Friday, January 21, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard



Old Habits Die Hard

What do you do when you need groceries or want to go out to dinner? How about when you want to go to the park or go out for something social or get stuff at a store? You probably get in the car and drive there. At least that’s what I’ve always done and let me tell you: it ain’t easy to change your routine.

This week I’m on the plane back to sunny southern California – going back to what I know and have for so long felt comfortable with. Suburban living, cars in driveways, malls with parking lots, warm weather (all the time!) and a laid back style more conducive to hanging out than getting somewhere. But now I’ve chosen to live in an urban area for a while and I’m not so sure about what I really like. Living in a big city means (at least in the case of the Big Apple) that mass transit and walking are the primary means of getting around. Subways and trains and busses may not be the easiest way to get from one point to another but by making these accessible and affordable, everyone in NYC just accepts these transit tools for what they are: the best way to get around. But I’ve been going out and getting in the car to go to any and everywhere for so long it just seemed like there were no alternatives. And as I got ready to go to NYC for an extended tim e I thought that not having my trusty wheels was going to be a pain in the ass.

But wait: I’m now sitting on a crowded freeway in California and trying to get somewhere – I’m driving because there’s no other way to get there. Busses and trains were never really built out here to handle the kinds of traffic that exists. Sure, they have car pool lanes but even those are crowded and slow. Is it the commitment of the local officials or the lack of interest by the people who live here? Without the mass transportation infrastructure already in place, maybe the officials think that nobody would accept the kind of lifestyle changes that would be needed for people to adopt that new paradigm. Maybe somebody ought to ask all the drivers and passengers in all the cars sitting on all the crowded freeways what they would like. I suspect we’d all have heartburn about the cost to build and retrofit our life with these conveyances but wasn’t that part of what the stimulus money was supposed to be used for? Maybe we should take a momen t to find out what we need to live the lives we only dream about. I wouldn’t have thought about or been talking about these things if I hadn’t experienced this kind of paradigm shift first hand. So it makes me think that we often don’t know about what we don’t know and thus we’re convinced that these kinds of changes might not be easy or good. Maybe we should start to look into the things we don’t know and just maybe this new knowledge will help us change our habits.

Experiencing and learning new things is a win-win and the quote and message this week focuses on the commitment needed to win. So my message this week is about pride and doing what’s right:


When it comes to anything that's social, whether it's your family, your school, your community, your business or your country, winning is a team sport.  -Bill Clinton


William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. At 46 he was the third-youngest president; he became president at the end of the Cold War and was the first baby-boomer president.

When was the last time you were on a winning team? And how did that feel? Even though we most often associate winning and losing with sports, there are so many other times in life where winning is important. Certainly at work – whether it’s competing against another company or against another department or division within your own company – there’s a great deal of satisfaction to be had from being the best. And at home – when your family competes on some level in the community – there’s a closeness that’s achieved when you’re all working together to show off your family’s commitment and expertise. There’s something very social about working together and also about competing to win. The winning doesn’t happen unless everyone works together and shares in that effort. Make the effort everyday to work with others to find ways to improve our lives and exemplify that winning is a team sport.

Stay well. 

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