Is a B+ Good Enough?

b

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with? This was the WordPress writing prompt one day this week. I have been thinking about the question in the light of my Remarkable People philosophy; remarkable people use their strengths to strengthen themselves and others. Who do I spend time with? Is the 100 hours a week with my beloved a significant impact in how I think, how I feel and how I behave? No doubt that her kindness rubs off on me and her commitment to family makes me a better father, a better grandfather and maybe a better brother.
Does seeing my youngest grandson for a day a week make me appreciate small things and big things and all things like books, toys, smiles,? He helps me notice trucks and machinery and squirrels and birdhouses. I am more attentive to my surroundings after a few hours in his presence.

Am I better when I am on vacation with friends who show consideration and courtesy to everyone they encounter? Does their willingness to be of service in tragedies, be of good cheer in adversities and be generous in the face of inequities make be more willing?

What does it mean to be average? Are you smarter than 2 people but less smart than 2? Do you have less compassion than some but more than others? Money? Health? Relationships? Can the average be raised? Lowered?

If you use your strengths to strengthen others and others do the same, can the bar be raised? I believe it can. If true, then it does matter which five people you spend time with? It matters more how they share their gifts, skills and strengths with those around them. It matters how we choose to influence and be influenced. I know that when I spend time with angry, cynical people, I am insensitive and self-righteous. If I listen to rhetoric and join in vitriol, we all become intolerant and joyless.

I was reading a review of “A Paradise Built in Hell” by Rebecca Solnit that reinforced my belief that we are all remarkable when we build on the gifts we bring to the table and community. The reviewer asks “If we think about our own personal experiences, no doubt we have each gone through something “disastrous” in a communal setting. In those situations, there is always something that compels us to rise to the occasion and to do things we wouldn’t otherwise do. We begin to feel our common humanity a little bit more.” Have you risen to the occasion in 2017? Have I risen to a challenge? Will I rise tomorrow and then again and again?
Have we used our strengths to strengthen ourself and others? How have you been remarkable? Fourty-five days into this year, I realize that I haven’t been remarkable on very many of them. That is sad enough for me but if my actions, my words, and my attitudes are having a significant imapct on the folks I hang out with, then shame on me.

Miss Vivienne, an 8 year old girl is rising to the occasion in San Francisco with Making A Stand to eliminate slavery. She is selling lemonade on her street and encouraging others to join her around the world to raise awareness and resources to stomp out bondage and abuse.
Closer to home Emma is using her heart and art to strengthen homeless families in Calgary. She creates one of a kond mini masterpieces and auctions them on a Facebook page.
WestJet staff and volunteers lift the spirits of weary travelers by reducing their anxiety. THey respond with kindness to meaningful and meaningless questions and requests without missing a beat.
A friend is preparing meals and providing support to her extended family, from outside the city, as they go through medical treatments.

The possibilities to be remarkable are abundant and maybe ever present when we open our eyes and ears to the world that surrounds us.

Think about 5 people (or 10, 20, 30) that you would like to surround yourself with and rise to the occasion together by celebrating, supporting and sharing each other’s lives. Are those the folks you spend time with? Are you the kind of person that they should be investing their relationship energy to be with? Are you raising the bar this week or are you pulling the average down? We all have bad days, bad weeks, and trying times but if we know that as they fester, they infect others would we have fewer of them?

My challenge and now yours is to be someone who chooses to set the average very high and then set about to be someone who raises the curve.

B

 

remarkable-peopleCan you design the life you desire? For most the answer should be yes. For those reading this, the answer is definitely yes? But where can we begin? We can’t identify barriers or set targets if we don’t know where we are or where we want to be. We need a destination and best it is one that won’t disappoint when we arrive.

I use a 1000 day horizon quite often because it seems close enough that I can imagine what my world will be like then (as opposed to 25 years). It is far enough away that almost anything is possible. I can’t be a medical doctor but I can be in my 2nd year working towards it. I couldn’t be a doctor – I don’t handle other’s pain and frailty particularly well and I know that I would be impatient with patients.

So 1000 days from now what do you want to be doing? Travelling? Writing? Running? Serving? Sharing? How do you know that any or all of these would bring you joy? How do I discover what is bringing me joy and conversely what is dragging me down? In the whirlwind of our days the rainbows of elation and the clouds of dissatisfaction blend and we miss seeing where they begin and end. What if we took 168 hours; one week and recorded throughout the day those activities and actions that we are involved with and record whether we are energized and joyful or exhausted and dejected or somewhere in between?

We could begin to see the kinds of stuff we should be doing more of and the stuff we should be doing less of. Then we can begin crafting the first 100 day segment. What do I need to do today to have more of what I want and less of what I don’t? What are the first 5 steps – which is first? Begin doing step one and move to step two. As you complete the fifth, re-evaluate : where am I, where do I want to be, what are the 5 steps? This won’t necessarily be 100 day segments. Sometimes the five steps can be accomplished in an afternoon, sometimes it will take a year. But if you keep a record and reimagine every 100 days it will serve as a motivation and you will become proficient at building a plan and completing it.

I usually say ” easy to say harder to do” but in this case I believe it is easy to say and do. Check in every morning, focus on the goal in front of you, move to the next and the next. Progress begets progress. You will soon find yourself closer to understanding what, why and how you want your life to be in late 2019 and you will be 20,30, 100 steps closer to it being true.

Make Today Remarkable, by noticing when you are and aren’t

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