Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays!



I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

You may have noticed the blog has been a little quiet lately, but I have been working a lot and decided to end the year with a little break from the computer to spend more time with my family. I will have one more post this year...looking back on 2012 and looking forward to 2013, then we'll be back to normal in January.

"This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!"
                         -D.M. Dellinger


Friday, December 14, 2012

Hard Work


In a world where people constantly talk about work-life balance, earning passive income and four-hour work weeks, we sometimes lose sight of the fact there are times when you have to put in the time and the work to get the job done.

Don't be fooled into thinking you will never have to put in extra hours or miss some days off in doing what you love. Working your ass off does not mean you are unhappy...it means that you are working your ass off. Happiness with your work does not always have a correlation with the number of hours you put in. Sometimes you have to burn that midnight oil, but this is no reason to think you aren't doing what you are supposed to be doing.

Do what needs to get done. Do it well, no matter how long it takes. But, if you are going to work long, hard hours, make sure you are doing something you love. It makes doing the work a whole lot easier and more fun.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Take A Deep Breath And Start Again


I mess up a lot. I fail quite often. I get uncomfortable making small talk and often say stupid things. I make a lot of mistakes. I don't have my shit together. I have started a lot of things I haven't finished. I have trouble keeping with an exercise plan. I become frustrated, angry, disappointed, sad, bitter and fed up, sometimes all in the same day. I look back at my life and wish I had done some things differently. I think about my past and feel guilty for things I did. I allow fear to keep me from doing things. I become cynical and sarcastic way too easily. I do a lot of things wrong. I procrastinate. I don't always give my all.

I have a life I am proud of. I get to go to work each day and help animals and people have better lives. I have the ability to make changes in my life and stick with them when I need to. I have amazing people around me who don't care about the first paragraph. When I fail, I get back up. I wake up every morning knowing the day is a fresh start to do new things. I try to incorporate what I write about into my life, even when I am not always perfect at doing it. I accept the fact I have done stupid things in the past and forgive myself for doing them. I try to overcome fear whenever I can. I work hard. I am constantly learning new things.

I'm not an expert in how to live life anymore than any of you are. I have done a lot of things and I have faced a lot of hardships, but I am still learning and growing each and every day. I'm going to continue to make mistakes and fail and say stupid things. I am going to do things I am not proud of. I'm also going to succeed and do things right and say smart things. I am going to do things I am proud of.

I have to give myself some credit and cut myself some slack. I have to learn. I have to try. I have to accept and embrace change. I have to put in the work. I have to get up when I fall. I have to try to live each day a little better than the day before. I have to take a deep breath and start again.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Be Calm In Your Heart


We are constantly surrounded by noise, trouble and hard work, but for many of us, we are rarely at peace. We have a hard time being calm in our heart. We are constantly rushing around, contributing to the noise and chaos. It can become frustrating being enveloped by this chaos, but this frustration only leads further and further away from the peace we desire. Being outwardly calm doesn't always equal being calm in your heart, but it can start you along the path towards peace.

One thing we all need to do is become better at accepting things as they are, especially when we can not change them. This acceptance helps to alleviate the frustrations and dampens the din around us. Part of being calm is knowing there are things of which you have no control and accepting this. We can't change everything about the world around us, but when we realize this, the world around us will change for us. As illogical as this sounds, the way we view the world makes the world what it is for us.

Let go of the frustrations over the things you can't control. Take control over the things you can. When you are able to orchestrate the things you can and feel no frustration towards the things you can't, calmness will begin to find it's way into your heart. As with every great thing we do, this won't be easy and will take time and practice. The more you practice, the easier it will become. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Do What Needs To Be Done


This is one of those times when the pictures says it all. Don't wait for someone else to do what you can do. Get out there and do what needs to be done.

Stop waiting for the right time or the right place or the right people or the right anything. The right time is now. You are in the right place. You are the right person. Do the work and make your world exactly what you want it to be. 

Live the life you want to live and build the things you want to see. It's not always going to be easy, but with hard work and belief in yourself, you can do anything.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top Five Regrets


What kind of life are you leading?

Will you be lying on your death bed, hopefully many years from now, expressing these same regrets?

What has to happen before we all wake up and realize we have a finite time and we better get started living the life we want to live?

Looking at these five regrets, we know how to get started. Live the life you want to live. Don't let other people tell you what you should be doing. Have fun with it...this is your life to live in any way you choose. Do crazy things. Take risks. Fail often. Have an adventure. Have many adventures. Do the things that scare you. Be true to yourself.

Tell the people you love that you love them. Tell them often. Don't ever stop telling them. Keep these people as close to you as you can. Don't let time or distance or petty difference keep you from remaining close to the people who add value to your life.

The last regret is the hardest. Happiness really is a choice we have to make. We can control how we view the world and how we react to everything happening around us. Give yourself permission to enjoy life, to be happy, to do the things you want to do, to make the life you want to make. You have the ability to do it. Now, you just have to give yourself permission to be happy.

Every second is another chance to change you life into the one you really want. You have the opportunity to leave this life without any of these regrets. What choice will you make? What kind of life are you going to lead?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Making Memories


Although it has been unseasonably warm here in the Midwest, December has arrived and people are gearing up for the holiday season. More and more money will be spent as consumers chase those "perfect" gifts designed to show the recipient just how much the giver loves them. Kids are waiting for with bated breath to see what Santa will bring, hoping they get all the new stuff they asked him to bring.

For many people, shopping during this time of year has become a game. We spend all of our time finding the best deals and weaving in and out of the crowds, looking for that special something that will have our loved one smiling when they open it. We want to give each person the best gift of the year, so the act of giving has even become a competition of who buys the best presents. Shopping can become stressful if you can't find that perfect something for a person on your list (and we have all shopped for that one person who is just hard to shop for).

Is this really what the holiday season means to you? What's the point? We spend so much more time buying gifts for the people we love than we do actually spending time with these people. Many people will buy gifts on credit and the sport of giving puts them into debt. How many of the gifts you purchase actually get used for longer than a month?

What would happen if we actually spent time with the people we love instead of spending all the time shopping for the people we love? What if we didn't give so much stuff, but instead gifted experiences? What if we made memories, instead of going further into debt? How much happier of a season would this become?

We don't have to spend all of our time shopping. We can have dinner parties and go to movies and listen to music and just hang out with the people we care about. We can snuggle up on the couch with the person we love and watch a sappy holiday movie. Give your family the gift of you instead of more stuff that will just end up on the shelf in January. If you really want to give people things, make something for them.

If we want to show people we love them, then we should do it by spending more time with them instead of giving them more stuff. I know I am going to remember the times I have spent with my family and friends much longer than I will remember the gifts they give me each year. We have lots of stuff, but we can never have enough memories. Our memories will last much longer than stuff we normally give and receive. How many memories can you make this holiday season?

Friday, November 30, 2012

Change Happens


Change happens.  It's all around us...things are constantly changing every day. From small, imperceptible changes to monumental changes you can't help but notice, everything around us is in a constant state of change. Yet, we are terrified of change.

Wouldn't it be better to embrace, invite and chase change instead of fighting like hell against it?

What would happen if we just acknowledged that some change is going to be difficult, but we are just going to roll with it the best we can?

How would we feel differently if we were actively facilitating many of the changes happening in our life? Would they be less scary if we were part of the cause?

Change happens and is going to continue to happen every day. How are you going to react?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Stop Talking


Sooner or later, we all have to shut up and get to work.

