The Comparison Trap

Your neighbor is driving the car of your dreams. Your friends are always conveniently sharing the latest restaurants they have dined in. Your coworker is yet again taking a week vacation to visit the next island on her bucket list. Wow! These pictures of these beautiful people on social media looking so fabulous and ecstatic in their relationships can leave you dissatisfied with your own reality.

You do not care for facts, that has been proven with countless research, but you have to realize that the perceived social media reality: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, you name it…social media… is conveying distinctly one’s hallucinations about who she wants to portray to her circle of influence and the world. There is no way you can account for the truth in these portrayals. Nor should you care.

Why You Compare

What is it with you…feeling better about yourself and your situation only when you can find those who are doing worse than you. Take this, real estate professionals suggest that people seek an expensive community and buy the smallest house there because it will appreciate tremendously faster than the biggest house on the block. But, that does not make people feel good, so, they buy the biggest house in a less expensive and downward neighborhood because it makes them feel good and happy.

You like to compare down because you want to feel as if you are doing something right. When you compare up with someone who you think is doing better than you or looking at a more upscale community than your own, you tend to feel unhappy and dissatisfied. You might believe that these people who seem better than you are keeping a secret from you. How come they have more money than you. Why do they wear better clothes? How can they afford this or that? You work harder than they do.

Unrealized Goals

You compare yourself with others because what they remind you of the unrealized goals in your life. You had a plan three years ago to upgrade from renting an apartment to buying a house. Life happens, so you are still renting while all your friends seem to be buying beautiful houses right before your eyes. So, you may think that the universe is on their sides and not yours. Perhaps, they have better jobs and more money than you. You let these things get you down not understanding that your are projecting…you are overestimating what people may have and underestimating what you can do to realize your goals.

Flawed Perception

Another reason why comparing yourself with others is not positively productive is because you have a flawed perception. You assume too much. You assume that your neighbor can afford your dream car because he has more more money than you. He may be eating can beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to be able to afford the payments for that car. Maybe his car is the only thing in his life that makes him feel significant for the moment. So, keep in mind that all of these things you assume about the person who might be doing better than you is a concoction of your imagination to justify why you are not in a better situation or have more expensive things. Know this, your assumption is not the truth.

Lack of Gratitude

Dissatisfaction in life can be a good thing; it can help you get motivated to take action towards changing your life. It is an energy that can be utilized to create the life you want. It becomes negative energy when it is derived from comparing yourself with others. You have more than you can ever use in this life. Why don’t you count your blessings when you feel like taking a turn at comparison road. Say out loud what you are thankful for. Write a list of things that makes you smile. Keep a gratitude journal and record the things that keep you ground, happy, and joyful. These activities will help you focus on your blessedness not other people’s things.

Finally, research has shown acquiring things only keeps you happy for a moment, because once you achieve a goal, it no longer seems important. The next goal is just around the corner. That is why you should spend more time investing in your growth and development rather than on comparing yourself to others.

The Urgency of Now

We are faced with many choices every day. The choices that matter most are the ones that help to make the world a better place and the ones that help to elevate our brothers and sisters.

Do not be fooled. Our lives and our needs are intricately connected that what we do on a personal level has the capacity to impact our entire world.

Now is the time to take action and to speak against all that is unjust and destroying our world. Let’s be encouraged by the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who sacrificed his life for injustice, so we can live in more just world.

I am reminded of a quote I heard from watching the Green Book, a movie set in the 1960s about a genius African-American classical pianist who decides to leave the comfort of the North to go tour the segregated deep south.

GENIUS IS NOT ENOUGH,

IT TAKES COURAGE TO

CHANGE PEOPLE’S MINDS.

Green Book

Dr. Don Shirley, the main actor, was good enough to entertain White folks but could not have a meal with them, use the same hotel, or bathroom with them. It took courage for him to willingly put himself in dangerous situations in an effort to change how others perceive people of color.

