Life is Really Turning Around for Us

What’s directing your life? Your short-term urges? Or your well thought out plans?

What’s directing your life? Your short-term urges? Or your well thought out plans?

We all need a plan or strategy for getting ahead in the world, for ensuring our own happiness. In fact, we all have a strategy, whether we go to the trouble of making it conscious or whether we merely allow it to unfold all on its own. Either way, we all have a strategy. What we get in life or how we feel day in and day out, reflects our activities, our daily habits, how we spend our time. We presume our activities will get us what we want. Getting what we want is the same as getting where we want to go, isn’t it? Our desires point us in the right direction, so we’ll end up happy and have achieved. Right?

Well, we all know, or should know, that what we want, our urges, are not the same thing as our goals, things that we put careful thought to. Many of us learned about delayed gratification in our families, or in grade school, college or university. Study and achieve your degree and that results in a happier life than does, say, taking winters off to party and working as a home painter during the summer months.

If we don’t stop to reflect and to plan out what we have to do to achieve our more long-term goals, we’re more likely to end up pushing them further away, substituting them with short-term immediate gratification. By living life spontaneously, just responding to the day-to-day pressures of life, we don’t stop to plan, days come and go, and we wonder why life is the way it is. We develop resentments aimed at those we see who seem to have what we want. But there was a strategy that was carefully considered for them, somewhere along the line. Make no mistake, when I say carefully considered, I am not referring to a moment in time that you were so mad, that you swore to yourself that you would never, ever…….

That’s just not a strategy. It’s not even a poor strategy. What it is, is just a highly emotionally bound declaration, that lacks the very “stuff” which defines a strategy. It lacks a calm, cool mind that can reflect, deliberate and tap into critical innovative thoughts and ideas that foster a future that the most ardent critics would applaud. In a nutshell, it defines only what not to do. We need to have a clear picture of what we should focus on, what we should do, and whom we could commit to. We need a vision or picture in mind that encompasses our relationships, and that suggests an underlying motive.

Conviction, Determination, & Commitment

It is a fact that we all strategize, even if at a subconscious level. A strategy is potent and eventually evolves into fruition. So, making your strategy conscious is what I’m selling here. Without an effort to bring consciousness to it, our strategy gives birth to nothing more than our basest desires – greed, power, lust and – especially today – narcissism. In fact, I’m not certain there is much of a difference between these. Ask yourself, “can any of us really make a determined commitment to maintaining such characteristics and desires?”

I bring these concepts to your attention, because, we should really and seriously consider this, at least for as long as it took me to write it, shouldn’t we? It’s affecting the quality of our lives. I recommend that we create regular opportunities to discuss and reflect. Maybe even give our personal strategies a modicum of respect. If we’re not slowing down, actively gaining control over or deliberately instituting positive goals, beliefs and expectations into our psyche on a regular basis, then maybe, we’re just really living a life of unconsidered habits, evolving in a way that’s being directed by our short-term urges, and not our well thought out plans.

I don’t know about you? But from time to time, I get urges for sugary treats, chocolate, banana splits, and pop. If I allowed my life to be guided by these urges, I’d be obese and suffer from numerous chronic physical illnesses. Long-term well thought out strategy often leads to difficult daily decisions. They represent a discipline. They impact, not just our physical health, but the quality of our business retirement plans, having adequate funds for the momentous event, the number of children to have, concerns about family and friends (whether or not to find a deeper level of commitment to our spouse), leadership succession plans, if you own a business, etc. The difference is obvious, urges can lead us toward obesity, high cholesterol and quite possibly, a life of unhappy struggles. A clear strategy can assist us to experience our dreams.

So is there any good reason why we don’t devote some regularly scheduled time and effort to increasing our level of conscious awareness of our individual strategies?

Let’s get things going in our favor. Let’s make things happen. Let’s change the direction of life so that it’s unfolding in our direction. Let’s experience more joy and better connections. Let’s explore, feel proud of our lives, and of what we’re creating and what we’re contributing. Because after all, we cannot, not contribute.

Just a thought, I hoped you’d appreciate being reminded about.

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Our Personal Best

What is our personal best? Who knows for certain? But one thing is for sure. You know when you feel good, and that means something! One theory that I’ve been considering for a while now suggests that in order to perform at our best tomorrow it is going to take more of us than ever before! Whether we’re preparing for a presentation, sitting for an examination, or aiming at exceeding targeted goals, our best simply isn’t what it used to be. Don’t take it personally.

