Day 105. The geckos made me do it.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 105.  Saturday, July 9, 2011
I woke up this morning and I was overwhelmed with the thought of geckos.  How will I survive this day with this one thought looming in my mind?

A Kniphofia plant (a.k.a. Red Hot Poker). Main features are its bright fiery blooms. I too was red hot trying to combat worry.

I put on some grubby clothes and decided to do yard work in 100+ degree weather.  This wasn’t delicate gardening—this was yard work.  I pruned the bushes, I weeded, I dug up a stubborn tree sapling.  I removed old wasps’ nests.  I was irritated with myself that I let these tasks go untouched for so long.  Then I contemplated if I’m lazy in these areas where else am I lazy?  This gave me a stronger resolve to continue my rampage. 

I took the battle into the garage where I cleaned and removed junk I have never touched in years. 

Then the battle for clean and organization went indoors.  I cleaned out closets.  I vacuumed.  I folded laundry.

I did this for about 7 hours today.  I’d like to say I didn’t think of geckos once during those 7 hours—but I did.  I had to deal with a couple of them in the garage.  But what is important to note is that my approach to this day worked. 

I was so irritated with myself that I’ve been too busy/distracted/lazy/not interested in being a homeowner.  I accepted this reality—because I was looking at it—overgrown bushes, weeds, laundry, clutter, etc.  But I also knew I didn’t have to accept living like this. In this process I distracted myself from my real fear that greeted me this morning “the g word”

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Keep busy.

My lesson to you—keeping busy is an excellent way to keep your worries and fears in check.  In my case, I was very productive—cleaning, weeding and creating organization out of my perceived crisis.

Day 104. Tiny geckos are not going to steal my peace.


I'm going to count my blessings this fellow doesn't live anywhere near my home.

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 104.  Friday, July 8, 2011
Last night I was sitting quietly, working on my blog when I noticed two geckos in my living room.  They were in locations I could not reach.  I decided to do something that goes against my nature when it comes to critters in my home.  I accepted the inevitable.  I left them alone.  I knew I couldn’t get them without an hour long battle that might involve me moving all the furniture from the room and me getting up on a ladder with a broom in my hand.  Besides I had my blog to post. 

I suspect my technique of using mothballs in the garage is working too well.  The geckos are now taking shelter indoors.   

By the time I finished the blog I had encountered a total of 5 geckos in my home.  After “capturing” 4 out of the 5 creepy, nocturnal monsters I decided it was time to take even stronger action than mothballs.    

This morning I hired an exterminator to come “deal with the situation” on Tuesday. 

Until then I will do my best to apply Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in day-tight compartments
Pray (that I don’t end up on the TV program “Infestation”)
Keep busy.

This post is a little unconventional since the story isn’t over and Tuesday feels like decades from now.  I do believe that if I follow at least one of the principles I’ve listed I will enjoy the weekend and not spend all my time worrying about all the “what ifs” associated with the monsters that are invading my home.  What I can say is that I haven’t spotted a single gecko tonight.  So I’m going to count my blessings now!

My lesson to you with this story is to prove that there is a Dale Carnegie principle for just about every occasion!  I worry about everything—nothing is too large or in this case—too small.  But I am also aware that I cannot let my imagination get the best of me.  I must be proactive when faced with a potential 3-day WorryFest.  When you are aware of your inclination to worry you can apply Dale Carnegie’s principles and save yourself a lot of grief and wasted time.

Day 95. My approach to dealing with a broken iPhone required using Dale Carnegie principles


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 95.  Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I was placing my iPhone in my purse this morning when it slipped and fell on my tile floor.  I quickly picked up my phone talking gently to it…. “you’re ok phone. You’re going to be alright…”

I looked at it and it seemed fine.  The screen wasn’t cracked.  I was able to turn it on, check my email, etc.  I drove into work happily.

As I pulled into the parking lot at work I noticed my phone indicated “No Service.”

I considered what I believed the logical explanations for this problem:
Did I forget to pay the bill?  No.  Besides… it’s 9:40am—I’m doubtful the phone company pulls the plug at such a random time. 

Then I considered the possibility of sunspots affecting the satellites.  (Yes, I’m that crazy)

Well, the sunspot theory went out the window once I heard the beeps and dings coming from everyone’s iPhones at work.  I looked down at my phone eagerly waiting for a sign of life—and all I got was dead silence.

This is the time to dust off Dale Carnegie’s “live in day-tight compartments” principle.  Taking this approach is the complete opposite of my personality but I did my best to apply it anyway.

