Actions Create Outcomes

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Actions create outcomes — it’s a simple concept but one that often escapes people (myself included) when the way life is and the way we want life to be do not match up.

Consider the common problem of clutter. Actions can either lead to less clutter (steps are taken on a regular and ongoing basis to reduce clutter) or more (a one time effort is made or no steps are taken, the same actions that led to clutter keep occurring, clutter persists or worsens.)

Another example might be a personal goal, such as losing weight. Actions can either lead to weight loss (increase physical activity combined with a balanced, low calorie, high nutrition eating plan on a regular and ongoing basis) or not (any change is shortly abandoned or no increased physical activity, no change in eating habits.)

Perhaps the goal is financial stability. Actions can lead to financial stability (live below ones means, put extra toward debt reduction and savings on a regular and ongoing basis) or not (continue to live above one’s means or paycheck to paycheck.)

This concept also applies to relationships. Actions can lead to better and more satisfying relationships (taking steps on a regular and ongoing basis to nurture the relationship, increase positive experiences, and reduce negative ones) or not (give little or no thought or action toward improving relationships.)

As you may see, this simple but powerful concept can apply to all sorts of situations. And in every case the solution to whatever the problem is to TAKE ACTION. And often to take that action on a REGULAR and ONGOING basis.

Think of them as habits. At first doing things differently can seem forced and uncomfortable. But after about 21 days, experts say new actions become habits. Once this happens, those behaviors become part of the operational plan — working for (or against) you on autopilot.

So if there is something in your life that you wish were different the good news is in almost every case there is something you can do to change that — take action in the direction you would rather things be and then keep doing so until and after you reach the goal. The path from where you are to where you want to be is just that easy — and also just that hard if you want the outcome but aren’t taking the actions required to produce it.

It’s been said that often the biggest obstacle we face is our-self.  In most cases the only thing holding us back from what we want out of life is our own choices, habits, and behavior. The good news is — we can always choose to change! (And if it’s something you can’t change, you can still take action — accept it and focus on what you can change!)

Take action. Better days ahead await! (And now I am going to take action to water, pull weeds, and tend to my veggie garden, spending 15-20 minutes a day doing so, so I can later enjoy my goal to have an abundance of fresh grown flowers and produce this fall instead of it just turning into a weedy tangled mess!)

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

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Keep Good Counsel

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Looking back, I can now see some “friends” who surrounded me during times of struggle earlier in life did not give good counsel. I wish now I had forgone their company for that of others who were on a more constructive path.

Now don’t get me wrong, they weren’t obvious degenerates as in they weren’t on drugs, into crime, or violating huge moral codes.

And yet their world views were very much shaped by the world, views I can now see lead people down disastrous paths.

The whole progressive movement of the past few decades has very much an on the surface sounds good quality. Increased rights, tolerance, equality, empowerment, personal freedom. What could go wrong?

Well, such thinking has (perhaps inadvertently, perhaps purposely) led to many of the social problems our society struggles with today. Not just between women and men in building healthy relationships, but in many other areas as well. Such as debt being now widely accepted as a “necessary evil” of modern life, to bring up just one example people may not think of connected to this.

A sliding moral compass eventually leads to an “anything goes” and “live and let live” mindset. But ironically rather than leading to increased harmony I can’t think of a time in my life I have seen people more divided, nor such hostility toward those who don’t embrace an “all paths are equally good” mindset.

I am not blaming others, nor am trying to encourage lack of personal responsibility for ones own choices. But looking back I wish I had associated less with certain people who held “of the world” views that in retrospect influenced my own choices and decisions. And many of these friends attended church, professed faith, mind you.

Most of these people I no longer associate closely with although we are still on friendly terms or I hear from them from time to time. But I no longer seek them out as I once did. And my life is honestly better for it, without the drama and angst some of them are constantly in.

Its not really new advice but I think it’s tried and true — surround yourself with people who are living good, successful, admirable lives — people who you aspire to be more like yourself.

Likewise, beware the company of people who are negative, toxic, always complaining or dissatisfied, making destructive choices themselves, etc.  Not to say one shouldn’t love and care for such people but too much of their company can infect your own thinking with the same, I have found.

