6 views to change for a more fulfilling life

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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.

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.

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving List

This list is not made because I think that you should have experienced these things too, but truthfully, it is for me. Yes, it is true. It is selfish but it has an unselfish purpose. I hope that you will see it before the end.

Things I am thankful for…

1. I am thankful that my parents divorced when I was 6. I have learned more about the value of marriage because of it.

 

2. I am thankful for having a single mother. She fought and struggled, won and lost, laughed and cried. She gave me more than many mothers would or could because of the obstacles. She also taught me to never give up.

 

3. I am thankful for the years I spent as a truck driver. It made the saying “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” mean so much more. It also meant that I was able to face many “personal demons” head on with God leading the charge.

 

4. I am thankful for not being popular at school. I learned that I am responsible for myself and cannot control whether I am liked or not, therefore I am to be who I am and look to be the best at it.

 

5. I am thankful for having surgery on both biceps and being out of work almost 2 years because of it. The hard lessons I learned about myself and my family as well as the opportunity to meet many people, was well worth it. I can look back now and see benefits whereas when it was happening, it was gut wrenching.

 

6. I am thankful that I was able to be next to my dog when he died this summer. My beautiful 14 year old “pup”, who God brought into our lives to teach us about unconditional love (among many other things), saw me and my 14 year old son as his last sight. It was a sight that made him happy as well as me and my son, bigger and better men.

 

7. I am thankful that I have had supervisors that I have not liked. These “situations” shaped me into a better person and actually changed the way I supervise situations.

 

8. I am thankful that I do not have a brand new vehicle. Because I cannot stand it when something is brand new and a mistake of mine or someone else’s scars it (I realize that this is probably a character flaw and translates to much of my life but for the sake of the list, I am thankful).

 

9. I am thankful that I have failed at a few business ventures. Because those “failures” are steps, times to learn, experiences to relate to my children and history to put on paper so that they may serve a purpose beyond my own physical reach.

 

10. I am thankful for having two very different close family members pass away within a year of each other about 4-5 years ago. It showed me the value of keeping the people you love, close to you. One died scared and alone, the other died with her husband at her side. They both were loved but they died in the situations that they prepared for themselves. Every day you live is preparation for your own day that you leave this earth.

 

11. I am thankful that God offered his own Son to be crucified. Since I am a Christian, I consider this the ultimate gift. Many cultures cannot understand this “gift” but it was made so that you can have a choice.

 

These are all gifts, believe it or not. All of the above gifts are there so that you can make a choice; the last being the most important. It is like receiving a pen and paper for a Christmas gift. It is what you make of it. You can write or draw. You may write the next great novel…or not. You may be the next Rembrandt…or not. But your life is there, waiting for you to make it happen. Be thankful and grateful for ALL things, even the things that are not pleasant…because all of them can be used to choose to make a better YOU.

 

Attack mode – 2.1

This is good stuff.  You need to watch this.  The ability to make yourself vulnerable is tough for many…watch.

If you have seen it, watch it again and I guarantee that you will hear something you didn’t the first time.  Besides, repetition is conducive to learning.

 

How are you?

Are you working for your posterity or your posterior?  On Sunday, are you looking at getting to the week…or through the week?  Are you thinking CYA or JOY?

 

Much of how you get things done depends on how your attitude.  I think back to one of my previous posts, The Precedent, and the manager of the restaurant I spoke to.  He was truly grateful and the effect of praising him and his team had a replicating effect as well.  Speaking to him a few weeks later, he said that after I left, he stopped his whole team and told them about it.  He said that this is what they had been striving for…to consistently serve a good product, and he was delighted to share the experience of customer satisfaction.

 

We just do not realize how far our influence goes?  People talk about making a good first impression.  It is sooooooo important.  People form an impression of you before they ever speak to you, if they ever do speak to you.  If you are dressed outside of the norm, your expression and attitude usually have to work harder to maintain a good first impression.

 

Now you may say that you don’t care what other people think of you and to some degree, that may be true.  But….how hard do you want to make life for yourself?  And to change your “first impression rating”, it takes some preparation.

 

I used to listen to and read different authors telling you how to be happy.  It would be a bit comical at times when I would hear them talk about making yourself happy.  It sounded artificial and forced and actually it was.  But it was more like rubbing menthol on sore muscles.  It started on the outside and worked its way in.  Your attitude is affected either by you or your surroundings.

