Unanticipated Success

September 9, 2010

“Every failure is really just an unanticipated Success.”   SD

 We begin with a vision of what we wish to accomplish. Then we visualize our desired result, plan, decide upon a course of action and execute our plan. So far: so good.

Then, after a while, we sit back and examine the results. If they match our initial vision, we label our efforts SUCCESS. If they fall short, we label them with the “F” word – FAILURE. Why do we do that to ourselves? Especially when we have seen over and over again that events we judge as failures almost always turn out to be valuable lessons or building blocks to a greater success.

So, I guess we can chalk it up to bad memory. Why should we care? What’s wrong with judging some of our results as failures and taking steps to rationalize our disappointment?

Well, a couple of things:

1. We don’t like to fail. So, the fear or expectation of failure can keep us from taking risks. And where there’s no risk, there’s no reward.

2. Judging our outcomes as failures tends to bum us out. And bummed out people rarely attract positive relations, new business, good juju into their lives.

Viewing outcomes as failures lowers self-esteem and who needs that? If you can’t feel good about yourself, who can?

In summary, be good to yourself. Love yourself. View all of your outcomes as building blocks, steps along the path you are walking and, therefore, successes.

Judge less

Be kind and compassionate – especially to yourself.

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Get out of your HEAD and into the ROOM

May 30, 2010

Just a quick note to remind you to experience more and analyze less.

When you get to the final day of this journey on Earth are you going to look into the eyes of a loved-one and say “Gee, I wish I’d spent more time worrying about all those things that never happened.?” Yeah, I don’t think so.

 Do you want your final epiphany to be regret over how much time you wasted bemoaning past “mistakes” and worrying about future outcomes? Wouldn’t that be tragically fitting. Your final precious moment spent in regret instead of soaking in the world one last time? I’m starting to sound like the Ghost of Christmas Past. So, let’s go with that. Like Scrooge, we all have the capacity to wake up and change our approach to life. Decide right now to spend more time observing and less time thinking. Be curious about the world. See life as it is and appreciate the perfection—even if it isn’t exactly the way your mind thinks it should be. Release the past and the future and enjoy the only time we ever truly have—NOW. So, as Tiny Tim would say…


The University of Adversity

May 5, 2010

“There is no education like adversity.”
Benjamin Disraeli

Well, aren’t we feeling well educated? Talk about making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. But, of course, it is so true. If life always unfolded just as we expect and desire, we would parish the first time we fell off a bike or lost a client. Put another way:

Good fortune and bad are equally necessary to man to fit him to meet the contingencies of this life.
French Proverb

Sorry about the gender bias (the French) – I’m sure this is equally true for non-males.

Adversity is simply life moving in a direction that we did not expect.

It is not necessarily a worse direction, or a better direction, just different than what we had planned. There are two primary responses to adversity each presenting us with an opportunity for growth.

Ask yourself: 1. Is the situation counter-productive to my life plan. Does it inhibit my ability to grow in the direction I have selected, and 2. Is it within my ability to change it? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then you can create a plan to bring the situation more in line with your goals.

If you cannot change the situation, you are handed the opportunity to learn acceptance. We simply cannot manipulate every aspect of life to match our vision of how the world should be. Attempting to do so will only bring frustration, disappointment and resentment. Learning to let go of our expectations is one of the keys to a happy life.

“God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reinhold Niebuhr


He that Knows Not is a Pupil

April 7, 2010

“The only path to learning is to know that you don’t know.”   by I don’t know: some spiritual guy. 

OK, but if you know that you don’t know then …you know, so how is that not-knowing? Cause if you know… I’d need Abbott and Costello to work this one out. Spirituality can be complicated. 

What I do know (or not) is that, when communicating with another human, not knowing is critical to understanding.

The challenge arises because we each have a unique interpretation of the world around us, the relationships between this and that. For example, you may think that purple is the new black. I may think that it is satanic and anyone who wears it should be forced to eat garlic ice cream and live in Bakersfield (my apologies if you live in or are from Bakersfield). Or, you may feel that you are complimenting me by saying that I’m looking much better. I may hear “you look like hell most of the time.”

What you say clearly communicates your meaning—as registered by your personal interpretation. Problem is: I don’t hear through your interpretations, I hear through mine. What to do? Two words: Awareness – Patience – Persistence. OK, three words.

Awareness: To communicate effectively you must first be aware of the fact that everyone interprets words through their own unique perception. So, when you hear a statement from another, don’t assume that you understand.