If I could give my younger self some good life advice it would be this — beware the company and counsel you keep — it shapes your own views and choices more than you may know.

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

Commit To Your Choice

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In comments on another blog, frequent commentor and fellow blogger Stephanie shared the story of a friend’s struggling marriage:

I had a friend for over 2 decades… literally, we were friends in pre-school and have pictures together from our Kinder graduation **tear**. But she married someone she was NOT attracted to – who she dated for FIVE YEARS in our 20’s and kept complaining to me about how unattractive he was and how she wanted him to improve himself.

No matter how many times I told her to leave him alone and move on – find someone she was attracted to who she could accept as the man he is, she didn’t listen. She married him right at 29 yrs old (really hit home that manosphere cliche for me personally to see that), and has a very rocky marriage now.

Maybe… is it possible that [she] married her husband even though he wasn’t good at being a man? To me, these women (and virgins can do it, too) they pick these kinds of men on purpose. It’s not an accident that they stay with them through sometimes YEARS of dating and then it’s not an accident that they walk down that aisle to marry someone THEY KNOW they are not attracted to that much.

It’s very much on purpose. And while I’m sure they believe the lies they tell themselves… it’s bound to end up in heartache.

**Bonus brain memory stuff** She even told me (much to my horror) that while they were just dating she was very tempted to cheat on him with various coworkers!!!!!!! So how is that going to play out in a marriage of decades? Seems much more likely she will eventually stray.”

I inquired:

“@ Stephanie did she ever say what was working for her in the relationship? How attractive is she? Did she date others or ?”

She replied:

“Mostly just security, and getting married before it was too late to have kids. Her plans were always to find someone in college and marry them.

She did date other guys, even in high school… a couple she really was attracted to, but chose not to be “serious” with them even though I would urge her that they were a great catch for marriage.

I don’t get it 😦 Except that he makes good money and is stable. But she is very very good at her job and makes a lot of money, too, so I guess she just wanted stability relationship-wise.”

I too have seen women marry to a man they are not so attracted to physically (but are attracted to for other reasons like stability, status, resources, etc.) who end up unhappily married. And likewise I have seen women marry men they are wildly physically attracted to (but who lacked the stability/comfort component) who end up unhappily married. So is the physical attraction, or making the “wrong” pick in a mate, really the factor?

I know some may disagree, but I would argue it is not the level of attraction or choosing the wrong mate that is the problem, it is the woman’s attitude. Rather than focusing on what her mate doesn’t have, she would be far better off focusing on the qualities and traits that she does appreciate. It’s similar to the glass half full or half empty argument.

Women who look for what’s “missing” will always be less happy (content) than women who look for “what’s there.” Because it is far too easy to idealize some imaginary path not taken, and far too easy to also criticize the path chosen.

But guess what? All we have is the path we are on. And if she choose to marry this man, choosing to honor that commitment despite his not being perfect in every possible way is actually the secret to a successful marriage. Being happy (content) isn’t something that, “just happens,” it means she literally chooses to be happy (content) with her choice, see the positives within it, and to honor the commitment she made.

It’s foolishly disastrous to continue after marriage to ponder “what if’s” and “if only’s” and such alternate realities as if they were some magically perfect path versus the path one is on. Because you know what? Those options would be just as imperfect in different ways. Because no marriage is without a balance of give and take.

To see how damaging such thinking is, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine if her husband was constantly questioning his choice in a wife? Wondering if he could have “done better?” Entertaining attractions to others at work and social circles. Confessing to others on a regular basis how his wife is “lacking” in this way or that. Not cool, right? And not very loving, either.

So in reality I would say this woman and others like her are not unhappy (discontent) because they have chosen poorly or wrong so much as they are choosing to be unhappy (discontent) with the choice they freely made. As in past tense. The time to question the choice was before the wedding, not forever after.

Of course doing so takes maturity, self-discipline, wisdom, and a long-view — qualities not as popular in today’s “instant gratification, I want it all and I want it now,” society. It would also require self-awareness of the role she is choosing to play in her own and her husband’s unhappiness (discontent), plus a sincere desire to change that. It’s possible, but only she can take these steps.

