There have always ways been different opinions about almost everything. Probably from the best way to approach a mastodon in order to kill it for food for the others, to the best way to use social media to market an idea. But, as you can see from my hint about social media, these days we are absolutely bombarded with statements that purport to be the real truth.
Social media is all pervasive, but only if we let it be. We do have choices to make. And this takes me back to an article that I posted way back in 2009. The irony is not lost on me but GIGO is worth another read. Then we were being bombarded with all sorts of negative, violent and confrontational stuff in the news and on social media. My advice then was to unplug for a while and focus on yourself and your immediate family and friends. Pay attention to what you really want in your life.
Way back in 1956 Earl Nightingale produced an amazing record called “The Strangest Secret”. That secret was relevant then, as it has been all through history, and as it is today. It is quite simply ‘we become what we think about’. We need to take a minute out of our hectic lives and just think about that. What are YOU thinking about? What are you focused on? What is at the top of your mind? It matters. If it is always checking on the craziness of the next tweet from that person, you will be growing feelings of ridicule, resentment, anger, despair and so on. If you are hoping for more money because you do not have enough, the main thought there is that you do not have enough and that grows.
I recently realized that I was not really much engaged in life and was just treading water. I put out the thoughts that I wanted to be doing more and being more active in the community. I did not know what that would mean but wow! Within the same week I was invited to a general meeting of a Riding Association and became a Board member with a specific responsibility that will certainly broaden my knowledge, horizon and connection to my community. In addition, I was invited to be part of starting a business venture. Careful what you think about because things happen. 🙂
What I want to recommend to you is that you pull back just a bit and focus on what you can control. About the only thing you can really control is what you think about. We have heard it said that live is about 90% what happens to us and 10% of how we respond/react to the things that happen to us. Get out front and start thinking about what you really, really, really, REALLY want. We want world peace because we will be safer. We want more money because we want to help others and to provide comfort and security to our family. We want safety and security where we live. But, overall, we REALLY want to be happy! Anyway! So focus your thoughts on contentment, happiness and inner peace. My partner always says “prepare for the worst but plan for the best”. In other words, know what the worst can be, acknowledge it briefly and then let it go and focus on the best.
Procrastination has become a problem for me since I have unlimited and unstructured time available. We have heard for all our lives how work expands to fill the available time. What I did not realize was that anything will expand to fill the available time. Like checking out your social network accounts, like checking out just one more news media outlet, like reading just one more chapter (or six) in that book you are reading. You get the picture. Classic procrastination!
Now you might think that it is not really a problem because you really have nothing else pressing to do. But in my case I am growing so lethargic. At the end of the day I do not feel like I have done anything. But I was having trouble figuring out just what to do to break the cycle. There really are things I want to get done if I can only …
This is where a very timely article presented itself to me. The teacher appeared just when this student was ready. I read an article about productivity shortcuts written by Derek Doepker (@ExcuseProof) In it he suggests procrastinators use these magic words: “Can I just …”. In my case it has started me one a new road (actually it has helped put me back on the road I have been on most of my life). That is the road to getting things done! And feeling accomplished at the end of the day! Happy!
Can I just write one more blog entry? Can I just spend the next 25 minutes going through the things on my desk and throwing away what is not needed, filing what needs to be filed and putting things back where they belong? Can I just do cardio workouts every second day for the next two weeks? And so on. I am back to using my self management techniques that I had let slide because I thought I did not need them. I am back to feeling accomplished and productive. Even if I am not doing work in the traditional sense, I am happy anyway.
What about you? Can’t seem to break the procrastination blocker? Try it! When you are facing some challenge, break it down to a smaller bite and ask yourself: “Can I just …”
“Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
— Norman Vincent Peale
An interesting quote. The first thing you need is an awareness of your own powers. What does that means? Quite simply, what are you good at? What do you like to do more than anything else? What makes you feel happy when you are doing it? We often wonder what it is that we should be doing. Fortunately, life is well designed to help us along the way if we just pay attention.
This is not the time to be humble. Think and be honest with yourself. What are you good at? Make a list. Brag to yourself!! Now make another list with the activities that make you feel happy. This list might be a bit short at first because we do not often think this way. Stick with it. What makes you feel happy.
Now, put the lists together and see which activities are on both. Those are your real powers and are where you should be focusing your attention in doing. You can make a great contribution to the world if you focus on those activities.
