Waiting at the RMV

July 29, 2010

Ever feel like you are stuck in an endless loop cycle that you can’t get out of? Yet you know you have to be in the middle of it in order to get things done?

That’s what being at the RMV for me is like. Take a ticket, to sit on wooden benches and wait for your letter and number to be called at one of 11 available windows. At least the computer ticket informed me that my approximate wait will be 34 minutes. There were only 15 others ahead of me dealing with registration or license issues. And the funny thing is, changing out my license plates and issuing a new registration took all of 45 seconds.

I think they should offer some sort of entertainment while you are waiting to attend to your business at the RMV. Outside of the young children who are screaming, crying and generally unhappy about being there, you end up hearing a lot of sighs and discontent about the process. What makes it take so long? We’ve been dealing with cars and all of the licenses, permits and documentation you need for years. I would figure with more of the process being streamlined through online means, you wouldn’t have to make so many physical appearances to your local office to get things done.

At least I got in and out within 45 minutes. When I renewed my license earlier in the year, that took an hour. I never know what the best time to get there is- I’ve been there when the doors open and I’ve been there in the late afternoon. You can never tell when the throng of traffic will be going through day in and day out. I’m open to suggestions to make the process less painful. I brought a book with me (168 Hours) and was able to get through 3 chapters while I waited, so not all of my time felt completely idle or irritating.

In the meantime, I have plenty of fall albums to review for the websites I contribute to. I have 4 new library books to read. And it’s the final day of my work week- with a vacation coming up in a couple of weeks. I have nothing really to complain about. I’ve been walking at least 30 minutes a day, even in these hot, humid, muggy days. I’m over 3 months plus on not drinking and types of soda or caffeinated products. I’m gearing up for more bowling as the summer months wind to a conclusion.

Have an awesome day. Be kind and good to each other. Give a long lost friend a call sometime- let them know how much you care.


What Can We Substitute?

July 27, 2010

So many times in life we complain that we never have enough time to squeeze in all the activities in the day we want to pursue. I understand that between work, travel, often being involved in the activities of your children you have little left in the tank for your own personal hobbies and goals.

You have to remember though: we only have a finite time on this earth. Think about the amount of time you spend in passive consumption with the radio going, the computer on, the consistent buzz of your cell phone and the background noise of television. It’s okay to have a mental and physical escape from the day to day stress, but we don’t want to spend hours on end living a satisfied life in this manner.

What can you substitute if you need to spend more time in another area? Is getting up an hour earlier a better solution if you want to get your exercise in for example? How about shutting down the television for an hour during prime time and starting up a special game night with your children? If becoming knowledgeable in a new skill for work or for personal development is in order, set aside those 30-60 minutes a day if necessary and pick up the books, the audio or video material, or take the courses and seminars you need to for your future.

We don’t want to live the rest of our lives on Someday Isle. We know plenty of people who talk about what they want to do, then fail to take that first step or risk in order to achieve what they truly desire. It’s better for some to stay complacent and complain than to actually get off of their duff, surprise themselves and as a result take their lives in a total unique direction they never expected. Don’t give me the excuses of I’m too young, I’m too old, I don’t have enough education, I don’t know where to start, and so on.

Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. I carve out the time I need to for writing, for listening to music, for bowling, for spending time with my family, for rest and relaxation. If it means I write out daily to do lists, I start the night before and know what I need to accomplish. If you love what you do, it won’t seem stressful or even like work- it will be invigorating, fun and uplifting.

Speaking of which, I’m looking forward to this new summer series with Tony Robbins called Breakthrough on NBC. It’s only a six week series, but I think now is an important time to see what changes we can make and take a look into other people’s lives to see what they have been able to accomplish with a little bit of guidance and proper direction. I’m glad Tony was persistent to get this show on the air as I know it’s been in the cards for a long time.

Have a wonderful day. Praise people in public when you catch them doing something right. Acknowledge people in the service industry who go above and beyond the call of duty. Smile and the world will smile back at you.

Small Numbers Add Up

July 26, 2010

I believe that the biggest events that happen in our lives occur as a result of a build up of small skills or tools that we use that add up. You don’t become a great writer the minute you are born- you have to read, write and study good writers and through consistent discipline and use of your skills, gradually you become comfortable with the art of words and knowing how to best communicate through this medium. When it comes to my bowling accomplishments, I’ve had to study, obtain coaching, execute the new skills on a consistent basis and simulate practice into real league and tournament bowling in order to achieve many of my goals.

It may not seem like it at the time, but the extra hour or two a day you put into something will become monumental years down the road. I concur with Jim Rohn’s thoughts during his 1999 weekend seminar where he states, “Do what you have to now because later leads to more satisfaction. Give your best to the few and you’ll be recognized to help many.”

