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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The Passion Cycle

I remember when I was in my twenties and starting out working at a job.  It was a career choice that would have made sense if I would have been cut out at it.  But I was unsatisfied because it didn’t satisfy my “passion”.  I had always dreamed of being a philanthropist or psychologist who had a level of importance and authority that people looked to for help or guidance.  I did not want the authority to tell people what to do…I just wanted to know the answer to their problem and help them find their way.  Funny thing is, I couldn’t find my own.

I had read (or skimmed through) a book called “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow”.  What a grand scheme this book had.  Do what you really love to do and it will sustain you.

That mantra still carries on to today.  Many people, unhappy with their jobs and/or line of work, have taken the path of following their passion thinking that they can enjoy life more because of it…and a few times they do…very few.  In the meantime, they go through the cycle of

PassionCycle

  1. quitting their job to follow their passion,
  2. passion doesn’t produce results needed,
  3. get mad at passion and leave,
  4. take job that is even more unfulfilling,
  5. trying to find new passion

and so on.

Now some people may say that this is good because you actually get to know yourself and evolve through a process of elimination.  This is true I believe but for many who take this route, there is a habit of the cycle and it is never-ending.  In fact, it can be debilitating and destructive to a person’s overall life.  When reading this, did the thought run through your mind about people and intimate relationships?

While not everyone has this happen in personal relationships, just looking at the cycle and taking that angle, you can see how destructive it can be to someone’s life.  So I want to take a different look at this scenario…a cause and effect look.

Let’s just imagine the ultimate goal that is being aimed at.  The ultimate goal is to enjoy what do.  Enjoy life.  Maybe experience the “flow” that once tasted, can sometimes become a passion to find it again.  Nonetheless, the goal is to do something that you enjoy doing and not to get trapped in the hunt for it.  Without trying to imagine what that is exactly, imagine the feeling.  What does it feel like?  Is it you standing around, grinning all the time?  No, that would be weird.  What is the feeling?  Is it accomplishment…importance…authority…creating?  Find the feeling and the action of it.

This takes a little time to figure because it may not be a certain thing, but a feeling that is being sought as the goal.  Now remember, this is the goal and not the means of getting there.  And one other thing:  the means are temporary and build upon each other.  You cannot get to the goal and be done and be fulfilled.

So with this in mind, how do you get there…to each means.  Well, just as a sturdy house is built with one brick at a time, your means are built one step at a time.  Here is the interesting part though:  you do not have to search for that perfect job.  You can find that first step where you are right now.  You see, sometimes people do not let themselves get into their jobs well enough to experience that “flow”.  They yearn for the steps to the great goal to be like that goal.  For example, if their goal is to be an authority in a certain field, they seek to be recognized for each “brick” or step and when they are not, the temptation of starting that cycle happens.

So keeping that vision of building a brick house, what is it built upon?  A foundation.  Have you ever seen a foundation without the house?  Is it just a slab of concrete? No, there are things set in it before the concrete is poured to make everything in the future fit correctly:  plumbing, electrical, etc.  and a lot of digging before all of that.  If a contractor keeps moving to a different lot before the digging is done or while the foundation is being built, all that is left is a bunch of holes and messes.

Preventing that mess requires steps being followed and that “flow” can be found in each step if the goal is kept in mind.  In reading the book by Jim Collins, Good to Great, he talks about a POW named Admiral Jim Stockdale and how he survived being held in captivity for 8 years.  The statements made by Stockdale can be directly applied to this post:

“I never lost faith in the end of the story.  I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life…This is a very important lesson.  You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose, with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

He developed systems for his fellow captives to handle torture, communicate and deal with captivity.   He gave them purpose, keeping the ultimate goal in focus.  Interestingly enough, he stated that the captives who did not survive were the “optimists” as he called them.   Those “optimists” would talk about getting out by Christmas, and Christmas would come and go.  Then by Easter, then by Thanksgiving, etc. and in his own words, “they died of a broken heart”.

What does this say about goal setting to you?  Four things are evident

  1. Setting goals (dates, milestones, quotas) for the steps to the ultimate goal is good but can be destructive if the STEP takes the prominent place of the GOAL. (How many times do you want to break and mend your own heart?)
  2. Small failures will happen. It is a part of the process.  (Ask a contractor if they ever built a house with no failures or mistakes)
  3. Setting up systems for small purposes that point to the overall goal or purpose can lead to sustainability.
  4. Keeping your eye on the ultimate goal is the key to perseverance.

What is great about this is that it can be started immediately, at any stage in life, at any part in your career and make a difference in your life as well as those around you.  Find your “flow” WHERE YOU ARE.  Set up systems for those small purposes that point to the overall goal.  Set up goals for your steps but do not make them what you live by.  Keep your eye on the ultimate goal and stay out of a destructive cycle.

The Problem of Hope

Hope is a strange thing.  You grow up saying “I hope I make the team” or “I hope that I get that job”, but hope can mean so much more and can be applied in many different situations.  Looking at the definition of hope, it reads “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.: ‘he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information’, ‘I had high hopes of making the Olympic team’ and “a feeling of trust’”.  Trust, hope, aspiration, expectation and goal are all in the same category, but why do you have such fleeting feelings when it comes to hope?

