Wednesday, January 31, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 4 Jan 2007

OK, I am deviating a little bit and doing my HappyUP!!! at the beginning of the day today - it is always best to sift through your various jottings and pick out the best of the best.

This makes the program maximally effective - rather than go "here are three HappyUP!!!s...I'm done," you get to reflect on all of the things that happened that made you happy.

But....I'll be in Bakersfield tonight - and my ability to post may be limited. If I can, I will give you an update.

First - something to keep in mind as you HappyUP!!! Some people equate fun with happiness. Fun is a component of happiness. Fun is an event. Fun is not usually available 24/7. Of course, we know of people that try to have fun 24/7 and, most would agree, there are a few problems to that strategy (how is Lindsay Lohen doing with that rehab program anyway?)

In looking for things that make you happy - and analyzing why they make you happy, your focus now is in a place that leads to what happiness is.....a continual process as opposed to an event. Let's keep this in mind as I go through a few HappyUPs that have already occurred since I have been up for the last two hours.

HappyUP!!! 1 - I downloaded my new anti-virus and security update

Why did it happen - my annual subscription was up and I was notified.

Why did it make me happy - the download went very smoothly. No problems. It happened just the way that I think it should. Now, those of you who use computers (that would be ALL of you if you are reading this....well, except for those people who have friends that read my posts, recognize the infinite wisdom, print the posts, go to a copy machine, and distribute them as hard copy all over the world) know that these types of things don't always go easily. Computers can have glitches. I also know that I don't have to worry about paying my annual union dues to McAfee for another year (future post on McAfee and their practices in a later post).

HappyUP!!! 2 - waking up with two black cats on the bed

Why did it happen - it was cold outside. These are outside cats. I don't usually let them in.

Why did it make me happy - we have been having a cold snap here in Sacramento. Cats can usually sleep outside through most of the year. I have been intermittingly letting the cats in based on how cold it is. The interesting thing is that the very first night that I let them in, they marched right upstairs, jumped on the bed, laid down next to me AND on me.......and were there when I woke up in the morning. It was an instinct. Yes, I could be naive. Perhaps they got together and went, "hey, he's asleep now....let's go downstairs and party." But, I checked the liquour seems like they spent the night on the same mattress that I did. I am not overly affectionate with these outdoor cats.....yet there was something innate in them that they wanted to lay down and sleep right next to and on me. It's like they really need me, appreciate me, trust me, whatever. I just thought that it was nice. If not for HappyUP!!!, I probably wouldn't have thought about this. The excercise has forced me to put this nice thought in my brain. This will start to become addictive...I will look for more nice things than normal. Remember, whatever it is you are looking for, you will usually find. It makes sense that looking for and finding something nice will increase your overall happiness.

HappyUP!!! 3 - my new Bluetooth Headset

Why did it happen - I bought it because Renee at the Cingular store was so helpful with my phone that I just had her set me up with the technology so I wouldn't have to read any instructions.

Why it makes me happy - I have a four to five hour drive to Bakersfield today. That's a haul....especially for someone like me that doesn't care for long drives. I am compiling a huge business phone call list. I even scheduled a half hour conference call to take while in the car....if it drops, it drops but everyone knows that could happen. The Bluetooth is going to keep me from craning my neck.....and comfortably pass the time....on that flat, scenic-less, boring drive.

HappyUP!!! Bonus - I bought The World Is Flat on audio. I have been meaning to read it but it seems like a perfect book on tape. Once done with my phone calls or on the 4-5 hrs back tomorrow, I will have that book "read".....and, if that one runs out, I bought a couple of others.........just in case I get tired of yakking on the phone.


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 3 Jan 2007

Wow...where did the day go?!?

HappyUP!!! 1 - Our guest at our Toasmasters meeting

Why did it happen - she found our club on the Website

Why did it make me happy - it is always great to have new, potential members at our club. The lady had a lot of presence and she has a goal. Toastmasters is designed to help people with their communication skills so it is a joy whenever we get a chance to further the cause

HappyUP!!! 2 - handled a difficult personnel issue at work

Why did it happen - well......I can't divulge those details, silly! It's a personnel issue!!!

Why did it make me happy - actually, the whole issue that came up saddened me. I had to terminate someone that I didn't want to. It had become somewhat inevitable, however, so the issue was closed today. It is good to get those things behind us. I also got great marks for following procedure that was fair to all involved.

