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Posts Tagged ‘circumstances’

The Question should be – why not me rather than – why me!

July 25th, 2016 No comments

Have you ever said “why me”? Come on – be honest here – sooner or later everyone feels like some area of life has not been fair to them and their usual response is “why me or why now.”

Why not look at these life situations or circumstances a little differently with a “why not me”. Let me explain.

Think about it – no matter what has happened or how bad something seems consider that there could possibly be someone in the world who has it a lot worse. I could give your dozens of global statistics when it comes to poverty, sickness, death, the shortness of life, poor income etc. but I’m sure you are familiar with some of them unless you are totally immersed in yourself without a care in the world for anyone other than yourself. I’ll give you one – over 795,000,000 people in the world suffer from hunger without enough food to sustain a healthy lifestyle. That’s about one in nine people. Are you one of them? I doubt it.

I’m sure you may have an idea where this article is going – if not – when you consider all of the disease, poverty, hunger etc. in the world I’ll bet you don’t face any of these every day so back to the title the question should be – why not me rather than why me in difficult circumstances?

I will focus on just three areas although there are many – careers and or business, general happiness and health.

Careers or business – The average income globally for individuals is $795/year. Are you making more than that? Thousands of people die every day due to hunger and disease. So, why are you whining? We spend over one third of our life working in our jobs or careers so if you do not have peace in your career – well – it’s simple – one third of your life will be unfulfilling. I’ll bet you know dozens of people who have been terminated or just lost their jobs due to circumstances they couldn’t control – are you one of them? If you are reading this – probably not.

Over 1500 businesses fail every day in the US – is yours one of them?

It’s not complicated – I’ll bet if you ask yourself a simple question – why not me rather than why me I’ll wager that you will come to realize the many blessings you have in life every day. Over 40,000 people die in their sleep every night – are you one of them? Doubt it.

I have failed numerous times during my life but my response was always – OK what can I learn from this and what can I do now – not, poor me, life isn’t fair, I don’t deserve this or some other lame negative reaction. Ever failed at anything – what was your response – point the finger, get all stressed out or just have a pity party or did you just move on – smarter and wiser?

General happiness – Research indicates that only one in three Americans are happy and less than 75% of the population are happy in their careers or jobs. Happiness is not nor will ever be what you have, do or enjoy but the ability to be happy regardless of what life brings into your days and years. Happiness is a mindset and this is not who you are or what you have but your life philosophy.

If you want to be happy it won’t happen with a bigger house, more money, nicer car or more toys or travel. Research over the years has proven time and time again – money, wealth, power, fame or stuff doesn’t make people happy. Sure all of these are great but if you are doing them for greater happiness – you will be disappointed. Do you think someone who is starving in the world gives a rip about having a nicer car or even a car?

Health – There are numerous studies over the years that have validated that the number one contributor to sickness and death is stress and do you know the major cause of stress? It’s a lack of patience or control. So, why not ask yourself – is a roof over my head enough? Are three meals a day enough, is having health insurance enough or do you whine about what’s missing?

So let me close with a quick question – are your issues, challenges, concerns, worries or fears even close to the general negative global statistics when it comes to these areas? If not – get over it and just be OK with what you have and stop complaining about what you don’t have. ##

Tim Connor, CSP

If I only knew then …

October 23rd, 2013 No comments

. . . what I know now.

Ever thought that? Come on, everyone has at some point in their life. So, what were the circumstances that caused these thoughts?

No one knows what is around the next bend in the road all we can do is do our best today to try and ensure that what lies ahead is positive and good. The problem is, as you are well aware, that even doing everything right and to the best of your ability will NOT guarantee that trouble does not lie ahead.

So, what's the answer?

Expecting better or different results from repeated behavior is a mild form of insanity. Ever heard that one? You would be amazed at how many people accept, understand and embrace this simple concept and still don't follow it in their everyday activities or behavior.

I could give you many examples where I have not followed this principle and I teach this stuff. So again what's the answer?

Here are a few things to consider as you move through your life one day at a time.

1)The present is all you have – do you live it with joy each moment no matter what is going on in your life?

2)Are you insensitive or unaware as to how some of your choices, decisions or actions are contributing to tomorrow's events or circumstances?

3)Knowing what you know now if you could go into rewind would you change anything?

4)If the answer to the above question is yes – what signs, signals or lessons from the past did you miss that caused you to make these decisions or take these actions?

5)Life – you can't speed it up, slow it down or hit the pause button, you have to live it as it comes. Are you?

6)Are your future expectations unreasonable?

Do you think you are immune or isolated from future consequences due to previous decisions or behavior?

8)Are you a learner or do you just keep going from one day to the next not giving yourself the opportunity to get better, smarter or wiser?

9)Have you ever considered that previous mistakes were made to help you improve in the future or be better prepared to handle future situations?

10) Is your ego so out of control that you really believe everything you

do is right?

11) Are you unaware of the simple truth of cause and effect?

12) Your turn. Pay attention today to each of life's circumstances and

be willing and open to see the learning as well as what events and

people are trying to teach you so you never have to say again . . . If

I knew than what I know now!

"As long as you live, keep learning how to live."
Seneca

In His Service, Tim

Waiting, wishing, hoping

October 16th, 2013 No comments

Waiting for something to come into your life; good or bad? We all wait sooner or later for something and I'm not referring here for the traffic to lighten up or for a call from the lottery that you just won a million bucks.

