Monday Morning Musings

I read a good editorial in The Dallas Morning News the other day. Titled: Trimming Government, Message to Obama and Congress: Get on with it, it listed a number of ways to balance the budget. The top two suggestions:

  • Eliminate duplicate programs
  • Consolidate related programs

Good ideas. Do you think if enough of us say this, someone in Washington will listen?

There are a number of programs available to help returning soldiers deal with PTSD and other combat-related issues as they assimilate back into civilian life. One of them is Horses for Heroes which has a facility in Keller, Texas called Rocky Top Therapy Center. There, men and women can spend some time grooming a horse and doing some ground work.

On the surface, you may wonder what that could do to help a traumatized veteran, but one vet has said working with a big chestnut gelding has reduced his stress level a great deal. The soldier said the horse is a good listener. “There’s no negative feedback. There’s nobody saying you need to do this and this and this.”

Working with the horse also helps in controlling anger and frustration. There is no way you can lead a horse if you have a lot of strong negative feelings churning inside. I know that from personal experience. A horse has to trust you to let you groom him, pick up his feet, and lead him around. Horses are very intuitive and react to your feelings. If I approach him in anything but a calm manner, my horse shies away from me because he is afraid and his instinct is to run from whatever is scaring him.

Learning to be calm around a horse, can surely help a veteran learn how to be calm with his or her family, as well as in other social settings. Kudos to the people who are helping the soldiers learn that.

A new book out, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, deals with the benefits of people who work alone. According to Cain, great inventions and great art come from people working in solitude, not committees, and she cites the example of Steve Wozniak, who built the first Apple computer alone in his garage. It took people like Steve Jobs to launch the business and work with committees to market the product, but the initial invention came from one man, working alone.

Susan Cain advises against relying on Groupthink in business and education, and has plenty of data to support her belief that people are more productive when they work alone with few interruptions. The book is well worth a read, as is the article she recently had published in the New York Times.

Speaking of good books, I have a review of Louise Penny’s wonderful new book, A Trick of The 
Light over at The Blood Red Pencil blog. If you have a minute to check it out, you might find another good book to add to a list of those you want to read.

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