Little Lessons

Growth is Essential

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 24, 2018 5:01:00 AM

zinnia
“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” - William Shakespeare

The best part of my morning walks is passing by the flower beds and gardens in the neighborhood. There are neatly arranged plots with perfectly balanced layouts of size and color. Stunning wildflower gardens that look like something a poet would describe at the edge of a meadow. Ancient rose bushes that have entangled themselves so tightly around fences, it’s impossible to know where plant ends, and post begins. And the occasional single flowering plant, adding a splash of color in the midst of a green lawn.
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Topics: growth, challenge

Self-Improvement and Self-Acceptance – 2 Sides of the Same Coin

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jul 27, 2018 5:01:00 AM

maine_bay

“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn't worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

Readers of this blog understand my commitment to life-long self-improvement. Whether it’s expanding my knowledge through reading books, or my past efforts as a runner, or my current rehabilitation  after surgery. More importantly, through the lessons and love shared by friends, I try to become better at providing support and understanding for the people in my life.

I also accept being me – just as I am.

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Topics: little lessons, love, support, growth

Removing Our Blinders

Posted by Mark Fallon

Apr 6, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Horse Blinders

“We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are.” – Anais Nin

I enjoy joining groups, but I despise being put into a category. Using randomly chosen years to create “generations” splits us into “Baby Boomers” or “Gen-X” or “Millennials”. Or worse, assigning different values to someone because they happen to live in a city, or suburb or farming community. Other people want to use personality tests to assign us a color or letter profile. We’re humans, and not books to be categorized by the Dewey Decimal System.

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Topics: challenge, listen, growth, learning, reflection

The Worst Kind of Ignorance

Posted by Mark Fallon

Mar 23, 2018 5:01:00 AM

Rez Life.jpg

“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance - it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Daniel Boorstin

I try to be an educated person. Not just by the degrees I attained in college and graduate school, but by constant reading – books, magazines and varied websites. I spend more time on subjects that interest me. For example, I’ve read more than 25 books about or by Theodore Roosevelt. While I may not be an expert, I consider myself well-informed about our 26th President.

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Topics: learning, growth

Focus, Not Limits

Posted by Mark Fallon

Sep 29, 2017 5:00:00 AM

book.jpg

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin

I’m currently reading “Life: The Leading Edge of Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Anthropology, and Environmental Science” (edited by John Brockman). The book is a collection of essays and conversations by scientists on their understanding of life – from evolution to genetics to the origins of life to the probability of life on other planets.

My favorite chapter is the transcript of a panel discussion on the concept of life. What makes the discussion so interesting is the varied points of views - biologists, geneticists, physicists and evolutionary philosophers. While each scientist had a primary field of study, they were also well-versed in a wide spectrum of topics. The physicist had read papers on genetics, and the biologist had studied chemistry, and so on. Their broad understanding of multiple subjects supplemented their specific fields.

We can learn from their habits. Too often, we allow our focus to become too narrow. Instead of improving our expertise in an area, our self-imposed limits stunt our growth – professionally and personally.

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Topics: Reading and Books, friendship, learning, communicate, growth

Your Standards for You

Posted by Mark Fallon

Mar 10, 2017 4:32:00 AM

“Everybody makes excuses for themselves they wouldn't be prepared to make for other people.” – Rebecca Goldstein

Long_mirror.jpgReading the news, we’re outraged at the justifications some famous person used to defend their actions. A coworker at the office trotted out another flimsy pretext for being late with an assignment. And someone else wants us to overlook their bad behavior – once again. It’s so frustrating.

It’s easy to see the faults in others. Their shortcomings are glaring examples of how not to behave. We don’t understand why people aren’t better. Of course, the view through a window is clearer than what we might see in the mirror.

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Topics: growth, improvement, honesty

Doing What I Say

Posted by Mark Fallon

Feb 10, 2017 5:00:00 AM

“The best way to succeed in life is to act on the advice we give to others.” - Author Unknown

IMistakes.jpgn my role as a consultant, I provide management advice to my customers. Because I’ve been running marathons for a while, people reach out to me for suggestions on training, races, etc. And as person who’s now almost 50% older than half the population, I’m sometimes sought out for guidance on life issues.

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Topics: growth, reflection, success

Your Favorite Little Lessons of 2016

Posted by Mark Fallon

Jan 6, 2017 5:01:00 AM

Nieces.jpgRuminations while running. The good advice I received from my mother. An interview question that changed the direction of my professional career. Just a few of the topics that made their way to my blog.

