Get Back in the Game…


There was a time when you were incredibly enthusiastic about life. You had your dreams for the future and felt that your possibilities were absolutely endless. You woke each day excited about your future and what you might contribute to the world. Maybe your enthusiasm continues to this day. But for many, sadly, this is no longer the case. Many folks have resigned themselves to the sidelines, not dead yet, but not in the play. What happens to us that so artfully talks us out of our dreams? Who convinces us to give up on the things we so desperately want for our lives? How can we, no matter our years, get back in the game? 

Everything you ever wanted in your life, you can have, if you can believe for it. Life and circumstance aren’t responsible for the limitation. God isn’t behind it, no matter how many Facebook memes claim otherwise. It isn’t your background, your education or your upbringing. It’s you, my friend. The limitation, if there is one, is you. It sounds simplistic, but it’s true. In the final analysis, at the core, at the very root is you and what you believe in your heart. The reason you don’t get the things you want is because you don’t believe you can have them. Your friend, who is ten years younger than you and makes three times more than you, does so because he believes he can. He isn’t highly favored or lucky, nor was he born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In his heart he believed he could and in so believing did. You can achieve the dreams you have for your life, many of which God put in your heart, if you can believe you can. But, believing is a process and sometimes that process takes time. The devil cannot stymie your dreams or take them from you, absent your cooperation. You cooperate by adhering to and believing all the evidence to the contrary. In short, you get talked out of it. Achieving your dreams will never appear to be easy, but will come with obstacles and challenges you must surmount. Neither the obstacles, nor the challenges can stop you from receiving, unless you give up on what it is you want. You are not in the game because you gave up on yourself.

In the game of life, no one puts you on the sideline except yourself. The coach didn’t bench you. God didn’t bench you. You benched you! You gave up. You surrendered. You decided along the way that you were not worth (or worthy) of the things you want. Oh you weren’t functioning in a vacuum.  Your ideas, your beliefs, your expectations were influenced. That influence, call it what you may, succeeded in getting you to believe and accept something that isn’t true. It chipped away at you, day by day, week by week, year by year, until it convinced you to settle for something far less than God’s best. Maybe it spent considerable time outlining how your previous bad behavior disqualified you from receiving something good from God today. Perhaps it persuaded you that your efforts were futile and that you didn’t make any impact worth pursuing. Possibly it just distracted you and got you caught up in activities that wasted your time and didn’t lead to anything. Whatever happened, however it happened, if you are sitting on the sidelines and not in the game, it happened. There’s no point in lamenting how it happened to you. The solution is simply to get back in the game!

You get back in the game by remembering again the things that are most important to you. What is it or was it that made your heart race? What do you well that is easy for you to do that could benefit others in some capacity, that you foolishly stopped pursuing? Where and in what is your impact obvious? Start there… Maybe those things aren’t clear enough for you yet. Instead, what parts of life do you no longer participate in? Life, if left unchecked and unguarded, has a funny way of reducing things down to the bare minimums. Over the years, a thousand interests turn into a hundred interests, then to ten interests, ending in no interests. Who took away your interests? What gave you a reason to give up on your interests and convinced you that you had seen and done it all? Who stole away your uniqueness and individuality? What persuaded you into believing that you had nothing left to offer; are now too old, or that it is too late for you? It’s bad enough that we all have to die one day, but worse that we can die before we are actually dead. 

Your life, my life, is frightfully short. Frightfully short! You owe it to yourself and to God to live your life to the fullest. Get outside your own head. Quit stewing and brewing over whatever has gone on thus far and check yourself back into the game. Challenge those age old assumptions you have been making about yourself and your situation. Challenge those limitations that say you can’t. Get up off the ground, dust yourself off and check back into the game! The same way you unknowingly checked out, the same way you can check yourself back in again. Try something new. Make a new friend. Pick up a new hobby. It’s not really about your age or your energy level. It’s about not giving up on yourself and believing to see where your life still has the capacity to make a lasting impact on someone else. Every single day of your precious life holds the promise of something wonderful. But, it’s not going to knock on your door and find you. You have to find it, though it was never really hidden from you to begin with. Have you been living on the sidelines hoping, wishing something would change so that you could live again? That something is you and it always was you. Get back in the game! We all need you…

Just some good thoughts…

He Who Smelt It, Dealt it?


Forgive me for grabbing your attention with a foul metaphor (smile). While you are likely familiar with the saying, thankfully I’m going in a different direction. Many times in life we can get so caught up in what other people are doing to us, how unfair they are and how insensitive they can be to our own needs and wants. Yet, it is easy to forget about our involvement in the equations. Your life, my life, is really about being the best version of ourselves. It’s about choosing our own thoughts and actions and taking full ownership of our lives because ultimately, he who smelt it probably dealt it!

Have you ever stopped to consider that you play a key role in every relationship you have, be it foul (there it is again) or fair? The one constant in every relationship you have is you. When you find yourself confronted with the same challenges or the same unwanted judgments or the same faulty conclusions about who you are, maybe it’s not because the people you deal with are all idiots (been there), but rather because of what you are giving off. Maybe, just maybe you are sending a consistent message, accurate or not, about yourself that isn’t really true. Perhaps you have been so accustomed to playing a specific role with others that you are loathe to let it go, even if you don’t enjoy the results thereof. Many of us become familiar with a certain performance we put on for others; one they faithfully enjoy and demand, that leads people to a false understanding about who we are. The world is not always a nice place and its inhabitants not always offering us the benefit of the doubt. It’s not easy to be authentic in our interactions and in so doing we set up circumstances and conditions we do not like. The first requirement in building lasting relationships is to be an authentic person.

