Friday, January 11, 2013

When Plans Go Awry: A 2013 Retrospective Look At 2012

by Pettis Perry

The reality of Life is that things do not always occur in the ways that we hope. We can establish well constructed plans and at the very moment we think we have everything planned out well, something interferes with our plans and things just simply fall apart. This can be true for any of us, no matter how good we are with making things happen in our lives--it is certainly true for me. In fact, I had very clear expectations about what I wanted to accomplish in 2012, and things just did not go as planned. Initially, this frustrated me greatly, but with 20/20 hindsight my perspective has changed.

In the final analysis I had to ask myself, does it really matter? 

As I look retrospectively at 2012, I am wowed by how much travel occurred, how much change there was in my work environment, how many days I worked, how much I learned in pursuit of my own growth, the personal impact of the passing of three friends, and how little I accomplished in terms of my 2012 New Year's resolutions. By the end of the year I was burned out, frustrated, and left with thinking what happened to my year and the goals I wanted to accomplish for myself? 

Now that I've crossed the annual threshold marking a new year, I am able to see in retrospect that through all of my frustrations  and fatigue, 2012 was truly one of the most productive and remarkable years of my life. I traveled many more miles last year than any other year that I can recall. I got to spend more time with my son than anytime since he was 18 years old. I spent more time with my brother than I have since we were in high school. I spent time with friends I had not seen very much during the past several years. I embarked upon a personal development journey that was seven years in the making. I resolved some key issues that have been haunting me since childhood. I was able to relocate to a part of the country that I find absolutely beautiful and in the process I have strengthened old friendships and made many more new ones. I was able to fulfill a commitment to a friend that was more than a year in the making. And, every bit of my skills,  stamina, patience, and perseverance were tested more than in any other year that I can remember, and I survived!

In retrospect I am able to see how wonderful the year truly was despite my frustrations and fatigue. I am reminded that to live Life fully means to engage Life fully to the extent that we have the capacity to do so. I am reminded that out of the chaos comes growth and transformation. To borrow from a colloquialism, I am reminded that when I am up to my ass in alligators it is very hard to remember that my original mission was to drain the swamp; and learning an alternative strategy that the best thing to do may be to not drain the swamp in the first place. Most importantly I am reminded that I am truly a blessed person because while I do not have everything I want, I do have everything I need. I have the love and affection of my family and friends. I have a greater capacity today to be a more effective servant of humanity than I did a year ago. I have gained greater clarity about my Life and purpose; and I come out of 2012 wanting to do even more in 2013 than I was able to do in 2012

(2012) Pettis Perry Lake Nacimiento, CA
So, in the final analysis what I have learned in retrospect is that it really does not matter whether all of my goals were met. What matters is whether I am a better human being as a result of my life experiences. What started out as a very modest personal plan for 2012 morphed into what became a thrill ride filled with lots of emotions and Life lessons. It was replete with opportunities for personal growth; there were myriad opportunities to test every aspect of my character; and there were times when I thought I could not take any more. Yet, in the end, I made it--and I am stronger for the experiences.

Would I feel the same way when encountering Dark Nights of the Soul? 

While contemplating that question, I had to reflect upon my past, particularly the 10 year period 1998-2008, when I experienced one Dark Night after another. These were not my first Dark Night episodes, but they were the most powerful and informative since they lasted for such a long period of time. Additionally, as soon as one Dark Night episode was finished another occurred preventing me from running from the lessons they had to teach meIt seemed as though no matter what I did I simply could not break the cycle. However, what happened to me as I made my path through those Dark Nights was that, like working with an onion, I began to peel away the layers of shell that I created to protect myself from my external world. I literally broke down emotionally and had to confront every demon from my past, emerging through that process  a person with greater capacity than ever before to encounter Life's future difficulties. Each time I encountered a new Dark Night I emerged a little bit stronger and leaving another old shell behind without realizing it. Each new Dark Night episode provided new Life lessons  and because they occurred so closely together I could not escape them long enough to forget what they had to teach me and thereby forcing me to learn or perish under their shear weight.

So yes, I do feel the same way even under the most dire circumstances I've encountered. The difference today is that my Dark Nights forced me to learn about the Dark Night process making it possible for me to change my perspective about Dark Nights and what they meant for human growth.

