Prime Your World: Why Quality Matters

I may, or may not, have been referred to as frugal. Ok, definitely have.

Lack of dinero tends to drive frugality. But I’m realizing quality matters.

Perhaps it is the maturing taste that accompanies my maturing age, but quality has become a sought-after value recently.

Years of frugality leads to disposal junk. (You’re welcome local thrift store.)

Quality, on the other hand, is lasting.

Quality stays with you and helps define who you are.

I’ve been instinctively seeking greater quality, and then I happened upon a great post about the Priming Effect:

Priming: an increased sensitivity to a particular schema due to a recent experience. In other words, priming is when an experience or exposure to a stimulus puts a particular schema at the forefront of our mind. When this in turn influences our judgments and decisions, it’s called the priming effect. (Great explanation – including video)

Quality is everywhere. The words we use, the thoughts we have, the clothes we wear the food we eat, the pictures we see, the people we hug and the time we spend. Everything.

The world moves fast. Modern attention spans are short. It’s easy to lose focus on quality.

That lose of quality is changing who we are. Who we want to be.

A few quotes from the above mentioned post to help build some perspective…

Your visual cortex is only about 1/200th of your brain. Your auditory cortex is about 1/1000th. If you can’t even consciously fathom what these relatively small brain regions are doing computationally, what hope do you have of maintaining awareness of what the rest of your brain is doing on an ongoing basis?

Your conscious mind doesn’t have anywhere close to the capacity that would be required to intelligently monitor and maintain all the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that are constantly firing inside of you. Most of the time you’re not even aware of what’s happening inside your mind.

The reality is that different patches of neurons are processing different thoughts in parallel at all times.

Dude! We are SO cool.

Our bodies just work. And we have no idea how or why. It just is.

But here’s the magic. We can influence. We can drive.

We can work with our ability to “prime.” When we prime with quality, we’re more likely get quality.

In fact, we need to consciously prime. If you’re not aware of what is priming your world, then someone else is – Pepsi, Chevy, Facebook.

It’s a battle for your mind Neo. 🙂 But you’re in control…if you want to be.

Your brain is always bouncing around between linked associations. It does this in parallel, subconsciously, all the time. The vast majority of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors occur without your conscious awareness or conscious involvement.

The lesson here is that seemingly subtle influences matter. If your senses perceive it, your brain is processing it. And this processing is seldom isolated. One little change in input can create significant ripples throughout your neural net. And this in turn can have a significant influence on the results you get to experience.

By exerting some control over our priming influences — which may involve just a few small changes that can be made within a minute or two — we can create a permanent and lasting improvement in different facets of our lives.

By giving your brain slightly different input on a subconscious level, you can enjoy some truly significant benefits on the results side. This is easy. It works. And there are many ways you can apply this for free.

Small changes. Big impact. I dig.

How do we put this into practice?

We need to consciously prime our world. Start on the inside and work our way out. Surround ourselves with the right thoughts, feelings, words, people and sensory input.

Start small and grow. Perfection is overrated. Take the next step and see where it leads.

Get  primin’ y’all!

  1.  Let Your Values Drive Your Choices: Blog post about a great approach to making decisions. Mi Padre preached the gospel of only making decisions you would be happy seeing in the newspaper the next day…more accurate than expected considering social media.
    1. Every decision is made within some type of constraint. Maybe it’s how much knowledge you have. Maybe it’s how much money you have. Maybe it’s how many resources you have. Why not what values you have?
  2. #1 Secret of Astronauts, Samurai & Navy Seals: Develop a practice to build calm mindfulness. Decision points are crucial and keeping a calm mind in tough situations makes an amazing impact. We need to train ourselves to make this happen.
    1. Meditation, spirituality, breathing, yoga, Tai Chi…it’s a long list. How are you going to prime your mind to stay calm when you don’t have time to think about it?
    2. One of my fav quotes – Thomas Jefferson: Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
    3. Side Note: This blog post mentions a book called Musashi. Supposedly the best samurai book ever written. 900+ pages. 6 months later, I’m almost at 700. It’s awesome. Well worth the time.
  3. 10 Regrets You can Avoid: Don’t steal paperclips from the office. Make good choices. Be true to yourself. See #1 & #2.
  4. Keep a quality journal
  5. Quality pens: The Best Pen evaaaaaa?! From Wirecutter.
  6. Quality mug (for your bulletproof coffee)
  7. Take a nap.
  8. Take distractions and negative vibes out of your view. Keep your world clean and happy.
  9. Keep your world smelling good.
  10. Quality tunes or background noise
  11. Keep some power words lingering in your view (whiteboard?): Flow, Focus, Success, Complete, etc.
  12. Clothes
  13. Food
  14. Technology
  15. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

You get the gist. Quality matters. And everything is quality.

