Month: August 2014

Daily Inspiration 8-31-14

Daily Inspiration 8-31-14

“No matter what 
 accomplishments you achieve, 
somebody helps you.” 
— Althea Gibson 

Sometimes, I think we might have an illusion that we accomplish things on our own. Often, people are singled out, whether in history, or in current affairs, or big businesses such as Steve Jobs and Apple, so that many think they were the creators when in all actuality, they may have been very influential, but not one, including Abraham Lincoln, did it alone. They all had help, and many of them had a great deal of help, though naught may be recognized as providing such.

A better way is to understand this from the start and not only accept the assistance, but embrace it. Probably, with many, recognition alone is sufficient reward, to others appreciation. What an inexpensive way toward accomplishment.

Some may contribute in tiny ways, and others in grand fashion. In any case, it is well to acknowledge and appreciate all in the best ways suited to the volume and quality.

Being A Leader Is Not Nearly As Lonely A Job As It Might Seem.

Spread Some Joy Today–by dropping the rope of finding fault with yourself or your actions, or lack of them. Joy is in this direction.

Daily Inspiration 8-30-14

Daily Inspiration 8-30-14

“Don’t stop your vacation 
because you think 
you have to go back to work.” 
— Alan Cohen 

I live two miles from Interstate 80 in Fairfield, one of the busiest corridors in northern California between the San Francisco Bay area and Sacramento. Certain times of the day or week it gets very busy. This is especially true for typical Friday evenings after 3pm, but a holiday weekend like this Labor Day, the eastbound direction looks more like a 5-lane parking lot as it did yesterday and it began early in the day before noon and was still going strong after 6pm. Maybe I should have said creeping strong.

Anyway, as I drove over the freeway a couple of times yesterday and saw this spectacle, I wondered why someone wants to get into that flow. I thought, wouldn’t it be better to create your own weekend and forget about all that traffic and stress? That’s right, make your own Labor Day 3-day weekend next week, or the week after, or August or October. Heck, since you’re choosing, it could be any time you like. How about spur-of-the-moment? There’s nothing like a spontaneous 3-day getaway. Who says the government needs to agree with you as to when you get a 3-day weekend? Who’s in charge, anyway?

Then I thought that if you like the feeling of being on a vacation, why not have that feeling more often? How about any time you dang well feel like it? How about every weekend? Better yet, how about all week long? That feeling, after all, is not a physical thing, but a mental thing. Rather than allowing the calendar to create the feeling, just decide to have that vacation feeling all the time.

A year ago, I became a Tommy Bahama guy. I’ve always loved Hawaiian style shirts and have owned a number of them, but never the quality of the Tommy Bahama. I wear them all year long. I now have quite a number of them and whether I am wearing nice slacks and good shoes, or shorts and flip-flops, they help me to be a little unique, and more important to me, they help me to feel as if I am on vacation even when I am working, helping clients, teaching classes, whatever. It’s just fun for me. Now keep in mind that not all of these wonderful shirts are flowered, but they fit and feel the same so I can look more dressed up or down as my choice.

I love this quote by Deepak Chopra: “The most creative act you will ever undertake is the act of creating yourself.” This is our life and we do get to create it any way we want.

When you get back to work after this holiday weekend, consider the words of Seth Godin: “If we can fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.” And, I would add that it will feel more like a fun vacation too.

Have A Great Vacation! 

Spread Some Joy Today–by deciding to feel good as often and as much as possible. Find better and better feeling thoughts until you find joy.

Daily Inspiration 8-29-14

Daily Inspiration 8-29-14

“We must be willing 
to get rid of the life we’ve planned, 
so as to have 
the life that is waiting for us.”
— Joseph Campbell 

I’ve been considering this very thing for more than just a little while in recent time. It is intriguing, to say the least, and I am, after much thought, willing. That doesn’t mean that I know yet what to do, but progress has been made in opening the realm of possibility. It remains to be seen, and I expect that I will have a front row seat.

“The Big Question Is Whether You Are (I Am) Going To Be Able To Say A Hearty Yes To Your (My) Adventure.” — Joseph Campbell 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go. Too many ropes to pick up and none of them are helpful. Just let go.

Daily Inspiration 8-28-14

Daily Inspiration 8-28-14

“Never underestimate your power 
to change yourself; 
never overestimate your power 
to change others.”

— Wayne Dyer 

I was talking with someone on the phone today and we had a lot in common, and it was suggested that I might talk to a friend of his to share some of my philosophy and help convince them to change their ways.

It has taken me most of my life to finally figure out the fantasy in this scenario. I have learned after trying so hard and in so many ways that it is virtually impossible to change someone else to our way of thinking. . . unless. . . and this is a very big UNLESS, they are seeking that change for themselves. Generally what will happen without their seeking will be to cause the other to put their guard up, pick up the rope and fight against all foes. In other words, any attempt is more likely to cause a deepening of their current position rather than us thinking there will be some kind of conversion.

