“It’s often foolish pride that tells us we’re not wrong” – What If I Was Nothing? by All That Remains (one of my favorite hard rock love songs, who says headbangers can’t have feelings too?!)

When it comes to relationships I feel pretty confident in saying that this one thing more than almost anything else is the killer. Yes your ex’s of the past may have been slobs, or didn’t show they cared, or were too controlling, or any other slew of problems. But, peel back the layers however and I’m willing to say that a lack of true consideration for the other person stemming from an inflated sense of ego is at the root of it all. Even in my relationship with Kristen, which I think we work pretty well together most of the time, I see the telltale signs on both ends of arguments.

Acknowledging this lurking monster has been one of the greatest challenges of my adult life. Looking back I can see how this one thing has torpedoed past relationships with people, and strained others with family and friends. So what exactly have I been doing and how can it maybe help you?

  • For starters it helps to try to keep a level head before the real argument even starts, once things begin to go red it’s too late. Understanding that in most cases the other person isn’t genuinely trying to be mean, it’s just a matter of how you’re interpreting the situation that is leading you down this path. Back up a little bit and try to understand where they are coming from.
  • If you find yourself getting agitated during a conversation ask yourself why is it that you feel that way? Exploring the rationale behind your emotions is a powerful tool to not only understanding the situation better but understanding yourself.
  • Learning to take criticism (even about small things) is pivotal. People don’t like feeling like they’re nagging, but if something is out of place or unclean there is then good reason to bring it up. General cleanliness can make items easier to find for future use, and can lend to a general sense of well-being. Not helping the other person feel good about their living situation is selfish to say the least.
  • On the flip side of that one, learn to let some small things go. Not every blanket, shoe, and cup has to be put back 100% of the time. Much in the same way that letting go of your ego about not needing to “keep everything perfect” isn’t helpful; insisting that everything be in it’s perfect little place isn’t either  and can be just as selfish. Balance is sometimes found in the grey areas.

These are only a few of the tools I’ve employed, but much of it comes down to self monitoring. That in itself is another crucial tool for life but here it has such a profound impact, if you are honest with yourself and allow yourself to grow out of it.

The next time you find yourself approaching argument territory in life pause for a moment and ask yourself why? If you’re honest I bet you’ll find a completely different way to navigate the situation in a much more positive way! If you have any other tips feel free to leave them below! Until next time Pengminions.

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Using Fear and Anxiety

Kristen and I don’t exactly live in the best part of town. As mentioned before, this is a conscious choice to save a lot of money each month on rent. Walking my dog outside last night I saw a man about 100 feet from me walking through our little parking area with something that resembled a large shop broom. I won’t lie, I felt a twinge of anxiety despite the fact that the man wasn’t particularly close to me nor had he even looked in my direction. He made his way along as Oliver stood there, peeing in the grass, and as I headed inside.

I thought back to other similar experiences when I was younger and how I wasn’t affected in quite the same way. I thought about the naivety that youth gives to us and how it empowers us to make bolder choices in life. I thought about how I’ve gotten older and sometimes that isn’t there in the same way. This seems to be a universal thing for people, and at least for me I think it has more to do with coming to terms with the reality of our world. We never know exactly how much time we have left so we become trepidatious, reluctant to pull the trigger on risky situations in life.

So how do we take this nervousness and make something positive out of it? In my  acting classes we talked about this often since we actors actually do get nervous. As well, in “The Originals” by Adam Grant, we get very similar advice on controlling it. Simply put, DON’T control it! It’s exceptionally difficult to stop a speeding car so instead of pumping the brakes in vain, redirect your energy. The best performances I’ve ever done, the best interviews I’ve ever had weren’t because I’m a zen master who can control his heart rate and cortisol, but because I was able to funnel the energy into focus, into excitement instead of fear, to embrace its chaotic nature and use it in a way that worked FOR me instead of against.

