#75 Get Choosy With Your People

Good Morning!

I wrote about this topic a little bit last at the beginning of the last year, and I’d like to explore this topic a little more.

What I wrote about before is that we generally become the average of the five people that we spend the bulk of our time with.

This post is about getting specific in regard to the people we spend our time with and how it’s going to change us on a fundamental level.

It seems too good to be true, but it’s the reason why business conventions exist: networking. It’s one of the best ways to get your name out there in your niche.

As the old saying goes: “Sometimes it’s not what you know, its who you know.”

If you’re not where you want to be in life in regard to how much money, status, or power you have, then the best piece of advice around is to make friends with the people who do and start spending a lot of your time with them.

Want more money? Hang out with people that have more money than you do.

Want more success in what you do? Hang out with people that seem to have the success you want.

Want to be surrounded by beautiful people? Find some pick-up artists to hang out with.

Want more decision-making power? Time to go golfing with  politicians.

Spending time around the right people will get you a lot of the necessary know-how you need just by proximity. You’ll pick up on how they treat and talk to others, what questions they ask, how they think about the things that actually make a difference to their success, and how people treat them in return. They’ll teach just about everything you need to know even without either of you knowing it.

Most people will change what they’re doing almost without knowing it because fitting is a primal instinct. We want to be a part of the group and we need to fit in.  Our survival used to depend on it and in some respects it still does.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: how do I make friends with the people who I want to be like? I just can’t go hang out with Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Jay Z, or Steven Spielberg.

Well, those people didn’t always have their notoriety. They all came up through the ranks starting at one level or another and made a lot of friends who helped them along the way. A lot of those people who helped are at the level that you probably want to shoot for before your luck kicks in and gets you get the ultra success that the famous people we hear about have.

After enough time, others with notice your personality changing.

This is a good time to mention that if you don’t want to change too much on a fundamental level, you’ll need to spend a lot of time with a ‘moral anchor’. This is usually the person who you spend the most time with already, but remember that you’re going to have to change on a fundamental level in order to get the success you want.

I think it’s important to also note that we aren’t all meant to have the success that we wish for.

High levels of success come with problems and unforeseeable challenges; even Biggie wrote about having more problems the wealthier he became. If you take a look at the people who win the lottery, most of them end up exactly where they started in only a few years, and sometimes worse off.

This is exactly what happened to me: I got the success I worked hard for, and I couldn’t physically or mentally handle it at the time. Now I’m back where to where I started; and that’s not a bad thing. It is invaluable experience.

The takeaway of today’s article is to shoot for half the success you’re dreaming about having. Find someone who’s at or close to that level already and start hanging out with them on a regular basis and pay attention.

There’s no shame in leveling up slowly either; that’s what works for most of us anyways.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

Have a great day!

#74 Work Should Never Dictate The Pace Of Our Lives

Good Morning!

Why is does it feel like we have to rush our personal lives to make time to support our work lives?

Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

When I worked for someone else it always seems like they wanted more time from me than I willing to give them; overtime was almost always required.

Most people that work a forty hour workweek have a routine in place that’s comfortable and fits their lifestyle, but when the boss asks for overtime, it tends to throw a wrench into the gears our personal lives.

Ten extra hours a week is usually one extra hour per day and five extra hours on a Saturday, and if you have ever been required to work overtime, you’ll know it’s not usually for just one week. In my own experience, it’s months at a time and even years.

One extra hour added to the normal workday doesn’t seem like much, but it really is, and it adds up really quickly. It’s a full hour less for all of the things we need to normally do when we’re not at work.

Think of all of the activities that one extra hour is taking away from in your life outside of work.

For example, would you trade your reading, social media, gaming, and/or tv time before you go to sleep to work that extra hour that’s asked of you?

I know I wouldn’t, and this is how we get ourselves into either a lack of sleep or into a big friggin’ hurry. Both situations aren’t ideal, and a lot of time, it ends up being both.

We don’t get more time in a day and there are important things that must be done, so something else we normally do has to give and is either omitted completely or is done hastily and poorly.

This is why a generally accepted piece of good advice is don’t be in hurry; take all the time you need to do what you need to do, especially when performing tasks that require concentration like driving, using your judgement, handling a knife or operating heavy machinery.

This is also the reason why we have ultra-processed food at the grocery, drive-thru fast food, kurig’s, insta-pots, and other time saving devices.

I think we can all agree that certain things are much more enjoyable when we just take our time. This is extremely evident when we’re cooking and when we’re smelling the roses, both of which are the first to get cut when something else needs our time.

To make matters even worse, sometimes that extra hour ‘magically’ into two or more extra hours each day and now everything fun and enjoyable including socializing and the aforementioned food now suffers.

