I worked for my dad’s steel erection company for years, from the time I was a teenager on into my 30’s. Being the boss’s son had its privileges, but sometimes it sure didn’t feel like it.
It was not unusual for some of the guys to hurry on a job, leaving lots of little things undone, so they could head on to the next job. Unfortunately for me, my dad sent me in after them to wrap up loose ends.
This was often very challenging. I may have to burn some welds loose, cut new holes in the roof, or move a roof vent. Sometimes I had to set up a 36′ foot ladder and climb all the way to the top.
Or I may have to throw a huge oxygen tank over my shoulder and hike up several flights of stairs. Only to return and get the acetylene tank. And then return and get the hoses. You get the idea. Sometimes I spent more time getting ready to work than actually doing what needed to be done.
But don’t miss the bigger picture. At one time someone was on the roof with all the equipment at hand. But they chose to move on before they were completely done. It took at least three times as much effort to come behind them and finish the job.
It seemed to be never ending at times. But that’s the job my dad gave me for a period of time.
One day I had just about had it. I needed a break. So at the end of the day I went by my dad’s office. I walked in and complained, “Why am I stuck with all the junk work?’
And he replied, “That’s how you get good.”
Enough said. Now I understood. After all, who doesn’t want to get better, or in my dad’s words, “get good?”
That day my complaints ended. Yes the junk work continued, but now I enjoyed it.
Sometimes you have to look beyond the mundane tasks of life to the real reasons you do what you do. And that makes it all worthwhile. The power of WHY.
It just seems to me we should put that kind of effort into our current marriage.
So here is a short list of 20 things.
Obviously as you read the following list you will think of many more. For instance, Carol likes to sum up the list with just two words: Be Nice.
Those two words are often found in short supply in many marriages. One of my professors used to always reference the old country song line, “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.” How true that is. Marriage can look so good on the outside, but in reality the relationship is about to crash and burn.
The following list is in no particular order, however, #1 may be the most important. At any rate, it is huge and I practice it on a regular basis.
1. Talk favorably of your spouse all the time.
2. Once you say I do, you must do.
3. Your spouse comes before your children.
4. If you are keeping a secret, you are not being truthful.
5. Love the one you are with (Success in marriage goes down with each successive marriage. In your first marriage you have a 50% chance of success, your second marriage 33%, your third 25%).
6. Don’t wait until it’s too late to ask for help.
7. You must get away with your spouse.
8. You can destroy trust in your marriage with just one stupid decision.
9. Always work to be who you want to be married to (patient, kind, etc.)
10. Trust can be rebuilt, but it will take lots of intentionality, changes, and time.
11. Do not underestimate the importance of sex.
12. The grass is greener where it is watered more.
13. Your sex life reveals a lot about your marriage.
14. Marriage counseling is cheaper than divorce.
15. Read books on marriage together.
16. Do life together.
17. Losing at love doesn’t have to be.
18. It’s easier to walk out than it is to work on your marriage.
19. Courting will keep your marriage out of court.
20. Summary: Be Nice.
When life gets hard, our attitude and outlook on life typically take a nose dive. As you look around and see all the pain and suffering, you sometimes lose hope. You don’t have to look far to see the pain in others either.
I’m sure we would all like to be a little more positive. But at times we wonder if it’s possible.
The apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians while he was in jail. And the theme of that letter is joy. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think joy would cross my mind.
Joy in a prison cell is not what you would expect. While I do not want to dig into that particular book today, I would like to share a few practical things that have helped me over the years.
These are simple, but it will take discipline to practice them every day until they become a habit.
The 5 Habits
1. Start the day with gratitude. What better way to start the day than being thankful. I don’t care what’s going on, there has to be at least a half dozen positive things you can identify.
2. Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. Every day marketers try to make us unhappy and wanting more stuff. Then when you realize you cannot afford what they are selling, you start feeling down.
3. Be generous. Most people think only of monetary giving when it comes to generosity. And that’s important. But you also may have an opportunity, perhaps today, to be generous with your time or your talents.
4. Exercise. You will feel better and be happier.
5. Eat healthier. I am amazed at the shopping carts in the grocery store filled with soda, ice cream, desserts, and frozen processed food. We treat our cars better. Don’t underestimate the impact of a healthy diet on your energy, attitude, and overall sense of well-being.
So what habits are you starting your day with?
In my last two posts I talked about the NFL Playoffs regarding your passion and personal discipline.
Today let’s move to your workplace.
What do the following have in common?
Lack of motivation.
Answer: Poor attitude. We can spot it from a distance. We despise it in others, yet we tolerate it in ourselves.
Attitude, the third and final part of your personal PDA, is all important.
Yet all of us are susceptible to a bad attitude. Actually it can happen in an instant.
Life has a way of doing that to us. Our car breaks down or we get a cold right as we are beginning a vacation. Yes, things like this can happen at the worst possible time.
Our attitude affects us, those around us, our view of the future, our assessment of the present, and how determined we will be in facing new challenges.
Our attitude is one of our greatest assets. You know that already. If you could choose between two people with whom to work, little skill/great attitude, or highly skilled/bad attitude, my guess is you are going with the great attitude.
Skills can be taught. Attitudes not so much.
Your attitude is either helping you or hindering you.
The good news is you can choose your attitude.
Choose wisely and live at a higher level. You will be happier and so will those around you!