Tag Archives: Earth

Encouragement Beats Anger

Performance matters.

Whether you need performance to improve amongst people you supervise at work, or better behavior by the young dudes in the house, good intentions will only take you so far.

As parents and workplace leaders, it’s up to us to make sure those we supervise perform up to their potential. The problem with that is folks, either young or older, aren’t always going to do what is expected of them.

It’s when you stumble into a situation like that we have to show that we understand what leadership, true, real leadership is all about. Which means that we can’t meet lack of progress with anger.

Positive encouragement is much more effective than criticism in almost every situation.

In a recent blog post took the time to round up a number of different sources that tell the tale. And, since I thought I’d try to do something a little less controversial than what I’ve been covering the last two days, that’s where I turn. She focused mostly on the business aspects of the discussion, whereas I’m using her ideas and turning them to family.

Seriously, dudes, think about our remit here on the Guide. We’re here to help each other become better people, better dads. We do this because we want to help our children become the best, happiest people they can be.

All of which means, this sort of thing is perfect for us. Because, let’s face it, dudes, there’s no little dude on Earth who is ever going to go through life perfectly. They’re all going to need a bit more help.

By focusing on positive interactions with your employees and encouraging an upbeat emotional state as often as possible, you’ll be more likely to have a happy, productive and efficient team.

Negative emotions like fear, anger, confusion. . . They all serve to narrow our focus so we can only see the thing that is causing us pain. On the other hand, positive emotions such as happiness or satisfaction, can cause us to be more open in our outlook so we find even more good things to think about.

It’s the Odyssey Effect again. That is, I never saw anyone driving a Honda Odyssey minivan (minivans are cool) until I purchased one and then I saw them everywhere.

Also, a positive little dude is a happy little dude and that makes for a much better house. I mean, who enjoys a whiny, loud, screaming, snot-dribbling monster running loose in the house. Other than when it’s us after our basketball team loses. Totally different thing.

Anyway, our little dudes slip up, and they will, we need to bring them out of their narrow focus on what failed and help them see what went right, and how to apply those lessons to other areas or when they try it again.

Remember, a bad mood is contagious. When you unduly or unjustly criticize a little dude, he’s going to go running and make the life miserable of the next person he sees, be it brother, sister, friend or mom.

Sadly, humans tend to remember negative emotions better than positive ones. So, yes, you can give a good lesson by criticizing a little dude. The problem is, he’s going to associate the bad feelings with the act that he was trying to accomplish. So the next time he contemplates that act, all he’s going to think about are the bad feelings that resulted the last time.

That, my friends, is a recipe for disaster.

Which is why positivity is so much better. Encourage the little dude to try things differently and see if he gets a different result. Encourage creative thinking and watch his imagination escalate to approach a problem from a different, unique angle.

Our job is to bring the little dudes up to the next level, not hold them down so they never climb higher.

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Park People Parade Purposefully

Pick your poison, dudes.

If you’ve never been to Walt Disney World, I simultaneously envy and pity you. I have a massive love-hate relationship with Mouschwitz, knowing how much happiness it brings to most and how much misery it’s brought to me in the past.

Still, this last time, I actually had more fun than not. And that’s something of a first for me.

How to describe the Magic Kingdom? It’s been called (relentlessly) The Happiest Place On Earth and the cast members there certainly try to force you to live up to that logo. They are smiling all the time. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that facial smile fatigue is the most-treated concern at the Disney Docs.

Completely covered in concrete, the Magic Kingdom is what first comes to mind when most dudes think about Walt Disney World. It’s made up of Adventureland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Frontierland , Main Street USA, Mickey’s Toontown Circus and Liberty Square. Crowds enter on Main Street and are forced to walk down the double rows of shops and emporiums on their way to Cinderella’s Castle at the end of the street.

Once there, they can branch off into any of the different areas. Famous rides include Space Mountain (my favorite as it’s almost a thrill ride instead of a theme ride), Splash Mountain, the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (my third favorite), the Haunted Mansion (my second favorite), the Jungle Cruise and many, many more. Since we went in December, it wasn’t as broiling hot as in the summer months (although most days it got up to 85 Fahrenheit) and the crowds were lighter.

