I bet you think; you’re nice?

We all think of ourselves as nice people, but are we? How often do you see someone acting in a way you consider not nice?В  Was that you recently? Did you cut someone off in traffic as you hurried to get somewhere?

I bet that you could be nicer. I bet you would like to be nicer. Here are some ways.

1 … accept yourself, you know you’re not the nicest person. You don’t like that, or you would have stopped reading by now. We all have rough edges that rub others the wrong way. We don’t like that about ourselves.  Humans have tried to change that since the beginning of time.

2. …accept others; now that you admit to having rough edges realize that others have them too. When you encounter those rough spots rubbing together there is friction.

3. …. Be genuine; when you encounter that friction don’t let it start a fire. we sense that friction as anger or fear. .  Ask yourself instead, “Is that anger or fear justified”?” usually the fear or anger lacks justification .take a deep breath and relax. You are safe, maybe.

4. … be curious; now that you feel safe you can be genuine in letting yourself be curious. What marvels does the world offer you?

When a stranger mentions, “how nice the day is”, he is seeking to connect with you, never mind that he is armed like Rambo. He seeks to connect, not kill. We all want to connect with others, so does he? Yet, obviously he fears something in the world. What is it?

5. … open yourself to the being of others; Rambo obviously wants to connect with you. Yet he dresses from a place of danger and fear. I bet he wants to share his fears. Can you stay calm as he opens those fears?

6. … be positive, if Rambo wanted to kill you, you’d be dead. He doesn’t want to kill. He wants to talk about the weather. He wants to connect. If it is raining, “We need the rain”, ignore the chance of floods.

When Rambo mentions the flooding, reply how it will wash away the dead leaves and branches. The streets will be clean.  7. … own your feelings, if you fear the flood will wash out the bridge say, “I fear it might wash out the bridge.” That will let Rambo make up his own mind.

8. … respect confidences, if Rambo tells you he fears that the Canadians will attack, accept it as his fear.    Let him tell you more if he wishes.

9. … accept complements simply, if Rambo says, “You are a nice person.”

Thank him and let it go.

So, even in your nightmares you can be nice.В  Now can you be nice in the light of day? Try it and let me know how these ideas work.

Hint; if you really want to implement these get a partner, who will call you out when your naught and not nice.

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach, Dr. DaveI bet you think; you’re nice?

Osteopaths, are they .O.D.’d MD’S?

Osteopaths (OD or DO0seem to be physicians with an excess of training. Who needs to be able to manipulate the spine if you are suffering from asthma?В  How could the muscles and spine be connected to the lungs?

I have always been aware of Osteopathic medicine, but never understood why the fuss. Ever since medical school I came across Osteopaths who were treated just like MD’s.  Yet In some states the two groups did not talk to each other and even had competing hospitals across the street from each other.

Why is Osteopathic medicine different from Medicine?

In the 1800’s Health care was not as organized or regulated. A young person would seek out an older and respected physician and learn from that practitioner. Where were schools as well, in fact at the University of Maryland we attended lectures in a building that had been used since colonial times.

Anyway, in 1874, Andrew Taylor MD started treating patient with spinal and muscular manipulation.  In those days surgeons and medical doctors often trained and worked separately. The various medical sciences were in their infancy. If you were ill there were very few truly effective therapies, at least not by today’s standards. The principles of medical science were beginning to be set down. (Actually they are still evolving.)  Much of the science consisted of trial, error and observation and conjecture.  There are some well-known experiments that would be respected today, but most would not be accepted for publication.

The students of Dr. Taylor went two ways. Dr. Taylor insisted that his students also be MD’s, but others just taught the muscular skeletal approach. Their practice became much like Chiropractors. In most parts of the world and Osteopath practices just like a Chiropractor. In most parts of the US they are treated just like MD’s.

Osteopaths are not MD’s

Osteopaths differ from in MD’s not just in name. The thinking of Osteopathy is that they approach their patients with four principles in mind. First, the mind, body and spirit are one. Second, the body has self-regulatory mechanisms that seek to return the body to best function. Third, structure and function are related, a tight muscle indicates a dysfunction. And fourth, no one of the first three principles operates alone.

