Good Morning, Heartland ….

Kaldi's Morning 1

Sometimes you just have to slow down and work at half-speed … even though it’s only Tuesday …

I will sit here with my bottomless coffee cup and a decent view of suburban America, and work at my own speed today, while I watch the rest of the world rush by.  I will not worry about deadlines or things I need to accomplish or complete.  I will do some things that matter mostly or only to me.  

I will take time to go through files and delete things no longer of value …because we all need to clean up and clean out every now and then.

I will pause to consider how things are going and make sure that the direction holds enough value to justify the energy being exerted … because energy should be worthy of aspiration.

I will catch up with people who I want and need in my life … because these connections are important.

I will engage in the things I really just like to do, like writing and creating webpages … because they make me happy.  

I will let go of the larger concerns that hang like thunderclouds over my life … because they are not going away anyway.

Remembering that, if you just let go every now and then, life can be good in the Heartland ….


“Creating Good From a Bad Situation” .. via Espirational

Bob and Rogene point the way to a better place

… and we would do well to listen and reflect on their words.

Poignant and nicely stated essay on what really matters … not about achieving business success or becoming a great leader, but this little story tells us much of value about living well:)

On Espirational:  Creating Good From a Bad Situation.

Whoa …

“Perhaps the most “spiritual” thing any of us can do is simply to look through our own eyes, see with eyes of wholeness, and act with integrity and kindness.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

Sometimes words cannot describe all the colors, shapes, and intensity of one sunset …

Luckily, everyone in the civilized world,including me,  has a camera ready at any given moment to capture what we experience … or at least a version of it.

… and yet, how many other people had this same beautiful and inspiring image available to them, but did not see it?

As the wise master above suggests, sometimes the best thing we do is to notice … Which requires that we pay attention, look around, stop being busy, and become aware over a period of time of where we are and what is happening around us.  

… Not as easy as one might think.

If the thought of doing this instead of working makes you feel uncomfortable, you have just discovered a very good reason to do exactly that.

So what are you going to notice today?

Trying to slow down and pay more attention in the Heartland ….


Happy Minds Make Happy Workers … Maybe

“A mind always employed is always happy. This is the true secret, the grand recipe, for felicity.”

Thomas Jefferson   The Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson (2003) pg. 67.    From  The quote continues, “The idle are the only miserable,” and was written to his daughter, Martha Jefferson.

Historical semantics aside, this seems straight-forward, doesn’t it?

Jefferson is not the only one to point out the benefits of mental engagement, but this is a particularly clear statement.  “A mind always employed is always happy.”

… Except maybe when that mind engages in obsessive or paranoid thinking about some real or imagined issue or threat.

… Except when that mind is feverishly trying to identify an escape from what seems a hopeless situation.

… Except when the engaged mind is grappling with the realities of life, which include some pretty negative events.

Have I missed some other major form of mental involvement which does not result in happiness for the person engaged?   If so, please add by reply:)

The obvious point of this quotation is that we are in a more positive state when our minds engage in some activity than when they are not.   This makes sense much of the time and reflects a generally true condition, in my opinion.

I am not talking about the correlation between being happy and being productive.  We’ll tackle that one another day.

We are happier when we are engaged, at least when that engagement meets one or more of our needs.

… or you can consider the use of “absolute” language, such as “always” and “never”.

Makes for strong statements and stirs the emotions, yes indeedy.

How effective have you found the use of absolute terms in your communication?

Nitpicker Note:  Yes, I am playing Devil’s advocate this steamy morning in the Heartland ….


“Slow Down, You Move Too Fast …”

I suppose it’s a sign of the times …

Many people have been and are writing around the concept of mindfulness these days.  With economic, social, and political turmoil, an increasingly rapid pace of technology change, and deep uncertainty about the future, we human beings naturally find ourselves looking inward for help.

Mindfulness is being touted of late as an overlooked and essential part of our daily mental routine.  My thinking about it has to do with leadership and management.  Generally, mindfulness has one essential characteristic:

Attention to the now ~ not looking ahead or behind, but focusing on now

To do this in our busy, busy world, we need to carry out two sub-tasks:

Consider without judgment or filters ~ most problematic for our judgment-oriented selves

We learn to make judgments and evaluate situations.  As a young military leader, I was hammered with the concept of “decisiveness”, closely linked to “action”.  In other words, decide quickly and then act.

Useful in some situations, really harmful in others.

Consider without distractions ~ being fully present in the moment without allowing anything else to intrude

Have you ever had the full attention of someone?  I mean, their complete attention ~ total concentration on you without anything else getting in the way.

The interaction has a definite beginning and end.  It’s an event.  The power of this in terms of authentic leadership and motivation cannot be understated.

Mindfulness is powerful stuff and too often only experienced with a professional therapist  or counselor.  This is how you should be with those whom you lead and manage and how you should experience those who lead and manage you.

About the leading quote:  Michael Carroll writes about being “Awake at Work” and is one of the more helpful sources for mindfulness in the work environment.   I suggest you get to know him and his work … soon:)

Being mindful of myself in the Heartland …