6 views to change for a more fulfilling life

pablo (4)
This post was actually inspired by another that I felt was quite shallow.  It claimed that we need less attachments to have peace but it actually went a little too far (in my opinion) by suggesting that we should have more of a “sweep responsibility under the rug” mentality.  Of course, if you sweep too many things under the rug, a hump develops that will cause people to trip.

 

I prefer a more straight-forward approach that is meeting your issues head-on.  These are 6 areas that I believe will lead to a much fuller life; one with meaning and purpose.

 

Seeking Others’ Approval
This is somewhat true and somewhat false.  To be able to get things done in your own life, there needs to be some approval by others.  Living your life to please others is different…because it is impossible to please everyone.  But I guarantee you, if you want to ever have a happy marriage or decent career, you need to find the happy medium.  If you are so selfish and so rich that you believe that this doesn’t apply to you, have a happy empty life and stop reading this post.

 

Social Media
For the most part, social media is something that you can control.  If you do not want to see the embarrassing pictures from when you got drunk at the party last weekend, stop doing stupid shit like that and they won’t have anything to take a picture of.  And if you are using any branch of social media as your main means of communication, you need help.  Try Skype (That’s a joke).

 

Posterity

“Live in the moment” is commonly heard these days.  While there are @theTimSpencegreat reasons to experience great moments, if that is what you live for, your life will be empty and you may die that way.  Better said may be to live as if it were your last day alive and care for your posterity, not so much your posterior.

 

Previous Relationships
Rather than toss your exes out on their arses like dirty laundry when you have had enough of them, maybe you should look introspectively and figure out why you end up with short term relationships, abusive people, etc.  Examine your own choices rather than tossing them in the dirty laundry bin.  Keep it up and sooner or later, the dirty laundry will have to be dealt with.

 

The Fallacy of Indecision
Indecision has played itself off as a procrastination or longer choice for making a decision.  Here is the truth.  Indecision is a decision.  It is Plan C when you only had Plan A or B.  Make a conscious decision to make a decision (even if it is the wrong one) or alleviate the phrase “I don’t know” from your daily vocabulary.

 

Dwelling on the Past
The only thing you can change about the past is how you look at it.  There are always, I repeat, ALWAYS something positive that can come from any negative event in our life.  For examples, please refer to the Not So Typical Thanksgiving List.  It really does depend on how you look at it.  I have seen people give thanks for some of the most horrific events because it led them to a new understanding of their own purpose in life. There is much healing in this.

 

While these are just short bits of wisdom that have been learned through much trial and error, each of them can be expounded upon greatly.  Of course, you don’t have to agree with all of them.  You can choose to find out for yourself…and make your own mistakes to learn from.  I prefer to attempt to “stand on the shoulders of giants” whenever I can.
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Reconsidering Failure – Part 1

There is a time in life that does not come around very often, when the decision to let some things go is hard.  Letting some activities go are considered by some as a failure…and really, what is wrong with that?  If we do not eliminate some things in our life that do not have purpose, our lives become cluttered and purposeless because we are not making adequate use of our resources.  It all becomes a jumbled mess.

 

So how do you decide what stays and what to boot?  Many things that get voted out may actually be a desire that goes very deep but where is the purpose?  Some projects or passions are those that you want to rekindle or feel guilty about not learning them in your past, but are they a catalyst for your purpose or just something to complete to check off of the bucket list?

 

Many things in life that we have failed at, we try to go back and start again because we have issues with failure.  We cannot allow ourselves to fail for some reason.  Here is an example of something that I am eliminating:

 

For many years, I have wanted to learn how to program, learn HTML, maybe even build an app.  When I started college (again) about 6 years ago, it was my major.  I struggled with it, learned a little at a time, completed a couple of courses and actually got 4 different IT certifications.  I built a website, learned how to manipulate it a little and then, after a couple of years of inactivity, I started to brush up on what I had forgotten.  I just recently completed my degree in a completely different field of study than computer science and still I feel a sense of failure that I did not get my degree in programming.

