And be specific and be quantifiable and be actionable and be realistic and be something you actually want to do!
Drawing and commentary © 2017 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Charles M. Sheldon, 1857-1946, American Congregationalist Preacher and leader of the Social Gospel movement.
“Good resolutions are like babies crying in church. They should be carried out immediately.”
Resolutions are best made regarding behaviors, not outcomes. In other words, don’t say “I will lose 25 lbs, that is an outcome. Instead say, “I will exercise 3 days a week”, or “I will reduce my meal portions by 1/3.” those are behaviors.
Drawing © 2015 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com
Quote by Mark Twain
It’s with charity in my heart that I tell you it’s day #5 of Resolution Week!
You know what gets my goat? Did you even know I had a goat? I don’t so never mind. You know what bugs me? When people rant and rail against the big bad welfare recipient who buys malt liquor and cigarettes with food stamps and drives a BMW and goes on vacations to Disney World. It’s not really a specific violator but a generic description meant to enrage people that somehow they personally are getting ripped off because someone who doesn’t deserve something is getting it. In other words, they are pissed off that life is unfair. They have problems and are dealing with them, but in the meanwhile these low-lifes are living high on the hog and not facing their issues and it just pisses people off.
Part of me understands but a larger part of me sees it as a heart closing up tight. It is the heart finding reasons to not love, to not give, to not have empathy or sympathy or understanding. Because in truth, the overwhelming vast majority of people who are on welfare, food stamps, some sort of government assistance are not in that fraudulent category. But that doesn’t matter to the hardened heart. They just think everyone should be able to do what they have done, make it as they have made it, behaved as they have behaved. And that, along with them telling the fraud story to themselves again and again, give them the excuse to not care. They don’t care because they have rationalized that those people don’t deserve care.
Who Do You Know?
They wouldn’t be able to rationalize like that if they actually knew those people in need, but they don’t. They might know a neighbor who is having a tough time and say, ‘ok, but that is a different story’. They might be told by their pastor about a family at church that had a bad thing happen and they say, ‘ok, but that is a different story’. And they are right, it is a different story. It’s a real story. But each and every person has a real story, even if they appear to meet some cliche.
Charitable vs Irritable
The question is, Where is your heart? Is your heart charitable or is it irritable? You’ll be much happier, and so will those around you, if it’s charity you feel. And that charitable heart will not allow people to do bad things any more than an irritable heart. It will just allow you to approach each person with love instead of judgment.
Drawing by Marty Coleman
Answer to yesterday’s trivia question:
Question: Who was the richest man to die on the Titanic and why was he on it?
Answer: John Jacob Astor. He was on the ship because he had married an 18 year old girl after divorcing his wife, a scandal of immense proportions in the US at the time. They had gone to Europe to escape the publicity and let the firestorm calm down. They returned when they learned his new wife was pregnant. She survived, he died. She gave birth to John Astor IV a few months later.
I am humbled to announce today is the last day of 2012 AND day #4 of Resolution Week!
The Naked and the Clothed
We like to clothe ourselves in many things. We have our careers, families, money, homes, cars, friends, culture, fitness, style, science, beauty, youth, and, of course, actual clothing. These things can give us the illusion that we are in control of our lives and in truth, since our lives do consist, in part, of those things, we are indeed controlling our lives. But it’s also very easy to use those same things to hide an even larger truth about our lives, and that is that we are not in complete control. Underneath all those things we can control are many more things we can’t.
The Known Maybe and the Unknown Certainty
My father, Skeets Coleman, is 94 now. And we all know his death is coming because he is old. That is known. But in spite of his advanced age he is still in relatively good health and we actually don’t know when or how he will die. And we also don’t know if one of his children or grandchildren will die before he does. It isn’t likely that will happen and we would not want it to be so but the truth is we do not know. What do we know for certain? We will die. But even that immutable truth is an unknown to us until the moment (or shortly before the moment) arrives.
What is in Front of Us?
Do you know what your life is going to be like? Do you have it planned out? That is good, nothing wrong with planning. It is ok to feel good about your life and who you are. Being humble isn’t about purposely dissing yourself to appear humble. It’s about understanding reality. It is about remembering that all the ‘master of the universe’ desires we may have and may act on will not completely reduce the unknowns. It is good to be humble as we acknowledge that the universe, god, karma, science or whatever combination of things is at work, is beyond our control.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman
Trivia of the Day (answer tomorrow)
The richest man on the Titanic died. Who was he and why was he on the boat?
I have diligently prepared for you day #3 of Resolution Week at the NDD. Enjoy.
