Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mental Floss


By Julie Rahm
This video was mental floss for me! "Two dogs dining..."

Dental floss is a bundle of thin filaments for removing food and plaque from teeth. It is usually made from nylon, polyethylene or Teflon. Even silk can be used. As you know, dental floss can be waxed or unwaxed. And, it can be flavored or unflavored. In the Victorian era, and before dental floss, toothpicks were all the rage. Charles Dickens owned a toothpick inlaid with ivory and engraved with his initials. It retracted into its own handle like a tiny spyglass. Then, along came Dr. Levi Spear Parmly. Dr. Parmly was a dentist from New Orleans and is credited with inventing dental floss. As early as 1815, he was recommending people should clean between their teeth with silk floss. But, silk was expensive and not readily available.
It wasn’t until 1882 that dental floss became commercially available to consumers. In 1882, the Codman and Shurtleft Company started producing human-usable unwaxed silk floss. Then in 1898, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation received the first patent for dental floss. Other early brands were Red Cross, Salter Sill and Brunswick. Still, there was not much flossing before the 1940’s. However, it was during the 1940’s that Dr. Charles C. Bass developed nylon floss. Nylon floss was found to be better than silk because of its greater abrasion resistance and elasticity. Now, due to environmental concerns, dental floss is biodegradable.
Dentists and Hygienists urge frequent tooth brushing and flossing. Nearly all Americans brush their teeth. However, studies indicate only 10 to 40 percent of Americans floss their teeth on a daily basis. But, my intention this week is not to “wow” you with the comprehensive history of dental floss! To learn more, you could vacation with your family to the National Museum of Dentistry located in Baltimore, Maryland. (Yikes!) But, back to my point, I tell you all about dental floss to set the background for another useful metaphor: mental floss.
Mental floss is perfect for removing unhealthy plaque from your psyche. As an example, the holidays are here. And, perhaps the holidays arrive with some unhealthy memories of previous holidays gone bad. Even further, these memories can produce bad moods or depression. For these maladies, I advocate the use of mental floss for your mind. When unhealthy memories encroach on your holiday happiness, take a good long strand of mental floss and start working it against those bad experiences. Get those bad memories and their triggers loose from your mind so you can rinse them down the drain. One bad memory at a time, work your mental floss back and forth. Realize the past is over and now is the moment to move on. Resolving the past ensures your brighter future. One of my clients actually flosses her teeth and bad memories at the same time. Simultaneously, she uses dental and mental floss! 
For more, visit my website at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com and learn why I am a “Resultant” not a consultant.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Take a Punch


By Julie Rahm

     A thousand years ago, when my husband John went through the Navy flight school, they taught boxing! I don’t understand the thinking that supports teaching boxing to Naval Aviators. I suspect it builds confidence, toughness and physical fitness. The darker side of me believes the Navy thought their aviators were destined to participate in a few bar room brawls and the boxing instruction would help protect their investment. I don’t know if they still teach boxing at flight school. But, back in the day, prospective Naval Aviators squared off against one another. Unfortunately for John, he was matched against an individual who was a Golden Gloves boxer from Detroit! John says his opponent hit him at will. This individual, who possessed superior skills, hit John when and where ever he wanted. This boxer went easy on John. Even though a lot of punched were pulled, John still took a good beating during the daily training sessions. Everyone wore boxing headgear and sixteen ounce gloves. But, John still would get knocked down on a regular basis. John says he tried not to blink his eyes closed when hit. If he blinked, he usually got knocked down by the next forthcoming blow! John sported black and blue all over Naval Air Station Pensacola. The training lasted two weeks. I am sure it seemed like years to John. To his credit, John always got back up after being knocked down. He literally learned to take a punch. When he first told the story, I thought; there it is, yet another metaphor for a successful life. To lead the life you desire and deserve, one needs the ability to take a punch and get back up.
     Life offers many blows. Loved ones depart the earth. Hurricanes come ashore. Divorce or infidelity arrive unannounced and suddenly. Mix in the challenges of unemployment and some lives can be a real struggle. Like John’s flight school boxing experience, it seems some are matched against impossible odds. My point is this; getting punched by life is inevitable. Everyone gets bruised. Most important is the determination to get up off the canvas and get back into the fight.
     One of my best friends lost his wife to sickness. He was left with three daughters; ages nine, thirteen and eighteen. He is the poster child for the ability to take a punch and get back up. Everyday, for him, contains a challenge. But, he continues to persevere and do well enough. Another of my friends lost her husband in a house fire. He was an alcoholic and abused her. One tragic evening, he passed out while smoking and perished in the subsequent fire. Even though they were separated, he left her thousands of dollars in debt. There was no insurance. She took the punch, paid off the enormous debt and is doing well enough.
     If you’ve been punch by life and need help getting up off the canvas, contact me by visiting my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Managing Stress


