Oct 26, 2009

But what if it's REALLY not my fault?

In my last post, I talked about taking ownership for our mistakes, not blaming others, and avoiding the phrase "it's not my fault!"

Well, what happens when it really is not my fault? Let me give you an example:

The last month we've had some drama with our churches' dumpster. The company that dumps it each week had a catastrophic break down on their only truck set up to dump dumpsters. Then the replacement truck they purchased caught on fire and burnt up. The replacement replacement truck has also had mechanical problems. They've come a few times with a pick up to take some trash, and our Master Commission students have taken some loads. But, for the most part the dumpster has been full during this time.

At some point in all of the this some trash blew off the top of the stack and into the brush along the edge of our parking lot. Now, I could blame the dumpster company for not honoring their contract with us, or I could blame the person who continued to stack trash on top of an already full dumpster. I could even blame the wind for blowing the trash around.

But, what good would any of that do? The dumpster company is doing the best they can. The person who put the trash on top of the pile was trying to be helpful by taking the trash out. The wind... Well, I'm not sure how it would work to blame the wind...

Really, it doesn't matter whose fault it was. The bottom line is that there was trash there. It looked... well, it looked trashy.

One thing was for sure, it wasn't my fault. There was no mistake on my part to take ownership of. But... I'm a member of Wasilla Assembly of God. This is my church. I couldn't take ownership of the mistake, but I could take ownership of the solution. I could take ownership of my church.

It took me 2 minutes and 1.74 seconds to pull over there with my truck, grab the trash out of the brush and take it over to the dumpster. (I timed it with my cell phone.) Two minutes. That's it. I took ownership of the situation and got it fixed.

So, maybe it is truly not your fault. That does not mean you get to be a victim and sit back and play the blame game. 'Cause here's the deal: You can be 100% right and still be 100% wrong.

So maybe your boss is a horrible manager. That doesn't mean you can be a lousy employee. Maybe your parents don't understand. That doesn't mean you get to be a rebellious teen. Maybe your spouse has issues. That doesn't mean you are justified in having an emotional affair with a co-worker.

The problem may not be your fault. The solution is completely up to YOU.

Oct 25, 2009


I'm reading some great books by John Miller called "The QBQ" and "Flipping the Switch". They are a "must-read"!!

One of the topics they hit on is the concept of us taking ownership of lives and our actions. It's always easy to blame others for what happens to us. In fact, that's a big part of what is wrong with our society today. More and more we default to playing the role of the victim, crying "it's not our fault!" And, since it's never our fault, then it must be someone else fault, and therefore it becomes somebody else job to fix it.

This is nothing new for mankind. It's been our standard response since the beginning. Look at Genesis 3.  Eve made the choice to eat that which was not to be eaten. Adam made the choice to eat that which was not be eaten. Yes, the devil, in the form of the snake, made the suggestion to eat; but he didn't and couldn't make them eat. It was an act of their free will. It was a choice that they made.

When God confronted with their actions, they did exactly what we would do. They played the victim. They shifted blame. They refused to take ownership for their actions. Adam blamed Eve and blamed God for giving him Eve, Eve blamed the snake. They did everything but admit that they had made a mistake and take ownership of their actions.

I worked at a pizza joint when I first moved to Wasilla. We had this other delivery driver named Chris. I was never a big fan of Chris. He was cocky and arrogant. And we figured out later he was stealing from the cash register.

One night while he was out on delivery, a call came in complaining about a car with our pizza delivery sign on it driving too fast and too recklessly through their neighborhood. The description matched Chris' car and the neighborhood was the one his current delivery was in.

When Chris came in from the delivery, the manager told he'd received a complaint and that Chris needed to watch his speed. That was all he said. Chris wasn't in trouble, the manager didn't want an explanation, he just told him to watch his speed.

But, Chris' reaction was typical. It went like this: "It wasn't me. It must have been a car that just looked like mine. Everyone drives fast in that neighborhood. I bet my driving record is better than hers. I'm a good driver. She's just out to make trouble for me. It's not fair that you assumed it was me." He was getting louder and more agitated as he rambled on about all the reasons it wasn't him, or not his fault, or how the devil made him do it.

Finally the manager stopped him. He repeated that he was simply asking Chris to slow down. That was all.

That was 14 years ago, but I still remember thinking that all Chris had to do was say he was sorry and he'd watch he speed in the future. Instead he played the victim and tried to dodge taking ownership for his actions.

We need to take ownership for our actions. When we mess up, we need use one of the most powerful phrases in the English language: "I'm sorry." Then we need to do what we can to make it right. As long as we look for someone else to blame it on, we short circuit the growth that will come from taking ownership of our actions.

Failure and making mistakes is not always a bad thing. It's how we learn. Think about learning to ride a bike. What is the motivation to keeping your balance? For me, the motivation is that crashing hurts! But if I'm always protected from crashing, there's no driving reason to learn how to keep my balance.

What is the motivation to winning a race? It's because losing doesn't feel good. Who cares if I "did my best" and got a "participant" ribbon.

By not taking ownership of actions, and feeling the pain that can possibly come with that, we leave the training wheels on. We run at the back of the pack, coming in far below our possible potential. Yes, there's less pain and humiliation doing it that way, but there is no growth, no success, no accomplishment.