To that end, my best advice is to plan the desirable Life for yourself by setting a direction and making goals. Nonetheless, my admonition is to embrace whatever occurs as part of the lessons to be learned and to not be so wedded to the plan that failing to complete the plan causes you to feel that you are a failure. Remember, that every experience, no matter what it is, is an opportunity for personal growth and further development of perspective. It is through this personal growth and evolving perspective that we bring true meaning to our lives. It is also through this process that we learn to better understand  our relationship to the greater whole while at the same time developing greater capacity as human beings to co-create a more sustainable future for us all. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Awaken the Winner in You
by Marge "Magic" Powers

“The miracle power that elevates the few is to be found in their industry, application, and perseverance, under the promptings of a brave determined spirit.” – Mark Twain

Many motivational experts like to say that winners are made, not born.  I would argue the exact opposite.  I believe we are all natural born winners, but have been deprogrammed along the way.  As children, we were natural winners - curious and humble, always hungry and thirsty for knowledge, with an incredibly vivid imagination; we knew exactly what we wanted, were persistent and determined in getting what we wanted, and had the ability to motivate, inspire, and influence everyone around us to help us in accomplishing our mission.  So why is this so difficult to do as adults?  What happened?

As children, over time, we got used to hearing, “No,” “Don’t,” and “Can’t.”  “No! Don’t do this.  Don’t do that.  You can’t do this.  You can’t do that.  No!”  Many of our parents told us to keep quiet and not disturb the adults by asking silly questions.  This pattern continued into high school with our teachers telling us what we could do and couldn’t do and what was possible.  Then many of us got hit with the big one – institutionalized formal education known as college or university.  Unfortunately, the traditional educational system doesn’t teach students how to become winners or leaders; it teaches students how to become polite order takers for the corporate world.  Instead of learning to become creative, independent, self-reliant, and think for themselves, most people learn how to obey and intelligently follow rules to keep the corporate machine humming.

 Developing the Winner in you to live your highest life, then, requires a process of ‘unlearning’ by self-remembering and self-honoring.  Being an effective winner again will require you to be brave and unlock the door to your inner attic, where your childhood dreams lie, going inside to the heart.
Here are ten easy steps you can take to awaken the Leader in you and rekindle your passion for greatness:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Do I Have An “Effective” and Healthy Life?

By Jill Cody

Part 3 of a 7 part Series

Do I Have An Effective and Healthy Life?: A synopsis of Dr. Stephen R. Coveys  principles as they relate to improving health

"The most wonderful thing in the world is somebody who knows who they are and knows where they're going and knows what they were created to do." — Bishop T.D. Jakes

Habit 2 - Begin With The End In Mind  
What Dr. Covey means by this is actually think about the end of your life.  I know we really dont want to do this.  Its morbid.

We spend our lifetime avoiding the idea.  Maybe that's the reason why we spend a lifetime floundering.  Maybe that's the reason we fill up our lives with meaningless trivia such as television or surfing the net for hours.  He wants you to think about what your family and friends would say about you at your memorial service. What do you want to have accomplished on this earth? What is the legacy you want to leave behind?  My goal is to share my experiences.  If I can save one person from triggering a disease as I did, I feel all my efforts would have been well spent.  What is yours? How will you make the world a better place?

How do you start to identify this staggering goal for yourself and then bring it down to an everyday level?  You write a personal mission statement.  Think about it.  Do you have a mission statement for the company or organization you work with?  Do you have a mission statement for your work section or unit?  Do you have a personal mission statement?  And if you do have a personal mission statement, do you review it regularly? 

The path to a balanced and healthy life is initiating a process of self-discovery.  Yes, its work, its hard work, and its work that has amazing results.  Writing a mission statement eliminates emptiness and sets direction by assisting you in identifying your unique meaning and mission in life.  A lack of direction or emptiness leads to imbalance.  Imbalance leads to dis-ease.  Dis-ease leads to illness.

Balance is an operative word in this discussion.  Obviously you dont want to become so focused into the future that you miss the present. Ursula K. LeGuin said, It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.

How will a mission statement and thinking about your memorial service help you to identify which path you want to choose and create for yourself?   How does this habit apply to improving your health?  Achieving excellent health first requires knowing what being healthy looks like. 

Visualize what you want to change about your health.  Visualize the person you want to be.  Begin with the end in mind. For me, I imagined a person with strong, flexible muscles. I then signed up with the YMCA (Habit 1).  I imagined someone with no joint pain.  I rested.  I imagined someone with enormous amounts of energy.  I rested some more. I didnt want to limit my thinking to what I could imagine a healthy body would look like.  I took classes to expand my ideas. 

