Category Archives: Thinking

Think gratitude

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”
― Mother Teresa

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Herbert lives thousands of miles away from his home town to earn enough money to build a school to educate young children.  He doesn’t have to sacrifice so much to make a difference, but to make a difference he has chosen to sacrifice his time, his work, his money, his family and his career.    He doesn’t make excuses for what he does not have, he looks for ways to bridge the gap between what he does have and what he doesn’t have.

Herbert has a vision to transform the lives of young children in Uganda so that they will have the education and resources to contribute to the success of their community and country when they grow up.

Imagine doing your work and being far, far from your home and family so that you could provide the financial resources to help children who aren’t you own.    How many people do you know that give up their lives to support the lives of others?  Probably not many.   Herbert has a dream to help children have a future and not live in poverty.

He would like to see the school rooms and buildings filled with children learning how to learn.  He would like to see parents see a new hope for the future and not like the future they have now.   He would like to see hundreds of children having access to an early childhood education.   Right now, only the rich can afford to send their children to school.  Herbert wants to see all children have the ability to learn and grow.

Herbert would like to have a well drilled so the children could get access to clean running water.   Right now they have to pay for the water and wait in long lines.   I imagine that when you need water it is easy to get and very inexpensive.    A water project can cost as much as $3000, a project that is rarely affordable in the rural areas of Uganda.

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We can be grateful that we don’t have haul our own water in containers to our homes as schools.  We can be grateful that we have running water that is available and cheap.   We can be grateful that we have the ability to get young children educated.  We can be grateful that we have schools that are free.   We can be grateful that we don’t have to live and work far away from our homes to support the causes we believe in.

Herbert would be grateful if he could get some regular contributions to help children in Uganda get an education, provide running water for the school and to be able to supply the children with the books and resources that they need.

You can make a donation here:

You can let others know that a small donation can make a huge difference and know that Herbert and his wife would be truly grateful.

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activating personal peace

“Many people think excitement is happiness…. But when you are excited you are not peaceful. True happiness is based on peace.”
― Thích Nhất Hạnh

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When was the last time you experienced personal peace?    In our high tech, high results world we tend to experience more stress than peace.

More and more people are in the grips of stress and it is affecting their health, their outlook on life and it is affecting their emotions.   You’ve probably have seen people who are too stressed, too angry and depressed.  Those people aren’t experiencing much in terms of personal peace.

It is hard to cram all of what life demands into a 24 hour day and yet people try.   They take shortcuts on their exercise, their diet, and their sleep and wonder why they have a short temper, are gaining weight and feel physically ill.

Lissa Rankin has written a book about her personal question for personal peace.   One of the remedies getting free of the stuff that creates a lot of stress.   For Lissa it was getting away from a stress producing job and creating a less stressful way of life.

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Lissa’s process can help you manage stress in your life.  Healing starts with a lifestyle that is less hectic.

Because stress impacts our ability to think and keep our emotions intact, here’s another resource that can provide you with information to improve the quality of your life.

Increasing compassion in your life will help you improve your ability to relate and develop relationships with others.   Being more generous sends a positive message to others and reduces tension.  Kindness will do more good in a tense situation than staying angry.  Take charge of your emotions and become more compassionate.  Express kindness and see if it increases cooperation with others.

Imagine shifting your language to get better personal and professional results.  Perhaps your interactions with others is stressed and it feels uncomfortable.  Maybe the relationship with your co-workers or associates isn’t what you want it to be.   There are ways to build better relationships.  One way is with the words you use (take a look at the short video clip below).

Another way to increase personal peace is through meditation.   Just spending a few minutes each day meditation can bring about positive emotional health benefits.   To learn more about meditation practices take a look at “How to do Mindful Meditation”.

Learn how to activate personal peace in your life, to reduce stress, increase emotional well-being and to live a happier life.

who do you see in the mirror?

“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.”
― Sharon Salzberg

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Are you really the person you think you are?   You might be thinking, this is a trick question, or of course I’m the person I think I am.   It is interesting that studies show that American’s have an inflated view of their abilities and how they perform.  This recent study about teacher’s shows that most teachers believe they are highly effective.   College professors are at an amazingly high level of proficiency where 94% believe they are above average.

Teen drivers believe they too are above average.  Startling statistics show that most people are above average drivers.     So, are all drivers above average?  Of course not.   What is happening is that people want to feel better than average.  Who can be an average driver?  It’s the other person isn’t it?Zip_car

Scientific American recently printed an article on the increased sense of optimism many people have.   The optimistic self may have a better chance at advancing in society, career and life.   After all who wants to hang out with a depressed person.

When you are looking around at other people, what do you see?  Are they the ones that are above average or is it you that is above average?  Who is this average person anyway?   Is there such a person?      When you look in the mirror who is looking back?   Is it the above average person or is it someone else?

How does being above average serve you?

Are SMART goals smart?

“Let today be the day you stop having conflict between your actions and your goals and finally align your greatest intent with your purposeful actions, creating a universal symphony serenading your success!”
― Steve Maraboli

Having a well defined set of SMART goals was at one time a great thing to do.    SMART goals are defined as “specific”, “measurable”, “attainable”, “realistic” and “time bound”.   It was a way to frame an objective and provide a way of making progress.   Now, some believe that SMART goals aren’t described in such a way that they would create a breakthrough outcome.   SMART goals are designed to be safe goals, goals that are realistic and attainable that have a measure of value and progress.   Is it time to break the rules?

