Attitude to Action

(I have been absent from my EldonUp Blog work for a few months. Brief Explanation: Cancer – Treatment – Surgery – Recovery – Taking on a blog for my church – Refining my focus for my personal writing.)

Now, to Dig In.

What does it take to achieve all that you are capable of?

The title of this post summarizes the answer.

It all begins with Attitude.

Attitudes originate in your mind.

A sad fact is that many times they never make it out of your mind. Into the real world.

Another sad fact is that some people have an attitude that prevents them from achieving their ‘Best Me.’ (Help with Attitude Adjustments will be in a later post.)

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To achieve Your Best you don’t have to be a Genius.

You don’t have to be wealthy.

You don’t have to be famous.

You don’t have to be popular.

You don’t have to be handsome or beautiful.

You don’t have to be an athlete.

You don’t have to have a six-pack or an hour-glass figure.

What You Do Need

The BestYou begins in your mind.

You need a Goal. That’s the first requirement.

You also need an Attitude about your Goal.

I think the Goal comes first. At least it did for me. –My attitude was, “If they can do it, so can I!”

I had the Goal. I developed the Attitude.

It all begins in your Mind, but it will remain a whispy dream unless you apply some Muscle.

Process:

  • Goal
  • Attitude
  • Action

You have to Begin. You have to Do.

How do you go about taking an Idea and turning it into a Goal?

(I will be providing step-by-step guidance each week here in my blog. Subscribe and follow along.)

Actions to Begin

Ideas travel through our minds at supersonic speeds. It is easy to have an idea and forget it within a matter of minutes. Maybe that’s my problem, but not yours. Pretend that it is also your experience for now.

Write things on paper. –Paper seldom forgets. –I also write with pen so that fading is not a problem.

I am a strong advocate for Composition Notebooks as daily companions.

1) The are inexpensive. I can usually find them for less than 50 cents each. Back to School time is the ideal time to stock up. Even at full price they are only $1 each.

2) They have stiff covers. Which provides some support for writing anywhere you may be when an idea hits you.

3) Wide or College Rule. I began with wide rule, but have converted to College. I can fit more on a page.

4) No wire binding. The wire on those other notebooks will catch on something and stretch the coil out of shape. Or it will get crushed and prevent the pages from turning well.

5) Compact size. They fit easily into my sling bag, into file folders for cabinet storage, or onto my book shelves.

6) Marking Big Ideas. I fold the page diagonally so the top piece sticks up above the page edges.

Personal Qualities Checklist

Be Determined to hit your Goal. –Determination can be learned.

Be Consistent in your Actions. —–Consistency can be developed

Be a Learner. —–Patterns for Learning can be acquired.

Identify Supporters. –Everyone needs encouragement, —-pats on the back, —-to be pushed back onto the field, —-honest feedback.

The Pattern: Do – – – Feedback – – – Adjust – – – Do

Result: #BestYou

Comments

Please leave comments and suggestions: Such as Your Experiences in reaching goals, achieving your best.

Why You Need A Vision

She stood there in front of me at my desk. Sixth grade math begins the change to Algebra. She had just failed a timed quiz on Addition.
“I’m not good at math,” she said. “I’ve always gotten bad grades in the subject.”
Then she added, “I wish it would change.”

Wish.
“Wishing isn’t going to change anything,” I replied. “For your grade to change, you must change!”

We then worked together to develop a plan of action for her to create the change she needed and wanted. She had the potential for excellence in math all along.
But she hadn’t seen it in herself. And she didn’t have a plan to create the change she wished for.

In order to hit a target, you must first see the target.

Her vision for herself became the target.
I won’t give the details of the plan, because the story is just to illustrate.
Over the first semester of that year she mastered the foundations of all four operations.

If your Vision of Your Best Self is unclear, out of focus, incomplete, then it is difficult to hit that target.
You might even say that it would be an accident if you did.
Maybe it would be more comfortable to use the word ‘lucky.’

Do people realize their dreams just out of luck? Maybe. But the odds would be millions to one.
But wishing is not going to produce in real life the results seen in Fairy Tales.

What about if I work hard? Isn’t that likely to get me to my goal?
That would depend on the connection between your work and your goal.

You see, often we mistake rewards for the goal. “I have this reward, so I must have reached a goal.”

The commercials and shows on TV, movies, music, entertainment – you might generalize and say Society Today – is focused on rewarding yourself just because ‘You deserve it.’