How will you show courage today to ensure that your voice is heard? How are you stepping out of your comfort zone to combat injustice?

Do You Have a Growth Plan for Your Children?

This morning, my son and I had a heart-to-heart talk about the future.

As an eigth grader, he has a lot on his plate. He plays soccer for his middle school and the local competitive league. He made all-county, solo and ensemble program for playing trombone. He is a member of the National Junior Honor Society. All of these programs require after school practices. In addition, he is carrying a load of eight classes in which he is required to keep a “B” or better.

As a parent, I monitor all of these activities while keeping my eyes open for opportunities for his personal growth and development. One such opportunities is offered by his school district is the Cambridge program, where he can earn up to 45 college credits upon high school graduation. I was all over that opportunity and signed him up. This morning he had to get up at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday to go take the test.

We talked about why is it important to work on his future today instead of tomorrow. If he wants to have a successful future, he has to show up to class, work hard, and keep up his grades. He has to participate in school and community programs to help him become a well-rounded person. We talked about the stages, seasons of life, how being in grade school right now is an opportunity of a lifetime, which cannot present itself in the future. Therefore, he must learn what must be learned right now.

As my son and I stood in that line waiting for registration to start, I could not help noticing that the group was not a balanced one. Why wasn’t there a more diverse group of students testing for this free program? The Polk county school district is one of the poorest of the entire state. Was the information available to all parents? What measures were taken to ensure that all parents had access to this information?

Too many parents expect the school to do their jobs for them. As parents we have to remain informed about how we can prepare our children for the future. We must partner with our children, their schools, and the community to ensure that we are taking advantage of all opportunities to enhance their future. At this time, we should make it our business to know our children school websites like the back of our hands. The information, programs, and resources are available, but it is up to us to sign up, fill out the application, come of the informational meeting, follow through with the directions we are given.

I know too many students who graduate high school and have no clue what their next step is. If you are lucky to still have a student who still has time, get moving to make the most of it. Research technical schools, community colleges, and work opportunities with tuition reimbursement. You can start to help your children develop a growth plan at any time. Why not start now?

Happiness Habit 5: Be Merciful

If you want to be happy, be kind to those in need;

it is a sin to despise anyone.

Proverbs 14:21 (TEV)

Do we wanHappiness in a box 1t to be happy?

We often answer this question without thinking about what it truly entails.Happiness is a way of life, it is not something we get out of a box. Therefore, it is a habit we must practice every day.

Practicing mercy provides ample opportunities to cultivate happiness Merciful 2in our lives.

Mercy is defined as the “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

The world is a broken place; we are all constantly hurting each other. Where we get stuck is when we decide to take revenge into our own hands. We get stuck when we want to hold on to something that we should have let go of in the first place.

The result of that type of mindset is a revolving cycle of bitterness, negativity, and fruitlessness. You hurt me, so I find a way to hurt you even more. Then, you find a way to hurt me even more.

HReady 1ere are a few tips you can start practicing today to awaken the merciful part of you.

  1. Decrease your irritability level – don’t be quick to be impatient with people. Be mindful that there are certain things that may get on your nerves, but maybe a person’s natural tendency.
  2. Be ready to help – don’t turn a blind eye on the needs in your family, schools, churches, and communities.Happiness abounds in your everyday life when you are generous with everything you have.
  3. Give second chances – don’t be quick to cut people off without the effort of having a mutual resolution to problems. Making mistakes are huge components of the human life. So, be willing to forgive and show mercy to those who have wronged you.

Building or Destroying: What’s In It For Me?

BefPower of Words 2ore you let a single word come out of your mouth, you better be real careful; you may not know what you’re getting yourself into.

You see, words are seeds. Words are powerful. They have the tendency to multiply and reproduce according to their likeness.

You have the choice to plant them in grounds that will…

  • BUILD

             OR

  • DESTROY

Power of Words 1

You understand that your tongue, the instrument that facilitate the speaking of words has the power of life and death.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a superhero, this is the ultimate opportunity. It is also the ultimate opportunity to become the greatest villain.

