Category: Fun

The Spring Of Kindness

“No kind action ever stops with itself.
One kind action leads to another.
Good example is followed.
A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions,
and the roots spring up and make new trees.
The greatest work that kindness does to others
is that it makes them kind themselves.”

– Amelia Earhart

Ain’t it the truth!

One of my favorite authors who really helped me get going in sales way back in ’72-73 is Frank Bettger. His book, How I Raised Myself from Failure To Success in Selling, is a classic and is very encouraging for someone new to sales (or a veteran in sales, for that matter). In it, he talks about getting fired from a professional baseball team because he looked like he had no energy and he seemed to be dragging the team down. So, he decided to change and to become the most enthusiastic player anywhere and he created the popular phrase, “to become enthusiastic, act enthusiastically!” This became his central theme and I have several copies of his signed books, all of which say “Enthusiastically, Frank Bettger.”

The quote above is very similar to me: To become kind, act with kindness! Ain’t it the truth. We already know it. We know when we act with kindness that we feel great and can see on the face of the other that they feel great too. The thing we don’t see is how that great feeling is passed on by that other person throughout their day or even into days ahead.

I try to remember to give sincere compliments wherever I go, to people I see, whether for the first time or the hundredth time. I am always looking for something to compliment people on. Many times, there is no discernable reaction to my comment, but I am sincere and it feels really good to me, so that is all that matters. I know, they heard it, and they appreciated it even though they may not show it immediately. And, again, the best part is that it not only has an effect on them but on others they interact with throughout the day. How cool is that?

Sometimes I do this in bulk and in what some might think are “crazy ways.” I’ll give you just one example that I remember as a bit off the chart. I was a sales manager at a small fledgling dealership in 1989. It was gloomy and struggling. I wanted to inject some life into it and did a number of things that helped. They had a fairly strong service business. Matter of fact, that was what kept the dealership afloat.

So I had this crazy idea come into my head to give a dozen roses to all the employees (13 of them) and have a blank card on it, so they could take it home and pass some of the pleasure on to their spouse or loved ones or just enjoy it themselves.

It was a bit crazy because I didn’t have much money, but I broke out a credit card and bought 16 dozen roses of all different colors, one dozen each in vases, arranged and delivered. It was $660. I couldn’t really justify the expense when my reasoning tried to stop me, but, I was jazzed and I acted immediately. I had each employee stop by the office on their way home and I had them choose one they liked and I thanked them for their service to the company. For all they knew, the company bought them. I also gave one set to the General Manager and Owner who worked at a different location. Plus one to take home with me for my wife.

You had to have been there to see the looks on all their faces. It was priceless. And, guess what happened when they went home. I am sure that it was a hit there as well. In addition, it is the kind of gesture that you so rarely see. It was worth every cent and then some.

And guess how happy that florist must have been.  One action and so many are positively affected. It is like spreading joy!

I was only at that store for three months, when a marvelous opportunity came to me unexpectedly. Is there a correlation? It was an opportunity that changed my life, and that is still with me to this day, 31 years later!

Many times, I get thoughts like this and I am happy that I act on many of them even though some are a bit over the edge like this one. But, you know, life is all too short, and to miss an opportunity like that would be to miss an opportunity to love.

I call those thoughts inspirations. Typically, right after you get one, your reasoning facility takes charge to try to justify that thought using logic and reason. The typical result would be letting the inspiration go down the drain.

If you ever have any of these strange, yet wonderful inspirations, I hope you act on them. Think of the joy that you will create for yourself and many others! I think that is a great reason! And, you never know–that act of kindness might have an interesting side effect… on all concerned!

Going With The Flow

This is one of those lessons that I've heard a lot of feedback on and so many have said that it really helped them make the changes they wanted to make. I have likened working against things to rowing a boat upstream or swimming upstream. We are working, stressed out because we are pushing against a current of affairs. Sometimes it seems like the harder we work, worry, or fight, the slower our progress. Part of the reason is that our own energy is helping the river to flow, and we then are struggling against it.

So, going with the flow, then, is simply to relax. Stop the struggle. Go with the flow. Put the oars in the boat. Trust the outcome and watch what happens. It's magic.

Sometimes if I am talking with someone and it just feels like a struggle, I remind myself of this and just shut up and listen, pay attention to them without judgment, and let it flow as it will. Every time it works better. It amazes me how much of a relationship you can create by just listening as much as possible and encouraging them to talk more. Plus, it keeps my foot out of my mouth more often too.

Christmas in July

[This was written in June 2017 and published in a magazine,]

I often sing Jingle Bells in July and celebrate holidays whenever I want. I see no need to wait until there is a majority agreement on a date to celebrate something. It’s so much fun to make my own celebration dates. I like living in the present. There is no time like right this moment to choose to be happy, have some fun, spread some joy, and enjoy myself. In fact, now I celebrate every single day.

Michael A. Singer asks, “Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear.” In his excellent book, The Untethered Soul he has a whole chapter on the concept of practicing unconditional happiness. He adds, “You just have to really mean it when you say that you choose to be happy. And you have to mean it regardless of what happens.” 

