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 Habit of Procrastination

I am a bundle of feelings right now. I have not written in this blog for quite some time. My interests and desires have been elsewhere. Work. The worries of life. Self. Many of us either have been there or are there now.

But this has helped me to examine the motive for our actions if we have this habit. This habit, that I speak of can be explained like this. You have strayed away from something you know you need to do. You are procrastinating from doing it because you do not want the feeling of guilt about inaction. It is easier to not do it and say that you just stopped rather than deal with that feeling when you do start.

You can actually turn it backwards and look at quitting a habit or addiction like smoking (some of us can talk about this because we have faced it). Quitting smoking involves changing a character trait or modifying it. It is easier sometimes to start up again, say “I failed” and not have the struggle than to keep the struggle going. We get relief from starting up again. Yes, relief. Relief from the battle. Relief from everyone asking about our struggle. Relief from wondering what we actually can do with our hands since we are not smoking. It is easier than changing ourselves.pablo (1)

Turning it back around, though, what about things we are supposed to do, should do or are “expected” to do.

Some are simple.

Some are hard.

Simple things like writing in the blog. You know that you feel more complete and whole when you do. It allows you to “empty” your soul or rant or whatever but it is beneficial to you. If you do not type that much normally, it helps to improve this skill at least. But it takes the effort to do so.

Hard things like saying goodbye to a friend or loved one, whether they have died or just gone away for a while. Having to suffer the emotion, knowing that tears may be involved, we shy away because it is easier. It is easier because we can deal with others temporarily thinking about why we didn’t say goodbye or visit the surviving family rather than suffering through personal heartache and transparency. We would rather choose the road that is easy; the freeway; the road more traveled, so to speak.

Well, then there is this saying that I put together. It goes like this.

Restriction: I can’t do it
Procrastination: I’ll get around to it
Inspiration: I’ll do it when I feel like it
Perspiration: I will do it no matter what

Some people say “Man Up!” (or “Woman Up!”). Some say “Get some balls already!”. I say “The only way to get it done is to figure out how to do it and get after it!”. Why? Because the habit of procrastination kills. A part of you dies every time you procrastinate. I have heard so many stories of people who died shortly after retiring because they didn’t plan on what to do, had nothing to do and lost purpose. When we procrastinate, we lose purpose. In fact, it carves away at our very lives. It provides us a way to lose our lives and purpose rather than enrich them.

In previous writings, we have looked at failure and the circumstances we cannot change; things that happened that are in the past or did not happen because of something we did. Those are things that cannot change.

This is something we can. We can change the way we do things. We have the ability to change how we do things. You may say “I don’t know how”. Find out how. Try something different. If you find yourself doing something that keeps you away from the purpose that you desire to do, look at what you did that led you to doing that (this is common for computer troubleshooters). Examine what you did previous to the action that happened and do something different. Do something that you see leading yourself towards a better result.

You can change the way you do things…but you can’t and won’t, if you don’t.

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…

Failure Speaks

I hate you.
When I start your day, I love reminding you of how worthless you are.
Listen to me. No one should listen to you. You have nothing worthwhile to say.
I can find multitudes of reasons why you should not even get up…and I enjoy sharing them with you.
I thrive on your desire for pity. People should feel sorry for you because of your lack of worth.
I can turn the smallest setback into a lifelong issue if you just listen to me.
Remember when your friend looked at you like you didn’t know what you were doing? That was me who told you that they didn’t like you. The funny thing is that I told them to look at you like that to make sure that you didn’t take any more chances.
Remember when your boss asked you to take on that new task? That was me who told you not to do it because you wouldn’t gain anything from it. In fact, I was the one who told your boss not to ask you, but your boss didn’t listen to me.
I sometimes join up with your pride to make sure it doesn’t get damaged. Somebody has to protect it. After all, if you don’t have pride in yourself, you won’t be able to do anything, right?
When it comes down to it, I may be the best friend that you have. I save you from things like embarrassment, sadness, unnecessary responsibility, confrontation and a host of other uncomfortable things.
There is no reason to have uncertainty in your life when I can make your path certain. In fact, some people may even get our names mixed up and call you by my name because you start to have the same effect on them that I do.
That is fine with me. Many follow me because it is just easy to. Life is hard enough without looking for more difficulty.
Come and join me. Pretty soon, you can be just like me.

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.

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.

The weight of the world comes crashing down…

So, mornings are tough when the weather changes and even more tough when crisis strikes…and even more tough when both strike at the same time.  Ha, when it rains it pours.

It will not keep me away from sharing with all of you, though.  Many things have happened to shed more light on life and I am eager to be transparent…to your benefit, I hope.

The weight of the world comes crashing down.WeightoftheWorld

You had one of those moments before?  I woke up the other morning and I felt like stress found me.  My pastor had said in his message the day before that in an average day, a person makes approximately 168,000 decisions.  Now I could have let that statement go, maybe zoned out during his talking and not let that sink in.  But for someone who has fought through some major and minor decision-making issues in his past, that statement sunk my boat.