The changes we have to make in our personal lives is sometimes too great to make r oom for even one extra hour of work per day and this doesn’t even take into account the Saturday morning you now have to work too.

What do you like to do on Saturday mornings? Because whatever it is, you won’t be doing because you’ll be at work. 

A half-day of work in the morning is the same in preparation as a full workday because you still have to get up and go to work. So your five-day workweek is now becomes a six-day workweek.

Good-bye recharge time.

I like to sleep in on the weekends and wake up without an alarm clock, so taking away just this by itself makes working all of the overtime not worth it for me.

Are the extra hours at work worth it in the grand scheme of things?

Not it if it takes away from any of the important things in your life.

It’s time you can’t ever get back.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading (or listening to) today’s post.

Have a great day.

#69 Don’t Be Lazy

Good Morning!

Just about every time I want to do just sit down on the couch or hop into bed to relax or de-stress, there is always a couple things that I forgot to do or put off right until the end of the day.

For example, last night while I was walking into the bedroom to get ready to hop into bed, I remembered that I forgot to move my car from the street to the driveway and put the garbage out for the following morning.

Of course I remember this is after I’ve locked up and shut down the house for the night.

Continue reading “#69 Don’t Be Lazy”

#62 A Chat About Time

Good Morning!

I sat down to write about what’s been on my mind the past few days and I ended up writing down my daily schedule which I guess sounds a bit odd, but when I make my own schedule for things it’s a really good idea to have what I’m supposed to do with my time planned out or else I’d just end up just entertaining myself all day instead of doing something productive.

Of course, sometimes making these sorts of plans is a futile effort because, well life happens, and other stuff will get prioritized. 

If time is our utmost finite resource, what we do with it should be very important and wasting time should be avoided at all cost. You need to be in control of your time to do that.

Continue reading “#62 A Chat About Time”

#25 The Great Shopping Cart Debacle

Good Morning!

For as long as I can remember, every single time I’ve entered the parking lot of a grocery store I’ve seen at least one stranded shopping cart.

The only time I’ve entered a grocery store parking lot with no carts strewn about is when I see the cart wranglers moving the carts back into the store, the store isn’t open, or a coin deposit system had been implemented.  The latter usually solves this problem for the most part, but then some people still don’t return their carts.

I’d like to attribute this to shear laziness and lack of respect and common courtesy some people have for their fellow human and to the natural order of things, but I can’t.  There has to be another explanation.

Let’s Get to the Bottom of This

What I’m going to do is give you a bit of history about the shopping cart and why it came to be, explain why I think a shopping cart is considered a tool, the unwritten rules surrounding the act of borrowing something, why using or borrowing something should be respected, why “creating work” for someone might be a bad idea, and who gets a free pass on the issue.

To get a better understanding of this topic I read a few articles, I observed human nature while visiting my local grocery, asked the question on social media, and used my own logic and rational thinking to form an opinion.

It Didn’t Always Used to Be This Way

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dominion386/8561332964/in/album-72157679731836493/

I remember when I was a kid, when checking out at the grocery store there would be people at the end of the check out line bagging the groceries, loading the bags into red containers and then putting the red containers on a steel roller type conveyor to head outside. The shopping cart was then taken away by someone to get filed with the rest of the carts. Then mom and I would go back out to the car, and she would pull up next to the building under the canopy where some people outside load the groceries from the red bins into the back of our car and we’d be on our way.

What’s interesting is that I don’t remember carts ever leaving the building.

Some Shopping Cart History

After reading for a couple hours, it turns out the good’ol shopping cart has story- rich history and quite a bit of innovation tied to it. Who would have thought!?

There was many different iterations, each version solving a new problem that the previous one had created until finally we end up with the various styles we have today. The shopping cart is still evolving even now in modern times with the addition of audible, visual, and haptic technology to create an even more immersive shopping experience. I can’t wait to literally get my hands on one of these one day to give it a try.

Businesses want to sell you as much stuff as they can; more sales equals more profit. The grocer from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sylvan Goldman knew this way back in 1936 by observing at the time, that when the shopping basket became too heavy to carry, people stopped shopping.

He encouraged his staff to be as attentive as they could in bringing another basket to shoppers whose baskets were becoming full, but this proved to be very difficult in practice for number of reasons.

Sylvan needed to solve this logistical problem.  His ‘ah-ha’ moment came while sitting in his office staring at a folding chair with a basket resting on top: Put another chair and another basket on top and put some wheels on the legs so it’s easy to move around.  With this simple concept he solved his ‘two basket problem’.  Realizing it’s potential, he along with a few other innovators refined this idea and changed the self-serve grocery experience into what we now know.  Check out the Wikipedia article for the whole story.

