Category: Opportunity

Spread Some Joy Today > Opportunity

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!

Overflowing Gratitude

“Sometimes my cup overflows
with gratitude and I am in awe
of the blessings, I’ve received.” 

— Terry Minion

[Classic post from 5-11-16]

It is delightfully amazing how something comes to you at the perfect time and as it is accepted, it becomes a part of who you are. I’ve had so many of those times, and yesterday was one such day. It is also fascinating to me how these things come into being and expand, like following a narrow path that leads into a shining metropolis.

I could write about this experience and what I learned for days on end, but I will keep it short, though I am quite unable to keep it to myself.

I subscribe to emails from Marie Forleo. I love her videos and think she is a fascinating person on the Internet. Yesterday, she shared a talk that she did on Oprah Winfrey’s Supersoul Sessions, which are much like TED talks but range from 24-35 minutes each, and from well-known authors and speakers. I’ve heard of Supersoul Sunday, but never really plugged into it, and knew nothing about all that is going on at Supersoul.tv until Marie shared her talk and I saw the Supersoul.tv website.

I very much enjoyed Marie’s talk about how everything is ‘figureoutable,’ a term her mother taught her at a young age about self-reliance and creativity. In the video window was four thumbnail-sized video images of other talks in the SuperSoul Sessions, so I watched another by Eckart Tolle that I enjoyed very much. Then, I watched a talk by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, who I was unfamiliar with, and I was fascinated by her talk about parenting that was so insightful and deeply touching, yet so simple as to feel perfectly wise. I was very impressed with this unique talk.

Next, I watched the talk by Kris Carr about living a crazy, sexy life, as she has learned how to do with cancer in her body. Then, I watched Oprah’s own talk about shedding the weight to a better life which addressed her own struggle with her body and the path she is now on, appreciating the journey as a whole. Next, I watched the video of India.Arie of whom I was completely unaware, but became a huge fan from this short ‘songversation’ expressing her life, lessons, and journey.

Then I watched Deepak Chopra, one of my favorite authors, then Elizabeth Gilbert gave a moving talk, along with Janet Mock. I was completely blown away by one of my favorite authors and speakers, Marianne Williamson. This talk about Universal intentions, and much more, was so profound to me as to feel like the top of my head blew off like a volcano of insight and understanding. Wow!

In so many of these talks because they were personal and touching, I shed tears–many tears, many times. I spent virtually the entire day yesterday watching, learning, feeling emotion, being amazed, and absolutely and completely full of gratitude. I hardly knew who to thank. Of course, Marie Forleo sent me the email with the link that led me to the other talks, and Oprah Winfrey created the environment, exposure, promotion to the entire range of talks. I haven’t yet seen all of them because there are so many. I wanted to write Oprah and gush my thanks and I’m sure she hears stuff like that all the time. I wanted to write each of the people I watched in the videos and express how moved I was with their talk, and sharing themselves and their travels. I felt stifled almost not knowing how to express my gratitude for such a moving day that moves me still just thinking about it.

Then, I thanked God, the Universe, The All-That-Is for this. I was thanking the Creator of the Law of Attraction which helped bring this to me and ultimately, it is the Creator, God, the Universe, All-That-Is, and a thousand other names to describe this that guides all that is responsible and my gratitude here is perfectly placed. I am also thanking those involved as I have so briefly described above, and sharing it all here to express my gratitude and joy outwardly. I am blessed greatly. Thank you.

Sometimes Your Cup Runneth Over And It Feels Like Gratitude Isn’t Enough. But Gratitude Is ALWAYS Enough Because It Is Love. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by sharing your joy. That’s how easy it is. Share it in a text, a letter, a blog, yelling from a mountain top. You get to choose the venue.

Patience Is Just Plain Fun!

“The greatest power 
is often simple patience.”

— E. Joseph Cossman

 
[Classic post from 3-23-14]
 
My Life Lessons 

This is a series of revelations about my life that I am sharing with others for what it may be worth. These come from a lifetime of study and experience of others and myself, and I now translate them to words. These will be numbered; however, they are not in order of importance as all are equally important. It is just a way for me to keep track of them in this series. I hope you find value in them.

Life Lesson #14

Patience is not only a virtue, it’s just plain fun.