Read this carefully. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” In other words, you reap what you sow.

If you sow words of love, you will get love in return.

If you sow words of hatred, you will harvest hate.

If you inspire, you too will be inspired.

If you belittle and humiliate, what do you think you will get back?

So, what’s in it for you?

The quality of your life. What do you want to get more of?

 

When Will You Change?

It is beneficial to look at our lives from time to time and determine whether or not what we’ve been doingRaising Your Standards 1, the people we’ve shared our time with, and the results we’ve become accustomed to are the manifestations we really want in our lives.

If we don’t take time out for reflection, we will continue to repeat the same unproductive actions over and over again.

Reflection allows us to determine what is working and what is not. We can decide to discontinue certain behaviors knowing that we will continue to get the same result every time we utilize them.

You determine how:

  • use your resources

  • people treat you

  • your time is allocated

So, what you allow is what will continue. Make the changes today that will affect the results you get tomorrow.

 

7 Simple Keys to Help You Enjoy Work Every Day Part II

Enjoy Work 4

Work is what you make it. Our attitude determines whether or it work is going to be a place of many blessings or a place of many curses. Understand that what we focus on expand, what we invest in grow, and what we plant, we harvest. Therefore, we must intend to focus on, invest in, and plant the specific benefits we want to enjoy

2. Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

When we understand that we are working not to please people but the Lord, we develop a different perspective toward our place of employment. Any job that we do can become a form of worship, giving thanks for being able to contribute to society by serving others.

3. Develop a new way of thinking about work.

When we develop a new way of thinking about work, we will realize that work is one of the most important places in our lives where we can focus on building our character. It is a place where we can take on tasks and projects to help us test out what we really enjoy doing. Adding on a new skill and learning more about ourselves can be strategic tools for career advancement or change.

4. “Whatever you do, do it with kindness and love”.I Corinthians 16:14

Enjoy Work 5

Everything we do is about people. We cannot escape not working with them one way or another. We are here to serve each other, which is at the core of our existence here on earth. So, loving the people we work with is a tremendous opportunity to share our love and to treat them with kindness. In return, we will enjoy a more pleasant work environment.

5. “If anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him.” Matthew 5:41

When we value and enjoy our work, we make it a point to do more than what is expected of us. We don’t have to be asked. Success does not only come with caring for people. It also comes through proving how valuable we are to the company. So, it should be our intention to exceed expectation as often as possible.

6. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

Sharpen Your Axe 1

“If you want to get ahead, you must fill your head.” Decide to make continual learning part of your every life. Working on improving skills that can potentially help to gain a promotion or an increase in pay can be worthwhile. In this way, we will not have to apply much strength to bring success to our lives.

7. “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

It is good to know that we’re never on our own. Our work may be difficult or it may be easy. It does not matter what issues we may be facing at work, knowing who we are working for makes a very big difference. Putting everything in God’s hand is a sure way to grow and achieve success.

7 Simple Keys to Help You Enjoy Work Every Day Part I

Enjoy Work 1

Work is a place the majority of us spend most of our waking hours either loving every minute of it or killing ourselves slowly. It is a place that provides many opportunities to build character, to learn new skills, and to discover the phenomenon of working with others. Above all, that seems to be the hardest part of working.

I don’t know about you but I would rather love every minute of my work than to allow it to ever placidly suck the life out of me. You can begin to incorporate a few simple steps in your daily habits to help you make the most out of work. Here are seven simple keys that can help transform your working life from a boring and insignificant one to an enjoyable and important one.

1. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23

Being in the present is a great thing, that includes being enthusiastic about the work you are doing right now. So, WHATEVER you do –making a presentation, taking out the garbage, answering phones, writing the needed reports –put your entire heart (100% +) into it.

Every job is a preparation for the next job. It is an opportunity to develop you in ways you may not be aware of. Luke 16:10-12 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.”