If you already deserve it, you don’t have to work for it. Just being You qualifies you for everything you can dream.
Does Life work that way for you? It doesn’t for me.

Rewards are easy to get. A few credit cards, a loan or two, good credit – those make it possible to give yourself rewards without actually reaching Your Potential – without attaining The Vision that you have for yourself.
But –
Rewards without effort quickly lose their allure.
Rewards without effort result in boredom, even in the midst of abundance.
And Boredom results in depression, when it is allowed to live in your mind.

Shape Your Vision

It is easy to focus on the rewards that you associate with Reaching Your Potential.
But, as shown above, a reward that is not earned becomes a trap that distracts you from working toward your real target.
There’s nothing wrong with motivating yourself with pictures and dreams of a beautiful home, cars, boat, travel.
But, attach the reward to a level of achievement.
What has to happen in You in order to earn a reward.

Example
“When I master Chinese I will travel to walk the Great Wall.”

This way you are focused on reaching personal growth goals.
You will have a clear, focused vision in which you see yourself achieving your potential, at the top of your game, acknowledged by those who are important to you.

Shaping your vision should not be viewed as an easy task, one that you can sculpt with little effort.
Just thinking about your future achievements while driving or playing golf or sleeping will not be sufficient to create a detailed vision in which you are the star.

Wishing for change will never achieve change. Change takes work. Hard work.

Question 1
What will reaching my Vision look like?

You will need some paper to write on. Lots of it.
I know how easy it is to believe that “I won’t forget, so I don’t need to write it down.”
I know how easy it is to lose scraps of paper that I used to scribble my thoughts on in a moment of inspiration.

So- I recommend a Notebook.

First, write out what your Vision will look like when you have Reached Your Goal.
This will maybe take many pages to get the picture just right.
Write, edit, rewrite.

An Example Vision
“I will be standing on the stage before an audience of thousands detailing my discovery of the sequencing and interconnections among the components of literacy that will make the classroom teacher more effective and the students more successful.”

Getting your Vision into just-right words may take more work than you first think. But keep working. Keep tweaking.
You are worth it!

Shape Your Vision.

How To Reach Best You

I have used the #BestYou on my blog for some time now – more than a year. It’s time to look carefully at what my intended meaning is, and what it might mean for you.

First, My Best is not to be the measure you use for yourself.
We each have capabilities and talents.
The level I am capable of attaining in some areas may not be your Best.
And, my Best in some efforts may be paltry when compared to your achievements.

Rule: Don’t compare yourself to others.

Second, there are only two acceptable comparisons:
1. With yourself from where you started;
2. Jesus to where He wants us to be.

I realize that you probably have already accumulated many accomplishments.
But let’s work through a couple exercises.

An inventory to determine where you are starting is important.
1. What are your inherent aptitudes?
Things that you had a natural liking for and easily acquired skills in?
What skills or interests did your parents model for you?
Teachers or others that were role models to you that inspired you to learn something?

What have you done with these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to continue developing things on this list?

2. What are your ‘dream abilities’?
Maybe you have thought or said “If only I could…”
Write a list.

What have you done to pursue these abilities, knowledge, and skills?
What are you doing to encourage yourself to pursue things on this list?

3. What are your developed abilities and achievements?

You probably read through those lines without getting paper and pen and ‘doing’ the exercise.
That’s okay.
Let me stir the soup a little more.

Focus your thoughts on one category at a time and write what comes into your mind.

Categories in which you may have skills and abilities:
Mind – mental abilities – thinking – learning
Hands – manual abilities to make things and do things – touching that soothes and heals – draw – paint – sew – cook – garden – musical
Body – exercise – balance – dance – movement – rhythms

Spiritual, Creative, Academic (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral degrees)
Physical, Recreational, Musical, Artistic

Attitudes: persistence, consistency, never quit, positive outlook, encouraging, resolution

Illustration

At an early age I determined that I wanted to become a teacher.
My mother was my first teacher. I found that I learned well from her methods of instruction.
I also had two or three excellent teachers in my formal school experiences.
I applied the methods they used that were effective with me. I found that I could successfully tutor fellow students that where struggling.

I read every book on teaching that I could get my hands on. Then I applied what I had read to my classrooms.
I observed other teachers whenever possible.
I assembled ideas of my own – amalgams and hybrids of reading, listening, and trying.
I asked mentors to observe and coach me.
I built successes into my regular performances in the classroom.
On the ride home and in the quiet of working in my gardens, I reflected on the work of the day – noting successes and failures. Planning for the next time that would avoid the failure.

