Archives 'attitude'

5 September
Chris Arends

We had recently taken a trip and just pulled into the garage. It had been a fun trip. Good for work, good to get away with Susan. Then as I was unloading I heard it. HHHHSSSSS. I look at the rear tire and there it is a hole in the tire that is leaking air quickly. I will admit at first I was bit pissed that this was happening.

When I started thinking about my options I realized this was actually good. Flat tires happen but when they happen can make a big difference. It was in the upper 90’s and I could be in a situation where I would have to put the spare on now meaning get dirty and sweaty in the garage where I have little space to move around in and it would be hot. The good news is we have another car and I work from home so I had no urgency to get this fixed in the heat. I could do it when I wanted to.

My next thought was this could have happened while we were driving. That could have meant tire damage, losing control of the car or having an accident or worse. I also wasn’t stuck on the side of the road having to unpack the car and fix this then have to get the tire fixed then put back on.

I was also lucky that my neighbor has an air compressor that enabled me to just fill the tire with enough air to get to my local tire shop who could plug the tire in five minutes. So what could have been a dangerous situation or a real hassle happened but it happened when and where it wasn’t really a big deal.

3 August
Chris Arends

My wife doesn’t really like pizza. Well at least not as much as our kids. When they were younger we started the “tradition” of having pizza for Friday night dinner and watching TV together. As they go older it never really went away except when they had marching band or other activities on Friday night. Now that they grown my wife still likes to keep the tradition alive. As I said it isn’t that she likes pizza all that much its that it gives her time with them when they are home.

It doesn’t really matter much what we watch, where we get the pizza just as long as we are together.

29 July
Chris Arends

This may sound weird that I haven’t been able to get back to blogging on a regular basis for so long. Maybe it was that I didn’t have anything to say. Maybe I was just lazy. It could be any one of a dozen or more reasons. The things is I want go get back to writing more. I also want to take more photos and do something more with them. What has been stopping me? Me is the the short answer.

There are always stories in the news or we all have friends that are super achievers that make us want to vomit but we like them anyway. One reason is that they do inspire us even if they make us feel unworthy sometimes. So I need to get out of my own way, stop wasting time that I could be doing things that are more productive for me, my family, my job and just the world in general.

Some of my struggle has been what do I write about. My original purpose has been gone for so long but the reality is I probably need to keep being positive even though I am working and have been for quite some time. So I may not always write about being more than half full but I will be making an effort to get back into regular writing and posting some more photos as well.

Another reason I want to write more may be my own sense of what did I do with the first 50 years of my life and how will I do better with the next 50 or what ever I get. There are some good and some bad. Either way I still want to do more and do better. Some are bucket list type things others are more existentially motivated and others just sound like fun.

Look for new adventures, new ideas, and more entries. Some entries will be boring as we can’t hit a home run every day we can only do our best.

17 August
Chris Arends

Last night I helped our troop by sitting as part of the board of review process for boys who were ready for advancement.

These boys had to face three adults who were going to ask them about their scouting experience since their last advancement. Some were nervous, some carried themselves with confidence beyond their years.  The main thing is that they all faced their fears and grew in character either in the board or in what they did to earn their advancement.

If ever you are afraid of what the future holds based on the behavior of today’s youth there are always places like the boy scouts where quality boys are learning to be young men.

21 April
Chris Arends

I am reading a book called Switch How to change things when change is hard. One thing it talks about is focusing on the bright spots or successes that you already have and replicating them.   This is a great More Than Half Full concept.

Focus on whats working

With out giving you all the examples in the book the point is that instead of trying to fix things that are broken, focus on what you can control and what has shown success.  This encourages prototyping and taking small risks to  see if it an idea can be replicated or expanded.  If it fails you lose a little and have learned something.  If it works you have the foundation to make a bigger change.  That change could be walking down the stairs in your office which will help you be healthier or it could be a new service for your customers.

The power of this is that it focuses on what is working and how to create more of that. Whether it is a business process or losing weight,  if you find and build on the little successes you can improve almost any situation.  Another point the authors make is that in some cases the most critical success is the one in our head.

Win little battles to win the war

Whether the challenge is global warming or getting your kids to eat their vegetables, big challenges never get solved over night or by using one silver bullet.  They are solved by a lot of little changes.  A great example would be CFL’s.  Everyone wants to use less energy.  Changing one bulb to a CFL was the intial goal.  As people got used to the funny shape and the higher up front cost, there are now more CFL’s on store shelves than incandescent bulbs. People started saving money and it just snow balled.  We can do the same thing with a lot of other problems. We just need to find the simple little things to make a big difference.