This sort of approach was not taught in my medical school. We attended many courses that thought the medical science. The idea of a mind – body connection was not talked about. Spiritual aspects of health were not mentioned. The idea of prayer healing was weird.

I remember a colleague mentioning a patient of his who had had cancer. He had little to offer her. She had taken herself to a prayer healer. When she returned the cancer was gone. We did not understand it, but if it worked for her, Great! However, it would have been malpractice to refer other patients her prayer healer.

In recent years studies on prayer and other forms of spiritual therapy often appear in the medical literature. Duke University has a Center dedicated to this. Other centers also exist.

As I retrained in Public Health, I became aware that for many the spirit was the source of illness not the other way around. I was apt to encounter people who believed as such. In fact Native Americans have always believed in such. The old westerns seemed to emphasize the herbs and potions as much as any ritual. The native American Beliefs were not mentioned in those westerns.

So to whom do you turn for healing?

That depends upon what ails you. Unfortunately, your symptoms don’t always tell the whole picture. We easily recognize common illnesses because they are common. Many times they will bet better on their own. Physicians have to restrain themselves when faced with a cold. Antibiotics can actually make matters worse. They kill the common bacteria and leave the body open to uncommon bacteria. If a virus caused your cold, the antibiotic had no role in your recovery, even if you feel they did.

Other illnesses like stomach upsets can have many causes. They usually get better on their own with only Tender Loving Care and Time. So enjoy your chicken soup.

Inflammatory conditions are not well understood. The interplay and mind, body and other factors remain elusive. Understanding the body as an integrated whole is essential.

If the tried and true does not work for you, then try what has worked for others. It will take time and much work to generate the evidence we have for the tried and true to become mainstream. New ways to study them will need to be designed.

Taking charge of your health and deciding to get better, may just do that. So, decide to be healthy.

PS. Joy can help a lot.

As Always, Seek joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

 

 

You shouldn’t survive

Don’t survive, thrive!

Thriving is what we all want to do, so why don’t we focus our efforts on that instead of just surviving?

If you were thriving what would that feel like? How would thriving look?

When I think of thriving I find myself smiling. My mood is happy and full of energy. Things come to me easily and I can write this blog with ease. Even after the long winter and current hay fever season. I find it easy to do things. Several projects are in the works. I reach out to others readily and with excitement.

I no longer depend upon my wife to shop for me. I for weeks needed to

Shop for many things but found it so easy to put them off or forget them all together. Now feel free and go with ease and confidence. When I need help I ask for it. I usually get it with a smile and am grateful for all the help I get.

What can you do to Thrive, instead of Just Survive?

First thing I did was to realize that I had been struggling. February is usually my Low Month. It certainly was this year. I had let the cold weather that started in December get to me. I stayed in a lot and felt sad. Now I am forcing myself to get out and be with others.

Second thing I did was act. Once I was aware of my low mood, I took action. I made it a point to be in contact with others.В  Two people with whom I Skype and I have started planning for a project. I have also gotten out to some meetings.

Thirdly, I let myself be accountable. By working together with other people I made myself accountable to them. I agreed to find the technology so we could do this online project. After several attempts, I now am able to do, record and edit interviews. They willВ В  be podcasted shortly

Fourth, I believed that things would get better. Summer comes even to the frozen Midwest, and we could do this project.

Fifth, I found ways to laugh. I am often quick to see a pun. On a recent Sunday, Our Choir director put out some cards with some jokes on them. I could not help coming up with others.

Question: What is the difference between a Musician and Lock Smith?

Answer: their keys.

Question: where do musicians sit?

Answer: in musical chairs.

6. I allowed myself to dream m. I now aspire to do things. Recently I found a course to teach me how to blog on other sites. I am doing interviews for podcasts. They will appear in two forums, one for the blind community, and the other as stories of how disability changed people for the better. I will say more about that in the future.

This, my friends is the ABLE Coaching model (aspire, Believe, Laugh and love life, enjoy the journey). I will write more about ABLE Coaching in future blogs.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Author of the forthcoming book, “Recipes for Lemonade (Thriving thru Disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”

PS, as all ways feel free to share this blog. Comments are welcomed on the website or Facebook.

Lightening

Are Nice Guys, always Winners?