HappyUP!!! 3 - I talked with my new boss

Why did it happen - he is looking to me to be an important resource to his newly reorganized region

Why did it make me happy - it has been a bit since I had a resource above me that I could really count on. I have had the position above me change personnel a few times over the last couple of years. The new boss is actually an old peer. He knows our systems...the previous people were brought in from the outside so I had to help them find their way around. It's going to be nice to hit the ground running!!!

Headin Out the Door

...and on the way to work - yes, I have some challenging employee issues to deal with today. I have pressing deadlines. We are in the middle of reorganization in the food chain above me. Communication is limited and confusing.

But it is a natural part - of being in business. When you are in business, you deal with people and all of what they bring to the table.

And, often, what they bring to the table - isn't the pretty centerpiece that you would choose.

So....what do you do - not even let them sit at your table and stop them at the door? Then, you get to do all the work. Do you take their centerpiece and tell them what a piece of digestive waste it is? Surely
, that will make them feel better and make them hate their own certerpiece, won't it? (<----Sarcasm) It sure would be a lot faster and easier if everyone saw it your way, wouldn't it?

It just doesn't work like that - it is your table. You don't have to allow someone else to sit their stuff ON it. You can let them. Maybe, it is just temporary. You can also teach them to get their own table. You can teach them how to appreciate my centerpiece....

...but you can't MAKE them like it - though, God only knows, you try.

It's the wee hours of the morning - another challenging day ahead but I already have a couple of HappyUP!!!s going for me. It's going to be a good day.

Monday, January 29, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 2 Jan 2007

Was this ever a good call to put myself on the HappyUP!!! program this week! - because, even though I know this stuff like the back of my hand, it is good for a disciplined refresher a couple of times a year.

You see, we humans are a funny breed - homeostasis kicks in. You know.....this is when we tend to revert back to old comfortable habits. Without the extra HappyUP!!! boost, a very trying day today would have been a mess!

HappyUP!!! 1 - I discovered I lost my cell phone

Why did it happen - it must have fell out of my pocket

Why did it make me happy - well, the losing it didn't. In my business, I am pretty dependent on the cell phone. The HappyUP wasn't as much about the was in the dealing with it. I am not going to kid was a pain in the south side not to that piece of wireless mobile metal. I realized it was gone early enough this morning that I could do a thorough "try to call it from my home phone and hear it ring" job so that, before I left the house, I knew it was lost. You know, "hear boy...hear boy." I called the cell carrier....they told me that I had to change plans to get over to the new Cingular (soon to be the old AT&T) but the hold time was minimal. The person was helpful. She assured me that no one was using my account....that was a HappyUP!!! inside the HappyUP!!! She knew I needed a phone. Rather than try to sell me one, she insisted that I go down to the local store to guarantee that I would have my phone prior to heading out of town on Wednesday. Anyway, the HappyUP was that I handled the loss much better because I knew that I had to look for HappyUP!!!s.

HappyUP!!! 2 - Renee at the Cingular Store

Why did it happen - I went to the store....she was the one available with no line

Why did it make me happy - I just wanted an inexpensive phone. I didn't want to make a lifetime PDA decision. Even though it wasn't the featured one, she was able to replace my old Motorola Razor with a new one cheaper than the "deal" ones that she first showed me. She switched me to another plan that gives me more minutes for less money. She set up my new razor to look like my OLD Nokia that I had for years.....I hate playing with gadgets. I just want to talk on a phone. I don't want to learn a new video game every time I switch telecommunication equipment. She did such a good job, I said, "the law says I have to get a bluetooth pretty soon, right?" ""Yes, Jan 2008," she courteously replied. "Can you just hook me up with the right one and make it work?" Effortlessy, she got it all ready...gave me the soon as that earpiece is charged up, I will be in business without reading a dang manual. Awesome customer service!!!

HappyUP!!! 3 - I got my wireless card working on my laptop

Why did it happen - I took the extra couple of minutes that I had and called the help desk

Why did it make me happy - I have to be out of town in a couple of days. My work laptop's cell modem wasn't working since I made the switch out. While it took a little longer than I would have liked (but don't all technology fixes?), the guy on the help desk walked me right through and had me up and running while I was multi-tasking in the background. Trust me.....this call could have gone a lot worse!!! He could have had to call in a supervisor and open up a "special ticket" which means I wait for them to call me back. When they call back, I am not near my computer, etc etc etc. 20 minutes all done and ready to go.

My regular job was challenging today - even if I had no tech problems. Happy-ingUP!!! made the day go much better. It would have been easy to say, "if anything could go bad today, it did." But, you know, from a little different perspective and despite the challenges, it really went as good as it could have.

