Thursday, October 1, 2015

Freemason Wisdom: Henry Ford On Attitude

"If you think you can do a thing, or think you can't do a thing--you're right!"

~Henry Ford
Palestine Lodge No. 357
Detroit, Michigan

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this wisdom.  I've been going through some challenging times myself just lately.  I look at all the things I have to do, and the limited time and resources I have to accomplish it all, and feel I'm destined to fail miserably.

Been here before.  A little self-doubt at times is natural--it means we're getting out of our comfort zone, and that's a good thing.  But then I remember that very often the only difference between success and failure is our belief in our own abilities.  The more positive our attitude is toward a project we're working on, the more time and effort we typically put into it.  And more often than not, those insurmountable obstacles we fretted over aren't so insurmountable after all.

Get your head around it, roll up your sleeves and dive into it.  It won't be long before that challenge is well behind you, and you're stronger and wiser for having overcoming it.

Just remember that if you can believe it, you can achieve it.

~Todd E. Creason

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dogs And People Aren't That Much Different

This is why Gracie thinks her last name is "damn-it"
Those of you that have read my novels probably know that I have a great affection for German shepherds--Rosco plays an important role in all three of my novels as Levi Garvey's ever-present sidekick.  That's one of the few places where my art imitates my life.  For the last eleven years I've had a great dog, a German shepherd mix named Roxanne.
No, we don't bite Daddy and knock his glasses off . . .
Roxanne is getting pretty old now, so last January we added a new member to our family--a six week old full blooded German shepherd puppy we named Gracie.  German shepherd are great dogs, but they are very challenging puppies.  They require a great deal of patience for the first year or so, and as an owner, you have to be absolutely consistent in how you train them--unless you're fond of chaos.

Gracie is being perfect.  Gracie and Roxanne are on duty protecting Katie while she plays in the yard.
The first eight months or so, Gracie was all play, all the the time.  They love to wrestle, and can be rough when they play, and although they don't mean to, we all went through a lot of band-aids due to sharp little puppy teeth and nails.  But the most important thing you have to understand about these dogs, is that they have to be engaged at all times.  You have to be watching them, playing with them, and instructing them almost constantly.  People who get German shepherds often don't understand just how much work it is in the beginning.
Wasn't paying attention and Gracie got bored.  I wonder what's up on the table?
When Gracie is bored, she becomes a huge problem.  She's basically a huge pain in the butt.  She chews things up.  She'll jump up on you, or try and knock you down so you'll play with her.  She annoys Roxanne.  She'll jump up on the furniture (including the dining room table).
Gracie "helping" in the kitchen.  Being the perfect pup.
But when she is involved in something she's the perfect dog.  Whatever I'm doing, I give her a job.  Like when we're walking, she runs ahead and checks things out, then comes back to report.  When we're cleaning up the kitchen, it's her job to lick all the dishes before I load them in the dishwasher (sometimes we get confused and lick the clean ones, we just don't tell mom).  She's recently learned it's her job to alert us when somebody pulls into the driveway.  She spends a good deal of her time occupying herself in the window keeping a look out.
Gracie again being the perfect pup.  She has a job playing with Katie (and trying to kick out a rabbit most likely)
People aren't really that much different than dogs.  People need a job to do as well.  They need to be engaged.  They need something to occupy their time.  They need to feel like they are contributing in some way.  And just like my sometimes ornery puppy Gracie, when people don't have constructive things to do, they often wander into chaos as well.

~Todd E. Creason

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Old Dogs And New Tricks

Over the weekend I attended the Masonic Society's Quarry Project in Indianapolis.  On Saturday morning, I gave a talk about Masonic blogging.  I'm not a great speaker, but it went pretty well.  It was my first opportunity to talk about something I'm pretty proud of--the Midnight Freemasons.

It's hard to believe that ten years ago I was terrified of public speaking.  In fact, that's why I started writing my books, and started blogging--so I could share the things I was learning about Freemasonry from the safety of my study.  I've always preferred to be a "behind the scenes" guy.  It wasn't long before I realized that if I wanted people to read my books I was going to have to get out there and talk about them.  I still get nervous doing it, but I've grown a lot more comfortable with it.  In fact, so comfortable, I often get asked to officiate weddings!  

One of the many great strengths of Masonry is that it gives us opportunities to try new things--get out of that comfort zone and learn some new skills.  I've certainly benefited greatly from the Fraternity.  I've learned to stand up and talk in front of a group, which is something I never thought I'd do.  It's one thing I'm able to point at and say "I couldn't do that before."  I've had some good instruction from my friends in the Scottish Rite, and some patient audiences as I've been working on improving that skill. 

But that's one thing Freemasonry instills in its members--that desire to continue improving yourself.  It's a lifelong quest.  And as Masons work on improving themselves, they become better husbands, fathers, employees, and leaders--and that is how you build a better world.  You build it one man at a time.

~Todd E. Creason

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Enjoy The Journey

We live in a fast paced world--there's no question about that.  All too often we spend so much time trying to get through one thing so we can begin to work on the next thing that we fail to stop and enjoy the place we're at.

I have that same problem.  Too much to do, too little time.  I get stressed out because so many people depend on me for so many different things.  I'm the employee.  The dad.  The husband.  The Secretary.  The writer.  The Founder.  The curator.  The speaker.  The idea guy.  The educator.  And every so often, the officiant.  And every once in awhile I drop the ball.  Not often, but it happens.  And I get all ticked off, because I have so much on my plate, and I get annoyed that I don't have more help in these things I've taken on of my own free will and accord.

But then I stop myself.  What's the alternative?  Sitting at home evenings watching television?  Watching hours and hours of sports, drinking beer, and memorizing stats?  That's what I used to do once upon a time for recreation.  It wasn't fulfilling, and I suddenly realized I was wasting my life on things that really didn't matter.  I wanted more, so I sought out more--and boy did I find it!

People can't grow unless they get out of that comfort zone.  Get involved.  Take a few risks.  Do something that really matters--that means something to you.  Make a few mistakes, but enjoy the journey.  And when you find that passion, and you begin finding yourself with work to do, enjoy the work, and the fact you have the opportunity, and that people are depending you.  Take every task seriously, and try your best.  Don't take something on if you know you can't do a good job with it--if you're not going to do it, then don't raise your hand.  But if you do raise your hand, you'll find greater pleasure from the work, than you'll ever find from relaxing at home on the couch.

But when that stress inevitably comes from a busy life well lived, don't think of it as all the things you have to do.  Think of it as all the things you get to do.  There will come a day when you won't be able to do all the things you do now.  Believe it or not, you're going to miss it.  So enjoy where you're at.  And remember that the more you're able to give, the richer your life is going to be.  Nobody gets to the end of their life and wishes they had done less during their time on earth.

Life is short--it's never too late to make your mark.  Make it count.

~Todd E. Creason
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