Change and competition have become such an important aspect of life, that we have now reached a point in history, which demands greater effort, just to meet yesterday’s standards. Consider your parents or grandparents. Unless they were a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, their professional success didn’t require the same education that is mandatory today. The same effort that has helped us to achieve in the past, is the same effort that will produce only mediocre results today.

Carol S. Pearson, author of the Hero Within, said “Virtually all of us understand that we are entering a time so challenging that qualities we once expected to find only in exceptional people now are required in everyone.”

It is a time for all to recognize and to champion our “inner resources.” Could we, ourselves be our best competitive advantage? We are more sophisticated now than ever. Just a decade, or so ago, the President of the United States made reference to “the nation’s journey.” Business texts reference leaders’ “heroic journeys.” Today’s Psychology provides therapy that encourages clients to accept the challenges that we have inherited, take up the struggle whatever it is, and create a life worth living. Engage fully in our lives, for this is our path, this is what life is all about. Allow ourselves to evolve, to grow, develop beyond our wildest dreams. These are really the only dreams worth striving for.

Imagine yourself just slightly missing your target and achieving mediocre results. How do you feel just imagining this? Now contrast this negative emotional image with a positively charged image of you throwing everything you’ve got into your next effort, in an attempt to, not merely meet expectations but to, join the ranks of those who have exceeded them. I’m not referring to gritting your teeth and putting pressure on yourself. I’m referring to consulting your Psychologist, increasing your self-knowledge, learning more about some of your subtlest strengths and weaknesses, then consciously and deliberately displaying your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses. This is the nature of sports psychology. This is the 212-degree message.

At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive.

This must become the image that you see in your mind. Increasing temperature by a single degree is sufficient to move a 130-ton locomotive. The smallest changes can make all the difference in the world. Let yourself step up and really engage with the image of struggling to join those who have already made it.

Whatever your personal best means to you, I think this will help. This will push you over the top!

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The Power of Introversion

Reflecting on a critical decision? Doing it alone? Don’t even think about it. Consider a leadership position for yourself and consult with your Psychologist or coach.

Reflecting on a critical decision? Doing it alone? Don’t even think about it. Life is complex. Consider taking a leadership perspective for yourself and consult with your Psychologist or coach.

Engaging your Psychologist in a relevant dialogue can put an incredibly fine point on your outcome. It’s quite possible, for example, that you bring something powerfully pleasing with you whenever you express yourself well. Did you realize this? So set your example, build your reputation by making only great decisions and get noticed as someone who has a successful touch.

Athletes and coaches, entertainers and professionals, know the value of positive “self-talk” – those silent pep talks in the head that keep spirits up and encourage peak performance. Top performers get good at screening out messages that could interfere with their internal pep talk. They concentrate on the task at hand and shut their ears, literally and mentally, to anything else. Rosabeth Moss Kanter

The best way to “shut your ears” to extraneous stimuli and to successfully focus has a great deal to do with self-care. What does self-care imply to you? Personally, an important component for self-care is my ability to calm my body and my mind. I find that practicing daily meditations is critical for sharpening “calm” and for ensuring I remain “innovative.”

To my point about not doing it alone. Meditation is just not something that many of us can see ourselves doing, without thinking that we are wasting valuable time. Self-care may be more meaningful and a way to relieve some of the mental chatter that you have, by setting up that dialogue that I’m talking about. Visit in person, or better yet, make an appointment, sit back and wait to be called. Chatting over the phone is easy and anonymous. Consider. Calm your mind by calming your conversation. And yet another perspective.

“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.”
Susan Cain

“Turning inward” can be an incredible advantage to be sure. But ensure that when you do so, you have done your due diligence, consulted a professional, and put yourself in touch with a creative source that deals with emotional concerns every day. Remember that turning inward may assist you to come up with fresh new ingenious ideas, but innovation requires that you find a way to put them into action in your life.

Just think about it

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New Perspective on Gratitude

Practice & Develop a Strong Healthy Habit of Gratitude

I’m not a billionaire.  I’m certainly not the financial equivalent of a Tiger Woods or a Bill Gates. Despite this fact, establishing a regular practice of being, thinking, and then feeling grateful for those things that life does give up, is well, critical.

