“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”
Most of the effort in problem solving is in firstly correctly identifying the real problem. Once it has been identified, a problem becomes much easier to break down into chunks. Find 15 minutes each day to slowly work through an issue that you have been procrastinating about.
“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”
Henry David Thoreau
Problems aren’t something to be ignored in the hopes they will disappear. A new problem might be seen as a new opportunity to progress further to the common goal.
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
“If you are not willing to risk the usual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.”
Do you ever think about what youwant to happen in a forthcoming situation? Or does worry get in the way and you tend to focus on what you don’t want to happen?
The Ego and Finding Fault
It seems our ego focuses naturally on the negative aspects, due to an outdated evolutionary adaptation and we are then in a postion that makes us hard-pressed to see positives.
Fault finding comes from believing your happiness comes from the world according to your liking.
We then tend to find fault with whatever is going on, to blame others or circumstances, especially where the outcome has been less than, what we consider, satisfactory.
This may have helped us survive in pre-historic times, where man-eating beasts lurked close by, but is hardly relevant to modern life. Now, our egos flood our brains with self-critical thoughts, most of which are not terribly accurate and anxiety quickly follows.
Lee Jampolsky once asked a stressed-out salesman,
“What is the real purpose of a sale?
Replying about his own needs and that he wanted to boost his sale stats, Jampolsky then encouraged the salesman to instead direct his thought focus outwards – ie. so that his real purpose in a transaction or interaction would be that he was genuinely interested in the person he was selling to, in being patient and kind and, to try to ‘see’ the customer’s heart.
To the salesman’s surprise, his sales rose significantly and he was no longer so stressed when he followed that sageful advice. His customers picked up on those non-verbal and verbal signals that he ‘cared.’
Without the ego naturally defaulting to negative, there is room in our minds for all sorts of alternative thoughts.
Contemplating a more positive goal at the beginning of any situation may help influence the outcome, (even if you are not convinced of its worth, at first).
What Went Wrong?
Don’t waste your precious time on analysing what went wrong with a situation. Ignore those feelings that you have been short-changed in lifeas they tend promulgate the victim concept, which only makes you feel worse.
Think about what your goal is, making it pertinent to your perception and personal actions and see what happens.
We can attract the exact things that we give thought oxygen to or dwell on.
Jampolsky believes that we can direct ourselves to be peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside.
“When I was 15, I spent a month working on an archeological dig. I was talking to one of the archeologists one day during our lunch break and he asked those kinds of “getting to know you” questions you ask young people: Do you play sports? What’s your favourite subject? And I told him, no I don’t play any sports. I do theatre, I’m in choir, I play the violin and piano, I used to take art classes.
And he went WOW. That’s amazing! And I said, “Oh no, but I’m not any good at ANY of them.”
And he said something then that I will never forget and which absolutely blew my mind because no one had ever said anything like it to me before: “I don’t think being good at things is the point of doing them. I think you’ve got all these wonderful experiences with different skills, and that all teaches you things and makes you an interesting person, no matter how well you do them.”
And that honestly changed my life. Because I went from a failure, someone who hadn’t been talented enough at anything to excel, to someone who did things because I enjoyed them. I had been raised in such an achievement-oriented environment, so inundated with the myth of Talent, that I thought it was only worth doing things if you could “Win” at them.”
POINT: Lots of things are worth doing because they bring you joy, and for no other reason. Do them, enjoy them, be fulfilled.
As I contemplate what to write in a ‘death letter,’ to my daughter, I came across the following text.
They are not my words but I thought it important to reproduce it here for others to read. I do not know the author. If someone knows who wrote this, please let me know in the comments and I will gladly update the post and credit them.
The Important Things in Life
When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers.
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.. The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’
The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car… The sand is everything else—the small stuff.
‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.
Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.
Spend time with your children. Spend time with your parents. Visit with grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and mow the lawn.
Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented. The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’
The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.
Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
Carol’s quote came to mind recently, when I received some strongly-worded criticism in response to a post I’d made, on a social media group. Whether my words were truth or lies, seemed less relevant than the individual opinions of the responders making the comments.
It seemed some people relished an opportunity to vent their spleen, albeit in an anonymous way.
