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Taking pride in what you do - an old fashioned idea

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm presently reading a novel entitled "High Plains Tango" by Robert James Waller. The main character is a man named Carlisle. Although he's the holder of a degree from Stanford, Carlisle is a carpenter. No he's much more than that, he's a craftsman. Like most craftsman, he learned his art from an aging craftsman who took great pride in his work. Unfortunately for Carlisle, the world today doesn't want craftsmanship. It wants big and flashy and wants it built yesterday. The people he works for don't want quality, they want quanity and their arguement is that nobody looks that closely anyway. Carlisle can't handle this and takes off treking accross America hoping to find a place where life is slower and more meaningful. A place where pride in one's self is still important.
I have a carpenter friend who allows me to work with him. Like Carlisle, he doesn't fit well into todays world. He refuses to use nailguns and doesn't allow one to take shortcuts. (Even though the project belongs to me and I should get to call the shots.) He simply states that if that's what I want, get another carpenter. There's not bent nails in the 2-story garage we built and there's not shortcuts hidden behind vinyl siding. It's all done right, because Bob insists that it must be that way.
There doesn't appear to be a lot of that around in today's world. This pride in oneself. This doing it right because that's the way it should be done. Most people approach a job with the attitude of let's just get it done. I'm glad I know some people like Bob who still have this pride.
I'll tell you where else I've found this pride in oneself recently. It's here at SP. This thing that I've felt is so rare in today's world is really pretty common here.
I have met many here who are proud of their accomplishments and the hard work they put into attaining these accomplishments. They include a young woman who has started a team that is now over 1400 people strong! Not only did she lose a lot of weight she went from being in poor physical health to running marathons and through her leadership she has led many others to get in control of their life through running.
I have met a young man who also was in poor physicalcondition and is now riding bike more than a 1000 miles a year and has gained a tremendous amount of pride in himself as well as hooking up to a young woman who shares his love of activity.
I have met many people like a Canadian friend that I've made who's not only proud of her physical accomplishments but has become a leader in her own right encouraging others through her postive feedback to their blogs and thread entries.
I have watched a person who was already dear to me gain confidence and self worth has grown tremedously since I have known her and have watched her use this self confidence in mothering her two lovely children providing them with opportunities that most kids just don't get.
These are just a few examples of pride that I've come up with here at Sparks.
In craftsmanship and life in general, if you want to be proud of the final product, you've got to be willing to put the work into it. Whatever you do, do it with pride.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CASSIOEPIA 8/30/2007 1:29PM

    Oh Wood. I finally got in here to read it. Thank you for the kind words. Bob is a man worth knowing. Thank you for having the patience and wisdom to keep working with him. Words to live by: "If it's worth doing at all, it's worth doing right", and "It takes less time to do it right, than it does to fix it later".

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RACING4ME 8/30/2007 1:04AM

    hahaha, obviously my spelling didn't reflect what I was saying...

I love ya buddy,

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RACING4ME 8/30/2007 1:04AM

Wood, you have managed to epitomize what is missing - we should strive to be craftsmen - not accept mediocrity (like what happens over, and over now).

I want to thank you for the kind words...I can only hope that I have touched people in a way that makes them ready and willing to change!!

As for you....teaching inner city kidlets takes a special person, you are that, and you definately show that through everything you say and do...

I wish I could meet you, give you a hug, and swap tales...



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MORTI36 8/29/2007 2:31PM

    Wood - You have such a way with words. I agree with Nancy, that the young people you taught probably really benefitted from your knowledge and insight. I wish I had more teachers like you!

I've seen this change as more of a path of personal discovery. I realized just how strong we can be if we put our minds to it!

