Friday, February 13, 2009

The Question of Motivation

I received a great quote in my email this morning by Sir Alexander Paterson: “When a man is sufficiently motivated, discipline will take care of itself.” Wow, I thought, here is the answer to my lack-luster performance! I will finally be able to quit swearing, lose weight, keep my side of the bedroom clean, not let clutter accumulate on my dining room table, my dresser, my car and my purse. I will finally be able to motivate my children to do their homework, pursue hobbies instead of constantly FaceBooking, keep their room clean and be nice to each other. Perfect life, here I come!

That is when it dawned on me that for some people just the thought of doing the right thing is enough motivation. They reason that life is much easier, more fulfilling and less stressful if they simply do what they know they are supposed to do. But for others, like myself and my children, it seems like a headache to do all that stuff. So, we decide to procrastinate because it seems easier in spite of the often negative consequences. We reason that by putting off today what can easily be done tomorrow (or the next day or the next day or next week or next month…) we’ll be happier in the long run. Even we are not convinced by this logic and yet…our behavior speaks for itself.

Meanwhile, I am procrastinating on my work to contemplate how best to motivate slackers like myself and my children. Money is the obvious answer and yet who can afford the pay-out required to get us on track? We could target some specific behaviors, however, judging from times past, money will get tight and then the “allowance” goes out the window.

We’ve also grounded them from the computer, TV, cell phones and Wii. That has actually been pretty effective in the past but as motivation is an on-going struggle, grounding constantly seems unrealistic. Besides, I’d also have to be setting a good example, and so far I’m just as guilty as they are.

In thinking about this it occurs to me that while our environment exerts pressures to help guide our behavior, the question of motivation that outlasts the hurdles encountered when changing significantly is really one that boils down to our own internal thoughts, will and emotions. George Bernard Shaw said, “Imagination is the beginning of creation: you imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will.” The control clearly lies within us.

Which brings me back to the dilemma of how to desire doing the right thing when most of the time I don’t. Perhaps I should just follow the advice of Mssrs. Marcus Buckingham and Curtis Coffman in their management book, “Now, Break All the Rules.” They argue that people don’t really change all that much and when we do, the way our brains work constantly nudges us back to the way we were before. The true path they say is to focus on improving your strengths and build your success from there and just forget about all those rotten old faults.

Which leads me to the conclusion that when you go searching for the hard answers in life you end up getting a lot of difficult-to-digest answers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What kind of soup did you say that was?

So the hubby met me for lunch today in what is reported to be the best Chinese (Laosian) restaurant in town. We walked in and there sat three of my co-workers (also known as bung holes if you read my FB). We walked over and said hi and we were told to try the Coconut Curry Soup – it’s the best. I got really excited because I love curry and so got myself a very large bowl of the soup.

Boy, were they right. That soup had the delicious depth of flavor that only curry can add to food and the hot kick from ground red pepper. Even the coconut milk added a layer of flavor that made my taste buds sing. There were also veggies and chicken – oh, those potatoes! They absorbed the flavors of the curry and salt and crumbled deliciously on my tongue. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a better bowl of soup, and firmly vowed right then and there to figure out how to make that soup at home. Yum!

In spite of being rather full I knew I couldn’t leave the restaurant without another bowl of that soup. I eagerly went over to the large sunken pot of the soup and began to delightedly fill my bowl anticipating all the foody loveliness in store once I got back to my table. About the 3rd ladleful I saw something unrecognizable flash into my bowl. Surely – that could not be a shirt tag?!?!?! Oh, indeed, it was! An XXL no less!!!!

Staggering with a combination of shock, amusement and disappointment, I hurried back to the table, put my bowl down and said, “Honey, look!” He took a look and said, “Is that a shirt tag? Or is an underwear tag? I think that’s an underwear tag!” Now please understand, as wildly unlikely as it is to get a shirt tag in your soup, I just can’t buy getting an underwear tag in your soup. I’m sticking with the shirt tag.

Now my hubby tends to be quite the assertive complainer. However, the tragi-comic element of the situation had him in a uncharicteristically congenial attitude about it. He calls the waitress over and shows her the soup. She says, “What is that, a tag!? Oh, so sorry!” and she takes it away. I watch her walk over and dump my soup out, and as I’m praying she takes the soup off the buffet, it is with relief I see her walk over and lift the lid to the soup pot. She stirs it a few times, replaces the lid and walks away. Walks away!?!?!??!?!?!? I could hardly believe my eyes. Before another moment passes, a man walks up and fills a bowl and then another man walks up. All in all, after the discovery, I saw six people walk up there and get soup – including the bung hole co-workers who each had two bowls apiece.

Even still, I gotta say, that was damn good soup.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

True story

Shuffling through an ex-coworkers desk, I came across the cartoon here. As you can see it is in some disrepair and had been casually tossed aside where it had once been tacked to her cubicle wall - in a place of honor, no doubt.

But here's the interesting thing: She was pregnant from the Shipping Guy out in the warehouse. One day, she just quit coming to work and the Shipping Guy called saying his doctor wouldn't let him come to work until further notice. A couple weeks later, the pregnant girl's boss is coming back from lunch and he sees her strutting down the street, still preggers. He goes back to the office and fires her (and the cause of the delay was.....?)

So fast forward a couple weeks and the warehouse gets an inventory count. Hmmmm, a number of our stainless steel and aluminum parts are missing. Like hundreds, perhaps thousands (unfortuantely, I didn't get to get in on the really juicy details). Suddenly things start to click for the upper "execs" at my company.

Apparently Amanda and Jay, the culprits described above, had been coming in on the weekends to finish up work they had gotten so far behind on. Jay would often have to use the company truck on these weekend overtime adventures (and yes, they were both paid overtime). So, Jay and Amanda weren't really working; they had thought up a get-rich-quick scheme to help keep them afloat since Jay apparently had some sort of severe addiction: they would just go scrap (perfectly good) parts at the scrap yard and pocket the money. This had been occuring for a number of months before they both disappeared. Suddenly that little cartoon there doesn't seem so innocent, huh?

Ok, so fast forward a couple more weeks after the cops investigate and come to find out, the Warehouse Manager had been also involved in the scrapping scheme. He also came up missing one day with an email that read "I am going to be out of the office for about a month." The next day his boss sent an email saying he wouldn't be coming back. Word is they are all getting prosecuted. And you know what else? The Warehouse Manager's son has taken over the managing position his father vacated.

And all because that damn beer was addicted to Jay! Poor guy.

Monday, February 09, 2009

This is purported to be true...and I believe it

Q: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for blood pressure?
A: No.
Q: Did you check for breathing?
A: No.
Q: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
A: No.
Q: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
A: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
Q: But could the patient have still been alive nevertheless?
A: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law somewhere.