In a relationship, it is incredibly easy to hone in and discern the faults of others. Whether it be mild annoyances or full on agitation, it is suprisingly effortless to figure out things about other people you do not like. But, sadly perhaps, it is very difficult to recognize the things we do that others may not like. That’s not to say we should mold and shape our character to meet the demands of others, but rather that we should become humble enough to admit we’ve also got some unpleasant bits. Maybe we aren’t as funny as we think? Maybe they should know we mean no harm, but after they have told us otherwise a hundred times, we should have perhaps gotten the message by now. There are, it seems, certain people that have the capacity to drive you nuts! They have found your buttons and joy exceedingly in pressing them. But, have you ever considered that maybe before they sent you a message, you already sent them one? Sometimes your tone of voice, your facial expressions, your approach, already communicated your thoughts about them being a moron and in like manner they have rightfully perhaps decided to assault you back. Naturally you are aghast at their behavior, yet cannot conceive you began the conflict yourself. In relationships it makes sense to pride yourself in being altruistic, but often, imperceptibly, we may be the one that needs to make a change.

In marriages or lasting relationships, couples often spend a lifetime wishing their partner would only listen to what they are telling them and change, yet refuse on the grounds of principle to change themselves. Or they dutifully carry a lifetime of assumed responses based upon “knowing their significant other” without really knowing them at all. How could they know them after deciding 20 years ago exactly who they are? Bitter, long since burned out couples, could not hear a good thing from their partner if it slapped them in their face! They have already concluded and in so doing have already closed the door to change. The other person can scarce bring up a topic without their spouse already knowing where they are heading requiring them to head it off at the pass. Bad realtionships are seldom not formed by the actions of the present but rather on the thousandfold actions of the past. No couple can honestly survive such closed-mindedness! The answer isn’t found in the other person, it is found in yourself! Someone has to stop the madness and it may as well be you. So, you find yourself divorced and finally living out your dreams, yet never considered that you might be treating your “new” person in all the ways your “old” person would have loved. You gave your new person a chance…

What you should you do when you find yourself in such a dilemma? Stop assigning responsibility for the relationship to the other person because the responsibility rests with you. You change you! You be the best you, you can be. You give the love first. You decide to be sweet, loving and kind. You decide to listen and really hear the messages with your heart. You’d be surprised what can change when you change. You may find out the person whose faults you have been faithfully cataloging for years has qualities you never before imagined. You might just discover true love, not based on endless expectations, but rather on your decision to love first. You may at last recognize the love you have been searching for a lifetime is right there waiting for you and has been all along. Take ownership of yourself first and in so doing stop making it always about them. Sure they will still have faults and failings and blind spots, but criticism never ever cured them, only love can.

Whether your relationship is a marriage or dating or people you work with or your family members, the success of them all is first dependent upon you and the hidden messages you are transmitting to them. Seek to change the only thing you can change – you! Becausee two people are involved it may not always work out no matter what you do. But, at least you will have done your honest best. Remember, usually, he who smelt it probably dealt it!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Change Your Script and Fix Your Relationship…


Your successful relationships with other people form the basis of one of the most needful, necessary elements in your life. Your happiness, your personal feelings of fulfillment, your peace, your love, your joy, all rely heavily on your ability to successfully navigate your relationships. So, what can you do when your relationship lacks some of its original luster? Is there a way to escape the mundane and rekindle the once present emotional availability? Can you somehow steer the ship off the rocks and back into the deep water? Is there even anything you can do about it? Is it really all about your partner, or is it maybe about you?

Any couple who have been together for many years can tell you that things change over time. Goals change. Priorities change. People grow. People regress. The hopes and dreams you held in such high regard in high school are barely recognizable in middle age. Your body ages and things you once took for granted don’t come as easy as they used to do. You’re generally smarter and a little more assured about how things work. And, like anyone that has done the same thing for a number of years, you develop habits; many, many habits. Habits are built for efficiency. But, not all habits are good for you. Habits tend to be morally neutral. In other words, you can engage in certain habits for a lifetime and never feel they need any revision because of how long you’ve been holding on to them. Relationship habits can make for heaven on earth or make life a living hell. But, at the end of the day, they are your habits!

In order to have a successful relationship, you have to embrace the reality that people change. Your spouse is not the same person they were when you married them. Chances are they have grown, evolved and need different things to be happy. You also have changed, grown and evolved. Your needs are now different as well. To hold your partner in some sort of time-lock is categorically insane. To continue to think and rehearse that same old, tired, irritating version of them is also insane and entirely unfair to them. To perpetually strengthen and maintain in your mind all the things they have not done that they should have done or the things you didn’t like about them when you first met or the person you wish they were when you were first building your negative pictures of them, is to drag about a weight of epic proportions! In life, every day is a new day. Every moment is a new moment, unique and one that has not existed before. Your partner is also afforded the opportunity of a new day, a new moment. You have to be able to give them the same chance at doing better that you give yourself. You have to accept the reality that they, like you, can change. You see, things start going south not because of your relationship reality, but instead because of your rehearsed, mental reality! Things become worse and worse because your thinking has become worse and worse. You couldn’t see the things you so desperately want if they slapped you in the face, because you are stuck, trapped in rehearsed negative feelings and memories from the past days! In order for things to get better you have to get better.