I even decided to accept the inevitable.  What’s the worst that can happen?  My phone is broken and I have to get a new phone.  I’ve been wanting an excuse to upgrade phones anyway…

Then there’s the small issue of my 2000+ photos that I have on my phone.  I haven’t backed up recently.  This was a big test of my ability to live in a day-tight compartment.  I reminded myself that the resolution quality of the photos isn’t as good as the photos I take with my regular digital camera.  So what’s the big deal?

Well, soon enough I got distracted with the pleasures of work—of all things!  My associate wanted some advice on choosing colors for an upcoming project she was making.  She even invited me to make a project.  So I did.  I became so enthralled and focused on my work that I didn’t spend a moment thinking about my iPhone and my lost photos. 

By evening I had put in a full day of work and was still enthralled with my task of making a project that I chose to stay late.  (as opposed to getting on the tollway and racing home to try and fix my iPhone).  I ended up making TWO projects instead of one—which was quite satisfying. 

When I finally did leave the office—I had my iPhone next to me.  That’s when my day was taking a downturn. I would glance down and see its blackened screen.  Traffic became stressful.  It was also terribly hot—it was a warm 97 degrees at 9:30pm.    I was hungry.  I was tired.  I was upset because my iPhone would not wake up.

That’s when I appreciated the value of keeping busy to avoid worrying.  I had been so busy at work today that I didn’t have time to worry about my phone.  But the moment my mind was left free to wander my thoughts quickly turned to my broken phone and every other conceivable annoyance.

The Dale Carnegie principles I was being thrust into today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Live in “day-tight compartments”
Keep busy.

This was one of my last photos taken on my iPhone since the last backup. Got to love irony!

Today was not an easy day.  But I found that by keeping busy I was able to distract myself from my troubles and worries.  When you find yourself burdened by worry, fear or doubt—it helps to stay busy.  Put your worries in a “box” so to speak and engage in some activity.  In my case I had two projects that kept me busy.  When you take this approach you are able to use your time in a productive, healthy manner and you might gain some perspective in the process. You might even be able to find some humor in the day.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Today is your lucky day!  Guest blogger, “Tyrone” shares a story about his recent trip to the library and how he applied Dale Carnegie’s principles.  Click here to read his post.

Day 71. As Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz would say, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 71.  Saturday, June 4, 2011
This afternoon I did a quick Google search to find a museum that would interest me.  I couldn’t find anything.  So I decided to fill the car with gas, turn on my new GPS and drive without a plan.  I took one main highway and kept driving North. 

I had no idea where I was going.  My only objective—take photos of something.  Anything.  And take plenty.  I was calling it my photo scavenger hunt.  My first random stop—a town named Sherman.

I was a bit nervous deciphering the one-way streets through the main square.  I decided to park at the library and take photos of railroad signs across the street.  I saw a “No Trespassing” sign on one of the buildings that I was approaching.  But I justified my actions by deciding I’m on a public sidewalk.  So I snap to my heart’s somewhat nervous content.

As I headed back to my car, a woman from the library walked out and asked what I was taking a picture of.  My heart sank to my stomach.  I thought—geesh—they must have cameras in this very quiet, isolated part of town.  Do I really look that threatening?

I nervously search for words.   “I—um… I’m taking pictures of that railroad sign…. I cross my arms as if to indicate the sign.  I’m sorry, I didn’t realize I wasn’t allowed.”

She proceeds to ask why. 

I replied, “I’m taking photos for my blog… 365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles.”  (at this point I realize what a ridiculously long blog name I have).

I continued, “I am driving aimlessly today taking random photos.  I’m sure it sounds crazy….”

The woman replies—“no problem.  You see, my office is just right there beside the window and you are the 5th person I have seen taking photos in that area.  I decided to finally get out of my office and ask what it is people are taking photos of and why.”

I smile with relief and walk back to my car. 

I continue to drive North.

I see a sign, “Durant.”  I think to myself—hmm… I’ll go there.  That’s when it occurred to me…. That’s not Durant, Texas.  I’m approaching Oklahoma! 

I took an exit and head to my new adventure in Durant:  Choctaw Casino Resort. 

I’m a little iffy on whether I’m wearing the right clothes.  I didn’t exactly plan to be seen this day.  But after glancing at the people entering the casino I determine I’ll fit right in—inasmuch as I would fit in at a casino….

I walk around the casino wide-eyed with fascination.  I went to the cashier—and true to my personality I say, “hi, um… is this where I get change?  I’ve never been here before….”  I half expect her to growl at me for sounding like an idiot but she greets me warmly and makes change for my 20 dollar bill.  She says you never know—you may have beginner’s luck.”

I head to one of the 1 cent slot machines.  I don’t have a clue what I’m doing but I’m feeling pretty bold and confident after drinking my free root beer soda.  I put 50 cents into the machine, pressed a few buttons and watched with fascination.  Why do people like this?   I thought to myself.