We often have so many rules about how we allow ourselves to be happy, and that sadness, grief, depression, or some other thing gives us permission to disconnect from happiness. We may think that we don't have any control over things and situations that create these feelings, but it isn't any event or situation, but only our choice that rules. 

To say, I want to be happy, but. . . or I want to be happy, except. . . is to choose not to be happy. People might say, “Of course I want to be happy, but my wife died, or my husband left me, or I got fired, or I'm deeply in debt, or someone crashed into my car, or I can't pay all my bills,” or fill in the blank. There's always some reason we can come up with when we only allow ourselves to have conditional happiness by saying, yes, but, or yes, except.

I love how Abraham, Esther Hicks discusses the subject:

“We are really advocates of just getting as happy as you can be–which takes care of everything. Even if you don't have reason to be happy–make it up. Fantasize it. Make a decision that you're going to be happy one way or another–no matter what. “No matter what, I'm going to be happy! If I have to ignore everybody; if I have to never watch television again; if I have to never pick up a newspaper again, I'm going to be happy. If I never have to see that person's face again, I'm going to be happy. If I have to see that person's face, I'm going to find something to see in that person's face that makes me happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy. I'm going to be happy.” 

Some people say, “well, you just can't be happy all the time because there is a lot of ________ all around.” OK. That's a choice to be happy when we think it is acceptable or appropriate to be happy. Fine. Have it that way. But the statement that we just can't be happy all the time is purely opinion. We can be happy all the time. We can respond to events without reacting to them. We can decide to be happy no matter what goes on outside, no matter what anyone else thinks, no matter what. All we need do is choose it–and mean it.

Once we choose, our path is clarified. We see life with different eyes, different emotional responses, different perspectives. We can choose and allow ourselves to be happy regardless, and as we practice that, life takes on new meaning. I know this to be true because I made this choice and practice it daily, hourly, constantly. When an old habit of how I should feel comes up, I see it for what it is: an old habit. I then choose to let it pass by as I decide to be happy and at peace anyway.

Where Do You See Yourself?

[I wrote this in Jan 2016 and it was published in a magazine.]

Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?

I’ve always loved movies. I’ve watched thousands of them in my life beginning as soon as I could change the channel on the old black & white TV, watching all those movies from the 30s and 40s. 

My latest favorite is called, The Intern, with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and Rene Russo. The reviews weren’t very good, but I love it (tells you what critics mean to me. . .) because it makes me feel good, and I like feeling good. If you haven’t seen it, Robert De Niro’s character applies for a “senior intern” position at a start-up clothing company and is assigned as a personal assistant to the CEO, Anne Hathaway, but she isn’t thrilled to deal with that. He overcomes her resistance with patience and by providing value, which I think almost everyone appreciates.

In the interview before getting the position, he is asked by a 20-something interviewer, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” His answer, “What? You mean when I’m 80?” The kid backpedals not really realizing that he is now 70 years old.

It’s one of those silly questions that employers and their representatives often ask. Heck, I asked it many times myself in interviewing potential hires. It must be one of those things that came from some expert seminar or something, but it is truly a silly question. I can remember being 20 and could not even imagine in my head being 30, so how would I answer that question? In the movie, he is 70 and at first, I laughed, and then I calculated that I am 68 this year, and could relate to his surprise at such a silly question.

It’s difficult to consider the future that far out. Heck, it’s difficult to consider it only a year from now, and the older I get in years, the more I focus on now. I can’t do anything in the future, but I certainly can do something now. 

Many want us to worry about the future, but that simply destroys our today. I get the question and its meaning. They want to know what our ambitions are, whether we have much ambition, what our goals are, how we will grow to become more, and so on. Wonderful. Why not ask those questions. But, here are some better ones to consider, I think. See if you agree.

How can I enjoy my life more right now? How can I be more loving right now? In what ways can I be of more value right now? With all my experience in life, who can I share the value of my unique perspective with for their benefit (and mine) right now? How can I love myself more right now? In what ways can I spend more time focusing on joy right now? What excites me? What causes me to want to dance? How can I find more inner peace right now?

How about this: Where do you see yourself right now?

WasIsMaybe

Another choice of my gaining age and wisdom is that I tie my focus on now to a celebration of each moment I’m alive. I see. I hear. I smell. I taste. I feel. I experience. They say, ‘life is for the living,’ and how true that is to me now, and the living can only really be living when it is now. Looking back, or bringing the past into the present in my thoughts, or projecting my thoughts into the future is messing with the glory of now, the glory of life, of living.

So, in case you’re interested in joining me, I highly recommend letting the past go. It was. It was then. It is not now. In addition, I highly recommend giving no attention to the future. It might be. It’s a definite maybe, but it isn’t real yet because it isn’t now. The only reality is. Right. This. Moment. Now. This moment. Then this moment. Then this moment. Feel the fullness of it. Feel the love it in. Feel the freedom of it. Feel the joy of it. Feel the experience of it. Experience the experience of it. WasIsMaybe.!? Was. Is! Maybe? Hmm. I choose Is!