 

As of a couple of weekends ago, after long bouts of inner struggle, I have decided to abandon further education on programming.  Why?  Because of many reasons:

  1. There are many people in my life who can do it faster (and cheaper) than I could do it myself.
  2. It is not my passion, although my passions are not quite refined yet for this time in my life. It is only an interest.  I can marvel at other people doing programming well.
  3. I see that I am just not “wired upstairs” to learn this material at an efficient speed. I can be satisfied with having SOME of the knowledge and be happy that I am not totally ignorant of the programming process.
  4. I feel that it is taking away from the passions I have, rather than contributing to them.

So back to the question:  Why is there still a sense of failure inside rather than just realignment?

Failure.

It is a word that has developed a reputation from school, business and life.

“You got an F.  You failed that class”

“The business failed.  It had to be shut down”

“His heart failed and he passed away”

When looking at the meaning of “failure”, the reputation follows it but is not the actual definition.

  1. lack of success
  2. when someone does not do something
  3. someone/something not successful
  4. when something no longer works
  5. loss of quality/ability

Ummm…if you look at this list, you can probably fit each of those descriptions into events that happen in one work day.  So what is the problem with failure?  Putting things in a process, we can see that it is the reaction following that makes the resulting stigma.  When you had a lack of success one day at work, did you quit your job?  What about when you didn’t do something?  Something wasn’t successful?  When something didn’t work?  When you had a loss of quality or ability?  Did you just quit altogether?

The reaction is where the effect is either limited or exaggerated.  This is a key factor because it relates to so much in our lives.

Part 2 is developing…

What If You Died Today?

What if you died today?

A little over a month ago, a 51 year old man died. I knew him from high school only and he was only a year older than myself. He celebrated his 51st birthday, laid down and died in his sleep. The coroner said that the cause of death was natural causes.  As you would expect, many of those who knew him were shocked and devastated…and rightly so. Everyone said that he was such a wonderful person, no known health issues…just didn’t wake up that day.

I could turn this into an eternity discussion and since I am a Christian it would be very easy to do that. But if you are already a Christian, what if you died today? What if you laid down tonight, knowing that you would not wake up on the earth? What would you do before you went to sleep? Many things have been written about “What would you do if you found out that this was your last day to live?” but what if you didn’t have a whole day?

What about an hour?

30 minutes?

See, we will never be notified a whole day in advance, so let’s just drop it to half an hour?

Would you do what I am doing? Write to everyone? What would you say?

What would you say to your parents? Your brother or sister?

What about your kids? Your grandkids?

Could you look back at your life and honestly say that if you didn’t get the chance to talk to them before you left, they would know what you would have said?

Your friends, do they know? What about Facebook? Does your status know?

I listened to my pastor speak on Sunday about how precious it is to have the forgiveness that Christ gave. He gave the example of a man who was driving carelessly down the road and, because of his carelessness, hit and killed a small child. He goes to jail, serves time for involuntary manslaughter and is released. Although he has paid his debt to society, in the eyes of the law, nothing he can physically do can make the family of that small child forgive him. Nothing. So he lives with the pain and punishment of his carelessness.

How many people are you needlessly letting live with the pain of your unforgiveness? Because of your hurt, your pride, your unwillingness to forgive? And for what?

So that you can live in your anger and hatred?

To die in peace with yourself and everyone else, you need to take the action of forgiveness. If you died today, would they know what you would have said, knowing that you were leaving?

Say it before that day. Say it today. You may not have tomorrow.

…and live

It is hard describing why I have not written for some time.  For a long time I had been getting up very early to have “my time” in the morning. Then…I burned out.  Life got the best of me and I let it.  I was not interested in the introspective thought anymore.  I felt that my inspiration was gone and I started writing here and there, just for me.  I needed to express myself in private…and some of it was not very nice.

 

I had some personal successes and failures.  I also started looking at the “why” of what we do and the methods that create habits.  Since much of this started because I realized that I was not going to live forever, a lot of it was because I felt that I had a lot to say and so little time to say it.  I felt that if I helped one person find their way, I would feel accomplished at something.

 

My dad was a perfectionist to his own demise and I have inherited a lot of that criticizing nature.  I expect excellence because I cannot provide it myself.  It is true that what irritates us the most about other people is the embodiment of our own shortfalls.  I cannot focus and I get frustrated when my child cannot focus.  I lose interest and I criticize when I see things half-way done.  I act reckless and I get mad when my child is “happy-go-lucky”.

