Category: Growth

All That Is Left Are The Decisions

 “No matter what the level of your ability, you have more
potential than you can ever develop in a lifetime.”
 
— James T McCay
 
 
 
[Classic post from 7-28-11]
 
I have come to believe that I have barely scratched the surface of my potential and that I am constantly expanding. The good news about that is that it seems to not only have no end but no maximum.
 
 
All That Is Left Are The Decisions…
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Find someone to compliment today and make it great! Try a couple more!

Choosing What I Focus Upon

 “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
 
 
 
[Classic post from 4-30-11]
 
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 judgments 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 focus 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 even 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!

Choosing Freedom By Cutting The Rope

 “Faced with the choice between changing one's
mind and proving that there is no need to do so,
almost everyone gets busy on the proof.”
 
— John Kenneth Galbraith
 
 
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
 
— Thich Nhat Hanh
 
 
 
[Classic post from 8-23-11]
 
Tie a rope 10' long to your leg, fasten the other end to a post in the ground, and no matter which direction you choose to travel, you can not get more than 10' from the post. Now, cut yourself some slack and tie a 30' rope to your leg, and fasten the other end to a post in the ground. Now no matter what direction you decide to go, you cannot go further than 30' feet. But it might feel better. You might feel more freedom, more flexibility, maybe even more joy.
 
Then, when some person comes along with a crazy notion to cut the rope entirely and says that you can now travel as far as you desire in any direction, we may find ourselves so comfortable with where we have been that the idea of not having a rope attached to our leg and the pole is ludicrous.
 
Most often, things must build up until there develops a strong desire to change before new information will get through, or before the rope is lengthened, released from its tether, or even removed completely. I say hallelujah to that day! It is a day of decision and releasing fear (or ignoring it) to see things from a different perspective. You've grown and felt the excitement of that growth and in those new-fangled ideas and thoughts. You're eager for more and becoming ever more grateful for the opportunities that initial decision has allowed you.
 
Things are different now. You're a different person. Not so different that people won't recognize you, but you feel so far removed from where you were inside, that you project that confidence and growth on the outside, and people notice it. They may not understand it or agree with your decision, but they notice it. It is unmistakable.
 
Okay, now go back to the 10' rope, put it back on your leg and the post. Heck, bypass the 10' one and go straight to the 30' rope that used to feel good enough to you. Now it feels as if life as you now know it is over, doesn't it? You can't go back. You refuse to go back. It is virtually impossible to go back. And, the good news is that there will never be a good enough reason to ever go back.
 
 
Go Onward From Here. There Are More Ropes To Cut.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–It's always a good idea to check your comfort zone. Experiencing some expansion is how growth happens. Untie your rope just for today and see how that feels.

Choosing To Live In Fear Or Love

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel
as you might when a drowning man holds on to you.
You want to save him, but you know he will
strangle you with his panic.”
 
— Anais Nin
 
 
 
[Classic post from 6-9-11]
 
When people give me an argument, I do my best to answer it with common sense or learned knowledge, and if they persist, I may swim upstream with them a stroke or two, then I will suddenly let go and float away downstream relaxing in my peace and calm.
 
I was talking with a prospect the other day who is the owner of a small business. He expressed some fear of the Internet, in particular, social media and specifically, Facebook. He told me a short story, then another. I tried sense. He told another. Finally, I turned to him and said matter-of-factly, “if you are afraid of the Internet, then I suggest that you avoid the Internet and keep doing what you are doing now.” Then he started another fearful story, and I said, “whatever is on the Internet is not private, so if you are fearful of what goes on in the Internet world, stay out of it; however, I suggest the alternative of getting over it so you can use the medium to grow your business effectively.”
 
I could see he had some more stories ready for me, but I wasn’t having any of it. I said goodbye politely and left. If people don’t want to swim or don’t know how they should stay out of the water. The alternative is getting in or taking lessons and getting on with life.
 
I absolutely love the Internet. I think it is tantamount to the greatest invention of all time–certainly, it is in terms of information being widely and freely available to all. So, to me, it is extremely beneficial and valuable. To some, it is something to fear and tell stories about, but then again, I feel they have a propensity to do that without the influence of the Internet. How we think about things affects and creates our own world.
 
 
Live In Fear, Or Live In Love. We All Get To Choose.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Listen to the stories you tell others. If it’s not uplifting, tell a new story. If you don’t know one, make one up.

Loving Things In Our Own Special Way

“I still get wildly enthusiastic
about little things. . .
I play with leaves.
I skip down the street
and run against the wind.”
 
