Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Wordle of American Life

I recently discovered a great site that creates a "wordle" of your blog. It searches the blog and displays the most common words larger and then decreases in size from there. Here is a link to my Wordle.

What Ya Think?

Monday, July 14, 2008

On Self-Letdown

I find it hard to not meet expectations, especially my own. I am someone who will generally strive as hard as possible (although Wife might disagree) to meet the expectations that are presented to me. I do not say this to brag, but to more to point out dreadfully incompetent feeling that I get when I don't meet my own expectations. Doing well is fine by me, and I thrive in it. Becoming the youngest Branch Manager in the 65 year plus history of my company....great; not meeting sales expectations....harrowing. I try sooo hard dang it. It is such a letdown to NOT meet the expectations.

I have been struggling for a year plus with getting back in shape and losing weight. I know this sounds like 17 million people that you already know, and you are already worried where this will be going. No, I am not looking for sympathy. I am more wanting to express that feeling of failure/frustration we all feel when we fall short of our goals...real or imagined. For some reason I thought I would just be able to pick back up a tennis racquet and start jogging a couple of times a week, and I would be back out there playing with the best of them. I was wrong!

This past week, I was in the Ann Arbor City Tennis Tournament 4.0 singles division. I played last year, but was really just at the start of getting back into shape, and lost in the first round. I felt much better going in this time. I set some expectations for myself...play to the ability you know that you can play, don't lose the mental battle, and make it past the first round. I DID meet some of my expectations, winning the first two round and making it to the quarterfinals. Then came the letdown. I played my quarterfinal match like someone wholly different then the passionate, experienced player who had gutted out victories in the first two rounds. This is where I became disappointed in myself... if I had just lost to better player, I could have dealt with that, but I had beaten myself, and there is no worse letdown then that.

So on to the next stage of my tennis/getting in shape plan. It is time to really start working the body. I need to play tennis a lot, and work on the mental aspect of my game. I also need to recommit to keeping track of my food and burning off lots of calories via exercise. I have found in the past when I get into a funk with self-expectations, I need to sit back and think about why I set them in the first place. That often makes me focus on them more intensely and realize what needs to be done to accomplish them. So my goal for next year is to make the finals of 4.0. I have a year to make it happen...

Does anyone out there have any thoughts on self-expectations, or how to discipline oneself to meet goals?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

America's Long Slow Crawl to Mediocrity

I am a lover of America. I firmly defend America's preeminence in the world. We have been a beacon of hope and opportunity for as long as I have lived, and certainly much longer then that. Heck, I am BORN on the 4th of July, how could I not be US booster. Lately however, that has begun to change.

I believe that we, the people, which in the end is America the country, have begun to accept and even crave mediocrity. We no longer seek out the high moral road like we have done so many times in the past. Instead we take the easy way out, whether through using our military resources, or just throwing money at the problem and hoping it will go away.

The people on the surface would seem frustrated by the lack of leadership in this country, giving the President a 23% approval rating, the worst in a long time. They also throw the Congress under the bus, giving them a mere 19% approval rating. This proves that the discontent is not with a particular party, but more with the general way of things. If you dig deeper, I think people are frustrated at THEMSELVES. How many of you would approve of the job that YOU are doing to help solve some of the serious problems facing the country.

We have serious problems here. There is or soon will be a global food shortage, the ongoing war on terror, peak oil, global warming...etc. Soon the United States and the world will face an incredible problem when we all realize that oil cannot be pumped out the ground fast enough to satiate our demand. Standards of living all across the globe will be threatened. What are you doing about it, are you even aware of the problem??? Or are you just complaining because gas is $4 a gallon. The Unites States is the worlds greatest supplier of food aid, but even this is not enough, as many developed countries (Japan and milk, The Philippines and rice) have recently faced food shortages. Are you learning how to grow your own vegetables, or just assuming McDonald's will always be able to provide you with a $1 double cheeseburger?

So many of us are content to just get by. This makes me worry about possible Orwellian outcomes where people are afraid to speak up because they don't want to lose what they have. What we need to as a country and as individuals, is to stand up and take notice of these global problems. Then we need to put the burden of solving them on our shoulders. America once again needs to dig deep and pull the world through the coming transition away from the traditional industrial economy. It is coming whether we want it to or not. There is not enough cheap energy out there to supply us and China and Europe. Somewhere we will hit the wall. Let us be the leaders in this, moving the world to a more sustainable economic model. We can do it, and by being the leaders again, can restore the world's faith in America as that beacon of hope that we have been for generations.

So please, I beg you, get educated. Take some time to delve into some world issues. See what can be done and get involved. If you need somewhere to start, I suggest you start by finding out what peak oil theory is all about, for it is the root of all of many of these problems. If you want to know more, let me know and I will give you additional links of interest.