Is it because, as a child, your hopes were dashed because you did not get what you wanted for Christmas?  The sudden absence of a parent or close friend?  Promises made and broken?  What kinds of disappointments get into your mind and affect your life for years to come?  Can you actually take control of those “negative triggers” in your mind?

It is amazing how events piled upon more events, create your personality.  Some call it “being shaped by your environment”.  How can you take the reigns or wrestle away the control from your environment and move your life in a positive direction?

This is a gap because when hope leaves, there is emptiness. It can be easily filled with the wrong things.  It can even be filled with the need for isolation.  But if you are wanting to properly fill this gap, it needs to be filled with a “positive”; a habit that does not destroy you, but builds upon you.

Many have filled it with reading the Bible, exercise, writing, learning a new skill, etc., many times to excess, but it all relates to how you deal with failure.  If you go in a negative direction after a negative event, you have filled your personal gap but sometimes made it even worse.  And many times, that negative direction creates negative attention towards yourself.

Realization of this habit or “gap filling” is half of the answer.  When you realize that you are creating a negative pattern by your own actions, you can actually seek to direct your reactions, one by one.  Can you direct all of your negative patterns?  Probably not, but deciding to do nothing is still a decision and will eventually take you further down the negative pattern.  Sometimes, realization is what is needed…with an alternate path waiting to be taken.

Here is an exercise to leave you with.  It is not easy and you may struggle with it.  Take your negative end result and work backwards from it, numbering each event that led up to it.  Look at each event with the possibility of “What would have happened if I would have responded differently?”.  The key to this exercise is to be thorough, so just take one event at a time and be honest with yourself.

Afterwards, add a comment, disagree, scream at the blog, whatever…just realize where your reactions take you.

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.

Attack mode Part 3 – 5 ways to fill the gap

Is there a cure for this inability to move…this choice of sitting that is not laziness but paralysis?

After all, this gap can cause life to stop and end up being more damaged than an action with rejection.

Here are a few ways to take action and fill the gap

  1. Start small.  None of these work unless you take action, so start something towards the event that paralyzes you.  Sometimes the event or goal is urgent that going into attack mode seems like the only way.  Starting small gets the ball rolling and opens up new opportunities that are small successes.
  2. Chunk it down.   This may seem exactly like the first but it has some differences.  This is taking one goal and setting it out into steps.  Attach dates to the steps and whenever you don’t make a deadline, give yourself a verbal warning.  Readjust future deadlines and keep going.
  3. Blindside yourself.  This is actually fun.  Pick something that you know nothing about and get involved with it.  For example, volunteer someplace for short time period a week for an organization that provides a service for certain individuals that cannot help themselves;  something that is bigger than you.  It could be for just 2 hours/week.  Do not think that the organization will not take your help.  Most are appreciative for any they can get.   While you are there, concentrate on doing things to help that are outside of your comfort zone.  It is the key to filling the gap.
  4. Build a quick sales pitch for yourself.  When I heard this one, just 2 days ago, I decided to work on it.  Think of how you introduce yourself when someone asks “What is your name?” and start your QSP (quick sales pitch) on paper.  For example, “My name is ___  ________, and I go all-out to be the best in my field.  My purpose is to serve others to the best of my capacity with integrity and strength, while striving to provide service as if I were regarded as the industry’s best.”   If you actually memorize it, every time you meet someone in person or on the phone, the whole affirmation will come to you and set your course to be your best.
  5. Work it backwards from the visualized goal.  This is one that I believe is not utilized enough.  The ability to take a result and work backwards, step by step, to map your path.  It is where society has gone wrong many times, by not having “cause and effect” thinking.   The ends must justify the means.

These are just a few.  I am sure that there are many.  Please feel free to add more in the comments that have helped you.  If you do, they may help someone else.

Attack mode – Part 2

The element of control…why is it there?  Everyone likes to be in control.  Even when it seems that someone is out of control, the reasoning for their actions is for them to be in control.

Back to the chess game.  Stalemate.  Why? Because one has refused to move.  Reasoning?  The game or process is coming to a climax and the result will be evident:  Success …or failure.  Both of them are painful.  The latter means rejection.  The former means that the process will be encouraged again and the possibility of rejection will creep up again.

This stagnation is real with many.  It is a gap that is hard to fill.  The ability to risk rejection and succeed or fail is coveted but seemingly unreachable at times.

So what is the gap?  If someone were raised without a father or a child of divorce, the fear is sometimes too real to bear.  Taking the step into the unknown is stagnating… paralyzing…debilitating.  Whether acceptance or rejection, there will be rejection at some point if the process is allowed to continue.  So immobility is the choice.

It is the choice.  The act of not choosing is still a choice, and immobility is choosing to fail.

And waiting until there is not any other choice but action?  Is what?  Still failure or a forced effort?

Many entrepreneurs have talked about some of their best work coming at the time when that effort is forced.  Some of their greatest innovation coming to be when they had no other choice.  But should someone put themselves in a detrimental situation every time they desire great innovation?

There is a better way; in fact, many better ways but that “effort” can be engineered rather than forced.  Therein lies the immobility factor again, though.  Some people will plan themselves to the grave.

More to come…

Never Let Them See You Sweat

I use the phrase “Standing on Giants’ Shoulders” for a reason.  It is because I do not just think of this stuff; it comes from the experiences of myself and those that came before me.

The phrase “Never Let Them See You Sweat” does not apply to marriage.

Here’s a short explanation about why…

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