There are times in life when, as Kristen talked about earlier, that overcoming these fears is critical. So I add to that, embrace the fear, make it your tool rather than an anchor. It is not a perfect system, and I can tell you that there are times when it wins, but this is one tactic in my arsenal that I know works for me, and I hope it can work for you too.
Do you have any tricks for pushing through stresses and fears? Let us know down below, and if you know someone who has something big coming up (or maybe you do!) share this with them so they can have a little help too. Until next time Pengminions!

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Identifying Hypocrisy

by Richard Furleigh


Everyone claims to hate them, yet not a single one of us (myself included) are free from this title. Our intentions may be one thing however time and time again our words and actions betray us as hypocritical. The book “Building The Bridge As You Walk On It” by Robert E Quinn details this as one of his core tenants for leadership, but it is up to us every single day to examine this about ourselves in an honest way.

I know that personally I have struggled with this in some capacities, but with practice and some humility have learned to give honest credence to others voices when critiquing my choices. It is hard to truly look at yourself and admit that you are wrong or could do something in a more positive way, really it is one of the hardest possible things in life that you can do. No one wants to feel like their choices are wrong, no one wants to admit they are the weak point in a particular chain, yet this is the strongest possible thing you can do.

No growth in life ever comes from ignoring problems.

I have found more positive results to looking critically at my own choices than I would have thought possible. It has opened my eyes to others points of view, methods of execution, and knowledge about myself than I would have thought possible before now. Curiously enough it has also helped make me more confident as a person as well. When I know that more factors are taken into account, more voices heard and processed for their truest guidance, and more alternatives explored it means the decisions I come to are of that much higher a quality.

If there is anything you do to help combat your own hypocrisy, or if there is something in particular you need to be held accountable for let us know. We’re always looking for ways to help or improve our own process! Until next time Pengminions!

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5 Things to Inspire Creativity

~Kristen Furleigh

Sometimes the pressure to BE CREATIVE can be overwhelming. At times this makes you feel the least creative when you feel as if you must. First, take a breath and remember it is not the end of the world if in a particular moment you aren’t able to come up with a grand masterpiece. We have to take the time to recharge our creative juices from time to time. Here are a few ideas that might help you; which I can remember to use too when I’m putting pressure on myself to “create.”


1.) Take time to get outside: One of my favorite things that almost always gets my brain going is going for a walk or hike. Even a walk around the neighborhood can be revitalizing. You don’t have to go into the backwoods on a soul searching journey to become inspired. Find a local park and feed the ducks. Check out your local botanical garden. Anything with some fresh air.

2.) Listen to music: Music can be just what the creative doctor ordered when you are feeling stuck or uninspired. Create playlists that make you feel. You can even break them into particular feelings, moods, life moments. Maybe just a mix/hodgepodge, radio station, or new to you music works for you; do that. No one person’s recipe works for everyone. Apps like Pandora, Slacker, and 8Tracks are perfect. One of my favorite playlists is called Listen to the Grass Grow or I have a few old CD’s that take me back to certain times that I find inspirational that I will pop in from time to time.

3.) Work on something completely unrelated: When we are feeling the pressure to create a particular thing and have exhausted our faculties in a particular moment we need to take our mind off of it and absorb ourselves in another task. This can give our minds the break it needs to become inspired. I cannot tell you how many times my ideas come about when I stop obsessing over them. It can be frustrating because we want to be able to be creative on demand but sometimes you just have to go with how it comes to you and give yourself these opportunities rather than trying to force them.

4.) Use what you know: Often times we forget to utilize the tools and skills we already have. What do you already know how to do and how can you tweek it to help in your current creative endeavor. Our past accomplishments can be a spring board for our future ones as well. Even look to skills you have that may at first glance seem unrelated; there is often a connection you can make between what you have done and what you are attempting to do. Capitalize on this knowledge.