Normally, I’d be a little rattled by heavy-handed criticism, but I’m no longer surprised by being hammered with a critical counter-argument, at least on social media.
And yet, in distancing myself from reacting to the negative commentary, I began to feel like some kind of stone-hearted internet troll.
Aristotle was unsurprisingly philosophical about criticism:
“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”
I wondered should we ignore all negative feedback and scroll on, or respond to critical comments? If so, how?
Criticism of others’ opinions via the internet, and indeed, cyber-bullying, itself, has seemingly reached pandemic proportions. Thankfully the blogging world is mostly immune to negativity, but it did make me wonder how others dealt constructively, with heavy-handed criticism.
An American Politician, Sam Rayburn once said,
Any jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build it.
What do you think the underlying message says. Does it refer to the support of friends and family that folk find so essential to personal growth and development?
Or, could it refer to the many divergent paths one might consider, or does take throughout life, before we reach our ultimate destination or end goal?
I often find there is profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages, to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned. Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.
Nothing is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears
~ Demi Lovato (Actress and Singer Song-writer)
This theme of this week’s quotes is power, not raw power, but rather that power of the self, as an entity, that power we find within ourselves.
The less effort, the faster and more powerful
you will be
~ Bruce Lee
We have nothing to lose by trusting the infinite power
of the Self, except the bondage of our own ignorance
~ Mata Amritanandamayi Devi
And finally there are these words:
“You have it easily in your power to increase the sum total of this world’s happiness now.
By giving a few words of sincere appreciation to someone who is lonely or discouraged. Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime.”
WordPress recently told me it was my Blogging Anniversary. Really? What of it?
It has been almost ten years since I first created Something to Ponder About, after trying for a few miserable months with the Blogger platform. I never really got how you connected with other people on that platform, so quickly moved to WordPress, as a penfriend in Norway recommended it.
Purpose of Blogging
I really had to think about whether I should celebrate this Anniversary, or commiserate that I haven’t done better over the years? Some Bloggers have used their blogs as a venue to receive all kinds of free gimmicks, products and even discounts on holidays. What have I been doing?
Contemplating my navel in a semi-public way?
Don’t be misled into thinking I have been writing solidly for ten years. I have taken many a blogging break, here and there, when I have been on extended vacations and for the first three to four years, my frequency of posting was ‘hit and miss.’ That is, it wasn’t really conducive to comment conversations, or consistent readers.
In all honesty, I wasn’t a serious Blogger early on; merely posting interesting information to do with nutrition or D.I.Y. Craft that I might reference later, or using my blog to document my travels to, what I thought, were special parts of the world.
But then, something happened.
I began to connect with people worldwide. I started using my words in a way that was more constructive, ostensibly I wished to share information that might help others. The Blogger community responded with kindness and open arms, enveloping me on a truly wondrous journey that I am happy to say, continues to this day.
Connecting with Other Bloggers
Many of the early Bloggers I connected with have now left the blogging world. A few remain, including Leya, Tina and Cyranny. In the early days, Christian Mihai ‘liked‘ every one of my published posts, but never ever did he post a comment. He is a huge Blogger now.
Strangely, I noticed I have only recently connected with fellow Aussie bloggers, but rather most of my readers were in locations around the world. That may be a comment on where my interest is directed, perhaps? I am not sure.
Ineke, in New Zealand, but from South Africa, has been a blogger friend and reader of mine from the start. She was the first Blogger I chatted with and the first Blogger I met, in person. When we met up in her home town, it was like we were already old friends.
It seemed easier to communicate with her over the blogosphere, as we were in a closer time zone, generally speaking. She was always, always supportive and assisted me in various Blogging challenges and joint projects in the blogging community. I thank her for her friendship and hope we will meet up again someday.
Living as I do in this far-flung corner of the earth, the long delay in sending and receiving comment replies on blog posts does hamper the flow of conversation, at times. Thus, it was highly unlikely that I would sync with Snow, in Finland – yet something clicked between us. After a time, I discovered she had a similar childhood to me, growing up in Australia! We could share memories and she seemed to understand my typically Aussie ways.