Results didnt happen over night. Remember there are no quick fixes.  There was a large degree of faith that what I was doing would eventually pay off.  On the other hand, I knew what I was doing couldnt hurt me and that it could only help.  I had to have patience.

So get Dr. Coveys book and start writing a mission statement. The Franklin Covey Company even has an online mission statement builder. You may find it at:

Start identifying your roles in life.  There are many.  Mother. Father.  Son.  Daughter.  Friend.  Employee.  Supervisor.  But, there is one that I want you to be sure to add and that is Self. Many of us are so orientated to serving others at home or at work that we forget about ourselves.  Isnt that how we dont find time to exercise?  How on earth are you going to improve your health or prevent illness if you dont spend some time on yourself?  Erich Fromm said, Mans main task in life is to give birth to himself.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Do I Have An "Effective" and Healthy Life?

by Jill Cody
Part 2 of a 7 Part Series

Do I Have An Effective and Healthy Life?: A synopsis of Dr. Stephen R. Coveys  principles as they relate to improving health

                                                     "Happiness is not something ready made... 
                                                 It comes from your own actions." -- Dalai Lama

Health Is Found In The Balance:
When I became ill, unbeknownst to me, my life was totally out of balance.  I actually didnt give the concept of balance much thought.  Thats what I call being on autopilot.  I would work hard and achieve more to be able to own more stuff.  Have you ever seen the bumper sticker which says he who has the most stuff when he dies wins?   This was the competition I was in.  Who was I competing against?  I hadn't the foggiest idea.  It was just what I thought I should be doing.  Autopilot.

One of the fundamental principles in the Seven Habits  program is Production and Production Capability.  This means that what you want to produce must be in balance with what you are capable of producing.  This concept is fairly easy to grasp when we talk about a machine.  Machines, such as an automobile, must be maintained on a regular basis (production capability) or it wont continue running (production).  Its also easily understood when relating the concept to financial assets.  Your checking account must have the funds to make a purchase (production capability) before you can complete the purchase (production).

However, when we relate this principle to ourselves, for some reason we think we can produce forever without any cost to us.  Or at least that is what I thought and I dont think Im alone in this behavior.  If you feel like there is not enough time to get everything done then your Production/ Production Capability is out of balance.  Disease is hidden in that imbalance.

To start we must look at all that we are doing and not just the action, but the emotions behind the actions.  Today, I feel quite busy yet Im not fatigued anymore.  By being present in each moment we are able to bring balance to each moment.  We can choose how each moment is spent.  Will it be spent with stress, frustration or anger?  Or will we choose to face each situation in the best light?  

Dr. Covey talks about our freedom that separates us from all other creatures on earth, our freedom of choice.  We possess the ability to choose our reaction to any, and I mean any, given situation.  That is if we are present in the moment and not living on autopilot.  Reactive people, those on autopilot, can not see this freedom.  They have handed it over to their emotions.  Do you think the person who has been diagnosed with a disease and is living in dependency can see that they can choose their reaction to their situation?  Probably not.  They are living from their emotions not from their ability to choose their response.  Health is found in the response.  The response is found in the moment.

Habit 1 - Be Proactive
I think one concept which is integral to good health is Dr. Coveys concept of Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Influence. Think of two circles one smaller and inside the other.  The larger circle represents your Circle of Concern.  The space inside the smaller circle is your Circle of Influence.  Now, follow me on this one.  Most of us are focused on our concerns.  We want a better job.  We want financial security.  We want good health.  We dont like whats happening politically.  There is not enough help at work.  Your teenager gets on your nerves.  When we live in our Circle of Concern we feel helpless, trapped, and frustrated.  Some of us live our entire lives focused on what concerns us.  I am convinced that this is where disease gets its start.  Remember the word disease comes from dis-ease.  Being overly wrapped up in our concerns, creates constant dis-ease.  This focus eventually creates imbalance in our mind and body.

Now, lets change our perspective.  Lets make a paradigm shift. Being able to challenge the paradigms of the world we live in is fabulously important to learning new things about ourselves.  Lets shift our view to focusing on what we can influence, what we have direct control over regarding our concerns.  This is being proactive.  You want a better job.  Well, what is it that you can specifically do to cause this to happen?  Can you take a look at your current job to see what might be done to improve it?  Repair a relationship?  Analyze a procedure that has been giving you a headache and correct it?  You want financial security.  How much  of your pay check do you put in the savings account each month? Can you redefine what financial security means to you? You want good health.  Do you exercise faithfully?  Do you put exercise time in your appointment book like all the other appointments? Have you bought a low-fat cookbook and learned a few new recipes? You dont like whats happening politically.  Do you vote?  Do you write your elected officials?   