This woman may think the solution to her unhappiness (discontent) is changing her partner (either changing her partner’s appearance or literally changing partners) — but in reality the solution is changing her own dysfunctional, non-constructive, and marriage-killing mindset. Stop reconsidering the choice and get on with making what you chose work, would be my red pill advice.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

Be a Team Player

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Want a happy and successful relationship? One of the best ways to make it happen is to be a team player. View your mate and your partnership as your number one and the rest will fall into place.

Too often women today are encouraged to see their partner as some sort of enemy in a battle-of-the-sexes dynamic. Such a relationship is marked by power struggles, shit tests, and strife. The result is nobody’s happy or feels supported and the relationship flounders and often then fails as a result.

Compare that to the team model where instead of it being them against each other, it’s them against the world. Their efforts are directed at overcoming outside threats rather that on trying to overcome one another.  It’s a much more harmonious and stable dynamic.

Perhaps the biggest key to achieving a team player attitude is to let go of striving for your individual needs in favor of the needs of the unit. For women, especially for women who have been raised to believe doing so will automatically lead to their oppression and victimization, it can be hard to do.  And yet if the team comes second (or third or fourth) it’s not too difficult to see why that team may fail.

In fact, I can’t think of a single relationship in real life where the couple takes a team approach and one or both of the partners are individually worse off for it. Instead they are among the happiest people I know.

Two are stronger than one. And two pulling together in the same direction are certainly far ahead of two pulling in opposite directions. The first can overcome much while the second may hardly get anywhere at all.

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

 

Making Our Dreams Come True…

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While listening to a vintage top 40’s radio show rerun, a song I had completely forgotten about reminded me of a Single Independent Woman (SIW) sitcom I watched often during my childhood: Laverne and Shirley.

Does this song ring a bell? (I apologize in advance if it gets stuck in your head now! Lol.)

Let’s look at the lyrics:

Making Our Dreams Come True

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight
Schlemiel! Schlimazel! Hasenpfeffer Incorporated
We’re gonna do it!

Give us any chance – we’ll take it
Read us any rule – we’ll break it
We’re gonna make our dreams come true…
Doin’ it our way

Nothin’s gonna turn us back now
Straight ahead and on the track now
We’re gonna make our dreams come true…
Doin’ it our way

There is nothing we won’t try

Never heard the word impossible
This time there’s no stopping us
We’re gonna do it

On your mark, get set and go now
Got a dream and we just know now 
We’re gonna make our dream come true
And we’ll do it our way – yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
And do it our way – yes our way
Make all our dreams come true
For me and you! 

This is how Wikipedia describes the show:

“Laverne & Shirley (originally Laverne DeFazio & Shirley Feeneyis an American television sitcom that ran for eight seasons on ABC from January 27, 1976, to May 10, 1983. A spin-off of Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley followed the lives of Laverne DeFazio (Penny Marshall) and Shirley Feeney (Cindy Williams), two friends and roommates who work as bottle-cappers in the fictitious Shotz Brewery in late 1950s Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the sixth season onwards, the series’ setting changed to mid-1960s Burbank, California. Michael McKean and David Lander co-starred as their friends and neighbors Lenny and Squiggy, along with Eddie Mekka as Carmine Ragusa, Phil Foster as Laverne’s father Frank DeFazio, and Betty Garrett as the girls’ landlady Edna Babish.

Noted for its use of physical comedy, Laverne & Shirley became the most-watched American television program by its third season [emphasis mine], and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award in 1979.”

I found myself wondering how much this show affected my impressionable young mind, and the minds of other girls of my generation?

I also wondered what a follow-up would show? What would Laverne and Shirley be up to now? How did their plan work out? What specifically was their “dream” and did it come true?

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

It’s Not (Only) About You

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For the past few decades girls and women have been encouraged to put their needs first. I believe the initial intent was to help women overcome being a doormat. But rather than come to the middle, balancing her needs with the needs of others, it seems in many cases women today think mostly of their own needs and little to none about the needs of others.

For example, I often see this in relationships. A woman will be talking about how she needs X, Y, and Z. She can pinpoint to the smallest nuance everything that’s lacking, wrong, or could change to make the relationship better for herself. And while this is good, what I rarely hear is a woman pondering what her partner may need, want, think, or feel.