Together, Snow and I launched the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge, which I now run with the extremely resourceful Sandy, in Canada. I love the Global connections blogging affords from all corners of the world! It’s truly a multicultural phenomenon.
A pivotal moment in keeping my Blog active was starting the now-defunct ‘Monday Mystery Photo Challenge,’ which ran for close to three years. I had a lot of fun interactions and learnt lots about blogging, in general. Photography was definitely a major way I found and connected with other like-minded folk.
Motivation to Keep Blogging
A key to maintaining my motivation for blogging is to write about things I am passionate about.
If you really are passionate about something, your writing comes alive and your Blog will be interesting for others to read.
I like to use humour or satire in my posts, although I cannot claim to be any good at that. Keeping posts topical to some extent, seems to me, to be a way of starting and maintaining a conversation with readers.
An early criticism I received from another Blogger was that my Blog lacked focus. The comment was that I had, “a lot going on,” at StPA. Back then, travelling was something I posted frequently about, but I also wrote about craft, painting, nutrition, mental health, traditional sayings, quotes and cooking. Given the current global situation for Travel Bloggers, I am very grateful my Blog was diversified in its focus.
So, somewhat embarrassingly, I am still here, ten years later, at Something to Ponder About, prattling away to anyone who will listen. Blogging still provides me with a great deal of satisfaction. As more Bloggers fall away or take an extended break due to Covid or Blogger fatigue, new Bloggers begin their journeys with WordPress, filling that void. That bodes well for WordPress and for Bloggers, in general.
I hope to still be around in another ten years, but who knows? What will WordPress and the world itself, be like then?
Start a Conversation
What about your Blogging journey?
How did you start Blogging?
Have you ever considered giving up, and if not, why did you perservere?
“If I expect the worst, I am pleasantly surprised when something turns out well.”
Such an approach to life situations, is modus operandi for some members of my family.
I do get why people do get into the habit. I used to do this myself.
Some don’t like to get their hopes up and experience disappointment. They would rather enjoy the pleasant surprise when everything works out well. Sounds plausible and positive, but is it good for our mental health?
Is this a productive way of thinking – in that it supports us in dealing with our daily issues?
If you do this, does it work for you?
You might even be a “prepper.”
Not the kind that are preparing for the apocalypse, but those folk that prepare for the worst-case scenario, exploring alternatives, or problem-solving the task or situation at hand in order to understand everything that can go wrong, so they can handle it better, when or if, it does go pear-shaped.
In preparing for the worst-case scenario, they feel they begin to process their own grief reaction to crises or adverse circumstances in their life.
Thinking negatively, expecting “the worst,” seeing the downside of positive situations, and even downright expecting failure, all convey a kind of backwards-thinking, emotional insurance policy.
Marc and Angel
When things work out well, people use this mental strategy to feel good about the uncontrollable nature of life.
They are innately rewarded unconsciously for this way of thinking.
This leads them to use this technique to deal with life again and again. Then it becomes entrenched as a habitual response. A habit like this can be extremely hard to shift.
I used to think more often in the negative, thinking I was preparing for unfavourable outcomes. I would worry about things, trying to process them, and by so doing felt I would be better prepared for the worst of the worst outcomes, if that eventuated. In the meantime, was I setting myself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Sometimes, as foolish as it sounds, we’d rather be right about our negative predictions than have a positive outcome prove us wrong. And since negative thinking leads to negative actions, or no action at all in many cases, by thinking negatively we create a self-fulfilling prediction for ourselves that confirms that we were right about the circumstance all along.
In other words, we think negatively, predict a negative outcome, act negatively, and then receive a negative outcome that fulfils our prediction. Of course, none of this is what we truly want or need in our lives.
Marc and Angel
It seems that our desire to want to be right, or feel in control of the changeable nature and vagaries of life is one reason why we subconsciously choose this negative strategy, through no fault of our own.
In fact, whatever it is we are seeking will rarely ever come in the form we’re expecting, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful.
Choose to ignore negative thoughts because they do not support you but do not feel guilty if this is not easy or achievable.
Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect. Too many people miss a silver lining because they’re expecting pure gold. Life can be good even if it isn’t perfect.
Positive thinking isn’t about expecting the best to always happen, but accepting that whatever happens, is the best, for the moment.
