Month: April 2011

Daily Inspiration 4-30-11

Daily Inspiration 4-30-11

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble,
whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,
whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent
or praiseworthy–think about such things.”
— Philippians 4:8, NIV, The Bible
“Why should we think upon things that are lovely?
Because thinking determines life.
It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment.
Environment modifies life but does not govern life.
The soul is stronger than its surroundings.”
— William James
“The more man meditates upon good thoughts,
the better will be his world and the world at large.”
— Confucius
I don’t often quote The Bible, but the Philippians quote above is one of my favorites because it continues to guide me to focus on what is going to be most beneficial to my psyche and it encourages love through the act of appreciation. Then William James says it how it is according to what I have learned, that thinking determines life and finding appreciation or things to appreciate keeps us from blame, which is the opposite of appreciation–indeed, it is depreciation. I love the Confucius quote in this mix of quotes because it says it all so succinctly in that the more we focus on good thoughts, the better everything looks and feels.
I would take it considerably further by being open to seeing things we would not normally think of as lovely, or good, and pretend they are. After all, what is lovely or good are judgements as much as what is not, but the main reason is that they all serve us if we will but be open to that possibility.
Can a forest fire also be a benefit? How about a crippling disease? A financial disaster? There are so many examples of things that we might normally think are bad, where it turned out to be the best thing for a wide variety of reasons. Think of some of the famous people who have had devastating losses and come back even stronger and more focused, and even more successful. Or, people who have come back from a crippling accident or disease where they refused to blame circumstance and events and instead counted it as a blessing.
It seems to me that as we blame, we hold ourselves away from the potential of joy and happiness–even as we may think by finding fault not on our court that we indemnify ourselves from harm. As I have seen it around me and in my own life, that blame game is a self-inflicted wound and does more damage to me than anyone else. As Nelson Mandela stated (although he used the word resentment, which is virtually the same idea as blame. . .): “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” So, blame is like trying to make yourself look faultless, and in so doing create personal harm, through resentment and anger.
The best answer I have found is to forget all about blame and when I find myself playing one of those old tapes from memory, turn to focusing on good thoughts, things of beauty, excellence and such, in appreciation of them for the purpose of getting back into alignment with love. It is in purposely and actively practicing this that I find ever more to appreciate and find ever more beauty and excellence. Therein is a fountain of joy that one would not know existed otherwise.
When I Focus On Beauty, Excellence and What I Think Is Right and Good, I Feel Great. Seems Like A Good Enough Reason To Focus There . . .
Spread Some Joy Today–The best way to spread joy is to be experiencing it!
Daily Inspiration 4-29-11

Daily Inspiration 4-29-11

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning,
but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”
— Maria Robinson
“To change what you get,
you must change who you are.”
— Vernon Howard
You’ve probably heard that phrase, “what is, is.” It’s one of those things people say about “reality.” Or, maybe you heard it this way, with a bit of resignation in the voice, “it is what it is.” Then, I used to hear this stuff when I was a kid: “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” “only the good die young,” “they’re nickle and dime-ing us to death,” and other such dreary reality statements.
Of course, when you look at all of them in a paragraph, they look like things that when people talk about them, you want to move away. But, I heard it enough that I used to believe it. And, the good news in that is that it is never too late to say, “Hey! Wait a minute! I want something better than that!”
Now, going back to the beginning is a waste of valuable time, but we can all begin today to create a better end result, along with a better and more enjoyable and fulfilling life from today forward (or whatever day we decide). That’s the good news.
The other news is that it is totally up to us to do the changing, and the way for things to change is not for things to change, but for us to change. Remember the wisdom in the first paragraph: “what is, is.” So, the only way for what is to change is to have different eyes looking at it, and that would be us.
Of course, they are correct in saying what is, is, because it is. It’s just that what is, is different looking depending on who is looking, so we just change who and it’s all good!
Sometimes I talk with people and they begin with their ailments, reasons they can’t or didn’t, etc. I don’t even politely listen to that dribble any more. I just excuse myself and move away. Well, I might swim upstream a stroke or two, just to make sure that they are committed to their story. They usually are, so I stop swimming immediately and move away, because it ain’t no good until they are ready to change their view of what is, and I can see what is, is, so I want to make sure they watch it without me.
Some people think that is being harsh. I think it is being loving.
That’s What Was. . . Now What Is, Is Way Better.
Spread Some Joy Today–Talking about problems, ailments and what others are doing to us is a 1,000 lb anchor keeping us tied to them. If someone is listening, they cannot be helping. Help yourself. Love yourself enough. Spread joy instead.
Daily Inspiration 4-28-11