Easy Shopping Equals More Profit

The motivation behind the shopping cart is to make the shopping experience as effortless as possible.  This is accomplished by the shopper not being physically required to carry everything they want to purchase around the store with them, all in one trip. Not only that, but it solves a few other problems for the customer which makes it quite convenient, such as a place for a child or two to sit or a secure place to put your bag or purse, and now even a secure shelf to put your phone or tablet on.

Carts Are Tools

Carts of all kinds are underrated for the convenience they provide, and are considered a necessary organizational tool in many professions. Besides, they just make stuff easier: gravity is unrelenting.

If we can agree that a cart is a tool, and a very convenient tool at that, why do some of us treat the carts at the store so poorly? Isn’t it like borrowing a tool from a friend?

Don’t the same rules apply to the shopping carts as it would with anything else you might want to use that isn’t yours?  Is it because the carts are provided for your convenience and you don’t have to ask to use it? Is it the motivation behind the business in providing the carts convenience that makes it ok? Let’s examine.

Borrowing

I published an article recently, The Act of Borrowing, which was inspired by this section. If you’ve read that article already, this section will echo some of what I wrote there.

It’s an unwritten rule for using pretty much anything that we borrow, especially when at no cost to us, that we return whatever it is we borrowed to where it’s supposed to go so the that the next person can find it and use it.

Return the magazine to the pile, return the tool to the right drawer of the tool box.

I remember, quite vividly, my shop teacher in high school stressing the importance of returning the item you borrowed in the exact same condition, or better, to the exact location from which it came.

Creating Jobs

The idea is that if a person leaves their cart out in the parking lot, someone has to go out and get it and bring it back into the store, therefore creating the need to perform a task and therefore creating a job for someone.

Wanting to be a part of a social behaviour change with the goal of creating jobs sounds a like a great idea and I’d participate too, but in practice on the individual level it’s a futile effort.  These types of social changes are far to slow to happen organically without mass market intervention like viral social media coverage or a retailer-wide policy change, and both of these are unlikely to happen.

In reality, cart wranglers are already tasked with collecting all of the stranded carts, so if you leave your cart out in the lot, all you did was create more work for that person.  That’s not nice, now is it? It’s just like walking over the portion of the floor a janitor has just mopped when you could have easily walked around.

It would be kinda weird anyways. Just imagine you’re all done shopping, you’re walking out the door to go to your car where person greets you, pushes your cart for you, helps you load your groceries into your car, and then takes the cart back for you.  That’s a tip-worthy job. Great, now I’m obligated to give this person money for a job I can clearly do myself. No thanks.

It’s Not About You

Parking in a busy parking lot is a huge pain in the ass and the last thing anyone needs to deal with is a parking space with a stranded cart left in it.  It’s infuriating. On top of that, a stranded cart can turn into a runaway cart and leave a less than desirable mark on someone’s car that you’re technically on the hook for.

Returning the cart to the corral isn’t about you.  It’s not even really about the cart, it’s about all of the other people that come after you.  It’s about the responsibility you have to treat others in the general population with respect.  No one wants to be disrespected, much less their things, and most importantly, their time.

Not all of us have the mind set.  The structure and flow of the parking lot doesn’t just jump out at all of us, some of us just don’t care, and finally some people just only do the bare minimum of what’s expected of them, so we should not be surprised when we random sample of the population don’t adhere to the unwritten rules or social norms.

The Free Passes

There are always exceptions to the rules, unwritten or otherwise.  So who gets a free pass?

The Elderly. Of course the aged get a free pass.  If anyone makes it to old age and has to deal with all of the BS that comes along with growing old, it’s understandable that they’d prefer to take one less step. But most older folks also know better than to get caught leaving a cart stranded out all by itself, at least the folks who frequent my grocery store do.  They leave their carts next to the building, and these carts don’t count because more than half of the people entering the store will grab a cart just sitting outside the door on their way in. It’s actually kind of nice, and also efficient, but sometimes the amount of them at one time gets out of hand.

The Disabled or Handicapped. These folks have their own carts and it goes without saying, if an able-bodied person who sees doesn’t at least offer to help them return their cart, well let’s just say that there is a special place for you in the afterlife.

People who legitimately have an emergency. Go! You have stuff to take care of.

People who are really struggling. The people who are suffering in silence, roaming around on autopilot that have stuff going on in their lives deprioritize everything else in their world except what is absolutely necessary, and the stupid shopping cart doesn’t make the list. We need to watch out for these people, because the leaving a stranded cart could be symptom of a sad ending being near. A simple “Hey man, is everything ok?” could be the tiny amount of compassion that person needs.