Someday, the negative voice inside you will have nothing left to say.
This week in Australia, there has been many hurtful words slung in the fight for supplies in supermarkets – primarily panic buying on toilet paper. The premise is flawed as we have enough supplies and manufacture it here. But still, folks panic buy a trolley load! Brawls have erupted in the toilet paper isles of the major supermarkets! Hurtful words have been said.
What do we gain by feeling irritated? Is there any kind of benefit in this?
We get to feel like a martyr – meaning I AM still okay so you are NOT
We get to blame others for our feelings
We get to feel unhappy and it’s someone else’s fault
Ultimately, all of us need to take responsibility for our own feelings and aim to be more accepting of other people, their temperaments and priorities.
But what about the other side of irritation? The fall out from those spiteful words said in a moment of anger that are often regretted? It is not always easy to repair the damaged relationship, nor unsay what has already been said.
Hurtful words are often said when we do not have, or cannot find, the words to clearly express our needs, clearly or succinctly. It seems like frustration and pain often lie behind the words that are spoken.
“Let your hopes, not your hurts shape your future” – Robert Schuller
The Hidden Meaning Behind Hurtful Words
“In making hurtful comments, we are usually trying to communicate strong, unresolved feelings. However, this seems to work against us as it causes pain in ourselves and others.”
And if we don’t transform pain, we might transmit it.
Thinking about what it is that we really want to communicate when we say hurtful words to, someone we know, is useful.
Angry statement: “You never spend time with me anymore – you don’t care about anyone but yourself!”
The real meaning: “I miss you and sometimes I feel unloved & lonely when we don’t spend time together”
Said with frustration: “Calm down”
The real meaning: “I’m at a loss, I feel inadequate because I have no idea how to help you”
Said with hurt: “I’m done – I want out”
The real meaning: “I don’t want to be hurt anymore and I’m at a loss as to how to make things better between us”
Said in exasperation: “Get over it and just deal with it”
The real meaning: I can’t help anymore, as I am out of useful suggestions.
Expressing our true feelings can makes us feel vulnerable, and if the other person fails to respond to our admissions, with empathy, or begins to accuse or blame, the hurt will be felt even more acutely.
“Spiteful words can hurt your feelings, but silence breaks your heart.” Source – unknown
Do you ever get the silent treatment in times of conflict? Phone calls that are blocked or remain unanswered?
Could this communication breakdown be a method of coping with the situation or possibly freezing you out so that reconciliation is impossible and the other party will be seen to be right? Are they finding it impossible to find any words to convey their true emotions?
Hurtful words damage the trust we feel in any relationship.
Quotes and proverbs provide us with some wisdoms:
“There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience.”
A bad habit that I am going to break – reduce or stop overreacting to personal bad news with knee-jerk judgements.
Evaluation: Better at this. Ageing has that benefit. Handing the matter over to the Universe to sort out when it is too hard has also been benefical.
A new skill I would like to learn – I love languages and learning to speak a little Polish and Old German will help me in reading historical records, as well as be welcome stimulation of the linguistic neurons in my grey matter!
Evaluation: I discovered Polish is a very difficult language to learn, so I concentrated on bettering my Norwegian.
Partly Achieved! I think. Tusen takk
A good deed that I am going to do – assisting the Smith family and helping to re-distribute food via Qantas volunteer program. I like to support community projects and endeavours.
Evaluation: Part A done, Part B – in progress but with another community group more relevant to my new local area.
Partly Achieved. Still more work to do.
A book that I would like to read – I would love to reduce some of the books currently on my TBR shelf – one that comes to mind is Anna Funder’s, ‘All that I Am.’
Evaluation: I think I read close to 20 books last year, and reduced my TBR shelf quite a bit. However, I did purchase a few more and only a few chapters of Anna Funder’s book was read. I read all the second hand books first. There are still a few there.
new food that I want to try – I’d be willing to try anything fermented or pickled – the probiotics contained within are so good for you.
A place that I would like to visit – I would like to say something remote like the Faroe Islands, but as I am busy at home this year, there will be no long holidays, unless I count a potential, but not scheduled visit, to the Mornington peninsula, in Victoria or getting involved in research at the Genealogical Society headquarters.