Daily Inspiration 4-28-11

“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness,
not because they never found it,
but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.”
— William Feather
“People are about as happy
as they make up their minds to be.”
— Abraham Lincoln
I don’t take issue with quotes I disagree with, but the first one from William Feather encouraged me to write a bit. I’ve grown up with these kinds of quotes about happiness. There are thousands of them with the same theme. . . stop and smell the roses, etc. One might just fill in the blank of what happiness is to you, as such: Happiness is __________. Or, get more specific: I feel happy when ____________. Not a bad exercise, for sure; however what I object to in the quote is stopping.
The reason I object to it is because we are all expert procrastinators. We put off whatever we can so we don’t have to deal with it today, and that includes this issue of happiness. After all, we’ve got so much to do and we would love to take the time, but there is no time, and so on. To say we have to stop to smell the roses, or stop to enjoy the moment, or stop to experience happiness pretty much insures it isn’t going to be happening regularly–and certainly not on demand.
Now, Abe Lincoln’s quote takes all the guess work out of happiness and puts responsibility for it squarely where responsibility needs to be–on each one of us. In addition, he demonstrates that it is purely a decision of the choice of thought and that we make that decision on purpose or by default every second of every day of our lives, and that we may change that decision any time we choose. It has sheer power, and a delightful elegance. Short, sweet and very much to the point.
So, there need be no more waiting for any happiness. It is ours at a moments notice by deciding to accept it and we can do it while we are moving through our busy day just as easily and effortlessly as we can on a month long vacation in Bali.
Just In Case You Didn’t Know How Much Power You REALLY had . . .
Spread Some Joy Today–That’s right. Spread some! How? Be happy! It’s contagious.
Daily Inspiration 4-27-11

Daily Inspiration 4-27-11

“Where there is no struggle,
there is no strength.”
— Oprah Winfrey
“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned,
so as to accept the life that is waiting for us.”
— Joseph Campbell
Today the word struggle popped into my head. I looked at quotes about struggle and they were all like Oprah’s quote above–all about life is a struggle, the strong survive, etc., etc.
I guess there are a lot of ways to go about a thing and struggle is certainly one of them; however, in my recent life, I have found a far better way for me: letting go of struggle and getting into relaxing my way. It’s not that I don’t work, because I do and I also work a lot, but it really isn’t work–it’s joy, fun, excitement, interesting and satisfying.
It reminds me of the old game we played as kids called “tug-of-war.” There’s a puddle of mud in the middle and people on both sides pulling against each other’s team until one team is pulled into the mud. I always found it much more fun to just let go of the rope, but then the rest of the team thought I wasn’t a team player. It’s true, I’m sure.
I’ve noticed that life is like that game of tug-of-war, in that I see people pulling, tugging, coercing, manipulating, trying to win the tug, and back and forth it goes. Then the game spreads to most others and everyone is struggling in one way or another.
I have found the best solution for me is to let go of the rope. Think about it. It is in the letting go that stress no longer exists, worries no longer penetrate, and joy is possible.
I was talking with someone close yesterday and they were saying how someone took advantage of them and it was wrong and this and that and how they were going to confront them and take the things back and all that dribble. I told her that this was one way, but it wouldn’t help the situation. The best thing to do is to just let go of the rope. Let go? she said. . . it was just plain wrong. I said, well, that is purely a judgement call, and of course, you can certainly make it, but what will you get out of that? Certainly no joy, just more stress, unhappiness and the like.
So, letting go is the best answer I have and I practice it a lot now. I let go of so many things and it is quite interesting how much better I feel and how much better I perform as a result. I let go of those judgements, disappointments, fears. Who needs that stuff? Oh yes, the strugglers. . . no gain without pain. . . okay, they can have it their way, and I’ll have it mine.
One Of My Favorite Book Titles Says It Very Well:
“Love Is Letting Go Of Fear” By Gerald Jampolsky.
Spread Some Joy Today–What is that so important grudge you’ve been holding dear to you awaiting the final judgement? Is it bringing joy? Consider dropping the rope. . .
Daily Inspiration 4-26-11