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NANCY-GIRL 8/29/2007 12:36PM

    You know, this journey we're all on started out as a journey to lose weight & to get healthy, but somewhere along the line, we're transforming into being better people all around. I love watching the personal development part of all this. I love watching the light bulbs of self-discovery go off in people's blogs & posts. This is bigger than calories & crunches..........Thank you for writing this & sharing it w/ all of us. You're good people, Wood. Hugs & blessings to you today. :-)

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MAUIMA 8/29/2007 11:26AM

I am so glad your were a teacher. Young people were blessed to have you in their lives.
I love the blog...wish I could hire your friend.
We live in such a fast world and I find often I hear myself saying...'no...the time frame of the job doesn't really matter to me, its the quality of the finished product'.
How to you measure creativity...how do you put a time line on it, if its to be done well.
I am going to get the book...sounds like my kind of book.
Thanks for your words.

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FUNSAHM 8/28/2007 11:43PM

    Aww...shucks... you big 'ol sap. We are two peas in a giant purple pea pod! ....loved the blog. ...love you!

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Knowing how to find it -

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The story goes that although the father had taken his son fishing many times, his son had come to the conclusion that there were very few fish, since they seldom caught more than 1 or 2. Then after going out with an older friend of the father in a shrimp boat, he was amazed with the numbers and the diversity of fishes within the net. They were there all the time if one knew how to find them and then also knew how to to catch them.

It strikes me that this is exactly the way people are in life, but instead of trying to find fish, they're trying to find happiness and adventure. For many, after spending years of their life drifting aimlessly around, they simply haven't found much joy and decide that it's just the way life isand that happiness exists in very limited quanities.

However, like the unsuccessful fisherman in the story, they just didn't know how to find what they were looking for. They looked in the wrong places and used methods that didn't work at that particular time.

There is a stream that runs by my house. My neighbor fishes it occassionally and never has more than very limited success. He's always convinced that the conditions wern't right or that there just aren't many fish to be had anymore.

I fish that same stream and catch more fish than most people believe possible. I think he believes that I'm just lucky or just making up stories. It's hard for him to understand that I have lived my entire life as an out doorsman and that my success lies more in knowing where to look for the fish and then what methods to use at that particular time. I've offered to take him along with me, but it just doesn't seem to happen.

The exact same thing is true of life in general. Most of the people I come in contact with seem to have limited success in finding excitment in their life. Every day they live pretty much the same as the day before hoping that today something really exciting will come along and it seldom does. They're not actively pursuing what they want. They just hope it will come along.

Like my stream full of fish, life is full of adventures and excitement. It just takes learning how to know where to look for it and then learning what methods work on actually making the catch.

If you're like the fisherman in my story who seldom makes a catch but continues to do what doesn't work, maybe its time to try something new - a different bait, a different presentation, or maybe a different location. A fisherman can fish a spot for an entire day but if its a location that holds no fish, he'll simply waste his day. A person that wishes for a more exciting life but spends all his time in one spot (in front of a TV set, for example), the excitement will most probably never come his way.

Life is good! But you got to get out there and make it happen!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RACING4ME 8/13/2007 7:20PM

    Ahhhh, Wood,
Trust you to put down in such a wonderful way what ails most people today!! I was that fisherman for much of my life, until I decided that there was no way that even one day of this precious life I have shall be wasted...LOL - except, of course, if I just want to be lazy:)

Thanks for putting it all in perspective, and you are right, Life IS GOOD!!!!!

Hugs my friend,

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CASSIOEPIA 8/13/2007 4:16PM

    I missed a huge chunk of my life, sitting in front of the tv set. But that has changed for the better, and I am ever so grateful for whatever made me *want* to fish a new spot. This experience is giving me better memories (and more fish).