Patience: Take the time to check out your initial understanding. “So when you say you are going to buy a purple dress, are you saying that you worship Satan and wish to move to Bakersfield?” At which point you can correct my misinterpretation and say, “Why no, I don’t.”

Persistence: Question until you understand the speaker’s meaning. “So, if you don’t worship Satan and are not moving to Bakersfield, why do you want to buy a purple dress?” “Because,” you answer, “I read in Cosmo that purple is the new black.”

Ah, now we are communicating.


The Road to Success

April 2, 2010

“The road to success is simple

for those who have no rear-view mirrors.” SD

The problem 

We tend to get trapped in a Catch 22: The more treacherous the road the more time we spend looking behind us, lamenting our misfortune and worrying that more of the same lies ahead. But, the more time we spend looking back, the more treacherous the road becomes. Imagine zooming down the highway at 70 MPH while staring into your rear-view mirror – a near certain recipe for disaster. And, of course, the more treacherous the road…

 A solution

Many years ago on a sacred mountain top, in the ancient spiritual Mecca of Stockton, a 400 year old spiritual master lay dying in my arms. As I sensed his life energy about to transition I asked, “Master, before you cross into the Great Unknown will you share with me one Secret to Living a Successful Life? Tell me how to stop focusing on the misfortunes of my past, knowing that by doing so I project my problems into the future.”

 As the life-force began to leave his body, he pulled my ear to his lips and yelled:

 STOP DOING THAT! 

“All right, All right,” I said, rubbing my ear. “Geez.”

 I realize that the more challenging life becomes, the more difficulty you have focusing on the present (the Catch 22). Difficult: but well within your abilities. It is a matter of focus and will and eventually habit.

 Approach today as a precious opportunity: a gift of life that will last but a few short hours. Consider the extraordinary treasure that lay before you. You are surrounded by an endless supply of beauty and prosperity. A happy, prosperous life is your right, and you were born with everything you need to claim your share.

What will you do today to draw prosperity into your life? What steps will you take to reach your goals?

 If, today, you focus on this unique present, there will be no time to lament the past. Tomorrow? Do it again.


The Power of Winning

March 23, 2010

 

The Power of Winning

“Your talent determines what you can do. 

Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do.

Your attitude determines how well you do it!”

–Lou Holtz

 

The exciting news:   A lot is “happening”!  The challenge:  How do each of us participate in the activity? 

There is an amazing video:  Pearls Before Breakfast (from the Washington Post)…Watch It!!!

The story goes… 

“A youngish, nondescript, white man in jeans positioned himself against a wall beside a trash basket at a metro station (subway) in Washington D.C. and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning, several years ago.  He played six classical pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

“In the 45 minutes the muscian played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for awhile.  About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace.  He collected $32.00.  When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed.  No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. 

“The violinist was none other than Joshua Bell, currently one of the greatest muscians in the world (playing incognito).  He played one of the most intricate musical pieces ever written on his Gibson Stradivarius (valued at approximately 3.6 million dollars).  Two days before, he had played to a ‘sold out’ theater in Boston, with seats averaging $100.00 each.”

In a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour:

               Do we perceive beauty/Do we stop to appreciate it/Do we recognize opportunities that are right before our eyes?

This amazing musician went unrecognized…unnoticed because his appearance was not expected, not anticipated. So it is with success in today’s marketplace. Those people who are still bemoaning the “bad economy” will only perceive that which validates their expectations.

Those who expect success will see the opportunities everywhere.

 So, the only question is:  Are you prepared and looking for opportunities…and taking advantage of them? Do you wake up every morning filled with anticipation, prepared to take advantage of the unlimited possibilities?

 Remember: Success doesn’t find You. You find Success.

 As we move further into 2010, I can’t help but remind myself that we not only live in best place in the world, but also that our communities offer some of the best real estate opportunities in the world!

 Take advantage…have a fantastic Week!


Forgiveness

March 12, 2010

Forgiveness is one of the most powerful forces on earth. Applied generously, it can provide relief for both the giver and the receiver.

For the receiver, the effects are pretty obvious. Being forgiven can ameliorate feelings of guilt for what it is they have done, and worry over the future of their relationship with the giver. It can have a positive effect on the receiver’s self-image, and infuse them with a general sense of  well-being.

Oddly enough, the same benefits are available to the giver. In general, we forgive people because we perceive that they have wounded us in some manner. We judge their actions as wrong. The “projection” effect tells us that when we criticize others we are criticizing ourselves. What we object to in another’s actions are actions that we have taken and regret or that we have imagined taking but believe are inappropriate. So when we forgive another we are, in effect, forgiving ourselves.

And forgiving yourself is very powerful medicine.