In a Christian Science Monitor blog James Norton referred to research done at Michigan State University. It suggests that nice guys make us all winners. It even suggests that being nice is a winning strategy even if you don’t finish. What has been your experience?

We are all aware of the old adage nice guy’s finish last however if we think about it for a minute being nice is probably a better strategy than trying to win at all costs. Only one can come in first. We all know there are risks in running the race. We might need help along the way. Who is apt to get the help the nice guy or the greedy guy?

I recently noticed this on a city bus. As I got on with my white cane a woman said, “To your right”.

A little girl said, “Right here”, tapping the seat next to her. As I sat down next to her I noticed how contented she was. Her mother completed paying their fair and joins her on the seat. This preschooler seems very happy and contented. Her mother did not need to entertainer. The girl had ribbons and curls in her hair. Yet, her shoes lacked laces.

This nice little girl lives in a nice world. By some standards the world was nice to her, but obviously there were material things she lacked. Was she a winner or a loser?

Looking at the girl I think she felt like a winner. I see many other children her age that always need attention. They whine, and keep moving around on the seats and require the attention of an adult. This little girl seemed very contented in her own little world. In our materialistic and competitive world I doubt will ever consider her to really be in the race. However, I doubt she will ever feel deprived for long.

In college I played in the band. To promote the University we would take a bus tour during spring break. We would sleep in the homes of high school students where we were performing. I remember one warm and friendly home in particular. They seem to be one of the poorer homes but one that I felt more comfortable with than most. I was raised in an upper middle class suburban family. Yet this family obviously didn’t have the education or opportunities that I had enjoyed. They enjoyed great love. This was something my parents also strived for. Yet, my parents with the demands of their positions as community leaders were often distracted.

The researchers and Michigan State University were considering evolutionary biology. They had concluded that niceness in the forms of cooperation and forgiveness helped individuals and communities survive. Personal greed and self-interest leaves the individual alone and vulnerable to those groups that can organize themselves.

We all remember the childhood game of King of the Hill. Everyone strives to be the king and keep everybody else off the hill. Soon two or more attack at the same time, this overwhelms the king. If the new Kings cooperate they are much less vulnerable to the next round of attack. If however it was just coincidence then they start fighting among themselves, and the cycle continues.

В 

So would you rather be the king or a nice guy?

В 

How can you be nice?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Author of the forthcoming book, “recipes for lemonade (Thriving through disability): Dr. Dave’s personal recipe”

You are gifted!

Yes you have gifts. You are gifted with gifts but you may not realize just what gifts you have to share with the world. You need to develop them. Most of us marvel at the skill of the “gifted” athletes at the recent Olympics. Yet, with all their gifts it was often stated that each of them has spent 10,000 hours in training. That is the equivalent of working full time for five years to achieve the level of skill we saw in the Olympics.

You might say I don’t have a gift. Yet each of us has the ability to do something that someone else can’t.  Many bright and talented people can’t stand to do repetitive tasks.  I got bored driving cross country, especially on the interstates. I would often create fantasies to keep from falling asleep. I am glad I don’t drive for a living.

Ask yourself these questions, what do you dislike doing? What can’t you do that you have to rely on others to do?” then turn them around, “What do you like to do that others don’t? What can you do that others can’t?” Answering these four questions will help you identify your gifts and the gifts you want in others.

Being gifted is not enough to be noted for a talent. I know an excellent Jazz performer. He has played some professionally, but doesn’t. He found the smoky bars and clubs unhealthy. He hated the traveling and odd hours. It was not good for his family.  He sought another line of work.

Many of you may have noted that my writing is sporadic. In February and March, I let other things keep me from the computer. To make these blogs helpful for you, I will have to find ways to write regularly.

You may also have noted that I am better with ideas than with putting them on paper. There are words I keep misspelling.В  I need to use a spellchecker and proof read the result. Even then I miss many obvious mistakes. I enlist the aid of a proofreader. That proof reader has a gift that I value. They can see mistakes that I miss. In fact I have a program so I can dictate the blog and not have to type it. The program makes fewer typing mistakes than I do.