I think you get the point.  What can you do today to influence a change?  Focusing on your Circle of Influence creates an action plan; a sense of control.  Focusing on your Circle of Concern creates no plan and leaves you feeling powerless.

Being proactive is subtle and amazingly powerful.  As soon as you change your focus to what you can influence in your life, balance returns; enjoyment returns; better health returns.  Your paradigm shifts from being trapped and out of control to one of choice and fulfillment.  Now, the Circle of Concern is not called the Circle of I-Dont-Care.  

Of course, you are concerned about the issues that face you.  You need to know what they are to determine what you can influence about them.  The difference is that you are not primarily focused on your concerns anymore, you are focused on what you can do about them instead.  Your life is focused on what you can control, not what you can not control.

Part 2 of a 7 Part Series

Do I Have An “Effective” and Healthy Life?

by Jill Cody

Part 1 of a 7 Part Series

Do I Have An Effective” and Healthy Life?: A synopsis of Dr. Stephen R. Coveys  principles as they relate to improving health

“The best way to predict the future
is to create it.” - Dr. Stephen R. Covey

We see the world as we are, not as it is, Dr. Covey said.  Dr. Covey is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.  In this series I am going to relate Dr. Coveys concepts which I think best foster good health.

For our bicentennial, Dr. Covey researched our countrys 200 years of ethic literature.  For the first 150 years of our history, the ethic literature reflected qualities such as honesty, integrity, patience, kindness and other good character traits.  Then, more then 50 years ago, something happened.  The ethic literature started to reflect the value of personality traits over character traits such as charm, public image and attitude.  Not, there is nothing wrong with these traits.  Its just that when they are the primary ones developed and character trait development is neglected, disharmony with life and uncertainty takes hold.  There is no grounding stability to our lives.

Dr. Covey used an analogy of an iceberg.  The top of the iceberg, which can be seen, is your personality.  The part of the iceberg you dont see, the far greater part of you, is your character.  He said our society has placed too much emphasis on the value of personality traits. Doesn’t this ring true to you?  It did to me. I see it reflected in our worshiping of athletes, movie stars and those who are rich.

Not too long after my diagnosis with Lupus, I was fortunate enough to take a 28-hour training workshop based on Dr. Coveys book.  If you ever have the opportunity to take this course, I encourage you to do so.  It is not "flavor-of-the-month" material. Taking this workshop was key to my journey towards better health.  This series will share with you some of the principles I learned which helped me tremendously in identifying some unhealthy habits.

 You cant talk yourself out of something you have behaved yourself into.  These words spoken by Dr. Covey truly hit the mark for me.  I can see now how it was my behavior that led to my poor health.  I can now hear some of you saying, What is she trying to say?  That Im to blame for my illness?  Well, yes and no.  Its complicated.  Let me explain by using myself as an example.  

I was working hard, raising a family and not really feeling I had enough time to get everything done.  I was stressed out.  I was doing the best I could with the knowledge and understanding I had at the time.  I thought I was doing everything right.  I had a good job.  I had a nice house.  I had a dependable husband and delightful son.  I was going up the career ladder.  I was living the American Dream, or so I thought.  

At least I had the outward signs of it.  Inside, it was the American Nightmare. I was tired.  I was struggling to get everything done.  I created work for myself, but didnt realize it.  I didnt have time for friends nor much time for my family.  And, on top of all that, youth left me.  My body could not keep up the pace and strain. Lupus was triggered.  Now what do you think?  Was it my fault that Lupus was triggered?  Well, yes and no.  Its not my fault that I had the genetic predisposition for Lupus, but I definitely played a significant role in its being triggered.

Key to your ability to get well or prevent illness is the capacity to take a hard look at yourself.  It is not laying blame.  It is seeing your world as it is, not as you think it should be.  The good news is, if you behaved yourself into a problem then maybe you can behave yourself out of it.  That's the first major lesson I learned from the Seven Habits training.  I could literally exert some control and not be a victim of my circumstances.

The Seven Habits  program is comprised of fundamental principles for each of the seven habits.  I will review how I relate Dr. Coveys concepts to health and wellness.