Repeat!
That is the operant word.
Repeat!
The key to all learning is Repetition.
Repetition is the Mother of Learning.
Mastery of the basics makes it possible for Genius to Achieve.
Whether it is manual or mental skills, they are honed through practice – Repetition.

I know that there are exceptions – savants who seem to be born with a special ability.
One of my students could tell which day of the week any date was – past or future. No practice involved.
My wife has piano lessons with a first grade boy. He is able to create original compositions. He has finger dexterity that is beyond most children his age. His musical thinking is amazing.
But he spends hours practicing in between lessons. Because he wants to do more.

Now – – –
Go back and do the 3-Part Inventory.
Put in the effort.
Be confident that you are “The Best You” right now, but you are working toward the future “Best You.”

Tomorrow will probably require some more effort so you can stay “The Best You.”
It’s an on-going effort.
Be willing to Repeat the effort daily.

Everyone has the responsibility to become their Best Self.
#BestYou

How To Make A Difference

I had planned to become a teacher.
I felt called to teach at the high school level: History, English, Spanish.
I would leave college with seccondary certification.

During my last semester of my senior year I was hired to teach in Florida.
Dream job. Or so I thought.
May came and I was informed of the teaching position I would fill.
A one-room school in Boynton Beach. Probably 8 students.
In grades 1-8.

I think I was a rather typical 21-year-old. Rather self-absorbed.

Something happened to me early in the first semester of that first year of teaching.
I discovered that my students mattered to me.
My mother had cared for other people’s children all of my growing up years. She treated them like they were her own. Give to meet their needs with little regard for her own needs.
Something she had instilled in me through her example took root in my spirit and began to grow.

I don’t recall a growing-of-the-tree named Teacher. It was like it exploded into my self, full-grown.

Forty-eight years later I left the classroom as my daily life.

Difference

What does it take to make a difference?
To meet the needs of others as a priority in my personal needs?

What if you didn’t have a mother like my mother?
What if, like me now, you are not 20-something?
What if you are not just starting out into the world?
I am now in my 70s. With another birthday this month.

I think there are some principles of making-a-difference that can be applied no matter your age.

1. Answer this question, in writing: What do you believe in? Create a list.

2. Look for a need outside yourself.
There are so many needs around us, right in our own neighborhoods.
Right in our own churches and schools.
Finding a need may result in overload.
The problem soon becomes, which one do I choose?

3. Get involved with an already-in-place opportunity.
State Farm Insurance has a program called Neighborhood Of Good.
One of their opportunities will likely fit you.

4. Be the person you wish to see in your world.
Begin where you are: You.
Set an example.

5. One Person Cared-for.
I was walking from the Garden Shop in Home Depot to the plumbing department. I had a question for an expert.
An elderly man in a motorized cart blocked my way. He was going full speed, which was a slow walk for me. I fell in behind him. He turned, saw me, and attempted to move to the side. There was no room for that.
I laughed and said, “Don’t worry! I’m in no hurry!”
We traveled that way until we came to an open area. He stopped. I came up beside him.
(Those of you who know me understand that I am not out-going.)
He remarked that items in his basket were marked one price, but the register in the garden shop had rung them up at a higher price. He was looking for a supervisor.
“My wife always hangs two fern baskets on either side of the fountain in our front yard,” he commented. He then kind of choked up and ducked his head. “Always hung,” he corrected himself. “She died in December. I just need to continue her legacy,” he said quietly.

I stayed there and talked with him (mostly listened) for a long time. “Tommy,” he introduced himself. He was lonely. After 50+ years of marriage he was unaccustomed to the condition of lonely.

I have his name and I will call him.

6. Each One Reach One.
Someone once said to me that if each person helped just one person we could reach every person in the world in a few months.
That detail is suspect.
Start with one. Look for an opportunity to make a difference in one person’t day.
Pay It Forward at the drive-thru, or the toll booth, or the coffee shop.

7. One Person Inspired
Your action may well inspire the one that you took care of to Be a Difference, too.
At work, at church, at the grocery or department store, at the restaurant, at home.
Especially At Home. Make a difference in the day of a family member. Maybe this could become a Family Adventure.

Caution: Don’t do any of this as a way to be recognized and thanked.

An Adventure like this will result in a Settled Peace within yourself. No fireworks. No applause. No awards or recognition plaques. Peace.

Is there a better reward?

Challenge

#Go.Now.Do.
#BestYou

Comments are appreciated.

