Service

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.        Muhammad Ali 1942 to 2016

When you read that quote what do you think of as service? Is it your job? Your business? The charity you support? The “good works” that you do? Is service to others something you have to think about and plan into your week? Do you even believe that it is a requirement of us living in our society here on earth? I just love this thought espoused by one of the “greatest” (yes I know he said he was the greatest!).

I am going to keep this fairly short today. Service to others is actually a life-style choice in my view. It is not something we do for credits or to just do our share. If service to others is to be the rent we pay, it needs to be constant and unthinking, just like “living” is. The act of living is pretty much unconscious. The way we live is a whole other thing.

Choose to live a life of service. Simply, to me, this means to help others to the level that you can help them and that they are willing and able to accept. Do not look for recognition or even thanks. Just do it.

Take a look back at something I wrote a while ago. Happiness is connected to what we do. It is not about service but it will help a bit to refocusing I think. We are responsible for what we do and especially how we react to what happens to us or around us. Remember, when it feels right or good you are doing the right thing. It feels great to serve others so – serve!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

― John Lennon

A great quote shared by Stuart Anslow. Lennon had it so right even in his early years. The one thing we all desire, above all, or at the foundation of all, is to be happy. Where we get confused and off track is when we lose the meaning of what it is to be happy. We get lost in accumulating wealth, being “successful” and “doing good things” and making sure the rest of the world sees and understands how great we are. In short, we get lost in EGO.

You have, perhaps, read elsewhere in these posts that it is very useful (and important) to consider what you want the result of your action or words to be before doing or saying it. If it is to serve you by showing others how brilliant and “right” you are – that is EGO and is not destined to be a part of being happy. If it is to help and serve others in a non-selfagrandising way, that is a part of the voyage of happiness. Yes, happiness is a voyage, not a destination.

Think just a bit about some of the things we have done or are doing right now because we think that it will lead to happiness. Saving money for a trip. Working hard to gain that promotion or major sale. Writing an article to prove how right your viewpoint is. (Hmmm…) But don’t those sorts of things lead to happiness?

Sure, they probably lead to a happy moment or period of time. But we need to look a bit deeper. What is the motivation? Saving for that trip is hard and can be stressful. However, if the motivation is to go to that area and really get into the place you are voyaging through, the saving is easy and happy. If the promotion or big sale moves you further along on helping others, the effort becomes easy and it is all part of the voyage we call life. And it is part of living in a “happy” state. Writing is a whole other thing! 🙂

You have heard me say before, contentment in your everyday life is a key to being happy. In actuality, by contentment, I mean being grateful for what is in your life now. It does not mean that you cannot want to strive for “more”. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that you already have a great deal to be grateful for. Stay focused on what you have to be grateful for and absolutely do not give time thinking about what causes stress and feelings of inadequacy.

Yes, Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!

Rightness!

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.

Happiness is connected to what we do – always!

Life is happening all around us all the time. Some good, some bad and lots of seemingly no moment at all. All of this is not what we do but what is done to and around us. So how can we be “happy anyway”?

I posit that it is all about what WE do. If we fall into a funk and think about how “bad” it is, we will feel “funky”. If we look around for blame, we will feel “blamey”. If we feel that life is just conspiring against us we will feel “conspired against”.

Let’s look at who or what is responsible for what we do. Is our boss responsible for what we do when he/she makes impossible demands or levels unfair criticism? Not really. It is our reaction that is all about what we do. We can recognize the impossibility of the assignment and make a concerted effort to show the impossibilities and, more importantly, the possibilities instead. Sometimes we need to consider the unfair criticism and just look for the lessons. Maybe how not to be like the unreasonable boss. Maybe to just file it away and move on. In other words, we are responsible for what we do. So act positively, be assertive, and act! Do not just feel put upon – act and do something.