Talking without doing does nothing but stroke our ego. How much better would the world be if we stopped talking about doing great things and just started doing them? What have you been talking about doing and haven't gotten around to actually doing? What's stopping you from getting started today?

Don't let anything hold you back. If you repeatedly talk about something, it is worth doing. Right now is the perfect time to stop talking and start doing.

"Doing leads more surely to talking than talking to doing."
                                                                   -Vance Havner

Monday, November 26, 2012

Negative People


This can be really hard. We all have friends, family or coworkers who are negative and always seem to pull us down when we least expect it. We have to get better at ignoring them. We are only capable of doing what we believe we can do and negativity causes us to aim low. The more negative people you find around you, the lower you will aim.

This life is going to be difficult enough without them. We are going to have challenges and difficulties and problems, but we don't want to add to these because of the people in our life. If you look around and realize you may be one of the negative people, work on changing your outlook. Coach, don't criticize. Motivate, don't complain. Come up with new ideas, don't point out how everything won't work. Figure out what can still be done, don't point out what you already did.

 If people are unable or unwilling to be more positive, then you need to cut them out of your life. This can be really difficult as it may mean spending less time with family, quitting a job or moving on from someone you care about. The negative people only serve to hold you back. Once you find more positive people, you will see how their attitudes and behaviors help to lift you up.

There will be times in this life where we have to make some difficult choices...what's important to you?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Give Thanks All Year Long


On the day after Thanksgiving (at least here in the US), it's hard not to be grateful for everything you have in your life. Many of us had the opportunity to spend time with some of the people we love and this morning we wake up giving thanks for the many things we have in our life. What if we felt and acknowledged this amount of gratitude every single day, instead of just occasionally throughout year? How would this change the way we lived our lives?

Why not try it out for the next month? Every morning when you wake up, make it a point to think of one thing for which you give thanks. Every night, right before you fall asleep, think about one think for which you are grateful that happened in your day. Super easy, right? This should take very little extra time each day, maybe only 30 seconds to a minute. Start and finish each day being grateful and see if it makes a difference in your life. If it doesn't, then you have only lost, at most, 30 minutes of time in your month.

If it does make a positive impact in your life, isn't spending one minute a day a great trade-off?


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Eyes To The Front


Every morning, we need to wake up, take a deep breath and start again. Learn from yesterday, but don't relive it. You have the ability to forgive yourself for the things you did in the past. There is no point in dwelling on them, move on. Each day is an opportunity to help create a new and better world, but we can't do it if we are constantly living in the past.

This life flies by quickly. I know I would rather live each day looking forward instead of thinking about what could have been or how I messed something up in the past. You can only look one way at a time...if you are looking back at what you have done, there is no way you can focus on the future. We can't change the past, but we do have some control over what is to come. Focus on what can be, not what was.

We need to extend these thoughts to the people around us, too. Don't hold grudges and remain angry for what someone did in the past. If you keep them in your life, forgive them and move on. Even if the person is no longer in your life because of what they did, forget about it. Dwelling on the past only stops you from pushing towards the future as much as you want.

Life is going to be difficult, but it is a little easier when you focus on what is to come, instead of what has happened. Each day is a fresh start...take a deep breath and keep pushing forward.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Your Comfort Zone


Sure, you can continue to do what you know. You can take no risks and know the outcome of everything you try. You can eat the same foods and go to the same places and do the same things. You can play it safe. You can shy away from the things that scare you.

But, what's the point? How many amazing things have happened to you because you played it safe and didn't take any risks? How many new and interesting people have you met by hanging out in the same places? How many times have you felt really accomplished when your actions are directed by anxiety and fear?

The really good things in life tend to happen when we are out of our comfort zone. We learn and grow and evolve by challenging ourselves and pushing through the anxiety and fears into new places, ones where we aren't perfectly comfortable. In these places, we can have new ideas, meet new people and do any number of things that are interesting and exciting. Anything can happen when you don't know what to expect.

Start small, if you want. Try a new type of food you normally wouldn't try. Go to a gym you have never visited. Strike up a conversation with someone you've never met. Read a book you wouldn't normally read. Attend a networking event you would normally skip. The more and more you do this, the easier it will become.

Once you start doing the little things, you will find yourself pushing more and more. Once you stop letting anxiety and fear dictate your direction, you will find yourself doing more interesting and life-changing things. Would you prefer to live a life where you have a good idea of what is going to happen, with very few ups and downs or do you want to live a life where you aren't sure what is going to happen, but you know there is a chance for something amazing?

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone...isn't it about time you stepped beyond it?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Live Like It Matters

Your life is in your hands, to make of it what you choose. Many of us often think we should be doing something else or making more money or be happier or any number of other things, but we don't do anything to change. We have this one shot at life and instead of doing whatever it takes to make it the life we really want it to be, we spend our time complaining.

What do you really want to do in your life? What do you really want to do with your life? What is stopping you from doing it? Many of us are afraid of change. Complaining is also a lot easier than actually putting in the work to make this the life we want. There are a lot of us who are afraid of failing, too. What happens if we try and can't succeed in having the life we want? Instead of asking this question, why are we not asking what happens if we don't even try?

I think most of us are on the right path and are actually doing a lot of the things we want to do, but we aren't allowing ourselves to be satisfied. We constantly think there needs to be more and better and different. If we stepped back and actually took a look at our life, we would realize we are doing some really great things. This doesn't mean every aspect of life is great, but it does mean that we have more of it together than we thought. It's okay to be proud of what you have done. You can strive to do more and better while being happy with the life you are leading.

When all is said and done, this is your life to lead. You get to choose what path you take and how far you follow it. You get to make the decisions that matter. You get to control how you react to things that happen to and around you. You get to decide to be happy or depressed or motivated or bored or inspired or challenged. You get to decide to fix things or change things or complain about how unfair things are. You get to make your life the life you want. If you don't, you have no one to blame but yourself.

This is your life...start living like it matters.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Self Confidence


Confidence is defined as a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances. Self confidence is defined in a very similar manner as confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities. Do you have a feeling or consciousness of your own powers and abilities?

Most of us will say yes, but many of us are lying, at least to a point. Are you where you want to be in life? Do you do the work you really think you should be doing? There are people who can answer both of these questions in the affirmative, but many of us cannot. For those of us who cannot, I know self confidence plays a role in us not being where we want to be or in not doing what we want to do.

How many times have you found a job you thought you would love, but failed to apply because you weren't qualified? How many times have you asked your boss for a raise and made the case for why you deserved one? How many times have you picked up extra tasks at work, not because anyone asked you or because you would be noticed, but because you could learn something new or knew you could do a great job? How many times have you continued to go after a goal when others said it was unreachable? How many times have you done something you thought was impossible? How many times have you given up?

If you are lucky, you will have people around you who have confidence in you, even when your confidence wanes. But, we can't count on this. We need to have the utmost confidence in our powers and abilities. I truly believe we are capable of doing anything. There are always going to be struggles and missteps, but these shouldn't affect our self confidence. Take the struggles and missteps as they come, learn from them and continue to move forward. We have to keep pushing towards our goals and not let the doubts creep in. It will take a lot of hard work, but we'll get there.

You just have to believe in yourself.

Easier said than done, right?