Once you identify your gift and develop it you need to focus it to some goal. What do you value in this world? What do you want to see happen in the next five years? Then how can you use your gift to make that happen. If your gift is in organizing things many groups need people to keep record and organize their files.В  Who is seeking to do what you want to see happen. Approach them and see how you might work together. В You can become an important part of the team.

Martin Luther King led the civil Rights movement. He could not have done it without others to show up and March. Others drove cars to bring supplies to the marchers. Still others cooked and arranged housing for the marchers when they came from out of town. Great things happen because many people join together to make them happen. The glory may go to a few, but they were able to organize many others to make it happen.

I would love to hear what your gifts are, and how you have used them.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Can you do this?

What adult has not been asked that question by a child? The child has discovered a new ability and thinks it is neat.В  Sometimes it is something simple like standing on one foot other times it takes more effort like rubbing your stomach while patting your head. If you are older like me you might want to see if you still can do these.

Over our lifetimes we learn and unlearn many things. If I tried to do much of the math I did in college, I would need to review. Other subjects like the social sciences; I am better versed in because I continue to read in those areas. I also majored in the math based field of Chemistry, but don’t work in that area.

The process of learning and the unlearning things starts in childhood. Neuroscience has found that beginning in early childhood our brains continually rewire themselves. Since, our brains grow until we are about twenty-five the unlearning is not noticeable until later in life.В  Yet if you observe how a child throws a ball, you notice that that skill changes. Their body changes, so they have new abilities. They change their throw to take advantage of those new abilities.

In the early adult years there is so much to learn or relearn. Usually we do what we saw adults do. Take for example in a marriage. The way we interact with our partners repeats the patterns we experienced in our homes. this often causes conflict when our partner does not do as expected.В  Knowing this most couples negotiate this. Sometimes they need help to break out of undesired patterns, Many Life Coaches focus their efforts in this area.

Later in life lost abilities begin to be noticeable. As an athlete you notice this earlier, with peak ability usually before age 30, sometimes in our teens. For most of us our careers peak later on. Yet at some point all of us realize that we need to step aside and let younger people shine. As an athlete becomes a coach, workers become mentors.

What happens next? In the work place we eventually become “Redundant”. This happens early for many because of many factors. The technology can change. Surgery went through a major change when the laparoscope was introduced.  Surgeries that required a week or more in the hospital can be done without overnight stays. Yet, the use of the laparoscope is not easy and must be maintained. This need to relearn applies to all of us.

Older adults did not grow up with computers. Yes they have been around longer than I have, but not in the common place of today. I recently got upset with some older adults that cannot enter data into a computer or access it when they need to.

What skills have you mastered as an adult? Are there skills that you had as a child that are obsolete?В  Have you or a friend had to learn a new job? That is a major effort, but often done.

So, what do you want to do when you grow up?

We ask that of children, yet is that not an appropriate question for all of us? You may have dreamed a life history as a child. Now what does that dream look like? Have you fallen in so many ways so many times that you no longer dream?В  Why is that? Have you decided to just follow the path of others?В  Why should we resign ourselves to be followers?

I often marvel at the ages of many people in the news.В  Many of them seem to be younger and then when their age slips into the news, I was off by a decade or more. В I think I sell myself short. There is a lot of time left to accomplish things.

What are your dreams?

As All Ways, Dream Big,

Coach Dr. Dave

Is your life in Harmony?

We humans seem to have a unique capacity for music. Birds may seem to sing but each of their songs conveys a particular message. Bird songs are more like phrases. “I am looking for you.” “Get out of my territory.” And other messages,

Some years ago my cousin and I went camping in the Boundary Waters here in Minnesota. As we drove up we listened to a tape of Loon calls. Loons are birds that live on Northern Lakes. They will let out a call and then dive below the water. Thus, as you look across the lake for the source of the call, you feel you are going “Looney”.
Each Loon call has a particular meaning. Since, loons are nocturnal animals. My cousin and I got little sleep as we listened to the messages the loons were giving to each other.
So much for loons. Neither they, nor the wolfs that howl, seek to harmonize. Yet people do, both in our personal lives and our relationships to others.
So, how can we harmonize our lives?
A chorus will have several voices, typically Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Bases. As they construct a chord one voice will sing a note. Each of the other voices will then sing a note that has a unique relationship to that first note. These notes will resonate with the first so that they regularly reinforce and cancel the first one out. This creates an other note. The whole things are pleasing to hear.

