Saturday, November 9, 2013

Things I Learned from My Mom - Part II - Leave Your Comfort Zone to Grow

Today's post is on the need for change to achieve growth.

My mom grew up and spent her entire childhood on a farm in West, Texas.  Population ~2000.  As a child she told me there were times where they did not have indoor bathrooms.  In central Texas, she grew up without air conditioning.  For those of you who know Texas, that is a frightening thought, especially in August.

My mother left the safety of this bubble (small town, family farm) to move to Houston, "the big city".  She had very little money and only a few years of community college.  I was born in Houston because my mom wanted me to have more opportunities to be successful.  She wanted to have different experiences for herself as well.

West, Texas is still a small community.  There is a small community of people to interact with.  There are a lot of great things about living in a small town like West.  But, in Houston, I grew up with people of many different races and ideals - different ones from the small town.  I was exposed to computer software and developed my skills and had others to interact with.

I know my life would be different if my mom had stayed in West.

The biggest thing I learned from all of this is that you have to be willing to make changes, significant changes, if you want to grow.  It may mean living somewhere new, finding new experiences, and meeting new people.  Get outside your comfort zone.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Things I Learned from My Mom - Part I - Have an Optimistic Outlook on People

My mom passed away about 1 year ago.  I learned a lot from her.  Now it is one year out, and I have had time to reflect on the things that I learned from her.  I am going to break the things down into small posts.

Today's post is on how to deal with people you don't know.

Mom had an optimistic outlook on people.  She would talk to just about any person she met.  She gave people the benefit of the doubt.  She also never saw herself as better than others, from the person who delivered the newspaper to the person putting groceries in bags at the market or unpacking them to put them on the shelves.

She got to know all the people that were in the paths of her life.  She would take the time to talk to them and get to know them.  She had an innate trust in the "goodness" of people.  These people recognized her when they saw her and remembered her.  She had an impact on them.

My mom was from a small town, West, Texas (link, link).  There you got to know everybody - it was the norm.

What did I learn from this?

An optimistic outlook on people is a good way to go.  Even if some people are out to do us wrong, it is better to start the day with trust and optimism, it will take you a long way.

Also, there is something to be learned from everyone.  It doesn't matter what stage of their life they are in, or what their profession or economic status is.  You can learn from them.

Lastly, it can be really enjoyable to strike up conversations with people you don't know.  You might find something in common with them.  You never know until you try.