Evaluation: – several short stints away despite the intense building project a the Home by the Sea and private research on the family history front.
Achieved albeit in a different way.
I am going to be better at being – non-judgmental and maintaining calm ….. ohm……
Achieved, but I still have work to do. What can I say – it is a work in progress.
They haven’t all come from dreams and are not in any particular order. Most are quite practical – a sign of ageing, perhaps?
Establish myself in the new location, spreading kindness and community
Become involved in supporting local Koala organizations
Grow more vegetables
Progress on a book or even complete a book on conversations with Mabel Kwong
Create A traditional colouring Book
Creating a Recipe book with my family recipes for my children
Expand my online fabric shop
Read more books from my TBR
Create items by diminishing my fabric stash
Look after my physical and spiritual self
Improve my second language skills
Be calm and satisfied – unfettered by the old nonsense
A Quiet Lifestyle
Years ago, I felt that a quiet lifestyle was a little intimidating – I like to be close to things to do and facilities. Even though I love the environment, put me on a rural property with no neighbours for miles and I would quickly go nuts!
Even though I am a quieter person, I do like the presence and interaction of others around me. My own company and no one else’s, for too long, is not healthy for me!
I found it interesting that Vero discussed a life of simplicity, especially, in terms of employment for the simplest of jobs can bring the greatest joy.
A repetitive job can be challenging and also bring immense satisfaction, depending on one’s attitude. What you can contribute; what you can give back? Is this job serving and supporting you? When you walk out the door, can you be satisfied everything was done well, complete and ticked off.
Not every job can offer this.
A job that requires mental gymnastics and high levels of energy may be just what ambitious folk crave, striving their whole lives to reach, yet it might be this supposed pinnacle of success that triggers them to crash and burn under pressure.
Did this job satsify their hope and dreams, their ego, or social credibility?
Did they enjoy the process of each day?
Or spend hours lying awake at night?
Each of us has to find the right mix and the right match for themselves.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.
If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”
― Oprah Winfrey
Are you constantly seeking contentment?
Marc and Angel stated that there are two variations of contentment in life – fleeting and enduring.
“The fleeting type is derived from instants of material comfort, while the enduring type is attained through the gradual growth of your mind. At a glimpse it might be difficult to decipher one from the other, but as time rolls on it becomes vividly obvious that the latter is far superior.
Enduring contentment sustains itself through life’s ups and downs, because through them your mind remains confident and at peace. On the other hand, when life’s fleeting changes have the ability to ruffle your mind into a frenzy, even the most elaborate physical comforts won’t make you any happier for very long. “
“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.”
― Immanuel Kant
Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog, which morphed into Sunday Sayings. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age. They offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way relay runners might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.
Knowing your own darkness, is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people
– Carl Jung
Are You Having a Bad Day?
Recently a family member had a bad day. A really bad day.
Everyone has them.
Some are worse than others.
No matter how bad it becomes, a bad day is just a bad day, it is not a sentence.
It’s painful for the person going through the mental pain and suffering of a bad day and can be equally as difficult for those supporting them. Unlike a physical injury or ailment, there may be no visible cause that is obvious to others. Some folks are driven to extreme actions to stem their mental anguish.
Bad times or adversity affect us and our mood. People do bad, hurtful things to others.
We have no control over what other people do.
We CAN, however, decide not to let it affect who we are and where you’re headed, as this Native American proverb infers:
You cannot prevent the birds of sadness passing over your head, but you can prevent them from making a nest of your hair.
Native American Proverb
What We Can Do
Keep in mind that every bad day passes. What’s done is done and is in the past.
Acknowlege the setback and make adjustments to it.
Do not dwell and re-play the events over and over in your head, for this makes them a bigger part of your life.
Do not make it anything more than a bad day.
Events may be terrible and inescapable at times, but you always have choice – if not when, then how, to proceed onward.
There is always a way to take the next step forward on the path you’ve chosen. Be that minor or major. There are always options, always something you CAN choose to do.
This is where to direct your focus.
Every day brings the prospect of new hope and new possibilities.
I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader. Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.
Quotes, like proverbs, make us think more deeply about something.