Great article on Mediocracy on Medium…

Mediocrity Trap

This article on Medium really stuck with me. I hope you also enjoy it and self reflect.

I never really thought that by owning your failures and seeking to learn from them it put you in an actual minority of persons who do. Suddenly being a failure, but NOT GIVING UP, makes you one of the ELITE.  Not that all of life should amount to some competitive sense of Darwinism…

It’s true though, that once stuff gets hard, most of us quit. Most of us don’t keep trying, failing, trying, failing….and failing some more before maybe in half a life time we finally find a success.  I agree that many of us (particularly our ‘everyone gets a trophy for trying’ generation) see success as something that is supposed to be easy. That, if it doesn’t fall in our laps, clearly we are doing it wrong or barking up the wrong tree.

But it is also inherently cheating ourselves to think this way.  How many of us think we are awesome if we can run from the front door to the mailbox? How many people think that is setting the bar high enough to justify a victory dance or bragging at the next group happy hour?  In comparison, how many of us have a little apprehension at signing up for a 5K, 10K or Marathon because we know it will actually take WORK, TRAINING, TIME and DEDICATION.  But it also will come with a well earned victory dance and sense of accomplishment if we stick it out.  Even if we fail to follow through, completing a hard effort and pushing beyond what comes easily is always rewarding.

Also just from my purely mathematical geek self, the more times you try (even if most of those are a fail), you must increase your chances for a success. Law of large numbers folks….

Love these quotes:

“If I fail more than you, I win.” -Seth Godin

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

-Thomas J. Watson

So many Goals…So many Holes…

So I clearly took the last post of procrastinating to heart by not writing for 2+ weeks…

goals

Everyone I know has some sort of cathartic metamorphosis (not quite Kafka style) with a new year.  I guess that is how a beginning is intended, all that newness just craves a plan forward.  Most of us take a look at what we have, what we want, where we succeed, where we fail and then plot a path forward for the next term.

Personally I have plenty (by comparison to most in this world), want several things (stronger career certainty, more time with extended family, tighter butt, some silly materialistic things like vacations…), I succeed objectively (at being ‘constructively’ critical, seeking creative outlets, raising curious kids and running a schedule), and I fail a lot (being stubborn, being overwhelmed, being inconsistent, taking things personally…I could go on here).

Most of the time folks then try to parlay these into a set of goals for the year.  Look on most writers blogs and you’ll see countless articles about goal setting all posted this 1st week after the new year (medium is a favorite site for good articles, their’s is here).  For the last several years I have taken a slightly different tactic and instead of setting overarching personal ‘goals’, I instead list topics I want to learn more about.  Now I’ve been a corporate gal and taken Six Sigma courses and power pointed my way through SMART goals….BUT, it doesn’t mean that’s the best way to progress at life…at least maybe not for me.

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Failure: I’m a totally inefficient multi-tasker procrastinator….or am I?

Ok, so there are many ways we all procrastinate.  General I think of 2 categories.  There is the ‘I got this later’ type who puts off even starting a project.  OR the ‘I’m going to veer off topic and relate all direct questions to the meaning of life’ type that starts projects but may struggle to finish them as scopes have been exploded.  Check that second box for me.  I never put off what can be done right now but I can’t help making connections between the related and (total stretch) unrelated. I am the kind of person who never really shuts their computer down and instead keeps up 3-4 search engine windows open, each with at least 10 pages up, displaying articles and points of interest that I intend to get to as I truly believe they will add value to my intelligence and life meaning.

I have an almost superhero skill of finding such earth shattering nuggets while following an inefficient rabbit hole of linked pages and definitions when I’m on a mission or task.  Suddenly my mission gets widened or (more appropriately) derailed so far off topic, I forget what I was trying to do in the first place.  This seems to happen when I open my computer and do something on the beautiful but total time suck of the world wide web.  I am far more focused when running physical errands or handling my physical to do list, heck even in an actual library my research is more focused.  But www-me and I can’t help but turn into a inefficient multi-tasking procrastinator.

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Down the ego to Keep calm under the pressure….

keep calm and strut on

So we can chat about yoga, serenity prayers, time outs, taking a deep breath, running 5 miles each morning, or other sworn by methods to relax in a tense moment.  Navy seal guys go through months and months of deep conditioning training to reprogram their responses stress and chaos….why can’t we all?

To do lists a million miles long, lines of folks each with different requests (that need immediate responses), work drama, kid drama, friend and family drama, blood sugar crashes, and just dealing with being in closer than desired proximity to likely 1,000,000 complete strangers co-habitating your corner of the earth.    Yep, I have probably lost my Sh** on all of them at one point or another.  Short temper, veins popping out of the forehead, a tight grip on the forearm as I escort a screaming child away from whatever is overstimulating them into a fever of wants and needs as some of those million complete strangers look on in judgement…we have all been there. Likely, we have also calmed down after the fact and pulled it together to realize the situation could have been handled differently with different effects.  So how can this be avoided in the first place?

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De-stress fail…or was it?

Have you ever thought your stresses could be fixed with a quick girls weekend, partner time without kids or fabulous yoga retreat???

So I had a tough year of transitions, moving, crazy kids, crazy husband’s job, new country, new language…yada yada…www.whitewine.com.  The problem was that my ‘yada-yada’s were getting a little resentful-resentful and I started losing my patience and reacting (over-reacting) to lots of little things popping up in everyday life.  My husband would leave the kids dirty clothes on the stairs instead of putting it into the hamper…BOOM!!!  AAAAHHH look out for the rage!  (I am not justifying it, just being honest in my state of mind).

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Oh the extremes…partner communication failure and break through

Ying and Yang, Up and Down, Katy Perry’s Hot and Cold, good evil… Oh yes…the world has it’s opposites and extremes. I remember sometime after college there was a you-tube of this guy going around where he charted the attractiveness (‘hotness’) of a woman verses her mental stability (‘craziness’) and made the case that it was a positive and linear relationship.  I guess it could be taken offensively but I was not offended by it (i’m a geeky Math and Econ girl, I focused more on the chart!)

hotness craziness matrix link

hot vs. crazy

Whatever you may think of that guy and his theory, I think he may have a more general point about trade-offs, physical appearances aside. Anyway, my husband and I got into this chat the other day after I had a tough week.

Basically the premise is this…

  1. Some people in this world are really even keel, don’t really show getting overly excited, nor overly upset, are more quiet in social settings, ride their emotions more like gentle waves of the Outer Banks.
  2. Other people have bigger swings, get supper excited and happy then can get really low and frustrated even at a little tension, are more outgoing and social butterflies, surf emotions like the big kahuna waves and Mavericks.
  3. Us and a bunch of our married couple friends consist of one of each

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Speaking Fluent Spanish-ishly

Related image

Apart from moving far from family, friends and traditional opportunities to work, a challenge of moving abroad is learning the language and local customs…but it’s also one of the fun parts too if the stress doesn’t tweak us out.  But, how many times have we all heard, ‘You’re moving there! oh you will just pick it up in 6 months, no problem!’  Yeah, I got that nugget of encouragement (torture) a lot…A LOT from people before & after we moved here.

Before I go into why this challenge is such a spectacular lesson (like all life we must think of the shitty times as such or else we lose all motivation for trying the impossible). I can state some very valid reasons (excuses) why I have struggled…

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