I usually do not know when stress is happening until I physically feel it…and WOW! did I feel it.  A mental fog set in and threw my day out of whack.  I was just operating on auto-pilot the whole morning.  I am glad that some good habits were formed in me so that I could work by going through the motions, though.  It took some real intense thought and prayer to claw my way out of the most of it.  Some of it still remains.

But what if I would have chosen to stay there.  Have you ever had that happen to you and you stayed there…in that muck and mire…wishing for someone to reach down and pull you out?  Or maybe you didn’t hope for someone to show up but you just gave up?

When this happens, it really is a matter of perspective.  Our society has become so computerized that we have forgotten the value of the physical pen and paper.  Getting yourself transparent and writing things down is a humbling experience at times.

Questions to yourself need to be answered.  Here is one:  How much of this can I change the outcome?  Can I somehow produce an outcome that will decrease its “worry” weight?  If not, then you are just a spectator.  Prepare for how it will affect your world to lessen its effect.

Another question is:  Is it my problem?  Is this based on someone else’s decision?  Even if it is your adult child that you raised, does lamenting over the crazy things they do change what they do?  Again, you are just a spectator.  Prepare for how it may affect your world.

Final question:  Can I talk to someone (close friend or spouse), that can offer a different perspective and will I shut my own mouth and listen?  This is the key many times.  When you have experienced levels of distrust in their life from those who are supposed to be responsible, you tend to lean on yourself because at least you know what to expect from yourself.  You may have heard the saying “Behind every successful man, there is a strong woman”.  I will tweak that saying and say “Behind every successful person is a trail of people who teach”.

Plain and simple…You do not know it all.  The answers to all of your problems are not lurking around in your subconscious, waiting for you to catch them.  I know that there have been self-help teachings that say the “Greater Consciousness” will give it to you if you ask.  Well, here is a shocker for you:  Just like God uses you to help others, He will use others to help you.   Part of the problem with “self-help” teaching is just that:  It teaches you to only rely on yourself for answers.  Don’t act like the word “ASK” is a four letter word.

We do not know it all.  Never stop learning.

Lay down the weight of the world.  It is not for you to worry about.  You do have responsibility to make good decisions for the future, not for the past.  All 168,000 of them.

Dry

Dry times are difficult to go through.  It is where I am right now.  These times are like being depressed except you’re not.  Life’s battles have not gotten harder, it just feels like you have given all that you have and there is nothing left.  But…taking the effort that you have left over and utilizing it to its best use tends to show later on that you can do more with less energy than you think.

 

These times will test you.  You will come home grouchy and gripe at everyone, thinking that you are just acting normal until you do something that takes you outside of yourself to see how much of a pain you are being.

 

You may get up in the morning and think that talking to God is the last thing that you want to do…but…these are the times when He longs to hear from you.  “Cast your cares on Him for He cares for you.”

 

Talk to Him like He is your actual living father.  After all, He is.  He is the father that our fathers could never be because of their human frailties.  You can unload on Him.  Its ok.

 

Sometimes you have to think about people like Moses and how he talked to God.  “Lord God of Israel, your chosen people are such a pain!  And we are slaves!  And I am not a leader!  I talk with a stutter!  Why don’t you choose my brother?  He is better at this kind of stuff.  He beats everybody at checkers and cornhole.  People love him but they just look at me and wonder why I cannot be more like him.  Why me?”

 

Do you think that he may have been much of a complainer?

 

God wants to use us anyway because we are His instruments.  You have the choice to be used of Him or let someone else.  But He wants to talk to you.

 

Talk to Him…again…like He is the perfect daddy.  Because He is.

Know that this is just a short season in your life and He will give you nourishment to where your thirst will go away and your dry times will become profitable and productive, spiritually and physically.

What are we thinking?

Have you ever said that?  “What was she thinking?” or better yet “Was he thinking at all?”  This is an interesting phrase but as we look at it, turn it around.  What am I thinking?  Many say that you can tell what people are thinking by their actions.  Well, that may be true but I think it goes deeper than that.

moreintelligentlife

Outward actions are determined by the habits you have formed which in turn are caused by your upbringing, experiences and some heredity as well.  Some people actually blame their heredity for their actions like it is something physically forcing them to do certain things when actually it is their mind.

You can experience a major change in your life and make it a good habit if you realize one thing:  failure is a part of succeeding.  You will fail.  Failing should be expected but succeeding is a decision.  Just like the baby steps that we talked about in a previous post, you must find that original desire that produces change and start over.

In the mornings when we get up at the last minute…our actions are saying “I got this handled” when in actuality, we need guidance.  You are worth investing a few quiet minutes into yourself and your purpose by giving time to Him for gratitude and direction.

After all, that world out there is much bigger than it seems and He is working in all of it.

So, what are you thinking?