Category: Opportunity

Spread Some Joy Today > Opportunity

Where Is My Focus?

“Is your focus predominantly on what you want?” 
 
— Abraham, Esther Hicks 
 

[Classic post from 3-9-16]

It seems that every time that I open a book on the Teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks, that I see the essence of their question above. I'm going to print it out large and add it to my wall of all-important reminders to help me remember this perfect question.

When I think about that question, is my focus predominantly on what I want?, it begs an answer, and all too often that answer is no, I am not focused there. So where am I focused? More often than not, I am reliving the problem, as if I might think that if I spend more time going over it, that some magic solution will fall from the sky and crush the problem into little bits, and voila! there is the solution. So I think, how cool is that!? But, that is when I wake up and realize I was in a dream. We all know all too well that this is not how problems are solved.

The solution always comes from turning away from the problem and looking toward possible solutions. Always. All ways. So, asking if I am focusing on what I want is such a great question because when I am focused on the problem, and I realize now that that is where my thinking is, I know that is not where my answer is. Another great question might be, “do I really want a solution to this problem?” It sounds silly, but I have known people (looking in the mirror) who are content to have the problem. It gives our ego something important to fuss over I guess.

Here's another great question: (who knew that questions were so helpful?) What is it that I really want here?” Seems silly when it is written out, but ask yourself (myself) how often we ask it compared to focusing on what we do not want, yet is in our face at the moment. Not very dang often.

So. . . I hereby resolve (sounds pretty powerful, huh!) to realize that when I face a problem and feel that I am focusing on it, to turn my attention from what I do not want to what I really want, which is a solution, or for the problem to not be a problem. I will put this question on my wall today: Is My Focus On What I Want? Right next to the two that have been on my wall for a long time now: What Is My Job! How Is God's Job. and Today, No Matter Where I'm Going, And No Matter What I Am Doing, It Is My Dominant Intent To See That Which I Am Wanting To See.

Kind Of Rounds Out The Message, Don't You Think? 

Spread Some Joy Today–Joy today is letting go of the problem, whatever it might be, or how many ever I may think I own and turning away from that fear and toward my joy. What a blessing!

Are We There Yet?

“The destination
is not the reason for the journey. 
The journey 
is the reason for the destination.” 
 
— Albert K. Strong 
 

[Classic post from 2-7-16]

Sometimes we might think that the destination is the real journey, but the real journey is the journey itself. The destination is something we just throw out there thinking it is like a carrot in front of a horse; something to drive us to endure the journey in order to arrive at the destination which is what we say we want or need. Rather, I think this makes life not worth living, and indeed, not worth enjoying. However, if we focus on enjoying the journey moment by moment then the destination is not very important in the scheme of our living our lives.

When we are focused on the destination, we have a tendency to wonder, are we there yet? How much longer before we get there? What is our daily progress and does it show that we are on track to reach our destination in the time we have allotted? What are the roadblocks or potential roadblocks that may slow my progress or put me off course? Am I on course? Why is it taking so long? I have to really pour it on because I am behind. The competition is on my tail, so I have to move faster. I have to work late and give up some of my family time if I’m ever going to get to this crazy big goal. I’ll have to work weekends too. But once I get to the goal, the rewards will be worth the sacrifices. I want this so badly, and the prize goes to the one that is willing to do whatever is necessary to arrive a victor. I’m going to win. I will do what it takes. Nobody will work as hard as me.

That last paragraph is all destination thinking. The goal is everything. The doing or the journey is whatever it takes to get there. Whatever it takes. Consider that phrase. Whatever it takes. Hmmm. 

Some think that success is to them being the victor, winning the prize, reaching the holy grail of the destination. There’s a lot of that going on. It’s okay to do and be that, of course. It’s one way to live. But it is very much fear-related. Fear of not making it, having to pour it on, watching the competition, and so on.

