Little drops of water make a mighty ocean

Today the suwater dropn is shining, yet when I look more closely I can see fine rain.  As with much of life, when you look closely things are not quite as they initially appear….

A few months back someone contacted me concerning a reference I’d made in my newsletter to Edison and the light bulb.  It turns out when you look more closely at this, it too isn’t quite as it seems.  Several people contributed to the process.  An English physician called Sir Humphrey Davy successfully passed an electric current through platinum strips in 1801 but the light lasted only a few minutes. In 1809 Davy created the Arc lamp. In 1840 Warren de la Rue, a British scientist, placed a platinum coil in a vacuum tube and created light that lasted longer. In 1841 Frederick de Moleyns of England was given the first patent for an incandescent lamp, yet it is Joseph Wilson Swan who patented his light bulb in 1878 and Thomas Edison who are generally credited with the invention.  

The reason I mention this is that, like the many drops of water, it often takes a series of events for something really great to happen.  Even though those at the end of the process may get the credit, those earlier steps are often very important. 

So it is with each of us.  Although we may not all be inventors, every day we are involved in a range of activities with a host of different people and every day we have an impact in some way on someone or something.  We can never know exactly what will happen as a result, but each of our actions, thoughts and deeds will make some kind of difference in the world.  Even if we decide to lie in bed all day and do nothing, our absence will have an effect.

Quite a few people I meet at the moment are considering making changes in life such as stopping smoking, losing weight, getting fit, changing jobs.  In each case we might want to wake up and find that a magic wand has just made it happen, but the reality is that it is small steps along the way that will lead to great change.  A healthier lifestyle unfolds one day at a time, a new job is found through a series of actions. 

Sometimes it helps to think ‘just for today I will ……..‘ Then tomorrow you can do it again ‘just for today’.  If you have a bad day and things don’t go so well, that too was ‘just for today’ and tomorrow you can get right back on track. 

We have electric light today because a group of people tried and persevered despite some failures or partial successes.  You too can achieve your goals, you just need to do it one step at a time.

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As always, if you would like help in achieving your own goals, just give me a call, I’d be happy to help.

Is there something you want to excel at?

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit” Aristotle

Of course we all have a range of habits, good and bad.  Some that serve us really well and some that hinder us in some way.  All are formed by repetition.  We brush our teeth each morning, reminded as children by our parents and eventually it becomes a habit.  We don’t even think about it.  We drive the same route to work, hardly noticing the journey unless something new or unusual happens, again repetition has made it habit.

So what has that got to do with excellence?  My interpretation of this is that when striving for excellence we need to keep doing the best we can, over and over.  To give our best one day and give up the next will be unlikely to produce great results.  There is plenty of evidence of this – take musicians or athletes for example, even with great talent, there is always practice.  The orchestra is made up of musicians who each practice daily, over and over again.  The Olympics was full of athletes that practiced daily for years to be able to take part.

Some people believe we are just born with talents, perhaps this is true for some individuals.  However, with or without talent, excellence comes with practice and repetition.  The good news, for those of us not born with some kind of special gift, is that it is still possible to be excellent at something, just by repeated practice.   So what is it you would like to be excellent at?  What would you love to do?

It is said that it takes at least 21 days to make a new habit and that assumes you are doing whatever it is, every day during that period.  So have a go and stick with it.  Keep practicing.  Take the additional step of visualising yourself doing it really well and succeeding (the same way many athletes picture themselves winning).  If “We are what we repeatedly do” then who do you want to become?

Remember, this can be about anything and any aspect of life, even character traits.  For example, if you want to become confident, you could practice doing things with confidence, talking and moving like a confident person; if you want to be more generous you could practice generosity and look for opportunities to give in some way each day.  I’m sure you get the idea.

If you have something you want to achieve, be or do and are finding yourself stuck in any way, please give me a call on 07962 896422 and together we will make it happen.

 

 

Attitude and Results

A while ago I had an interesting experience…  that morning a friend had told me of an elderly neighbour who had been taken into hospital.  As my journey that day took me past the hospital, I decided on the spur of the moment to visit.  When I drove into the hospital grounds I was met by a queue for the car park.  An attendant was talking to each driver in turn before they drove in and I patiently joined the queue.  A car behind honked his horn at me and sped past. As I wound down my window the attendant commented on the horn honking driver and explained that the car park was full but if I waited in a particular area there would be likely spaces, as staff were due to change shifts.  He asked if I had change for the parking meter and exchanged some coins for me.  I thanked him, grateful that he was taking the trouble to help.  A short while later, whilst I was still waiting to park, he approached my car and offered to find me a space “can I get in?” he asked climbing into the passenger seat and directing me out of the main car park and across to another area right outside the front of the hospital.  He found me a space and told me I could park there as long as I needed to at no charge!  When I asked him about his day it turned out that the car park had been chaos all morning – new lines were being painted and people had been in bad tempers all day.  I don’t know what made him extend such kindness to me, I had merely smiled and thanked him for helping me.

This got me thinking and I realised that perhaps most people that day had been impatient, unhappy at queuing, irritated that there were insufficient spaces or by the painting, or just hadn’t taken a moment to say thankyou.  Maybe people were worried about loved ones in the hospital or distracted by their own lives.  Whatever the case, it seems that taking a moment to appreciate the carparking attendant and his efforts to help me were in turn appreciated by the attendant and he repaid me with further kindness.

The situation is not a unique, it often seems that the things we do send out a ripple that affects everything around us, as if the world is a mirror and reflects back what we send out.

The simplest examples are when we wake up feeling tired and grumpy, burn our toast, the car won’t start, there is a traffic jam on the way to work and every traffic light is red.  Your grumpy mood gets grumpier and the day goes from bad to worse.  On other days the world seems brighter, you feel good, things go well and everyone smiles at you.  In this way our whole day can seem to be affected by our mood.

Viktor Frankl, a man who survived the Nazi concentration camps but lost his wife, parents and brother there, famously wrote:

  •  “Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedoms to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
    and 
  • “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

We all have the power to choose our own attitude and our own response in any situation.  We can therefore choose to be upset, angry or irritated or we can choose to be happy, grateful or loving in the same circumstances.   If what we give out affects what we get back in return … and if we can choose our attitude, then we have huge scope to create a happier, more satisfying life, sending out those positive ripples and attracting more of that which we send out.

I realise that there are times when it can be very difficult to choose a positive attitude in response to a challenging event.  However, there are techniques that I use with my clients to make this significantly easier and transform their lives.  For more information or to find out if I could help you transform your life, please contact me.