All in all, we had a pretty tremendous time. Hyper Lad enjoyed a lot of the rides, with one severe exception, while the wife and I had a good time as well, actually going on all the rides together, instead of a certain someone sitting it out.

Animal Kingdom was, I thought, very much improved over the last time I went there. In addition to a simply amazing safari ride, I finally experienced the Expedition Everest roller coaster, in which we “escaped” from a Yeti attack. The Animal Kingdom is divided into sections featuring Africa, Asia, Dino Land, Camp Minnie-Mickey and Discovery Island. We had a lot of fun watching the various animal antics and going back in time millions of years to get screamed at by a Carnataurus.

EPCOT was home to three of what turned out to be very, very fun rides. At Mission: Space, Hyper Lad and I went on a virtual Mission to Mars, which featured some very convincing combinations of physical movement and video to make us think we IMG_4184were piloting a ship down to the surface of Mars. At the Test Track, Hyper Lad designed his own massively powered car, which we then drove around a track to “test.” We also enjoyed Soarin’ in The Land section, which combined a moving bench and a very large video of flying, to make us think we were in a hang glider.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, though, was the most disappointing. Although we enjoyed Star Tours (a virtual ride in an out-of-control spaceship in the Star Wars universe) and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, there wasn’t much else at the park to hold our interest. Although I did get to ride a speeder, so there was that.

All in all, I’d have to say that Disney World made a much better impression on me this time around. Maybe I’m older and less easily angered or annoyed (although I seriously doubt that last one), or having older young dudes along for the ride made for a less-stressful experience, but, whatever the case, it made for an enjoyable short vacation.

Not sure if I’d go back there, but I feel like I can actually recommend other people go without feeling like a hypocrite.

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Fiction Versus Reality

Seeing Gravity shook me.

Oh, not that I really believed there’d been a Keppler Cascade and all Earth’s communications satellites were destroyed, a ring of death forever circling our planet. I knew the International Space Station (ISS) still was up there.

It’s just I wanted a little reassurance.

I was down in Crescent Beach, FL, just south of the oldest continuously inhabited (by European descendants) city in America, St. Augustine, with some dudes I’ve known since grade school, Gibby and Fire Marshall Bill.

After the movie, we headed out to the beach to walk along in the darkening twilight, hear the sound of the waves rushing in to shore and enjoy the stars as they slowly became more visible over our heads. We hadn’t meant to stick around all that long, just long enough to walk off a bit of the food baby we’d each picked up after eating at Smokin’ D’s, the best BBQ joint in all north Florida.

It just happened.ISS in scope

We looked up and saw the stars, the infinite starfield over our heads, and were lost in it. The Milky Way, our galaxy, glowed softly in the southern sky, arching from west to east. With billions and billions of visible stars, the Milky Way was even more crowded, the very number of stars lending a glowing light to the surrounding space.

It was there than I saw my first satellite going overhead. I’d often heard that people could see satellites circling overhead in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), but I’d never believed it. It just wasn’t possible.

Turns out I was wrong. Very, very wrong.

Once I knew what to look for (a “star” that didn’t twinkle and moved fairly quickly across the sky), I began to see them with relative ease. The best of all was when we saw the ISS swing by overhead.

Maybe because it was so large, or maybe because it was simply in the best position to reflect sunlight down into our eyes, the ISS was the brightest light in that starry night. It moved quickly across the sky, eventually fading out after about 30 seconds, the sun no longer reflected to us from the station.

The ISS transits overhead in a long-exposure picture from Earth.
The ISS transits overhead in a long-exposure picture from Earth.

It was awe-inspiring. To think that we were able to look up, using only our eyes, and see the temporary home of several humans out in space, protected from the horrifying temperature swings and the ravages of the oxygen-free microgravity by only a thin skin of metal and foil. . .

I loved it.

So, yeah. It was nice to be able to step out under the stars and look up at humanity’s farthest outpost from home. Nice to know that, as good and as realistic as it was, Gravity was only a movie.

Nice to wave hi.

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