The Secret of Change!

We all know if we keep doing the things we are doing, the same way we are doing them, we remain as we are, have what we have, and commit ourselves to exploits only of the imaginary.

Those who have wrestled challenges into cooperation enjoy the benefits of tangible fruit. The deep satisfaction that comes from seeing ideas, hopes, and dreams take on reality can leave a person breathless and oxygenated at the same time. I find it easy to celebrate the successes of anyone that pours themselves into excellence. I know what it takes to face yourself, overcome obstacles, and refuse to settle. If you beat the odds, you’ll have me jumping for joy right along with you!

Change on wikimedia

Image courtesy of wikimedia.org

Navigating the twists and turns of life without losing forward momentum is an admirable trait. I’ve witnessed those rare individuals who make it look easy but, closer scrutiny reveals it’s an illusion. They’re operating under a very different paradigm than the average fellow. While remarkable results usually include a strong work ethic, we shouldn’t overlook other principles.

What’s the secret? You ask. Let’s start by backing up a little. Any honest self-reflection will include taking inventory, in reality. “You can do anything you set your mind to!”  We’ve all heard this, felt the twinge of excitement brought on by the very suggestion. But, is it true? I find there are elements, common dynamics, and systematic traits with people that reach the highest levels. It does, in fact, take a resolute mind. However, there is more to the story than meets the casual eye.

Dr. Liza Siegel, the psychologist for the hit reality shows “The Apprentice” and “Survivor,” has had a front-row seat to what it takes to succeed, and what to do when at first you don’t succeed. In her book Suite Success, Dr. Siegel lays out six essential psychological characteristics of successful people. They are Optimism, Creativity, Resilience, Self-Control, Emotional Awareness, and Sociability. You may want to read all about these categories in her book Suite Success: The Psychologist from “The Apprentice’ Reveals What It Takes to Excel – in the Boardroom and in Life.” (Available on Amazon)

Garret Kramer, the noted sports Psychologist, and Coach have recently caught my attention. In his latest book “The Path of No Resistance” Garret enunciates that its insight, and not intellect that fuels our ability to achieve. I had to dig into Garrett’s train of thought to understand his “inside-out” model. Being a subscriber to self-help principles, it took some careful consideration before I could admit that many of the strategies I adhere to were not working. I’m thankful to have discovered this insight.

I listened to a Ted Talk by Richard St. John. Richard spent ten years interviewing over five hundred successful people and then analyzed the data resulting in identifiable characteristics. In his book 8 To Be Great: The 8-Traits That Lead to Great Success, he lists them for us: Passion for what you do. Work hard and have fun. Focus on one thing – not everything. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Consistently coming up with new ideas. Constantly improve. Provide value to others. Persist through failure.

An article I read by, Ciara Conlon, on lifehack.org offered one of the more comical takes on the attributes of highly successful people. They are early risers. The “Mind over Mattress” reference she makes can’t go unacknowledged. Getting up just one hour earlier each day gains 15 days a year. I have always been an early riser. For me, it has been effortless. I love the fewer distractions during the wee hours. I do understand the challenge this poses for anyone clamoring for a few more minutes of pillow time.

changes on pinterest

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“If you do not change your direction, you may end up where you are going.” ~Lao Tzu.

Before climbing every mountain, I passed through the valley below. These highs and lows have been the perpetual classrooms of my education. Forming the experiences of my life. I’ve been able to tabulate a few absolutes throughout my six decades of mounting the impossible, facing my fears, and relishing in moments of jubilation. My trials, errors, and awakening may not be everyone else’s normal… it certainly is mine.

As I continue to discover life’s deeper meaning and caress understanding, I live more and more intentional. If I had to step through the many concepts of success principles and offer only one as a gift to others my tip, from personal experience would be this, find the “why” of your life. Almost everyone can explain what they do, write, sing, sew, etc. Others can even talk about how they do things. But, knowing why you do what you do is what separates distinction from mediocrity.

Why are you here? Simon Sinek, (Ted Talk) uses what he calls the golden circle to explain the concept of why. He asks, what’s your cause, your belief, your purpose? Why do you get out of bed in the morning and, why should anyone care? I can tell you it’s not accolades, fame, or even profits. Most people start with what, move to how, and maybe get to why illustrates the “outside in” predominance.

