Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CAN'T; another swear word

Instead of dividing the world into the possible and impossible, divide it into what you’ve tried and what you haven’t tried. There are a million pathways to success.

Thirty years, or so, ago I was looking for ways to encourage my kids to believe in themselves, develop independent thinking and come to the belief that they could do anything they wanted to do.
I recognized that success is a habit and likewise so is failure.  A common refrain from our children when asked to do something new or learn something new such as learn to play the piano or learn a foreign language was, "I can't!"  This word in response to attempts to do something new and seen as insurmountable was/is a cultural habit all too common.  In fact the use of can't was/is so inculcated in our society that it could easily be seen as habitual.

I believe in the kernel of truth in the quote attributed to philosopher Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit."

How to teach this to my kids?  My dad was a great lecturer.  As the recipient of many of those lectures I knew first hand how ineffective a technique that is to motivate change.  And my approach to teaching my kids was to do it differently than what I found unsuccessful  in what my parents did with me.  On the other hand, my parents taught me that you'll respect the value of money better if you earn it yourself.   I carried on that tradition with my children and they all had various jobs through the various stages in their growing up from snow shoveling, lawn care, paper routes, and dishwashers at local restaurants. One painted houses and another was a lifeguard at the local State park.  The oldest proceeded from dishwasher to hostess.  Each of them learned an early and lifelong respect for the dollar earned.  So  in keeping with that tenet, I thought perhaps a system of fines might work as a behavioral modifier.

Most folks have heard about a swear jar as a way to discourage members of their family or work group from lacing their conversations with racy and or profane words.  We decide to expand on that concept to include certain common words of negativity.  This list was composed of many if not all the not contractions: can't, won't, couldn't, wouldn't, hasn't, aren't, isn't, and did I say can't.

The purpose of this experiment was to develop a thought process of putting thoughts in a positive light; even the negatives, because we didn't want to create pollyannnas but rather critical thinkers who could find different, ways of presenting their thoughts.  Force them, in other words to consider alternative routes to a solution.

The fine for using the "not" contractions was a dime.  But it didn't stop there. There was a way to ward off a fine.  When someone noticed your negative and pointed it out, you could immediately find a more positive way to state your point.  However changing "I can't do it" to I can do it was not satisfactory.  Example: I can't get up at seven AM could be stated like this; Because I stay up late at night I'm too tired to get up at seven.  No fine.  It forces one to examine the whys and wherefores of their comments.

Caveat:  I'm currently in a FB exchange with my sixteen year old grand daughter over this "can't" issue.  She says, "I can't get someone else to change their mind.  I'm not being pessimistic, I'm being realistic."  My response:  If it's important to you to change a persons opinion you can and will.  It comes down to what is important to you.

Adopting the habit of saying I can will give you access to success;  Just saying :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's all about context.

ax, boot out, boot, bounce*, bump*, can*, cashier,   deselect, discharge, disemploy, displace,  drop, fire, furlough, give notice to, give the ax, give the gate, give the heave-ho, give walking papers, give warning,  kick out, lay off, let go, let out, oust, pension, pink-slip,   sack, send packing, shelve,  suspend, terminate.

On 2 July, upon returning from vacation, I was summoned to the  human resource's office and informed that the decision had been made to downsize the anesthesia department.  Since I was the last hired I would be the first to be let go.  My end date was to be 5 Aug. 2012.
Since those anesthetists still retained would require coverage when they were to take time off, I was offered choices: I could take a part-time position with a guarantee of 18 weeks per year work, a position as a per-diem, or apply for unemployment.

I chose the part-time offer and so even though my last day of permanent employment was 5 August I have continued daily employ, covering other anesthetists time off,  'til yesterday.  Today I'm starting my first day of employment and it feels strange.  Of course technically I'm still employed, I'm not working.  And with the exception of covering an anesthetist for his Dr. appointment Monday, I don't return to the OR 'til the 17th of Sept.  That's a good thing because I need to train for a canoe race the weekend after Labor day.  Plans to attend an anesthesia conference in Nov. will get me to Dec. when I'm scheduled to cover Christmas week.

My plan at this juncture is to continue this situation 'til the new year at which time I'll return to traveling locum work. (Although many have voiced hope that I'll be rehired, I'm not counting on that.)

Maybe with all this unplanned time off, I'll get back to writing more on this here blog.  Of course I've made that resolution repeatedly since the inception of this blog.  Plans are good, but never set in cement: expectations is the root of all disappointment.    Take it as it comes, or as Kurt Vonnegut would say: "and so it goes."


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Magpie 130 Talisman

Francesca Woodman
fragile spirits
through their

Friday, August 10, 2012

Embarrassing moments:

My wife told me this story as related to her be a friend of ours. The subject of this story doesn't want anyone to know about it so just remember that you didn't read it here. ;)

A mutual friend decided to drive in to the village to get something at the local hardware store.  While she was there her husband, a local contractor, stopped in.  He suggested that they drive to Alex bay for supper.  She agreed and the two of them left in his truck.

Later that evening they returned home and retired.  Upon arising in the morning the women in question looked out a window of her home and didn't see her car.  she looked high and low and unable to locate the car, asked her husband if he knew where her car was.  He also was befuddled.  Thinking that her car had been stolen she notified the police.

Yes the police found her car;  it was still parked in the parking lot of the hardware store where she'd left it.

How do you spell embarrassed?