— Leo Buscaglia
 
 
 
 
 
[Classic post from 11-30-11]
 
I love this time of year. It’s just a bit chilly, highs in the low 60’s, lows around 40, a touch of fog in the morning, sun in the afternoon. Leaves are taking their sweet time turning colors other than green, then falling gently to the ground, and right about now they are coming down in the thousands as you can see by the sidewalk in the photo.
 
I took Charlie the little black dog out for a walk and he’s not nearly as fond of this time of year as me. I had to take a photo of some of the huge leaves that are as big as he is, and he is afraid of them when the wind moves them around, especially when the wind moves them toward him. If it is calm, he’s brave enough though, yet he would rather walk around them than over them whenever that option is available.
 
I read a Leo Buscaglia book way back in the 1970s about him having a class over at his house and his neighbor coming over to complain about the leaves on his lawn. So the lover that he is, invited guests to help rake the leaves into bags and he brought them into the house and spread them all over the living room floor. Everyone was happy then.
 
I’ve always remembered that story, although I cannot remember which book, nor can I find it. So, out and about a day or two ago, I took some shots on my camera phone of some of these leaves all over the walkway. I wanted to sweep them up and put them all over the living room floor at my house. Of course, that would never work unless I lived alone.
 
Yet, I love leaves. I love seeing them all over the patio and driveway and have no interest in blowing them away or raking them up. In fact, I am done with the lawn mowing and now all the leaves that are there will remain until spring. It’s winter food for the nightcrawlers and I love watching them gather them into piles and feast on them while I sleep.
 
Other people prefer clean walkways, clean patios and all that. I’m happy for them that they like those things, but I just don’t share that feeling. The leaves add character, color, and a comfortable, relaxing view, even enhancing the concrete as far as I’m concerned.
 
So, I thank Leo every year about now for sharing that wonderful and enduring story. Thanks, Leo! I love you!
 
 
We All Love Things In Our Own Special Way
 
Spread Some Joy Today–How are you doing on your love list? Remember? Write, ‘I love. . .’ at the top of the page and then write as many things as you can, then add a few each day or each week. It’s fun and expands your joy rather easily.

Happily Ignorant and Blissfully Confident

 “All you need in this life is ignorance and
confidence, and then success is sure.”
 
— Mark Twain
 
 
 
[Classic post from 6-13-11]
 
A formidable combination, don't you think? You don't know that it can't be done, and yet have confidence that you can do it. It's magical.
 
Yesterday, I talked about secrets of success and how many there are and shared one of my top ten. This is also in my top ten, and I can assure you that may not believe it to be true, but the sentiment and advice in this quote by Mark Twain is spot on. I've used it numerous times to achieve results.
 
Sometimes, the best and most productive thing you can do is to tune out the rest of the world in pursuit of what you believe in or what you want. There are plenty who will gladly give advice in the form of warnings and what if's and a list of the logical reasons why something won't work or cannot succeed, and how much better it will be for you to wait until. . .and of course, there is a list there as well.
 
Friends and relatives and other well-meaning people have helped discourage a serious number of potential entrepreneurs. It is generally the ones who don't listen to that advice that are able to be successful by making great use of their ignorance and confidence together. It's the one, two punch!
 
 
I'm Happily Ignorant and Blissfully Confident!
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Tell someone you love them today. Here's a cool way that works for me: I say, “have I told you I love you lately?” It's magical.

Eliminating The Impossible

“When the impossible has been eliminated, whatever
remains, no matter how improbable. . . is possible.”
 
— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
 
 
 
[Classic post from 6-23-11]
 
Problems. We all have them, and most of the time, I am sure that as I am, you may be looking for solutions to them. It’s only natural. . . or so it seems. . .
 
It amazes me how people who have the power to solve a problem have so many rules about how the problem can be solved that the solution is effectively blocked. Often with the brightest logic as an argument, the rules are merely repeated. It is certainly not the most pleasant of conversations, and frustration is a common result.
 
When I run up against a list of illogical rules blocking the solution of a solvable problem, I have come to the realization that the problem is just an idea. It is a way for me to not take it too seriously. Reason should prevail, but it may not, so what point is served by being upset by a problem that is impossible to resolve other than by someone, or some entity’s listing of rules.
 
This is one of those situations where it feels like a tug-of-war and I have now learned to just drop the rope and let them have their struggle.
 
 
I Seek Peace and To Feel Good.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the struggle, whatever it is, and just go with the flow. Think of a river and you’re in a boat rowing upstream against the current. Now, relax and put the oars in the boat. Take a deep breath and go with the flow.

Owning My Own Feelings

“Own your own feelings. Nobody else does
Accept that you don't own the other person's feelings.”
 