I have a lot of opinions as we all do. Yet on topics that are controversial no matter what country you’re in, I keep it to myself unless, and only unless, I am asked specific questions demonstrating at least on the surface that that person is seeking. Then, I will share my point of view, otherwise, it will amount to nothing.

Somehow we think that in relationships, including marriage, that we need to think alike. That’s garbage. Have things in common? That can be helpful, but believe all the same things? Garbage. It’s even a waste of time to consider that fantasy. Knowing what I know now, I can see how one spouse may agree on the surface, and yet withhold the true feelings for the sake of superficial harmony. It’s okay. It’s better to accept that we can disagree and still live in harmony, because we can, and we must because no two of us will ever think exactly alike.

If you’re trying to convince another, it is better to allow them to change themselves. Take your time. Let it be. It’s okay. Even different religions can get along nicely while holding different views, yet allowing some similarities to bring us partially together. It is much more beneficial than thinking we may convert them without their full and complete permission and agreement.

We Have More Than Plenty To Focus On Just Dealing Effectively With Ourselves. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Bang a gong, get it on! Or, what the heck, just enjoy your day as fully as you can today. That’s all that really matters.

Daily Inspiration 8-27-14

Daily Inspiration 8-27-14

“Change brings opportunity.” 

— Nido Qubein 

I was thinking about change and how often we might feel that we don’t like change much unless of course, it is fully to our benefit and perfectly timed. Good luck with that.

What I was realizing is that without change, nothing moves, and nothing happens. Change is necessary. It is desired when we realize that we cannot live without it. Aristotle said, “Change in all things is sweet.” He had it down pat.

Sometimes we might think that we need to change for the better because what is or has been being less than perfect. I don’t think that has anything to do with it, except that whatever decisions we make are always made in the hopes of feeling better.

It is more about expansion than anything. We are expanding beings, the Universe is expanding, and that is what we want: expansion. Some might call it growth, but I like the word expansion better. We cannot help but expand and change is the only way it can come about.

So many of the quotes I’ve reviewed about change put change in a positive light and that it is necessary and good. I agree. It’s when we are in a rut, or doing the same things over and over without even thinking about it that things get dull. That contrast leads to a desire for a change. We can only sleep so long and then we just have to get up and get going.

Movement is life. Change is movement. When I understand the value of a change in this way, I look forward to the change and the opportunities.

“Change Alone Is Eternal, Perpetual, Immortal.” — Arthur Schopenhauer 

Spread Some Joy Today–by building on your list of positive aspects daily. A great way to start is at the top of the page, write “I love. . .” and then fill in the blank lines. Call it a joy-builder and a life-enhancer.

Daily Inspiration 8-26-14

Daily Inspiration 8-26-14

“If you can’t win by reason, 
go for volume.” 

— Bill Watterson 

The process of change is not as full of reason as we might like it to be. It is often full of righteous indignation, superior attitudes, and just plain ego and stress. The best way to deal with it then and not only survive, but thrive, is to do as they do in Judo and let the momentum of their actions fuel their realizations.

Let’s say you’re a manager in an organization and that you have a certain level-headed philosophy that is not only successful but healthy for all involved. Now, let’s say that the upper management is used to doing things a certain way, and your way is not that way. This conflict can grind the whole thing to a stop, or if not that severe, create a great deal of frustration on all sides.

I just rented the movie Hoosiers again because it is such a great movie and this was the case with the new coach. The town menfolk gathered to tell the coach how they’ve always done it and wanted to make sure that he knew how it should be done, but he was having none of it. He made his own choices and almost lost the position as a result, but at the same time, he won the championship with the same exact decision and commitment.

To me, what this says is that it is best to be ourselves. However, in being ourselves, standing firm with our own philosophy, we have to remember that we are not alone. We need not bow to others, but it is to our mutual benefit that we take them into consideration, and see if we can develop as much cooperation as possible.

I’ve been in several of these scenarios and found that I could have my way as long as I could demonstrate that it worked. Of course, I knew it did and I got very creative about demonstrating how it worked and in what ways it was beneficial. Without this cooperative attitude, I would have never been able to succeed as I did.

It’s not about the right way and the wrong way. That is so old-school. It’s a lame argument. And, it has nothing to do with cooperation. It is the opposite of that.

Here are the best things I have found to do in these kinds of tumultuous situations. Focus on you and what you are doing and forget about what they are doing. Again, it isn’t about who is right and who is wrong, there are too many ways for a thing to get done to deal with that. Stop thinking about what they are doing or not doing and just perform yourself or with your team. Next, find ways to demonstrate that performance in written ways that the other parties understand. Show them on paper and in reality. Keep good records.