A friend of mine here in Tulsa, Erin Patrick, has a favorite saying, ‘You don’t find yourself, you create yourself’. There is a great truth in that. Finding yourself indicates you existed before, like finding a coin on the side of the road or a lost puppy. It existed and then you found it. But the quote says that isn’t true about people. We don’t exist off somewhere in the future waiting to be found, we don’t exist at all until we decide who we want to be. We might decide unconsciously, as a matter of fact a lot of evidence in the past decade points to a huge portion of our lives being decided by unconscious elements in our history and present day.
Conscious and Deliberate
But there is still plenty we consciously decide and create. We decide to exercise or not. We decide to pursue needlepoint or painting or both. We decide to go to college or graduate school or not. We decide to wear something sexy or something dowdy. Those are all things we can, in large part, control. The main deciding factor in whether we get good at one of those things, or finish a course of action, is our diligence, our perseverance. Do we keep at it until we are a master of it or do we become a light weight diletante? Do we keep going until we have graduated or do we quit? Do we make excuses for not sticking with something?
The Life Self-Portrait
What you do, whether deliberate or unconscious, contributes to who you are to become. Being deliberate about it allows for choices and more opportunities. But what about becoming expert in things they don’t teach in school? What about being deliberate about being a lover? Can you be deliberate about practicing love? Yes, of course you can. And will become a great lover as a result? Yes you will. Practice love in it’s practical forms; being thoughtful, sensitive, kind, joyful, grateful, empathetic, patient and honest, and you will become a loving person. It’s not magic and it’s not a secret. You simply create yourself by practicing who you want to be.
Drawing by Marty Coleman, who is a lover, not a fighter.
Question of the day
What is the latin word for ‘Diligence’?
Be patient, it’s only day #2 of ‘Resolution’ week!
You know what is so annoying? When you are just about to tell your spouse something they do really bugs you but they tell you something you do bugs them first and then you can’t tell them what bugs you because it will sound like you are deflecting and distracting and not willing to listen to what they are saying so you have to listen to them tell you this thing that bugs them and the whole time you are barely paying any attention and just itching to tell them what bugs you!
Too Much Time Together
My wife and I had our annual ‘we are spending way to much time together and starting to annoy each other’ holiday conversation last night. It actually went well and we had a good talk, no fighting, no argument, no big disagreement (except about the nutritional value of the ‘beige’ meals we have too often). But what we did do is talk about our daughters. I have 3, she has 1, all grown up now. What we see now that they are older is the ongoing importance of having patience with them growing up, learning how to be an adult.
Of course when they are young we know to have patience with them learning how to do something, like build something with blocks. We know that after we do the initial teaching the best thing we can do is to stand back and let them learn on their own. We can’t help them too much or else they really won’t learn as thoroughly as they need to. Most parent know that’s how it works.
But when they grow up it’s even more important to be patient but much harder to do so. We want to spare them real pain and suffering and that translates into sparing them not real pain, but just the typical hands-on life action they need to become fully functioning adults. It might be them having to get the oil changed in their car or it might be them having to navigate the dating or job world. It might be them having to learn how to travel internationally or maybe it’s them figuring out how to rent an apartment. It’s not that we don’t help with any of it, but we can’t do it for them completely. If we do we are denying them the essential building blocks of adulthood, and that is doing them no favors at all.
Are you patient, either with yourself or others? Could you be better at it? What do you have to do…I mean practically, really, step-by-step do…to make patience a more balanced part of your life?
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who is pretty patient but not pretty.
Answer to yesterday’s question of the day
Question: What do you think is the most often stated New Year’s resolution?
Answer: Spend more time with family and friends. I am not sure people say this that much right after Christmas though, do you? #2 is the one I thought would be #1. It’s to get fit.
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Five resolutions I give to you. Here is the first.
Resolve to be kind. I don’t say ‘resolve to be kinder’ because who knows if you are even kind to begin with? Maybe you have no kindness in you or maybe you only had kindness long ago, before the world and you wore yourself down. Resolve to be kind.
Resolve to be kind. I don’t say ‘resolve to be kinder’ because maybe you already are kind enough. But even if you are kind, you still have to make a choice when the moment arrives, to show and express that kindness. You always have the choice to be mean or kind. Resolve to be kind.
Resolve to be kind. I don’t say ‘resolve to be kinder’ because that lays a judgment on the quality of your past kindnesses. Looking back and comparing is of little value. You know don’t need to be thinking about the past, you just need to see the need in the here and now. Resolve to be kind.
Resolve to be kind. I don’t say ‘resolve to be kinder’ because that can set up a competition. Can you be kinder than your wife or husband or neighbor? Can you prove to the world you are the kindest of them all? If you do, you won’t have been practicing kindess. You will have been practicing ego stroking. Resolve to be kind.
Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman, who likes to be kind.
Question of the Day
What do you think is the most often stated New Year’s resolution?