far more relevant – – and true!  We have a generation that is so enthralled by, and dedicated to pursuing, toys that they have lost sight of the true meaning of life!

If we buy into, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” we will have our priorities totally askew!  You see, if you want to measure the true value of your life, it is not determined by what you have, but, rather, by who you have.  As a nation, and especially as business people, we have forgotten that vitally important adage that says, “We should love people and use things, not the other way around.

To validate my point I offer the following statement:  No one has ever been on their deathbed and uttered the words, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”  This was exemplified a few years ago by a TV commercial where the following dialogue takes place:

Little Girl:  “Mommy, why do you have to go away for the week-end and work?”

Mom:  “So we can live in our nice big house, honey.”

Little Girl:  “Mommy, can we buy a smaller house and you stay home more?”

What parents in our society need to realize is that kids, real kids, don’t want more toys to play with, they want Mom and Dad to play with them.  More fun is had in a rowboat that is actually taken to the lake than with a speedboat that stays in the driveway ‘cause Mom and Dad are working to pay it off!

As you set your goals for the next year, first set your priorities.  And, as you do so, don’t forget our “Bumper Sticker” truth:  “He who dies with the most toys is still dead.”

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