As with the basketball team in the movie, winning games changed the support structure and attitude. It applies here too. Be the best you can be. Create the best team you can create. Don’t spend any attention on what other people are doing or not doing or whether you get enough support or not. Do it anyway. Do it well. Do it like you were meant to do it.

Shine! Have Fun! Focus On What Feels Good Not What Feels Crappy.

Spread Some Joy Today–Let them see the shine in your eyes. Don’t let others foul your own joy. Your spirit is yours.

Daily Inspiration 8-25-14

Daily Inspiration 8-25-14

“Practice presence. 
Embrace the place 
where life happens.” 

— Eckhart Tolle 

I learned a lot from Eckhart Tolle, and probably the single most important thing I learned was to practice being present. That is no small thing. It is huge.

My life flows smoothly and hardly ever rushed anymore, but much of my life was like so many I see around me, rushing here, there, phone, texts, emails, crises, problems, issues, disappointments, frustration and, well. . . I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. Some get so focused on their own importance that they are in fear of taking any time off, or delegating, or asking for or paying for assistance. It’s not a happy life as I recall so well. In fact, it seemed to be full of problems. If it wasn’t one thing, it was another.

A couple of years ago, I read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It had been out for several years, but it wasn’t on my radar. Once it was, I couldn’t put it down. Since then, I have been practicing taking my head away from my perceived problems, and focusing on being here and now and at the same time releasing thought.

One of the really easy ways to do this is by taking a walk. Charlie and I did a leisurely long walk today, and it would be common for me to be thinking about all sorts of things so that my mind is spinning around. I sort of enjoy thinking that way, but also keeps me away from being present. So, I practice shutting up my self-talk by telling my mind to shut up and then I look at a tree or bush and focus on a leaf, the tree trunk, the leaves on the ground, and pretty much anything around me. I don’t take them all in at once but focus on one thing at a time.

I walk by a bush that has a thousand different colors of green leaves. I am amazed. Sometimes I stop and commune with a tree trunk for a few seconds, touching it, and sensing the living part of it. It is really easy with Nature, but it also works just fine on any man-made object as well, such as, a great looking car or truck, catching a glimpse of someone’s eyes for just a moment, Charlie sniffing an intriguing spot.

We went 4 miles today and I was practicing the whole way. Many times, I found my mind wandering, so I would purposefully bring it back and begin again.

And, here is the most beneficial and interesting part of this practice: There are zero problems there. There are no issues. There are no deadlines. There are no frustrations. There are no ills whatsoever. What there is would be only and completely the present moment as if it were a haven from the everyday world. I look at things with interest but don’t let my mind offer a bunch of thoughts about it. Instead, it is just appreciating the moment and what is here.

I try to do this in my office or while I’m driving or doing something, and I am getting better, and I need more practice there. But, that little escape into the present of taking a little or long walk is a magic relief valve.

The Peace Of The Present Moment Is Like Stepping Into Another World. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the rope. Focus on your joy.

Daily Inspiration 8-24-14

Daily Inspiration 8-24-14

“There are many things 
of which a wise man 
might wish to be ignorant.” 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson 

What I put my attention on will increase in my life, and I have learned that I have control over my attention. Often, I’ve been habitual as so many of us have in allowing my attention to go where it doesn’t serve me. The biggest change that I have experienced in my life is the realization that I get to choose what I focus on, what I listen to, what I watch, to whom and what I allow my attention.

Often people have said to me, ‘did you hear about _______?’ I probably say my usual, ‘no.’ Then they might say, ‘don’t you want to know what’s going on in the world?’ I have to admit that I’m not much interested in that because generally, the news is negative things that I don’t want in my life, so why would I pay attention to it. So, then they might say, ‘well how can you converse with people without knowing what is going on?’ But, talking about those things just makes it more and more dominant in my experience, so I purposefully ignore it to my ultimate bliss.

As Esther Hicks and Abraham say, I’ve become a selective sifter. If it uplifts, enlightens, teaches me something I want in my life, it comes in without restriction, if it is going to bring me down, cause me to have fear and worry or concern, I have no use for it. Besides, the real truth about news is that it is an extremely small bit of the activity in the world and the vast majority of the activity is positive, not negative.

How about looking at the world from a point of view of being in love with all that is around us. It is a life-giving point of view. Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed it nicely in this way: “He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time he looks at the object beloved, drawing from it with his eyes and his mind those virtues which it possesses.” The object beloved can easily be anything or anyone to whom we allow our attention. This attitude will change everything for the better.

What A Great Way To Live.

Spread Some Joy Today–by looking through the eyes of love.

Daily Inspiration 8-23-14

“There is no man so low down 
that the cure for his condition 
does not lie strictly within himself.” 

— Thomas L Masson 

Isn’t it interesting how when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. . .