Not if you work on supplanting the doubts with encouragement and belief. When the doubts start to creep in, work on quieting them with encouragement to yourself. Train your mind to know you can do anything and once you start to believe, the doubting thoughts will occur less and less. Be bold. Be confident. Believe you can do anything. Have confidence in yourself and in your powers and abilities.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Scary


Things we fear:
  • moving forward
  • change
  • stepping out of our comfort zone 
  • speaking up 
  • being true to ourselves
  • standing out 
  • not giving up 
  • creating art 
  • doing the work 
  • taking chances 
  • constantly trying to improve 
  • admitting mistakes
  • chasing dreams
  • listening to instinct
  • sharing with the world
  • criticism
  • praise   
  • blazing your own path
  • new ideas
  • difficult conversations
  • failure
  • success

Things we must embrace:
  • moving forward
  • change
  • stepping out of our comfort zone 
  • speaking up 
  • being true to ourselves
  • standing out 
  • not giving up 
  • creating art 
  • doing the work 
  • taking chances 
  • constantly trying to improve 
  • admitting mistakes
  • chasing dreams
  • listening to instinct
  • sharing with the world
  • criticism
  • praise   
  • blazing your own path
  • new ideas
  • difficult conversations
  • failure
  • success

Friday, November 9, 2012

Be A Voice


We're going to try a little experiment today and I'm interested to see how many people respond. What does the picture mean to you? Respond in the comments and let me know your thoughts (I really am interested).

For me, this is a great reminder to be yourself and be comfortable with who you are. You don't have to agree with everyone, but you must have the courage to speak your mind when it is needed. We are unique people and having differing ideas is what fuels us to do more great work. It's okay to follow others, but we don't have to be lockstep. While we may agree with the overarching ideas, we don't have to agree with everything and we don't have to remain silent in our disagreements.

I look forward to hearing from you all and hope this starts an active discussion in the comments.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Never Stop Trying


The great thing is we get another chance each and every day. We may not get everything right every time we try, but we don't fail until we no longer try. Too many times, many think if they don't get it right the first time, then they have failed. This just isn't the case...no one is perfect. We won't get it right the first time, every time. When things don't work, we just have to get up and try again.

It's up to you. You are the only person who controls what you do. Will you keep pushing forward? Will you keep chasing you dreams? Will you blaze your own path? Will you do whatever it takes? Will you believe in yourself? Will you keep trying? You never fail until you stop trying. Never stop trying.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What Questions Will You Ask Yourself


I have written a lot about the importance of finding happiness. People much smarter than me have written hundreds of thousands of words about how to find what makes you happy. There are entire sections in bookstores (what few still exist) on living a happy life. Every day, people look at you and decide if they think you are a happy person. For many of us, we wonder why we aren't happier and read everything we can to figure out how to get to the level of happiness for which we yearn.

Every time I start thinking about why I am not happier, I ask myself some basic questions. What do you do that makes you happy? How much time have you spent doing this lately? How much have you exercised lately? What is keeping you from being as happy as you want? What difficulties are you facing at work or at home that are causing stress? What can you do about them? What do you want to change?

While this may seem like a lot of questions, I think we have to find a way to ask ourselves these questions more. Instead of waiting until our mind starts wondering why we aren't happier, we need to make sure we are making the time to do the things we really enjoy doing. We need to exercise (as I am living proof that all the studies are correct...the more your exercise, the better you feel). We must look at the things that are keeping us from being happy and figure out how to change them or eliminate them. Being honest about the difficulties we are facing is the first step in solving them. It probably won't be easy, but is necessary. Figuring out what to change is also going to be difficult, but if you aren't happy now, then you have to make changes to become happy.

There are some things you can do and control internally to help, too. Stop taking constructive criticism personally. Hell, stop taking any criticism personally. For me at work, I have a hard time doing this. I want to do an amazing job and any time any of my staff aren't doing things they way they should, I take it is a knock on my leadership. I can't do this and be happy about my work. Instead of looking at criticisms as negative, view them instead as a challenge to do better. Don't think of them as being caused by you not being good enough, instead think of them as stepping stones towards greater things.

Stop talking about other people and instead talk to the people. Difficult conversations are just that, difficult to have. But, they are the best way to get everyone on the same page and help to eliminate any future problems or misunderstandings. We owe our friends, loved ones, family and colleagues the respect of discussing any issues with them instead of everyone around them. No difficulties go away though gossip.

Quit focusing on everything at the same time. Nothing leads to unhappiness more quickly than being overwhelmed, stressed out and not reaching deadlines and goals. We all have a lot of things we need to work on and a lot of things screaming for our attention. Focus on fewer tasks at once and get them done to the best of your ability. Then, move on to the next ones. You have to be able to prioritize.

Cut yourself some slack. We are going to make mistakes. We aren't going to reach every goal every time. There is going to be criticism and feedback. Here's a secret...none of us is perfect. We are going to be harder on ourselves than anyone else is. Give yourself some credit and just do the best you can do each and every day.

Will doing all of these things make you as happy as you want to be? Maybe, maybe not, but it will help to lead you in the right direction. What questions are you going to ask yourself today? What harm is there in trying?

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Keep Trying


I want to apologize for missing a scheduled Friday post. You may not have noticed the missing post, but I did. I have a self-imposed schedule for this blog and new posts are supposed to arrive every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning. As you can see, there is a missing post for this week.

I could come up with a ton of excuses why there wasn't a post yesterday:

  • I woke up later than I wanted.
  • I had a morning meeting with my new boss, so I couldn't take a little extra time to write.
  • The normal work day spiraled to an 11 hour work day, meaning I got home much later than expected.
  • When I arrived home, one of my dogs was waiting for a bath (which I pushed to Friday as other things came up during the week).
  • After washing the dog, I wanted to eat (as I hadn't eaten a meal through the day, only unhealthy snacks).
  • I had laundry to do since I am going out of town tomorrow.
  • After all of this, I ended up sitting on the couch watching a movie I haven't seen since the 1990's.
As you can see, there are a variety of reasons I didn't get a blog posted yesterday...except, all of these reasons are crap. The real reason I didn't get a blog posted yesterday is because I didn't make the time to post one. I missed a deadline (self-imposed, but a deadline nonetheless) because I chose to not do the work. I did a lot of other things, but just didn't write a blog post.

I'm not going to beat myself up for missing the post, but I can learn a few things from this experience:
  • Habits are important: I recently took two weeks off blogging to go on my honeymoon. Prior to this, I posted every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It took a while for this to become a habit. In the beginning, I had to force myself to stick with these deadlines. Once writing was habitual, it became second nature and I built time in my schedule to write. It only took two weeks to lose this. It will be easier to start it back up, but will take work in the beginning.
  • We have to make the time: We are all busy people. We have lives outside of the things we want to do (especially the things we do for fun). There are a lot of things competing for our limited time. We have to choose what we want to do and then make the time to do it. It's not always going to be easy, but we have to choose each day. I chose to watch a movie instead of writing. Is it the end of the world? Nope, but it did keep me from accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish.
  • We have to prioritize our tasks: There will be days when we have to choose between things we want to accomplish because there is only a finite amount of time each day. Maybe you have to put off the Spanish lesson to run three miles. Maybe you have to put off weights to write. We may not accomplish everything we want to accomplish, but we have to figure out how to accomplish the most important items.
  • Don't beat yourself up: We're all human. I'm not going to dwell on the fact I missed a post yesterday, but I will learn from the experience. I can write the post this morning and still have my three posts for this week. My day got away from me and I chose to do something other than write. It's a new day and I have new choices to make about how to spend my time. I may not get everything accomplished today either, but I can try.
Every one of us has things on our "list" we want to accomplish, but we fail to make the time to accomplish. What's on your list? How much of a priority is it? Do you really want to accomplish it or do you like talking about doing it more than actually doing it? Come up with a list of what you want to do today and then prioritize this list. Make the time to do what is most important for you. If you don't get things done, don't make excuses and don't beat yourself up, just try again. Keep trying until you do. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It won't always be easy

Forget about what other people think. Forget the doubts. Forget the fear.  Don't listen to the naysayers. Don't let anyone stop you. Don't worry so much. Don't hold back.


