Day 114. Despite telling me he was 99.99 percent sure… I was still unsure.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 114.  Monday, July 18, 2011
I carefully transported Maximus the infected laptop to work this morning.  I swiftly took “him” to Joseph’s office.  I didn’t have to say anything.  Joseph, the expert computer techie knows the drill.

In the afternoon Maximus underwent careful examination.  I told Joseph about the link I clicked on that I thought caused a virus and the steps I took afterwards.  I admitted that technically there were no symptoms of a virus other than I clicked on a bad link. 

I watched anxiously as Joseph ran all sorts of diagnostic programs.  He did some research and ran more programs.  After an hour he reported my laptop was clean.  He fixed some unrelated registry problems but technically he was 99.99 percent certain I never had a virus.

Being the Smiling Daffodil that I am I looked at him with a look of skepticism.  “But are you sure, Joseph?”

Joseph looked at me and said, “you’re going to have to trust me.”

That’s when I decided to use a Dale Carnegie principle from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.

You see, Joseph really is an expert in his field.  He has a proven track record of solving problems by thinking logically, researching and testing.  I didn’t hand my laptop to a weekend techie that thinks he knows computers.  Joseph has decades of experience.  If he says there isn’t a virus—I have to believe him.

Heh, good thing I didn’t waste a single moment worrying about a virus that didn’t end up being real. 

Ok, ok—I admit I didn’t want to believe Joseph was right.  For whatever reason I believed I was right—even though I have virtually no experience in diagnosing a computer.  When Joseph looked me squarely in the eyes and reassured me that I will have to trust him—I realized I was being foolish for doubting him. 

The lesson to learn—if there’s a problem that you are unable to solve on your own—find experts in the field that can gather the facts and give you an informed analysis.  Don’t make a decision based on emotion or theories.  In my case—I really didn’t have any facts to prove the virus—perhaps just an active imagination that assumes the absolute worst. 

Day 87. I didn’t have to work hard to make lemonade. The law of averages served me well.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 87.  Monday, June 20, 2011
I was a bit confused when I looked at the time this morning.  It was 7 am.  I either woke up too early for the weekend or maybe I’ll be on time for work.  I had to look at the calendar to see what day it was.  Oh, it’s Monday… I decided to get up anyway.

As I was pulling out of my driveway I noticed my neighbors hadn’t put their trash bin out by the curb for trash pick up day.  I also noticed their trash bin was very full.  I debated whether I should do them a favor and put their trash bin out or just mind my own business.

I got out of my car and rolled their trash bin by the curb.

As I continued on my drive to work a very strange sequence of events happened. 

I say strange—because it was Monday. 

I received a very touching email from Anthony—an old friend of mine.  He thanked me for my blog and mentioned he shared it with his family on Father’s Day.  On Father’s Day!  If you read my Father’s Day blog post about my macaroni art project you’ll understand what Anthony’s email meant to me.  I thanked God for Anthony’s thoughtfulness, empathy and really excellent timing.  His last words alluded to the fact that he hopes I have an unusually good Monday.  I read that and thought—oh I hope you are right Anthony.  So far we are on a good track but I haven’t arrived at work yet.

I was making good time in my commute to work so I decided to stop by the grocery store to buy some macaroni and other food items to donate for a local food drive at my Starbucks.  Despite holding up the line at the grocery store—everyone was friendly towards me and smiling.  It was really bazaar.  Why is everyone so nice to me? 

Next I arrived at work on time.  That in itself is a monumental accomplishment.  I hesitantly showed my newest heart pillow creations to an associate.  She LOVED them.  I walked back to my office and thanked God.  This is all I wanted from her last week and I got it today.  Perhaps Anthony was right about this day.

Next I heard from my two guest bloggers—who really didn’t realize, expect or believe I was serious when I said their stories would be perfect for my blog.  I was stunned that neither one of them could recognize the value of their stories.  After we talked—they both agreed and seemed to be excited.  I sat and relished the idea that my dinky lemonade stand is now recruiting “employees” and “business” seems to be good. 

Even a coworker whom I haven’t gotten along with for quite some time now was showing me appreciation, kindness and encouragement today.

The day continued in this fashion.  Little pieces of good moments kept falling in my lap.   At the end of the day, encouraged by my associate—I experimented with a couple more sewing techniques.  I started yet another sewing project that is going to be ridiculously cute by the time I’m finished with it.  I don’t know what the finished project will be yet but believe it or not—I might try something other than a pillow.

As I was driving home along the tollway I thanked God for making an unusually good Monday. 

Recognize blessings among the clutter

As I was doing this—I glanced over and noticed the sky.  Despite the cluttered landscape with water towers, electric towers, buildings, highways and overpasses being built, you could see the sky was a dark blue with shades of pink along the horizon.  It was so stunning it was ridiculous.  “Dear God—what were you thinking when you made that sunset?  I hope I’m not the only one driving home that notices your handiwork.”

I took all sorts of detours on the drive home just to get photos of the sky. 

Sometimes you have to look for the good hidden among the clutter, stress and chaos of a day.  If you don’t put effort into it—you will miss out on opportunities to find happiness and fulfillment in the everyday. 

I realize I have rambled quite a bit here.  And like you I’m wondering if there’s a purpose to today’s blog.  (ha)  Of course there is!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Don’t worry about the past.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries. 