It is all how you look at things - and I could have looked at them a whole lot differently today....and it would not have been to my or anyone else around me's benefit.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

HappyUP!!! Day 1 Jan 2007

OK, gang, let's get rolling
- I promised you in my earlier post that we would start this week. Now, I don't know when you are reading this but it is Sunday in my world.

If it is Monday
- in your world, that's OK. Welcome to Day 1 of posting your HappyUPs!!!

Here is what I have for you today:

HappyUP!!! 1. Flooring for my house is decided

Why it happened - I got off the duff yesterday, went to the floor store, and was decisive in the samples that I brought home. NO MORE THINKING ABOUT IT!!!

Why it made me happy - it is putting me closer to getting the remodeling and redecorating done. It won't be long until I can put things their proper place.....where I can find them...again! I will have my books in places and not boxes all over the place. Basically, I can live like a real person.....ahhhhh. My flooring guy called back today...on a Sunday (a HappyUP within a HappyUP) and he is going to come measure tomorrow.

HappyUP!!! 2. I woke up really early

Why it happened - I have no idea. I haven't been tired today but I will sleep well tonight.

Why it made me happy - it gave me some of those extra precious morning hours that I love. I was able to capture 3 pages of morning writings. These are the ones where you are still in a bit of the sleep induced state. It is as close as you can get to getting in touch with your subconcious mind while awake.

HappyUP!!! 3. A few drops of rain spit at us today

Why it happened - who knows? We haven't had much rain this year

Why it made me happy - we get a little spoiled in Northern California. The nights have been strangely cold...and dry....for us. The rain today wasn't even measurable but it was a reminder that it does rain here. Hopefully, the nearby ski slopes will start to get some powder. It has been a tough winter for them.

OK....your turn - no need to go into the "why it happened" and "why it made you happy" for me unless you want to. Make sure that you DO those steps for yourself, however. It is critical. You can do this excercise for 7 days and it will have months of benefit. Trust me...

It's one of those things that - once you get in the habit of jotting down candidates of good things during the day, you won't want to stop. If you do, you will always remember the excercise. It will effect how you perceive the world.

The HappyUP!!! Chronicle

(This is a special post for SundayScribblings on the topic of "Chronicles)

When I first saw the topic - I let out a bit of a groan because when I think of chronicle, I think about a long detailed history....something that is not usually that appealing to me.

Then, as I often do - I thought....again. Yes, it is OK to think more than once. In fact, I find it a highly desirable quality in people to think more than once.

"Hey, I keep chronicles!" - I exclaimed!

For example - I can look up and tell you what my weight was on every single Sunday for the last 6 years. Now, that is not always a HappyUP but it is what it is.

To all of you who are loyal to the blog - you probably thought of another chronicle that I regulary do. guessed it.....The HappyUP excercise. This would definitely be a chronicle. It's not just a chronicle....'s the most important chronicle - that YOU....YOU.....YOU....could ever keep.

For those of you who know the drill - you will just have to be patient for the rest of the class. Remember, millions have signed on since the last time I conducted the HappyUP week.

It's simple - every day for the next 7 days, start looking and paying attention for things that make you happy. If waking up without an alarm clock is a daily blessing for you, that could be a HappyUP! Trust me....the alarm clock is just plain RUDE! You should be happy that you get to wake up when you feel like it.

Hey....just waking up - can be a HappyUP!!! I guarantee you, that didn't happen for more than a few folks today.

At the end of the day - capture your top 3 from the little notes in your journal, index card, notepad, PDA, day planner, etc.

Write down - what it was, why it happened, and why it made you happy.

I do this quite frequently - in fact, so many times, that I don't need to even do it everyday. This little excercise has been a blessing to increasing my overall level of happiness.......and I didn't start out unhappy. I just wanted to raise my game.

In case you are a little scared of the ol Nutster - I didn't invent this. This came from a study by Dr Martin Seligman....the founder of the Positive Psychology movement and past president of the American Psychological Society. Yes, it's clinically proven and safe (Geez....I can't even believe there are a couple of you out there that I had to whip the big credential card out on......just trust the ol Nutster).

Make the commitment - I have. I will post every night this week. YOU....tag on in the comments section. Just name your three HappyUPs!!! for the day. If you want to list the why's, you are an overachiever.

UPDATE: 12/21/2008....I have now well surpassed 650 consecutive days of doing this exercise. I have done many things in my life but NONE as impactful as this.....and I started the project as a fairly happy individual. Think about adding this to your life.

Let's All Have a Great HappyUP!!! Week. Who is in with me?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Next American Idol?