Daily Inspiration 4-26-11

“It seems that we have it backward in our society.
We tend to look up to people who are under a great
deal of stress, who can handle loads of stress, and
those who are under a great deal of pressure.”
— Richard Carlson
We watch sport after sport where players are under pressure to perform. We watch races that are called victories by one one thousands of a second at 200+ miles per hour. In fact, we see show after show where people are under pressure in one form or another and we look up to them when they can not only handle it, but successfully traverse it, and when they don’t, we have a tendency to look down on them–they weren’t prepared, couldn’t handle the stress or the pressure.
I spent 30 years in the car business and over 27 of them as a sales manager. The hours were stupid, and there was always pressure to perform. I can remember going home late at night as if I had the world on my shoulders. Much of that career I enjoyed, and much of it I didn’t.
I suppose you could say that I was practicing handling stress or pressure and putting on a show of doing that, but inside, that was a different story. I wanted out of it.
Today, I have a whole different attitude about this that is best expressed by the following quote by James Allen:
“The strong, calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. “Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character, which we call serenity is the last lesson of culture, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold – yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money seeking looks in comparison with a serene life – a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!”
Now, I admire most, those who demonstrate calmness where others feel pressure and stress. Indeed, to them, there are no such things as pressure or stress. A hundred years ago, the word stress in terms of human psychology was nothing and today, stress is a billion dollar industry. There is stress relief, stress pills, stress therapy, stress counseling, stress-related diseases and the list goes on and on. That’s just the ones trying to relieve stress, let alone those promoting the giving of it.
What’s interesting is that it is just an idea. It doesn’t exist outside of thought, yet it has become so commonplace in our society that this acceptance of it creates its reality. It can be undone as easily as it was done when the choice is made.
We All Get To Choose. Thoughts Become Things.
Spread Some Joy Today–There are lots of ways to get rid of stress and the first is to stop talking about it and believing that it exists. Think joy and freedom.
Daily Inspiration 4-25-11

Daily Inspiration 4-25-11

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity
to spread their wings and put compensation as a carrier
behind it you almost don’t have to manage them.”
— Jack Welch
Picking the right people. I think it is certainly a co-creative experience. We pick them, they pick us, there’s a bond that holds it all together.
As a manager for over 40 years, I’ve hired a lot of people and used to stress a bit about finding the right ones. There were so many that weren’t the right ones after all. I found that some people are quite skilled at the interview process, that they seemed to have been on vacation when they were teaching the actual doing of the job part.
Still, all in all, I have found (or they found me. . .) some pretty talented and good people to work with, and that is the success that overshadows the rest of it.
It’s funny to look back just now about how many things I tried about interviews, even including personality testing (fun ones of course!). None of it was worth a dime. Seriously. You can’t really tell until you’ve worked with them a while, so a breathing test to make sure they are alive is just about as good as anything. Well, almost.
I don’t think you can manage people anyway. You can give them an opportunity, make suggestions, offer encouragement, state what you want, but managing them sounds like manipulation to me. I have worked for some of those guys. . . Not much fun. So, I’ve always tried to encourage people to spread their wings, take responsibility and even to show me a better way.
Those that actually spread their wings succeed, and I will always be open to helping people do just that, even when it may mean they move on to their own business or some other wonderful new opportunity. You don’t put eagles in cages.
I think what it has to do more than anything else is loving the people you work with. When you love them, you want the best for them and you treat them like you would want to be treated: with respect, dignity, encouragement, and reward.
The right people respond to this environment and soar, the rest will move on of their own accord. It’s all good.
As I see our company now, the people we have attracted have been so talented and delighted in the opportunity and have worked without supervision toward the shared vision, and it is so exciting to be a part of this. As I look back on the history of people I’ve worked with, I see so many of the same kind. I have been blessed and I love all of them.
It’s Been A Wonderful Journey So Far!
Spread Some Joy Today–Loving the people you work with is the best way to have a successful career or job.
Daily Inspiration 4-24-11