Live your life. Follow your heart. Do things you think are impossible. Dream big. Be yourself and believe in that person. Do what makes you feel alive. 

This takes work and dedication and courage and strength. It's not always going to be easy, but the best things in life rarely are and it will be worth it. What do you want to do?

Monday, October 29, 2012

What Matters


It's been a little while since I have written anything. Two weeks ago, I married an amazing woman and we spent our honeymoon in Cahuita, Costa Rica. Today is the first day back in the "real world" and I wish I could say I was excited, but trading the beautiful beaches and amazing weather in Cahuita for the chilly autumn air in Missouri hasn't been the easiest transition.

While I was away, I realized how much I care about things that really don't matter and I don't spend enough time on the things that do matter. We all get so caught up in the day to day life of jobs and worry and stress that we often forget to slow down and enjoy the life we are living. We get up every morning to go to a job that doesn't matter as much as we think it does, do some work (not nearly as much as we could) and then come home, often sitting in front of the television for hours on end.

While doing this, we constantly worry about things that don't matter or we don't have any control over and we allow little things that happen to frustrate us and ruin our mood. We do this day after day. Why? We convince ourselves it's all about the money we make and need (mostly to buy shit we don't really want or need) or the prestige of having the job title we have (or want) or because the work we do matters or because it's what society expects us to do as adults.

I'm not here to say you have to quit your job and do something else or make massive changes in your life. I'm saying we need to take stock of our lives and stop worrying about things that don't matter. We need to stop worrying about things over which we have no control. We need to stop allowing stupid little things to frustrate us all the time. We need to spend more time doing things that really matter to us...spend quality time with the people we love. Spend less time at work and more time taking a break and recharging the batteries you need to do a good job. Don't worry about having so much stuff...I know it is the way of our society, but do you really need that much?

Take a step back, slow down and figure out what really matters the most to you. Then, figure out how to do it more. This doesn't mean you have to make a massive overhaul to your life...it only means you need to realign your priorities. Our lives don't have to be filled with worries and stress and fears and frustrations. We can make the choice to live a different life. What's stopping you?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Today is the day.


Today is the day. 
I get to marry my best friend and
start a new journey, together.
Who knows where we will go?
As long as we are together-
where we go doesn't matter.
Who knows what we will do?
As long as we are together-
what we do doesn't matter.
Who knows what we will build?
As long as we are together-
we can accomplish anything.
I get to marry my best friend and
start a new journey, together.
Today is the day.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Try Something Else


We take everything way too seriously. As a whole, we spend too much time stressed out about things that really don't matter. We look for meaning in every little piece of data we can find, failing to see that some things just happen. We try to control the world around us without realizing the only thing we have any control over is ourself (and sometimes even that is doubtful). By only reacting to the things happening around us, we never really live.

For most of us, we just need to let go and let whatever happens, happen. The "bad" things that could happen are usually not as bad as we think they will be and the "good" things we hope for are usually not as good as we imagine. Realizing we have little control of the world around us, we can instead focus on ourselves and how we interact with this world. We can work on how we react to the stimuli around us. We can really decide who we want to be, instead of trying to be the person we think everyone wants us to be.

This isn't easy. I don't even know if I am a good person to even talk about it as I haven't come close to perfecting it in my own life, but it needs to be said. We create a crazy world by spending so much time worried about what other people are doing or thinking. We create a world where bullying is the norm because we criticize differences instead of celebrating them. We create a world full of violence and hate because we are more worried about who are neighbor prays to than we are about how we act. We create a world full of difficulty because we take our thoughts and ideas so seriously we can't believe anyone would think something different.

We are all different people with different thoughts and experiences. This has led us to different beliefs and thoughts about what is important. These differences should be celebrated instead of feared. Instead of distrusting your neighbor because they are different, spend time getting to know and laughing with them. Instead of thinking everyone else is wrong, realize more than one person can be right. What is right for you may not be right for others. We are born, live our life and then die. Every one of us has this in common. We can't control everything that happens during the course of our life, but we can control how we look at each day and how we react to the things that do happen. Smile more. Laugh more. Stop taking things so seriously. Trust each other and help build a better, safer and more peaceful world.

It won't be easy and it may not make this world any better, but what we are doing now sure isn't working. Maybe it is time to try something else?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What if Money Was No Object



I know I have been writing a lot about grabbing hold of your dreams and doing what you want, but I had to share this video. This is exactly what I have been thinking a lot about recently, though put more eloquently. If money was no object, what would I want to do? What do I desire? What makes me happy? 

I don't know exactly what I would do, but I do know it would involve helping animals and people, traveling, writing and feeling as if I am making a difference in the world. Now I just need to find what it is that will allow me to do all of the above. What is it that you want to do? What do you need to find to stop doing things you don't want to do to buy thing you don't really want? 

When are we going to step up and say enough is enough? When are we going to stop chasing someone else's dream and start chasing our own? When you watch this video, how do you feel? 

I know, there are a lot of questions in this post, but these are important questions. These are the questions we fail to answer. These are the questions we ignore. These are the questions, when answered honestly, will force us to make changes in how we live. We are afraid of these questions because we are afraid of what the answers will do. I say it is time to stop being afraid and start answering them. Yes, things may get more difficult once you start, but no one ever said this was going to be easy.

What would you do if money was no object?  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Begin it now


I know I write about this a lot, but I came across this quote attributed to Johann Wolfgang van Goethe recently and no matter who actually wrote it, this gets the point across. 

No matter what you want to do, start doing it. If you are terrible, then you are terrible, but practicing is what will make you good. If you are scared, good. The things we are most scared of are usually the things we should be doing. If you don't know if it is right, then try it. How will you ever know unless you try? What if you fail? Then you try again. 

We spend so much time thinking about whether or not we should do something that we make starting the hardest part. Stop thinking so much and just get started. Starting doesn't mean the world is going to be figured out or that you have to keep doing it the rest of your life. Starting just means you have taken the first step...you have gotten past the hesitancy and you have begun. Starting is neither the end of the world or the change you have been waiting for. 

Starting is the first step (of many) down the path you want to follow. Just like every other path you have followed in life, there will be many other branching paths you can take as you move along it. Starting doesn't decide everything; it just gets your ass in gear. Starting doesn't commit you to anything, it just allows you to move forward. Stop standing still hoping change will come to you. Whatever it is you want to do, begin today. No more hesitation, no more fear, no more over-thinking...just start.  

Friday, October 5, 2012

Lesson #1


The first and most important lesson you have to learn is how to love yourself. Without it, nothing else will fall into place and nothing else really matters. Loving yourself doesn't mean you can't improve, or become better, or learn something new or do something different. It means you accept these things and who you are. As egotistical as it may sound, you are the most important person in your life. Don't hold yourself back.