Conclusions

We’ve established that carts are a convenient tool that the store lets you borrow while you shop and when you’re done with it, it’s assumed that you understand the unwritten rules of borrowing something and will then return it to where it is supposed to go, but some people get a free pass, while others don’t care, and the rest just want to watch the world burn.

I’m happy I got to write this article.  Who would have thought that the simple shopping cart has such a rich history and social stigma surrounding it.

Trivial by its nature, the act not returning the shopping cart to the corral isn’t really a huge deal, but it is a nuisance for everyone that has to use the parking lot and unfortunately will continue to be an issue until shopping carts, parking lots and the self-serve grocery store is no longer a thing.

I return my cart to the cart corral because that’s where it belongs. I’m compelled to do so because it’s not mine and I tend to treat the things of others with respect.  I even go so far as choosing a parking space across from the corral for this very reason.

I hope you enjoyed this article and found of the information fun and useful.  Please leave a comment below with your thoughts on this topic.

-Karsy

#16 – 4 Reasons Why We Should Clean Up After Ourselves

Good Morning!

Some people are often confused which amenities are typically provided at self-service fast food or cafeteria type restaurants, and for good reason.  I’ll explain the differences and why it matters that we should clean up after ourselves.

Self-service and full-service restaurants are fundamentally different.

When we go out to eat at a full-service sit-down type of restaurant, we are greeted by a person, and then served by a person who takes our order, brings our food, checks on us throughout the meal, takes away our plates when we are finished eating, and finalizes the transaction.

After we leave our table, the restaurant bussing staff and/or servers go to work cleaning and resetting the table for the next guests.

Personal service stops at the counter.

When we visit a self-serve fast food or cafeteria style restaurant, we are served at a counter much like we would be at a full-service retail store and then we sit down afterwards with our food. The onus is on us to get our condiments, napkins, straw, drink refills, etc.

If all of the tasks typically done by the sever at full-service restaurant are our responsibility at a self-service restaurant. So why is it that we would assume that it’s not our responsibility to clean up after ourselves when we’re done? 

People are messy and kinda gross.

Humans are more bacteria by number of cells than we are actually human. Just about everything we come in contact with will trade bacteria and other germs with us.  Just the act of breathing is sufficient.

The trays that are provided to us to carry our food to the table do a pretty decent job of containing all of the little bits of food and saucy mess that we create while eating, but sometimes the slop ends up on the table, chairs, and floor.

For this reason, soap and water is always used to keep the dining room as sanitary as can be. When I did this for Taco Bell way back in the day, we used a disinfectant cleaner.

The person who is tasked with cleaning the dining room is expected to clean up the left-over messes of the patrons if need be, but this just adds to their cleaning function; it’s not actually their job to clean up after you.  Their job is to sanitize the dining room to limit the spread of bacteria.

Sometimes there is a person to return the tray to.

We as humans love symmetry. This also extends to how we do things, including starting and finishing actions and events and even how we travel and perform all of the other little tasks we do.

Because our meal is presented to us at a counter by a person, if there is no person to return the tray back to, this can lead to a grey area as to what to do with the packaging when we’re finished. 

This the underlying impulse for symmetry, the need to end our actions similar to how we started, much like how we take the same route in and out of a building, including using the same door if there more than one door.

Even if we know that there is a garbage can and a spot to put the tray, this can be overridden by whatever else we’re thinking about and become deprioritized, but if we know that there is a person associated with a location and an action of what we’re supposed to do, this is programmed into us on a subconscious level.

This particular issue was solved quite eloquently at my local mall by introducing a “tray station” to return the trays and garbage back to where a person is clearly visible doing their job of sorting the organic, recycling and refuse and cleaning the trays.

The first time a friend and I went there to try out a new restaurant, we didn’t know what to do with our garbage and trays when we didn’t see any garbage cans until someone pointed it out to us. Thanks stranger!

Conclusions

Ever since the self-service food industry was created this has always been an issue. Most of us are mindful enough to clean up after ourselves, some of us mean well by wanting to create the need for ‘a job’ for a full-time dining room attendant, but their action usually just ends up creating more work for the person that’s already tasked to cleaning. Some of us need a gentle reminder to be sanitary in general, and some of us are lost in our own little worlds and forget about basics.

Cleaning up after ourselves is ultimately to show respect for the business we frequent and for the other patrons that come after us.  It’s the decent thing to do.

I hope you enjoyed reading!

Let me know what you think about this in the comments!

Have a great day and clean up after yourself! 😊

-Karsy