Tag Archives: Attitude


Sometimes a computer just gets balky and glitchy and needs a do-over – hitting restart can shake whatever temporary demon is creating difficulty out of the programming.  Well, a day or a meeting or your brain can be glitchy too – you know what I’m talking about.


Glitch (Dictionary.com)


  1. a defect or malfunction in a machine or plan.

2. Computers. any error, malfunction, or problem. Compare bug1 ( def 5 ) .

  1. a brief or sudden interruption or surge in voltage in an electriccircuit.

verb (used with object)

  1. to cause a glitch in: an accident that glitched our plans.


I like what Dictionary.com has to say about the word origin:


1962, Amer.Eng., possibly from Yiddish glitsh “a slip,” from glitshn “to slip,” from Ger. glitschen, and

related gleiten “to glide.” Perhaps directly from Ger.; it began as technical jargon in the argot of electronic hardware engineers, popularized and given a broader meaning by U.S. space program.


Glitch sounds like what it is – something that tripped up what was supposed to happen.


If a computer can purge a glitch by restarting (sometimes several times), how do we humans get a do-over when we have glitchy moments?  Ah, not so simple.

photo credit: Wikipedia

photo credit: Wikipedia


A big game, a player gets the ball and becomes confused and heads the wrong way – a glitch for sure – he or she can’t take it back.  Teammates, the coach and fans are furious.  A very public oops moment.  The player can only go forward and learn to take the ribbing every time that moment comes up again.


Computers don’t have to worry about the embarrassment factor.  If the computer that holds your most important presentation decides not to get going just when your presentation is due to start the computer won’t feel stupid or inadequate.


Humor helps in these moments, for humans not computers.  (Though I hear that Siri has a sense of humor.)  Shared laughter can get us past the glitch, ease any tension.  Sometimes it’s the closest thing we have to a restart.


Here’s hoping for a glitch free day.  Human and machine.


© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved


I Can’t Make Me

That moment when you realize that you are really an adult might just have something to do with motivating yourself to do an unpleasant task.  We think of being an adult as finally getting to do all of the things that we were prevented from doing as kids.  If I thought at all about all of the things that require prompting to do, I assumed that adults didn’t need that external push.  I found out soon enough that I was wrong.


This topic is coming to mind because I’m trying to get up the energy to do my taxes.  Bleh.  There are some chores that I don’t like I have come to a neutral place on – I just do them and as long as things go smoothly, I don’t think too much about it.  But taxes never seem to go smoothly.  Just the act of gathering all the right paperwork is so tedious that it brings out the obstinate little pouty kid who shouts ‘you can’t make me’ over and over.


My sister used to have a friend who went to the trouble to run the vacuum throughout the house without turning it on in an act of defiant compliance.  Even as a kid I thought that defied logic – if you are going to go to the trouble to run it over the carpet, how hard is it to turn it on?  But I also get the defiance, the dig your heels in contrariness of the act.


Sometimes even as adults we need to have someone else make us do something – hence the need for many laws – things that will give us great benefit like eating healthy, saving for retirement, getting our teeth cleaned.


There must be a solid evolutionary reason why we are so obstreperous at times.  I have found myself splitting into two minds – one is being terribly unruly and the other is consternated not only by the childish stand but also by the choice of the fit.  Why-ever have I chosen to cling to this particular cliff?


How about you, what was the oddest situation where you dug your heels in?


© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Determined, Stubborn, Obstinate

I’ve been called all of these things.  I think sometimes it was meant to be unflattering at best.  I remember one conversation when I was told that I am rigid and I said if the word disciplined were inserted instead, I would accept the charge.  The accusation was wielded by someone who had a more unstructured method of approaching life than I.


Determined I accept and include in my own self-definition.  It is a trait that I am proud to claim, one that I cultivate on more hesitant days, in uncertain moments.  Figuring out how to call it up in moments of need is almost like discovering a super power.  I picture determination like a muscle – we must all have it – but as we who are over a certain age have found, muscles must be regularly activated or they go soft.  (But there are always exercises to revive them.)


Stubborn can come in handy and I have been known to warn a potential adversary that I practice stubborn quite well.  I have to really believe in the cause and you had better have a really compelling argument for your position.  Compromise is an acceptable end.  But then again, I might just be reformulating my points that I conceded for now for another run later.  I do understand that stubborn should be applied in small doses, or it can turn into this next word.


photo credit: Wikipedia

photo credit: Wikipedia

Obstinate, hmm.  This one has been leveled mostly by people whose most compelling argument is ‘because’.  Obstinate means “characterized by inflexible persistence or an unyielding attitude” (per http://dictionary.reference.com/).  I don’t see any point in obstinacy, unless a person has no interest in learning new things.  Of course, I mentioned above that stubborn can become intractable and turn into obstinacy – no for the sake of no.  If I know that I am right then I imagine that can appear obstinate to my opposite.