Many, many people like to play the victim in their relationships. Poor old, unfulfilled me. “I just need someone to love me.” “I just need someone to accept me for me.” If only they were nice to me, then I would be nice. If they ever took time to offer me love and affection, then I would offer them love and affection back. But, they never do that for me and they’re not going to, so poor, poor me living my life in misery. The problem with this mentality is that you are playing a role in a drama that you are writing. You are acting in a play as the main character that you and you alone have assigned as the victim. And, as the victim it feels good to dredge up all the wrongs done to you and to fantasize about how good life could really be. But, would it really be good for you? How could it be? In order for your role to ever change, you have to change the script. You have to write a new story. Look, if you found a new relationship you would likely change the script and start thinking and acting like the person you wanted to be, which in turn would probably return to you the feelings you wanted to feel as well. Well, your solution is that you can do that now in your present relationship. Change your script. Edit your character. Stop rehearsing and ruminating and harboring and cleaving to every single thing you haven’t liked for the past twenty years and start fresh. Give your partner a chance to be someone else as well. I can assure you that they have some tremendous qualities waiting to be shared with you in your life once you finally give them the opportunity to do so. Don’t remain stuck in yesterday, live today.

One of life’s strangest dichotomies is found in relationships with other people. When you change towards them, they change towards you. You have to give love to get love. You have to show kindness to receive kindness. Waiting for the other person to change is a perilous waiting game. You might be waiting for a long time. Maybe you don’t feel fully accepted for who you are because you are spending so much time rejecting who they are. Maybe, just maybe you don’t feel like they like you because your behavior says you don’t like them! You cannot make other people do anything and you know that. The one person you can control and change is you. Are you doing for that person you are so upset with, what you would like to be done for yourself? Are you willing to let them be something other than the negative picture you have made them to be? You can become so accustomed to your habitual way of thinking that you don’t even recognize it anymore. Change your mind. Change your script. Change your bad habits of negative thinking and negative expectations.

Relationships take work to be successful, but it’s not the kind work you need a vacation from. The work is in learning to think properly. The effort is in refusing to harbor and maintain negative stories, likely only partially based in reality. Your energy is used to build and bless and help and warm which is always reciprocated when done from your heart. You can recover any relationship that has gone astray if you want to, but most of the work to be done will involve yourself first. That’s not to say that every relationship is worth preserving or repairing, as some relationships need to dissolve. In those scenarios there will be no doubt. But, it’s still worth your time to work on yourself to avoid it the next time.

It certainly takes two to tango, but the only dance moves you can improve are your own. Life is short and your chances at happiness sometimes fleeting, but a loving, warm, mutually committed relationship is worth every ounce of your effort! Decide to live love, it’s irresistible… Decide to forgive, it’s refreshing. Decide to make every day a brand new day, it’s life changing…

Just some good thoughts…

On the Right Track…


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I was on Legacy Parkway the other day when I noticed the Front Runner train approaching parallel to me in the distance. As he got closer, I heard him whisper, “Do you want to go?” I replied out loud, “Ahh yeah, let’s do this!” I got to about 70 mph when I remembered the speed limit on the parkway was 55. I let him go because I already got him. As he whistled off into the distance, bright red and blue on a pristine carriage of sparkling white, I thought, that train is a powerful beast as long as he stays on his track!

If you’ve taken time to notice, everything in the natural realm has a right environment in which to function. As long as it stays in its rightful lane, it does what it was designed to do and does it effortlessly. When it gets out of it’s lane, it ends up as roadkill. Birds fly and no obstacle is too tall for them to fly over. Fish swim but flounder on the bank. Snakes slither in the underbrush and are damn hard to corner. However, humans are a little different. Their domain is all domains because they’ve been blessed with the ability to think. And because they can think and rely less on any natural programming, they have a responsibility to keep themselves on track; the right track.

How can you determine if you are on track? Well, how do you feel? So simple, yet profoundly true. My dogs sometimes poop on the unfinished basement floor because it feels like the outside. But you’re not a dog and know where you are. All people know where they are. They may not like it and they may not want to stay there, but they always know where they are. Unhappiness, discontent, distress and worry serve to show you that you are off track. When it doesn’t feel right it usually aint right and no amount of liquor is going to change it. When you are about to make a bad move you know it’s a bad move because your central nervous system makes you nervous! Having sex with your wife has no down side. But notice how you feel after sex with that woman you just met last night!

The right track has no downside either. It feels good because it is good. The choices you make while at peace will never lead you astray. But, make a decision based on fear and you’ll soon recognize your error. And even if you’ve gotten used to feeling numb, the sting of the wrong track will always make its presence felt. The trouble is we have gotten so used to ignoring our feelings and succumbing to this person and that collective idea, that we fail to operate our greatest weapon, our thought. What is true for you is true and those subtle urgings that command your greatest attention are your way to go; your only way to go. Not to worry, the system is flawless, replete with checks and balances. If, in your immaturity, you choose badly, you will learn it. If your motive was bad, that won’t escape you either. You know; you always know because of how you feel.