I have learned to be a patient man, and I have learned it from people and circumstances that challenged me to make that choice. Well, I accepted the challenges with eagerness because I made a decision that I wanted to learn to be a patient man.

Some people think that having patience is enduring something, which sounds like that stiff-upper-lip thing in England. Patience in the Bible is often spoken in the same manner. To me that is more like tolerance, meaning you are putting up with it though you do not want to. Maybe you can’t even wait to get out of the situation to get back into the world of fast-moving impatience.

I borrowed a bit of a quote from Wayne Dyer and created my own about this subject. Here it is: “Patience isn’t tolerating or putting up with. It is allowing things, situations, or people to be as they are without any insistence that they be anything else.” I think that says it nicely.

To me, patience is also calmness. I remember several years ago when I first read a quote by James Allen, and as soon as I read it, the whole thing resonated with me and I wanted to become that person. Here’s the quote: “The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.” Isn’t that a wonderful image? I love it.

All of these are great. Each is well-spoken and describes the idea of patience nicely. From the time I was a child, I had always heard the quote, “patience is a virtue.” I never really knew what it meant, and putting it into practice was torture. Later in my life, after finally making a decision that I wanted to become a patient man, I found that practice was what helped me get it going, and after a time, I began to have fun with it, and now I look forward to opportunities where I can practice it.

But, before I could really practice it, I had to get rid of the idea of tolerance, endurance, holding my breath, and other ideas of patience. What I found was that it was more real when I would unplug from the situation, suspend all judgment, and the keyword was to relax.

So, I went back to my vision of the tug-o-war and my struggle to pull the rope was my impatience with the situation or the person, and patience was more obvious to me as in letting go of the rope. I began to practice as if I were standing outside just watching the situation with no real interest other than to just enjoy it. That worked extremely well.

By stepping back, letting go of the rope, and just observing brought me joy. I was really having fun and smiling the whole time. Others around me might be complaining, demonstrating their impatience, and so on, and here I was in the same situation, having joy. Who knew? It’s hard to say how much of a difference it has made in my recent life, but it is tremendous.

“Circumstance Does Not Make The Man; It Reveals Him To Himself.” — James Allen 

Spread Some Joy Today–Let go of the rope. Relax. Breathe deeply. Experience joy.

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.

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?

What Are You Going To Be When You Grow Up?

[Classic post from 4-14-16]

As I lazily got up this morning after sleeping until 6:30 am, I was reminded somehow about the idea of maturity. It’s a crazy thought first thing in the morning, I know. But, there it was.

I remember my mother asking me when I was going to grow up a few times when I would do something silly. I guess she thought that I should have progressed more by then. I also heard it from my wife during my first marriage a few times. I guess a few bouts of silliness is all it takes to question whether or not I’ve grown up yet, become more mature.

Mature. It’s interesting what images come to mind when I look at that word. I see a man who is serious looking, confident, controlled. The Bible even says that as a child, I did childish things, and as I grew up I let go of childish things. And, truth be known, I have let go of a lot of childish things. Not because I wanted to necessarily, but I’m way too big now to ride a tricycle (actually, I’ve been too big since I was five). Yes, there’s a lot of silly kid things that I no longer do.

And yet, there are some silly kid things that I still do. In fact, it makes me laugh at myself whenever I do them because I can recall the first time I did them and it was during my childhood, or as a teenager. No, I’m not going to tell you what they are. I cannot blow my cover completely. Let it suffice to say that I do them proudly and in all fun when I am alone only. People would look at me in crazy ways if I did any of them in public. Of course, all those on the other side that are interested in looking down at me can see and hear them, but I can’t seem to see them, so I imagine that I am alone and safe.

Here I am at 66 years of age, still immature in many ways. It’s amazing. And, it’s fun too. I mean, these things bring me joy, laughter, fun, and they have for well over 50 years now, and some even longer. So, if I’m not yet grown-up at 66, then what hope is there for me? Maybe 70 is when it happens, or 80. Hmmmm. I don’t think it happens then either. I think there are just some things we hang on to simply because they feel good, make us laugh, that we find funny, and yes, silly too. It’s okay.

I’m keeping mine, and frankly, I don’t give a damn about maturity anymore. I hope you’re proud and happy with your own private immature moments and actions. It’s our own little private world where we can do those silly things, laugh at ourselves and our own immaturity, and wonder to ourselves if we will ever grow up. Nah.