Being determined is a good thing when tempered with an openness to new information.


© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

The Importance of Persistence

We admire someone with stick-to-itiveness, a person who single-mindedly pursues a goal.  Persistence does not mean adhering to a specific path, but keeping eyes on the intended goal.  Methods can change, as well as participants; even some aspects of the goal may be altered to achieve the essence successfully.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons - Builders of the past had amazing persistence, minus modern tools

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons – Builders of the past had amazing persistence, minus modern tools


Let’s say that you and your co-workers were sitting one day discussing a particular issue that affects your ability to get tasks done and a new person says that they know about software that will make the task much more efficient.  Excellent!  You share this information with your boss as soon as possible, but she lets you know that there just isn’t money in the budget.  Blast, now what?


Well, you and your team mates could just continue to discuss the problem periodically and lament the stupid budget limitations.  But you are persistent.  You and your buddies split up some tasks to convince your boss that the software is the best answer.  Some people do research on the software itself – how it works, some alternative software platforms, reviews from people who have used the software.


Another part of your group starts to track the time lost on the task using the current process, not only time within your team but within the organization as a whole, perhaps on the part of your customers as well.


Now you can go back to your boss with a great deal more information that includes information to calculate the cost of keeping things the same.  You don’t necessarily have to compute these numbers (you probably don’t have enough of the data to do so anyway) but now the company can take a clear look and make an informed comparison.


Hopefully your persistence will pay off with a new solution to the methods in your task.  If not, regroup and start to plot plan C.


“Plenty of men can do good work for a spurt and with immediate promotion in mind, but for promotion you want a man in whom good work has become a habit.”

~Henry L. Doherty

[We’ll purport for the sake of the modern age that Henry was not excluding woman in his thought on purpose, merely making assumptions of his era.]

(I must admit to rerunning this post from last year at this time, from my old blog.  This wind seems to be blowing all thoughts from my head.)

© 2014 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Different isn’t Deficient

When I was learning to drive, no one said that your foot had to always be on a pedal – either the gas or the brake.  Maybe my dad actually said coasting bought me some time to think about the right way to handle an oncoming situation and maybe I figured it out as I gained experience.  I don’t exactly recall.  But I did teach my boys that you can coast sometimes.


Similarly, somewhere along the line I realized that there are more categories than right and wrong.  I don’t have to put something or someone into a ‘right’ or a ‘wrong’ category when they are different from my own understanding of the world and I need time to think about how I think about them.  So things and people that I don’t readily understand go into the different area for further evaluation.


Different isn’t a good or a bad thing, it isn’t more than or lesser than what I do feel confident that I understand.  It isn’t deficient.  It is just different – different than what is familiar to me, sometimes just slightly so and sometimes radically so.

they all hold liquid to quench thirst...

they all hold liquid to quench thirst…


I can grow to understand different.  I can learn from it.  If I decided that it was wrong because I didn’t understand it, then I could never hope to understand it and learning from it would be a much more difficult proposition.


My son who loves to cook asked me to give onions, specially prepared by him, a try even though he knew that I’ve disliked onions all my life.  He just wanted me to move a category of onions, ones that he has prepared into the different area.  I resisted.  He persisted and now sometimes I eat onions.  They haven’t moved into the ‘right’ category exactly, but I eat them and even allow that they add to the overall flavor of a dish.


There are things that should not go into ‘different’ – people or situations that make you less than you should be, or make you feel uncomfortable, in danger.  Anything that really belongs in the ‘wrong’ space.  Different isn’t meant to remove this option.  Just to provide an option for an unknown that deserves an opportunity to prove it’s worth.


I think of times when I was quick to judge and came out wrong because I didn’t take some things into account.  I remember a story of a long road trip, a broken gas line and some questionable looking teens who made sure that my mom and sister got home safely despite my mom judging them initially on their appearance.


Do you have a ‘different’ category where you set things aside for further consideration?


© 2014 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

Boosting that Mood

(I admit to updating this post from last year, see my recent post on the busy season as my excuse.)