(A special post for the weekly SundayScribblings assignment: Fantasy. In this case, the instuction actually inspired me to act on a dream/fantasy. I immediately went out and started to do something that I wanted to do....put together a band. First stop? I needed a strong female vocalist)

Call me Simon Cowell
- I decided that my next gig in life is to put together a recording duo.

I put it out to the world - show up and audition. Bring your best shot. If you want to tour with me, you better be good.

Word spread quickly - and they started lining up in the wee hours of the morning. Security was brought in....all contestants were kept in line

Here, we have the first cool cat - that decided to put herself to the test.

It's important - when you first start singing with someone to see if you vocally harmonize.

Now, this cat insisted
- on doing some numbers that were way out of my vocal range

She was laying down - some high notes that were, quite frankly, astounding. I am not sure I had ever heard anything like this. This diva was taking it where few vocalists can go......or probably should.

Next.....- we moved on to the part of the set where we do some cover tunes of some old KISS songs.

It is at this point - that I am trying to see just how the performer is going to interact with the audience.

Gene Simmons - has nothing on this chick.

What about photogencics? - when you are at "The Making of the Band" stage, you MUST find out how the performer is going to look on a CD cover.
"Is she a natural poser?" - or are you going to have to put her through extensive modeling classes as well.

She is scoring some points here

- how bad does she really want the job?

Note to everyone - no matter how distasteful, doing a little sucking up never hurts.

Auditions are now closed - we'll see you in a town nearby soon....well, if I can keep my new star clean.

She seems to have an addiction
- Just Say Catnip

Friday, January 19, 2007

Welcome to Jan 2, 2008!

At the beginning of the year, I opened with the above statement in a meeting that I was chairing - I then stopped and inserted the awkward silent pause that a speaker can inject to see if he has command over the meeting.

I drank in the awkward stares - and then broke the silence with, "Every one of you will be saying that 365 days from now.....what will be different between what is today and what is to come. Will you intentionally effect something or just see what drifts down the river and happens to wash up on your shore line and do the best with it."

Either one is OK - just is YOUR choice and YOU are begin to make that choice RIGHT NOW upon hearing my words. You BEGIN to make the choice again 1 minute from now...and a minute from then....and a minute from then.

It was interesting - I caught Seth's posting and it reminded me of starting that meeting a couple of week's ago. 16 days have passed. What choices have I made about what my Jan 2, 2008 will look like.

I have to run - it seems that I may be running a little behind. I have some excitement to create.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Optimism....Hope amongst the Hopelessness

Allright - most of the millions reading this know that I was offline at the beginning of the year. My private laptop had blue screened on me.

My friends over at Geek Squad - took a touch longer than I would have liked, but they have me back up and running....

....on my home laptop.

At work, the company provides a laptop - they are pretty strict about how it can and can't be used.

You would think that, due to my problems with my home laptop, - I would have done a "better safe than sorry backup" of my work computer.

And that is exactly what I did - I thought about backing it up. So, when the work laptop crashed on me the three nights ago, I felt a touch sick.....especially when, after working with our help desk the next day, they said,

"we'll have to send another one out to swap out."

Translation - "you just lost everything since you last backed up."

Yet, during the call, the tech said - "the computer at least beeps. That sounds like a memory problem and not a hard drive meltdown."

Ah.....hope! - it's not a virus related corruption of the hard drive!!!

Now, I am not a master mechanic - my skill lies in taking things apart and not being able to put them back together again. So, when the tech said, "the place for your memory chip must be under your keyboard....I don't think I can help you," I was a bit forlorn......but I had that all important thing going for me.....MOTIVATION!!!!

"Wait.....I see some screws on the bottom of the case with the pictures of a keyboard" (which is on the other side of the computer) - I unscrewed those four fasteners in a hurry.

The tech coached me through the release of the keyboard - as, another skill I have is breaking things when I try to move things that aren't supposed to be moved. It wasn't that tough, but without someone telling me that it had to pop out, I would have abandoned the effort there. I proceeded on and jiggled (high tech term) that puppy out.

Long story short - I now have a skill I didn't have before. I can take my laptop apart and put it together again. I can put memory chips in and out (a skill I immediately put to use on my home laptop....when I was at Geek Squad, one of the problems that a stick of memory had gone bad. The Geek Guy said, "buy a new chip...see if you can put it can be tricky...but, if you can't, you bring it back and you won't think the $39 we charge to do it is expensive." Let me tell wasn't that tough....especially after having stripped down my IBM Thinkpad).

This turned me on to another idea - "when the new laptop comes in, I am going to take the old hard drive out of the crippled computer, swap it into the new one, and see if I can get an emergency back up done as it doesn't appear that this is a virus problem."