I used to sell a lot of books on eBay and at one time had around 15,000 of them in a warehouse, so I was buying and selling all the time. I only have a small number left and one of the books that I had online for years that didn’t sell was on one of my bookshelves and as I passed by the other day, it beckoned me to pull it out and open it up.

It is an old library book last checked out in 1970 and was published in 1913. The title is The Great Diamond Hoax and Other Stirring Incidents in the Life of Asbury Harpending. Long title. I thought it was old and in great condition and it would sell, but I was wrong. It was meant to be on my shelf years later so I could pick it up and actually for the first time read a bit of it. Well, it is so fascinating and is about early history of California and such and learning about this most interesting man brought joy and laughter in my joy. It was my fortune to find this book and begin reading it.

I’ll tell you just a tidbit that I gleaned from the beginning of the book. He was brought up to be well educated, from a well to do family of means. His “father was one of the largest landed proprietors of Kentucky, in the southwestern section of the State. That was still on the frontier of the Far West.” At 15 he ran away from college and tried to join the Walker Expedition going to Nicaragua, was caught and escaped and ended up back home “in a condition that made the Prodigal Son look like 30 cents.” His father knowing that his son was smitten with the adventurous spirit, suggested that he go to California and gave him a liberal grub stake when he turned 16.

Asbury Harpending at 16

He went to New Orleans found that his paper money was almost worthless because back then each state made their own, and he found that Louisiana had no desire for Kentucky’s money. Yet he had enough for boat passage and had a $5 gold coin left for the rest of his trip. Back then, $5 dollars was enough to do a lot.

On the boat the conditions were deplorable and a boat designed for 400 had 1,000 people on it. There were two stores of fruits that the purser had in two storage areas he was to sell at the destination for a profit, but with so many people, the food ran out very early and the crowd ravaged one of the two fruit stores eating every bit in sight. Then Asbury had the idea to offer a sum to the purser who was probably going to lose the other store the next day, and they agreed on $10, so Asbury gave him the $5 gold coin and said he would bring the other from a locker or something.

Asbury then found a man who was a good sales barker, and began selling the fruit 5 for a half dollar. They sold all the fruit, paid off the purser and Asbury had $400 remaining. He went on to earn many other fortunes in many ways, but this first incident taught him that he had within him the will to succeed and the creative power to consider options that others had not considered. He felt that he was beneath being a “fruit peddler” but found it’s ultimate outcome to be more than satisfactory. Now he had enough money to get a good start in California.

I would love to tell more but this is too long already. What I loved about this was one, how young he was. He was only 16 at that time. Two, I loved the fact that he was open to creative ideas and situations. Three, he had talent and also needed help to supply talent he didn’t possess, so he hired that. Four, he was focused on the end result of what he wanted most: to get to California, survive, and thrive. Five, he knew he could be self-reliant and acted accordingly, and six, he loved the adventure, or in other words, he loved what he was doing. Last but not least, he learned in this and other adventures to go with the flow of things rather than swimming against the current, and he not only learned to go with that flow, he learned how doing this was beneficial to him.

There’s Nothing Like A Grand Adventure! Of Course, 100% Of That Is Mental, So We Can Feel That Way Any Time We Choose. 

Spread Some Joy Today–Allow. Flow. Thrive.

Daily Inspiration 8-22-14

Daily Inspiration 8-22-14

“The greatest weakness 
of most humans 
is their hesitancy 
to tell others 
how much they love them 
while they’re still alive.” 

 — O. A. Battista 

Some years ago, I did a consulting work for three years with a company and the main manager I dealt with regularly could not tell his father that he loved him. I was amazed. His father was the head of the business and there every day, but whether at work or at home for family meals, he just couldn’t bring himself to say those three words directly to his father. He told me that he loved him, but could not tell his father.

This reminds me of someone who has little or no patience. I learned early on that patience doesn’t come, but requires regular practice. The same is true with love and especially expressing that love vocally. Yet what a difference it makes in people’s lives when you tell them.

I used to keep that idea about saying I love you to myself as well, and then many years ago, I began purposefully practicing it. First I would focus on feeling it, then I would find a way to practice it by saying it. Sometimes it might be in writing, other times vocally. Sometimes on the phone, other times in person.

I love my clients and so I would tell many of them how I felt. It was fun. It seemed a bit awkward at first, but the more I did it, the more joy I received from doing it. Some of my clients are nose-to-the-grindstone types and saying I love you to them was even more fun. They didn’t know what to say or do. At first many of them said nothing, sort of like they didn’t hear me, but later, they let go of that big old rope and relaxed in the joy of that feeling themselves.

What A Wonderful, Delightful Gift That Costs Almost Nothing (Maybe Just A Dinky Bit Of Effort), Yet Is So Valuable. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by saying ‘I love you!’ And, by the way, I love you too!

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