I know that we all, or most of us anyway, believe that we go out and get things, bring them home, and then we own them, however, it may be more precise that life actually gives things to us (even though we still have to put out effort in order to receive them).  You know, “all in.”  It may still be an important distinction to remember.

Ultimately we’re talking about “energy” and how to cultivate it. Consider the type or quality of energy we are aligning with and perpetuating by “hunting” and compare it to the gentler, more appreciative energy of feeling grateful for those things that life does give up.  Again, it’s rather critical to the quality of our own experience.

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My Personal Journey

My personal journey involves, among other things, acceptance of self, others and situations.  Self-acceptance of where I’m at, and where I’m not.  Accepting that where I’m at is a limitation, but also a point or opportunity from which to grow.  This may seem like an unusual way of thinking, but I don’t seem to be able to cultivate significant life changes without accepting the reality of my situation.  Then again, just as soon as I do, things almost instantaneously begin to change – perhaps, due to my perspective.  At least that’s how it feels.

New perspectives, attitudes or paradigms seem to bring new opportunities that I didn’t previously see.  Opportunities seem to multiply as I become more honest and vulnerable with myself about myself and my life.  One important aspect of my present reality is that my business is not contributing financially as much as I’d like, and as a result, dreams of mine and those of my wife are less than fulfilled.

My business, I must remember, is a reflection of my reality, not a creator of my reality – meaning that at times like these, I must garner strength and confidence elsewhere.  My business is not less than optimally successful for any reason other than I have not yet evolved personally, to a place and level of responsibility that is sufficient to reflect the level of financial contribution that we are looking for.  Therefore, I must continue to learn and allow myself to grow, until I am sufficiently capable of having my business earn at a level commensurate with my family’s desires, goals, and objectives.

This is not to say that I am presently irresponsible, but that the type of business that I’m involved in, requires more from me than I’ve been able to contribute thus far.  It requires, not only great technical and business skills, but also a commitment to forging greater connections with individual clients as well as the business community and community at large – activities that I know how to do, but which are outside of my comfort range, as an extreme introvert.

My personal journey, at least for the time being, seems to be about stretching myself once again, beyond my comfort zone in order to live up to certain personal values that I’ve not yet sufficiently established.  These values will be represented by a stronger commitment to forging relationships, both personally and professionally.

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Strategy

We all need a strategy for life.  A plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result: a strategy for getting ahead in the world. What we get in life or how we feel day in and day out, reflects our activities – our daily habits. We presume our activities will get us what we want and where we want to go because we figure our desires point us in the right direction. Right?

We both know that what we want, our urges, are not the same as our goals, things that we put careful thought to. Most of us learned about delayed gratification in our families or in grade school, college or university. Oh ya, remember? Delayed gratification is still actively robust in my life, almost daily. I’m one of those guys that just can’t have too many shirts. But what if I’m hoping to buy a new Lexus in the spring? Or I’m looking forward to a romantic vacation with my spouse on the Mexican Riviera this March. Well maybe I can have them all and maybe I can’t.

One thing is for sure, that whatever you want from life, if you don’t stop to plan and reflect upon your more long-term goals, you’re more likely to end up pushing them further away, substituting them with short-term immediate gratification. Living life spontaneously, responding to the day to day pressures of life, we don’t stop to plan, days come and go, and we wonder why life is the way it is. I may have a closet full of shirts but I’m driving a 10-year-old Civic.

The fact is, we all strategize, even if at a subconscious level. Perhaps we should be more careful of how unconscious decisions are affecting our lives. Maybe even give “time for reflection” a modicum of respect. I’d like to remind us all to consider creating regular opportunities to discuss and reflect. If we’re not slowing down, actively gaining control over or deliberately instituting positive goals, beliefs, and expectations into our psyche, maybe we’re really living a life of unconsidered habits, evolving in a way directed by our short-term urges, and not our well thought out plans. Be cautious, for one day your future may come calling and you may not like what it has to say.

So is there any good reason why we don’t devote some regularly scheduled time and effort to increasing our level of conscious awareness of our individual strategies?

Let’s get things going in our favor. Let’s make things happen. Let’s change the direction of life so that it’s unfolding in our direction. Let’s experience more joy, better connections, let’s explore, feel proud of our lives, what we’re creating and what we’re contributing. Because we cannot, not contribute.

What if we both had all the time we needed to talk and reflect upon our own personal strategies?

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