Thursday, December 12, 2019

Dangerous Assumptions

1. What happened?
2. What does it mean?
3. How will you respond?

Before deciding what something means remember this: Other people's reactions tell us about them and our reactions tell us about ourselves.

When a friend of mine sent out a marketing email explaining that he was working with twelve music teachers on a collaborative project and received a salty reply from someone demanding to know the names of the twelve teachers we each interpreted the meaning of this response in completely different ways. His immediate reaction was to think that he had somehow done something wrong or violated some law and that this woman demanding to know the names of the teachers was going to take those names and go straight to the police. I didn't think that at all, I assumed that she wanted to know the names of the teachers because she didn't believe that there were twelve teachers and she thought he was making the whole thing up.

Now the fact of the matter is that, upon further questioning, this woman was unable or unwilling to articulate why she wanted to know this information (which is freely available on the company website anyway) or what her actual concern was. As such, we were left to speculate as to the meaning of her response and we each did what humans do, we interpreted it through the filter of our own insecurities. In other words, we each failed to consider that her reactions tell us about her and our reactions tell us about ourselves.

How potentially dangerous would it be for me to assign my insecurities as someone else's motive when, in reality, I have no idea what her motive is. Further more, there's another rule of thumb that says "consider the source". Do not allow yourself to assume a defensive posture in a situation where the aggressor is unwilling to explain why they want to know something and especially when the information they want is readily available on your company homepage. The fact that are unwilling to explain why they want to know now means that the burden of explanation is on them.

Not everything requires a response.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Making Good

     Karma is a simple enough concept, at least on the surface. Actions and intentions permeate the creative medium thus triggering sequences of events to play out. Beneath the surface, the universe operates with a subtly and nuance that we could never orchestrate and shouldn't even try to micromanage. The best we can do is to scan the horizon for possibilities and the ride the wave when it appears.
     That being said, if you've summoned a higher power for assistance and that help arrives, best make good on it. Pay the bill, take the class (and pass it!), accept the job or do whatever it is you said you would do if only you had the means to do it. On the flip side, when the opportunity presents, reach out and help someone else.
     Making good on help and helping others energizes the cycle and widens the pathway for more assistance. On the other hand, nothing stops the wheel in the sky in faster than squandering an opportunity, abusing generosity, or ignoring someone currently in the situation you used to be in.

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Illusion Of Better

Never forget that what other people present is a well crafted facade, especially on social media.

Everyone does it but the irony is that we believe other people's stories while thinking that we are the only one struggling with issues behind the scenes. This is especially true in small/home business circles.

Don't let anyone make you feel bad about yourself and be weary of thinking that other people have better lives. Certainly don't let anyone use these assumptions to pressure you into making desperately bad decisions.

The truth is, you don't know what they don't share.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Plan To Survive

     When things are going well, it's easy to assume that the gravy train will last forever. Expenses are allowed to grow in accordance to income. Credit card balances go up, houses get bigger and cars get flashier. The irony of making more money is that the temptation to over spend often gets worse instead of better and it gets rationalized by the thought that the bills will get paid with next week's paycheck. Freedom dwindles and the cycle of obligation grows stronger.
     This is how so many people end up in crippling debt and it is also why most small businesses ultimately go bankrupt. Life can turn on a dime. An unexpected illness or injury, the sudden loss of a job, a shift in the economy can change everything in an instant. The only thing that can't change in an instant is financial obligation. Bills don't magically go away after an unexpected change of cash flow and this is when things get ugly.
     So the question is, what's your survival plan?

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Best Way To Keep Ants Out Of Hummingbird Feeders: DIY Ant Cups

Guess what ants love more than anything else in the world?
Sugar water.
What's in that hummingbird feeder?
Sugar water.
See the problem?

The best way to keep ants out of hummingbird feeders is with ant cups.
The easiest solution is to go buy one at the store.
On the other hand, they often cost upwards of $8 which seems excessive and if, like me, the closest store with hummingbird feeder supplies is half an hour from your house, you may feel motivated to find a DIY solution.

Instructions for making DIY Ant Cups for Hummingbird Feeders.

Find something to use for the cup. I made two of them, one with the cup that came on the laundry detergent, and the other with the cap from a can of hairspray.

Find something to use for the hook. I just happen to live on land that has a lot of fallen chain-link fence so I used fence ties because they're laying around all over the place. A length of metal coat hanger would work too. Look for something metal that is strong enough to support the weight of the feeder but that can also be bent.

Before bending hooks into the metal, heat one end until it is hot enough to melt through the plastic cup. Poke the metal through the lid and allow to cool.

At this point, the cup will most likely not be water tight. Seal the hole around the hook with a strong water proof glue. I used Gorilla Glue which takes 12 hours to dry.

Once dry and secure, add water and dish soap to the cup. This way, the birds won't try to drink the water but the ants can't swim across the proverbial moat. Another option would be to coat the inside bottom of the cup in petroleum jelly.

Generally, once the ants figure out that the path to sugar is blocked, they will stop trying to access the feeder - at least for awhile. Even if the ants seem to have gone away, I recommend using the cups all the time because it only takes one renegade ant to "rediscover" the feeder and send out the bat signal to trigger a new feeding frenzy.

Dangerous Assumptions

1. What happened? 2. What does it mean? 3. How will you respond? Before deciding what something means remember this: Other people's ...