I love reviewing and interviewing bands for a multitude of reasons. I feel like I can express myself to others and help people make better purchasing decisions with their money. I receive free music and get the chance to go to concerts as a result- but I would still find a way to support the music that I love (and continue to do so) even if I didn’t benefit from these perks. I’ve been able to met a wide variety of people through the years of my involvement with the scene- and I still keep in touch with a large number of them. They’ve become not just comrades in support of music- a lot of them I’m proud to call my friends and we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level.

So I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams even if they seem years in the distance. Time is going to pass anyways, so wouldn’t you rather get in the game and start taking the steps to achieve your dreams? If you’ve always wanted to go into a new career field and need the training, find someone already doing what you want to do, take them out to a meal and interview them. Get signed up for the classes, even if it’s online or through part-time night classes. Don’t be afraid to tell others about your dreams, they may be able to help you with resources or the right connection to take the learning curve down quickly.

Small numbers do add up. A little money put away each week in an interest bearing savings account or investment adds up. The 60 minutes a day with positive, uplifting reading material adds up. Audio learning in your car ride to and from work adds up. The continual hugs that you give each day to your partner and your children add up. The risk that you take to pursue a new hobby will add up. Passing on your knowledge and talent to others who show interest adds up. Take the chance and you’ll be surprised at the outcomes.

Learning Effective Communication

July 24, 2010

It’s not easy to know everyone’s communication style. You have to be aware of where people are at and understand how conversations work to develop better skills in communication. I remember that I learned in junior high school that life isn’t all about bragging about who you are and what you can do- it’s actually better to become involved in what the other person says and then reveal a little about yourself as you become comfortable.

Learning effective communication is something that is a work in progress within our house. I have two strong willed daughters who definitely will make their opinions known- and want you to talk back to them in less than a sentence so they can go on once again. We’ve had to be careful when we put out thoughts that are confusing or possibly making them feel shame about themselves. Often they will hang on the negative word without really listening to the whole context of the phrase or sentence.

I think you become a better communicator through listening. I mean real active listening- where you show appropriate eye contact, facial expressions and engage in follow up questions to truly understand what the person you are talking with is saying. How many times so we engage in this activity in our fast paced lives? We seem to want to cut people off or think we know what they are saying before they’ve finished the thought coming from their brain and out of their mouth.

Children will learn best through you as a parent and a role model. If you cut them off in conversation, don’t expect them to be able to stand there for long without doing the same in return. It’s not the time to show off your impressive vocabulary either- simpler, quicker to understand concepts go a long way to becoming mainstay ideas that last a lifetime.

Take a speech class or go through Toastmasters if you want to be a better public communicator. We all need consistent feedback on how to improve in this area- especially with the fear of public speaking being so high on everyone’s list. Don’t you want to give people help and communicate ideas effectively? Imagine how much this will improve your own self-esteem? Imagine how if you are an expert on a topic that others could use your help in, how valuable this could be for a second part-time or even full time career?

I remember hearing many times throughout life that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason- so we can listen twice as much as we talk. Take the time out of your life to plug into someone else and listen- you may be surprised how much you have in common with that person and how much more you will learn. Even if it’s someone half your age or even your child- they may be able to teach you something you didn’t already know. Thank you once again for reading and keep up the good work on your journey to health, happiness and success.

Another Random Entry

July 22, 2010

Another random entry. Going on a few hours of sleep, this one could be interesting. My daughter was a trooper today at her eye exam. She’s been having blurred vision issues close up and also struggling to read information on the white boards at school. The school recommended an eye exam and wants to know the results. A series of doctors checked and crosschecked different issues- and it turns out she won’t need a prescription.

They handled her fears very well and explained everything they were going to do before and as they were doing the procedures. I wish more medical professions would have the same level of understanding that this eye doctor facility has (D’Ambrosio Eye Care for those who wish to know). We would highly recommend anyone go to this facility, as they are willing to go the extra mile to seek out the best in care and service.

I have a series of books to read and I must say I love my Nook. I haven’t purchased many books so far (4 to be exact) but I find that when I don’t want to carry a big bag of books around, the Nook serves me just fine at work, in waiting areas and everywhere else I desire to read. The font size is easily manipulated if you don’t want to strain your eyes, and the selection of books is getting bigger and better. The prices are very reasonable for the information, and I think this will make a serious dent in the reading culture over the next 3-5 years. There will always be diehards who want to read physical product- but I believe how we consume information will be closer and closer to instant accessibility at our fingertips. Check it out when you get the chance, or even consider a Kindle if you’d like.

