Monthly Archives: July 2015

Your Weekly Noodle: July 29, 2015

Noodle* on this…

Cat walking in front of a pack of German Shepard doges show courage

Do you feel like this cat at times? Daily life requires courage.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. ~ Nelson Mandela

The Latin origin of the word courage is cur, which evolved to become the French word coeur. In English, coeur means heart. Courage is about heart and it is at the core of our well-being.

We show courage every day – we call it daily living. It takes courage to get up and go to work; to stand by your beliefs and values; and to find meaning in your work, even when it is boring. Ernest Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure. It takes courage to connect with others, to treat difficult people with respect and, perhaps most importantly, it takes courage to work on your well-being – to let go of the familiar ways of doing things, to be mindful of your feeling as well as the feelings and beliefs of those around you.

Courage is not just for soldiers or explorers or for running from a pack of hungry dogs. It is for you every day. Specifically, courage is not the absence of fear or uncertainty. It is a choice you get to make based on your beliefs, knowledge, experience and wisdom.

Do I seem like a TV re-run, constantly writing about choice? I probably do, but that is because I believe that each of us is the sum of our life experiences and the choices we make. It takes courage to make wise choices or take responsibility and not just going with the flow or trying to shift blame.

Recently, I thought I knew what I was doing on a project. Turns out that I did not and I screwed up – big time. I confessed my mistake to the manager, who said: “You get to do service recovery. Go fix it!”  I explained to the client what happened and what I did wrong. I apologized and offered a solution to fix the problem. The client was disappointed obviously; but, there was no anger or venting frustration. We discussed calmly other options and came up with a mutually acceptable action plan. This was a new work situation for me and I could have made excuses, but I chose not to do that.

I have been doing some self-analysis since then, but I am glad I had the courage to act as I did. I learned a lesson or two, including some things I didn’t know; and I have nothing to hide or fear because I “confessed my sins” and fixed the mess I made. It was a case of everyday courage and reminded me of how powerful such courage can be.

Hand holding tree seedling representin y=person potential

Do you have to courage to fulfill your potential?

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. ~ Maya Angelou.

What courageous thing did you do today? How did it make you feel?  Share your courageous experience with us in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm

Cat and dogs image courtesy of Reology.

Potential image courtesy of Blog with Rob.

Your Weekly Noodle: July 8, 2015

Noodle* on this…

gray tee shirt with got choice?

Yes, you have a choice! No matter how difficult the situation may be, you always get to choose how you will respond.

Everything can be taken from a man 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. ~ Viktor Frankl

No matter where you live, what kind of work you do, your educational level or your financial situation, there is one thing that can never be taken away from you. It is your ability to choose your attitude about the situation you are experiencing. You get to choose how you will respond.

A Lesson on Choice
Viktor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist and Holocaust survivor. He was imprisoned in Auschwitz and Dachau for nearly four years. He never knew, from moment to moment, if he would live to see another day. One day, alone and naked in a small room he became aware of what he later called “the last of human freedoms.” This was the one thing the Nazis could not take away – his power to choose how he would respond. His captors controlled his every movement every day; even so, they could not control his self-awareness. He decided how all the pain and deprivation would affect him. Rather than reacting, rebelling or giving up, Frankl responded to the horrors of life in the camps by relying on what he called his “inner hold” – his beliefs, one of which was being able to cope with the challenges of the moment while looking to the future.

Photo of Viktor E. Frankl, Author, Psychologist, Neurologist, Holocaust Survivor, who wrote about the power of choice in well-being

Viktor E. Frankl

In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning (1959), he wrote: “Almost in tears from pain (I had terrible sores on my feet from wearing torn shoes); I limped a few kilometers with our long column of men from the camp to our work site. Very cold, bitter winds struck us. I kept thinking of the endless little problems of our miserable life… I became disgusted with the state of affairs which compelled me, daily and hourly, to think of only such trivial things. I forced my thoughts to turn to another subject. Suddenly, I saw myself standing on the platform of a well-lit, warm and pleasant lecture room. In front of me sat an attentive audience on comfortable upholstered seats. I was giving a lecture on the psychology of the concentration camp! All that oppressed me at that moment became objective, seen and described from the remote viewpoint of science. By this method, I succeeded somehow in rising above the situation, above the sufferings of the moment.”

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
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.  ~ Viktor Frankl

No matter what challenges we face in life, we always have the ability to choose how we will respond in any situation. We can choose to respond in a way that supports our well-being, growth and freedom. Or, we can react, allowing ourselves to be influenced by our surroundings, people, and feelings.

Think about a difficult situation you are facing. What choice will you make to improve your well-being in that situation? Share your experience or thoughts with us in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of The FWCH Store.

Your Weekly Noodle: July 1, 2015

Noodle* on this…Keep Calm and Carron on Poster
Never be in a hurry, do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your who world seems upset.
~ Saint Francis de Sales

In 1939, the British government published this poster as the world rushed toward war. Its purpose was to build morale and more than two million posters were printed. But it was rarely displayed during World War II. In 2000, a British bookseller, Stanley Manley of  Alnwick, Northumberland England, found a copy of the poster stuffed in an old book. He framed it; displayed it in his bookstore and the customers loved it. So, Manley and his wife made copies, sold them and the rest, as they say, is history.

Now we see a variety of Keep Calm posters: Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate, Keep Calm Because You are Awesome. I saw one in a hospital: Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands. Regardless of the total message, the important part in all of them is to Keep Calm.

People who work on  developing and maintaining their calm tend to sleep better; are more social, productive and creative. They are more able and willing to disconnect from their electronic devices, express their gratitude; show compassion; and are more open to new experiences.

Being calm does not mean that you never lose your temper and get anxious. According to Michelle Carlstrom, Director of the Office of Work, Life and Engagement at Johns Hopkins University, calm people are able to identify and manage their stress in positive ways. They identify what is causing their stress and have developed options to help them deal with it, such as pausing and counting to 10.

Helen is the manager of a diagnostic laboratory in a large metropolitan hospital where they are busy 24/7. She and her team started using the phrase pause for the cause in stressful situations. According to the Urban Dictionary, pause for the cause means to take a break to smoke marijuana. But, that is definitely not what Helen and her team had in mind. For them, pause for the cause is code for take a moment to think things through and ask yourself some questions:

  • How important is this?
  • Do I need to deal with it right now?
  • Is it really a problem or just my perception?
  • What am I feeling at this moment?
  • Did I do something to provoke this situation?
  • What is my responsibility in this situation?
  • What steps can I take?

Your Weekly Noodle Challenge…
Logical pauses serve our brains, psychological pauses serve our feelings. ~ Konstantin Stanislavski

This week when you feel stressed, pause for the cause to restore your sense of calm. How does it feel to go from stressed to calm? Share your experience with us in the Comments section below.

* To noodle: A verb meaning to mull over, think about, contemplate, ponder, puzzle over or brainstorm.

Image courtesy of Keep Calm and Carry On, Ltd.