Focus on the things that are important in your world, and make sure you surround yourself with quality. Spend time on the things that matter, the influences that make you the person you want to be.

The Putter: A Great Example of Quality

Quality…scissors. Amazing. I now want quality scissors. Who woulda thunk it?

Hat tip to A Continuous Lean

The Dude Family is Growing by Two Feet!

Dude's Growing by 2 Feet

Dude's Growing by 2 Feet

Hear ye, hear ye…

We are amazingly excited to announce that the Dude’s are adding a couple more feet to the family tree. Yep, we are crazy enough to bring three kiddos into the family…and officially outnumber the adults!

A few highlights…

  • We are expecting in mid January, but given the track record of early arrivals, we’re predicting a New Year’s baby.
  • We won’t be finding out boy or girl until that beautiful little melon pops out to the see the world.
  • We’d love to figure out a home-birth, but NC has some crazy regulations for home-births, so we’re still figuring out who will have the honor of welcoming the bambino into the world.
  • The Princess is super jazzed to be a big sister again.
  • Little Dude keeps changing the subject when we ask him where the baby is…seems like he’s still adjusting. 🙂

Stay tuned for more Dude Family updates!

Baby In the Belly...

Baby In the Belly...

Verbal Storm

Little Dude = Happy

Little Dude = Happy

It has been raining words at the Dude casa over the last week.

We had the pleasure of enjoying a visit from Grammie and Papa, and Little Dude chose a great time to open the flood gates on his vocab.

He started walking/running during their visit over the summer as well. I’m not sure if the Grandparents help to draw out these new skills, or if it’s just great timing, but either way, it’s awesome that they have the opportunity to enjoy the development first hand.

And enjoy it they did. Grammie and Papa both seemed quite surprised at the the quality, consistency, and quantity of the words pouring out of Little Dude’s mouth.

Putting two words together before two. Grammie was quite excited. Baby genius? Duh. 🙂

It’s pretty comical to hear what he’s putting together. A few examples…

  • “Hey guys.”
  • “Feesch” = Fish
  • “Wherzit?” = Where’s it?
    • Mostly used when Nemo is captured.
  • “Whereditgo” = Where’d it go?
    • Mainly used when hunting for the paci that we’ve hidden.
  • “Peese” = Please
  • “Ti ty” = Thank you
  • “Outside”
  • “Let’s go”
  • “Tada!”
  • “Moy” = More
  • “Bac” = Bacon
  • “Sawsig” = Sausage
    • The Boy loves some breakfast meats. Primal, like his Old Man. 🙂
  • “All done”
  • “Ud u” = Love you

But no question, my absolute favorite new Little Dude vocab word is “happy!”

I enjoy the nightly routine of putting LD to bed – one of the best moments of the day because we get some quiet hugs for a minute….that’s something special from a kid that sprints everywhere he goes.

As we hugged the other night, LD said “happy,” “Dada, happy.”

I wasn’t sure what to make of it. It was the first time I heard it from him, and he only said it a couple times. I wasn’t sure if I even heard it correctly. I left it at that, and decided not to read into it too much.

Then the next night the “happys” came on full steam. As we hugged, he must have said “Happy.” “Dada, happy.” about twenty times. It was clear as day.

Who knows why he said it, but I’m reading into it. I’m coming up with my own conclusion.

My boy is telling me he’s happy and/or I’m happy as we hug at the end of the day. How can I not read into that? How can I not assume what seems obvious?

He knows what happy means, and he knows that we’re happy. That’s a heart melting moment. And I loved every millisecond of it.

Indeed, Little Dude, “Dada, happy.” Thanks for being a bottomless pit of happiness for the Dude.

1 Year, 9 Weeks: The Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

1 Year, 9 Weeks: Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

1 Year, 9 Weeks: Yin & Yang of Toddlerhood

Science is amazing. With a little ingenuity and some perseverance, there doesn’t seem like much we can’t accomplish.