Teenagers and summer do not go well together. If you can’t find a way to keep their minds going and their bodies occupied, rest assured they will find a way to annoy you. Incessantly. I truly believe the sales genes are born and bred through teenagers. They will find your weakness and exploit it for all it’s worth. If you give in once, be ready for them to use that tactic again and again and again. I love how my oldest knows that she should be doing a lot of things, but wants other people to do the work for her. She better enjoy the last few years of her youth, because it doesn’t get easier as you reach adulthood. You do have to work hard to achieve your dreams, and nothing is going to be handed to you on a silver platter.

Sleep beckons. The weekend is approaching, and I believe the hazy, humid summer is finally going to give way to a more reasonable climate. Appreciate all that the world has to offer. Give someone a pat on the back or an encouraging smile. Recommend a good book or a good quote for them to ponder, consider and use in their box of tools. We only have one life to live, and we might as well maximize the time the best way we can. Don’t be afraid to take risks- you never know what rewards are out there. It’s better to take the chance and fall then to never take the chance and stew about what could have been. Have a wonderful day!

Tough Lessons

July 20, 2010

Sometimes we have to learn by example. Sometimes we have to learn through experience. I believe today my oldest daughter learned an important lesson on friendship, trust and responsibility- both from the child’s view as well as the parent view.

She was sleeping over a friend’s house, and a verbal fight occurred between the friend and my daughter. She was scheduled to sleep over for 2 nights. Since the friend didn’t want to resolve the argument amicably, in the early afternoon the mother ordered my daughter to leave the house.

Her resourceful brain had her walk to our old neighborhood and decide to see if our across the street former neighbors were still there. Luckily they were until I could be called to pick her up.

What parent kicks out their friend in the middle of a sleep over? Is it that tough to use your parenting skills and resolve things? When this friend had difficulty over our house with our daughter, we talked things through, apologies were made and the sleepover went through without a hitch. That’s being proactive and doing the right thing for the benefit of a relationship.

I’m hoping my daughter learned that this friend isn’t a true friend if she is unwilling to resolve conflicts- or if her manner of solving the problem is to just let people leave her life. I would never do that to a child. That’s the easy way of handling conflict and challenge- just run away from the problem or act like it doesn’t exist. What do children learn from that? They’ll probably end up parenting in the same way- learning from observation.

I didn’t scold my daughter because she did the right thing. My wife and I warned her that previous actions from the mother and her daughter weren’t really acts of kindness but more of selfishness. I think she learned that who she really thought was a friend wasn’t much of a friend at all.

To me a friend is someone who you may occasionally have disagreements with, but will be in your corner when you need them. They are there for the good times and the hard times- the celebrations as well as when you need comfort. It’s a mutual back and forth exchange.

I’m hoping my daughter understands the investment of a good friendship is worth it in the long run. It may be scary for her to want to develop new relationships, and I’m sure she’ll approach the next one cautiously. She tends to be an all in kind of person- you know where she stands at all times.

I want her to know not all people are like this former friend. You don’t leave at the first sign of conflict. If you are truly a friend, you look at the other person’s point of view and consider where they are coming from. It’s not always about you. I know she’s in pain about this long term friendship coming to such a crashing end- so I will be there if she needs a dad to listen.

I’m Not Proud

July 18, 2010

Yesterday would not be one of my most impressive moments in front of my family. On our way to head out of the house for an all day yard sale, I twirled the car keys around my fingers. As we entered the elevator, the keys slipped off my finger and down the elevator shaft. The maintenance worker searched for an hour and couldn’t find them.

What was I not proud of? I swore in front of my wife and kids. I lost my cool over something that can naturally happen in life. I felt shame and guilt for not keeping the keys safe. I’m usually the logical one, the responsible one, and this time I left myself and my family down.

I spent the better part of the day searching around for a replacement key. I got one made, and tried to re-program it for my car on my own. It doesn’t work- and then I’ve been looking online for the possible reason why.

Come to find out, you can’t program the new key unless you put in the master key to replicate it. Problem is- I wouldn’t have had a new key made if I didn’t lose the old key. Sort of like an Abbott and Costello “who’s on first” routine, I’m not caught waiting for the elevator people to come to our complex on Monday to get the problem solved.

Tomorrow will be another day. I need to learn that when I’m faced with a series of problems, I can’t lose my cool. What does it really accomplish? I may be getting rid of a moment or two of frustration, but my kids and wife remember the day that their father and husband couldn’t be a role model, and couldn’t keep things together.

It’s hard to give myself a break. I do believe that people remember the one negative thing you did versus the 10 positive things you may do thereafter. I did apologize to my children for my behavior. They will forgive me, and they will move onward. I need to remember that the next time when I’m faced with this situation, the outcome should be different.