Creating maturity for health:
Dr. Covey diagramed his program and called it the Maturity Continuum.  It includes each habit and three levels of maturity: dependence, independence and interdependence.  When looked at in chronological order it is obvious what stages of life are being identified.  When we are a child we are dependent on those around us for survival.  When we are an adolescent we develop independence and begin to differentiate ourselves from others.  If we are fortunate, we develop to a level, where we understand we need others to be happy and succeed in life by reaching the interdependent stage.

I look at this continuum in another way as well.  When someone is feeling sick and says things like What did I do to deserve this? Or says things like Im a good person.  Why did I get sick?  I dont deserve this.  It is the victim stage of illness.  It is the collapsing on the bedroom floor stage.  Do you think they have the ability yet to look hard into themselves and take responsibility?  Probably not.  They want to be taken care of and have others concur with their complaints and do things for them. They are in the dependent stage of their illness.

Moving to the next stage of independence is one I know very well. When I first became ill I thought I could take care of it.  I didnt think I needed anyone.  Im college educated.  I can think and plan my way out of this mess.  I didnt tell my mother I had Lupus for three years.  I didnt really have a heart-to-heart conversation with my husband and son.  You see, I could handle anything alone. You get the picture.

It was only when I became sick and tired of being sick and tired that I grudgingly moved into the interdependent stage.  I realized I needed help.  I sought out the Lupus Foundation and began to read.  I told people close to me at work so that they could help me when I needed to rest.  I sat down with my husband and son and communicated at a more honest level and asked for their help.  I told my mother.

It was only then, when I entered the interdependent stage, that I started on the road to getting well.  What is it thats in our nature which makes it hard to ask for help?  I know I didnt want to ask at all, thats why I was stuck in the independent phase for so long.  Now that Ive moved passed that mental barrier, I find that people are glad to help.  They like being needed.  They like being opened up to and I like being able to talk about it and not carry the burden alone.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Part 1 of a 7 Part Series

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


(Part 4 of a 4 part series)

IS IT WORTH DYING FOR? A synopsis of Dr. Meyer Friedman’s research into Type A behavior

By Jill Cody, M.P.A.

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place.” - Eckhart Tolle

Developing a Monitor

We all have a relentless committee in our heads telling us what to do. More often then not, this committee possesses judgmental voices. It’s easy to understand how these voices got in our heads. While we were growing up our mother and father were telling us what to do; often judging us. They meant well. They wanted us to be successful. To help us achieve our success, they would point out our mistakes and tell us what to do. The problem we experience when we become an adult is that we don’t let go of our parents’ voices. We keep them in our heads where ever we go. We get trapped in the “I’m not good enough until I” syndrome. Which is what we often felt when dealing with our parents. Instead, as adults, we need to replace the messages our committee tells us to “you’re wonderful whoever you are” and “its ok to make mistakes."

Developing a monitor, Dr. Friedman says, is the mechanism to replace the messages in our heads from ones that tear us down to ones which serve us better. The monitor is “metacognition” or self talk. The self talk we want to cultivate will help change the Type A’s belief system to more healthful belief systems in seven ways. These seven, more healthy belief systems are:

1. A Type A personality hinders, never helps a career.

2. Type A behavior can be changed.

3. Sweetness is not a weakness.

4. Insecurity and/or inadequate self-esteem cannot be eliminated by the sole pursuit of material objects.

5. The trivial errors of others do not always require our preoccupation or correction.

6. Things worth “being” excel things worth “having”.

7. The means should justify the ends.

The “monitor” is a neutral voice. This is very important to understand. The internal voice you hear must be a neutral one. It can’t judge. It can’t evaluate. If the thought has an edge of emotion to it, it’s not your monitor speaking to you. It is emotionless. It says things like “isn’t that interesting” or “I wonder why they did that”. The monitor helps move us from responding to situations from our “ideal” self to our “real” self. The ideal self thinks in terms of “shoulds” and “should nots”. It searches for perfection. The real self will see the world as it is, not as we want it to be. The ideal self is constantly looking for approval and doing things to satisfy others.. The real self is secure, confident accepting and doing things to satisfy itself. The ideal self wants to make others change or wants the situation causing it distress to change. The real self changes the way it thinks about or views the problem.

Start listening to your self-talk. What is it saying to you? Is it judging others? Is it comparing and evaluating situations on how things ought to be? Can it change and replace a judgmental thought with a neutral one?

