Thursday, November 15, 2018
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Why Page Eighty5?

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On my journey through life, I feel that I am around page eighty-five of a good book. Sure there have been some things that have happened and there have been great and defining moments but really the story is just beginning. We have taken the time to form the foundation, characters/setting/background, but I am only just beginning to see what it is that is going to define me, what my purpose may be.

Page Eighty5 is a random page, as it should be because this number could be different for everyone. This project is shaped by creativity and with creativity, it is important not to ask too many questions!

Distraction

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I haven’t been awake for more than 30 minutes and already my brain has jumped from one thing to another faster than I can even comprehend. There are the basic functions that I will do as I first wake up, that I believe to be crucial, but even as I do those my mind is moving a million miles a minute and I’m not quite sure what to do next. The distractions are everywhere. I finally get my coffee brewing and realize that I need to do something to channel my thoughts. I need a way to slow down the randomness and focus on a task. So I choose to write.

Even as I am writing this piece on distraction, I become distracted. I just saw a car go down the street out of the corner of my eye. The bus that picks up our neighbor just backed up with that beeping sound. The cat is running around and oh look I just got a notification on my phone. All of these distractions are occurring even before the busiest part of the day has begun. These distractions can start to take a toll and they can make a person like me exhausted before I am halfway through the day. Now the cat jumps up on my lap as I type. That doesn’t make things more difficult at all.

Sometimes the distractions aren’t as simple as a notification on my phone or a persistent want from my 6 year old. Sometimes my environment is just as distracting as anything else. I can’t stand clutter! I believe that everything has a place and if it doesn’t fit into any category there is at least a drawer or closet somewhere that would be a fantastic home for the item. I know, I know those items shouldn’t even be in the house but we are taking some baby steps here. The clutter adds to the noise in my life that becomes further distraction.

I am distracted so much that I get distracted from my distraction. Most people may say that this is the behavior of someone with attention deficit disorder but to my knowledge I have never been diagnosed as such. An example of this is when I pick up my phone because it has notified me that it would like my attention. I pick the phone up to check this extremely important Facebook notification only to immediately hit my email icon, why? because there is a red number three telling me that I have new messages. I start sifting through email and forget why I picked up my phone. Doesn’t really matter because the original distraction wasn’t that important in the first place. The real issue is remembering what it was that I was doing before the initial distraction. At this point I have entered into a web of distraction that does nothing but deter me from accomplishing what truly needs to be completed that day.

I’ve tried to find ways to minimize the distraction. We didn’t have phones on our hips until I was in my early twenties so I know life can be lived without them. Unfortunately we do not live in the early nineties and the world we live in today expects those phones to be right next to us. People will expect an immediate response. One way that I tried to help is by turning off the badges on my iPhone apps. These are the little red numbers that beckon us to pick up our phone. They are screaming to us that we have unfinished business inside this app. Some apps this works just fine, but not the phone app. If you turn the badge off it will not notify you that you have missed a call. Within a day this caused an issue so back came that badge notification.

One thing that I have found has helped is changing my phone’s email to check only when I ask it to check. I do not get constant notifications each time I receive an email. I can go in when I choose to go in and purposefully take the time to check my email. That solved the earlier issue of being distracted from the distraction. Never fear once one distraction is solved there are ten more right behind it. I guess the thing to do is to find little ways that may work for me to minimize the distractions while finding ways to help myself from being so easily distracted in the first place.

What little things do you do in your life to help with distractions? I am up for any suggestions big or small.

Even in Defeat, We Can Declare Victory

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Last night I witnessed what seems to be a yearly ritual. Ohio State’s football team lost to an opponent in which they had no business losing. This Ohio State team was ranked #2 in the nation, a Heisman trophy candidate quarterback, and all the aspirations of having a showdown with Alabama in the championship game or at the very least a spot in the College Football Playoffs. They were up against a Purdue team that lost their first three games and have managed to climb back since, but still should have been no match for the Buckeyes. Not so fast, as Lee Corso from College Gameday on ESPN would say. What we didn’t factor in and what I was not even aware of before the game started was the emotional side. The forces greater then the game. Who wanted the game more and why?