Your happiness matters. Your dreams matter. Your ideas matter. Your beliefs matter. Who you are matters. Love the great things and the blemishes. Love the person you are today. Love the person you will be tomorrow. This is the most important of life's lessons and we have to learn to love ourselves before we can really love anything else. We are all amazing people...it's time we started to believe it.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Frustration



One thing I think we all constantly struggle with is letting the thoughts and opinions of other people frustrate us. Do you ever have times when it feels as if everyone around you is pointing out all the negatives about the work you do? Do you ever have people who say they want to help you get better but never seem to listen to the reasons why things are the way they are? How do you handle the constant bombardment of negativity? The easiest way to tell if you let other people bother you is to see how often you become frustrated with them.

There will be times when you have a valid reason to be frustrated, but even then, it really isn't worth it. Why become frustrated with someone else when there really isn't anything you can do to change them? There will be times when someone else just doesn't understand, no matter how much they think they do. There will be times when other people just do things differently than we would. There will be times when our best isn't good enough for someone else. There will be times when things just don't work. Becoming frustrated in these cases does no good.

There will be other times when you don't have a valid reason to be frustrated, but become frustrated anyway. There will be times when you let everything else in your life build up and you become frustrated with someone close to you over something stupid. There will be times when you make a mistake that is easily fixed (or even one that isn't easily fixed). There will be times when someone you love makes a simple mistake. There will be lots of times when we want to get frustrated over things that don't really matter, mainly because of other things going on in life. These are times when we really want to eliminate the frustration.

One major problem with frustration is is continues to build. You get frustrated at work because of a variety of things and then traffic sucks and you become more frustrated. When you get home, the stupidest, little thing sets off the frustration again. Maybe it's the way the dishes are in the sink or you left the coffee pot on or you forgot something at work or any number of little things that shouldn't matter. It all starts with becoming frustrated the first time, probably when you feel you have a valid reason to be frustrated and this frustration continue to build to the point where you are getting frustrated over everything.

How do you stop this? How do you develop a way to keep this frustration from getting to you? I'm not an expert as I get frustrated more than I would like, but I do know some things you can try:
  • Practice breathing: When you feel like become frustrated, focus on your breathing. Take a deep breath in, hold it, then slowly exhale. Count the breaths you take and focus on nothing but your breathing. This is usually really helpful when you get to the point where you want to explode in frustration. 
  • Exercise: Try to get your blood pumping each and every day. Even if it is for just a short period of time, strenuous activity will help to clear your head and put you in a better frame of mind. You can do simple things (jumping jacks, push ups, squats, jumping rope) or more complex things (weights, jogging, yoga, classes). Not only will you burn the energy feeding you frustrations, but the more you work out, the better you will feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the less frustrated you will get. 
  • Meditation: This is a difficult one for many people because they picture a monk sitting perfectly still in lotus position for hours on end and think there is no way they can do it. Meditation doesn't have to be that involved. You can meditate by sitting at your desk perfectly still for five minutes. You can focus on your breathing or on a mantra or on anything that helps you clear your mind. You don't have to be classically trained or perfect at anything to meditate. You just have to find what works for you and make the time to do it. 
  • Journaling: Make time each day to write about how you feel about things. It helps to get the frustrations you have on paper which makes them real and helps to let them exit your body. This can be your way of letting things out instead of holding them in until you explode over the stupid, little things. 
  • Gratitude journaling: This is a lot like journaling, but each day you focus on three things for which you are grateful. You can focus this on things other people did or on things that just happened. You can do this each morning for the previous day or each evening for the day you just had. By focusing on the things for which you are grateful, you can help to forget about the things that frustrate you. As you begin to focus on looking for things to add to this list, you will stop paying as much attention to the things that frustrate you.
  • Forgiveness repetition: This is just something you can do for yourself. Many people will do this as they lay in bed getting ready to sleep. Think about the people or things that frustrated you and forgive them. Practicing forgiveness helps to clear away any lingering frustration and helps to make you feel better about everything happening around you.
  • Do what makes you happy: This is obvious, but one we often don't do. When we become frustrated, we will often go home and just fall on the couch and watch TV or we bitch and moan to someone else about our frustrations or we drink a little too much or we eat too much or we just go to bed frustrated and angry. Instead, make time to do something you love. If you love to write, then make time to write. Same for listening or making music or reading or playing a sport or shooting pool or doing anything that makes you feel good. We spend so much of our time doing things we may not really want to do and we forget to make time to do the things we love.
These are just some of the things you can do to help alleviate the frustration. The more you do them, the less and less you will automatically get frustrated (hopefully). Some of these may not work for you...the key is to keep trying until you find what does work. Let your loved ones know what you are doing and what you need from them. You don't want your frustration to boil over on to them.

Frustration sucks, but it is something we will all feel from time to time, no matter what we do. Some of us become frustrated at the drop of a hat or have certain people in our lives who are just really good at frustrating us. Some of us will work jobs that are so frustrating that we start to dread them before we even get there. Some of us will get frustrated over things that don't bother anyone else, but we will all have to deal with frustration. How we deal with it will have a lot to do with the overall happiness we feel in life. The easier we frustrate and the more it happens, the less time we have to enjoy the things we love. Personally, I would rather spend my time doing things I love with people I love than feeling frustrated about anything. 

What do you do to help alleviate your frustration?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Stop Complaining


Every day, I hear people complaining about the things that are without doing anything to change them. I do a lot of this complaining myself. The thing is, complaining doesn't change anything. Complaining doesn't get people to do things better. Complaining doesn't show people a better way to do something. Complaining doesn't put you in a positive mood and complaining certainly doesn't help you get things done. Complaining does demotivate you and demotivates everyone around you.

If you don't like something, then change it. Don't complain about it, change it. This is a simple concept, but one most people will never grasp. We feel better when we complain and people listen. It takes work to actually make changes, but complaining is easy. We might have to have difficult conversations to make changes, but complaining allows us to have easy bitch sessions. We may have to hold ourselves to a higher standard to make changes, but complaining allows us to feel like we did something when we really didn't. We may have to eliminate something we like to make changes, but with complaining, we can convince ourselves that we don't really need to anything.

Stop complaining. If you don't like something, then work on changing it. Putting in the work and making change isn't going to be as easy as complaining, but it's going to make you feel a lot better. It will also help you improve. Quit whining and start working towards making things the way you think they should be. If we all stop complaining and start calling each other on it when we do, we will all have an amazing shot at success.

Start today. If you feel the need to complain or you catch yourself complaining about anything, stop, think about what you can do to make things change AND do whatever it takes to make the change. Have the difficult conversation, exercise more, study longer, watch less television, do some extra work, eat a little less, write more, say no, quit your job, take that chance, ask for help, ask the person out...do whatever it takes to make the change you need to make. Try it for one month. At the end of October, look back on you month and see if things improved. See if you feel better about yourself and the life you live. See if the lack of complaining changes your outlook and your motivation. Try it for one month...if it doesn't do anything, you can always go back to bitching and moaning about everything.

Personally, I would rather get shit done.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Love Yourself


Love yourself. A very simple sentence, but one of the hardest things we have to learn. We are who we are. We all have strengths and we all have flaws. We may wish we were smarter or stronger or braver or a better leader or naturally talented in many things, but we are who we are. While there are things we can change about ourselves, we have to be comfortable with who we are.