Find your why on braintraining tools.org

Image courtesy of braintrainingtools.org

 

We all deserve to find our place in the universe, to offer our unique contribution to serving others, and create the world of our dreams. Recognizing the temptation to dally in external factors and strategies affords us the opportunity to cancel distractions. Authenticity, success, and contentment is an inside job. Reversing the trend of utilizing the least essentials first will put us on the right track.

The secret of change is discovering your why!

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This article originally appeared in Read My Mind Magazine.

5 Strategies to Maximize Life Lessons!

Life Lessons mRio on flickr

Image courtesy of mRio via flickr

I heard the lady sitting next  to me, on the bus, say to her companion; “You live and learn.” I’ve heard that saying many times before. I’m certain I’ve said the exact same thing on a number of occasions. Who would disagree with the obvious? But we all know people who seem to be stuck. I’ve been there myself. Not able to extrapolate the gracious and generous message being sent to me.

IDENTIFYING THE POINT

The body is designed to heal itself. When it doesn’t, something has gone wrong. The argument is a strong one; most medical practices treat symptoms not causes. And the side affects of treatment can be dire. Symptoms are an invitation to change something we’re doing or not doing. Ignore the message and most likely we will receive a stronger one shortly.

When I joined the Marines, in 1974, I maximized the physical fitness test conducted in basic training before graduation. I was the only one in my unit to do so. I was considered undersized. So, they made me eat double portions to gain weight. I’ve often joked that the government is responsible for my undesirable growth later in life.

When my military service was over my physical activity diminished. I stayed  involved in sports, initially, but lifestyle changes slowly brought me to less and less exercise. I ignored my diet, eating whatever I wanted without regard for where I was headed. I didn’t heed the gentle signs my body was sending. It took a heart attack to get my full attention. Could it have happened if I did a better job of taking care of myself? Absolutely. But it is also a possibility that I could have prevented or delayed it.

Many good decisions follow bad ones. What if we made better choices in the first place?Part of our reality is the artificially induced connectedness of technology. For all of our efforts to gain intimacy through social media platforms we are more isolated than ever. We ignore the benefits of authentic relationships with other people and, more importantly, with ourselves. The feeling of missing out has, you guessed it, caused us to miss out. We don’t get quiet enough, long enough, to receive the vital signs of emptiness.

MISIDENTIFYING THE POINT

Shame is the elephant in the room. While it’s true that we don’t get what we want, in life, we get what we are, we need to clarify the adage. We don’t get what we deserve we get what we feel we deserve. Positive thinking has many virtues. I’ve submitted to the practice of thinking good thoughts for many years, even speaking positive things, and lived with a feeling that contradicted my best thoughts.

Feelings attracts thoughts that reinforce feelings. And feelings dictate outcomes. Positive thoughts, by nature, are trying to change the way we feel. If the feelings are dominate, the thoughts, no matter how noble, will fail to bring about difference. This understanding has changed my life. Nobody can make me feel anything I don’t agree with. If someone says something disparaging to me, and I think it’s true I will feel the negativity of what was said. But, if I know it’s not true, I’m empowered to not feel a thing.

THE POINT OF AN AHA

From childhood until this very moment I have received a continuous flow of Aha moments. Many of them never converted to defining moments. I’m driven to communicate. I will immediately start sharing any and every revelation that comes to me. Sharing is good. Right? I would give away what I captured in my mind before I captured it in my heart. The results were sometimes excruciating, as I watched the wisdom change the feeling in other people while my feeling remained the same.

I’ve lived much of my life feeling damaged. I held on to what wasn’t working with a better thought bouncing of the walls of my mind. Clinging to my feeling prevented the insight from taking root. Powerful thoughts, which were working to align me with truth (I’m not damaged) couldn’t become foundational because my feeling kept shooing them away. Core beliefs are not only what you think – they are what you feel, about you. If we don’t change our feeling our mind and heart will continue to be at odds with each other.

When we possess the feeling of what we want to obtain, as though we already have it, our thoughts will rush to accommodate us.

APPRECIATING THE POINT

Oh what tangled webs we weave when, in fact, we are deceived. (slightly altered) I have an innate dislike for the saying: everything happens for a reason. It gets used like it sets us free from figuring out what we need to know. If we choose a conspiracy theory as our guide we insure a repetition of life experiences. If we can’t dissect what happens then what happens is meaningless.