As the game started we were made aware of a 20 year old Purdue student named Tyler Trent. Tyler is battling terminal bone cancer and is in hospice care. They would show the signs of fans that read “Tyler Strong” and “Cancer Sucks”. Tyler was at the game. He had circled this date on his calendar and was doing everything he could do to make it to the game. In an interview in the press-box Tyler talked about how just 24 hours prior he was so sick that he wasn’t sure he was going to make it. Tyler did make it to the game and Purdue players and fans used the emotion to light a fire under them.

From the beginning this game had a different feel. The Buckeyes couldn’t get into a rhythm and kept making huge mental errors. Couple that with the fact that everything seemed to open right up for the Boilermakers and I knew we were in for a rough night. I had no clue how rough but ironically it will go down in history as a loss that I can justify in my heart and mind. Tyler’s story started wearing on me and even my deep love for the Buckeyes could not dismiss that maybe, just maybe, we don’t have to win them all.

I’ve been reminded many times that Ohio State football games are just that, games, and that I should not invest so much time and emotion into them. Many people don’t understand why I would schedule my life around a bunch of 20 year old players running around on a football field. Nights like last night are my reason. The emotion and the stories that come out of College Football touches me. I remember the two National Championships we have won during my lifetime. I remember watching in anticipation each time the College Playoff teams were announced or the Bowl Games. And every once in a while there is something greater than football.

Credit:Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This past year when we were playing at Iowa we were made aware of a new tradition where at the end of the first quarter all of the 75,000 fans and all of the players and coaches turn to the Children’s Hospital that overlooks the field and they wave. It’s a way to show them that they care, that they see them, and they are rooting them on in their fight. I am tearing up as I write this thinking about the symbol and the emotion. There are things bigger than football, many things. But we have to understand that these things are not separate from Saturdays at the football stadium. They are intertwined. To those children in the Children’s Hospital fighting it is more than just a game. To Tyler Trent it is more than just a game. It is a momentary escape from their reality. It is something to look forward to seeing.

Last night was a tough loss for Buckeye Nation. We will get over it. It will just give us another game to talk about in years to come. The game we should have won. I take solace in knowing that the game meant a little more to others and it showed. The fact that you couldn’t wipe the smile off of Tyler Trent’s face as he was wheeled to the locker room. No Buckeye fan should want to take that away from him. I certainly don’t and I say enjoy the moment Tyler, stay strong, and yes your Boilermakers beat the #2 Buckeyes! It will forever be on the books and your story will forever be in our hearts.

 

Entitlement

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Every day I witness so many people with a strong sense of entitlement. There really seems to be no demographic that is inflicted more than another. Unfortunately, it can be found almost everywhere you look. Some examples that quickly come to mind are the shoppers who are so frustrated that they have to wait two deep in a line. They are spending their hard earned money and are entitled to faster service. Diners in a restaurant who feel that they are entitled to service that is tailored just to their exact specification. These are just a few that are easy to spot of the many. If we look deeper we can see that we have a culture of entitlement that only seems to be getting worse.

We all know who to blame right? It’s this new generation of spoiled, self-centered, disrespectful, ENTITLED children and young adults. Is it really their fault? Since turning 40 years old a few months ago I have started to take a hard look at the man in the mirror and it turns out that there are a lot of things that I didn’t think were my fault that may just be. Realizing this helped me to realize that on a broader scale I don’t believe it is fair for any generation to blame the one before or, especially, the one after. Where do younger generations get their belief systems from? They are taught and brought up by the very people who want to turn around and blame them for all the ills of society. This I believe is where the broadest range of entitlement rests. It rests with those who believe that they have done their duty and now they should be able to sit back and have the easy life while those around them all behave in a way that is in alignment with how they are expected to behave.

I work in a lot of different retail spaces which affords me the opportunity to observe some of the most selfish, entitled behaviors. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store or retail stores in general that seems to bring out the worst in people. During my observations now as more of a passive presence in the store and my experience as an employee/manager in these establishments, I can tell you that I see a very distinct pattern of which individuals who tend to show evidence that they feel more entitled. It is not the younger generation. The younger generation usually exhibits a patience that most adults would/should strive to achieve. They are the ones that are giving up their spots in line. They are the ones holding the doors open and saying yes sir or yes mam and giving out a thank you or you’re welcome.