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MAUIMA 8/12/2007 11:02PM

    Hey Wood,
I totally agree. Gotta get out and get lookin, and trying and doin.
I have had a fishing story here, I think is like what you are talking about, but with a different slant. As you know the situation here with my son, has been not the kind of 'adventure and excitement ' we might be hoping for. But even in times like this we can find our adventure, by what we look for.
My son is home and we are having the best time...haha...go figure.
But I am truly enjoying it. Many friends are worried about teh added stress and worry. Maybe my time has been consumed and one might feel justified in saying, "but I don't have time to seek my adventure'. But sometimes it is truly through what lens do we look. I think joy is always right there...like the same stream, same fish...
Thank you for the story to remind us. Even if we are experiencing joy, its even better to acknowledge the joy filled life, cause sometimes we are not as aware as we could be of the happiness we are in the middle of expereinceing. Get out and expect to catch fish is part too. Believing in the expectation of something good and exciting will happen, changes what we choose and what we see and how we then feel.
My fishin pole is out and ready to go...

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MORTI36 8/12/2007 5:24PM

    Wow, Wood, very nicely put. I too know people like the fisherman in your story. It's sad to see people put aside their life to see what will come their way instead of bringing themselves to their lives.

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FUNSAHM 8/12/2007 12:25PM

    You have a way with words, Wood! I couldn't agree more with your analogy

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Still a contender

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sometimes inspiration comes from some of the strangest sources. This time the source was the movie "Rocky Balboa".
Now for those of you who don't know me (which is most of you), you may not realize that one of the biggest issues in my life is getting old and not being able to continue to do the things that I've enjoyed my entire life. As a result, I'm almost fanatical in my efforts to pursue the same adventures that I pursued when I was in my 40's, 30's or even 20's. Unfortunately, reality sometimes steps in and let me know that things are not always the same. My reflexs on the volleyball court are just not what they used to be. Bruises and sprains gotten from wiping out my mountain bike or taking a roll on the slalom ski take a lot longer to heal. Competing with 20 year olds is starting to look stupid although I'' still challenge those in their 40's. Alas, I'm not turning many heads on the beach except for those poking fun at my hairy back.
What I learned from the movie is that that's okay. Like Rocky I can still pursue the things I love, I just need to approach them a little differently. Reflexs on the court slower? Work on position and play smarter if somewhat slower. Scare them with the serve. On the mountain bike work on perserverance rather than on the downhill speed. The slalom ski still looks impressive to the average person when skiing only half as hard as I once did and it's a lot safer and still fun. Pick the 20 year old as your team mate and let the competition worry about him. I still turn my wife's head and that's a major accomplishment.
Rocky no longer had the speed so he worked on power and his advice that he passed on to his son was "It's not how hard you can hit, but how hard you can be hit and still get back up." I love it.
No matter what getting older does to me, I plan on taking the hit and getting right back up and still continue competing. I may have to change some approaches, but I don't have to give up living.

Life is good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TGEARS1 7/23/2007 12:12PM

    I like your thinking!

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KITS4CHANGE 7/20/2007 9:46AM

    Most excellent!! I just might have to watch that movie now! lol

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Reach Out and Touch Someone

Friday, June 22, 2007

A long time ago, (although it seems like yesterday), there was a commercial that simply went "Reach out and touch someone". I think it was AT&T trying to get more people to subscribe to their long distance telephone service. The concept was that getting in contact with someone would make a difference and probably make their day. I always agreed with that logic and now that most of us now have unlimited long distance with our wireless service as well as email to anywhere in the world, it's easier than ever to help make someones day. Yet most people still don't seem to take advantage of it nearly as often as they should. Perhaps its the busy life style that we lead. Or maybe, too many simply focus on their own needs and forget about others. Then again, maybe not many people understand what an influence they have on other people.
Regardless of what the reason is, it's a shame that more people don't "reach out" to others.
One of the things I really like about being here among my friends at SP is that here "reaching out and touching some0ne" is a regular event. It's a whole different world where people still care about others and aren't afraid to show it. Wouldn't it be great if the rest of the world would model themselves after SparkPeople? There would probably be a whole lot less depression and certainly a lot less loneliness around.
For you, my friends reading this blog, I encourage you to "reach out and touch somebody" today, and tomorrow and ...well you get the picture. You'll help make their days a lot nicer. I know you have mine.