Life is lived best in its subtlety. It’s not found in grand decisions like where you’ll live or what profession you will choose. It’s found in a thousand seemingly insignificant choices that surround you every day. Just as a small departure from the tracks spells disaster for a speeding train, subtle compromises from good add together to ruin a life. It’s not the 85% you get right day by day that troubles you. It’s the 15% you are getting wrong. It’s the bad habits, the distractions, the time thieves, the hours spent in worrisome thoughts, the fears, the compromises, the apathy, the letting go. It’s wrong motives and selfish desires that strong-arm away your happiness. It’s not saying “no” when you know the answer should be no! We feel sublime on a diet not from immediate weight loss but from finally exercising self-control!

The right track is you feeling how God always intended for you to feel. There’s a reason we call delightful things – heaven! It’s the contented, peaceful, joyful you, minus all the bullshit. It’s you making the right choices in a 24 hour period and then having the opportunity to start all over again tomorrow! Looking forward on outstretched tip toes is as deleterious as craning your neck back to rehearse afresh the past. Life is to be lived on the right track today while letting tomorrow bring what it may. How much precious life have we wasted struggling to get to some place that has been struggling to get to us? How many mistakes that occurred in a microsecond of time live on and on, imprisoned in our memories today?

Your hopes, your dreams and every good thing you have ever envisioned is still there for you. To find it you must only get yourself on the right track. There is no requirement to be any smarter than you already are. The only requirement is to keep yourself in that place called “good” and cleave to it as if your life depended upon it. You don’t need laws and commandments and rules to do it. All you need is a willingness to listen to your own heart and even more willingness to make the necessary changes to stay the course. The fool will continue in reckless abandon and defy the bad feelings to his own demise. The wise soul will find sooner or later that all he needs to do is obey.

Don’t spend another moment of your life in endless prayers and questioning. Cease searching for some mysterious intruder wreaking havoc on your life. Instead slow your roll and pay attention to what’s happening all around you. Take note of how you feel and trace it back to some thought, some decision, some thing you just did and garner for yourself its lesson. Don’t beat yourself into religious submission to rules and dogmas that make no sense to you. The right choice always feels right and no so-called expert can dispute it. The converse holds true as well, though the whole nation calls it right!

You’re no Front Runner train my friend, and your choices are almost unlimited. The right track has a million destinations but there is always only one way to get there. Choose good! Choose the right track!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 

The Cart Before the Horse…


AAEAAQAAAAAAAAK6AAAAJGNiODlmM2Y5LWRhM2YtNGY1YS1iODViLWI0ZDg1YjExODU0YQOne of the great tragedies of life comes from confusing your cart and your horse. The world, which is not confused, has convinced you to put your cart before your proverbial horse. It does so by persuading you that your life just “is” and that you are simply responding to it. So, this is for all of you who feel your life isn’t fair. This is for the unhappy souls. This is for the one that just can’t seem to catch a break. This is the remedy to every unpleasant circumstance and the release from anything that ever held you back!

When you take inventory of your life and I mean get really honest with yourself, there are probably things you “wish” were different. Maybe you don’t have enough money. (*Important side note – it seems the biggest proponents of money not being important are usually people who don’t have enough of it.) Money is very necessary, don’t you kid yourself. Maybe you aren’t experiencing satisfying relationships. Perhaps you don’t have enough friends. You might feel stuck; at a dead-end; purposeless or bored. You’re tired of being sick, facing setbacks, trying to surmount seemingly insurmountable odds! Whatever your issue is it can briefly be summed up in one sentence. Things just aren’t working out!  And with all that comes the shocker of all shockers. It is your fault…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Your life, the one you are presently experiencing, is exactly, unequivocally, precisely the sum of all you have expected it to be. Read that again! Obviously you aren’t responsible for every other person’s outcomes, but know this and never forget it. You are responsible for your own outcomes. You are, you are, you frikkin are! It’s not the world, the environment or your circumstances. It’s not your upbringing, your social status or your bank balance. It just isn’t and if you think it is you have fallen prey to the persuasion and your cart is pretending to pass your horse. Your horse pulls your cart and you are choosing the destination. Oh, you don’t think you are, but you are.

Lest you say I’ve gone mad, I get it. Life isn’t all peaches and roses. Sucky staff happens. Negative circumstances occur. People screw you over and everyone doesn’t start out on equal footing. At times you are an unsuspecting victim and other times you just didn’t see it coming. No-one’s life is exempt from the world’s shenanigans. We all have stuff to overcome. We all find ourselves in fights we don’t want to fight. There are reasons for that, but that is another blog. The point is, we can all get to anyplace we decide to get to once we finally learn how to get our horse before our cart.

The circumstances of your life are shaped by your beliefs. Your beliefs are formed by what you think about the most. What you think about the most is completely within your control and subsequently indirectly shapes the circumstances and events of your life. For example (warning this might piss you off), the amount of money you earn is exactly the amount of money, in that moment of time) you believed you could earn. The amount was determined by you. The limit was defined by you. If it isn’t enough it is your fault. To think that God decides how prosperous you are is to not understand God. The same applies to health and relationships and everything else under the sun. God simply laid out the rules. The rules have no limits, but they do have conditions. The conditions are, what you can believe for is what you will receive. Your believing, in your heart, ultimately a product of your thoughts, determines your results. Your beliefs are the horses and your carts are the results. Ya get it?

The liberation from negative outcomes comes when you decide to your change your thoughts. It happens when you step outside the hamster wheel and say, no more! It happens when you locate and destroy those self-defeating thoughts and (a very important and) you replace them with new thoughts. “It’s always been this way” is just a lack of understanding. It’s always been that way because you have always been that way and you can be any way you decide to be. It doesn’t matter how long you have suffered or under what austere circumstances you began. What matters is whether or nor you accept full responsibility for your life and in so accepting, do something about it.