Daily Inspiration 4-24-11

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer,
for it acknowledges the presence of good
wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.”
— Alan Cohen
Love and appreciation are intertwined so that I cannot tell where one leaves off and the other begins. I think they are the same thing.
It is interesting for me to note how the volume and depth of my appreciation has come to. It is a delightful experience as it unfolds and is practiced on purpose. There seems to be no boundaries to the joy that comes from that; instead, it grows and grows, and never grows tired.
Forever Young Sounds Just Right.
Spread Some Joy Today–Start your list right now, today. I appreciate _________ and fill in as many blank spaces as you can. You may be amazed.
Daily Inspiration 4-23-11

Daily Inspiration 4-23-11

“We can be thankful to a friend for a few acres, or a little money;
and yet, for the freedom and command of the whole earth,
and for the great benefits of our being, our life, health, and reason,
we look upon ourselves as under no obligation.”
— Lucius Annaeus Seneca
In the last few years, I’ve know of a lot of businesses that closed. I did not know but a very few of the people involved in those businesses. In recent years, I’ve known people who have lost their homes. Again, very few did I know personally, but I have known some. Those are large events in our lives and there are many more events like them. It is constantly changing and evolving.
In those kind of events, I used to become upset, angry, blameful, and sympathetic, with a willingness to discuss the situation at length to emphasize the sadness in the change–especially if it were happening to me or someone I knew well. I stopped that a couple years back, and it is a blessing that I want to share today.
I’ve said before, the the main ingredient that changed my life from that kind of reaction is gratitude. Even more than this: appreciation.
You see, it is so easy to be grateful, thankful and appreciative when something delightful is happening. It’s easy to have and express gratitude when things are going according to or better than planned. That is good, yet it is so limiting.
It is when things go awry (I’ve always wanted to use that word!), like the walls are crashing down, you’ve given your all and it missed the mark, and you just can’t keep up with the tide of things–that’s when gratitude, thankfulness and appreciation take on a whole new dimension that is not only helpful, it is a life-changing blessing.
I didn’t say it was easy, because it isn’t; however, once embarked on this journey, it becomes easier and more beneficial with practice.
On the way to an appointment today, the thought came to me that when people are being conservative, they can no longer see opportunities. Just by virtue of the act of conservation, it is a tightening; a closing in, and opportunities that could normally be seen are hidden from view. In the same way, it is impossible to see abundance when you are focused on lack. It’s not even on the radar.
So, the trick is to turn your focus using what will you might have left, toward something other than the lack; something other than the conservation. You don’t have to yet see abundance or opportunities, but just turn your focus away from what is, and attempt to find just one thing to be grateful for, thankful for, or in appreciation of. Just one. Then go for two. Then three. Now you’re on a roll. Keep it up. Go for five, six and more. Expand that gratitude to anything and everything in your life and those around you.
Now turn to some of the things that you were thinking were going wrong. Find one thing that it might be possible to be grateful for in it. Just one. Then go for two. Even if it sounds lame at first, go for two. Then three, four and so on.
As you do this, the opportunities that have been there all along begin to appear as if they were invisible and then became visible. You might even wonder why they weren’t there before.
You will find that as you practice this in every area of your life and especially those things that would have previously left you devastated, that you will find that your new reaction to these events is one of relaxed joy, relief, gratitude, appreciation. You will find opportunities abound and stress completely dissolved.
“‘Tis Nothing Good Or Bad, That Thinking Makes It So.” — William Shakespeare
Spread Some Joy Today–Don’t act the way people think you should act when things are not going well for someone. Empathy is one thing, but sympathy is an illness.
Daily Inspiration 4-22-11