In my previous post we find such a woman. And it literally destroyed her relationship. She was so focused on her own experience, she completely lost sight of the fact that the relationship did not exist solely to fulfill her every need, want, and every happiness but rather it was about BOTH of their needs, wants, and happiness.

It’s true that in the past women were often encouraged to think about others and what they might do to make them happier. But I don’t believe this was done to teach women not to think about themselves at all, I believe it was done to counteract the tendency of the female mind to see the world from her point of view alone.

If you find yourself ruminating, perturbed, or upset — try stepping back from focusing on what you need, feel, want, or wish and ask yourself what others involved may need, feel, want, or wish as well.

Healthy functional relationships are two way streets. Everybody gets and everybody gives. Sure at times one side may be giving or getting more than the other at a specific moment, but overall it should even out.

Balance. It’s not (only) about you.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

 

Attitude is Everything

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The tale of yet another relationship hitting the dust reminded me — attitude is everything.

Like many women today, this woman, who in this case had the opportunity to literally marry a millionaire, blew it all up with her attitude.

They met several years back. He was unhappily married, but was staying the course rather than divorcing. They kept in touch as friends, the attraction obviously mutual. She swore for years he was the one, her soul mate. And patiently she waited while working as a waitress, living month to month.

About two years ago his wife became ill, and then passed away. After grieving the loss he reached out to the gal, and they started a romantic relationship. It escalated rather quickly into them moving in together. He was overjoyed, ready to experience all the good and joy life had to offer. But rather than share his enthusiasm, she started picking everything apart.

She seemed to quickly forget how she had struggled before, how hard things were, what it was like to live hand to mouth, how much she worried about her future without a retirement plan of any kind. How she swore he was her soul mate, and hoped someday they could be together.

When I would talk to her after they moved in together, and she would complain about the loss of freedom, the lack of time to herself, all the “things” she had given up, I knew it was not going to work. And the thing was, he wasn’t asking her to give anything up, she was the one creating this odd self-sacrificing, self-limiting situation. Rather than see she was herself creating the lack, she stubbornly blamed it all on him.

Rather than appreciate the good, she focused on the bad. I never heard her voice gratitude for her sudden increase in her standard of living. Here she was living in a beautiful luxury home right on the river, seemingly not a care in the world, with a man who wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of their lives together, and to be happy. Instead from her it was complain, complain, complain. And not just in private, she would do it right in front of him!

Today I heard the news I knew back then was coming — he finally had enough. She’s now once again living in a rented apartment, with little in the bank, and no plan for the future. Now mind you, this woman is past retirement age! I am just not sure what on earth she is thinking!

Instead of a life of leisure, travel, fun times, and no worry she choose — willful independence.  Except she’s not able to be independent, truly. And the chance to build that is also quickly coming to a close.

Perhaps that reality has not sunk in yet. I wonder if in time she will regret her behavior?  For now, she insists she’s happier on her own. I can’t tell if it’s the single independent woman brainwashing talking, denial, or actually the case. No matter, the ship has sailed. I guess independence is going to have to work. It’s the only offer on the table.

I do know one thing, I for one will not be very interested in hearing her tales of woe once all this sinks in. And perhaps that’s really the problem — wanting whatever it is one doesn’t have, until they do, and then they want something else? Seems like a really poor life strategy. But unfortunately it’s one I see all too often.

Seeing the glass or half full or half empty actually is a choice, even if one doesn’t recognize it. Attitude can determine success or failure — which one are you choosing?

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

One Smart Cookie!

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As I may have mentioned, I live in a rural area surrounded by farmland and small-acreage “country estates/hobby farms” owned by people who want to live a country lifestyle.

My place is surrounded on two sides by a family that has lived and farmed the area for generations. The father, widowed after 40+ years of marriage and now in his late 70s, lives with his bachelor brother on the original farm. His two sons, in their late 40s or early 50s, both own 40-acre hobby farms. They are a good family, solid church going folks who are upstanding citizen types.

Recently, the grandson announced he was engaged, and will be married this summer on the family property. He, his mom, and his bride-to-be stopped by to say hello a few weeks ago, sharing their good news.