I Know That I Have No Plans To Grow Up Anytime Soon. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by laughing often and much. It’s a healing thing.

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!

What Inspires You To More Life?

[Note: This was written at the beginning of 2017 and published in a magazine.]

Recently, a very dear friend of mine was diagnosed with so-called terminal cancer. We spent some quality time together one day in December, and I asked him what seemed like a crazy question. I said, “do you want to live?” He wanted to know why I asked this odd question; I said that it is okay to want to and not to want to, but that it makes such a huge difference. It’s this kind of question that we are often afraid to ask ourselves or others.

This question of wanting to live is one that I was asking myself recently as I was considering what may lie ahead in my life. I had let go of some important disciplines, growing in girth and weight, generally inactive, and more. Though I was writing my daily inspirations blog to inspire others, I was in want of some inspiration for myself.

Then, in late December, I read a new book by Bruce Springsteen titled, Born To Run. I listened to Bruce read his entire book as an audiobook (my favorite way to read these days), and I was amazed. What a life he lived and he is still living it fully. I did some research and found that he and I are both 67, but that there is no way that I could keep up with him in what he does physically, let alone as a musician. He is lean and trim and strong and can do a 4-hour non-stop show singing every song from memory, and then do it again a couple of days later. I saw some on YouTube, and I was blown away by his presence on stage. I was immediately inspired to change my life. I immediately decided that I wanted to LIVE!

This inspirational moment was almost a month ago, and I am more committed than ever to reclaim my life and provide even more value to others by being the best that I can be. It’s interesting how something comes along and inspires one to make a major change in their lives. Whether it is the Law of Attraction, and that I was attracting Bruce and his book into my life or what doesn’t even matter. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have learned more about Bruce, who I knew so little about, and have him inspire me to want to move forward. We all can positively affect each other in our lives.

Do you remember some of those major turning points in your life? You’re going along, bored maybe, uninspired for sure, and then something happens—a book, a song, a letter, a photo, a friend’s concern, or a thousand other things. And then, your life is different. You’ve been inspired to change something or many things that take you from neutral into high gear. I can remember many of these turning points over the years. This one with the book, Born To Run, was another. But, it was more than the book. If I had just read the book, I don’t think it would have had the impact as Bruce reading it. His passion, determination, mistakes, successes, pain, sorrow, and joy are in his voice because he is the one who lived it and wrote it. The book is pure poetry. He is an outstanding writer.

I don’t want to live Bruce’s life. I have my path, and yet our paths have crossed so that he can help me be more inspired on mine. He doesn’t even know how much he has helped me, and yet on some level, we are brothers.

Who inspires you? Are you open to being inspired? Do you want to live?

Expiration Dates

Whatever is in the back of the fridge is guaranteed to get old. All the new stuff goes in front, and pretty soon those important things that were in there are forgotten. I just pulled out something from the fridge this morning with an expiration date of three years ago. Hmm. What do you think? Is it good? They say that ‘your chewing gum loses flavor on the bedpost overnight,’ but three years? It’s outta here! So, I began going through the 15 salad dressing bottles with various amounts left inside, and end up chucking all but three. Outta here! Who knows what grows in the cold and dark!
Now, let’s look at this from a different perspective. The refrigerator is your brain and things are constantly in motion and yet there are things we hold on to that are way past their expiration date. We don’t give that much thought because of the constant motion, but who knows what grows in the cold and dark of the mind? Some of those things are no longer valid if they ever were, and some of those things are things we used to believe in but no longer believe that and yet, there they are in the back of the fridge. It’s time to let some of that old stuff go. Let it go. Get rid of it. It is no longer useful. It is taking up space and creating conflicts within.
Of course, the best way is to let go regularly. Keep those shelves fresh and helpful to our well-being. Maybe we can even learn to simply let things flow through without holding on to them. Seems like a peaceful idea!

We Are Complicit. I Am Complicit.

We are all complicit in whatever reality that we are experiencing whether inside our own thought-realm or outside our body in anything that we see, hear, or feel. Because we are complicit, we have the authority and responsibility in our dominion. As we are seeing, hearing and feeling that which is before us, we are involved in it to one degree or another, and we are at the same time in choice; albeit, the choice may seem to not be something purposely chosen. Yet choice it remains.

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Mesa, AZ