I hypothesize that this entitlement is a learned behavior. Either the behavior is influenced negatively by those around them or the stresses of constantly being beaten down by life has caused people to simply abandon their polite, empathetic tendencies in exchange for rude, entitled behavior. Unfortunately, the only solution would be for everyone to come to their senses and realize that no one owes them anything. For people to understand that the only behavior that they can control is their own. For everyone to “Be the change that they wish to see in the world.” The interesting thing is that when we start behaving in a way that acknowledges that there are other people in the world and they are just like us, we start feeling better about the other people in the world. We will start to have a bit more patience and understanding. We will hopefully stave off the learned behavior of entitlement that we are passing on to our children.

I have a feeling that this will be the theme for this week’s posts because there is so much to be said on the subject. If you have any thoughts be sure to share.

 

If We Only Had a Fuel Gauge

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Yesterday as I was driving to the grocery store I noticed not one but two people who had run out of gas and were filling their cars from a gas can on the side of the road. We have all been there. Thinking we get a little bit further without the inconvenience of stopping for gas or maybe there isn’t enough money in the budget to get gas until the next day.

The reason I was struck by the fact that I saw two people run out of gas in relatively the same area and time is that I realized how rarely I actually see this occur. I believe that most people ensure that they have enough gas in their vehicle at all times. They know that the inconvenience and possible damage to the car for running out of gas could be more costly than the minor inconvenience of taking a few minutes to stop.

Why am I even mentioning this? I believe that there is an interesting connection here between the way we treat our cars and the way that we treat our bodies. I believe that we often push ourselves to the point of empty before we look for food. Just like with our car this can have very damaging results in terms of our overall health as well as our finances.

My job requires me to drive quite a bit and I do several tasks in different areas throughout the day. I try to get these tasks done as quickly as possible which means that I frequently skip lunch. Sometimes I may get my work done more expeditiously but I think more often it evens out. My productivity tends to lessen as the day goes on without giving my body the fuel that it needs to work at its highest level.

Sometimes I will stop at a fast food restaurant and go through the drive-thru and grab something to eat on the way to my next location. I think that this is a very smart alternative to depriving myself and helps me shave even more time off of my work day. The problem with this tactic is that once I complete these very unhealthy quick fixes I want a nap. I feel very sluggish and weighed down. Not exactly the smart alternative I was searching for in the end.

I think that many times we choose to skip fueling our bodies because it is not convenient. We can get a few more tasks accomplished. This waiting not only causes our work to suffer but could lead to long-term issues. We need to intentionally plan time to refuel our bodies. There are even laws that ensure that employers give us this time. I know that I personally would find ways to be productive during that meal time. Making phone calls to attend to personal issues or some other task that I felt was super important and needed to be done during the workday.

This is going to be the habit that I work on heavily moving forward. Scheduling time to refuel my body and ensuring that I am operating at my very best for the complete duration of my day. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I will set a reminder for October 7th and see how I am doing. Care to join me?

Already do well in this area? How do you manage to keep yourself fueled throughout the day? How do you keep life from getting in the way?

I Can’t (Self) Help Myself

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For as long as I can remember I am drawn to improving myself. I know that I will never be complete and that my journey should be constant. I don’t want to stagnate and do the same things that I have always done.

Because of this I often seek out documentaries, blogs, podcasts, etc. that offer a different way of looking at things. I have been fascinated by the financial teachings of Dave Ramsay several times in my life but really have nothing to show with the hours of listening and reading. I went through a time where I found great value, relaxation, and clarity from reading Tao Te Ching and studying some of the philosophies of Taoism. Right now I am fascinated with Minimalism and have been pouring into this particular mindset.

While I am happy to add value and enlightenment to my life by learning from different perspectives I believe that I have implemented very little of the strategies that I have been ingesting. I agree with the philosophies and the behaviors but I apparently don’t believe that I can find a place for them in my life or maybe I have been approaching things in the wrong manner.

Interestingly enough the struggle that I am having in implementing these behaviors that I believe will add value to my life is also a form of “self-help”. Is that where I should start? Should I seek our resources that can help me to better implement new strategies to improve my life?

Are there any resources that you think would be helpful in my journey?

How do you implement changes in your life so that they stick?