Category Archives: Meanderings

What Motivates You?

I’ve always been fascinated by what makes people do what they do and say what they say. What motivates them. How and why they respond to others. It’s a really important trait to have as a writer of fiction … and as a salesperson or teacher.

Nothing is more surprising than when a quiet, normally reticent person suddenly decides to open up and share a dirty joke … or when a blabbermouth sits through an interaction quietly and can’t find the words to describe it. Introverts aren’t shy, and sociable people aren’t always extraverts.

Because I’m loud, talkative, and outgoing I’ve always been described as extraverted. On the other hand, my boyfriend–who’s soft-spoken and prefers to listen than speak–has always been described as introverted.

You know what? Everyone has us backwards. Let me tell you why…

I love being alone. Not every moment of every day, but I’d much rather spend time by myself than in a noisy room filled with people. I was never a party person, not even as a teenager. For the past 8 years, I’ve worked from home and spend 8 to 10 hours of every weekday with just the dogs and cat for company. When I’m really tired or upset, I do an excellent hermit imitation.

But being alone is something my boyfriend tolerates. He doesn’t actively look forward to it the way I do. He’s not addicted to crowds and noise, as many extraverts are, but when he’s down he wants spend time with other people–they cheer him up and give him the opportunity to NOT focus on himself and his worries.

The biggest difference between extraverts and introverts is the manner in which they gather strength. Extraverts direct their attention outward, toward other people and things. By comparison, introverts prefer to aim their focus inward, on thoughts and ideas.

Other differences include:

  • Extraverts love external activity. They prefer interacting with others, and doing. Introverts often find themselves over-stimulated when in the company of crowds. They’d much rather avoid sensory overload and simply be.
  • Extraverts often view introverts as self-centered and submissive while introverts tend to see extraverts as superficial and aggressive.

If a person is accessible and easily understood, and prefers handling a project that’s broad in scope rather than deep, he or she is probably an extravert. However, if a person is questioning and seeking to understand, and prefers a complex project rather than a far-reaching one, he or she is probably an introvert.

It’s typical for a person to have characteristics of both extraversion and introversion, but most of us fall on one side of the line that divides the two. Which are you? Are you and your spouse or partner both the same, or different? What about your kids, your boss, your coworkers–are they extraverts or introverts?

 

Free Will or Fate?

The debate about whether we choose or own paths or they’ve been mapped out for us has been around a long time. Longer than I have, surely.

Let me be clear: I’m a firm believer that we wind up at our destinations because of the decisions we make. I’m an equally firm believer in destiny.

This might seem like a contradiction, but it isn’t. We’re all meant to encounter certain people in our lives and achieve certain goals–that’s the part controlled by fate. We make mistakes along the way and not only does the nature of each mistake shape us, so does its timing and what we learn from it. That’s the part where our free will steps in.

Have you ever wondered why you fell in love with that boy or girl sixth grade? Or what happened to your best friend in high school? Or why your co-worker had to die so young? And how your life would be different if events hadn’t taken those people away from you?

I’ve always wondered about these types of things. But these days, I view them from a slightly different perspective. In fact, my perspective has been skewing the past few years–which is another story.

I met a man four years ago. Let’s call him David. Since that time, David and I have come to learn that our paths have crossed multiple times during our lives, yet we never actually met. We came this close to meeting half a dozen times but, still, no go. I truly believe we were meant to meet (the reason has yet to be determined) and the choices David and I made postponed that meeting.

Here are some examples: (1) David vacationed in Bermuda the same week in April 1986 that I traveled to Bermuda for a 4-day business trip. We stayed at the same hotel, but never met. (2) For three years during the late 80s, David paid his monthly heating bill in person. My insurance agency leased space in the same building that housed his oil company’s office and he parked his car right outside my front window every time he made his monthly visit. We never met. (3) For two years in the mid-90s, David worked in a small town in the next state. At that same time, I lived in the same state–and the shortcut he took through a residential neighborhood drove him right by my house. Nope, we never met.

I often wonder if we actually did run into each other, and maybe nodded or smiled the way strangers do when they pass on the sidewalk or in a store. If so, that memory is buried so deeply I’ll never recover it.

As if just missing each other three times (that we know of) weren’t enough, David actually DID meet my brother AND my father. But not me.