For example, did you know that science has discovered the most annoying sound?! I thought Jim Carey presented these findings in Dumb and Dumber, but it turns out his theory wasn’t backed by science.

It almost seems too basic, but I guess simple is good. So, what could it be? Whining, of course.

Makes sense right? Kids needs something so they whine, and adults jump through hoops to quiet the beast asap.

Seems like evolution was on to something. Would have been tough for cave dudes to save little cave dudes from wooly mammoths if the whine didn’t bother them.

So here we are in 2011 still tortured by the whine, but at least science has finally proven what we’ve all known for millennia; whining sucks. Unfortunately, it’s a necessity, and toddlers are really, really good at it. Little Dude is a natural.

We’re now past the first year mark, and we’ve entered an entirely new frame of reference; toddlerhood. Yep, it’s as scary as it seems. We’ve gone from cute and cuddly to hell on wheels…well, still cute and cuddly, but much more mobile and destructive now.

Along with the mobility and destruction comes the whine. Little Dude has had teeth popping through for what seems like two months, so he has really had an opportunity to perfect the whine. But more than a mere complaint about that aggravating dull pain that he’s dealing with, the whine has become his form of communication. Actually, it’s much more than a whine; it’s a whine that has developed into a scream – a horror movie scream. And he is not afraid to use it.

His mind is always working…and his feet are always moving. Darting from one spot to another, grabbing, throwing, tasting…and screaming. I can only imagine how frustrating it is to be thinking and processing but have no way to communicate wants or desires. The young fella is stuck in that predicament. And his solution is a Freddy-Kruger-is-chasing-me-scream.

So, I’d actually like to challenge science’s whine findings with a recording of this ear piercing scream.

Along with the whining/screaming, toddlerhood also brings the joy of hitting and throwing food…well, throwing anything really, but food is a favorite projectile. The perfect toddler trifecta; screaming, hitting, and throwing. Little Dude has perfected them all.

Sounds agonizing, right? Not really. In fact, it’s amazing to witness the rapid development. The world works in mysterious ways, and any “bad” is generally accompanied by an ample dose of “good.” While it can be fun to complain, there really is a great balance of yin and yang with toddlerhood.

Sure he’s whining and screaming, but that just leads to words; more, Marley (Mar mar), Dada, Mama, Bubba (also referring to Marley…and every other animal), hi, bye bye. Plus, it’s pretty fun to watch a crazy little dude running and screaming. He’s just figuring out this whole communication thing, and it’s pretty cool to watch the process.

Sure the throwing of food and every other object in his path may be a bear to keep clean, and a bit destructive, but he’s just exploring (or so I tell Mrs. Dude). Plus, he’s developing quite a throw!

Sure the hitting is uncalled for, painful, and a bit embarrassing in public, but it’s leading to some incredible new skills; skills that are worth every bit of pain and frustration – hugging, squeezing, holding hands, and my all-time favorite, kisses! Mmmm-aaaahhh. Hearts melt, seriously. Didn’t know hearts could do that, but they do with teeny, tinnie little kisses. Rad.

The yin and yang of toddlerhood is awesome. And the Dude is enjoying every millisecond.


Week 52: Walking, Throwing, Kicking, Oh My!

6.19.11 - Birthday Boy

6.19.11 - Birthday Boy

How many weeks are in a year? Ding, ding, ding…52. Little Dude is officially a one year old.

He picked a great day to burst on the scene. Every few years we’ll get to celebrate Father’s Day and his birthday. And this was one of the lucky years. A nice bonus.

Every stage makes me wish I could freeze time so he’d stop growing. Then I experience the next stage and realize it’s just as good.

The first year flew by, and we’re looking forward to what year numero dos has in store.

One year is a big milestone, and Little Dude celebrated in style by becoming a full-time walker on the big day. He has been practicing little by little over the past couple weeks, but Sunday was the day he committed to it.

And not just walking. The Boy is throwing like a champ…and kicking! For real. Kicking. A ball!

Brought a tear to the Dude’s eye to see some soccer coming out of him. I’m hoping we can sign his first contract by his second bday.

Here’s a highlight reel of the birthday weekend. What better way to celebrated than highlights of a one year old walking and a classic Footloose song?