People get forever stuck in the riddle of looking at what is and believing it is what will be. Today is just a reflection of all of your yesterdays. Tomorrow will be the mirror image of all of your todays. So, for God’s sake (literally), change your todays. Get outside of your well-worn ruts and picture something different; something better! Picture it; see it; live it in your mind today and as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow, it is going to come to pass. It’s your horse, by God, and it is completely in charge of your cart.

You may think this fanciful; Pollyanna or pie in the sky, but at the end of the day, it is still your life. If you want to make a change, what do you have to lose? if you want to remain in your misery, keep chasing your cart around, foolishly dismissing your horse and the control God gave you over your life.

You can change anything and everything in your life if you can believe it! You can…

Just some good thoughts…

Genuine Self-Help…


Sri-Lanka-OrchidThe term “self-help” has fallen out of favor in recent years. I guess the notion that you were reading a book because you needed some assistance, made you into a weak person, ever in need of help. So, they changed the name to “self-development” which is actually the exact same thing, but whatever works to sell books, I suppose. And boy, do they ever sell books! So, I mused… Why would a person read a self-help book? I think, if you are honest, you are reading it because you perceive that something needs to change in your life. Or, you might feel that something is wrong with you and that you are in need of repair. In either case, I’m not sure why that would be considered shameful, as all of us need fixing up at times! But, here’s the crucial question. Does self-help really help? Do the avid self-help readers really change for the better? And, if the people who invest their hearts into the literature don’t change, why is that?

I recall a time in my life when I was an avid reader of self-help literature. I mean, I read everything there was to read. As soon as I finished one, I went and got another. Looking back, it was a time in my life when things had sort of gone south on me. Through wrong teachings, harsh associations and mega doses of fear, I had morphed into someone who I hated. I just couldn’t stand myself. How in the hell did fun-loving, carefree Tony turn into “that guy?” I had become hard and callous and critical and worst of all, religious! I needed help and sought comfort from the self-help literature. And wow, did it ever comfort me! But, after quite some time, I noticed a pattern. While I was reading the literature I felt awesome, but it quickly faded and necessitated purchasing a new book. And you wonder why the self-help business is booming?! In most cases there was nothing wrong with the information. The books were loaded with principles and valid suggestions, but knowledge alone doesn’t get the job done! In order to transform your life, you need wisdom otherwise known as “knowledge applied!”

My wife and I have a dear friend named La Detra, whom we greatly admire. She is very successful and lives a dream life. When she has an idea, she pursues it to the full. Yes she is very intelligent and yes she went to Harvard. She is a critical thinker in the highest sense of the word. She is always in pursuit of the knowledge. But, what separates her from the pack is her determination to “do!” When she wants to make something happen, she analyzes the necessary conditions and then takes action to make it a reality. The reason so many equally intelligent people don’t realize their goals is their failure to actually launch! They think and study and read and think and study and never actually apply! Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing ever gets better until you turn your knowledge into action. Self-development literature is loaded with time-tested principles that will always work in your life. But somewhere along the line you have to change from an avid reader to an avid “do-er!”

Our life dreams, our goals, our heartfelt desires are only realized when we decide to turn our thought into action. I know, I know, it seems so intimidating, so impossible, so huge! But, I submit that it’s only so arduous because it has not yet left your imagination! Have you ever woke up in the morning afraid of something, only to discover it loses its grip on you once you finally decide to get up? Action cures fear and inaction strengthens fear! As long as you remain in research mode you may feel better but you won’t experience real change! Genuine change comes about only when you begin to act. The path to your desired outcome only reveals itself when you finally get out of your mind and on the path! Take a step. Make a move. Begin!!!

No-one experiences success in life overnight. No flower starts off by blooming. Instead it is first planted, then struggles through the soil, continues growing until it is at last a beautiful orchid. So you too, my friend, must first plant that glorious picture of the “new you” in your mind, endure the struggle of change, and continue growing until you become, at last, what you always knew you could become! And incredibly, once you embark on your journey, you’ll discover that all of life is voting in favor of you. Your answers will reveal themselves like glittering gold in the murky riverbed. What once abruptly halted your progress will fade away like the morning mist. You will rise and fight and overcome and nothing shall, by any means, stop you. That is, if you can persuade that old obstinate mind of yours to take an actual step!

As you are thinking this through today, ask yourself this question… What idea, what dream, what goal have you actually applied yourself to with full effort and still failed? You know and I know, those things you call failure are actually “you not taking action” or “you stopped taking action!” As long as you are still alive, you still have a shot at achieving your dreams no matter how many times the fat lady has already sung!

What change do you so desperately need in your own life? What do you need to do to stop hating that guy or gal in the mirror? Take some time to get a clear picture in your mind of your “new” self, find the knowledge that appeals most to your heart and then take the action the knowledge suggested! You will be greatly challenged in the beginning because someone or something wants you to remain defeated. But, there’s an infinitely bigger Someone or Something that wants you to succeed! The life you’ve always wanted is there for you, my friends, but you have to get out of bed, dress up and show up!