His stepdaughter and my brother met at her wedding–my brother was married to her half-sister at the time. About seven or eight years ago, David and my father engaged in a conversation at a self-service gas station one winter that was so memorable (my Dad was an unforgettable character) that he recognized Dad when I introduced them four years ago.

The point of all this? I’m giving you proof that fate decided David and I needed to meet. I also give you proof we made choices that messed with that plan. Multiple times over the course of a great many years.

This is what I’ve learned. After life kicks you to the curb, you have several choices–assuming a bus doesn’t squash you before you get to consider them.

  1. Remain in the street and allow yourself to become a victim to everything that travels on the roadway. In other words, you don’t travel your own path, you choose to obstruct the pathway of others and impede their progress, and you do nothing to help yourself.
  2. Pull yourself up onto the sidewalk and wait for help. You’re still interfering with the flow of traffic, but not in a manner that’s as harmful or obvious–to either yourself or the pedestrians. You’re not doing much to help yourself, but at least you’re not in danger of being run over by a bus.
  3. Pull yourself out of the street and either stumble, walk, or run the heck out of there. Your actual process of ambulation will probably be determined by how badly you’re hurt and whether you’re the kind of person who’s motivated more by avoiding pain or seeking pleasure.

When we’re in survival mode, we don’t think about pleasure too much. The same holds true when we’re afraid. When we’re just trying to survive, we’re numb. Or we use all kinds of crazy things to deaden our emotions. When we’re avoiding what scares us, our senses go on overload and we can’t feel anything. We expend so much energy looking for the bogeyman, we have no energy left to see what’s right in front of us.

But to really live life, we need to feel. Sometimes those feelings aren’t pleasant. Sometimes, they’re downright painful. And sometimes people mess with our plans and make us even more uncomfortable. But when we move around and shift perspectives, things change.

Before we make decisions, we need to look forward, backward, and at today. Because everything we say, everything we do, has an impact. Not only on us, but on other people. And on fate, as well.

You’re where you’re supposed to be. But your precise location, and who are you are–inside, where it counts–are determined by you.

I am Back!


Just a quick post to let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. The month of April brought that horrible stomach flu to my household and had us all laying low for nearly two weeks.

Fortunately, the bug released its grip in time for us to head out to Florida on vacation, as planned, and for me to enjoy my birthday and Easter.

I’ll be releasing my April Insurance Tidbits newsletter before the end of the month, along with my quarterly writing newsletter, Get it Write.In addition, my May webinar schedule will be posted tomorrow!

8 Resources for Staying Safe Online

Most people are fully aware of their vulnerability to cyber crime; however, most don’t know precisely what they can do about it–or where to do for information.

According to the 2019 Cyber Barometer published last month by Generali Global Assistance, more than 50% of individuals around the world were the victim of a cyber crime, or knew someone who was. In the U.S. credit card theft and identity theft are currently the most common forms of cyber crime. If you would like to view an infographic of Generali’s study, click here.

I have come across a LOT of websites when conducting research for the insurance courses I write that provide tips and advice to people seeking to protect themselves. URLs to those websites, and the valuable information they provide, appear below. I hope you find some of the helpful!

  1. Consumer info from the FTC: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/topics/privacy-identity-online-security
  2. Identity Theft Resource Center: https://www.idtheftcenter.org/
  3. Security Awareness Free Resources (click Resources Tab at the top right of the home page): https://www.knowbe4.com/
  4. Security Tips (MANY of them, for various types of threats), from US-CERT: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips
  5. IRS Tax Scams: https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-scams-consumer-alerts
  6. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: https://www.privacyrights.org/
  7. How Secure Is My Password: https://howsecureismypassword.net/
  8. Password Generator Tool: https://thebestvpn.com/password-generator/

Do You Remember These Lyrics?

Every once in a while a song will just begin running through my head, for no apparent reason.

No, it’s not because I heard it on the radio–I don’t listen to the radio much these days. I don’t watch TV, either. All the noise distracts me from whatever work or writing I’m doing.

And you know what’s really odd? I know all the words!

The songs can be from a long time ago, like when I was in high school in the early 70’s. Sometimes, they’re from before I was born but I know them because they were favorites of my parents.

So, here’s a challenge for you – and no cheating by looking up the lyrics online!

What song advises you to not go “hustlin’ people strange to you”?

I’ve been singing this song for days!