Remove Complication and Just Have Dinner

Mom making her dinner selection.
Mom making her dinner selection.

I’m one of those people who tends to like to mull over questions, problems and issues for a while as I try to sort them out. This is both blessing and curse in that I enjoy the thinking process, but it’s obviously pretty easy to slip into a mode of over-complication. Thinking is great, but not if all you do is think and never act – that’s the great corporate maxim of paralysis by analysis.

Perhaps the greatest issue of overthinking problems is you get brutally self-involved, something I view as a borderline high crime for myself because it’s inherently selfish. I’m a firm believer that we were meant to live our lives interacting with our fellow man… and that we should do our best to make that successful.

I think that’s why during a particularly stressful run of late, I did something to remove complication and do something so incredibly simple:

Stopped what I was doing and had dinner with my Mom.

And suddenly, life got a lot more simple. I chatted with her earlier in the day, she talked about how Dad was going to be at a golf event having dinner and then a few hours later it hit me… why don’t I just take her out to dinner?

While I am tempted to go into some kind of deep review of our dinner, what we talked about, how good the food was (it was awesome, quite frankly) and such, I’m not going to do so. Because that’s not the point and would cause me to slip back into the overanalysis world anyway.

Instead, I urge anyone who feels in the midst of their own drama (whether external or self-created) to stop what you’re doing, find someone you care about and just share a meal where you try to listen more than talk (I was only semi-successful in this regard, but I tried hard). That’s it. No fancy self-reflection. No working through a success matrix from your favorite improvement web site. No matter how busy you are. Stop. Get out of your own way. Focus on someone else.

Remove complication and just have dinner.

Sometimes it’s just not that hard.

Giving Up and Doing Good

Photo on 2-22-12 at 7.55 PMI thought I would try something extra nutty this evening and keep my blog post fairly short and to the point.  I know, I’m sort of doubting that will happen too as I type this, but by God… let’s give this crazy notion a whirl.

Today is Ash Wednesday, hence the snappy picture of our blog hero to the right, looking dapper as ever in pointing out the incredibly obvious ashes mark on my dome.  Because you wouldn’t have noticed it otherwise, right?

I’m a fairly private person when it comes to my own faith, hence I ‘m not going to spend a lot of time going into the details of that… however, I think there is something about Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent generally that is a positive in our hectic modern world.  Basically, it’s meant to be a time to stop, reflect and realize there’s much in life that’s a lot bigger than you and your individual problems.  Separate that from the particular religious aspects of the season and it soon becomes a valuable lesson for anyone, regardless of belief, or lack thereof.  It’s a bit of my mission for the next several weeks to make reflection a better habit than I have.

In addition, I am also looking to do something this year for Lent in addition to the “giving up” piece that so many people tend to associate with the season (although I am doing a bit of that too).  Inspired by a Facebook post I saw from author Robyn O’Brien, I remembered what my Mom always would say about Lent when I tried to think of what to give up.  “Kevin, you don’t have to give something up… you can just do something instead.”  As usual, Mom had the wisdom I am usually only able to feign.

So this year, my goal is to try and make someone’s day, every day by paying a very sincere compliment… and not repeat anyone for the entire period of Lent.  Sounds doable, right?  I think one way I will do this is just to post a Facebook status update each day on one of my friends (especially on days where I cannot think of a specific compliment I gave… like today).

Will this change the world?  No, probably not… but honestly, I think we live in a world of sorely in need of people saying nice things about each other and really meaning them.  It’s simple to do, costs absolutely nothing and you never know who might need that lift, maybe even more than you know.

Off to start my do-gooding… and these 40 days may turn into something a little bit more than just a short window goal.  Wouldn’t that be something?

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