Freestyle into Friday: Another Take on Attitude, Perspective, and Reality

There’s no two ways about it:  Friday is nearly always (at least) a little bit better.

Why is that?

it’s about the end of the (typical) work week.  It’s the anticipation of having a couple days off over the weekend.  It starts way back we’re in school, twelve (plus) years of being in classes all week and dreaming, waiting, wanting the weekend to arrive. Even if you worked weekends, it was still a break from school.

When we hit the work world, there’s all the more reason to anticipate the freedom and fun the weekend represents.

What is the effect?

We get giddy.  We have a lighter air about us, a better attitude.  We offer a smile more readily.  A high-five to a co-worker as we pass in the hall.  If it’s a “bonus Friday”, with Halloween in the mix as it is today, there’s the potential for more playfulness.

Consider this sampling of phrases that reflect the particular magic of Friday:

It’s “finally a Friday” from radio station DJs;

“Friday-lite Traffic” from the traffic reporters;

“Casual Friday” (now it’s every day in some companies);

“Hawaiian shirt” Friday is the approach one of my old college buddies takes to propagate good around his office.

How can we perpetuate the good vibes BEYOND Friday, to every day.  That’s really the opportunity.  What can we do in our every day to make it like Friday?

Any lessons there…?  There must be.

It comes down to perspective, and attitude.  Be positive, and things ARE more positive.  Expect good things to happen during the day, they’re more likely to.  We have a lot of say in what our reality is. As a workmate shared with me today from a blog post he read, “Health, life, and man’s fate depend on our thoughts.”  Yes INDEED.

Sure, things are just a wee bit better on Fridays.  But there’s no reason we can’t shift our mindset to make every day that way.

White Collar, Blue Collar, No Collar: Adding Value is the Key

Like most people, I’ve got friends from many different walks of life. Executives to professional volunteers, business owners to labor activists, high earners to hourly workers, and everything in between.

I’ve been somewhere in between all that for about twenty years now. In 1994 I had established a footing in full time, “career-path” type work as a entry level field sales guy. At the time I had friends who were on similar starting tracks in the corporate world, some who were starting their own businesses, some heading down other career paths. We had our working life before us, we were hopeful, excited, ready to go.

Fast-forward to present, and we’ve all show different battle scars from our work life. Most people I know have changed companies at least a few times (maybe four is the average), and some have changed career paths (more than once). I have peers who could quit working if they wanted to, and other friends who haven’t saved a dime for retirement. Lots of dough in the bank to no dough in the mattress.

Through all this, a couple of characteristics stand out for me as primary indicators of happiness in work life. They’re rather fluid (maybe even fleeting?), but if you can put them together, chances are you’ll be a happier, healthier person.

The first thing is, determine what your “passion triggers” are, what you really love to do and are (ideally) at least reasonably good at. After all, the better you are at something, the more fun it is. The more you love it, the more committed you’ll be to the practice.

After you’ve got these activities/skills identified, determine how you can engaged in and exercise these traits to ADD VALUE in whatever your job is. This is the second, important key. If you can’t find a way to sync these two things up — your passion and your job — then it’s time to look for a new job.

This approach might sound simplistic or even unrealistic. I maintain though that you might very well be able to find ways to nurture your passion right where you are. Creativity and imagination are required of course, but these factors are up to YOU.

Put these two things together — nurturing your passion and adding value to whatever work you do — and you’ll be happier in your day-to-day, and also healthier. After all, worry and angst in life at work no doubt spill negatively into the rest of our life (think lack of sleep, poor diet, less exercise, strained relationships).

If you’re doing what you love you’re attitude improves and that reflects positively on everyone around you. Add value and your employer will be able to see the difference. Additional compensation is more likely when you’re doing more to help those you work for make better products, deliver better service, improve profitability.

As one of my good friends said a long while back, “It’s less about the title you have than the work you do and the value you bring — that’s how you will be successful.” Hear Hear.

Good to Consider: The U.S. Government, Ebola, & Relief Work

As an American I’ve had conflicting attitudes about my own country throughout my life.

I was a student of comparative politics, history, and international commerce in college and graduate school. For all of my professional life I’ve worked for companies doing business literally around the world. Basically, I’ve been interested in the bigger world outside US borders since adolescence.

Those feelings only became more intense in 2001.

Patriotism, nationalism came to the fore for a while, but then eventually drifted back to center and more of a globalist’s perspective.  This was the only space I could get my head around why the events of 9/11 occurred and decide for myself what I personally believed was necessary actions by our government in response to the terror attacks and broader attitudes about our government and our people.