We often hear people extolling the virtues of those who are humble while being egotistical has a negative connotation. While it will often be labeled as egotistical by those on the outside looking in, we have to take pride in who we are and what we can do. Being humble might sound nice, but taking pride in who you are and what you do is necessary for truly loving yourself. Once you love yourself, there will be times when you should be humble.

Many of us use self-deprecating humor throughout the day. This has become a crutch for many of us who don't love who we are. We use this humor as a light hearted attempt to defuse situations or to just have a little fun, but there is often some truth to what seems to be only humor. Most of us wouldn't say some of the things unless we truly believed there was something to them. This is a habit you will never be able to stop overnight, but pay attention to when you use it. Think about it and ask yourself why you said what you said. The more conscious you become to it, the more likely you will be able to find out why you use it.

Many of us also get stuck on the things we don't do as well as we would like and we forget about the things at which we do excel. It understandable to focus on things we want to improve, but we can't do it exclusively or at the detriment to ourselves. We all wish we could do something that we can't, but we rarely want to put in the work to make it happen. Frustration and depression set in when we can't snap our fingers and make things change overnight. We want things to happen now, not at some point down the line.

Loving who you are right now is the first step to leading a happy life. This doesn't mean you can't work on things for the future, but you have to be comfortable with who you are and what you have to offer today. While it sounds so easy, it really isn't for a lot of people. We focus on the mistakes we make or the stupid things we do. We believe other people are constantly judging us for these things, too. The truth is, those who matter don't judge us for these things. Those who do judge us don't really matter. We have to stop worrying what anyone else thinks.

Believe in yourself. You have the ability to do great things, even if you don't yet know what they are. Yes, you have flaws, but this doesn't make you flawed. We all make mistakes and do dumb things from time to time. Just like you should cut some slack to the people around you; you need to cut yourself some slack. Focus on the things you do well and then do them. Work on the things you don't do as well, if you want to do them better. But, no matter what you do, love who you are. There are people around you who love you for who you are, flaws and all. Take a cue from them and find the love for yourself. This will move you closer towards the happiness you have been searching for.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Occupy the Moment


We need to be more mindful of the moments we are in. All too often, we spend our time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. Neither of these do any real good, but doing them causes us to lose track of the moment.

Our life is a series of moments strung together. Many people go through life without ever really experiencing any of these moments and because of this, spend most of their life unfulfilled and dissatisfied. It is impossible to be satisfied with what you are doing now if you are spending your time wishing you did something different yesterday or worrying that you won't be able to do what you want tomorrow. We can go through our entire lives thinking about yesterday and tomorrow, but never really living today. We shouldn't.

In the end, we will look back at the moments of our life that mean the most to us. I know I want to have as many moments as possible to spend my time remembering. I know I won't think about the times spent worrying, but I will focus on the times I enjoyed by being one with the moment. Instead of occasionally having these times, we need to make sure we are having them on a daily basis.

Get up and watch the sunrise. Enjoy the sunset. Laugh more. Have a leisurely lunch with friends. Go on a walk. Spend time with loved ones. Have coffee and conversation. Cook an amazing dinner. Go out to eat. Plan a trip. Do whatever it is that you love to do and just enjoy doing it. Stop thinking about everything else going on in your life and spend time just being in the moment, letting the feelings overwhelm your senses.

Stop placing value on your life based on the number of hours you work or the amount of money you make or all the shit you own. There is way more to life than traffic and money and cell phones and meetings and job titles and salaries. There are moments in time that will live with you forever. There are people you will never forget. There are meals you will want to eat again and again. There are amazingly beautiful sunsets. There are personal goals to accomplish. There are unbelievable concerts. There are long walks with friends discussing life.

These moments are the really important things in life. Don't spend your life missing them...


Monday, September 24, 2012

Yes


Why are we so afraid of hearing the word no? Why do we let the thought of being told no stop us from asking the questions we want to ask? How can one simple, short word be so scary? What horrible things will happen when someone dares to utter it?

Our fears are rarely rational. Being afraid of the word no is entirely irrational. You should be pushing forward so hard that you hear no over and over every day. Ask the difficult questions. Chase after the things you really want. Put in the work and grab hold of your goals and dreams. Being told no is part of life and you don't need to fear it. Ask for so many things each day that you grow comfortable hearing the word no...though never be satisfied with it. No is not the end of the world. No is not the worst thing that can happen.

If you stop fearing no, how many more questions will you ask? Ask for a raise. Ask for a new job. Ask the person you respect to mentor you. Ask that girl or guy out on a date. Ask for a better price on anything you buy. Ask your customer to purchase more. Ask that person for a reference. Ask for an upgrade. Ask for people to follow you. Ask for support. Ask for anything you want or need. What most people forget is the more they ask, the more chances they have for a yes. If your fear of no stops you from asking, you have no shot at yes. It's time we quit letting our fears stop us before we get started.

Today, take one of the questions you have been putting off due to fear and ask it. What do you really have to lose?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Positive vs. Negative


Sometimes, I just feel as if my best isn't good enough. I can't do the work as well as I would like. I can't express my thoughts in writing as succinctly as I hoped. I'm not smart enough. I'm not a good leader. I can't manage people. I have doubts and fears and I let them overtake my life. I wish I could be more and do more, but I can't find the motivation to do anything.

While we all feel this way from time to time, none of these thoughts are helpful. In fact, all of these thoughts are harmful. These thoughts cause people to be depressed. These thoughts urge people to escape with drugs and alcohol. These thoughts cause people to quit doing what they love to do. These thoughts stop people from making their life better, because they listen to the voice saying they are not good enough. These thoughts tear us down and leave us feeling overwhelmed and worthless.

Sooner or later, we have to grow tired of allowing negative thoughts to control our life. We have to stop listening to them and letting them tear us down. We have to do things for us and our way. We have to believe we can do anything. We can be more and we can do more, we just have to do the work. Ignore the doubts. Ignore the fears. Instead of allowing these thoughts to creep in, we have to become our own best cheerleader

By doing this, we can be more present in the now. We can stop letting other people frustrate us. We can stop doubting our abilities. We can stop worrying about/fearing things to come. We can stop dwelling on things that happened in the past. By paying attention to our thoughts as we have them, we can stop listening to the negative thoughts and consciously replace them with positive thoughts. Over time, if we continue to work on this, the negative thoughts will start to decrease and will automatically be replaced with positive thoughts.

This doesn't mean life will become all unicorns and rainbows. There will still be challenges and difficulties and negative times, but more and more of our time will be spent thinking positively. As we become a more positive person, the feelings of inadequacy will lessen. We may not do everything we wish we were able to do, but we will be giving our best and will know it is all we can do. Will life be any easier? Probably not, but it will be more fun and fulfilling. It all starts with recognizing our negative thoughts and consciously replacing them with positive.

I don't know about you, but I am tired of the negative thoughts and feelings. I am tired letting my own thoughts hold me back. I am tired of allowing my mind to tear me down. It's time to take our thoughts back and become the people we are meant to be. Let's start today...it's time to ignore the doubts and fears while replacing them with positive thoughts. Will you give it a shot?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Change Your Thoughts


Simple enough, eh? This advice is anything but simple to institute in your life. It is something you have to constantly work at, but will make all the difference. Your thoughts control your world. The way you view yourself, other people, the things happening around you, really everything, controls the world in which you live.