Let’s juxtapose that with a love-related approach. I love what I do. I enjoy every moment of it. I love who I work with. I love the products and services that I am involved with. I love the sky today. I love the smell of the air this morning. Those clouds are so interesting. There is magic all around me. I am loving this journey. It is fun. I get such a kick out of playing this game. I know it is a game, and it doesn’t rule my life, and I do love playing. I’m such a kid in my heart and mind. I wonder what I will learn today? There is much to do, but I have time and energy, and I have help whenever I ask for it. What can I do to help make this journey more fun and rewarding for my boss and coworkers? My family? My customers? I love this so much I would do it for free (but I think I’ll keep that thought to myself. . .). There is so much to see, touch, feel, smell, and enjoy along the way.

The destination is on both agendas. Which one do you suppose is aware that the journey is the reason for the destination?

Loving Our Lives Moment By Moment On The Trail To All Of Those Important Destinations. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by loving your journey all day every day.

Overwhelmed By Responsibilities?

“If you feel overwhelmed by responsibility, 
you have assumed more 
than what truly belongs to you.” 
 
— Alan Cohen 
 

[Classic post from 2-6-16]

Overwhelmed by responsibility? Have you ever felt that before? Don’t you just love this quote by Alan Cohen then? Time to let go of some of that responsibility and allow someone else to carry it. There’s plenty to go around, and there’s no need to take more than our own share.

Responsibility is a good thing as long as we don’t feel that we need to be responsible for too much. Good question: Of the things, I feel responsible for, what can I let go of or pass to someone else? Another great question: Do I really need to be responsible for this thing or situation, or can I just be interested in it and be an observer instead?

I think sometimes we want to control things more than things need to be controlled. Another great question: What would happen if I didn’t try to control this? What would happen if I just let go of it? Do I really need this stress?

Responsibility Is A Choice, So We Get To Choose What And How Much. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by letting go of the excess baggage we all tend to gather on our journey. Freedom is release and release is joy.

Communication Technology Changes

“Things are always changing. 
But not completely.”
 
— Albert K. Strong 
 

[Classic post from 2-1-16]

I was reflecting on how technology has changed things so dramatically in so many ways. Many predicted that certain changes would make the old obsolete and the new would be all that was left. That isn’t exactly how it has worked out.

Remember those predictions that paper would no longer be needed since we can store everything digitally? Hasn’t happened. I wouldn’t be surprised that we use more paper than when that prediction was first made. Often digital files are emailed for convenience only to be printed out on the other end.

Books. The Kindle and other digital readers were said to kill the printed book. They have not. I had a part-time used book business for over ten years, and though the market changed somewhat, that market is still there. I got my first Kindle (I have two, one in color, one not, plus Kindle apps on my computer, iPad, and iPhone), I thought maybe I would rarely buy a printed book again. I have about 250 books on my Kindle, but I buy printed books all the time. There is something about a paper book. Umberto Eco said, “To read a paper book is another experience: you can do it on a ship, on the branch of a tree, on your bed, even if there is a blackout.”

Telephones have changed, but they are still telephones. I still get mail in my mailbox. I love getting mail. I rarely receive handwritten communications in my mailbox, but relish them when they do come. Email has definitely taken over writing letters for the most part, but that only makes writing letters all the more special. Texting has taken over phone calls and email both for some, but it is still communication, and more like an email than a phone call.

Email was meant to be fast. It is sent and received fast, but now there are so many emails from so many people and places that email may not be the best way to communicate. I know in my business, where I spend so much time in my email box, so many times, getting on the phone gets the thing done whereas an email can so easily be ignored or buried in the pile. In fact with many clients, it is a poor method of communication.

No matter how the forms of communication have changed in this digital age, there is no substitute for face-to-face communications. There is the energy of each person, the more intimate surroundings, the visual experience, and the audible experience. We can read people’s emotions, feel their warmth or resistance, sense their agreement or disagreement, work through issues. In-person communication is a multi-level experience, whereas texting, writing, email, and such are one-dimensional.

No matter how much things seem to change, the basics are still the basics.