Just some good thoughts…

PS If you need a great book (that you promise to apply), I highly recommend:

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Hoping…for a Change!


maxresdefaultAs a self-proclaimed wordsmith, I have a tendency to over~analyze semantics. Words have distinct meanings ya know, but sometimes the way we use them reveals scads about how we think. It has oft been said that what you believe in the depth of your soul is what you actually manifest into your life. So, what do you believe? The answer will be found not only by what you say, but how you say it…

The word “hope” is one such example. If you want to be semantically accurate (and, who doesn’t?), hope is defined as “wanting something to happen (as a verb) and optimism towards future events (as a noun). In other words, when you say you hope so, you really mean, “you hope so.” You want something to happen. You may even want it to happen very badly! But, will it actually happen? I hope so (smile)…

“Believe” is another contestant in the semantics sweepstakes. “To believe” at its root means to have confidence in something or to accept something as true. So, if you believe something is going to happen, then it is going to happen, right? Haha, not so fast, my friend. Let’s say I ask you if you are going to get that job you are pursuing. Seems like the “believing” answer is “yes!” But, how do you really answer? “I believe so…” Which means, if you are being honest and are analyzing the semantics, “I hope so!” LOL, yeah, we are back there again!

You see, the words you choose and how you use them, tell you something about how you think. In the world of truth, yes is yes and no is no! Believing so and hoping so are cute expressions reflecting a strong maybe. And sadly, as long as your answer is “maybe” your results at best are only maybe! Maybe is just fine if you’re talking about things you cannot control like the Dallas Cowboys winning the Superbowl, but “maybe” sucks in making positive changes in your own life. Are you going to lose that weight? Maybe. Are you going to get over those weak spots that have been holding you down? Maybe. Are you going to finally earn the amount of money you need in order to live how you want to live? Maybe.

I’m sure you can think of those times in your life when you got damn serious about changing something! You probably said things like, “I’m not spending another hour living like this!” Or, “This crap stops today!” Or, “I’m going to figure out how to do this if it kills me!” Well, that kind of hyperbole makes something happen. You not only mean what you say but you have taken it a step further attaching life and death to it!

One of the greatest mysteries of human nature seems to revolve around waiting (and hoping) for something good to happen. I call it a mystery because YOU want it to happen and GOD wants it to happen, yet there you sit impatiently waiting for someone or something other than you to make it a reality. Now, I’m smart enough to know that there are many variables involved with making things happen and as a human being, most of it you don’t control. But, there is always, always, always, (yes, I said it 3 times) one thing you do control and that is what you believe! The naysayer may scoff and say that you cannot just sit around “believing” something is going to happen and expect something to happen… And they would be most accurate in that assertion. But, if you really believe and aren’t just playing the semantics sweepstakes, your actions will absolutely follow your beliefs. Look, if you believe the roof is going to cave in, you already stopped reading and hightailed it out of the house! (Hightail, to exit rapidly like a whitetail deer escaping a predator ~ semantics analyzation in progress.)

Unless your life is absolutely perfect, there is probably something you want to change, right? Well, ask yourself how you talk about the things you want to change. A great man once said, “What you think about the situation with which you are presently confronted will determine the outcome.” Man, read that again! Assuming you’re alone, try it out for yourself. Go ahead, do it. Ask yourself out loud. What do you think is going to happen? How you answered is what is going to happen, at least at this moment in time anyway…

Assuming your answer; your real honest answer, wasn’t what you want, you now have a choice. You can work on changing your honest answer and get serious about it, or you can keeping on hoping so and believing so without result, indefinitely. Contrary to popular belief, there is no power in the human mind, with one exception ~ you have the power to choose what you will and will not believe! If you can ever get around to believing, you enlist the power of something far greater than you, called God, the ultimate fixer of everything that ever went wrong with you!

Don’t waste another second of your life drifting along the debris ridden stream of hoping and wishing. Take charge of your mind and take charge of your beliefs. They’re your beliefs so you may as well make them something you actually want in your life, right? We can change anything and everything about our lives if we ever get around to really believing. Seems like that is the only logical thing to do.

Words are great fun; semantics are fascinating, but until you can get your mouth lined up with the beliefs in your heart, nothing is going to happen! Get clear on what you want, then answer yes and only yes to the question of whether or not it is going to happen! I really hope you figure this one out…

Just some good thoughts.

Stuck in Your Story?


134170985_istockphoto_thinkstockYou are presently starring in a melodrama whereby you are the leading actor. You own all creative rights to the story because you are the playwright. You are also the director demanding that every infinitesimal part of your story be portrayed in detailed accuracy. So the grand question is, does your story suck or is it awesome?

Whether we ever realize it or not, all of us are living out our lives in a story of our own making. That bears repeating! The life we presently live is the out-working of the story we have told ourselves with enough regularity that it has become real. Life isn’t something that happens to us, life is something we make happen. If your current life really sucks or is not what you expected or is not fulfilling or is not successful or has even become a hideous torture chamber, maybe you have gotten stuck in a bad story; a story you wrote, nonetheless.

Everyone has a story. Your story is the one that you tell yourself. It is your badge of identity. No matter what happens in your life, it all funnels back to your story; who you “think” you are. If you were fortunate enough to have developed a marvelous story, God bless you. But, I’m guessing, many people if not most people have a story that aint so good. For clarity’s sake, let’s say your story is one of a victim. I’ll use this example because it’s a story I used to tell myself. In the victim story you always hold the position of a saint. You do the best you can; you work hard; you’re kind and considerate; you give to others unreservedly, but somehow others don’t appreciate it and take advantage of you. No matter how hard you try to do the right thing, it goes unnoticed and those in positions of authority try to take from you all the good you have earned! It’s just not fair to you because you deserve those things you do not get. So, life story firmly in hand, you trod through life waiting for people to take away the good things you have coming. Oh you may eventually win in the end, but you have to fight damn hard for what is rightfully yours.