By Julie Rahm
Are you feeling overwhelmed? The solution is to manage the effects of your problems, otherwise known as stress. Stress depletes your energy and keeps you stuck. Stress is simply the misinterpretation of everything that affects you. That may sound silly. But, most people don’t know the real reason for their stress. People hire me, because I get the right answer for them in their businesses and their lives. When you have the right answer, you know it, because you suddenly feel better. The right answer cures stress. Even if you don’t know what’s causing your stress, there are techniques you can use immediately for temporary relief of your symptoms.
The first technique is “holding your tongue”. Instead of letting co-workers or family members get to you, place the tip of your tongue gently against the roof of your mouth, about a quarter-inch behind your teeth. “Holding your tongue” keeps the energy flowing in your body, reducing stress and providing the boost you need to stay calm. And, you won’t be able to say something you’ll regret!
The second technique is breathing. Take five deep breaths before you speak. Find a private place and take five minutes to breathe. Count to four as you inhale, allowing the air to push your bellybutton out. Count to four as you exhale. Imagine exhaling whatever is causing stress. Breathing changes the physical response of your body, allowing negative energy to dissipate.
Another technique best done privately takes only two minutes. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart. As you inhale, imagine breathing in love and support.
Finally, learn from my dog, Tank. Shake it off. Like Tank after he gets wet, shake your body from head to toe. Shaking it off releases whatever negative energy is left in your body.
I use these techniques regularly for serious matters, and not-so-serious matters. For instance, early one morning I had only ten minutes to walk Tank. So, we turned his walk into a run. All was well until he found a huge mud puddle. Before I could say a word, Tank proceeded to push his chin and belly into the mud. Then, he rolled over and pushed the top of his head and back through the mud. When he finally emerged from the puddle, not one inch of him was clean. He looked like a canine Snickers bar just dipped in chocolate. And, he looked very pleased. I was substitute teaching that day and had to be at the school no later than 7:45AM. Bathing Tank would take at least seven minutes. “Holding my tongue”, Tank and I continued the run home. Managing the stress enabled me to maintain a good mood and work efficiently and effectively back home. I arrived at school at 7:44AM.
Ultimately, some stress is minor like the episode with Tank. Other stress is incapacitating. Either way, use these techniques to tune up your energy and tune out stress. Then, visit my website at http://AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Sticky Situation