No matter how we use algorithms to find the players, it is still the coach saying, “Gentlemen, this is a football…”

Change Is A Given And A Taken. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by writing or calling someone, visiting someone, and saying hello.

Happiness Is A Simple Harmony

“But what is happiness 
except the simple harmony 
between a man 
and the life he leads?” 
 
— Albert Camus 
 

[Classic post from 3-11-16]

I was first introduced to Jim Rohn when I was 31 years old and was on the verge of a dramatic change in my life. I loved him immediately. Since then, I’ve read pretty much all his books, listened to so many of his audio programs, when they were on cassette tapes. They are long gone, loaned and evaporated, and I can only hope that whoever has touched them, got even a tenth of what I got out of them, having listened to them many times.

I often quote Jim because he is so dang quotable. He became a master of personal development, didn’t mince words, telling it like it is from his own struggles and journey. What a delight he has been to me, and I never met him in person. I am so grateful to Rod who convinced me to get involved in Shaklee, a multi-level marketing program because he gave me the very first tape where I heard Jim Rohn speaking to a group of distributors and managers in another such company in Dallas, Texas. I played it over and over again, finally transcribing it to print.

During my thirties, I bought many of his audio programs, then from Nightingale-Conant. They were pricey, but I couldn’t wait to get the next one. Then a couple of days ago, I noticed one of the best programs was available from Audible.com, titled, The Power of Ambition. I’ve been loving listening to his simple and yet exquisite wisdom and common sense all over again on my iPhone.

Early in the program, he refers to Ben Franklin, one of the founding fathers of our constitution, whose wisdom in the mid-1700s was well known in his Poor Richard’s Almanac writings, and his ideas and methods have stood the test of time; albeit, many are probably unaware.

Jim shared three of Ben’s principles on success, and I delight in sharing them here.

1. “Happiness doesn’t come from big pieces of great success, but from small advantages hammered out day by day.” Jim interprets this as there is no way to happiness, but happiness is the way. He says that you have to be happy the way you are, the way things are, with your life right now, even while in pursuit of something that you want different from where you are. To say, I will be happy when. . . is to be unhappy now. He said that when you get that big goal, you won’t be any happier than whatever happiness you have now, and reminds us that Abraham Lincoln said that we will be as happy as we choose to be at any given time.

2. “Life is plastic.” In other words, it is moldable, changeable, and can be remade again and again to suit our desires. We have such flexibility. We can change our minds. We can change our direction. We can change our environment. We can change. This is something worth celebrating. We are not static. We are plastic.

3. “Success is pleasure.” Jim says, we need to enjoy our travels, enjoy what we do, smell the roses, have fun along the way. We need to enjoy ourselves as we live our lives. I love the quote above from Albert Camus and it fits so nicely right here: “But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?” Simple harmony. Enjoying ourselves. In alignment. Going with the flow. Not resisting, yet persisting with pleasure.

What is interesting to me as I have shared just a glimpse of part of my own journey is that I didn’t get these teachings in my thirties. I wanted to get them, but I was focused too much on something I shared the other day. I was focused on the problems, what was not right yet, feeling sorry for myself, wishing things would change, and much more. Then I would periodically take charge and get some movement.

Now I get this. Now it is the way I live. The problems are still problems, but I have learned to be happy and grateful along the way. I have learned that I can change any time I make a decision to do so. And, I have learned to do what I love to do–to enjoy my work, my life, and all the world around me. I created where I am, and I am pleased.

Thank You, Jim Rohn. You Have Made A Difference In Me And A Few Million Others Too. Your Legacy Lives On. 

Spread Some Joy Today–by paying attention to the joy that is available within you. That Source will never run dry. Not even a hiccup. There’s only one instruction. We have to allow it. We control it completely. No one outside of ourselves could ever control it. The valve is inside.

Listing All The Pros And Cons

“Scatter joy!” 
 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson 
 

[Classic post from 3-23-16]

I was reading another quote by Ralph Emerson, where he said, “I pack my trunk, embrace my friends, embark on the sea and at last wake up in Naples, and there beside me is the stern fact, the sad self, unrelenting, identical, that I fled from.”

