November 23, 2012

Let it simmer.

I am a politics junky. No this isn't about politics (mostly), it is about me and thinking and keeping myself from doing stupid things I end up regretting later. I have seen a variety of comments that are quite similar in many ways, but the basic gist is, when something happens, and you have a reaction that is closely coupled with emotion, it is often good personal policy to sleep on it. Give it a night, or better yet, a full 24 hours or more. Let it simmer and see if you still feel the same way about it. Make sure what you are going to do is the best course of action and not just the passion of the moment.

So, how does this apply to politics? Well, being the political junky that I am, I really wanted Obama to not be re-elected. Yeah, much more that than Mitt Romney being elected. I think Obama is the worst president we have had since Woodrow Wilson. Yeah, Wilson was effective, but he was also un-American and wanted to throw out the constitution. Interestingly enough, The next worst president in my lifetime in my opinion, was not Jimmy Carter, but George W Bush. Between Obama and Bush, they have shredded our freedoms, the constitution, and our economy. So, all of this fitting in with me being a political junky, I tend to react quite strongly with happenings related to elections. I could see early on that the night was not going the republicans' way. Quite the opposite.

My reaction of course was to start thinking of rash and extreme courses of action that of course I would regret as soon as I did, but this year, I purposely tried to gear myself up for the possibility that the night would go that way. I purposely made myself go to bed once the outcome was pretty much decided, or, at least, I tried to. I am afraid my anxiety over the whole affair infected my children, but at least getting them to go to bed took me away from the over-programmed news feeds.

The next day, I made myself stay as neutral as possible, which for me is still hyperbolic, but I tried to keep my most extreme thoughts and reactions bottled up, and try to express rational, moderate thinking. I still read the news feeds, which for the most part were either democrats being poor sports, or republicans being poor sports, but occasionally were something that tried to be reconciling in nature. I have noticed a very small undercurrent in those more moderate voices. While it is true that the divide in america is very stark, and that there is a gap between the sides, what they are really fighting over, for the most part anyway, is not that hugely inseparable between the sides. (There are a few issues that I think really do provide a true irreconcilable difference between the sides, but that is another post.)

So, since this seemed to be such a big deal election, I made myself wait a couple of weeks before posting much about it. And hey, you know, all those topsy-tervy emotional knee jerk reactions and radical thoughts boiled down into some really interesting food for thought. I still don't like many of Obama's policies, but I am much more clear on what I feel and why, and what I can and can't do about it.

So, the next time you get your dander up, sleep on it. Don't do anything until you have given yourself enough time to really boil it down into some more rational course of action.

June 10, 2012

Taking the long view

As I think about the various factors the influence the way individuals live their lives, one of the most influential seems to be the longevity of their perspectives. What I mean is the time frame of their outlook on life, their goals and ability to be both patient and persistent. When people look at the long term, they act different then when they only look at the short term. I have tried to look at the long  term. When I do, I make much better decisions. When I don't, well, you can probably guess that it doesn't work so well. It is true that sometimes there are short term payouts, but most of the time looking to the short term doesn't really help me reach my long term goals.
Those who take the long view tend to be happier, more successful, have more stable lives. I suspect that in general, they are also more conservative, more religious, and more compassionate.

May 23, 2012

Our future as a country may not be in our hands

Our political future, and, by extension, our economic future may be out of our hands. If the economy improves before election day, I fully expect Obama to win reelection. If he does win, between his socialist/fascist agenda and his corrupt moral policies, this country will no longer be the land of the free or the greatest country on earth, and would soon begin to tear itself apart. If the economy stays stagnant or gets worse, Romney will win but won't do those things to help us recover the greatness we once had, but might be able to keep us from tearing ourselves to shreds. Neither of these scenarios will be determined by us. Our future will be decided by the leaders of Europe as they try to resolve the nasty set of crises they are currently faced with. If they successfully resolve they problems, our economy will continue to recover. If they just manage to postpone or pull out a middling solution that doesn't really fix things but avoids a collapse, our economy will stagnate. If they really screw it up, and it collapses, we will collapse too. In that case, neither of our candidates for President would be able to lead us out of the mess. Even so, our future still is not in our hands.

May 19, 2012

Planning app

I would like to see an effective app for helping me plan. And not just one kind of planning, but all kinds of planning. It should be effective at helping me prioritize, even helping me figure out the pros and cons to various options. It should also be able to interact with my various calendars to help me schedule the parts of my plan that I am making. It should work on my phone or on the Web. Just an idea.

Interpersonal paradox

Lesson learned from conversation in the middle of the night: If you want to change others, you have to change yourself. If you want to change yourself, you have to focus on how you treat others. It is when you focus on yourself that you are more likely to have problems with how other people's actions affect you.

I think most of us can identify examples of this at work in our own lives. If we are being mostly selfish, we tend to get bugged more easily by others. If we want to change them, we have to change how we interact with them, which changes us. Thus, I suppose it could even be reasoned that when we change someone else, we really are mostly making changes in ourselves and how we interact with those others. If they are to change, they are the one that has to do the changing. All we can do is inspire them by changing ourselves.

I suppose the statement above should really read something like "If you want to change yourself for the better, you best succeed when you focus on how you interact with and treat others." Yeah, I know, a bit nit-picky, but for accuracy's sake, I figured I would clarify a bit.

Anyway, this lead me to wonder how many other areas of life do we change by changing ourselves and our perceptions and interactions with the world around us rather making actual changes in that world.

May 18, 2012

Trying a mobile app

So, after resisting for a long time, I finally got a smart phone. I have used it for a couple of months, and am now experimenting with what else I can do with it. Some things are really great, like email, and others not so great, like looking for a rental home in Utah. I have thought about what else might work well and decided to try blogging from my phone. I figure it should help keep my posts shorter, and help me post more often. Let's see how well it works.