7 April
Chris Arends

Spring in Texas

Spring is a great time for cyclist.  The days get longer and the weather gets warmer so we can ride more.  The one down side about spring is that it often brings strong winds.  Most cyclists would rather ride up a mountain pass than spend any significant time riding into the wind. I don’t know if it is the relentlessness of the wind or the inability to brag to someone about the hill you climbed, or the fact that you can’t ride around it, there is something we hate about riding into the wind.

Makes you stronger

A job search is a lot like riding into the wind.  It is hard work.  You often have nothing to show for it beyond just getting through the day and nobody likes doing it.  When riding into the wind there is no short cut to your destination.  You have to put in the effort if you are going to reach your turn around point.   The harder you work, the sooner you get there.  There is no substitute.

The thing is that there is always wind.  Some days it is stronger than others or maybe from a better direction depending on your route. In a job search there will be days when you think that every one is working against you, the economy, people who won’t call you back or rejection from those who do.  These all feel like you are riding into the wind.

Heading for Home

The funny thing about the wind is when you get to the half way point of your ride you get to turn around and guess where the wind is?  It’s at your back.  You feel the road moving past you, faster and faster. Your legs feel stronger with each turn of the pedals. Suddenly the wind is your friend and you are speeding to your destination and its not just because the wind is at your back.  It is because all of the hard work that you did into the wind made you stronger, more confident that you could ride well no matter how hard the wind is blowing.

Remember, the next time you feel like you are riding into the wind, when you have worked hard eventually the wind will be at your back and you can cruise home.

25 March
Chris Arends

Spring is a wonderful time of year. The temperature rises, the days get longer and the annual greening of the world begins.  I have never figured out though why the first thing that comes up in my yard is the weeds instead of the grass? As usual the weeds have come up full force encouraged by the perfect alternation of rain and sun. As usual my wife asks me when I am going to start pulling the weeds so they don’t multiply and slow down the grass.

Most people see weeds as a bad thing,  My wife is one of them.  She hates to see them in the lawn so she gets after me to get rid of them. Since we are trying not to use herbicides this means pulling them.   Normally this is something  I despise. My wife thinks that since I grew up on a farm I have a genetic hatred of  weeds and have a need to have a perfect yard,   She has since learned differently, as I have no real drive to have the immaculate emerald lawn that she thinks all men want. The one thing my wife has figured out is that pulling weeds for me is a bizarre type of therapy – even if I don’t like doing it. So she has been subtly prompting me to get out and pull weeds. Her prompting,  although you could almost call it nagging, is a good thing.

Green Devils

The weeds are her nemesis. So being married to her and a former farm boy she assumes they are naturally mine too. Like most men, I don’t particularly like being told what to do especially in my spare time. I also hate the fact that once I get started pulling weeds I will go till my fingers are sore and bleeding as there always seems to be more weeds than I can pull.  My wife also takes advantage of my obsession for her own personal gain.  Funny how wives learn to get what they want from their husbands.

Man on a mission

This year though the weeds are bringing a new perspective to me.  My urge to control the weeds is particularly strong this year.  It may be the over abundance of them or maybe that I have more time on my hands or maybe it just gives me another excuse to be out side.  What  ever the reason they seem to be making me happy this year.  They have given me  a new goal that I can make progress against every day.  Even though they keep coming I know I can make the yard look better everyday by going out and getting even just a few of  them.  As an added bonus, the cleaner the yard looks,  the happier my wife is,  which as every husband knows is key to a good marriage.

One thing I wish the weeds could do is get my neighbors out in the yard more.  We could get to know them better if they cared about the weeds in their yard as much as my wife.  With as many weeds as they have in their yard, we would be best friends in a matter of days.  Out there in the fresh spring air, fighting a common enemy – the weed.

Come on by

As I said this year is an especially abundant crop of spring weeds.  So if you drive by our house you will likely see one of two things. Either me on my hands and knees with a pile of pulled weeds next to me or a perfect dead grass lawn waiting to be green again with out a weed insight.

14 March
Chris Arends

Get out of the way!!!