Sometimes we just need to get away, but a great question is from what? Rather than running from something, it is far more beneficial to desire to run toward something because it is what we want. We might often think that we can change our location and scenery and have the refreshment we desire, to renew ourselves, and for a time, that certainly may be the case, yet everywhere we go, there we are, as we take ourselves with us, and all of the baggage of that too.

This reminded me–strange as it seems–about what I learned early in sales called the Ben Franklin Close. When a prospect is on the edge having a hard time deciding and contemplating leaving, the salesperson suggests, “You know, Ben Franklin was one of our history’s wisest men. When he found himself in the situation that you are in right now, he would take out a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle, and on one side he would write “Pros” and on the other, “Cons,” and he would list all the reasons why he would do it on the pro side and all the reasons not to on the other, then he would see very clearly which decision to make. How about we try that right now?”

Then, the salesperson would suggest they begin with the pro side, and he or she would be very, very helpful in adding things to that list. When they exhausted the pros, the prospect would move to the cons, and the salesperson would shut up completely. No suggestions at all. That’s the Ben Franklin Close in a nutshell.

Sometimes in our lives, we use this pro and con game on ourselves, except we often begin with the cons. Then, instead of the salesperson helping out or shutting up, our ego pipes in and helps us make a long list on the con side. With the help of our ego, we may find so many cons that we are exhausted, discouraged, and disempowered to the point that we don’t even bother with the pros. What’s the use? we say. It ain’t gonna change anything. It’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it.

Here’s where that strange word phrase of “being enlightened,” comes to play. Being enlightened only means that we have become aware of the functions within our mind and how it affects our life. Being enlightened means that we can say, “I see you, Mr. Ego, chiming in all the time, trying to protect me, but not letting me have any fun either. I appreciate your good qualities, but you always try to take control. Wrong! I am in control. You are a friend and servant, but I am always in control. I appreciate your input, but I will be making this decision.”

Being enlightened is sort of like being outside of yourself and seeing how it all works. It allows me to align with the better part of me, my inner being, the God within, or whatever phrase works for you. You know what I’m talking about because you’ve felt that too. So, I ask, am I in alignment or out of alignment? But, I don’t even have to ask because how I am feeling is my guidance control. If I am feeling good, I am close to or in alignment. The better I feel, the more in alignment I am. If I feel bad, or off, I am out of alignment with my true self. Now the decision I need to make is easy. My pro side has loads of help as if it is the most benevolent of salespeople within.

Running Away Or Eagerly Running Toward? The Pros Have It! 

Spread Some Joy Today–Oh, I so love how Ralph said it: Scatter joy! Yes!

Discovering The Real Truth

“Anything that you give 
your attention to 
will become your “truth.” 
 
— Abraham, Esther Hicks 
 

[Classic post from 3-29-16]

Continuing the quote above, “The Law of Attraction says that it must. Your life, and everyone else’s, too, is but a reflection of the predominance of your thoughts. There is no exception to this.” 

They expand on this a bit here, by adding, “Sometimes you justify giving your attention to something because it is true. But, just because it is true is not a good reason, because anything that anyone gives attention to, becomes true. A better question is, “Do I want to experience it?”” 

There is not truth and everything else is something else. Truth is whatever we give our attention to, and what anyone else gives their attention to. This is how we create our own world, and this is how we rule that world. We rule it with our own thoughts. We see it via our own thoughts. It exists in our own thoughts.

We can choose our thoughts by default, as a reaction, or we can choose them purposefully, and either way is our choice, because no one chooses for us ever. If any other influences us, it is our choice to allow or disallow that.

What we are thinking at any given time will be felt in some way as emotion. Thoughts create feeling wherein we are in alignment with our Source within, or out of alignment with that Source. When in alignment, we feel good feelings in varying degrees, and when we are out of alignment with our inner Source, we feel negative emotions to varying degrees.