Although, I’ll warn you that it may drag on a bit for anyone that is not his Mom and Dad…but it’s fun for us to see ALL of the first steps. However, if you find that your bored, skip ahead to the 2:50 mark. Soccer skills on a one year old are pretty entertaining.

Happy birthday Little Dude. We love you.

Week 45: Lovin’ Life

Little Dude is approaching the 11 month mark. Mrs. Dude and I are pretty close to being the proud parents of a one year old. A one year old?! How did that happen? Where did the time go?

Wow. It’s a whirlwind, but it’s so fun, and Little Dude is coming into his own a little more every day.

He’s starting to clap, walking behind a new toy Grammie got for him, and overall enjoying his existence. A super happy guy, which makes me a super happy guy.

Here’s a quick view of L.D. enjoying life…

Week 37: On the Move

Week 37: On the MoveLittle Dude is officially on the move. He’s actually been on the move for a little over a week. I’ve been trying to get this post out since last weekend, but life happened. No good excuse, just a series of bad ones.

Kids. That will be my general excuse for the foreseeable future.

Here we are a week and a half late. L.D. is crawling, and luckily, this video is actually the very first time he put together a serious crawl…as you can tell from Mrs. Dude’s excitement. I happened to grab the camera at the right time.

Little Dude is loving his new found freedom. Just like figuring out how to sit-up, it’s a whole new world for him. He can follow his interests wherever they take him.

After a week of crawling experience, it’s safe to say he’s got the hang of his new skill. He’s pretty much sprint-crawling now…sprawling? And the things he’s interested in…generally the most dangerous non-baby items in view.

Be careful what you wish for. I guess it’s a cliche for a reason. It’s a awesome to see each new skill, but as his freedom increases our responsibility increase as well. And I think this relationship stays the same until roles reverse and he starts changing my diapers.

Week 30: Grrrr…

7 months.  How does it goes so fast?

He’s like a little man.  We refer to him as the business man.  I’m on the hunt for a sweet pinstripe suit, so he can take over the E-Trade baby’s spot.

Although I guess this picture doesn’t really say “business.”  More like Grrrr…

The Dude’s newest nephew, i.e. The Intimdator, is three weeks older than Little Dude, and he started to crawl last week.  L.D. is starting to realize he can get around by rolling.  I suspect he’ll be on the move soon.

So bittersweet to reach another stage of development.

But the good news is we can have baby races, and hopefully I can win some money off the Lady in a Shoe.



Week 24: Development

Week 24:  Development

Week 24: Development

Happy 6th month birthday Little Dude.

Responsibility can breed insecurity.

The knowledge that all accountability falls on squarely on your shoulders can make you question your tactics and the results.  Am I doing this correctly?  Is there a better strategy?  What are the consequences if I fail?

There is no larger responsibility than guiding a young life, and given the rapid pace of development in the early stages, there is no shortage of opportunity for insecurity.  Parents usually maintain pretty high standards for themselves, but young ones are much more resilient than we give them credit for.  The insecurity is often misguided

But that doesn’t stem the flood of uncertainty.

Is he eating enough?  Is he eating too much?  Why isn’t he pooping?  Why is he pooping so much?  Are we causing the reflux?  Is he too small?  Is his head too big?  Is he focusing enough?  Why does his hair look like he’s 50?

To add to the insecurity, we go to the doctor’s office where they make random measurements and tell us where our creation stacks up against averages.  And inevitably the young one visits with other young ones, and the comparison contest continues.

Ooohhh…she’s doing this and we’re not.  He’s this big and we’re only here.  If he can do it, should we be able to?

We’ve had a lot of opportunity to compare, and I’d say the first lesson of parenting should be don’t compare….ever.

The Intimidator

The Intimidator

In Week Nine I mentioned my newest nephew, Little Dude’s senior by 19 days, The Intimidator.  This beast was 20 pounds at birth….ok, maybe not, but he’s a giant…with a Cassey Cassum radio voice!  The Intimidator has consistently been in the 95th growth/size percentile compared to Little Dude’s 25th percentile.  And in the early stages, 19 days is a large opportunity for development.  We’re constantly talking with the Lady in the Shoe about updates on the bambinos.  It’s easy to let the mind run wild.

The first instinct is to wonder, question, speculate, but there’s no reason to draw conclusions.  Everyone is different.  Everyone will develop at a different pace.  Sure, it makes sense to have a vague sense of developmental stages and averages, but no need to pay more than a passing glance.