Achieving Personal Development

When I was 8 years old my parents took me to live with my Aunt Clara and Uncle Ben on the farm.

It was there that I had my first encounter with the violin. On Friday evening, after chores were done, we took our weekly baths, and then Uncle Ben would take his fiddle from its home on top of the upright piano and play.

I was in love. Oh, how I wanted to hold that instrument and make it sing.

But it was forbidden fruit. Only Uncle Ben was permitted to touch.

Up to this time, the musical part of my personal development had experienced only my mother singing. I had probably heard other music during my 8 years of life. But nothing struck into my developing brain to cause me to thrill – until the violin.

I could whistle, and I am sure I could carry a tune. My sister and I sang a duet for a closing school program, and no one ran screaming for the door with their hands over their ears.

Personal Development: Working on the parts of my self that enable me to participate well in the human experience.

Even the restriction to not touch the violin was part of my Personal Development. It involved a pattern of obedience and respecting the property of others.

Personal Development engages you in many parts of your life. Some examples are –

Feelings
Anxiety – Peace
Acceptance – Tolerance – Dislike

Enjoyment of
taste
goal-setting
recreational activities
art – culture
literature (reading)
music
fashion

Personal image – view of others

Skills – a work ethic – a play ethic

Your Goal in each area and stage is to be Balance – Avoid Extremes.

I think of the four stages in the work of developing a person in this sequence:

1. Knowledge – Exposure to things and experiences for the purpose of knowing

2. Acceptance – Allowing and considering new experiences

3. Preferences – Deciding what you like and what you don’t like

4. Performance – Mastering skills to the levels of Accomplished and/or Expert

Parents control the beginning stages of Personal Development, as infants and children are subjected to the parents’ preferences and choices. Touch, taste, attitude toward ‘new’, sounds, music, activity, style, dress.

Parents pass on their own attitudes toward Knowledge and Acceptance, which controls the child’s Development in these stages. This embeds a pattern that will likely be followed by the child as the child becomes an adult.

The Preferences stage begins in the infant/child and continues into adult-middle-age.

The Performance stages of Personal Development have the best outcomes when Care-takers begin the work during the childhood years.

Before we reach our adult lives most of the foundations for Personal Development are already in place.

Parents control early exposure to the ingredients of Personal Development.

Parents provide a pattern for dealing with new experiences.

The child begins to accept or reject the parent’s patterns for dealing with ‘new’.

Adults determine their own response and actions toward development. It is often more difficult to acquire the Performance Stage when beginning a new skill as an adult.

HINT: Many old people tend to be stuck in their ways, with little acceptance of change. Don’t be an old person.

My daughter, at a young age, decided she did not like peas and beans. Unfortunately, a vegetarian diet makes liberal use of those dietary items.

She had the balanced diet of baby food items. Later, we placed some beans or peas on her plate, expecting her to develop an acceptance of them over time.

She would carefully work her way around the plate, avoiding the detested items.

We would make her sit at the table until she cleaned her plate.

She would sit there for hours, with her arms folded and her bottom lip pouting.

To this day she does not like them. Not everything works out the way the parenting books say it should. And some children have a clear understanding of their preferences early in life.

Adults need to have an openness to change in order to take themselves through all four stages listed above.

Personal Development needs to take into account our Personality Type.

Depending on which school of thought you choose, there are 4 basic personality types, or there are 12, or there are 16, or even more.

Human Personality has been studied quite thoroughly. Take an on-line test if you are unsure of your label.

Check out this link with several tests you can take.

https://www.allthetests.com/personality-tests-character-quizzes-psycho.php

Personality tests will provide you with some knowledge to help you in your interactions with life. But nothing in the results should make you give up with a dismissive “Oh, Well! That’s how I am.” Certain tendencies are identified, but you can change, you can learn how to adapt, you can move toward the center.

Your Personality (Temperament Type) will reveal strengths and weaknesses that you may have. Use the strengths to move the weaknesses to have lesser control over your choices.

Focus on cultivating habits/patterns that are “Good-for-me” and “Good-for-those-important-to-me”, in work and recreation, – in other words – in your Personal Development.

Share

I was in my 30s before I acquired a violin of my own. I can’t play any recognizable melody on it. Never had the resources to take lessons.

But my grandson is taking lessons and plays for me.

I hope this article will encourage you to work on your self – and your children and grandchildren.

What have you done with/for your children to promote their personal development? With what results?

What have you done for yourself?

I’d love to hear from you.

Email me or Comment on this post.