The Right Tools

dreamstime_xs_32676950My car has never been a great winter car (I live in Wisconsin).  The past couple of years, though, it has been even worse.  The final straw came mid-winter this year.  My husband and I live in the country and the driveway is long, it curves, and it is rather steep in one place.  Even so, the day that I could not get up the driveway until I got out and scraped 1/8 inch of snow off the driveway was the day I had had enough.

My tires were only a couple years old and still had very good tread.  I was beginning to think I would need to get a different vehicle (all-wheel or 4-wheel drive) until my husband had a better idea.  He suggested a set of snow tires.

I grew up in the era of rear-wheel drive cars, snow tires, and stud tires.  I was a little embarrassed that I had not thought of this myself.  Since I bought my first front-wheel drive car, when I was out of college, I had not needed snow tires.  All-season tires, combined with front-wheel drive, had worked just fine.

I bought and had four snow tires put on my car.  Something I learned when I did this was that my old tires were performance tires rather than all-season tires.  I remember when I bought the tires (from a different dealer than where I bought the snow tires) and I asked for all-season tires.  Not knowing much about tires, I didn’t notice the difference when they were put on.  Regardless, the tires explained why I was having so much trouble driving in the snow.

The snow tires have been awesome.  I can go anywhere, in any weather now.  Not only has it made driving easier and safer, it has also increased my independence.  I do not cancel plans because of bad, or even potentially bad weather, like I had been.

As with most situations in life, lessons learned here can be transferred to other aspects of life.  To accomplish something, we need the right tools.  We need to know what the right tools are.  We need to know whether we actually have the right tools or not.  If we don’t have the right tools, we need to get them, but we don’t need to get more than what we need.  And we need to know how to use those tools.

In your professional or personal life, are there tools or resources that you need?  Do you need something physical like a new computer?  Or do you need assistance from an expert, such as an accountant or web-site developer?  What are the right tools that you need to accomplish your goals?

Pack Wolf or Lone Wolf?

dreamstime_xs_52534905In nature, most wolves are pack wolves. They belong to a pack, they know their role in the pack, and they support the pack. There are also lone wolves. These are wolves that have left the pack by choice or have been kicked out of the pack. Often, they find a mate and create a new pack.

In my opinion, some people are similar to pack wolves and some are similar to lone wolves.

People who are more similar to pack wolves want, even need, to belong to a “pack.” They want to belong to a group, or groups, in their personal and professional lives. These are the ones that become very involved in the group and enjoy doing things outside of the normal group activities. For example, working with the group all day isn’t enough, they want to go out with the group after work as well.

People who are more similar to lone wolves belong to groups, but do not feel the need to become as involved. Working with the group during the day is great, but they want to do something else later. They may be more on the perimeter of groups than in the middle of everything that is going on.

I am more of a lone wolf. I enjoy people, I enjoy belonging to groups, but I have limits. For some groups I belong to, seeing them once a month is enough. I don’t really want to see them more frequently. And quite honestly, there are some relatives that if I see them once a year, that is plenty. For the most part, I enjoy doing things with my “mate” rather than other people.

There is not any right or wrong to this. All I suggest is that whichever you are, accept and respect that not everyone is the same.

Fortune Cookies

dreamstime_xs_32912706I enjoy reading the fortunes in fortune cookies. Sometimes they contain a great deal of wisdom. These are two of my favorites:

“Don’t pursue happiness, create it.” I think we need to create everything we want in life, including happiness. If we chase happiness, we may or may not catch it. But if we create happiness, we will have it.

“Face any problem with dignity.” We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we always control how we react. I think reacting with dignity is a great idea. If we do, we may be preventing future problems. If nothing else, we have the satisfaction of knowing that we did face it with dignity.