Young At Heart

In 1953, Lyricist Carolyn Leigh wrote lyrics to a tune that Johnny Richards had put together as an instrumental. That same year, Frank Sinatra, the first to record it, made it a million-seller that year, with many recording artists even up to today who are still recording it. This song is like eternal spring to me because it applies to each individual alone as their own choice of how they will look upon and receive from life. Whether you’re single or married, 50 or 90, it works for all who are willing to live by the powerful words and sentiment.

The first verse goes like this: “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you if you’re young at heart. For it’s hard you will find, to be narrow of mind if you’re young at heart.” And the last verse reminds us all, “And if you should survive to a hundred and five, look at all you’ll derive out of being alive! And here is the best part, you have a head start if you are among the very young at heart.” The song title is, of course, Young at Heart. When I hear it in my head, Jimmy Durante is singing it. He is the master of the talk-sing style of singing, and I just love his style.

How old are you in your heart? How young are you in your mind? The body changes, but the heart and the mind are free of the body. I’m not as flexible or trim as I was when I was 35, but there is my heart and there is my mind. Even in my forties and early fifties, I wasn’t as prime in my body as I was in my heart, so nothing has changed there! The me that I am is not attached to my body at all. I am young at heart and joyful in mind and I intend to stay there no matter how old my body becomes, and I’m wishing you the same!

Creating A Mood

Creating a mood is a fascinating thing to me. I'm sitting here writing at night with several taper candles around the room and soft-colored lights outside. It's magnificent. I have a hard time seeing my writing but that doesn't matter. I didn't want to stare at the computer screen as I so often do.

The light is yellow and soft. I love this self-created atmosphere. I love the mood and how this causes me to feel. I am relaxed, peaceful, enamored by the flickering light, and loving the soft multi-color lights in the carport that I just put up yesterday. It even has a remote control.

There's something about this kind of light that is magical. It exudes romance to me. I bought enough candles so that I can enjoy this often. I feel like I'm treating myself. It feels good.

Consequences? Way Too Harsh!

What we think, say, and do all have consequences. I’m not a fan of the word consequences because it is more often thought of as negative, or even as punishment whether just or unjust, always depending on who is viewing the consequences. I prefer to use the more simple and even more accurate word results. Everything we think, say, or do, has results. Those results may seem to be either positive or negative, but I would rather think of them as neutral. They simply are. An action causes a result. A spoken word, phrase, or communication causes a result. Any and all thoughts cause a result and the more focused the thought, the more focused the result.

When we are open to looking at results as being neutral, we also avoid judgment. It is the judgment of results that can cause a lot of issues that may have to be dealt with. Whether right or wrong, good or bad, pretty or ugly, poor or rich, criminal or model citizen, and all manner of other labels including attached emotions, judgment is what names results to make them something they are not. They are simply results until those results are named and tainted by the idea of judgment and it’s corresponding activity, justice. And, to be sure, judgment and justice are simply ideas.

Transforming History By Transforming Words

One of the most powerful things that I learned from Anthony Robbins was how impactful our choices of words can be on our perspective of things, people, and events. Words can help change our state of mind, our attitude, our outlook for the better or for the worse. More often than not, our word choices are habitual and unconsciously stated and so tied to our history or collective history for their meaning. Much of this was dictated and is being dictated to us in an effort to influence our thinking and more importantly, our behavior.

Words definitely have power; however, they only have the power that we give them through the meaning we assign them or accept from others.

Periodically, I like to change common words to evoke a whole different feeling than those words used to have for me. Here is just a few I wrote down the other day:

Faults. I don't have any faults. I may have idiosyncrasies, but I don't have faults. There is no one to blame. We are each unique. Faults becomes idiosyncrasies. [I especially like this one!]

Good. A better word for good is aligned. I am in alignment. I feel as if I am resonating in alignment. I feel aligned. Resonating is also delightful choice.

Bad. Nothing is bad. It is only feels a bit off or amiss. Bad is such a harsh word. Amiss is soft and fuzzy. A bit off is out of kilter, a bit wobbly, etc.

Right. This word holds so much history. Anytime we can eliminate this word may be very helpful. Rather than right, it is appropriate.

Wrong. Another massive history word. Rather than wrong, it is askew or out of alignment. This change takes all the negative power away and leaves so much room for improvement and change.

Evil. Such a harsh word. So much history. It is like the maximum bad. But what it really is is unpleasant. It feels unpleasant. They seem to be unpleasant to me.

Left or Far Left. Such political baggage. They are not that. They are port and portside. Of course, for the right we could use starboard.

Justice. Nothing but history attached to this word. What would be more appropriate? Review. It is only a review. Or, it might even be a re-view.

Judge. Way too much history here too. Change this word to interpret. Change judgment to interpretation.

Peace. Great word but so misunderstood. A better choice I think is unity.

War. About the harshest of actions on the planet ever. Change it to contention or uncontentment. We aren't at war with them or that country, we are in uncontentment.

So, this is just a thought-starter for your transformation. And, I think that transformation is a good word for what can happen when we begin to use different words for things in life that are overloaded with historical meaning. Enjoy your lighter adventure!

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