Daily Inspiration 4-22-11

“Don’t prepare. Begin.
Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation;
it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of
the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.
The enemy is Resistance.
The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so
much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis,
transparent self-justifications and a million reasons why we
can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we want to do.
Start before you are ready.”
— Steven Pressfield, Do The Work
If not for these same thoughts being a part of me, I would never have ventured out on my own. What I have found out is that it is virtually impossible–yes, I am saying impossible–to prepare enough to succeed immediately. There are so many variables and unknowns even with all the research one can accumulate. Learning as you go is not only how it really is, but is a better way to go.
It’s just like shooting the moon. If NASA pointed the rocket at the moon and fired it out into space, it would never hit the moon without numerous small corrections along the way. As we begin doing a thing, we will find the corrections we need to make when we need to make them and the course will be enhanced.
I just looked back on one year ago this month when we completely reformulated the way we do our business, and kicked off the new procedures. The basic idea is still the same, but nothing else is one year later. It is dramatically enhanced by many course corrections and modifications along the way. We have been learning as we are going and the going is quite good.
As much as we think we know when we begin, it will never be enough. There will be much learning along the way and that is the way it works best.
It all comes back to the what and the how. What is my job, and how is God’s job or the Universe’s job. It is amazing the amount of creative ideas that come to you when you start with what and allow the how. Be determined about the what and unconcerned and relaxed in the how. That allows the answers and guidance to come.
There are always good, solid, substantial, realistic, wise, prudent reasons to not do a thing. It is a piece of cake to build a solid case for holding off and waiting for more information, more money, a better economy, more free time, etc. It takes a stubborn fool to venture out anyway after hearing all the good advice people will give.
If it weren’t for stubborn fools venturing out and committing themselves to staying out, our world would still be walking and riding horses.
**You can get the book Do the Work free if you own a Kindle at Amazon.com. The paper version is only $7.99 plus shipping. It’s a great book and I recommend it. Here’s a link to the free book: Do the Work Free Book
I Find There Are No Straight Paths, And I Find That To Be A Good Thing And An Interesting Journey.
Spread Some Joy Today–It’s quite possible you’ve been putting something off until you are ready. That may be too late. Start now.
Daily Inspiration 4-21-11

Daily Inspiration 4-21-11

“It is not he who reviles or strikes you who insults you,
but your opinion that these things are insulting.”
— Epictetus
“The rule is perfect: In all matters of
opinion, our adversaries are insane.”
— Mark Twain
It is human desire and nature to want to feel good and to be liked. Many times, others opinions have been known to have an adverse effect on us. Much of that training came from our childhood upbringing, wanting to please our parents so they will be pleased with us and so on. Here’s some of what I’ve learned about feeling good and being liked, and it has been a critical thing to learn, and it is never too late.
I’ve found only one way for us to be guaranteed to feel good and be liked and that is to start with ourselves.
When I was a kid, we used to talk about self-confident people as being conceited or loving themselves (as if that is a bad thing!). Of course, some of them were what we might call overly self-confident, bordering on arrogant. However, in looking back, I recognize that it takes a certain amount of courage to step out there and be vulnerable in front of others. It’s a risk that so many of us weren’t ready to take.
I know that I was always looking outside of myself for approval, and of course, it feels good to have approval of others, especially people we respect and like. The only trouble with looking outside for approval is they may not approve. Their opinion may be different from ours and maybe they even feel strongly about it. We can go find another, and another until we find the approval and opinions we want, or we can do something far better and more effective: Get them from ourselves.
When we begin with the firm foundation of loving and appreciating ourselves, and trusting in our own mental guidance system and our own opinion of ourselves and what we do, there is nothing that can hold us back. When we have our own approval, we do not need it from others. If they happen to give it, fine. If they don’t, fine. We can do very nicely without it. THAT is confidence.
How is this achieved? Practice. Begin, then practice. Begin by becoming aware of your thinking when it comes to your own decisions, how you feel when you hear things from others about you. Next, seek to feel good rather than bad. Look in the mirror and begin saying positive things instead of picking yourself apart. Say kind things to yourself throughout the day. Seek to find what’s right instead of wrong. When someone gives you their opinion, tell yourself that this is their opinion, not your own. Always find better feeling thoughts–even moment to moment.
As you practice, your confidence level will begin increasing and you will become that self-confident person you always wanted to be. I’m proof enough that this works and I practice it every single day, even throughout the day. Never again will you be devastated by what any other, or multiple others say or think about you or what you do. That is a great day!
In The End It Is Always The Same: There Is Only One Opinion That Really Counts–Your Own.
Spread Some Joy Today–Today is a good day to start increasing the value of your own opinion of yourself. Most people are a thousand time better than they make themselves out to be. You are a brilliant, talented creator.
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