The Intimidator will level out…or The Lady in the Shoe will have a 6 foot 200 pound four year old on her hands.   My guess is nature will move towards a happy median.

But that doesn’t stop a Mom and Dad from feeling insecure.

Little Dude was consistently rolling over by Week 15, but here we are at Week 24, and I haven’t seen a roll in at least a month.  I’ve heard rumors of a roll here and there, but nothing consistent.  He’s not regressing.  Just not rolling.  As if he’s been there, done that.  He’ll do tummy time and just chill, maybe roll onto his side.  Then he’s over it and screams.  But no roll.

What are we to make of this?  Should we be concerned?

We’ve gotten a lot of input, and most don’t seem alarmed.  As long as he’s not regressing things are good.

He’s using his legs.  He’s trying to sit up.  When he’s on his tummy he’s starting to find his knees.  He’s starting to eat solid food.

He seems to be progressing.  But are we missing something?  Or just being insecure parents?

As if on cue, Little Dude gave us the answer today.  To celebrate his six month b-day, Little Dude decided to form his first semblance of a two syllable word/sound, and to the Dude’s great honor, he spit out “Dada”… three times!

I wasn’t there to witness it, but Mrs. Dude assures me it was no accident.  He was repeating after her directly.

Alright L.D, I hear ya.  You’re progressing.  No need to worry.  I’m giving up my insecurity.

My guess is it could return from time to time, but I’ll try to keep it at bay.

Week 21 – Dirty Secret

Dirty Secret

Dirty Secret

Last week, in response to the post about Little Dude’s acrobatics, Lady in the Shoe left the following comment:

“That Little Dude won’t be happy unless he is flying moch 3 with his hair on fire . . . wow is he a dare devil!

The Wiggles are creepy and so are a lot of other kids shows. Just know that most shows spend time and money researching the learning and entertainment from the kids’ perspective.  And enjoy!

PS  That is one loved swing – judging from the loks of the pillow…hahaha”

Ah, that Lady in the Shoe, as witty as she is wise.  Nice Top Gun quote; touche.  And great Wiggles input; gracias.  But the point I would like to emphasize is her PS.

“PS  That is one loved swing – judging from the loks of the pillow…hahaha”

Well, thanks for pointing out that the swing was looking grungy.  Are you picking up on the sarcasm?  There’s a little layered in there.

The Shoe Lady’s comment gave me a great reason to crack the whip.  Mrs. Dude had to take some advanced engineering classes to figure out how to get the swing off the stand, but Lady in the Shoe, you’ll be happy to know we are no longer sitting our child in filth on a regular basis…not in the swing anyway.

Other than calling us on our lack of hygiene, Lady in the Shoe made an important point.  That swing has indeed seen much love over the course of the first 21 weeks of L.D.’s existence.

In fact, it has been the sole slumber zone for all 140 nights leading up to this past week.

Little Dude fell in love with the swing immediately…as in the first night he arrived home.  The constant motion put him out quick and kept him out.  We’ve settled into a routine where he’s now waking up once a night to eat, but there were plenty of nights early on where he was giving us a full night sleep in that swinging miracle.

However, we received advisory suggestions from multiple sources that mentioned we should have had him out of the swing and in his crib weeks ago.  I think the Pediatrician may have been one of those advisory sources.  And I think Mrs. Dude may have fibbed about his sleeping locale at the last appointment.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Well, no worries.  The dirty secret (literally and figuratively) has been cleansed from our lives.  Little Dude is officially a crib sleeper.

And the best part is he loves it!

We thought it was Little Dude that needed to be in the swing.  We thought we would have countless sleepless nights and a cranky little boy when we made the move.  We intimidated ourselves into believing that we needed to choose the absolute perfect time to make the transition.

And none of that was accurate.  Little Dude took to the change immediately.

What the crib lacks in motion, it more than makes up for in comfy, comfy roominess.  Little Dude loves the space to stretch out.  He’s now taking all naps, and sleeping full nights in the crib.

So, I guess the lesson for week 21 is don’t stress about changes.  Kids will make it work.  There may be a few bumps in the road, but no need to wait for the perfect opportunity to change…there’s no such thing as the perfect opportunity.

Well, that, and before you post a picture of your child’s swing on the internet, make sure it’s clean.