The more in alignment, the better we feel, the more out of alignment, the worse we feel. This is our inner guidance at its best. It is our most effective guidance if we but pay attention to how we are feeling and if we are feeling negative emotions, we can choose a thought that feels a little better, and another, until we feel good again. That is so perfect. It is the only instruction we need to have a happy and fulfilled life.

“When you are in sync with who-you-really-are, your emotions range from satisfaction to passion and enthusiasm for life. You feel clarity and certainty and interest in life. You feel fun. Your timing is good. You feel vitality. And then, what comes to you feels good to you.” 

“Your Path Is More Well-Lighted Than You Have Been Allowing Yourself To Realize.” — Abraham, Esther Hicks. 

Spread Some Joy Today–because feeling good is everyone’s desire because that is the desire of our Source within. Choose joy. Share joy. Be love.

My Awareness Of My Changing Perspective

“What you see 
is more often than not 
what you put there.” 
 
— Albert K. Strong 
 

[Classic post from 3-13-16]

My learning and experience often lead me on a trail where one thing leads me to another and another and so on. When I've exhausted the trail, I move to something else.

This last week I finished a memoir of Penny Marshall, and in that memoir, she talked about most of the movies she directed and/or produced and there were many interesting things I learned about them. Having watched all of those movies at some time in the past, I thought I would rewatch a few of them. Last night, I watched Renaissance Man with Danny DeVito in the lead, with Gregory Hines, and one of the actors was a very young Mark Wahlberg.

I looked at the ratings and they were not very good, although it did get a one thumbs up from the Roger & Ebert team. Rotten Tomatoes only gave it 17% out of 100%. It fascinates me how many times I've seen a movie that had terrible ratings that I have loved with enthusiasm. It's definitely in the eyes of the beholder.

I originally rated this 3-stars on Netflix and now I rate it as 5-stars. The difference? Me. The movie didn't change. I did. In fact, in many of the movies that I have rewatched, I find a similar change and even a few in the other direction.

It's not the movie, it is what we bring to the movie. And, what is really fascinating to me is that this particular movie is exactly about that kind of thing. What Danny DeVito's character brings to the classroom is how the class demonstrates itself. Then, one dinky little pinhole of heart comes through, and step by step; albeit, some emotionally painful, he changes, the class changes one by one, and the entire big picture changes along the way.

It is so often what we bring when we go to a play, movie, lecture, meeting, or event that dictates what we see while we are there. We have some of our own baggage that we drag around to work, back home again, to events, and so on. Many may be things or events or experiences that we don't really want to participate in. That hides the real value we could get out of it.

In the movie, the pinhole I referred to was Danny sensing the true humanity behind the cocky, arrogant, seemingly stupid students. That wasn't enough to make a change in Danny or the students because they've built such a protective fortress around them over many years, but it was enough to let just enough light in to begin the process of change–to demonstrate the potential of this event as being considerably different than the early stages indicated.

Why I changed from a 3-star to a 5-star is because I've changed since I watched the movie before. I also learned more about the making of the movie, how Danny DeVito came to be in the lead, and more. I brought different eyes and ears to this particular event, and I saw and heard different things. They seemingly were not there before, and yet they were because nothing changed in the 1994 movie. The only change was in me. I saw with different eyes. I brought different values with me. I had refined ears. I brought a sense of appreciation with me, and what I saw was unique to me now in 2016.

From Just Another Movie To Seeing Life Unfolding Within Me.

Spread Some Joy Today–by paying attention to what you are bringing along with you. The less you bring, the more the opportunity for joy.

Mind Is The Master

“There is no way to prosperity, 
prosperity is the way.” 
 
— Wayne Dyer 
 

[Classic post from 3-14-16]

This quote has been expressed in many different ways. There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way, and more. In fact, I think that one could express the whole thing this way: There is no way to ______. _______ is the way.

I just finished Jim Rohn’s great audio program from the 1990’s, The Power of Ambition. In that audio, he said (my paraphrasing) the above sentiment this way: If you were to win or inherit a million dollars, to keep it, you need to become a millionaire. Another way of saying the same thing is to say, to get a million dollars, become a millionaire. The millionaire will know how to create more, invest well, serve more, whereas the non-millionaire will have more to spend until they are a thousandaire, or maybe a hundredaire.

