“When I was doing my military service,” an ex-Chasseur Alpin told me, “one person in our group always took too long to change.
We had to change several times a day from fatigues into sportswear into full dress uniform.
Every time we were late, we had to do 10 press-ups at every assembly for 2 weeks.
We quickly realised that his problem was ours too and that in fact this was the reasoning behind the collective punishment.
We therefore helped our comrade to get dressed in time. This brought the group closer together and we longer had to do press-ups!”
People say that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. But who says that the group can’t strengthen it?
Who do you need to help to “change quicker” in your group to make the group as a whole successful?
I travel a lot. I enjoy eating. I love trying out local food. And I love it when people recommend food and places to eat.
Clutching a precious address, I make my way to a restaurant, where I order the suggested dishes without even thinking about it. I trust the recommendation.
I’m rarely disappointed and often delighted.
Many of us look at reviews on Trip Advisor, recommendations in the Michelin and Gault & Millau Guides or other critics. Why? Because it’s one less decision to take, and a way to avoid having to trawl through piles of information.
Tools that help us make decisions are a blessing in our hectic 24/7 lives.
What about you? What decision-making tools are a blessing for you?
A Facebook post catches my eye. Fabrice is describing his new way of going for forest walks with his children. He’s had enough of feeling annoyed about packaging, plastic bottles and bits of paper littering the forest so he decides that, instead of grumbling and complaining about other people, he will take action.
A quick Internet search yields two litter grabbers. Now the new game he plays with his children is walking in the forest and picking up everything they find on the trails and in the undergrowth. The result? They’ve come home with 200 L of rubbish and the satisfaction of having achieved something.
Fabrice’s post has 7 shares and 20 comments, and has served as the launch pad for his own wave of change. He has used it to tell people where to find litter grabbers and organise meet ups for rubbish walks.
Fed up to the back teeth of others not taking any action? Well, what kind of fun activity can you do at your level?
A storm violently buffets our sailing ship. I concentrate on a fixed point to avoid being seasick. Then all of a sudden there is no fixed point on the horizon and my sister-in-law tells me to relax my stomach.
I look at her in disbelief. I’m actually doing my best to hold it in! I don’t want to let it all out.
She looks at me being stubborn and then, with my best interests in mind, she explains to me that my stomach should be allowed to move to the rhythm of the waves. Holding it in just makes it fight back.
I’ve got nothing to lose and I conjure up a mental picture of my digestive tract to locate my stomach. She’s right, it’s totally tense! I’ve contracted it when everything else is moving! I make a huge effort (!) to relax it and instantly feel better.
Since then, I’ve been paying attention to this gauge in the centre of my body. It is like a shortcut that tells me when I am upset or worried well before my head does.
Do you listen to all the gauges that you have at your disposal?
This year, it was best not to be travelling with me. During my week’s sailing holiday in Greece, the Medicane (the Mediterranean version of a hurricane) struck. When I went to Italy to go horse riding, a particularly severe storm had knocked down huge numbers of trees.
On both occasions I grumbled to myself. Both places were known for their clement weather. It wasn’t fair!
Nevertheless, we made the most of it by visiting the Acropolis and the city of Athens. After a whole day of rain in Italy, the sun came out and we were amazed by the light reflected in the rain drops on the leaves. We enjoyed watching the clouds scudding across a perfect blue sky.
Neither of these trips turned out how I was expecting. But these unforeseen events brought out certain highlights that would otherwise have passed by unnoticed.
What about you? What disruptions in your life have led to pleasant surprises?