“April Showers Bring May Flowers”

We’ve all heard the old “April Showers” rhyme, but you might not know where the rhyme originated. It can be officially traced back to the mid-1500s, although earlier use of the phrase probably existed.

The first time it turned up in print was in 1557, written by a farmer named Thomas Tusser. His poem, compiled in rhyming couplets, was called A Hundred Good Points of Husbandry and contained instructions and observations about farming and country customs in the Tudor period of England.

In the April section on husbandry, Farmer Tusser wrote:

Swéete April showers,

Doo bring Maie flowers.

Tusser could have been referring to something agrarian societies have probably known for millennia… at least those living in particular temperate zones. Basically, the influx of rain in April coincides with the warming of the weather in May, which brings forth flowers. But since he was also a keen observer of life and a poet, he could as easily been using the phrase metaphorically as a reminder to look for opportunity in adversity.

Statistics

You may have heard the joke about a study on alternative foods where one-third of participants in a taste test enjoyed the new scientifically engineered food options, one third-did not enjoy them, and the last third ran away? Another fun statistic: one-third of the population registered with an online dating site has never actually had a date as a result of that site. And, while we’re talking statistics, here is an interesting one: Millennials now make up one-third of the workforce, having surpassed Generation X about two years ago. Oh, and did you know that students who read proficiently by third grade are more likely to pursue an advanced degree?

Clearly, reaching ‘a third’ of anything is sort of a defining line in common studies, the point where there is some semblance of shape to a situation, even if it is not as remarkable as the halfway mark. You can probably see where I’m going with this one… We are one-third of the way through 2020.

What have you done?

I hope that you’ve nailed some of your goals at work and that you’ve accomplished wonderful things in everyday life. If you haven’t quite made it to your goals just yet, then factor in this math: there are still two months left to change what this year will look like for you at the halfway point and that will happen before you still have six months to change the outcome of the entire year. In other words, the statistics are yours to create and your life is yours to shape.

Consider this your Spring cleaning, my friend. Now is your chance to sweep out the cobwebs and come up with a plan for where you want to be in two months. So I ask you, instead of questioning what you have done, tell me instead— what are you going to do?

Spring forward!

Gino Pezzani

How Dogs Speak With Their Tails

Scientists have discovered that dogs communicate far more information about their emotions to each other with their tails than was previously believed. A recent study has shown that dogs tend to move their tails more to the right or the left depending on how happy or sad they feel.

This emotional signal can also be recognized by other dogs, affecting how the animals respond to each other. Research conducted by neuroscientists at the University of Trento, Italy, showed that dogs’ tails tend to move slightly more to the right if they are happy. If they are experiencing negative emotions, such as feeling threatened, then their tail will move slightly more to the left.

While the subtle bias in movement can be difficult for humans to detect, when video footage of the behavior is slowed down, it becomes more obvious. Dogs, however, seem to be able to pick up on these signals just fine. The researchers found that dogs’ heart rates increased and they showed signs of anxiety

when they saw an unfamiliar dog with its tail wagging slightly to the left. If the dog met a new dog whose tail wagged slightly to the right, then the animals remained calm and showed a relaxed heart rate. Scientists attribute this to a similar function in human brains — the left/right bias of our brains to produce different emotions.

Canadian Monthly Real GDP (January 2020) – March, 2020

The Canadian economy grew  0.1 per cent on a monthly basis in January as weather and labour disputes offset more positive developments in some sectors.  Before the abrupt change in the world economy due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Canadian economy was set to grow a solid 1.8 per cent in the first quarter.  We may start to see the impact of COVID-19 starting with February’s GDP data though the impact will mostly be observed in April, which is likely to show an unprecedented decline in economic activity.

Once the outbreak is contained, the Canadian economy should post a strong recovery due to pent-up demand, large amounts of fiscal stimulus and historically low interest rates.

Hone Your Life Vision

• Your vision shouldn’t be about “shoulds.” A compelling vision is based on what you want to achieve, not what you (or others) think you should have or should do.

• A vision includes identifying your highest values. One exercise is to list all of your most important values (such as honor, trust, fun, play, love, etc.), then imagine you have to throw away one of your values. Which one would you cross off? Then you have to throw away another value from your list. You keep doing this until you’re left with the values you refuse to throw away.

• Focus your vision on a higher sense of what you’d like out of life based on your values, without worrying about specific details.

• Keep your vision distinct from your goals. A goal has a time-bound and measurable outcome. A vision is the broad sense of direction you want your goals to take you.

• Keep your vision fresh. If you’re feeling bored, reevaluate your life vision. Are you still on the right path? Are you living your vision and finding that it’s not what you thought it would be? Or have you discovered that there’s more to life and you need a bigger vision?