By Julie Rahm
     It was September 30, 2008. My husband John said the repair would take fifteen minutes. I knew the estimate was optimistic. Nothing associated with boats takes fifteen minutes. But, I deferred and John boarded our boat, tube of 3M 5200 adhesive in hand. When John unscrewed the cap, Pandora’s evil box was opened up. Because the tube was crushed, this white concoction from hell oozed onto the deck and John. Technical language ensued as John struggled to get the mess onto a rag. Unfortunately, some boomeranged off the rag and back onto John’s hands. When John stood up using his hands to push off the deck, Satan’s material was left behind. Unknowingly, John stepped into the mess leaving white footprints on the cabin top. Immediately, John sat down to remove his shoes. Now, 5200 stuck onto John’s butt. He quickly realized what had happened and stood back up. While struggling to remove the other shoe, a gust of wind caught the rag with its payload of 5200. The rag bounced across the deck and into the cockpit. It looked like some wild animal had tracked over our boat leaving white footprints. John briefly considered jumping into the water to break this catastrophic chain of events. But, the water was cold and sensibility prevailed. So, John stripped off his jeans and stepped quickly off the boat. He walked off the marina pier as nonchalantly as possible. Other people in the marina tried not to notice. But, it was an unfortunate decision to wear white briefs instead of colored boxers. It’s amazing how white underwear can look in bright sunlight!
     Weeks later, some of John’s leg hair was still cemented to his calves and thighs. I’m sure the 5200 spots in the car will be the lasting reminder once John grows new skin and hair. There is still 5200 all over the boat. The rag that blew into the cockpit is firmly glued in a good spot to wipe your feet. And, I failed to notice the 5200 when I washed John’s underwear. They are now firmly attached to the inside of our dryer, never to be removed. I’m wondering how many souls 3M had to sacrifice to bribe the 5200 recipe from the devil. This stuff is a remarkable product when used by the skilled. But be advised; when this wonder adhesive comes out of its tube, be on guard. Its molecular composition gives it a mind of it’s own. So my point this week, in addition to warning you about the perils of 3M 5200, is to remind you that even the small jobs can suddenly become a nightmare. When they do, stop what you’re doing. Take five deep breaths to center yourself. And then you can resolve the nightmare with a happy ending.
     Visit my website at www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. Also, be one of the first to visit The Pamlico News during Oriental’s Sprit of Christmas celebration and get a free America’s Mindset Mechanic tool set!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Partial Credit


By Julie Rahm
     About one-thousand years ago, I graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in physics and mathematics. The curriculum, to say the least, was extremely demanding. I was definitely a round peg in a square hole. Or more appropriately, I was a round person in a world full of squares! I had many classes with engineering students. As I said, I was not an engineering student. But, the physics and engineering majors took a lot of the same mathematics courses together. Of course, the physics majors did not like the engineering majors. My fellow “physicists” viewed the “engineers” as a bunch of recipe followers. In their view, physicists write the recipes and the lesser engineers only follow them. As with cooking, the truly great chefs create their own fantastic recipes. Anybody can cook well if they have the recipe the great chef created. So it was with the physicists and engineers. The physicists viewed themselves as the great chefs. The engineers were lesser beings only following the recipes. The dynamics were interesting and the classes were brutal.
     One brutal aspect of most classes was the scoring of tests. There was no partial credit for a wrong answer. The answer was either exactly correct or it was completely wrong. In other subjects, students got partial credit for using the correct methodology. Even though their answer was wrong, if they were on “the right path”, professors gave them some credit for being close. This was not my experience with the mathematics professors at the University of Nebraska. At Nebraska, you were either right or completely wrong. It was a harsh policy. However, I understand the professors’ point of view. When engineers are designing a bridge, close is not good enough. Picture the aerospace engineers designing airliners. There is no room for inexactness. Close is not good enough for any engineering discipline. In engineering, lives depend on exact answers. Engineers understand and willingly accept the responsibility for being correct.
     Sadly, I often coach clients who view their relationships as engineering endeavors. As such, they think everyone must be correct one-hundred percent of the time. Unfortunately, human sciences are not engineering. Relationships are not exact. And, here is my point this week. Unlike University of Nebraska mathematics, in relationships, partial credit must be given. For example, when my husband John decides, while baking my birthday cake, that baking soda is an acceptable substitute for baking powder I still give him partial credit for the attempt and effort. Partial credit is an essential ingredient for a successful and happy relationship. Partial credit must go both ways. As another example, when I get the trash to the curb on collection day and forget some from inside, John gives me partial credit without chastising.
You’ll get full credit for visiting my website at http://www.AmericasMindsetMechanic.com. Also, be among the first to visit The Pamlico News during Oriental’s Sprit of Christmas celebration and get a free America’s Mindset Mechanic tool set! 
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