Surprisingly, in the victim story, you have failed to acknowledge something significant. Namely, that you only get exactly what you expect to get in life with breathtaking accuracy and a precision that rivals even the finest Swiss watchmaker. But, you are loathe to recognize that unsteady linchpin because to do so would force you to admit a portion of the blame. You are a saint after all. Alas, but tis all true my friend. The reason you have held on to the story for so long is because you get something from it; most likely freedom from responsibility for your own life. And so it goes with every story you told that ever held you back.

Stories like this are often developed in childhood or following some traumatic event and for a while probably served to protect you from some difficult situation. But, there comes a time when that story no longer fits the adult version of you and therefore needs to be discarded. You may well have been a victim when you were younger or even in adulthood, but that story does not define who you are. It simply defines something that happened to you.

The stories you tell yourself, though long accepted by you as true, are not true at all. They were never true if they characterized you as lacking in some capacity. You just got lulled into accepting them and allowing them to run your show from that point forward. And like any good melodrama, the more you rehearsed those stories, the better you got at acting out the part. Then everything around you began to mold to fit that story, further convincing you of its veracity. The trouble is that you forgot it is your story that you are acting in and at any moment, you as the director you could change the direction of the scenes.

A simple way to recognize your story is to think what it is you tell people as the reason you don’t get something that you desperately need or want. What is that grand limiting factor that you were apparently “born” with that gives you an unfair disadvantage in life. Is it that “nice” guys finish last? Or that money is “hard” to come by? Or is it that all the “good” guys are taken? Or is life “unfair?” If you are honest with yourself, you must know deep down that those things aren’t true; they are just an excuse for failure in a play that you are writing. Owning all rights to the story means you can simply take out your pen and write a new script! Stop rehearsing that nonsense and for goodness sakes take responsibility.

“The outer world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought, and both pleasant and unpleasant external conditions are factors, which make for the ultimate good of the individual. As the reaper of his own harvest, man learns both by suffering and bliss.” ~ James Allen

Your limited number of days on terra firm ought to be sufficient evidence to realize you only have so much time to accomplish your hopes and dreams. Don’t waste another moment wrapped up in some old, tired story you have been telling yourself, but instead make use of your thoughts to live in a world you have heretofore only imagined. Your life can only be as good as the story you are telling yourself, so make your story amazing!

Just some good thoughts…

Living Your Reflection…


reflection_28Here’s some food for thought… The life you are presently living is a direct reflection of your most dominant and habitual thinking. Read that again! Up to this point you may not have made this connection. Most folks don’t. Instead people think that life is happening to them and they are simply reacting to whatever life does next. People that live in a perpetual struggle falsely conclude that circumstances are working against them and probably even long for the time when the struggle will end. But, they remain unaware that their habitual thought forms the basis of their expectations and as such they are living in a world of their own making.

Habits are, in themselves, useful. On the positive side they free your mind of the unnecessary thought required to complete mundane tasks. However, habits also have a dark side. Negative patterns of thought, rehearsed over and over again lead to negative expectations, which manifest themselves in negative circumstances. And, to make matters worse, the habits become invisible to you because of their habituation. And, once darkness has become invisible to you, it is allowed to perpetuate within you to bring about those struggles you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.

I’m sure you’ve heard people complain to God about why life is so hard and why there is so much struggling going on. And, let’s be honest, there is some heavy-duty struggling happening. But, what you may not know is that God has given you control over those struggles once you know how to go about turning things around. God hasn’t left us without a remedy and surely doesn’t condone pain and hardship. But, until you finally learn that your life is “your” life and that you can exercise control, things will go on as they’ve always gone on since the beginning of time.

Just so you don’t think this is “crazy” talk, let me ask you some questions. At this very moment in time, what do think about life? Do think it is a struggle? Do you think it is hard and random and filled with the unexpected? Do you think that is always hard for you to get money and that it always will be? Do you think that disease just happens and that you are powerless against it? Your honest answer to those questions is the life you are presently living. Your expectation; your belief is precisely what you are experiencing and will continue to experience as long as you keep thinking the way you are thinking. Life won’t turn around for you and your ship won’t come in. It cannot because it is a direct reflection of your inmost thoughts. Change your thoughts; change your expectations; change your beliefs and your life will change.

In order to right the ship, you have to become keenly aware of what was formerly invisible; namely your thoughts. You have to start recognizing your negative thought habit patterns. You have to see where you have become your own worst enemy. You must clearly discern that negative chatter, ever providing reasons why you cannot succeed; why you cannot get ahead; why you cannot win. And once you finally hear it, you have to start forcefully challenging those false assumptions. Those assumptions are not “just life” but instead are lies you have been worn down into accepting. There’s no shame in being led astray because the whole world has been led astray, on purpose, by the evil that lies deep behind it, hidden. The real shame comes when you see a glimpse of the light and refuse to heed the lesson.