It sure feels like a great deal of last week was crummy—or at least the last few days.  I had to do some mental acrobatics to apply the Dale Carnegie principles. 

Today was the complete opposite. 

When you have a bad day, bad week, bad month, bad year… consider the law of averages.  Things will balance out.  You will have a good day, a good week, a good month, a good year. 

One way to ensure this—do your best not to dwell on the past (I know this is hard)… and also count your blessings (this one is easy).  Look for all the large and small blessings that come your way.  Take the time to appreciate these blessings.  Look for the good.  Maybe it’s a sunset.  Maybe it’s an encouraging email from a friend or perhaps it’s a patient cashier at a grocery store.  Maybe it’s doing a random act of kindness like putting your neighbor’s trash bin by the curb on trash day.  Or donating food for a food pantry.  The blessings and opportunities are there—you just have to recognize them and act upon them.

When you take these measures—you pretty much guarantee a more positive outlook on the day. 

– Thank you Anthony for pushing me in the right direction.

Housekeeping / Notes:
– Mark your calendars! 
Wednesday will be the debut of a very special guest blogger and friend.  I can’t wait for you to meet him through his story. 
–  Stop by the Archive / Pictorial section
if you missed a story or want to reread a past blog.
– Feedback / Suggestions / Comments: 
If you have ideas on how to improve the daffodil garden of blog stories let me know.  Also feel free to spread the love and share a link or two with family, friends, coworkers, etc. 

I know your time is valuable.  Thank you for reading my blog.

Day 33. Part 2. Use Dale Carnegie Principles to recover from feeling like an idiot.

Despite my best efforts sometimes I can sleep through just about anything

As I mentioned in the Day 33 blog entry, I woke up late. I woke up so late—I nearly slept half the day away.  I got up at 11:40 am.  (Despite two alarm clocks and two text messages)

I was disgusted with myself.  This is not the first time I’ve done this. It’s not that I get in trouble at work.  Everyone finds it funny.  I guess people like to see flaws.  The perception of me is that I’m a hard worker—a workaholic. 

I made it to the office at 12:32.  I was frantic but glad to have made it in.

After realizing my lunch plans were cancelled with my friend I sat down at my desk. I realized it was lunch time.  I’m late for my Starbucks visit for my Java Chip Frappuccino.

I quietly snuck out of the office—I felt like such a loser.  Here I am—I slept half the day away, I waltz into the office super late—and then after a few minutes of being at the office I leave to get my Java Chip Frappuccino.  Talk about shame and guilt.

I left anyway because I know there’s no use in fighting it.  My routine is important.  I will be thinking of my Starbucks Frappuccino all day. 

I return to the office—Frappuccino in hand and feeling much better.  I ease into the day with enthusiasm.  Yes, I was super late.  But now I will recover with style—with enthusiasm.  I whizzed through several projects I had to work on.  I tackled some editing with gusto.  I whistled while I worked.  There was a general feeling of happiness coming from my office.

What I realized is that no one really cares that I was late.  It’s not that there aren’t standards or rules at the office.  But I have a reputation of working very hard—despite my occasional disasters of oversleeping.  The key to today—I approached the day with enthusiasm.  This distracted me from thinking I was an irresponsible adult for oversleeping.  And by the end of the day—I had gotten quite a lot of work complete!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this scenario:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Cooperate with the inevitable. 
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
Try to profit from your losses.

Remember, sometimes stupid mistakes or silly accidents happen.  Rather than dwell on feeling like a fool or an idiot—profit from the experience.  Turn the circumstance into something positive.  See if you can get more work done in less time.  See if you can distract everyone by your productivity that they forget you came in late.  Remind yourself that you have a reputation for being reliable, a good worker, etc etc.  When you take this approach—you focus your energy in a more positive, forward thinking direction that is more beneficial to you than wallowing in your mistakes.

Day 10. Weather forecast for Monday: Storms

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 10.  April 4, 2011
About midday today I realized I needed to start writing down all the possible blog topics for today’s Carnegie entry.  It really was an authentic Monday.

If I hadn’t taken the Dale Carnegie course, today would have been the perfect storm.  I think everyone and their brother, sister, mother and neighbor and dog decided to wait until today to need a piece of my time the moment I walked into the office. 

Instead of reacting or thinking everyone had lost their minds—I took a deep breath.  I focused on prioritizing the tasks that were thrown at me and I began to chip away with earnestness and enthusiasm. 

Picture me sitting in my chair—completely relaxed, whistling to my favorite songs on the radio as I worked diligently at my computer.  So much for the perfect storm! 

A productive, pleasant day at work

I could have sat in my office, reacting to the snippy emails and urgent requests.  I could have worried about the mountain of work that is accruing – but instead I reminded myself of Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Don’t fuss about trifles.
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
Learn to relax at work.

I didn’t let anyone get under my skin today.  Period.  I controlled my happiness by relaxing and focusing on doing my job with enthusiasm.   I also reminded myself of the law of averages—I have completed mountains of work in the past, I can certainly do it again.

So, the next time you feel stressed, try to relax—even if it’s just by taking a deep breath.  Remind yourself that the law of averages proves you’ll get past this moment just as you have in the past.  And do everything you can to not let your energy get wasted on trifles.  And if all else fails, do what I do… whistle while you work.