 

Dealing with this has been difficult.  My children are slowly achieving the age of adults but not the maturity.  Neither did I.  Yet I deal with this in different ways than I did not so long ago.  I watch and am silent.  I force myself to be patient and listen for their request for help.  I take the unfounded criticism of many for things that I am not responsible for…and I live.

 

I look to help others where I can and live.  I listen and share with those in need and live.  I care and give to those who may not seem deserving and live.  I attempt to make people smile because I believe my satisfaction from it is justified and live.  I love without expecting it in return…and live.

 

I want to say to my parents and grandparents that I understand now…and I know that I still have much to learn.  I understand why you prayed so much…because God is really the only one who will listen.  There are things that only He can hear.  I understand what it means when the scripture talks about “groanings that cannot be uttered”.  Some things cannot be expressed with words or wails.

 

You were not perfect but you wanted me to be the best I could be, so you pushed.  Even when I said that you were unfair and mean, you took the blame and stood firm.  You had so many things taken away from you by me and yet you loved and lived.  Thank you for loving and living in spite of me.  I am seeking to build upon the foundation you provided…and live.

 

 

Dam

So much has happened since Thanksgiving that it would an injustice to myself to NOT write anything. Time has been flying by and it seems sometimes that I cannot catch up with it all. Some years it seems that the holidays drag by but not this year. Until this moment, and probably afterwards, life has come very fast. I have just had to hold on for the ride. That being said, life is directable, yes, but unstoppable. How can that be? I liken it to a river.

 

Consider a small river, flowing through a forest. You cannot step into the middle of it and stop it. In fact, you and a hundred others stepping into the middle of it cannot either. It is not stoppable in that manner. But yet a small group of animals carrying one or two branches at a time can eventually direct it and in the process, make a cozy little home for themselves. In fact, carrying that thought a little further, they can concentrate the force of that river and make it calm in one section and raging in another. The river that may have been uncontrollable in the beginning, has succumbed to the efforts of a couple of small animals and its power harnessed to work for them.

 

I know that you didn’t expect a nature lesson today but you got one anyway.

 

So how is it that a large rodent with a flat tail can teach us about handling life? Well, it is obvious that its ability to harness the power of the river is monumental. The beavers also chop down large trees, store their food in the still portions of the river (a home-made refrigerator) and build tributaries and canals for the river to spread throughout the area. Do they do this because they know that the surrounding habitat needs it and that there efforts will be heralded at the next Annual Forest Convention? No, they do this because it is how they were taught and it is their instinct.

 

One thing to note though is that beavers are not perfect. Sometimes, when they are constructing and doing things instinctively, they have a dam collapse or a bear attacks and they can get hurt or a member(s) of their family dies. Sometimes pollution or human progress causes them to move. When this happens, do you know what they do? They adapt to their new surroundings and do what? What they were taught and do instinctively.

 

What are you teaching your friends, children or grandchildren to do instinctively? Yes, I said friends too. In case you haven’t noticed, when you hang around others, their habits and sayings tend to rub off on you and vice versa. This is why it is so imperative for you to exhibit leadership habits. Not so much to show off or try to be the big shot but to offer good teachings and instinctual habits for others to glean. And you do not have to be perfect in your efforts.

 

After all, you can direct life without having to stop it. And you can lead with out being the leader. One or two small branches at a time.

A Mess of Feelings

Sometimes you have so many feelings inside that it is hard to sort all of them out…been there? When this happens, what can you do to dig your way through it. Well, you can just start writing and hope that it all comes out like spitting words on to a page. It works sometimes but what if the words just won’t come out, even on paper?

Boom At that time, you need to blindside yourself…again. Seems like we need to do this quite often, huh? But consider this…if your attitudes, fears and reactions were correct everytime (and I mean everytime), you probably wouldn’t be reading here. So admit it and let’s move on. You need to know what the destructive behaviors are so that they can be targeted.

Now you noticed that I said “destructive”. Did that surprise you? Thinking of your life as a road that you are driving on, when a car drives in front of you while you are moving at a high speed, do you have time to sort your feelings out? No, your reaction is the decision you have to live with. Let’s think of it another way. When teaching martial arts, many times instructors will set up scenarios and have you react over and over until it is part of you. The situation is usually one where there needs to be emergency action, therefore a best reaction is programmed and the student responds. Life does not change its learning processes in other areas just because feelings are involved.