Life is good!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Wood, just wanted you to know was thinking of you. Been out doing some trail running and being out in the Great Outdoors is one of your passions I know, so naturally (pun intended) I thought of you.
Ditto, what Cassie said: "Tag, you're it!"

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CASSIOEPIA 6/26/2007 12:55AM

    Tag - you're it!

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RILEIGHBEAR 6/23/2007 4:28PM

    It's so great to have you around Wood! Thanks! : )

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NANCY-GIRL 6/22/2007 8:01PM

    Wood, you reached out & touched me today, & I'm still got the warm fuzzies thinkin' about it. You're good people, Wood. I thank God that I stumbled upon OP & its leader. I love commenting on peoples' blogs & supporting & encouraging & hopefully inspiring them, too (see? I'm doing it again right now! LOL). It's a blessing to be a blessing. Keep up the good work! -n

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JANPOLDOT 6/22/2007 4:36PM

    Thanks,Wood, for your words of wisdom. Always appreciated. Thanks for 'touching' my life with your enthusiasm and common sense approach to life.....love ya, Jan

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CININTHECITY 6/22/2007 1:52PM

  I can really appreciate this blog. I don't call my friends and family near enough! It isn't like I'm saving lives all day at work, I can at least take the time to send out an email! Thanks for writing this and making me realize that I do need to stay in touch with those I care about the most, more often!

Have a great day!

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Today is my birthday

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fear has always been a big motivator in my life. Not that I was a fearful person. Just the opposite. I've always sought out things that got my endrenoline pumping! But fear keeps me in line.
When I was a teen, it was fear of what my parents would think of me if I got caught that would prevent me from following the crowd. When I around 40, I had a health scare that motivated me real fast to give up cigarettes (something I probably could not have done without fear as a motivator!) Now it's the fear of getting old and not being able to do the things that I love to do that has me on my present physical fitness kick!
We've talked about it on Outdoor People quite a bit - how we all have loved ones that old age is knocking them down and destroying the quality of their living. Watching my father go from an active ambitious man to a man who is able to barely get up the stairs on his own is the most difficult part of my life right now. The thought that it could happen to me indeed makes me fearful, but not a fear that prevents me from moving on. Just the opposite.
This fear motivates me to be physically fit and to do all the things that I need to do to stay physically fit. I want to be able to do the things that I love for many years to come. I want to hike mountain, bike trails, waterski aggressively, run dirt roads and live adventures for a long time to come. To do so, I am willing to watch what I eat and to avoid some of the things that I know will take their toll on my body.
I quess it's not getting old that I'm afraid of, it's the not being able to continue my active lifestyle. My goal is to do what I have to do to live like I do for at least another 30 years.
Bring of the birthdays! I won't let them see how much I'm afraid of them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RILEIGHBEAR 6/18/2007 10:49PM

    I always love to read your blogs, although I admit I am a little behind on them, but here I am to catch up.

Happy belated birthday! I love your attitude.

Cheers to the most special thirty years to come!

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NANCY-GIRL 6/16/2007 1:54PM

    Hey, Wood, sorry I'm late, but I'm wishing you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY, too!!! Thanks for sharing your blog today (yesterday). I needed to hear all this. Woke up this morning w/ thoughts of giving up, but you reminded me why I'm doing all this. I see it so much w/ the seniors I work with. The ones who didn't take care of themselves & the ones who did. You can always tell when you put a vibrant 95 y/o next to a frail & bent over, 75 y/o couch potato. Praying for a strong & healthy 30+++ yrs for you! You go, guy! ;-D ~Nancy

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CASSIOEPIA 6/15/2007 6:34PM

    Happy birthday, my spark buddy! May you enjoy many more.

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SHELLEBELLE1 6/15/2007 9:18AM

    Happy Birthday, Remember you are not getting older, your getting better!

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KITS4CHANGE 6/15/2007 9:09AM

    Happy Birthday, Wood! Hope you have an awesome day! I just recently had a birthday as well and feel the same way as you do.

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