Category: Potential

Spread Some Joy Today > Potential

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.

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.

The Mirror Of Change

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.”
— Leo Tolstoy
[Classic post from 3-30-11]
Isn't it so true how we want to change the world, the other, the system, the outside, and not think about changing ourselves, our outlook, our attitude, our view instead.
There's a phrase I love to say when I'm trying to change the world that helps me remember what I'm doing. I say that I'm swimming upstream. I love the analogy of life being like a river and that everything we want is downstream and we just need to not worry about things so much and stop struggling with other people, things, and events, let go of the oars and just enjoy the journey.
Many of us have been brought up with the philosophy that the struggle is important and that without the struggle, there can be no true success. Just as in bodybuilding, they have that silly phrase, “no gain without pain.” So, we've been brought up to have this work ethic where we “make” things happen, because there is no real success or gain without the pain and struggle of work.
I used to believe that and live it. I'm thinking now that I've accepted an idea that just never felt quite right, but I just kept on doing it for so long. Now I'm thinking that the struggle and/or pain is entirely self-inflicted and needless, or even self-defeating.
What if we went back and did it all over again, but this time we decided to let go of the oars and experience the journey with eyes wide open? What if we adopted a single goal in our daily lives of experiencing as much joy as possible? Some would say (because I've heard the argument) that nothing would ever get done. But, I'm not accepting that premise either. Joy doesn't mean that nothing gets done, what it means is there is no struggle or pain! When you do what you love to do, there is copious amounts of joy. Having a passion for serving others can be so effective, rewarding, and yes, even profitable.
Truth is, we can't rewind and start over, and the good news about that is that we don't need to do that because we can change any time we decide to do so. And, it is in the changing of ourselves instead of everything outside of us that will change everything in our world just by accepting that premise and responsibility.
It Is Not An Idealistic Idea, Just A Better One . . .
Spread Some Joy Today–by playing with the idea that you can have joy every day, even all day if you choose to. It's empowering.

How Many Joyous Days Can We String Together?

“Those who improve with age
embrace the power of personal growth
and personal achievement
and begin to replace
youth with wisdom,
innocence with understanding,
and lack of purpose
with self-actualization.”
— Bo Bennett
[Classic post from 1-19-11]
I used to talk about learning plateaus. It seemed to me that I would be learning every day, building up experiences over some period of time, then, what would seem all of a sudden, I felt like I just had a big jump, and then I was on a whole new level of confidence, wisdom, skills, etc., and then begin building again toward the next plateau. I never knew when, or how much time these plateaus would take to be noticed or realized, and it seemed like it was sometimes months, other times maybe even years.
Something I’ve noticed recently is that these plateaus are beginning to come more frequently and with less time in between. I’m not sure what that means, but this I do know: it is way cool and fun and exciting at the same time.
Well, you might have already guessed, I had one today. I’ll tell you, today I felt dang near-invincible it was that much fun. It started early this morning with a truck training class at a dealership. I’ve given this class at least a couple of hundred times to well over a thousand people. I know it by heart very well. It is a two-and-a-half-hour class that is full of great information. Today, I changed it up a bit and spent more time in certain areas, and didn’t even cover other areas. I think it actually worked better, and what I learned from that told me to cut the class at least in half regarding the material, and maybe even break it up in more pieces. But, that’s not the main thing to share.
What I want to share is that when you do a thing often enough and you know what you’re doing and do it well, the confidence level continues to increase. In addition, you can pay more attention to what is going on in the class and less to what you are doing. This alone yields more insight. But, that’s still not the main thing.
So, as I do this class, even with some time in between, I still find it very exciting and fun and I do everything I can to show that in my body language and my voice, and actions. After class, we went out on the lot to look over trucks and point out features on each one. Everywhere I walked on this large lot, I walked with enthusiasm and purpose and determination, and confidence. It was absolutely joyous! What a thrill. To top it off, the sun came out today after over a week of overcast. What could be better?
That’s the main thing I wanted to talk about: the feeling; the joy; the fun; the enthusiasm; the learning; the thrill; the excitement. I was hot and loving it and I think we all need to do that as often as it is possible to have it happen. Don’t you? A day like today can very easily overshadow several off days.
Let’s Challenge Ourselves To See How Many Joyous Days We Can String Together! It’ll Be FUN!
Spread Some Joy Today–There is nothing quite like loving what you are doing–even if it is just for today.

A Spirit Of Approval

“I have yet to find a man, however, exalted his station,
who did not do better work and put forth greater effort
under a spirit of approval than under a spirit of criticism.”
— Charles M Schwab
“There is more hunger for love and
appreciation in this world than for bread.”
— Mother Teresa
[Classic post from 1-22-11]
Having studied Andrew Carnegie for some time, it is impossible to miss getting to know his right-hand man, Charles M Schwab. In fact, there is a book very much worth reading about Mr. Schwab called Steel Titan. In getting to know Charles Schwab, it was clear that he was an artist at dealing with people and he was famous for getting people to do things well through a spirit of approval instead of a spirit of criticism.
Love and appreciation have to be at or nearest the top of what people really want in virtually every situation. That subject is the basis for one of the world's most helpful books, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It is also a must-read that never will go out of style and is full of value to the reader.
When I saw these two quotes together, I thought about these three leaders, and I also thought about the need and desire for approval that we all have. I thought about it specifically about myself and my own desire for approval that was a driving force in my life. What I realized in looking at this is that most of my life I felt that I was lacking in enough or the proper approval and I used to find that frustrating. At some point in the very recent past, I've let go of the need for it. It's not that I don't appreciate it when it is given to me, it's just that I no longer crave it as I did before.
What's also interesting to realize is that the need for approval has dissipated since I decided to give it to others everywhere I go. It might be an approving glance, a thank you spoken aloud, saying I love you aloud, showing love by doing something courteous or nice or unexpected. I just sent notes to people out of the blue to tell them I was thinking of them and was appreciating them, and those are always very well received. I am always looking at what I can compliment someone on. Maybe they have a new hair style, have lost weight, look especially sharp that day, have a wonderful smile, exude confidence. I seem to always find something to compliment people on and they just love it.
And, guess what? Now that I'm not looking for it for myself and giving it away in droves, I find that I feel more love every day, so in effect, it is coming back to me in greater quantity. Who knew?
Focus On Others For Your Own Benefit.
Spread Some Joy Today–there is such joy in spreading it around you.

The Holy Realm Of Passion

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.
The good news is that you don’t know how great you
can be! How much you can love! What you can
accomplish! And what your potential is!”
— Anne Frank
“If we did all the things we are capable of doing,
we would literally astound ourselves.”
— Thomas A Edison
[Classic post from 1-25-11]
The other night I watched an older VHS that I had in my eBay store called Calle 54. It is a documentary from 2000 showing Latin Jazz players and groups from all over the globe. It is nothing short of amazing to watch these players play their instruments. It is especially interesting as a musician myself to watch people who really know how to play do something that seems so far away from what I do that it is as if I don’t play at all. I am in awe watching them, and in joy as well.
It made me think a bit about the question of how good can we get at something. The right answer is probably, who knows? Limits are always being expanded–and indeed, it seems that they are meant to be expanded.
This one aspect I think I’ve figured out about this, and that is that it is not desire that can achieve these levels as much as a love of doing a thing. It is beyond desire, and in the holy realm of passion!
Perfection Is An Elusive Thing, Though Many People Do Flirt With It Regularly.
Spread Some Joy Today–watching someone else sharing their passion is very satisfying and encouraging.
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