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What We Can Learn from Cats

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016


In a world that seems to be overrun by dog lovers, I choose to believe that there is a cat lover inside all of us... Even those who are allergic can find some benefit to my feline observations.

1. Be picky. Find the person who brings you the most joy.

In a cat's world, choosing to find the person most susceptible to feline allergies is an optimal choice. The rest of the attendees may not be blessed by kitty's touch. Being selective in who you hang out with or what you choose to do can make a world of difference.

Time management includes taking care of priorities for your work and home life. Making sure that you're attending events where you can make great connections or time blocking for some much needed rest and relaxation are essential to finding the balance in your life. There will always be events and friends wanting to take up spots on your schedule. It may be time to take a step back and prioritize what events are best to attend in order to move forward with your current goals.

2. Work smarter not harder. Chew toys take effort.

Even though I may not have any appointments on the calendar, I can keep myself "busy" 24/7. Although I do have a long "to do" list, if I'm not focused on anything specific, the hours can tick away with nothing accomplished by the end of the day. Ninety minute jam sessions are a great way to take care of business. Create an environment where phones, emails, and people won't bother you for a 90 minute segment of your day and set a timer. Work only on specific tasks during this time WITHOUT checking Facebook or Twitter. You'll find that the minutes will be ticking by so slowly at first. However, if you keep it up, you'll see that the "to do" list will get shorter and shorter. Aim for a time where distractions are at a minimum. I prefer before 8:00 a.m. when the rest of the world is still waking up and chances of missing important calls would be less likely.

Delegating work to others is also a way to lighten the load and allow you to focus on the major things that only you can do. If cleaning, cooking, or clerical duties can be done by others, make it a goal to assign tasks to others. Get the entire family involved in cooking dinner if that frees up a little time for you to finish up an assignment by the deadline so everyone can eat a meal together.

3. Balance with relaxation. 

Ten minutes of eating/cleaning themselves per day balanced with 12-16 hours of sleep per day. As opposed to cats, we humans may not be so lucky to unwind for that length of time; however, it's important to give 100% of our efforts to decompressing just like we would give 100% to our work. Recovery is vital.

Through reflection of previous weeks, I found that sometimes my sole focus was on my business and that I had given up caring for my own mind, body, and spirit. I've made it a habit to plug in self time on the calendar. It can include hobbies, hanging out at the beach, or curling up with a good book. It's great to break up the work week with a little self care. If you're not running properly with a frazzled thought process, chances are that your business is functioning in the same manner.

4. Be in the moment. K.I.S.S.  Keep it simple...silly.

A cat's joy is simplistic. Their only goal in life is to take care of the here and now. Whether it's to lick themselves in the most acrobatic stance or to sit behind your feet while you're cooking in the kitchen, they are focused on the present time. We likely find ourselves to be agitated or anxious when thinking about the past or future. This action does nothing but take away energy from the present and you lose out on living in the current moment. You may be missing your child's joy on his or her face at the park because you're worried about work or you may have missed your puppy or kitty wanting love and affection because you were too busy viewing how many likes you had on Instagram.

5. Love your peeps unconditionally.

Cats love you even when you go on vacation for a week and they continue to be grateful to be fed the same dry kibble daily. Could you imagine eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...forever?

Life can be give and take where the odds may or may not be in your favor. However, holding grudges over time does nothing but harm you. As a great mentor once said, "Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die."

6. Establish a routine. 

There's nothing sweeter than waking to the sound of my cat ripping nails out of my wall that hold my Ethernet cord in place. Although I prefer that my wiring stay in its place, I do applaud my feline friend for being so persistent each morning at the same time to make sure that that task is marked off the to do list.

Establishing a routine not only gives us guidelines throughout the week, but it allows us to get things done that we would otherwise throw to the curb. Working out, reading devotionals, and journaling or prioritizing the day would likely be lost in the chaos of our schedule if they weren't on the agenda first thing in the morning. If you make an effort to get up before the rest of the world wakes, you'll be amazed at how much work you'll have completed.

7. Give everyone a chance.

My cat used to be fairly picky about sitting on laps. However, he does test everyone out before making an ultimate decision. We too can choose to be open and loving toward others regardless of what's been said in the past or if the first impression wasn't a positive one. You never know if that person sitting alone in the corner has the world sitting on his or her shoulders, and your smile and caring words could be the exact event needed to create a transformation in that person's life.

8. Daily stretching.

Cat yoga...It's good for the body. Enough said.

9. Delight in the little things. Stop and smell the roses...or eat them.

Life can be viewed based on certain events that happen in our life. Ultimately, it's the little things along the way that bring us the most joy. Watching a child smile as she receives a small gift, smelling a blooming tree by the sidewalk, or taking in the waves of the ocean are all happy events that just by recalling them in your mind can increase serotonin levels, therefore, making you a happier person overall. So chin up, love. You've got a bright future ahead of you. Why not make the most of it? Start today!