So maybe your parents were horrible, or you grew up in the wrong part of town, or you've been wronged by others. That's not an excuse for your current actions. Take ownership of them and move on to better things.

Oct 13, 2009

Yet another house update~ 10-13-09

Most of the siding is on the front of the house, except around the front door (which is in place). They have to re-do the front porch, and then they can finish that off.
The garage floor is leveled off and ready for concrete. The inside is insulated and sealed up with plastic and looks ready for sheet rock.
There's been a little bit more dirt work done outside, but there's more to be done.
All of our cabinets and appliances are in and ready to be installed.
So, progress continues. We are still hoping for early November. The builder just finished another big job, so hopefully it'll let him focus even more on our house and the one next door that he's working. We really like our builder. He's a good guy and does good work.


Oct 8, 2009

House Update 10-8-09

Progress continues on "casa del norte de Stafford." The electrician and plumbers appear to have completed most of the rough in. All the interior framing is done. The driveway is paved. They are hoping to get it painted this week, but the exterior lap board still needs to be put on the front. We spent most of last weekend picking out our lighting fixtures. Due to a mix up, we had to re-pick out our appliances, but luckily what we wanted was still in stock.
Our realtor, Dody, continues to be the best decision we ever made in the house buying process. I use to say that you didn't really need a realtor for buying a home, but I was wrong. It's great to have someone in your corner, especially if its your first time.
We locked in the interest rate this week at 4.875%. It's a bit of gamble... You want to lock in when rates are low, but if you do it too soon, you have to pay to extend it if it goes past 30 days.
We really need to be packing and getting ready to move, but it's been hard to get motivated. Maybe we'll just leave it all and buy new stuff...



Oct 5, 2009

Our Realtor...

Many of you have been following the progress of our house through the Facebook photos. Of course we are pumped about finally having our own place. It's been quite a process, working with the builder, picking out colors and flooring and lighting and appliances.
But, the whole process has been made very smooth by our Realtor, Dody Kettler of Prudential Vista Real Estate. She has been AMAZING! She has treated us like we are her only clients. She has taken time to meet with us at all kinds of hours. She's been aggressive with the builder and his Realtor to make sure we are getting exactly what we are paying for.
If you are looking to buy a home, Christy and I would 100% recommend Dody. Don't live in the Valley? Either move here, or pay Dody to move to where you are at. Trust me, it's worth the money.

Oct 2, 2009

If you follow my Twitter or Facebook account, you saw that today was a steady stream of Random Robot Thoughts from Zinger Sandwich.

Now, for your reading pleasure is a summary of the posts, with a bonus story from Reuben on Robot Lie Detectors…

  • Just because your robot is good at washing dishes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let him try some other tasks every once it a while.
  • For robots, getting caught in the rain is much more tragic than it is romantic. 
  • When your robot is fully charged, don’t worry about unplugging him right away. It’ll stop charging automatically.
  • If your robot gets expelled for cheating, and you can’t afford private school, it’s ok. Most robots don’t need to go to school anyway.
  • If your robot starts making more money than you do, it’s ok to steal that money. After all…your robot.
  • If your robot becomes paralyzed, don’t just get him a wheelchair. Try fixing him first.
  • If robots could smile, I think we’d all be a little more open to letting them teach our children.
  • A good way to know that your robot has turned evil is to look and see if its eyes are glowing red.
  • If you ever get in an argument with a robot, just flip its switch. They probably put it somewhere on the back.

Robot Lie Detector:
"So a man buys a robot from a street vendor. The vendor tells him it is a lie detector robot and that every time someone lies it will punch you according the severeness of the lie. The man is overjoyed and takes it home. Upon seeing his son arrive late home from school, he tells his son to tell the robot what he did. He tell the robot he went to his friends house to study, the robot slaps him on the head. He tells his son "Son this is a lie detector robot and he knows when you are lying I suggest you tell the truth" So the son says he was watching a movie. The father asks about the movie and the son says it was a National Geographic movie, the robot promptly punches him in the lip. "Now son, you need to tell me the truth, what movie where you watching?" With tears in his eyes the son says "OK OK I was watching Vampire Vixens 2000!" "Now son why would you watch that?" When I was your age I would never have watched that kind of movie!" To that the robot gave him a swift upper cut. At this the wife laughs and says "Haha what would you expect? He is your son!" At this the robot walks across the table and delivers a round house kick to her head."

Oct 1, 2009

House pictures from the last couple of days are up...

The roofing is complete, the duct work is part way done. The electrician will be in there by early next week with the plumber to follow. Tomorrow we have to pick out our exterior color. Saturday we pick out our lighting fixtures.
We have to time when we lock in our interest rate. We can't lock any earlier than 30 days prior to closing. We don't know when closing is, because it depends on when the house is complete. Right now the rate is 4.875. That's down from 5.000 on Monday. Next week the Fed is auctioning off a bunch of Treasury Bonds, and their rates will affect mortgage rates. So, if we lock now and it's more than 30 days before the house is done, we have to pay to extend the rate. If we wait the rates could move, up or down.