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…

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.

Less Stressing, More Blessing

The motto for the day (week, month, year, life). In essence, it means that no matter what is coming at you, focus your energy on the good of others. It goes hand in hand with the quote from Zig Ziglar, “You can get what you want, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

 

Where this statement gets its weight is that we really do not know what we want. We don’t. Really. You may think that you want to be a best selling author or maybe a professional dancer. Maybe you have the dream of having your own successful business or an in-demand speaker.

 

Well, to achieve those goals, you need to:

1. write what others want to read

2. perform the way others will enjoy watching

3. produce something others will buy

4. speak about subjects that others will want to hear

 

Just another way of saying, “It is not about you”. Don’t stress about the things you cannot change, but bless others with what you have to give…and seek to get better at it so you can give better. You will get what you really want by turning the focus away from you.

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.

Giving

What is your purpose of giving?

I heard once about a professional football player that while he was in college got into an argument with his professor about benevolence.  I believe that the player was Ricky Williams.  The argument was that the professor claimed that people do not give selflessly, they do so to make themselves feel good.  Mr. Williams stood his ground by saying that this was not true.  As is true in most arguments, it was never settled.

So what is your motivation for giving?  Not just money, I am talking about giving.  Is it inherent that you give to give yourself a good feeling or is it a sense of “the right thing to do”?

We give of ourselves, sometimes not knowing of the return but yet we give anyway.  Is it because we know that we will feel better about ourselves afterwards or that we have been convicted to do so and the “feeling better” is a sense of relief?

It probably differs in many cases, but what about in the case of giving where may never see the return even if it happens.  Our society is not able to see this.  They say “What does it matter?  I won’t be here anyway.  Live and let live.  Be wild, be free, it’s all about me”.  But what about your legacy?

I know, legacy, for some people is a strong word.  “Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past”.  So really what does it matter.  It matters because our paradigm needs to shift beyond ourselves.  Truth is that you may be already seeing a return on things done previously.  The return from times of irresponsibility.  The return from days of selfishness.  The return of those “what does it matter?” days.  And even though we can look at those returns and wonder “what if I would have done that differently?”, we should look and say “what now?”

It is like a chess game.  Some people said that great chess players start a game, knowing exactly what moves they are going to make in each circumstance, knowing how their opponent will react to each of their moves.  But the beginning moves are the ones where things are volatile.  Each move that follows, corrals the opponent into their plan until finally victory is achieved.

This is how purpose works.  Direction, calling, destiny.  Each move keeps you moving in a certain direction until victory is achieved.

Giving has a purpose.  Giving of money, time, wisdom, even hugs.  They work towards the ultimate goal of a purpose.  And even though we may have a sense of necessity or a desire for fulfillment, what does that matter?

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”

It matters that you give.