5.) Know when to use Technology or disconnect: When you are overwhelmed technology can be a great resource to get your juices flowing. Just Googling can get you pointed in the right direction. Stumbleupon is an awesome resource because you get to choose interests and it stumbles through the internet to find you related sites. I highly suggest photography, nature, and any offbeat sort of interest to heighten the potential of finding inspiration. On the other hand know when technology is more of a hindrance and learn to disconnect. With the overabundance of social media sites we can get sucked in or constantly distracted by notifications; give yourself permission to turn it off.

**Bonus Tip**  Other People: Spending time with other people can get your mind off of the task at hand allowing you to rejuvenate. They could also be a sounding board for potential ideas. They can help with a brainstorming session or just give you the support you need to recharge.

I hope these tips are helpful to you the next time you are feeling static. What helps you out when your creativity is just out of reach? We would love to try some of your techniques; we are always hoping to learn more! Leave them in the comments. Til next time Pengminions!

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It never hurts to research!

Heellloooooooo Pengminions!

Richard here to bring to you the latest edition of the penguin adventures. This week we made the very grown up decision to *bumbumbum* read! Image

Now there’s obviously much more to it than that. Over the last couple months the Ms. and I have been tossing around the idea of looking outside of our own minds and thoughts for some advice and insight to making our relationship work better, getting to know each other, learning to see things from the others point of view, and truly trying to understand the other. During other similar thoughts we had found an online list of “100 questions you should ask before you tie the knot” that was a good jumping point to learning about the other. This however wasn’t quite enough as we had, through our own lives and talks, discussed many of the deeper questions brought forth from that questionnaire. So what we were truly looking for was something in the vein of “So you’re two people going through life together and want a little insight to trying to better understand each other and how to make it an easier journey” Unfortunately there was no such book title. Double unfortunately there were a plethora of books based around this same idea which made trying to sift through them more than a little difficult.

So there we sat in Barnes and Noble, a stack of self help books in front of us, trying to figure out which one best spoke to the both of us. We joked with each other that anyone else wandering by must have thought we were on the verge of a divorce or something since the stack of books we were sifting through was about a foot and a half high. Some, like the one pictured at the beginning, tried breaking love and everything else associated with a relationship down into something more tangible . In this case using resources, economics, and a business sense to allocate what you can afford where. While I love the idea of breaking it down a little more in these ways, Kristen was vehemently opposed to reducing something like love down to little more than a formula where if A is greater than B, we do CImage Others such as this one, seemed to only be a book full of anecdotes. Which piqued the interest of Kristen a little more, but not as much mine. For me, I don’t particularly want to read about others situations and how they dealt with it, I would much rather look into how to identify problems and work through it with a better understanding of the other person. Break it down in a way that I can potentially process into my life. So we sat there with our stack of books, passing them back and forth, finding small things here and there that we liked. It was an interesting thing in some ways that the mere idea and process of picking a book for us to improve our relationship actually helped us work together.

Eventually we decided on two different books. One was less of a book and more of a quiz to see who could answer more questions about the other one correctly. We figured with this one, it could be a fun little way to answer and discuss the questions. Plus the winner gets a couple nice things done for them 😉  Second, and the more serious of the two was one that initially I didn’t like. The reason for this dislike however was because, to me, the glaringly unapologetic truth with which the book presented it’s information. The two sections we read rang resoundingly true for the both of us to such a degree that there was little doubt as to what we would actually get; even despite my initial misgivings.

Which brings us to now. Thus far we are 80 questions into our 100 question quiz which we have allotted 10-20 a night to stretch it out and actually allow for discussion of the questions. And have not started our serious book, which incidentally enough we did not actually take a picture of… This was less to do with a wariness to begin it and more to do with a three day Memorial Day weekend at the faire, followed by a three day vacation to NYC (blog on that coming soon as well!).

We’ll keep everyone updated on who wins the relationship quiz game!

Until next time Penglovers!

Richard F