Everything you will ever do starts with thoughts. If you want to live a positive, happy life, then you have to start with positive, happy thoughts. The more you dwell on the negatives, the more unhappy you will be. It looks simple from the outside, but you have to constantly remind yourself to not dwell on the negative things that happen (or at least what you currently view as the negative things). You will never change the world for the better until you change your thoughts for the better. 

Choose to be happy. Choose to believe in yourself. Choose to laugh more. Choose to see the best in the people around you. Choose to view the "negative" occurrences as nothing more than challenges. Choose to chase your dreams. Choose to cultivate a passion in what you do. Choose to push forward. Choose to learn something new every day. Choose to be open to change. Choose to embrace the world around you. Choose to find the positive in everything.Choose to make your world one in which you are excited each morning and exhausted each night. 

You have power to change your world. What choices will you make?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Start By Doing What Is Necessary


We spend a great deal of time thinking about what we can't do and what we don't think is possible. Instead of working towards goals we have, we think about how hard it is or how it can't be done. We have failed without even starting. We give up before doing any work.

No matter what it is, to accomplish anything, we have to start. Our goals will not come easily and we won't be able to accomplish them immediately, but unless we start, we will never accomplish any of them. No matter what your goals are or how out of reach they seem, taking the first step brings them closer.

Just as you wouldn't be able to get up tomorrow and run a marathon, none of our goals are something we will accomplish overnight. You have to get up every morning and put in the work. You can't let anything stop you. You have to have passion and motivation and dedication. Nothing is impossible, if you believe you can do it.

If you want to run a marathon, but haven't ever run before, find a training regimen to follow and start running. If you want to quit anything, focus on not doing it. If you want a new job, start networking and get your resume into people's hands. If you want to eat healthier, purchase healthier food. If you want to write a novel, start writing every day. Whatever it is you want to do, start out doing what is necessary to get there. It may not seem like much, but the small amounts of work you put in to start will add up.

Don't let difficulties hold you back. Don't let doubts stop you. Don't worry what anyone says or thinks. If the people around you don't support your quest towards your goals and dreams, eliminate them from your life. Don't let the voice stop you. If you dream big, set your goals, believe in yourself and do the work, anything is possible. It just starts with doing what is necessary.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Voice

So stop listening to it. You are never going to be able to completely silence the voice. When you think you may have, it will pop up at the worst time and start spreading doubt. You can ignore it...in fact, you must get good at ignoring it. This voice, the one only you can hear, will hold you back from reaching your potential more than anything else.

This voice pops up all the time, whether you are exercising or training or applying for a new job or learning a new language or studying a subject you find interesting or taking classes or doing anything new and different. It holds us back and convinces us to not give our all. I don't know if this is a survival mechanism from when we were hunter/gatherers or something new, but we have to learn that it has no place in our life.

The good thing is you can start to quiet it when you prove it wrong. It doesn't matter how you prove it wrong; all you have to do is keep going when it says you can't do something. Don't let it stop you or zap your motivation. Keep pushing and keep going. You will break through. You are capable of doing anything, if you put in the work, no matter what this shitty, little voice says.

The key is to recognize this voice for what it is when it pops up. You can even give the voice a name, if you want. Tell it to shut up, argue with it or just ignore it, but don't believe it. This voice will come up with great reasons why you shouldn't do things...it's too cold or wet to run, it's too late to study, you're not smart enough to learn that, this TV show looks better than hitting the gym, you don't have the qualifications for that job, you can't afford to go back to school, etc. These excuses are all bullshit.

Nothing you really want to do is going to be easy. If it was, you would have already done it. But, if you really want to do something, then it matters to you. Don't let bullshit excuses from a voice in your head stop you from doing them. Get out there and do the work. Don't let the rain stop you from running. Don't let fear of failure stop you from learning something new or applying for the job or moving across the country. Don't let any of the excuses stop you from doing the work you need to do. Don't let the voice convince you that doing something hard is a waste of time. It's not. Letting the voice win is the waste. Don't spend another day letting it control your life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Do Not Go Where The Path May Lead

We must stop living someone else's idea of what our life should look like. This is our life. If we don't like any of the paths laid down in front of us, we need to blaze our own. We don't have to do things because we think they are expected. We have the right to find our own light and to chase it to the ends of the earth.

We have to search for what makes us feel alive. If you haven't found it yet, don't stop looking. Blazing our own path in life is difficult, but is worth it. What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? What do you see yourself doing in five years? When you look at your daily life, how does it make you feel? These are all questions we need to be asking ourselves and each other, but we rarely do. When we do get asked them (often in job interviews), we have stock answers, but not honest ones.

We are often stuck, not being entirely happy, but not entirely unhappy, either. We are afraid to make changes as we aren't sure what will happen or if our choices will move the needle closer to happy or unhappy. Because of this, we don't do anything. I am here to tell you that this is no way to go through life. We all have to stop freezing with fear and spend more time taking that first step. Once we start moving, we have a better chance of continuing to move.

Discovering your meaning in life is tough. Many people never do, but this is because they constantly search for their meaning along someone else's path. They are convinced they have to do certain things or act in certain ways because of what they have been told. They never summon the courage to follow their own path. We have the ability and the duty to live a life that matters to us. No excuses. No apologies. Blaze a path other people will want to follow. You only get one shot at this life, isn't time to start making it count?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Risks


How long are you going to continue to take this risk? Before you start arguing that you don't do this, spend a little more time thinking about your life. Are you really doing what you want to do? Are you just biding your time until you have enough experience or money to then do what you want to do? Most of us are spending too much time doing something other than we want to do and not actually getting any closer to doing what we do want to do.

We work in companies where we aren't really respected. We spend time with petulant coworkers who can seemingly do anything they want to do. We have the stated culture, which often has nothing to do with the actual culture within the organization. We are treated like nothing more than a cog in a machine. Many of us work in organizations that could care less about us...we are disposable and treated as such.

Even when we are lucky enough to work in a place where we are treated with respect, we aren't given the opportunity to do things to help us grow. We try to be original and unique, but aren't allowed the opportunity or the ability to make things better. We still work towards goals which are not our goals and are expected to do what we are told, nothing less and nothing more. Rarely are we given the opportunity to prove we can do more. This doesn't mean the company is terrible, but probably means we are doing things on the bet we will be able to someday buy the freedom we so desperately desire.

Is the risk worth it? No, it isn't, but I am just as guilty for taking it. Chasing what we want to do is scary. What happens if we don't have enough money? What happens if things don't work out? What if we fail? Chasing our dreams and doing what we want to do is risky, but it is less of a risk than never doing it. Would you rather spend you life doing what you don't want to do in hopes that someday you will be able to do what you want or take the risk to start doing what you want right now? I say figure out what you want to do and start doing it. What do you have to lose?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Potential


The sad fact is the vast majority of people never reach their full potential. Many of us never will. We don't push ourselves. We don't try new things. We don't keep searching. We settle. We think tangible things matter. We stay away from the things that scare us. We resist change. We stop learning. We spend more time in front of the television. We don't read enough. We shy away from challenges. We ignore our dreams. We stop listening to our heart. We give up.

Why do we do this? It's easier. We're afraid. Doing something new or scary takes courage and we don't know what will happen. We like knowing the outcome before we start. We want to know what will happen if we do A or B. Not knowing scares the shit out of us. It's easier to stand still or do what we have always done.

