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.

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.

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.

…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.

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.

GoalPraying

     Life is really a set of goals, if you can look at it that way.  You are born and as you learn new things, you challenge yourself to do new things.  Sometimes those new things are goals you shouldn’t accomplish, like testing the heat of a hot stove.  While others are good to achieve such as catching a ball headed for your face.

 

     You can look at goals as simple tasks to set and achieve throughout your life but at some points in your life, you are hit with rejection, discouragement and pain.  You learn that the stove is hot, glass breaks, baseballs are hard, and so on.  When learning these tenets of life, you still move forward with a mixed set of emotions about these experiences that inevitably form the person you are in the future.

 

     For example, you can take the experience of baseball.  When you join a baseball league, remember the first time you tried to play with a team.   Now if you say that you just went out there and started playing and learned as you went, you need to think back a little bit.  Think of what you did in preparation for it.  What about the first time that you caught a ball, was it on the baseball field?  The first time you ran as fast as you could to a certain point?  How about the first time you hit something with a stick?

 

     When playing on a baseball team for the first time, you get an idea of what you are supposed to do, but a coach and a few other experienced players guided you through the experience, using what you already learned to apply it to baseball.  You may or may not have done well but the experience shaped you.

 

     The process of succeeding in life is just the same.  You work at the basics, little by little, until you reach each goal that you set.  So why is it so hard to do goal setting?

 

     Sure, you can say “I am not going to stop until I make $10,000 per month!”  Yes, it sounds good but there needs to be a plan because that $10K/month is not usually going to happen in a short amount of time.

FootballGoalpost

     The art of setting goals is as much needed for success as it is to achieve them.  If you do not know how to set yourself up for success then when you fail, it will be more difficult to get up.  Each goal has to have some key ingredients and each one is important for its own reason:

 

1. Challenge

2. Interest

3. Definition

4. Finish Line

5. Believable

 

Challenge

     What would a goal be if it were not a challenge?  It would be a “motion” like turning off your alarm clock.  No achievement necessary, just do it because if you don’t, it will just annoy you.  Some people set goals to where the consequence of failure is painful.  Truth is that all goals cannot work this way.  There needs to be more.

 

Interest

 

     Compare this to eating when you are full.  God has ingrained in you certain interests that excite you and make you want to move but there are others that are necessary but not fun.  For example, what if your goal is to find everyone you have wronged in the last 12 months and ask for forgiveness.  Not fun, but you have to generate the drive inside of yourself to be able to accomplish the task.

 

Definition

 

     This is an area that you need to spell out clear and concise.  If you do not, it is just a direction or vague purpose.  So lets define it.  A goal is the result or achievement toward the effort is directed; aim; end.  It is what constitutes the end of that journey.  Define it.

 

Finish Line

     With the way society is today, if you did not put a time limit on goals, they would never get done.  If you set a goal to write for 30 days, how would you feel if it took you 6 months to complete it? What about if it took 40 days?  34 days?  30 days?  Yes we fail and would feel better if we did it perfectly, but it is better to fail at a goal than to never set one to achieve.

 

Believable

 

     This depends on your definition of believable.  Your idea of impossible is just that…impossible.  Take these words at face value.  Set yourself up for success.  Chop those big goals into small nuggets that will seem monstrous when they are done, but not while they are being done.

 

     Combine your goals with your prayer list.  Read through the list when you go to bed or early in the morning before you start your day.  Edit it, change it, tweak it.  Make it YOU.  It is for you.  Keep it on your computer, smartphone, tablet and/or notebook.  It is notes for you to steer your purpose.

 

Do you remember the first time you were supposed to memorize something?  A verse, a poem, a song.

After you were successful with the memorization, how long did you remember it?

Do you still remember it?

Do you think that if you read those words again today, it would all come back to you?

It has been proven that putting information to music helps the brain remember things.  Some cultures sing their prayers.  Do you think they are onto something?

 

     Your prayers are your heartfelt desires and requests.  Even if you really don’t FEEL the desire to “goalpray” for something when you put something on your list but feel that you need to, it still is beneficial.  Put someone on your list that you have a difficult time getting along with.  You may not want to but just the act of seeing it everyday will guide you.  Sometimes you will see that the problem was more of you and not of them.

 

Each goal is a prayer.