Memories of Christmases past

Memories of Christmases past

This is the happiest, most joyful time of the year.  Or it is supposed to be, so I thought it appropriate to remember that regardless of evidence to the contrary, there is always joy to be found.  I learned this from my mom who was the most perennially positive person I have ever known.  Personally, I tend to melancholy, but having been raised within the realm of her spirit of joy, I am now the most upbeat melancholic you will ever meet.


Mom sang – whether to express actual joy or to bring it when it was flagging.  She would just burst into a specific song, ring out a few notes, or hum.  She would also ‘throng’ (her word) upon the piano.  I find myself doing the same, usually making up nonsense verses based on known songs.  This is because I discovered as I moved farther into adulthood that the singing was like a talisman against negativity.


Singing is my ritual.  Not, that I am any good – but that isn’t the point.


There is a power to ritual that we modern people seem to have forgotten.  We leave rituals inside the place of worship for the most part and we shouldn’t.  Rituals are soothing and can focus or refocus the mind to a more positive bent in the midst of a hectic day.  The one ritual I can think of outside of religion is the making and drinking of tea.  What rituals do you follow?


“Happiness is the whole aim and end of human existence.”

~Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics


Rut is the ugly side of rituals; these are bad habits that we get into that encourage negative feelings for the most part.  We should all take care to root ruts out of our days by replacing them with simple rituals that will refocus our minds to the potential good things going on.


6 Happiness Tools from What Happy People Know:

  1. Appreciation
  2. Choice
  3. Personal Power
  4. Leading with your Strengths
  5. The Power of Language & Stories
  6. Multidimensional Living

Dan Baker, PhD. & Cameron Stauth


I hope you discover some joyful rituals in the coming days.  And if you hear someone humming down the aisle from you in the store, it might be me so give that person a smile as you pass.


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Assigning Motives

Sometimes I watch these procedural dramas on TV like Criminal Minds and CSI because I like to see the methodology.  But the creators seem to think that they must show obscenely deviant behavior to make their point and that is wearing.  We have so many of these shows and books that it starts to seem much more common than it really is to have psychopaths running loose.


We do like to know why something happened, why someone did something.  It helps us to know what to do with the experience.  Most of us will never, thankfully, encounter someone who is psychotic but we do have plenty of incidents in our daily interactions and we assign motives to the other participants in these incidents so that we can categorize the why, make some sense, decide how to react or move on.


For instance, we should all be conscious in our interactions with businesses that their motive is profit – sometimes in a manner that is beneficial to us as well as the company and sometimes at our caution.  (I’ll refer you back to my post about my dumb phone, I don’t see the services offered with these smart phones as more beneficial to me than the profit the company gains – or even as equally beneficial.)  Businesses have marketing folks to smooth over their profit motive and make their product or service as attractive as possible to the largest pool of potential customers.  And buyer who forgets the underlying business motive beware.

public domain image

public domain image


Where assigning motives really gets interesting, though, is in our one on one or group interactions.   Have you heard friends or coworkers say things like, ‘he’s out to get me’, ‘she always gets her way’, ‘of course the company scheduled X when I had other plans’?  When we are assigning motives, they are usually negative.

public domain image

public domain image


We all do it, but do we ever question what our own motive is in making these assignments?  What criteria are we applying to come to this conclusion?  Back to these shows, sometimes they come up with these outlandishly fully realized motives from the thinnest of clues.  (Purportedly the characters are just that brilliant.)  We need to examine the criteria that we are applying for false reasoning, question our own motives in assigning motives once in a while.


Complex and devious motives probably exist more often on these TV dramas than in our own interactions.  What do you think?


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Too Much on my Mind to be Nice Too

I was scrambling about the other day trying to find something that I knew I had and just couldn’t remember where it was at (I no longer remember what it was at all) when I came across an article about the hazard of an overfull brain to the pleasantries of life.  Eureka a small part of my brain said!  Stick to the task at hand the rest of my brain said.


Anyway, let’s assume that I completed the original task because it isn’t really important to the story anymore.  What is important is that I was brought up to be polite, always, everywhere, no exceptions.  (It turns out that there are valid exceptions, but we’ll address that some other time.)  You who are over a certain age know what I am talking about.  My mom went to great lengths to teach us manners.

photo credit: Wikipedia, Emily Post - the mother of American Etiquette

photo credit: Wikipedia, Emily Post – the mother of American Etiquette


So much so that one Thanksgiving she invented an elaborate system of signals to my brother and I to point out any indiscretions on our parts but then proceeded to tell the whole table about the system thereby negating the system itself.  (It was a pain to learn it all too…)  I think that she got embarrassed making all the signals, and then we got confused.  Well, everyone thought it was amusing at the time.