Rejection is often redirection and not a denial. I’m now able to appreciate things that didn’t work out. I was trying to force things that were not meant for me. My desires were based on limited knowledge that led me to believe there was a singular way to go about things. That there was only one way to be in the world. What I was really doing was attempting to validate myself with infertile approval. I was sincere but confused.

The real detriment of comparison, is lose of identity. We’re subtly driven to be someone else because we think that’s the best version of ourselves. That’s just plain inaccurate. Our uniqueness is our assignment. It’s where we discover significance. I’ve wrestled with overwhelming disappointment because of the demeaning story I wrote, and lived out about myself. Good things are an indication of what’s in-store for us.

ACCEPTING THE POINT 

It it’s not fun, reconsider. We aren’t meant for hardship and struggle. The battle isn’t to acquire by force; It’s to cooperate with our purpose. From money issues to peace of mind the only conflict is what we believe (feeling + thought) about ourselves. We can separate from abuse if we are willing to stop abusing ourselves.

If I have to be you to be me I have a problem. The point of every message being sent to us is to ratify our reason for being here. Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again. But, let’s not do it over and over without considering why we are doing it. Determination is not the same thing as stubbornness. What works and doesn’t work is very personal to each of us. Every one of us has a reservation to the flow of life. Our mission is to find it.

If we discriminate against ourselves we have, most assuredly, missed the point!

What is your greatest life lesson?

 

 

 

Defining Moments!

The exercise was clear enough; list seven defining moments in your life.

What wasn’t so clear were the actual seven moments that defined me. Having never taken the time to pinpoint the life events that had altered/corrected my life left me to breathe in without exhaling.

euphoria by h.koppdelaney on flickr

Image courtesy of h.koppdelaney via flickr.com

Contemplating my landmark thoughts, feelings, decisions, and life experiences left me reeling to think, feel, decide, and experience the moment I was in. How do I wade thru the years of ups and downs, successes and failures, and the happy and sad times to declare just which occurrences qualified for such prestigious notoriety?

Thick fear appeared to big to mess with. What if I’m not defined? What are the undeniable instances of impact? How many times did I feel the music but didn’t dance? Do I need to acknowledge the magical personal revelations that remained bottled up inside with no corresponding action? What if I don’t have any historical changes to herald?

Leaning into my pilgrimage I methodically visited with the highways and byways of my past. The mountain tops and valley’s flashed across the memory screen of my mind. There were highs and lows falling on my think-tank like hard rain. Thunder and lightning called up familiar emotions wrapped in wanted and unwanted thoughts.

The questioning was offensive. How dare I cross-examine my own authenticity so vehemently. Who’s side am I on, anyway? Negative energy attempted to quell the monumental whisper trying to be recognized. At my core cried the mature infant; I am here and I want to speak.

Image result for cross examination

Image courtesy of T.H.Matteson via wikipedia.org

For much of my life I had consented to the chaotic cloud that hovered overhead blocking the light. I inwardly twisted in despair. Wait! Something is happening here. A defining moment? No doubt! A new thing was emerging from a womb previously denied.

I was a man who had miscarried again and again. The kick of life forbidden wore scars into the walls of my stomach. And I remembered the day I chose to live. I struggled narrowing the chain of events into specific times. It had to be done, in order to square myself with all that had been, with all that is to be.

Yielding to the notion that something was missing was only a fabrication altered the direction I was heading. The affirmation, clarity, and worthiness I had searched for resided within me. Rejection and abandonment were only distractions presenting themselves as permanent fixtures. I am in defining mode!

External factors are impotent to declare identity. They can only reflect what we believe about ourselves. I am hearing my voice rise above the mob screams telling me to stay where I am. Demanding I forfeit the invitation to come up higher. Rebellion delivered the virtue needed to proclaim, NO MORE! I moved on because I could.

I permitted the grief and tears over my neglected reality. The vigil was standing room only. I barely got all of me in the room. Sensing the finality of separation I was left the opposite of cold. Memories would persist but things will never be the same. With lightness in my chest, a dry mouth, and unimaginable relief I had won the Spelling Bee.