I said that life is well designed to help us know what to do in most situations. If we feel good, we are doing the “right” thing. If we are not, then examine what you are doing and change. Feeling good is the signal we need to be watching for all the time. We are not feeling good when we are berating a cashier for something. Rather, switch and figure out what you are really looking for. As a minimum, understand that you are venting at the wrong person and usually for the wrong thing. As your Mom said, take a deep breath, count to 10 and move on! Mom was always right.
So, have a realistic confidence in your own powers and you “Can be Happy Anyway”.
Virtually all of the teachers in the field of achievement, happiness and abundance teach us that we need to “Be Grateful”. We need to develop and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. No matter what is going on around us we need to find something to be grateful for.
I have known and understood this virtually my entire life. However, it is only recently that the light came on for me that I have indeed been grateful virtually my entire life. You see, I used to think that it was very hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I thought it meant that I had to constantly focus on being grateful and being specific about what it was that I was grateful for. Sort of like taking time out and concentrating.
Certainly we need to do that sort of thing. We need to pay attention to what we are feeling about what is happening. We need to focus on what we would like to feel grateful for in order to attract that into our lives. In the present tense. But how do we do that? That is where the light has finally come on for me. I have been doing this for my entire life. Maybe you have also.
People who know me will recognize this sort of phrase from me. “I am so lucky to have chosen to be born in the right place at the right time in history to the right parents.” I use the “lucky” word a lot. You will usually hear it shortly after something “bad” has happened. I have intuitively always looked for the silver lining and expressed it out loud. I now finally realize that what I have been exercising is my attitude of gratitude! And I have had lots of occasions to exercise it!
I do not really recall being taught this along the way in my early years but it does not mean that I was not being exposed to it. I read voraciously in the achievement fields and goals fields. The concept was likely there and I probably picked it up by osmosis. But I have had this my whole life, even as a child.
So what? Has it made a difference? Do I enjoy abundance? Am I happy? Do I have great relationships? Can I do what I want, when I want to and with whom I want? Simply, yes. In my 20’s I decided that I wanted to be able to retire by the age of 50 and I did. Along the way, I helped others in ways that allowed them to do and get what they wanted out of life. Great relationships! My family life has had the occasional hick-up as all families do but it is fabulous. I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I am so “lucky”.
There is that word again. Always look for the luck/gratitude views on what is happening to you. Take the silver lining and run with it as your flag. When it is the toughest that you have ever faced, feel lucky because it is getting you ready for something greater than you could have believed in earlier times. You can be happy anyway!
We all know that it is important to be following a “continuos learning” trajectory through life but what does it mean? Obviously in work settings it means keeping up and even looking ahead to move ahead. In every day settings it used to mean that we should be taking courses to stretch our minds and broaden our interests. These days it probably means staying in touch with the continuos changes in our electronic world and the apps that drive it along. Whenever we update our software, it often means a learning curve to adjust to the changes. Get the latest technology once in a while to experience continuous learning!
A note of caution: continuous learning must not end with retirement! It is not a work thing. It is a life thing.
But really, nothing has changed. If you are not interested you are withering. If you are not living with a bit of wondering you are coasting and not engaged in your life. You are dying! Remember, our life is a short time in the whole of eternity so we had best make full use of it.
We live in a world of amazing wonders that must surely inspire enthusiasm for inquiring into the whys and hows of things. Continuous learning is not about formal training or education. It is about looking around and wondering about the things that we see all the time. Live like you are on a vacation. Rush to the next thing and learn as much as you can about it. I love the concept that we have learned more in science in the last 100 years than we have learned in all the previous years of history. We know stuff now that we did not even know that we should be wondering about just 100 years ago.
We don’t know everything. We do not have all the answers – yet. Actually, we won’t ever have all the answers. Before Galileo we thought that everything revolved around earth. Then we thought that our solar system was the centre of the universe. And then, … well you get the point. We don’t know what we don’t know. Stay inquisitive. Look at things with the wonder and enthusiasms of a kid. Go discover! Learn! Wonder! LIVE!
I want to continue to be inquisitive. I want to stay interested in seeing and experiencing stuff that I have not yet come across. I want to keep learning. In short, I want to keep living fully. THAT is the way to staying Happy Anyway! 🙂