Monthly Archives: March 2012

Opportunity

“What you focus on expands, and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it. Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life.”  Oprah Winfrey

Opportunity!

What do you think of when you see or hear the word opportunity?    Opportunity for you.   What feelings are generated when you hear that word?

Opportunity is a word that generally elevates optimism and produces a sense of anticipatory positive outcomes.   Opportunity for something better to happen in the near future.   For some people it is like buying a lottery ticket with the hope that they will win the big prize and all their troubles will be over.

What opportunities are you seeking?   What do you hope those opportunities will do for you?

Opportunity is all around us if we take the time to look.   First we have to look within and find out what it is that will satisfy us and then look for opportunities that will accomplish that goal.   For some people their career is virtually meaningless.   Sure there is a paycheck but there is no meaning to the work they do and they stay there because of one thing a paycheck.    There are many opportunities to do something that is meaningful and still have a paycheck.

How do you get more opportunity in  your life?

1. Keep learning

2. Manage your emotions well

3. Listen more – talk less

4. Experiment – try new things (everywhere – choose something different from the menu of life).

5. Know your strengths

What can you today to create more opportunity in your life?

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Now

“Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be.”  James Thurber

It fits neatly between the past and the future.   It is the space between the not yet and history, it is what we call “Now” and it is a very precious moment.   Now is always moving in some direction for some people it is forward and for others it is a link to the past.

Some people move from “Now” into the past, a past  filled regrets, anger, and disappointment.   They are so comfortable in the past that they can’t move out of it, they are friends with yesterday.   For those who are stuck in the past we are likely to call them victims.    For the victim life is about “getting” comfort from others and it is a way to survive and receive empathy.   While there is a benefit from living in the past as a victim it isn’t a place of strength and vitality.   Living a life in the past is more like living in a cage, safety being on the inside but there is no freedom in living in the past.

There are some people who live in the future, a future that is filled with dreams of what can be or a future that is filled with anxiety and fear.   Living in fear (panic attacks, high anxiety) diminishes the quality of life.   People living alone without a strong support structure can project themselves into an uncertain future and increase the chances of having panic attacks. 

The past or the future is not the place to cultivate happiness.   Happiness occurs in the “now”.  While we can have fond memories of the past that brings to us feelings of joy, these feelings often only pull us back into a place of “life was better then …”.   Now is the time and place for happiness and because it happens  in the moment it often feels elusive.    As soon as you think about your  happiness you are shifting your state of consciousness to a different time perspective.   Happiness in the moment is something that is and it takes no thought.

Now is the place where creation unfolds.   Now is the place the  memories bloom.   Now is the place that dreams are fashioned.   Many people refer to “now” as being present, not being in the past or in the future but being right in the moment, fully alive and fully energized.  

Where do you find yourself, in the present, in the past or in the future?

In this video the Dalai Lama talks about how our emotions are the source of our problems, and it is our emotions that impact our ability to be happy, to be present, to be in the “now”. What do you think?


 

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.”   James Thurber

Meditation


“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” – C.S. Lewis

How are you feeling about life right now? What are you distracted by? What are you concerned about? What is the state of your mind right now?

Today we are shifting the conversation away from doing and doing more to taking time out to do less.    We are talking about freeing the mind and the body of the constant noise we hear from all aspects of our life.   Right now turn off the TV, the radio, the phone and any source of external stimulation.  Just turn it off for a few minutes.

I want you to observe your mental state and the thoughts you have having.  What are they?   What thoughts and what feelings do you have right now?   Are you at a place of peace and calmness?    I didn’t think so.   You’re thinking about what to do next.  Your mind is cluttered with ideas and thoughts as a constant buzzing and it doesn’t bring about any sense of peace at all.

In the book “The Emotional Life of your Brain”  the author Richard Davidson talks about meditation as a way to create new ways to respond and experience thought.  In other words meditation or mindfulness  helps the brain create new pathways which reduce the negative impacts of stressful situations.   Meditation then help one respond rather than react to situations that generate negative emotions.

In a world where there is more and more negative stimulation,  taking the time to focus on nothingness helps retrain the brain to shift from negativity to something that is more positive.    Quieting the brain creates a greater sense of well-being and peacefulness which is what many people long for.

To help strengthen a more positive outlook without learning meditation you can do the following:

1. Focus on your positive characteristics – write down one of your strengths and one of a person you know well.

2. Be grateful.   Be intentionally thankful and keep track of how many genuine thank-you’s you share with others.

3. Complement others genuinely.   Look at the Smile & Move campaign for some ideas.

Now take a few minutes sit back and listen to the following clip.  Take the time to slow down, and recharge.

life worth living

“We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”    Tara Brach

Living life without limits is not just for the few it is for everyone.    Nearly everyone is struggling with some aspect of life.  It might be financial, relationship, career, wellness, health, friends, family,  or something that is sucking the life out of them.    Maybe you know of someone who feels their life is being sucked out of them.    What are they telling you?

Are they telling you how miserable life is and there is nothing that can be done to make life better.   Their life is bad so their goal is to gain sympathy from someone else,  someone who will agree with them that life is just miserable.

Have you met someone who is overwhelmed with life, with the daily grind of life?    Maybe their career is not even close to what they really want to do so they suffer day after day earning enough that it keeps them locked into work they really hate.    Each day they attempt to put on a happy face and walk into their place of employment with a little less energy than they had the day before.    Who are they fooling with their less than optimal performance?

Life without limits means doing, being and living at what you are best at.   It means allowing your strengths to be used fully and that you are passionate about what you are doing in life most of the time.

Let’s look at some ideas that John Maxwell shares with us that will help us live life without limits.

1.  On Failing,  Fail Forward –  “‘Failing forward’ is the ability to get back up after you’ve been knocked down, learn from your mistake, and move forward in a better direction.”

2.  Quit at the right time – “When to quit: (1) Quit something you don’t do well to start something you do well. (2)  Quit something you’re not passionate about to do something that fills you with passion. (3) Quit something that doesn’t make a difference to do something that does.”

3. Forge a new attitude – “Whether you are eleven, forty-two, or sixty-five, your attitude toward life is still under construction.  It’s never too late for a person to change his attitude.”

4. Be confident – “Affirmation from others is fickle and fleeting.  If you want to make an impact during your lifetime, you have to trade the praise you could receive from others for the things of value that you can accomplish.  You can’t be ‘one of the boys’ and follow your destiny at the same time.”

Use what you have right now and start living your life.   Take a lesson from Nick Vujicic and learn what it means to live a life without limits.

Learn more about living your life without limits.    When do you start, now, right now!   Stop making excuses and start living a better life.

Kindness

“We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed me, I was homeless and you took me in.’

‘Hungry not only for bread — but hungry for love. Naked not only for clothing — but naked for human dignity and respect. Homeless not only for want of a room of bricks — but homeless because of rejection.”  –Mother Teresa

When people say I don’t have anything to give they are forgetting that they can give one thing that doesn’t cost a thing,  kindness.   Organizations could flourish if deep in their culture kindness was seen as a virtue.   What would happen if people and organizations practiced kindness?

If kindness were the norm, negative conflict would disappear.   So often the thought is that without conflict nothing would grow or get better.   Kindness isn’t going to help people grow or organizations thrive might be a popular belief but it is entirely wrong.   Take a look at recent research that shows what the power of kindness can be.

Kindness does make a difference.

So, what act of kindness can you do?   One act of kindness repeated a million times would change the world.   How do you start a revolution, start with an act of kindness.

What will your act of kindness be?

When will you start?