Progress is made when we push the boundaries and go beyond what is expected.   SMART goals may push the envelope but they also keep us inside the box.   SMART goals are designed to minimize risk and increase the chance of success.   Minimizing risk means not taking the necessary and sufficient risk to create something new.    SMART goals may mean SAFE goals, and is that what you really want if  you are intending on making substantial change?   Of course not.

A recent report suggests that there are other factors that drive people to change or create change.    A list of eight factors:

1. Picturing the end result – ( a visual image of a result)

2. Learning new skills to accomplish the goal   (growth)

3. The goal is necessary  (urgency and importance)

4. Creating own goals    (ownership and empowerment)

5. Access to training to accomplish the goals   (resources)

6. Pushed outside of the box   (risk)

7. Benefits go beyond self    (significance)

8. Goals align with objectives  (purpose)

It seems that goals need to be purposeful, significant, involve risk, with access to resources, have personal ownership, create growth and are clear.   Of course those don’t ideas don’t spell out some easy to remember word.

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Goals create change and that is often resisted in favor of comfort.

In organizations the idea of risk taking isn’t promoted.   If a risk that is taken doesn’t provide a positive result then it is assumed that the time, effort, and materials were lost.   Maybe that is why small companies take risks, many risks to hit on a great result.   Experimenting and getting an answer quickly may be more useful.

What would help you achieve great things?

epistemic closure … thinking inside the box

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-Mark Twain

Epistemic closure has been described as being locked into  your own narrow world view.   It has been described as the unwillingness to look outside the box because it may mean change or it may mean throwing away something that you are holding on to for security.

Recently I talked to a person who was locked in a box,  a box called a terrible career, a career that created stress and tears.   There was no energy going into work and there was less leaving work.   How many people are trapped into doing what they dislike because they believe there is nothing else for them to do.

Then I have heard people say, “Today I got fired”.    The job was so miserable it couldn’t be faced and now there is nothing but a sea of opportunity available.  It may not look like opportunity when a job is taken away or given up until there is a realization that there is more to life than a job.   Certainly work is important, if the work you are dong is important.   If you are making a contribution, if you are feeling significant and appreciated doing what you are doing and if it gets you out of bed in the morning than you are doing what very few people do.

Take a few steps to find out what you really want.

1. Observe.   Observe your thoughts.  Observe your feelings.   Listen to your internal language.   What do you hear, see and feel?    Write those things down.

2. What is your level of stress today?   On a scale of 1-10 (1, being low and 10, being high).   What is your stress level?

3. Notice what you have time for?    Notice what you don’t have time for?  Is it what you want to be doing?

4. Pay attention to your words that you speak to others.   Are you telling them the truth or are you hiding behind your truth?

Take a safari through your heart and discover what is inside.   Is it what you want?   Observe, listen, pay attention and feel your life.   What is it telling you?

If life is a dance, are you dancing or waiting?

Think about thinking … take a look. (It is business focused, but think about it in your context)

overtaken by stress

“One channel is the Stress Channel and the other is the Peace Channel. We really do have a choice about what we listen to. The Peace Channel can only be heard when we are present in the moment, when we are in the now. To tune in to the Peace Channel, all we have to do is beexperience,notice, and naturally respond to what is arising in the moment. To tune into the Stress Channel, we just have to start believing our thoughts again. […] Eliminating stress is just a matter of tuning out the negative and tuning in the positive and just being, experiencing, and dancing to that music instead of the mind’s chatter.”
― Gina Lake

The tension built and grew until the language went foul.   I was listening to a person unload his stress through the use of language that wasn’t beneficial to his cause.   It was just more frustration piled upon frustration and the stress overwhelmed his ability to control his emotions and language.   The storm started small and just grew and grew and the more he talked the louder and more angry he became.   His anger didn’t solve the problem.

Anger is an outlet for stress.   It is a way of releasing the energy produced by the hormones that are leaking into the body.   In most places the sudden eruption of anger is not welcome or seen as a positive event.   This person is going to be looking for a job and his past haunts him.   Nightmares wreck his sleep, and tide of anger swells as he confronts images of a war he participated in.   The images won’t leave him alone.  What does stress really cost?

Others are swimming in a sea of work, unrelenting tides of email, and urgent issues build into a wave of stress reducing confidence, results and energy.  Imagine trying to go to sleep when thoughts of unfinished business race through the mind begging for some kind of answer.   Where is the joy in that kind of work?

What is your stress level?   What are you doing about it?

Your work or events in your life come to you four different ways

1. Urgent and important (get it done now or else)

2. Important but non urgent (this is the sweet spot )

3.  Urgent and unimportant (much of the email you get)

4. Unimportant and not urgent (maybe TV)

What is eating at you?   What is stopping you from getting what you want out of life?

To learn more about how stress impacts life, take a look at this video clip.

Conceptualization

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
― Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich

If there is an idea in your mind that could turn into something of value them make that idea real.   The simple formula of what the mind can conceive and then turn into a belief that it can be done, can be done.

What inspires people to take action?   What does it take to move an idea from a concept into something that can be believed?  Where does the creative spark come from?


Once that spark has been set in place and has room to grow that idea becomes bigger.  The idea is shared with someone, and then someone else and they say, “Go do it, go do it!” and  for some reason it sits in a dormant place and never is realized.   It becomes another regret in a sea of past regrets.  It wasn’t that the idea wasn’t good enough, or big enough or bold enough, it was that the idea wasn’t believed in strongly enough for it to come to life.

Take the idea and let it live.

It’s time.  It’s time for your concept to grow wings and come alive.

Where do ideas come from?   Take a look at this video and learn a new way to think.

Conceive, believe and then achieve.

“Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.”
― Edward De Bono