One of the most powerful monitoring phrases I learned while attending the Institute was “is this worth dying for”? Once I understood what physical harm I put myself in when I was experiencing time urgency or free floating hostility, I realized that every time I was living in those modes I was slowly killing myself. As soon as my monitor noticed I was tensed up from being in one of these thought patterns, it would ask me “is this worth dying for?” and the answer to myself was always “no”. As soon as I had that brief thought process completed in my head, I immediately calmed down and was in control again. The miracle I experienced after I did this a few times was that what I was getting tense or upset over never really happened. For example, one morning I had an appointment with someone who I didn’t know very well and with whom I wanted to make a good impression. Traffic was going very slowly. I could see by the clock on the dash that I was going to be late. My time urgency mode kicked in. I started getting anxious about what he might think of me. I started getting short and judgmental with the other drivers on the road. Out of the blue, my monitoring voice asks me “Jill, is this worth dying for”? I had to say no. I relaxed. I accepted that I would get there when I got there and I thought of a humorous apology for being late. When I arrived, I learned that he was late too and I had to wait a few minutes. The entire emotional “wrap” I was placing on the situation in the car before my monitor spoke to me was for nothing. Since that experience, I have noticed similar situations over and over again.

Practicing Life Saving Drills

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Stephen Covey is: “You can’t talk yourself out of something you have behaved yourself into”. This couldn’t be truer then for Type A personalities. The main problem is that we don’t know what Type B emotions and behaviors feel like. Type B personalities are just as effective, if not more effective, then Type A’s, but how do they act? The drills, which Dr. Friedman developed, are meant to give Type A individuals a sense of what a Type B reaction or experience is like. Dr. Friedman has divided drills into two categories: General Drills and Specific Drills. Samples of my favorites are as follows:

General Time Urgency Drills

1. Remind yourself daily that life is unfinished business.

2. Listen attentively to the conversation of others.

3. Before you speak, ask yourself:

- Do I really have something to say?

- Do these people wish to hear it?

- Is this the right time to say it?

4. Seek beauty wherever you can find it.

5. Try driving in the slow lane. (More about this later)

6. Learn to punctuate long work periods with relaxation.

7. Stop trying to think or do more than one thing at a time.

8. Don’t project your own time urgency on others.

Specific Time Urgency Drills

1. Visit a museum, zoo, aquarium, or park.

2. Study a dawn, flower, bird, tree, or sunset.

3. Walk, talk and eat more slowly.

4. Leave you watch off (start with one day a week).

5. Ask someone what they did that day and listen to the answer. (How about starting with a family member?)

6. Get in a long line in the market and study the faces of other people.

7. Ask a person to lunch and ask questions about them.

General Hostility Drills

1. Announce openly, to your spouse or close friend, your intention to eliminate your free-floating hostility.

2. Eliminate ideals that are really just excuses for anger.

3. Start smiling at other people and at laughing yourself.

4. Practice living with uncertainties and doubts by deliberately attempting to adopt unfamiliar and unexpected opinions.

Specific Hostility Drills

1. Deliberately say to someone. “Maybe I’m wrong,” at least twice a day, even when you are not at all certain you are in error.

2. Buy a small but thoughtfully chosen gift for your spouse, other family member, or friend.

3. Ask yourself in the evening, “What did I do wrong today and what did I do that showed kindness to someone?”

The most powerful and, thus, most difficult drill is the “Driving Drill”. It should be started immediately as you are reading this book. I especially like this drill because it puts many of the other drills into action. When I was in the Institute, they told us to drive in the slow lane, going the speed limit, and if anyone did anything “stupid” we were to think of a funny reason why they did what they did. As a well-honed Type A, I had a very difficult time selecting the slow lane, so I compromised and drove in the second to the slow lane or middle lane. Later, I learned that on the California driver’s test there is a question which asks you, “Which is the smoothest lane of traffic to drive in”? It so happens to be the middle lane. So, I now “challenge” you to begin the driving drill. I can’t watch you, so you’ll be on the honor system, but if you do accept the challenge here are the rules:

1) Drive the speed limit

2) Drive in middle lane

3) As soon as you are about to judge someone else’s driving, think of a funny reason why they may have done what they did.

4) If you really want help in this exercise, tell your family and/or friends and have them help think of funny reasons. (Remember: A funny reason should also not be judgmental or cynical.)

We live in a Type A culture; work in Type A organizations and families reward Type A behavior. Does this entire general acceptance make it right? I personally don’t think so. It’s a killer. As soon as our collective consciences realize this, the healthier we all will be.

(End of series)