Author Topic: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?  (Read 9693 times)

Lisa and Robert

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A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« on: June 27, 2013, 02:31:32 PM »
When I recently read your thought-provoking post "A Lifetime of Riches:  Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?" I knew I had to write and tell you our habit story. It's a small change, but significant for us, if mostly to remind us of the many good habits waiting for adoption outside of our current mindset. At least once a week, we load our two, large dogs into my husband's Toyota Tundra and drive five minutes down the road where we can safely run them off-leash. We bought the truck for my husband's business, since he often carries large pieces of furniture to and from his shop. The truck also functions as our camper, which we enjoy regularly; my husband built an amazingly cool and efficient "bunkhouse" (bed platform) and "chuck wagon" (two easy-slide drawers the length of the truck bed, organized with all our camping gear). (After reading your blog about vehicles, we'll consider switching to a more energy-efficient mini-van, when the time is right.) We drive to where we walk the dogs, instead of walking, because our country roads are narrow and winding and not very safe with two large dogs that could pull you into traffic, when a rabbit or coyote happen by. (Yes, we read your admonition not to add large omnivores to your family too late. They are, however, great company, keep other animals at bay and make us feel safer.)

One of our dogs is a husky-hound mix with long legs and she easily hops up into the truck. The other dog has the body of her German Shepard parent and the short stubby legs of her Bassett parent. Try as she might, she cannot jump into the truck. My husband has to lift her 75-pound body --squirming with anticipation-- into the truck twice for every dog walk. In addition, he also has to lift her out of the truck twice for each dog walk, as she has joint problems due to her lineage, easily twists her knees and ankles and cannot jump,out of the tall truck. Though my husband is a burly woodworker, lifting 75 pounds of canine in and out of the truck doesn't do anything good for his joints either.

At least once a month during the dog-elevator procedure, one of us says, "We need to make or buy a ramp, so she can get into the truck herself" and the other one heartily agrees. We've even talked about what kind of ramp my husband could make that would be lightweight, yet strong, where we could store it, how it could fit in the truck, etc. We've also researched buying aluminum ramps, folding ramps, etc.

One recent Saturday morning as we prepared to go on our dog walk, your apt description of us driving behemoth vehicles for such tiny weights and distances -- clown cars-- shouted in my head. "Why don't we take my car instead?" I suggested. I was thinking only of the gas it would save to drive my 1996 VW Golf as opposed to the "Big Ton-dra"  as I like to call it lately. (Interestingly, my smaller Golf is the Harlequin multi-colored version where the panels are red, yellow, blue and green, so I have a constant, visual reminder of how "clownish" cars are.)

We opened the car doors, called the dogs over and, IN THREE SECONDS AND WITH NO HEAVY LIFTING, they were in the car and ready to go. Obviously, we experienced the same ease and speed of procedure for the remaining three canine exits and entrances. All this, with the added benefit of using less gas. The only slight downside was that Jenna, the German Shepard-Bassett, was that much closer to the steering wheel which her Shepard-brain longs to grab hold of and control.

Over our breakfast of homemade chai and Robert's scrumptious breakfast burritos, we talked about why it took six years to see how to break an old habit and create a much better one, in spite of the fact that there was a big problem with our other way of doing things. As we thought about why we had decided to use the truck in the first place, we realized that the main cause was that we made assumptions that were not accurate, BASED ON COMPARISONS. For instance, we felt my car couldn't handle the deep ruts in the dirt road we drive on to get to the dog walk. However, that wasn't true:  it only SEEMED like it might be a problem COMPARED to the very large clearance of the truck. We also felt like the dogs wouldn't fit in the back of my car. Again, that wasn't true either: it only SEEMED like they might not fit, COMPARED to the large expanse of the truck's back seat.

This realization has made us wonder about other -- probably erroneous -- conclusions we've drawn, based on comparisons.  Is our house small, or does it just seem small compared to the over 5,000 square foot monster mansion we down-sized from? Is our yard desolate, or does it just seem bleak compared to the water-guzzling and time-consuming yard we had in a nearby state that ignores the fact that water is scarce for them too? When we make a judgment about something, we're much more likely now to take some time and think about what hidden standard of comparison might be at work. We figure this improves our odds of approaching something a little closer to reality, when making decisions.

oldtoyota

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2013, 05:13:12 PM »
That is wonderful. You guys have the gift of being able to take a hard look at yourselves and your choices. That will take you a long way!

rving-carol

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #2 on: June 28, 2013, 08:19:12 AM »
Lisa - Thanks for sharing. AHA moments are great by themselves but once you experience one, others tend to follow. Enjoy!

Gerard

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2013, 06:57:02 AM »
I was reading this with some "man, this is a long story about dogs and cars" impatience, but the paragraphs at the end about comparisons are gold. Thanks, Lisa/Robert.

MrWednesday

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2013, 11:24:57 AM »
Awesome story and what a great "false comparison" realization. Bravo!

tinsoldier

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 02:57:06 AM »
Hello! It seems to me that this is not even a comparison. We always compare ourselves to someone. The main thing is to catch the idea in time. How did you manage with personal comfort.

SwordGuy

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Re: A Lifetime of Riches: Is It as Simple as a Few Habits?
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 12:14:47 PM »
Hello! It seems to me that this is not even a comparison. We always compare ourselves to someone. The main thing is to catch the idea in time. How did you manage with personal comfort.

Is that truly a concern for a trip that's so short it's within walking distance?