 

Robert D. Smith may not have coined this phrase but when he said it, I remembered it.  He said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy.  I am happy because I sing”.  Sounds kinda dumb, right?  Well that “dumb” habit may mean the difference getting good service and bad.  Having a nice conversation or negative?  Getting a kiss from your spouse or a look?

 

Preparation for life is a part of life.  It is a paradoxical thing that keeps feeding itself and determines really HOW you are…

So…HOW are you?

Discouragement

It is hard to face discouragement.  When faced with rejection, boredom or failure, your true nature actually shows itself.  Are you moving forward, seeking to move forward or discouraged because “things aren’t happening”?

Everyone loves success.  Things are riding high and emotions are up but what about when things are down.  How do you handle failure?  Do you get discouraged?

Think about this:  what would it take for you to switch your thinking around and respond with excitement every time you fail?

What happens when we fail?

Do we learn?

Think of Thomas Edison and the invention of the light bulb.  Thousands of failed experiments occurred until he hit it right.

 Why?  Because with every failure, he knew he was getting closer to the purpose he had set for himself to accomplish.  And yet sometimes, we have 1 or 2 failures and lose interest.

Why?  Re-examine your purpose and your commitment to it.  Either rededicate yourself to it with a renewed vengeance or redirect.

Your success depends on it.

Losing My Friend

This is probably one of the hardest posts I have written to date.  I started writing it just hours after the event so it is forthcoming and raw.  I had to capture my feelings while they were fresh so it cemented more in my heart about the importance of journaling…because we as humans, forget.

“Last Friday (6/14/13), I lost a wonderful and faithful friend.  My dog, who was approximately 14 years old, fell ill suddenly and had to be humanely euthanized.  I write about it because I have never lost a friend like him that was so close to me.  I am not going to write about all the wonderful things that he did but rather I am needing to write about the effect that his passing has had upon me.

I called the vet on that Friday afternoon fully expecting to be told that my dog was coming home that day.  Unfortunately, the vet said that it would be a good idea if I came in because he had taken a downturn in the last 24 hours.  Since I was picking up my 14 year-old son after work, he would be with me.

We walked into the vet’s office and were taken to where he was.  He laid with his head between his front legs motionless, eyes bright but that was all.  I felt that he was mad at me until I realized that he could not wag his tail because he was too weak to move anything.  He could not even lift his head.  My son and I sat on the cold concrete floor and pet him and cried.

When I was told what needed to be done, a myriad of emotional questions came to mind.  “Can’t he live just one more day?”, “Can I take him home to die there?”, “Should I be here for the procedure or should I just leave?”. “With it being my decision, how do I live with it?”.  With my 14 year old son at my side and after calling my wife on the phone, I decided to go ahead and end his suffering.  “What would my sons think of me?”, “Is this one of the rites of passage to becoming a man?”.

We slid him on a blanket to an examination room and he was so weak that the sliding motion winded him.  He could not do anything but look at me…and I wondered, “Do you want me to do this?”, “Do you know what is happening?”, “Can you ever forgive me?”.

We comforted him and talked to him calmly, reminisced about old memories and made amends.  I apologized more than once for the times that I was harsh with him and asked for forgiveness.  The vet came in to give him a sedative shot and told that it may take a few tries because his blood pressure was so low that some veins had already collapsed.

When the sedative started to take effect, I said “we love you” and “goodbye, old friend” while he could still hear me. His poor worn body relaxed and then settled to slow, deep breath.  She gave the second injection and I asked how long it would take.  She said it may take a couple of minutes, maybe longer depending on his circulation.

He took a few more breaths and then it stopped…

I let out a short yelp that came from holding my emotions back for so long and my son and I cried together while we pet his lifeless body.  I was truly heartbroken for the first time in years.

As time has gone by, the pain has gotten easier.  I still think that I see him in the corner of my eye, on the porch, in the hallway.  I find myself waiting for him to come to the kitchen after dinner for a leftover bone or piece of meat but there is emptiness where there was a subtle joy.”

It has taken me a month to actually post it but I felt that it was necessary so that some of my posts would have this as a point of reference.  I do not know what you may glean from this post but possibly you will.

Faithful and unconditional friend
Faithful and unconditional friend