Our lives have several parts just like a choir. I divide them into Physical, Emotional, Social and Spiritual. We can choose any one of these to be the basis our life. When we are socializing, our physical body allows us to relate in ways pleasing to others. We adjust our emotions to support the social interaction. (How often do you catch yourself when tempted to make an unwelcomed remark?) The spiritual also takes a back seat to the social.
Like a musical composition the various voices of your lives take turns being the basis of the harmony in our lives. Sometimes we care for our body, like eating or bathing. At other times our bodies have the melody, like in playing sports or dancing.
When the various voices of our lives are not in harmony we get a dissonance. That comes out in the form of physical illness, emotional stress, social discord or spiritual isolation.
How do you find this metaphor in your life?
In future blogs I will explore this metaphor more if you share your experiences I will try to incorporate them into the blogs.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave

Ways to be Likeable

“If you’re unlikeable, it’s you against the world.
If you’re likeable, it’s you with the world at your side.”
@DaveKerpen

This is so true, but how often do we feel liked? What ways might you try to behave to be more likeable? Where might you look for ideas?

I bet you are like most people. So who do you like? What characteristics do you see in those you that you don’t see in those you dislike?
The first thing I notice when I look at those who I like is they like themselves. They are not sad and upset with themselves. I naturally
want to comfort those who are sad, but I tire of doing it all the time. I would rather be with those who feel happy.

People who are happy seem to be easier to be around. They are comfortable meeting others. They say hi and are offering their hand, if not a hug. They seem kind and courteous. They say Please and thank you, just like they were taught.

Yet they seem to be able to go beyond the simple courtesies our Mothers taught us. They seem to be able to fit into the group. They notice how others around them behave. They don’t cut others off in conversation, unless everyone is doing that. If others always let certain people talk, they do the same.

If you really want to be liked remember,
“It’s easier to see what someone is really like
By how they treat their inferiors, not their equals.”
(S. J.K. Rowling)

Likeable people seem confident. They give an air of positivity. They know they can do what it takes to get the job done. That doesn’t’ mean they won’t get help and recruit others in the task. I would rather join in a task than just stand there and watch, even when the other person can do it by them self.

Some mistake arrogance for confidence. What is the difference between
confidence and arrogance? Both know they can do the job. Arrogant people seem to have an attitude that others can’t do the job, or do it as well as them. This can be difficult for those who have struggled to master a task. You naturally want to show off. When kids do it we praise them, but as adults we need to unlearn this. Otherwise we will come over as Arrogant.

Confident people are also relaxed. They aren’t afraid to let others try.
That doesn’t mean they let others struggle unnecessarily. They might say, “Would you like a hand with that”, instead of “let me do that.”
We tend to like people who we can trust. That means many things but goes back to courtesy. They don’t let us down. If we are trusted, we know what is expected and do that.

When we speak we expect others to listen. Do you like to be ignored?Then don’t ignore others. Some people don’t know when to relax and stop talking. Then we have to find a nice way to ask them to, “let others play, too.”Yet, do you like others that ignore what you just said? Instead

acknowledge what they dais and if you don’t know much, ask a question? Be careful not to challenge their point of view, until you know they won’t feel attacked. There is a time for debate and never a time for argument.

People also like to be known, use their name. If they wish to be formal the be formal and say MR. or Mrs. This goes back to the blending into

the group. Informality may be accepted from some people and not others. I noticed this among fellow physicians. To the general public they were Dr. and to each other we used first names.

People always likes to Laugh. A sense of humor is liked. But this can be difficult if you don’t know your audience. Some people are sensitive about things that others take for granted. Puns usually are safe, but putdowns are very dangerous. They might be offended for an absent friend.
Lastly, we enjoy being with those who enjoy us. In addition to laughing we enjoy being enjoyed.

So if you wish to be liked:
• Like yourself
• Be courteous
• Blend in and accept the group’s standards
• Be confident but not arrogant
• Be trustworthy
• Know who you are with
• Make them laugh, and
• Enjoy them

As All Ways, Seek Joy,