What about circumstances? Sometimes things just happen TO you. The car doesn’t work. The basement floods. The power goes out. Someone cuts you off dangerously in traffic. It pours rain just when you are taking the family out for a picnic. Most of this sort of thing is beyond your control. So – what should we DO? Just make a choice to consider alternatives right away instead of lapsing into “poor me” feelings. Sometimes it is just a matter of looking at the situation and seeing the humour. The person who cut you off in traffic must have a wonderful assignation to get to! 🙂 Have a picnic in the rain anyway!

So what do we mean when we say that happiness is connected to what we do? Simply it is that if we do positive – we get positive. Is what we are doing contributing to our happiness? It is still always about choices. If we have a boss that really is just an impossible person you must choose to change your boss. Be grateful that you have a job and income but look for ways to change the boss. Maybe find a way to be your own boss (start a business). When circumstances happen, learn to be grateful that they are not worse (they can always be worse) and that you can see a way to make changes to better the outcomes. Then ACT. Do something to make things better.

Sometimes change is required. While looking for a new boss, alter your outside work activities to focus on activities that bring happiness and joy. Get a good work/life balance. Change how you look at things. Look for lessons, humour, thankfulness, and always find a way to move from not happy to happy. Be gentle on yourself. Deal with emotions and give yourself time to “feel”. But give yourself a deadline to move back to gratefulness and happy.

It all comes down to choice. Choose to get your mind right. Look for things to be grateful for. Choose to remain steadfast and reliable to others. Choose to be persistent and even eager. Choose to be a good colleague/boss/employee. Choose to be happier!

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day! 😀

Find A Way!

I love creative thinking. I hear about a situation or problem or opportunity and I immediately want to take some time and think about it in different ways. Many call this thinking outside the box. I not only love creative thinking, I am good at it.

I don’t particularly love being dutiful or even being very thorough in the doing of things. To me, this is keeping me from doing what I love to do. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very good at doing these things – I just don’t like it as much. Even though that is the case, I DO THESE THINGS ANYWAY! And I do them as well as I can.

There is a great life lesson here. If you choose/have to do something, do it to the very best of your own ability. Not the best in the world (unless that is your goal) but the best YOU can do. Just compare yourself to yourself and do your own best. Then you need to find/make time to do what you really love to do.

I want to shift gears just a bit now. We often have a hard time knowing what the right things are for us to find time to do. All I can tell you is that it has to come from inside. You will know because you will feel “right”. How about a few tips that have helped me?

Remember that you are always a role model whether you are aware of it or not. So take a bit of time and think about what you would like to hear as the eulogy at your own funeral many, many years in the future. What would you like to hear from your family? Friends? Work colleagues? Bosses? Your life partner? And so on. Then think honestly about what you imagine they would actually say/think today. Now you have a list of things to work on. 🙂

Most of what gets us into diss-equalibrium revolves around the respect or lack of respect we have for others. I have learned that I am not always right so I try very hard to be open to learning from others (who are also not always right). So stay respectful. They just may be right if they are so insistent on their viewpoint. If you KNOW they are wrong and they do not seem open to hearing another point of view – let it go. They don’t have to tell you that you are right. Keep in mind that you just want peace and happiness. You do not need to tear down others and their ideas to stand tall. Just always be open to learn new stuff.

I have said this before. Everything is a choice. Does the choice you are about to make reconcile with your own values? Will it bring peace, joy and happiness? Or will it bring conflict, contempt and anger? All those things your Mom or Dad told you was very valuable advice. “Think before you act.” “Look before you leap.” “Take a breath and count to 10 before reacting.” “You can’t unsay anything so think about what you are about to say.”

All of the advice has to do with taking some time before doing or saying things. Why is that? I think it has to do with the reality that negative emotions are much quicker to rise to the surface. It is probably related to the flight or fight response that allowed for survival in earlier times. But if we just take a moment to let our analytical mind work we can usually see a “better” action. You will recognize a true flight or fight moment, trust me. Most of the time these days we are not faced with true flight or fight moments.

Find a way to do what you love. Find a way to choose better actions and reactions. Find a way to be the best role model you can be.