I digress again.  The article gave me absolution, of a sort, when I forget the niceties when I am laser focused on some issue or solution.  This is something that I am constantly on myself about to improve.  I know people who never fail to be accommodating and spot on polite and I am impressed and slightly shamed at the same time.


I don’t mean to say that I am rude when I am in this focused mode, I just forget my pleases and thank yous.  Until later, sometimes much later.  I might forget to wait my turn, too if it is really urgent.


Unfortunately, I don’t remember anything else about the article – where I saw it, the title, who wrote it.  But it was based on scientific research.  You’ll just have to take my word on it.  I don’t mean to be impolite, my thoughts are just too focused on the task at hand.  Let’s just say the solution part of the brain isn’t paying any attention to the polite part at that moment.


Please tell me that I am not alone in this – you know what I am talking about here.  If you are a person who never fails to be polite, regardless of what is on your mind, do tell how you do it.


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Accumulating Small Triumphs

Big wins are fabulous, splashy feel good moments, but give me a succession of small wins any week and I’ll take that option every time.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not averse to big wins – indeed, bring one on, I could use it.  The thing is that the excitement and joy fade away into the everyday and then you are left with a nice photo.


We like to see our lives as a progression forward and toward something better.  The big wins then should give us a jump to a higher plain where we will then stay and continue to progress upward from that point.  But the truth is usually that the big win is a spike and then we come back to where we were previously and continue our progression after the interruption.


I haven’t even gotten into the other side of things, those difficulties – both large and small – that impede this progress.  I’ve mentioned before that over my life I have tended more toward the melancholy so these difficulties always loomed larger than any triumph in my perception.  Except in these last few years.  The difficulties are still there but I have consciously changed my perception.  (As I began to write this post in my head, my computer refused to start properly on the first try and I had to force a shut down all the while afraid that I would lose details of the idea with the delay.)


Look at what people accomplished without all of our modern machinery! 1875 August Menken photo credit: Wikipedia commons

Look at what people accomplished without all of our modern machinery!
1875 August Menken
photo credit: Wikipedia commons

If triumphs and difficulties left some sort of mark, sort of like the graphs in black and red that show earnings up or down of the center line, as we look back objectively at our lives these would probably be pretty even.  But in perception, I have found that if I make an effort to be aware of the small triumphs and give a moment of thanks then everything gets colored differently – and better.


We had many difficulties and challenges in the office last week but we ended on a small triumph which made it all worthwhile.


© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

Change of Season

In my early twenties I lived in a couple different places in California for a few years – they have cool summer and warm summer and not much else.  Rainy season and drier season.  I thought that I would enjoy the no winter part, but found instead that I dearly missed spring and fall.


I have spent the majority of my life in the Midwest where we have all four seasons – though to varying degrees.  (I liked living in the mild winter parts the best, but then the summers are a bit more intense – no such thing as perfect.)  I’m not a winter person, though there is something to be said for being out on a cold crisp winter night.  I can get my winter fix from photographs and movies.  Summer has its benefits, but a bit too hot for my taste.

And it wasn’t until my California experience that I realized the importance of spring and autumn for me.  That is where it is at – the world wakes up and comes back to showy noisy life in spring, and offers a final burst of color and crunch before slumbering in the fall.  I can put up with the inconvenience of winter to enjoy these seasons.  (Of course, if I could find a means to migrate like the birds every year I wouldn’t turn that down.)

I get a bit wistful in the fall, don’t you?  Each season seems to have a predominant sentiment associated with it which gives us the opportunity to change our thinking with the change in season.  I’m sure there are contrarians out there who have a very different response.  I start out with my usual thoughts on all of the summer activities that once again I did not partake.  The days were long and invited the thought that I had plenty of time, take it easy.

Suddenly the days are getting shorter and there is a hint of crisp in the air.  The geese are honking in formation over my house, but the windows are still open to let in the warm breeze.  Ah – woulda, shoulda, coulda got me again.  But, not in all ways – I have learned a little something – I do have a short list of summer activities I did accomplish.

I’m going to make a point not to get too wistful in my posts in the coming weeks – help keep me honest, will you, let me know if you think that I do.  Plaintive is good – in rotation with other viewpoints.

What is your favorite season, and why?

© 2013 BAReed Writing | Practical Business, All rights reserved

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