Sure - I may lose a couple of months of data. Will that be a pain? Yes. Will it be a waste? Yes. Should I have known better? Yes.

But, there isn't anything that I can do about the past - I can only hope for the future........and adequately prepare myself for the next opportunity.

As a newly self-appointed computer technician - I am ready for the challenge.

On the upside - no matter what happens, I can now do something that I couldn't have thought that I could do before......and, when you do that, it makes you wonder what other things in life that seem so mysterious aren't really as tough as people make them out to be.

That Optimistic mindset - is what opens doors to a more robust life.

No matter what happens with that data that is in play right now - I come out ahead.

Restroom Etiquette

(A special post for Sunday Scribblings ....this week, we are talking about IDEAS. In the below, you will see how a real life situation gets you to wondering....which leads you to another place you wouldn't have gone...which is really how most ideas happen. Be present....notice....process...think of related situations....IDEA!!!)

I stepped into a public restroom this week
- was the MEN'S! It is where people of my gender properly...uh...well....hmmm...."go."

As I walked through the door - I was greeted by a little girl standing there. I would guess that she was about 3 or 4. I gave her a slight smile to acknowledge her as a person but that was it. I just didn't think it was right for me to strike up a conversation with a 4 yr old girl in a men's public bathroom.

The brain is astounding on how quickly it processes information - in the blink of an eye, my mind saw, "this is out of the ordinary. She must be in here waiting for her dad." Instinctively, I glanced over at the urinal and, from the back, I saw a man of an age and ethnicity that matched up leading me to, in a flash, conclude that I had a father-daughter match.

I went about my business - but as I had time to stop and think, I pondered, "are there posted rules somewhere in society about this situation?"

While we live in dangerous times to leave children outside unattended - we also live in weird times when we have people accusing people of different sex violations. Public bathrooms can be caldrons for that. I suppose that is why we have seperate places for men and women.....and also why I wasn't going to communicate any more than the minimum eye contact with that little girl.

At what age can a man no longer take his daughter into that bathroom? - we saw just this week how a young boy in Missouri was kidnapped. He was 13 (thankfully, he was recovered) so 13 year olds get kidnapped.

What is a guy supposed to do when nature calls and he is out with his 10 yr old daughter - should he have her wait outside the men's room? If he should have her outside, where is the inside/outside line? 9, ,8,7,6 etc....?

I don't know what the etiquette is - now, just so you know, it really doesn't matter to me personally who is in my bathroom. I am there on a mission to get in, get out, and get on with my day.

Yet, I decided to ponder a bit further - what about the assistance issue? Now, we get to the other end of the spectrum.

My late mother would be 87 yrs young right now - ....our elderly commonly have incontinence problems.

So, let's suppose my mother was still alive (...that would be a big HappyUP!! for me) - and I was taking her on errands.

First, you would thank me that I was taking her and she wasn't driving on the same street that you are - but, beyond that, let's say that as we got done with a piece of business she looked over to me and said, "Whoopsie." Basically, I would be there with a near-90 yr old with a load on.

What would I do? - do I, a grown man, take her into the women's bathroom to help her freshen up?

I posted that question to three women in my office - "Heck NO! YOU do not go into that women's bathroom!!!"

" I should take her into the men's?" - to which they responded, "of course!"

I then asked, - "OK...let's say my sister-in-law is out running errands with my father and she runs into the same situation. According to your line of thought, she should take him into the women's? In other words, you go into the appropriate bathroom to the Wiper and not the Wipee?"

The ladies responded - "NO! She should take him into the men's!"

It was at that point that I realized - no answer would be obtained to this issue in front of this particular forum......and that, next time I open a fun little can of worms, I need to have a more gender balanced panel in which to pose the question.

...and, no, Mr Smartalec, the answer to where you take the elderly is not - "Depends!".....those need changing too!.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back Up......and on-line

With new posts coming soon - sorry that I couldn't help you out right at New Year's but, hey, you already blew every one of your New Year's resolutions.

And that's OK - you recognized there was an issue, you started, you succeeded in failing, and now it is time to succeed in starting over.

Everyday is the beginning - of the next year of your life.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Off LINE ....for a bit

Sorry gang - I started the year with the infamous "blue creeen"!!!

Computer has been being held for ransom - by the Geek Squad for over 7 days now. At this point, I don't know that I will ever see my poor Dell again.

Terribly inconvenient for me to blog at the moment...

...but have heart - as I will be back with full fury soon!!!

.......and, whether the Geeks get me up and running or not - I see an Apple in my immediate future!!!!