Clearly America was not, is not, seen in a very good light by many.  Right or wrong, valid or not, it’s a fact.

I consider our country’s war history and have mixed feelings about the various conflicts we’ve been involved with (and in some cases, started).  Perceptions, attitudes, and results of those many wars vary depending on who you talk to, what their politics are, where they are from, where they live now.

All this aside though, when considering American involvement in the world, one must take into account the full force of what initiative, ingenuity, altruism, and yes, wealth, can accomplish.

Think about the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Organizations and leaders for NGO’s and governments alike looked to the US government and even criticized it’s slow response.

In relatively short order however, the American government has responded.  As an example, US Navy SeaBees are now working in Monrovia to set up clinics to help both health workers coping with the disease on the ground, but ultimately to also help the local population directly in the long term.

Millions of American dollars from the US government (as well as many other nations and sources) are going to finance the triage efforts, stepped-up health care, preventative measures, patient care, etc.  US AID is providing resources, personnel, and expertise otherwise, and things are getting done.  The situation is improving.

Locals have a key role in all this as well, since they are both being trained to care for their own people and improve their processes therein, and also provide the labor to build the health care facilities that will stay long after the crisis has passed.

Many may view America as “the Great Satan” (to borrow a title from Iranian rhetoric).  On the other hand, millions upon millions upon millions of people, and a representative number of global leaders as well, look to the United States for leadership, assistance, and resources when a human crisis in the world occurs.

And the response is usually GOOD.

Welcome to the World, Baby Jude!

Sometimes the day starts off in a way you don’t expect, and it ends up being a timeless blessing.   Today was that sort of day.

I got a text message just after 7:00 AM this morning from my wife, letting me know a married couple we’re close with, who were expecting their first child any day, had gone to the hospital overnight when the woman’s labor began.  By the time I’d had my first cup of coffee, I learned that baby Jude had joined the human race, around 2:15 AM this morning.

The news disseminated a little slow obviously, vis a vis the actual progression of labor, but my joy sure wasn’t.

As I worked through morning emails and the task list for the day, I thought back to nearly four years ago when our first daughter was born.  The initial elation, wonder, uncertainty, and love that washed over me when I held that newly arrived baby in February of 2011 all came back to me.  Since then my wife and I have been blessed with two more children.  I experienced the same feelings when number two and three joined our family as well. And that’s really the central point in my view.

Children truly are a blessing, a gift from God, if you like.  Certainly all that they represent in our lives is from somewhere at least “beyond ourselves” (if you’re not a believer or otherwise a person of faith). The love and responsibility we are filled with when a child arrives into our lives is undeniable, and really like no other event we experience in life.

The sense of connection and immediate elevation of purpose are what parents need to focus on to be the best for their children.  Whether you have one or five it’s the same thing.  Pretty well everything that happens in a child’s life can be mediated and made better with a parent’s favorable involvement.

Regardless of the other areas in life where you might mentor, teach, guide, or manage other people, parenting is really the apex of opportunity to make a lasting, positive effect on another person’s life. So if you’re a parent, start each day with that motivation in mind and watch how perspective on everything else comes into focus.

Our children look to us for everything.  We have no higher purpose than to fill their lives with guidance, support, inspiration, love.  Welcome to the world, baby Jude, and feel the love wash over you!

The Idiom List

 This list amounts to idioms we come across from anywhere and everywhere.  Mostly they’ll be in English, but the idea is to collect phrases from all corners of the globe, and thus be open to all languages.

The fundamental goal is the maintain a record of those turns of phrase intended to communicate directly or otherwise what’s on one’s mind.  

Please post any that come to mind you don’t see below in the “Comments” section.  If we get any traction, we’ll explore selected idioms, consider different aspects of this particular, unique use of language, and look for insight and maybe a little humor along the way.  

So, let’s start at the beginning, shall we?  A good beginning would be a working definition.  Let’s see…

i-di-om:  n. 1. the dialect of a people, region, etc. 2. the usual way in which words of a language are joined together to express thought.  3. an accepted phrase or expression having a meaning different from the literal. (Source: Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, 1982.)

With that, we’re on our way! 

*** THE LIST ***

“The grass is greener where you water it.”

“Free cheese is only found in a mouse trap.”

“Ich glaub mich laust der affe.” [I feel like a monkey is grooming me.]

“That’s the pot calling the kettle black.”

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.”

“He’s more useless than balls on the pope.”

“I’m busier than a one-armed paperhanger.”

“He’s a little high on the hog.”

“Just call a spade a spade.”

“Hornier than a three-balled goat.”

“Three sheets to the wind.”