I was out on a ride this weekend when the weather was beautiful.  As it was a nice spring day it was one of those days where you want to go as fast as you can.  The bad thing is when the weather is nice everyone is riding around the lake. On one long stretch of road it is normal for cars to have to slow down for cyclists. This is good for safety but annoying if you are a faster rider. Yesterday though I found a bright side.

Being early in the season my legs can take the distance but probably aren’t really ready for 3 hard laps. These slower riders yesterday served a purpose. Because cars are thankfully cautious when passing these slower riders,  they made me slow down when I would have hammered all the way and been totally burned early in my ride. Them making me slow down was better for my ride as it let me recover to ride hard when I had clear road and go harder longer.

Why are you stopping?

As I was finishing up my third lap of the lake, I was coming up a short but steep hill. In front of me was a an older driver. She drove slowly up the hill. Her speed was okay as I was at the end of my ride and not really going to blow by her anyway.   As she came to an intersection where she didn’t have to stop, she did anyway.  Admittedly I was initially a bit annoyed as I had started cramping up the hill and didn’t  want to have to stop. Another rider coming up the hill yelled at her to get moving.  Then I thought about others who may be on the road with her in front of her.  If she didn’t stop what would happen to them.  So if I was inconvenienced for just a second and it saved someone later because she stops that is okay.

Never Mind

The next week I was once again out on a beautiful day. I came up behind a convertible with the top down.  As I got closer I had to slow down again as the drive either didn’t know where they were going or was unconcerned about other people on the road.  At first I flashed back to my previous ride and thought of the benefits of letting people go slow. As I got closer and realized it was a larger, older man, in a Miata with his shirt off with a hairy back. I have since changed my tune. Get out of the way or at least put a shirt on.

Enjoy the spring.

8 March
Chris Arends

Well its Monday morning. Time to check Facebook and see what all my friends did this weekend and how much they hate Monday.

Facebook is a wonderful thing in that it lets people connect and share what is going on in their lives. The funny thing is that you can know what day of the week it is by the type of posts on Facebook, for example.
-Monday – Great weekend, weekend too short, I hate Mondays,
– Tuesday – Is it Friday yet? Crazy week, how did I get so behind this early in the week.
-Wednesday – Is it Friday yet?, Its only Wednesday, How am I going to survive this week?, I am in conference call/meeting hell
– Thursday – Is it Friday yet?, its almost the weekend, One more day till vacation/holiday/Friday or looking forward to girls night out.
-Friday – TGIF!!, looking forward to busy/relaxing/kids gone/kids home/sporting event/concert
-Saturday Morning – Got up way to early to get kids to sports/work in the yard or relaxing with paper and coffee
-Saturday night – exhausted from working in the yard/kids sports, way to go “name of child here” on great game/competition, date night with significant other, spouse or headed out to party.
– Sunday morning – over slept late for church, that was a great concert/game/date, relaxing with Sunday paper and coffee
– Sunday afternoon – Ready for big game!!, Go “insert favorite team here”,
-Sunday night – What a great weekend, is the weekend over already, Do I have to go to work tomorrow? What happened to my weekend?, the alarm clock is going to go off way too early tomorrow, getting on a plane again.

Have a great week. Don’t worry, the weekend will be here in 5 days.

5 March
Chris Arends

Well today I have reached a blogging milestone.  This the 100th post to my blog.

Originally started as a way to keep me focused on a positive attitude during my job search I have found it has been helpful in other ways.

For those of you struggling in your job search or just needing a better attitude I would recommend blogging.  It will help you get your mind straight.  The process of looking for something worth blogging about which is also positive has helped me focus on the good things that are happening to me and those around me. I’m not sure how many people are even reading it and that doesn’t matter to me. The process of expressing a positive thought is very therapeutic.  As I learned of people reading my blog it has motivated me even more to post regularly and make sure I have good content.

I have recently moved the blog to wordpress in the domain so I can do more with it. It also helps me understand social media better as I continue my job search.

Blogging has also helped with my writing skills. For you job seekers I know you get tired of customizing every resume and cover letter so writing more is the last thing you want to do.  As with any other skill the more you practice the better you get and the more effective you become.  I hope you have found this to be true if you have followed the blog.

With this all said I would like to thank everyone who has read my blog so far and encourage you to tell your friends especially those who need a lift.   I will keep on writing. I hope you keep on reading and please help your friends who don’t have jobs.  They need you for  contacts, leads for jobs and most of all as friends.