Have you ever noticed how people set goals for themselves? They set goals with tiny incremental increases as if one can only progress with baby steps. They don’t realize that the larger the goal; the larger the expectations, the larger the result. It is like that with your thoughts. Once you have begun to see and challenge a series of thoughts, your responsibility is to change your thoughts and expectations to something you actually want. It takes the exact same amount of effort to think something good as it takes to think something bad. But make no mistake, you are choosing by what you “choose” to think and hold onto.

I should add, because I know what you’re thinking, that sometimes you “find” yourselves in a challenging situation that you didn’t necessarily bring upon yourself. Sometimes people are under attack; in bad environments and feel that they are being tested. Well, they are being tested but never by God. The test is in how you respond to the challenge. Will you accept what it “seems” like or will you remain stedfast in your beliefs and overcome? You would be surprised how quickly things turn around when you make your mind up! But, if you succumb to what “appears” to be real, you end up down the same blind alleys you traveled before.

As living, breathing, thinking human beings, we always have a say in how things are going to turn out. Always! The key lies in refusing to accept the information that comes to your mind via your five senses, and trusting instead what God says is true! Obviously you can ridicule this notion and demand that what it seems like, is true, but with that you can resign yourself to your usual, perpetual struggle.

Your life, my life is a reflection of those things we think about the most. Change your thoughts and your life will change. It isn’t about being naively positive, it’s about choosing what you will and will not accept in your life. You have more control than you ever thought. God would have it no other way! Really!

Just some good reflections…

 

…Yeah, but why?


NewYearsResolutionsIt’s almost that time of the year when you are going to make your New Year’s resolutions. But, before you write that fanciful wish list, give this a little thought… Notice how many “goals” on your list are the exact same things you had on there last year and the year before and the year before. So logically, if you are writing the same things over and over again, something must be wrong!

When it comes to getting your needs met, and I’m assuming your dream-sheet is about getting your needs met, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, “What do I really need?” I’m not talking that minimalist logic that claims all you really need is food and water. If all you needed was food and water you would be a dog, not a human! Instead you, like the rest of us, have many needs; some simple and some complex. And in order to get those needs met, you must discover exactly what they are. It’s so easy to write, “lose weight.” But, before you are going to really lose that weight, something has to happen. No, no, no I don’t mean make up your mind to eat healthy, or to exercise more or to get more disciplined! You think that’s what it is and that’s why you write that fantasy memo every year. If that’s all there was to it, we would have all become slim and sexy by now. But that’s not all there is to it. In order to finally start delving deeper, you have to ask yourself, “Yeah, but why?”

Why do you want to lose weight (make more money, get healthier, exercise more, quit smoking/liquor/wild women and drugs)? Is that even what you really want? Really… Do you really want more money? How much? Is it the money you want or some specific items? Are there hundreds of things or maybe just two things. Right? Yeah, but why? Maybe you have become very clear on what you want and why. Very, very clear. So “why” don’t you manage to achieve it? As my good friend Mark recently taught, often there is something deeper going on that is shaping your behavior. There may be deep-seated habits and unmet needs that are sabotaging your efforts. Maybe you aint eating so much because you’re hungry, ya know? Substitute drinking, spending, etc.

Recently I did a little experiment. For about the past 15 or so years I have been trying to lose about 10-15 pounds. Not 30, 40 or 50 pounds mind you; 15 pounds. And, as you might expect, I was on a diet for about that same time period. Imagine a diet lasting 15 years with 10 or 15 pounds at stake. Imagine… I did Weight Watchers (paid the money), Fit for Life (bought the book), Low Carb, No Carb, and HCG (more money). And, I lost weight. On HCG I got down to 199 once. Yay, but about two days later I was back up 2 pounds. I weighed myself almost every day, for years! I starved, then binged. Saved points for wine (WW). Criticized myself every time I ate something fattening or sweet or a cookie or fast food or for even having breakfast. Again, imagine… After admitting to myself that I was living the definition of insanity, I decided enough was enough. Enter the experiment! I simply stopped. Stopped weighing, stopped obsessing, stopped denying myself anything potentially fattening. Stopped it! Did I lose a bunch of weight? No! But I learned that basically no matter what I ate, (eating normally, not going ham) my weight stayed at exactly 209-210 pounds. And even better, it finally dawned on me, “why” do I need to drop that 10 pounds? Do I really care that much? Or am I trying to fit into a cultural mindset that associates slim with disciplined/sexy/good/youth…ahhh youth-now we are getting somewhere! Would it be better for me if I weighed 10-15 pounds less? Of course. But the “why” of losing the weight, showed me “why” I haven’t been successful so far (unsuccessful in losing the weight, not in being happier!).

In order to really reach your goals, or even get your needs met, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t even want those things you write every year. Maybe. Maybe you have some deeper needs you have been pushing to the side. Maybe it’s time to look yourself in the eye and figure out what you really want as opposed to what you are “supposed” to want. Maybe all you need is an uncommitted $10,000 in the bank as opposed to becoming rich! Again, maybe…

The things in life we are serious about getting, we get! The things we aren’t serious about, we don’t get. Instead of just writing that crazy list, swearing off everything you enjoy in life, take yourself a step deeper and ask yourself, why? It is your one life, right? What is very important to you? Get those things and not to sound cheesy, but those things aren’t always money!

The New Year is a great time to reset your course in life. But don’t reset things that are already working well. Strive for more; do more; be more; love more! Just be sure your more is “your” more!

Your life is what you make it. Why? Because it is your life!

Just some good thoughts…