Allowing this fear to take over breeds complacency and laziness. Once it takes over, it becomes harder and harder to make changes. You convince yourself that you are living the life you should, but the little voice inside of you disagrees. You still have dreams, you have just gotten better at ignoring them. Many people can go through the rest of their lives like this. They can believe they are content, without coming anywhere close to their full potential.

But, even these folks feel the doubt. For them, it doesn't come along as often, but every now and again they will catch themselves wondering if their is something more out there. They will often forget these thoughts as quickly as they come, but they still have them. You have these thoughts. I have these thoughts. We all do. Having them doesn't matter nearly as much as how we react to them. Ignoring them is never the answer. We have to become better at listening to our heart and mind.

When you wonder, do something. This is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Do something that scares you. Learn something new. Turn off the television and get some exercise, spend more time thinking, read a book, have a conversation with someone. Just do something different. The further we push ourselves, the closer we come to realizing our potential. You will never know what you are capable of until you have given it your all. What really scares you? Get out there and do it!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Be True To Yourself


Most of us will look at this poster and smile or smirk and kind of laugh to ourself and then move on. We won't take it seriously and will assume that Zappa was just being Zappa. But, there is a lot of truth here. I can't tell you the number of times I have heard someone say they were unhappy with something and there was nothing they could do about it. Or, the number of times people just take what they are told as truth and continue on without thinking for themselves.

Seriously? All of us need to wake up and really start thinking for ourselves. We don't need to do what other people have told us to do. We don't have to live someone else's idea of a good life. We don't have to be average. We don't have to take anything as a truth without first questioning it. We don't have to fit in or be liked or give a shit about things other people give a shit about. We don't have to eat the same food or watch TV or like the same books or believe in the same politics or pray to the same gods.

We have a mind and we really need to start using it. What makes you happy might make me miserable. What you love to do might be on my list of things I would never want to do. The ideas I have for living a great life might be completely different then yours. All of these things are okay. The key is to believe in yourself and have the strength to do what you love to do. You have to be able to think for yourself and decide which idea is best for you. You have to have the courage to stand up for what you believe and know not everyone will agree with you.

Just stop living a life that is not yours. If you are unhappy, do what makes you happy. If you don't like the people around you, find new people. When you are told anything, question it before you believe it. Forge your own path and be true to who you are. Don't care what other people think you should do or should be. The only person who has control over your happiness is you. Your heart and mind, not anyone else, already know what you should be doing. Learn to listen to what is inside you instead of what everyone around you says.

The only person who has to live with the life you lead is you. No one else. Other people might think they have your best interests in mind, but they don't. They may not mean to be disingenuous, but unless they support you in everything you do, they are. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your choices. Do what makes you happy. Question everything. Come up with your own ideas and thoughts. Be true to yourself and live the life you were meant to lead.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Collection of Random Short Thoughts


I know there are a lot of people out there who hate lists. If you are one, you can stop reading now as this post is going to turn in to a list. I have been doing a lot of thinking this last week, which I know is normal when anyone is dealing with loss. I wanted to be able to string together everything I have been thinking about into one blog post, but my mind keeps bouncing all over the place and anything I write does too. Instead, here is a list of some of the things I have been thinking about. Some of these may be blog topics in the future, but many express what they need to express in a sentence or two.

  • Spend more time with those you love. These are the times that really matter in life.
  • Spend more time doing things you love to do and less time doing the things you hate.
  • Take time every day (or at least once a week) to just think. 
  • If you hate your job, quit.
  • If you like your job, then work your ass off to do the best work possible.
  • The culture of a company is built by the people. If the culture isn't right, then the people aren't right.
  • Embrace change, especially when it brings more work for you.
  • Try new, little things each day. This will make it easier to embrace big changes.
  • Don't automatically reject new ideas.
  • Be honest and straightforward with people, even if it seems painful. Difficult conversation are usually important conversations.
  • Stop worrying about everything.
  • Don't hold back. If you have an idea (no matter how crazy), speak up. 
  • Be more active. It's amazing how much better you can feel if you just get a little exercise each day.
  • Stop talking about doing things as much and actually start doing them.
  • Figure out what you need to change to become a person you can love and then make the changes.
  • Believe in yourself and be confident, but not an egotistical asshole. It's a fine line and one you need to find.
  • Feel free to be different, if that is who you are. 
  • Have fun. If you aren't having fun, then figure out what needs to change so you can.
  • Laugh as much as possible. Don't take things so seriously.
  • Things will work out in the end. It may not be the way you want them to work out, but you can only do so much.
  • Encourage the people around you by believing in them.
  • Friendship and loyalty are expressed in deeds, not words.
  • Don't be afraid to let go and move on. Don't dwell on the bullshit of the past.
  • Nothing is impossible.
  • Chase your dreams, no matter how crazy they are. You are in control of your life.
  • Follow your heart...it already knows where you should go.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Kennedy


Kennedy originally came in to the shelter as a young dog and hated me. Every time I would walk by her kennel, she would lunge at me and I wondered if we were ever going to be able to get her adopted. Luckily, she found a home. She had this home until she was diagnosed with Addison's Disease and became a burden to the family who adopted her. As soon as she walked back in to the shelter, she laid her head in my lap and I was in love.

The night I took her home, she played non-stop with my other dog, Atticus, for four hours (and would have kept going if I hadn't separated them so I could get some sleep). She never left. On Wednesday, Kennedy left this world and I lost an amazing canine companion. She was a little like me in she loved every other dog she ever met, but was very picky with the people she trusted and felt comfortable around. If she trusted you, she was the sweetest, most easy-going, most loving dog you would ever meet.

Honestly, right now I feel like I have this giant empty spot in my heart. Some of you might be reading this thinking I am crazy because I am talking about a dog, but the animals in my life are part of my family. Kennedy was a beautiful dog who was with me through the ups and downs of my life for the past four years. She had been though a lot of change and was a constant, faithful companion. Just thinking about her and writing this hurts. It makes me wish I would have had longer with her. It makes me wish I would have cherished the time we had a bit more. It makes me wish I could have been more prepared.

When I adopted Kennedy, I knew she wasn't going to have the longest life. I knew she was going to have struggles and I knew it was going to be hard. Knowing all of these things doesn't make it any easier at the end. But, as much sadness as I feel now, I would go back and do it all over again. My time with Kennedy has shown me we can't take anything for granted. It has shown me the little things we let bother us because we think they matter, really don't. This all has shown me we are going to hurt, but insulating ourselves from the pain would be even worse. It has shown me we need to be more cognizant of the time we do have.

If I would have not brought Kennedy in to my life, I wouldn't feel this sadness right now. But, I would have never had the great times I had with her. On the day she came back in and laid her head in my lap, I knew this day would come. I didn't realize then how much this would hurt, but I also didn't realize how much I would love her. She stood by me when others didn't. She put up with me when I drank too much. She was there when I finally quit. She loved Leila from the instant Leila came into our lives and our home. She showed me love, when I didn't feel as if I deserved it.

Life is short and precious. We have to stop spending our days doing things we think society wants us to do or what we think we have to do and instead do what we need to do. It's easy to get caught up in the drama that is daily life, but what good does it do? It doesn't help us to cherish what we should be cherishing and living life the way we should. There is always going to be loss. There is always going to be death. We are going to feel sadness and pain at times through life. How we live our life in the other times is what really matters. Make moments that matter.

Kennedy was a great companion and came in to my life when I really needed one. She was a big part of our home (figuratively and literally) and she will be missed more than I can express.