So the reason for blindsiding yourself is that you do not want to provoke one of your behaviors that may be destructive. I think Michael Hyatt was the one who said  “The really important stuff happens outside of your comfort zone.” That is what we are talking about, but in a different way. If you keep saying “Why can’t I get better at ___________?”, or “Why can’t situations be better?”, you may need to consider this as well. Remember the definition of insanity…doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results each time?

Sorting out feelings sometimes requires backing up a bit. Get out the pen and paper or computer and get ready to list. By the way, do you know why pen and paper work better than the computer? Because you can’t turn them off. But however you do this, take action. “Action cures fear”, a phrase coined by David J. Schwartz, is a key here.

bowl of jelly beans

So backing up here will mean looking at categories, subjects or areas where these feelings reside. Think of this as having a large bowl of assorted jellybeans. You take a jar, open the lid and write on the side of the jar “Green”. Just that one jar.

I know what you’re thinking. “But I need a few jars, one for each color, and I need to dig through the bowl and find out how many colors there are so I can have enough jars and…”

Just one jar.

Labeled “Green”.

Find one that is green and put it in there.

Just the same, Label the “jar” as “Job”, for example. Write it out. Find one thing that bothers you or concerns you about that and write it down. Think about only this one thing right now and look at ways to make it better and write them down. Think of something else that bothers you about your job or career and put that “jellybean” in the “jar”.

You might say “But what is the goal here? At this rate, I will never get finished”. The point is that history often repeats itself and you learning to handle one thing at a time means that next time that “jellybean” is thrown at you, it gets put in the “jar” right away and never gets to the “bowl”.

Do you remember learning to write, then spell, then read? It didn’t all happen at once. They built on each other. Your learning process is still the same. Find a “jar” and label it. Soon, you will notice that your “bowl” is out of green jellybeans and it is time for another jar. Repeat.

Your life is what you make of it. Every move you make can either get thrown in the bowl or in the right jar.

The bowl is indecision and the jar is decision.

GoalPray part 2

Concerning the term “GoalPray”…let’s take it a step further and make it an action.  “Goalpraying”.

You make a list of hopes, prayers, goals.  This list is constantly changing.  (One of my favorite sayings is “whoever invented the eraser, had the human race pretty well sized up”.  I guess that would be the “backspace” and “delete” keys now)

 

Let’s take an example of a few entries on the list (with fictional names):

 

Under the “Others” category

Terry:  Confidence and purpose.

 

Now this is a bit vague but it is at least on there.  Let’s take the GoalPray method and flesh it out a bit.

 

Terry:  Confidence for when she is dealing with her daughter and understanding the weight of her actions.  Purpose in life so that she can feel more dedicated to her work.

 

That is better.  Does Terry have other needs in her life?  Sure, but these are what has been brought to your attention.  Why?  God is pretty good at this.  Some people would call this burdened.  To me, that word is too religious and overused.  I prefer “selected” or “purposed”.  This issue has been selected or purposed for you to focus on.

 

Under the “Thankful” heading

My job

 

Now some of you are possibly saying “Why should I be thankful for that?  It’s a hellhole!”

Understood.  Duly noted.  It’s a hellhole.  Do you feel better now?

 

This list is not to make you feel better.  It is GoalPraying.  We want to get things accomplished.  So let’s take that entry and expand it.

 

My job:  Thankful for the ability to work and the skills I have been given to work.  Thankful for the money that I make from it.  Thankful for my co-workers (no matter if you like them or not) and the experiences that I will gain by working with them.

 

There is an entry that means so much more than “My job”.

 

One more…

Under the “Myself” column

My health

 

What about it?  Let’s write it out

My health that I will have adequate strength and be able to perform the duties that I have the responsibility to do.  That I will be able to resist the fiery arrows of the enemy that come in the form of pizza and Coke to tempt me.  That I will understand that fruits and vegetables are my friends.  (Okay, enough of that)

 

Is that much better?

 

What have I done in the last few lines? Have I just written out a bunch of words to fill a page or have I cemented a purpose in my life?

 

What is it that is important to you?  Is it important enough to write it down and GoalPray on it to make it happen?

 

Phillipians 4:6 says to not worry about things but in all circumstances, in the form of prayer and definite requests, while giving thanks, make your requests known to God.

Part 3 is developing…