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:

18189327

 

Advertisements

Everything You Ever Wanted…


decision-analysisWhat if you found yourself sitting in your living room with God and He told you that you could have anything you ever wanted in your life. And then He casually offered, “What would you like?” Could you answer that question? What if the only restriction was that you could only choose one thing? Could you choose one, most important thing? Or would you quickly default to lots of money, the big house, fame and fortune?

It’s sort of mind-boggling to think that us humans with all of our complicated hopes and dreams find ourselves unable to answer such a simple question. And, not being able to answer that question may explain why you are living the way you are. If you deeply contemplate your own life and if you are honest, you already know the things that are most important to you. You know what you want, but thus far haven’t been able to see a way to bring it to pass. Why?

There’s a world-wide delusion going around about God. The delusion is that God chooses the good things in your life. And similar to that is the erroneous logic that God has already decided ahead of time what exactly you can and cannot have. It’s simply not true. The reality is that God already knows what good things you want as a “free-to-choose” human being and desperately wants to give it all to you. Second, God has not set a limitation on your life. You have (I have) by your failure to clearly answer that question and take the necessary action to make it a reality.

People spend an entire lifetime waiting for a sign or for their ship to finally come in, never realizing that their ship is their own thoughts and beliefs and that signs follow people who believe and not the other way around. There is no waiting required. If anything you’re waiting because you have not yet decided! Deep down you know, but hey that cannot be. How will it happen? Where do I start? You perhaps haven’t even considered that the how and the where aren’t the starting point. The starting point is your decision. Once you finally choose, you will have answered the question, “What would you like?” Once you answer, it then becomes the responsibility of the One who asked you the question, to supply what you need!

When I think about my own life, it’s rarely a question of what it is that I want. Instead it’s an insidious belief that everything must be perfect before “it” can happen. And, waiting for the perfect timing or perfect idea is just another form of waiting in disguise. The reality or perhaps my hypothesis is that you should decide, then start and then modify and adjust and adjust. Starting is everything as the saying goes. Waiting is nothing as you already know!

Any belief that you have, true and untrue, is a byproduct of a decision you have already made. If you believe that God does not love you or worse, even know you, it is a decision you have made based on some faulty thinking or negative circumstances you have already encountered. Yet it’s not true. But for you it is true because of your decision and that leads to more erroneous beliefs such as God not being in favor of you getting everything you ever wanted. Conversely, if you believe that God wants you to have everything you ever wanted, you will have no trouble making the decision that you can have those things and will wholeheartedly pursue them. People call that fanciful thinking, yet have no trouble deciding they aren’t worth the things they want. But can’t you see it? Both ways of thinking are choices and decisions, but only one side is actually supported by God’s Word! So you decide huh?

How sad it must be to end this journey one day with regrets about who you are and what you could have been. How heart wrenching must it be to die with your dreams still trapped within your heart. Why not decide right now, while you are still drawing breath to once and for all do “it”, by God (literally), with no looking back; no hesitating or doubting, balls to the wall until it finally comes to pass. Why not?

There’s no time limit on reaching your hopes and dreams, as long as you reach them. The real fun in life is always found in the journey, so just make sure you are traveling wisely. Even a small amount of faithful, dedicated time will one day add up to your grand finale. Just stop sitting there waiting for some mythical day when it all magically comes to pass. That great day only comes for those courageous souls who dared to act regardless of the naysayers or circumstances.

You CAN have everything you ever wanted in life if you will just muster up the courage to decide!

Just some good thoughts…

…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…

Whatcha Waiting On…?


4960390214_c70d04d5a6_z If you are like me (an assumption I like to make because it makes me feel better), you spend a lot of time waiting for something.  I don’t mean waiting in the grocery store line, I mean waiting for some event to happen; some circumstance to change; some item to arrive before you can be happy.  So my question for you is, whatcha waitin’ on?