I was immediately impressed by this young woman. She’s tall and fit with a curvy but athletic build. Her long brunette hair is styled in natural cascading waves, and I was not surprised to hear that she sometimes does modeling work. She was dressed stylishly but modestly, in clothes that fit and flattered. (She was conspicuously lacking in the tattoos, wild hair colors, piercings, and other fashion choices many gals her age are making these days.)

She’s bubbly, graceful, and well mannered. By no means shy or a doormat, but she’s also not at all overbearing. She’s got a regal confidence, the bearing of a true young lady. Classy. His mom beamed at her with pride, obviously smitten with her son’s choice of a future wife. All good signs that I was happy to see!

The son is a strapping young man. Thanks to working around the farm plus having very athletic parents, he’s pretty much the physical ideal example of a young man. I could not help but notice this the other day when he and his fiance stopped by to check in on cutting my hay field. Instead of the long sleeved shirt he had worn during the prior visit, this time he was in a loose tank top. I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before but his biceps and chest were huge, the boy is solid muscle!

As the two bounded off to check the field, he and his eager helpmate, I thought what a dashing pair they make, so happy and carefree and obviously in love. Like his parents and his dads parents before that, I can see them married for life, building a life, and starting a family of their own.

I did not ask their ages or what they do, but my guess is they are recently out of college, in their early 20s. While others in their age group are sowing wild oats, these two are pairing up and settling down.

I thought what a smart cookie she was to choose wisely and well, marrying into a solid family, with a bright financial future. I have no doubt they will have a beautiful and fairly easy life. Charmed, even.

Like many of her age, she could instead be on Tinder, swiping and matching, putting everything into her career, going out to nightclubs and bars, keeping her options open, telling herself maybe she’ll settle down, “someday,” but for the time being wanting freedom, independence, empowerment, and lots of life experiences.

I wondered how she had happened to take the path less traveled, if it was just blind luck or if she consciously sought to find her mate, a good man from a good family who she loved with all her heart, and happily marry young? My bet is that it is a result of deliberate choices to be and do different than most of her peers, choices that are now paying off.

In any case, I think she’s wise. And I don’t see her doing anything but building upon the firm foundation she’s establishing. Like his mother who herself married wisely and well in her youth, I see a relatively carefree and easy road ahead for this girl rather than one filled with pain, struggle, and strife.

It makes me happy to see it and to share the tale — sometimes you see it working out, despite the odds, and it gives me hope that all is not lost. I hope other young ladies (including my own girls!) who hear her tale see the wisdom in doing different, and take the same path themselves!

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

Father Insurance

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On Father’s Day, it seems like a great time to bring up some statistics that show dads do a lot more for their kids than simply contribute genetic material. Consider:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
  • 85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average.  (Center for Disease Control)
  • 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average.  (Justice & Behavior, Vol 14, p. 403-26)
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average.  (National Principals Association Report)

To say dads are any less critical to raising healthy, well developed children is ignoring reality. So today, thank a dad for all they do for kids — and for society!

Happy Father’s Day.

What  do you think? Please share in the comments!

Ladies First

Lol, perhaps this poem from a book published in 1981 foretold the red pill:

Ladies First

Pamela Purse yelled, ‘Ladies first,’
Pushing in front of the ice cream line.
Pamela Purse yelled, ‘Ladies first,’
Grabbing the ketchup at dinnertime.
Climbing on the morning bus
She’d shove right by all of us
And there’d be a tiff or a fight or a fuss
When Pamela Purse yelled, ‘Ladies first.’

Pamela Purse screamed, ‘Ladies first,’
When we went off on our jungle trip.
Pamela Purse said her thirst was worse
And guzzled our water, every sip.
And when we got grabbed by that wild savage band,
Who tied us together and made us all stand
In a long line in front of the King of the land-
A cannibal known as Fry-‘Em-Up Dan,
Who sat on his throne in a bib so grand
With a lick of his lips and a fork in his hand,
As he tried to decide who’d be first in the pan-
From back of the line, in that shrill voice of hers,
Pamela Purse yelled, ‘Ladies first.’

by Shel Silverstein

What do you think? Please share in the comments!