It's all about perspective ; )

I begin losing on this machine.  But then I won.  I won again.  And again.  I was trying to exhaust the money but I kept winning.  This was getting interesting.  When I reached $3.25 I decided it was time to quit while I was ahead.  My 45 minute adventure in the casino had come to an end. 

With my winnings burning a hole in my pocket I did the most logical thing I could think of.  I found a Starbucks and enjoyed a Java Chip Frappuccino. 

Sunset in June

On the way back home I chased a sunset with my car.  I was able to find a secluded open field where I could park the car, stand outside and watch the “show”.  I breathed in the intoxicating scent of wild flowers, listened to the birds chirping and lived in the moment. I thanked God for the wonderful day and all the thoughtful details that came along with it. 

I’m sure you’re wondering what Dale Carnegie principles I employed in today’s story.  They are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Keep busy.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Don’t worry about the past.

I had a difficult evening on Friday—and I was worried the effects would invade my Saturday and perhaps my Sunday.  With the help of at least three friends, I was able to renew my focus and determination and make today a great day. 

My lesson to you—there are people and circumstances that may succeed in dragging you down.  But you have the ability to pick yourself back up and create your own happiness.  The best way to achieve this goal is to keep busy.  Stay focused on the present moment.  In the event you do think on the past (as I do!) do it for one reason—to propel yourself to make the present all the more positive, meaningful and richer. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
I must thank three people and I’m going to break Dale Carnegie’s rules on names.  I am hoping you will be able to recognize your code names below.
Special thanks to:
Batman
Superman
Tofu Fairy

Day 35. I found a way to apply a Dale Carnegie principle by cleaning the bathroom…


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 35.  April 29, 2011
I woke up feeling melancholy.  I looked at myself in the mirror and tried smiling.  I wasn’t feeling it.  I knew my mood defied logic because I got more sleep than usual.  Yet I didn’t feel well rested at all.

My thoughts took various turns.  I thought of tomorrow—the day of my big 5K race.  I doubted whether I could actually run and succeed in the race.  I thought of the consolation prize that everyone receives—a nice big breakfast.  Nope—I wasn’t feeling very happy this morning.  Food couldn’t even list my spirits.  Should I even enter the race?  

I thought of my recent track record of waking up excited and in a good mood.  I tried to analyze what was different about today.  I remembered my past blogs of fighting for my happiness—proof that I am able to change my mood.  I just wasn’t feeling right today.

Then I wondered what I would write in today’s blog. Would there even be a blog?  Are my blog days over?  I have some great photos for the blog but there’s no story to tell.  I’m stuck in my box of unhappiness. 

I took a deep breath and prayed.  My prayers aren’t fancy or flowery.  They are straight to the point: “Dear God please help me.”   

Then I did something odd for my morning routine.  I decided to clean.  I vacuumed the house. Then I emptied the trash.  Then I cleaned the bathroom mirror and countertop and even… the toilet!  I think it was the moment I poured ammonia into the sink I completely woke up with a complete change of perspective.  ‘Wow…that is a strong chemical’—I thought to myself as I ran to the other room gasping for air.

Then I decided to fold laundry that was waiting for me in the dryer all week.  I counted my blessings as I folded the socks because most of the socks had matching pairs. 

This cleaning process took about 20 minutes—but did more good for me than I could have imagined.  I was focused on a goal—annihilate dirt, germs and clutter. As I finished getting myself ready I remembered a conversation I had with my friend Steve earlier this week about the upcoming 5K run.  He said with complete confidence that I would succeed.

As I was leaving the house—I looked at the now clean mirror and smiled.  Yes, I will run in that 5K race tomorrow.  And I will succeed and eat my victory breakfast and wear my victory t-shirt. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used this morning:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Keep busy.
Count your blessings—not your troubles.
Pray.

Stuck in a box

I was a real skeptic this morning thinking I might have reached the end of my happiness parade but it turns out the Dale Carnegie principles continue to work.  You just have to be willing to exert effort into getting out of your box of unhappiness. 

It is true—you will not always wake up in a good mood—and in some ways I’m grateful I didn’t this morning.  It was a good challenge.     

Look around for opportunities to count your blessings in the circumstances and people you encounter.  Find ways to distract yourself—keep busy by doing the simplest of tasks—like cleaning or folding laundry.  Live in the moment and enjoy someone’s friendly invitation to sit for coffee—or laugh heartily at a funny email. You MUST look for these opportunities. 

When you take this approach you will discover you have the power to control your perspective of the day.  You determine whether or not you are happy.  No one else.