It’s always seemed odd to me how we have learned to constantly defer our happiness to some future date.  “Once I get that new job and more money, things are going to be great!”  “When I get that new house or that new car or that new something, life will be good.”  “When I go on vacation; when Friday comes; when summer gets here; when I can finally retire and do what I want!”, life will be just awesome.”  When I find that special someone, my life will be complete.”   And while I know I have said this before, what in the world are we waiting for?  Like I told my wife last night, if we spend so much time dreaming about being away from our jobs, maybe we should figure out how to  be away from our jobs more often, or maybe do the kind of work we love?  Odd, huh?

As I think about a little more deeply, what grand, magnificent illusion has been sold to mankind that has talked us into a myriad of reasons to defer our happiness to some future date.  How truly insidious is the notion that we should always be waiting for our mythical ship to come in; for our lottery numbers to hit; for some glorious circumstance to arise that catapults us to greatness?  If you have lived any numbers of years, you probably already know the things that turn you on.  In your heart of hearts you know the type of work, that doesn’t feel like work, you promise you will be doing at some later date.  Meanwhile, years pass, dreams fade and a lot of years turn into distant memories of that awesome person you were going to become…  Wow!  Have you ever watched a movie (and movies are good at this) and saw images of the life you would like to live?  You know what I mean, right?  They live in a beautiful house by the lake, sipping wine in the evening as they watch the sunset glimmer off the water in the distance.  And you think, man that could be me “someday…”  Someday, right?  I remember telling a woman once how much I loved San Diego and its eternal sunshine.  She replied, “Why don’t you move here, then?”  I said, “Oh no, I couldn’t do that!”  And her classic response?  “Then, I don’t want to hear it!”  Clear, not nice, but very clear!   You do realize that if you have enough clarity on the picture of how you want things to be, the only thing stopping you from getting there is you.  But, you don’t think you are stopping the process because you are waiting for it to happen in the future.  But in reality, the result is the same.  The future time never comes as it’s always future.  Now is all you got baby, right now!

And here’s something else to put into your mind during all of that time you are staring into the horizon, waiting.  I’ll refer to this as grand, magnificent illusion #2.  Happiness is not something we seek after.  Happiness is our natural state of being, that is once we have gotten rid of all the silly things that block it.  Children are happy…  And, if they aren’t happy it lasts about 3 minutes then they are right back to being happy.  Events don’t make us happy, we decide to be happy during certain events.  Things don’t make us happy, we decide that getting a certain thing will make us happy.  People don’t make us happy, we decide that being around certain people makes us happy.  Happiness is not something to wait for, happiness is a decision we make right now.  Or I should say, we can make right now.  So why on God’s earth wouldn’t we make that decision all of the time?  Because we are waiting for something else to happen (see grand illusion #1)!  We are waiting for the stars to align; waiting for God to give us a sign; we are waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect time, the perfect circumstances…  If you really, really want something, you have to go and get it now!  I recognize that things don’t always happen overnight, but let’s be honest now, they aren’t going to happen any night if you don’t go and get them.

Okay, okay, so I’m with you, folks.  Remember, my assumption is that you are like me!  🙂  I’m a writer (hope you noticed).  Writer’s write, right?!  How often do I take the time (that never feels like time) to write?  Oh maybe about 3% of the time in my life… Why?  Because I’m waiting for something.  I’m waiting to not have to spend so much time at work.  I’m waiting for the perfect Saturday morning.  I’m waiting for the ideal evening when I don’t feel tired.  Ha, you get the point…

So what do you want out of your life?  What really floats your boat?  What do you do, that when you do it, no-one can compare with your work?  What are you good at?  What God-given talent are you presently hiding under a bushel, waiting for the “right” time to get after it?  The time to do it folks is right now.  That ship aint coming in.  Life just doesn’t work that way.  Even that person you knew who seemed to “find” themselves in the midst of tremendous, good fortune, secretly in their heart, saw that day coming so clearly that it had to happen!

Don’t waste another second waiting on happiness.  Decide to be happy now!  Don’t fritter away another moment waiting on doing what you love, do what you love right now!  (I am)  You love what you love for a reason.  Don’t defer doing you for the future day when you can do you, as you will have wasted ‘you’ in the process.  (A mind is a terrible thing to waste..)

So, next time you are “Sitting on the dock of the bay” make sure it’s because you are resting from doing what you love…

Just some good thoughts…