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 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 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's time we started to believe it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


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 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.