So ends another year of stories shared with my readers, as I move forward on my journey. Thanks to the support of so many people, I continue to learn more little lessons. And write about them here.

In case you missed them, here are the 10 most read “Little Lessons” from 2016:

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Topics: growth, learning

Willing to Learn

Posted by Mark Fallon

Nov 18, 2016 4:30:00 AM

"He who is afraid to ask is ashamed of learning." - Danish Proverb

bookcase.jpgThere’s a convenience store where I buy Gatorade, candy bars or other things not requiring a trip to the supermarket. The store is managed by a Korean family with various relatives working throughout the day. Last year, a new family member – with a limited ability to speak English – started working at the checkout counter. The manager sat next to him for the first few weeks, helping him read the prices and make change.

After a while, the new employee was working the counter alone. When making a sale, he would count out the change when handing it to you. He also began asking customers the English words for things he would see – a briefcase, a pocket square, or the color of a tie. He would repeat the word to make sure he had the proper pronunciation, and then write it down.

Every visit, I noticed an improvement in the clerk’s English. I also noticed his persistence in continuing to learn. He’s still asking questions and writing down the answers. His desire to learn is a model for us all.

Many people will say that they have enough to do without the added stress of learning more. Work and family already take most of their time and energy. The challenge of studying a new skill or language is asking too much.

But we’re all faced with changes, whether it’s technology, processes or management techniques. The best way to prepare for these changes is through learning. We can’t wait for formal classes and seminars; we must take responsibility for our own learning programs.

In a busy world, it can be challenging to set aside time for training. Yet like the store clerk, we can integrate learning into our daily routine. We can read a few pages of a book until we finish. Or we can take the opportunity to ask questions about something we know little about.

Too often, people are afraid to ask questions. But asking questions is the easiest way to expand your knowledge. Usually the people answering your questions will welcome the opportunity, because it’s a chance to demonstrate their expertise.

Writing down the answers is a good habit to adopt. We all learn differently – some through listening, some through reading, and some through writing. When you write something down, you’re engaging “muscle memory” and creating a record for later reference. You also can include a hint to help you remember the answer.

What do you want to learn? And what do you need to learn? Make a list of some topics you’d like to know more about. Think about who you can ask for help and guidance. Open yourself to the opportunity to ask questions without hesitation. Start a log or diary to write down the answers.

One of my favorite aspects of learning? It never ends. No matter how much you learn about a specific subject, you find out there’s more that you don’t know. And you’ll usually discover even more that you’ll want to explore. Everything you’ve learned in the past becomes the foundation for the future. It’s a beautiful, continuous cycle of growth.

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Topics: growth, learning

When We Hurt

Posted by Mark Fallon

Aug 5, 2016 5:00:00 AM

“If your compassion does not include yourself it is incomplete.” – Jack Kornfield

trellis_dome.jpgThroughout my life, I’ve been fortunate to have people around to support me when times have been tough. Friends who’ve listened to sobbing rants or offered calming advice. Best of all are those that have opened their arms; their hugs providing a safe refuge from the world. Treasured moments seared in my mind.

Sometimes, these same strong people find themselves in need. Loss, pain or oppressive pressures become too difficult to bear alone. Now it's my turn to be the comforter.

Too often, the other person will often say, “I’m sorry”. For some reason, while they accepted my moment of weakness, they feel the need to apologize for their anger or tears. Perhaps they judge themselves harsher than they judge me? Or maybe they expect themselves to always be strong?

Invulnerable superheroes only exist in comic books and movies. We’re human. As humans, we'll experience terrible loss and difficult pain. Tears and anger are natural reactions at times like these.

Just as we’re proud of our strengths, we should recognize our frailties. The scars we bear, hidden and visible, are part of our permanent makeup. We become stronger by recognizing our weaknesses. Every challenge faced – whether conquered or not – helps us grow.

Instead of being embarrassed about the occasions when we’re troubled, we should welcome the opportunity to accept our humanity. Some of our most cherished memories are the times when we were being comforted. The quiet support, the soothing voice, the strength shared through a warm embrace. The pain didn’t go away, but was overshadowed by the knowledge of being loved.

There will be moments when we’ll need the help of others. We have to allow ourselves to accept their assistance. We should let those who love us offer their strength and support.

And we need to show ourselves the same compassion we demonstrate to the people we love.

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Topics: love, growth, support