My list now flowed in unexpected ease. Multitudes of question marks gave up their seats for periods and exclamation points. Running so fast, focused on catching up to my liberation, I didn’t immediately realize the pain was gone. I had broken through, puncturing, misappropriated denotations.

designer-labels-flicker

Image courtesy of UpSticksNgo Crew via flickr.com

What I had  been hiding behind were articles of deception. Designer labels stitched together in the sweatshop of fallacy. I wore unwanted, unlovable, unworthy like required dress code. I window shopped purpose, clarity, and worthiness desiring to be fitted for a custom, made for me, life. Wrinkle free, permanent press, only disguised a disheveled heart, broken by the wardrobe, of dysfunctional dynamics.

Aligning with divine intention censored my emptiness. Our blueprint doesn’t call for us to be sidelined, left out, and excluded from the acquisition of the finer things in life. We’re not tinder for someone else’s fire. When there is no expectation of peace and harmony disappointment reigns supreme. Dissonance necessitates a paradigm shift

We are worthy of a rich, rewarding, and abundant life! 

     All defining moments have the inherent purpose of facilitating this truth!

What are your defining moments?

Be-younger.com on flickr

Image courtesy of Be-younger on flickr.com

 

 

 

 

 

A Band-Aid Would Be Ridiculous!

The Mouth-Body connection is real. The mouth is the window to overall good health. Healthy solutions are easily overlooked for immediate relief. The last thing I want, when I have a toothache, is a lesson on good oral practices. But, if I ignore the discipline required to maintain proper oral hygiene, I will only hurt again. Maybe worse next timeopenwide

Open Wide and Say Aah!

Free speech was never meant to be cheap. The right to speak openly for many has been dislocated from rational, responsible, dialogue. You can’t possibly be against hate, bigotry, racism, and all the other things you rant about and use hate, bigotry, and racism to promote your causes. That can only mean, you’re not actually against those things, you’re only against them being used on you. We have a much larger issue at the core of our civil disunion. That old saying is true; “Hurt people – hurt people.” I hear the layers of pain in much of the rhetoric coming from the mouths of my fellow citizens.

Anger can be just another escaped prisoner. A convict on the run. It can be defined from feelings of annoyance to fits of rage. If anger is used, to find solutions for the common good, we discover virtue within its flames. But, if you are willing to dispose, maim, annihilate, or kill off half the population because they don’t agree with you, what are you representing? I’m not at all impressed with sloth, lazy vocabulary, and childish temper tantrums. Political Correctness is the most effective distraction to civility I’ve seen in my lifetime. Empowering the immature to shoot first and answer questions later. It’s an addiction, making rehabilitation for the masses, inevitable.

xray en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Let’s Look at the X Rays!

Both sides of the aisle is who got us here. It would seem love does cover a multitude of sins. I see many people worshipping personalities and I’m struggling to find a politician to respect. I set my expectations low and still fail to be excited. Just honesty, respectfulness, maturity, and common sense is all I’m looking for. I’m not drinking anybody’s cool aid. From either side of the aisle. In fact, I think having only one aisle has made civil decency unwelcome. Wisdom, inclusion, kindness, and principles appear to be prohibited on the current social landscape. If I wanted to experience a circus I think Barnum and Bailey offers the better deal. 

My concern is much greater than who gets elected the next president. While some are entertaining themselves with the sport of politics we’re being duped, bamboozled, and hoodwinked as a nation. Self intoxication is still inebriation. I was born here. I’m not confused where my loyalty belongs. I’m as committed to growth as anyone else. It’s my responsibility to increase my awareness and understanding. I will correct my speech, adjust my attitude, apply the principles of good citizenship. I will show respect for you even when we disagree. Nobody can brush and floss for you. And, would you want them too?

wreck en.wikipedia.org

Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

band-aid by Torabakhopper on flickr

Image courtesy of Torbakhopper via flickr.com

When did name calling, personal attacks, and making fun of people become a mark of nobility? Bullying is bad among children. When did it become good in adult interactions? Standing up for what you believe doesn’t require the diminishing of another. It’s possible to express your position without spitting on the person you’re talking to. This post isn’t about our politics or our politicians. We tolerate them because they look like us. It’s about what we are suffering? Widespread oral disease. Weakening our structure. Our teeth are falling out. Creating social halitosis. It’s going to take maturity. When oral surgery is required a band-aid would be ridiculous!

How can we bring dignity back to the public square?