— Deepak Chopra
 
 
 
[Classic post from 5-25-11]
 
This quote is the single most profound personal help I ever learned. I learned it in my twenties back in the mid-1970s. I've never forgotten it and I have done my best to put it to good use in my life. However, there have been many, many times that after having this profound knowledge, decided to ignore it and blame others for my feelings while even being fully aware of that fact. I did it anyway.
 
Does that sound familiar? How many things that I learn that are so helpful that I also choose to ignore is interesting. And, here's the best answer to that I have ever found:
 
“Practice is nine-tenths.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
As I practice on purpose what I have learned, it has a better chance of having a positive impact and influence on me and my behavior. So, if there is any work to learning, it is the constant internal nudging to put it into practice and practice it until it is known; until it becomes me.
 
Nevermore in my entire life than in the last few years have I focused on the practice and the good news about that is that it is paying off in a grand way. For learning to become experience, practice is required.
 
I was watching some kids in the neighborhood working on their skateboard skills. They were having the board do flips and spins and jumps and all sorts of things it wasn't originally designed to do. They failed to achieve the objective so many times, yet they kept on because they have seen it done and they want to do it and it is fun to try. Then, they succeed, and they practice some more and have successes more often, until one day they hardly ever fail at doing the trick. They can do it in their sleep.
 
I can relate. That is essentially what I am doing every day. My skateboard is practical philosophy I suppose, but I am doing the same thing. I practice what I've learned, and fail to achieve the objective more often than not, and then I persist and get better and then I'm an expert and it is so natural that it is just the way I am.
 
Owning my own feelings is one of those skateboard tricks. It was one of the toughest ones because the world in general is adamant and persistent about working against that idea. That makes it so easy and legitimate to get off track–to fail at the trick. However, with my own brand of persistence and belief in a good idea, I succeed more often and now after these many years of practice, I feel I am at the expert level on this one trick. Whew! It was a tough trick! But, I made it!
 
 
The Devil Can't Make Me Do It Anymore, And No One Else Either. I Choose And Accept That Responsibility Alone.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Feeling in control is a joyous experience. Grab hold of it!

Finding Something To Praise In Everyone You Meet

 “You can tell more about a person by what he says
about others than you can by what others say about him.”
 
— Leo Aikman
 
 
 
[Classic post from 5-28-11]
 
These kinds of quotes are so special to me because they are gentle, yet firm reminders of the kind of person that I want to be.
 
Have you ever heard a friend, or who you thought was a friend, who was telling someone else things about you that weren't very uplifting? They didn't know you were within earshot, but it tells you a lot about that person, doesn't it? I've had that happen and I know that it felt crappy, to say the least.
 
There's one thing for sure: I don't want to be that person I just described, yet I have succumbed to the gossip myself and I am certain that I have been that person from time to time. In fact, it was probably a good deal of the time further back. However, as I move forward in my life, I hope to be improving and allowing myself to become what I want instead of how I've seen other people act.
 
That's the best thing about making that decision to move forward, learn and grow–I get to experience more of the real me inside and that real me is full of love. As I allow that love to come from within and dominate my life, I find less desire or even situations where talking people down is an activity. At the very least, if I participated now, I find myself having negative emotions (feeling guilty, crappy, etc) and that is a clear indication I'm not in alignment with who I really am. At that moment, I can stop mid-sentence and get back on track.
 
When I was a child, the grandfatherly advice was, “if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.” That's good, but it doesn't go far enough and it doesn't fix the problem, as it is more like masking the symptoms. A better thought might be, “find something nice about everyone you meet, and find ways to let them know.”
 
 
Love Is Always The Right Choice.
 
Spread Some Joy Today–Find yourself loving all the people in your life from the bill collectors to the sacred child.

There Is Really Only NOW

 “Never let yesterday use up too much of today.”
 
— Will Rogers
 
 
 
[Classic post from 3-21-11]
 
You know, I’ve gone past this quote by Will Rogers several times and didn’t think anything of it and then today it leaped from the page. What a brilliant quote! I cannot think of a better way to say that theme and in so few words as well.
 
When I think about it, I can see how much of my today’s I have spent thinking about yesterday–and even more, perhaps, thinking about yesterday’s potential in tomorrow. It makes me wonder how much of my today’s were actually spent in that day instead of the past and future.
 
This quote helps me by being even more aware of what I am thinking today and how that relates to the results I get or the situations that come up. It’s funny how in this the moment–I mean, truly in the moment–how the past and the future mean nothing. So many worries used to grip me because I had no strategy, no comprehension of my own thoughts. Now I practice with a different strategy.
 
Awareness Is The Beginning Of A More Fruitful Life.
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