Enjoy Work 3

It is helpful to keep in mind that is a test of not only your skills but your attitude as well. Your attitude towards life and your work in particular determines your level of enjoyment. A negative attitude that encourages continuous griping and complaining does not facilitate the creation of joyful moments.

Proverbs 12:24 provides that the “diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” One of the ways to facilitate enjoyment in our work is to determine to add value to the organization, its people, and its daily mission. When you feel that you are making a difference, it does something inside you–it makes you feel needed and significant.

You are needed. You are important. You are significant. That is why your work cannot be haphazardly put together. That is why your work cannot remain undone.

So, let’s show some enthusiasm.

When Was the Last Time You Saw a Fish Climbing a Tree?

The fish does not climb a tree because it was not created to climb a tree. It has its special intelligence that equips it to navigate its environment with ease. The water environment and the skills necessary to thrive there is empowering not self-defeating.

So, why do we belittle ourselves and hinder our progress on the basis that we are not intelligent enough. Let’s be reminded that “God does not create junk.” The problem occurs when we place ourselves in the wrong environment and engage outside of our skill set.

We don’t have to spend our lives thinking that we’re stupid simply because we are in the wrong environment, doing something we are not prepared to do.

Remember, we have the potential to learn and become better at anything we put our minds to. According to Merriam-Webster, intelligence is defined as the ability to learn or understand or to deal with difficult situations.

Some people naturally possesses or are drawn to a specific type of work. That is wonderful. That does not in any way diminish our ability to learn that type of work or skill.

Einstein says it best, the measure of our intelligence has very little to do with where we are right now. Our ability and our flexibility to change makes all the difference.

We can improve our intelligence on a daily basis by:

  • Reading widely
  • Take a workshop or a seminar 
  • Spend time with people we want to learn from
  • Take daily action toward change
  • Feed our minds everyday
  • Be nice to ourselves–often

So don’t decline that promotion, we will be surprise to see that we know more than we think we know. Knowing that there is nothing new under the sun, we can find people and resources to help us no matter what we may face.

When Was the Last Time You Gave Your Attitude a Check?

INTELLIGENCE. HARD WORK. EDUCATION. TALENT

That looks like the recipe for success in life, work, and business.

Surprisingly, these are myths. They do no weight as much as we think they do.

The experts and researchers have affirmed that the number one thing that holds people back from success is their ATTITUDE.

DEFINITION: a way of thinking or feeling about something, someone, or an event that is usually reflected in one’s behavior.

As trivial and insignificant that may sound, our attitudes has much to do with what we do in life and how we do it.

This is awesome, very encouraging, and literally life transforming.

According to Charles R. Swindoll, attitude is everything: Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

We certainly have little control over what happens to us in life. We can take precautions to decrease the likelihood of something hurtful, damaging, or devastating from happening to us, but we cannot guarantee it.

What we can be certain of is that we have the power to react in positive, uplifting, and life changing ways. We can choose our responses. We can learn from the experience helpful lessons and throw away the rest. From that experience we can begin anew with a different skill set.

John C. Maxwell, the very successful New York Times Bestselling Leadership Expert  is one of my many mentors. From him I learned that we learn best from EVALUATED EXPERIENCES.

It is not enough to say “I learned a lot from this experience.” We must break the experience down and study it to determine lessons worth learning. In that way, the experience will become an asset rather than a hindrance.

So, let’s check ourselves to see how our attitude is holding us back from:

  • Taking that critical first step to pursue a goal
  • Seeking the help that can change our lives
  • Asking for what we what we need
  • Taking the necessary risks

Even in the business world,

There are a few jobs where straight

up skills are all we ask for.

Perhaps in the first violinist in a string quartet.

But in fact, even there, what actually separates

winners from losers isn’t talent,

it’s attitude.

Seth Godin

The bottom line is people like to be with, work with, and do business with people they like. If our attitudes are constantly negative, who in their right minds will want to spend time with us?

Please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.