#372: Tweaking Our Lives
Sunday, July 11, 2010
"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." George Bernard Shaw
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I spend part of my life editing books, web sites, resumes, business forms and other written materials. Some need major overhauls; others only a few tweaks here and there. Like what we do when we change our profile pages on SP and other social networking sites, putting in new colors and new pictures to create a different us to present to others.
We can not go back and make changes in our past actions, thoughts and words but we can look forward to the future and see where we need to tweak our lives. There are always aspects of our lives and ourselves we can improve on. Maybe it is being too negative in our thinking or getting a confrontational tone in our voice when we disagree with someone. Maybe it's our body language or our appearance. There are many areas open for improvement if we are honest with ourselves.
Sometimes we need only a small adjustment here and there to smooth out a perceived problem. As an example, I am often told I speak too fast so I try to be conscious of that and slow down the pace when I talk with others.
But tweaking is not only for improving areas that need improvement. It is also for reinforcing those attributes we possess that are our strong points. We all have them. Others likely compliment us on them frequently. Be it our mechanical ability, our willingness to volunteer or other skills, we should reinforce these strengths to their fullest extent.
A wise magazine editor once told me that it is easier to smooth out an article already written than it is to create the article from scratch. The hard work in lives has already been done -- we have already been made. Now it is time to tackle the rough edges that cause frustration or irritation in others, or within ourselves.
Make a list today of anything about yourself you don't like or that others have chided you for and do as Benjamin Franklin did when he wanted to improve. He concentrated on one area for 30 days, until the new habit had become ingrained, then he moved on to another area.
This technique is not only for improving our personalities. Want to learn to cook for instance? Spend 30 days trying recipes. Take a class on cooking. Ask a friend to show you how to make various dishes. You'll be amazed at your improvement in only 30 days.
Seeing a rough-edged manuscript become smoother and easier to read is satisfying, but not as satisfying as knowing I have smoothed off a rough edge of my personality or that I have developed desired skills. Editing, for me, is fun. Tweaking our lives for more personal satisfaction should be, too.