Jim Rohn shared this to make it even more clear: “The most important question to ask on the job is not “What am I getting?” The most important question to ask is “What am I becoming?” Maybe we could express it this way: There is no way to become. Becoming is the way.

Whatever is our desire, we first must become that in order to have that become us. What kind of person do we need to become in order to be that, have that, experience that?

Effort is overrated. It certainly can be important in the overall scheme of things, but the most important thing is to be there in our minds first. The effort then will mean something, be valuable. Otherwise, it is just unfocused movement.

If we want to become a great writer, we must become that great writer in our minds first. If we want to become wealthy, we must first become wealthy in our minds. If we want to own our own successful business, we must first experience that in our minds. Whatever it is that we desire, we need to become that first in our mind.

“What You Become Directly Influences What You Get.” — Jim Rohn 

Spread Some Joy Today–by becoming joyful. There is no way to joy. Joy is the way.

Moving. Highest Values. The Journey.

“People will naturally act in accordance 
with their own true highest values.” 
 
— John F. Demartini 
 

[Classic post from 3-12-16]

Six days ago, on March 6th, 2016, I quietly celebrated the 30th anniversary of my moving into the house I live in today. I moved in for the first time on March 6th, 1986. I moved in as a renter and at the end of that same year, I bought the house.

Most would probably think that there isn’t anything special about this house. It is a simple, 1100 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath, tract home with a garage that was converted to a bedroom, which immediately became my recording studio and then my office. My commute to work is just a few feet from the kitchen.

I was a sales manager at what was then, Woodard Chevrolet here in Fairfield CA, and one of my salesmen owned the home and wanted to rent it out because they were upgrading. I had been to the house for a barbecue a couple of times and I absolutely loved the house. It was like home to me. That’s what I felt. No, there’s nothing special about it to most, and I had previously even lived in nicer places, but it spoke to me. It was plenty special to me.

I was 36 years old. I realized by looking at my history that I had moved 43 times in 36 years of my life and I hated moving. I hated it a lot. My parents seemed to have believed that the grass was greener somewhere else, whether across town, down the block, or hundreds of miles away. I wondered what it was like to live in one place for a long time. Maybe it was Leave It To Beaver, or My Three Sons TV shows. They demonstrated stability in that way. I wanted to feel that too.

I went to 6 schools from 7th grade to 12th. One twice. I went to four schools from 10th to 12th grade, finally graduating at Sonoma High School in Sonoma, CA. Some places we lived, we didn’t even unpack completely before we were on the road again.

I had enough of that. When I moved in here 30 years ago, I wanted to stay a long time. Later, my wife and I looked at all the new houses that were built in town over the years, and there were so many. Beautiful homes, much nicer than where I lived, but the decision to actually make the move never happened. It was a certain stability for my two new step-children to be in one place for a long period. It was that for me and for my wife who also had moved a lot. So, we stayed.

I changed jobs many times while I lived here, but my real stability was this house I have loved. I loved it when I first saw it. I love it still. And, there’s been a lot of living done here. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here and to have been here for 30 years. It’s amazing to me that I have been here for this long.

I feel like I have passed a milestone in my life. I haven’t a clue what will come next. Maybe I’ll never leave here alive. I don’t know. But one thing I do know is that our lives are most affected by what we value the most. I valued very highly the stability and the ideal of living in one place for a long time. Who knows what long time means? But, having moved so many times and to have known this bliss of one place has meant such pleasure to me. I am blessed by that. Besides, doesn’t moving 44 times in 66 years sound so much better and more stable than 43 times in 36 years?

It’s So Interesting How Things Work Out.

Spread Some Joy Today–by following your highest values. Therein is your joy.

4-28-21 Update: I sold this home at the end of 2017 at 31 years and 10 months. Now I’ve moved 48 times in 71 years…

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