I’m not the only one who makes mistakes!

I’ve spent a lifetime making mistakes…hell, I almost killed a baby during my lab training with a simple math error. I’ve hurt people with dumb things I’ve said. I lost a whack of money investing in a publicly-traded company that turned out to be a front for Russian money laundering. I’ve spit cherry pits out the window of a speeding car and had them fly back in my face!

But I’ve learned a lot because of my mistakes and I’ve tried to take something positive away from my gaffs, which leads me to… Not so long ago, a good friend from my childhood (thanks Denise) replied in an e-mail that something I had said sounded just like a “LARRY’ism“.

I liked the ring of that…LARRY’ism!

And it struck me…sure, there are some things that drill into my core and are a part of who I am and what I believe..things I’ve learned through my errors. I have LARRY‘isms and I didn’t even really realize it until she told me.

We all have LARRY‘isms …of course, yours are called MARGARET‘isms or DAVID‘isms or BILBO‘isms. These are the parts of you that make up your identity, an individual, a real person.

Some would call them principles…others a belief system…others just simply a way to live.

Because this is my blog, I get to tell you what some of my strongly held tenets are…there are more than 8 but we’ll get a good start here, right?!

I’d love to hear some of yours so please SHARE.

8 LARRY’isms

If it’s important, bore in, focus, and make it happen…

  • FOCUS- Unexplainable things appear from the ether when you set your lasers onto accomplishing something. Putting aside the distractions that are everywhere and focusing your mind makes you into a magician of the truest order.

Multi-tasking is a wonderful talent, but when you really want to accomplish something important to you…it’s all about FOCUS. I can’t read Facebook, scan a novel, check e-mails, and write a great song all at the same time (but I try!). Which is the most important to my contentment over time?—the song—so concentrate my mind and energy on creation.

Just one example: I was involved in a lab conference a few years back and was responsible for lining up exhibitors and sponsors. I determined that I would outpace anything done in recent history by selling more exhibitor booths and more sponsorships than ever before. I spent a lot of time on the phone. I sent out a ton of e-mails. I made the pitch about how much the company would have to gain. Did I make a sale every time…NOPE! I made hundreds of phone calls and ended up in a lot of dead-ends. But I did reach my goals (actually, exceeded) and despite the naysayers who said it couldn’t be done…it happened!

No special talent involved. Just focus and determination.

  • BUT SEE THE FOREST TOO- focusing on one thing for too long (ie. months, years) seizes your ability to see how one thing impacts another. Everything we do has a ripple effect…so we have to make sure the ripples create a great wave we can surf on and not a tsunami that destroys all around it. Don’t forget the other significant things around you…family, friends, exercise. Be a complete YOU!
  • INTENSITY- kind of like focus, but really it’s about pressing hard and making things happen. This can refer to mental intensity, using perseverance to stick things through when the going gets tough. Physical intensity brings your body and muscles to a point of strain and pain that when you can deal with it in a healthy, non-injurious way, will take you to a higher level than you would think is possible. Intensity lets you accomplish things quickly and that sets up a great feedback loop of positive inner feelings, and often muscle and speed too. I run some intensely hard interval runs in my marathon training because it makes me faster…but it’s tough stuff, and it hurts.

This is a work in progress for me… mental strength is a key component and I fall short sometimes.

Don’t let negativity around you sap your energy…surround yourself with enthusiasts.

  • POSITIVE PEOPLE- we all have our incredibly bad moments, sometimes lasting hours or days. Life is often tough and trying and painful, full of bruises and bleeding. But there are just some people who can’t find the silver lining in even the best things that happen to them. But then there are others who can find a nugget of happiness in a pile of stinking, fetid garbage and rise above the despair they feel.

This is the person I aspire to be, and the type of person I like to be around.

In my bad moments they lift me back out of the goo, and in the great moments, they make the sun shine even brighter and help to make me a better, more positive person.

  • GROWTH- the feeling that you have learned or accomplished something is a better high than most drugs or alcohol I’ve tried (of course I haven’t yet tried the full gamut!). Humankind has become what it has – both positive AND negative I suppose– because we’ve learned and we’ve learned and we’ve learned some more.  The house I live in, the food I eat, the people who love me and I love back are here because I’ve learned and grown and that allows me to function and thrive in the world surrounding me. I wouldn’t be doing the job I do with databases if I hadn’t learned how to operate and understand the software that makes it all possible.

I learned, I grew, I prospered. Direct connections to a pretty good life.

  • SELF-DISCIPLINE- I often hear the phrase, “Live for today, for who knows what tomorrow will bring“. It sounds like a wonderful, and sublime piece of advice. And there is a germ of truth in it, but only a germ.

People buy into it because it is easy and because they rationalize the things they want to own or like to do now.

-I will live for today, so I’ll buy a yacht.

You’ve actually made a decision about tomorrow in terms of payments you’ll have to make, or lost income opportunity from the money you’ve paid. And if you’re gone tomorrow, your estate and your heirs will have to make good on the debt owing.

I don’t want to delay everything that makes life enjoyable and desirable to some future time that all the stars align and perfection exists. I can’t change the past. It’s done. But I can affect the future and one of the best ways I know is with self-discipline. I can enjoy some things today, and others I can derive delayed gratification from holding off until later. WAIT and I enjoy it more.

If I want to retire at 55, I need the self-discipline to save 10% of my income for years and years ahead. Spend it all today and it’s three squares a day of Puppy Chow when I’m 75!

Self-discipline can be HARD…that’s why the word discipline is in there!

The easy choice is not always the best one!

  • GIVE LOVE AND PRAISE– everyone thrives on being told or shown that they are loveable. And everyone loves to be honestly told that they’ve done something well. Most people I think, are stingy with their compliments because they feel it somehow lessens their value when in fact it is just the opposite.

Applauding another is a gift that costs nothing and gives something to both you and the recipient. I’m not talking only about praising children. Congratulate your neighbour for a great job of painting his house…praise your co-worker for staying 10 minutes after hours to help you get things cleaned up…gush over the restaurant server who brought you an extra plate unasked to share your piece of pie with a friend. The joy you give someone in praise, reflects right back at you for a long time after.

IS that eight? Ooops, one short. It’s not actually a LARRY‘ism but it is something that I really like about waking up on a brilliant spring day.

  • SUNSHINE– it just gets so hard to feel sad or bad when the sun is warm and shining. Sunshine is like having that positive person around you that I’m talking about above. Sun casts a shadow and obliterates despair or disappointment. Maybe it’s because I have seasonal affective disorder or something, but sun rays melt away gloom almost as good as butterscotch ice cream, my favourite…ALMOST!

Well, I’m sure I’ve made a spelling mistake or grammatical error in my writing today. Or worse still, an error in logic or judgment, so hopefully it will be pointed out to me and I’ll learn and grow. But for now, it’s a gorgeously sunny day. This Larry is heading outside to get in a hard run and some Vitamin D!

I’ll run hard…just not THAT hard!

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