Waiting takes patience, something that few people have today. We want what we want and we want it now – good luck.

Waiting takes trust, the ability to trust life, yourself and God that the right things will show up when the time is right not when you want them to show up.

Waiting takes courage, the ability to believe that you can handle whatever crosses your life path today, tomorrow or next year.

Waiting takes faith, the ability to believe even when you don't have evidence or can control circumstances.

How are you doing so far? Fall short in any of the above? Need to do some inner work to improve your ability to wait with grace, joy and confidence?

Waiting. . . I know I have waited for; return phone calls, yes responses, appreciation form someone, courtesy from others and just life's many simple gifts but in the end much of my waiting was in vain as what I wanted and waited for often eluded me. Ever had that experience? Come on don't tell me that your life always proceeds with your wants, desires, needs and dreams showing up every time you just snap your fingers.

You've heard it, we've all heard it – hope is not a strategy, no it isn't but it is, in my opinion, the best way to approach each day. By this I'm not suggesting that you sit in a lounge chair hoping. Yes, you have to work, take action and have persistence but in the end there is no guarantee that all of this will produce what you hope for. But I don't believe this is a reason not to always have hope in your heart for what you desire.

Now we come to wishing. This is a lot different in my opinion than hoping. I wish I could win the lottery, live to a ripe old age healthy and vibrant and never have any more adversity in my life. Time to get real here – no one in this life escapes some form of trials, tribulations or adversity. The question is are you spending your days – waiting (and doing what you can), hoping or wishing?

Don't know about you but I think all three have value. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. You can't achieve success if you don't learn, grow and put forth the required effort and you can't just hope things will turn out the way you want them to if that is your only approach.

So, have fun waiting, wishing and hoping – I am.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In His Service, 
Tim Connor

Why me . . . Why now?

August 21st, 2013 No comments

Why me . . . why now . . . Why is it that people only tend to say this when things go bad? Ever heard anyone say "why me or why now" when life was going great? I haven't. Have you?

Life happens. No one can predict what lies around the next bend in the road but we can do now what we can to learn, grow and prepare ourselves for both opportunities and challenges in the future. I would like to focus on both and not just the negatives when people say – why me. . . why now!

Let's take a brief look at just a few of the areas that contribute to today's challenges and opportunities and why they are showing up in your life now and how you react to them or can change how you react to them.

Your history –

Every choice and decision has a consequence. Some are negative and some are positive, some happen short term while others can take months or years to manifest. The history of your choices, decisions and actions could be a major factor in what is in your life now. Maybe it took years for these to mature or maybe a simple action yesterday contributed to today's circumstances but it doesn't matter – you can't escape the consequences of previous decisions and actions. Their results will show up sooner or later- like it or not. Think for a moment – how has your history contributed to what is going on in your life now? What previous decisions or actions have had an impact on today's events? Did you see them coming? Did you make some poor choices in the past that have contributed to them? Did you adequately prepare yourself for what is showing up now? Keep going ask yourself some other introspective questions.

Your attitudes –

There are a variety of attitudes you can have when it comes to adversity, problems or challenges. You can choose to see yourself as a victim and not responsible for your circumstances. You can see adversity as a necessary step for personal growth. You can feel you don't deserve the opportunities that have crossed your path. Or you can stay stuck in the middle not sure how you feel or what you can or should do. In the end your attitudes will tend to be a major driver in how you handle both negative and positive circumstances.

 

Your experience –

Experience can be a great teacher but it can also cause us to default back to previous responses to similar situations. The difference in your approach – to look at a circumstance with fresh eyes or clouded by events of the past will depend entirely on your ability to stay focused in the present, bring emotional maturity to the challenge and leave old emotional baggage in the past. None of these will happen automatically and are not always easy given our human nature however if we want to learn from what is happening we must be willing to try and keep trying. A victim mentality never contributes to effectively handling problems, failure or challenges.

Your mindsets –

In many of my articles and books I discuss the concept of mindsets. Let me just say here that they are the primary motivator of all actions, choices, decisions and behavior. If your life is not as you would like in any way or for any reason I would urge you to spend whatever time necessary examining your; mindsets and their origin, power and influence over your thoughts, attitudes and ultimate consequences. A mindset is simply a consistent way of thinking about something whether positive or negative, good or bad or driven by love or fear.

Your expectations –

The number one cause of all disappointment is unrealized expectations. An expectation is a desire, need, want, goal or a way of looking at a person or experience. Fail to manage your expectations in a mature and realistic way and you will always set yourself up for frustration, stress, anxiety and disappointment. The key to managing expectations is to simply let go of what you can't control. I know this is not an easy task but it is necessary if you want to eliminate disappointment from your life.

Your spiritual development –

I will admit that for the past two years I have been on an accelerated spiritual journey – reading, praying, thinking, meditating and just listening for God's guidance. Sometimes it comes and sometimes it doesn't, well from my human perspective it doesn't but that's not to say that He isn't trying to get my attention in some way, through some circumstance or some person.

We are human, we are stubborn and we all want to have a peaceful and happy life without drama, tribulations or troubles of some kind but that's not real life. Real life has its share of failure and disappointment and triumph and victory. We all need to grasp that even in trouble there can be victory and that in victory there can always be trouble.

I have been fond of saying for years that, "God never gives you anything you can't handle." Well I have been wrong, He always gives us stuff we can't handle but he never gives us stuff He can't handle. The secret is letting go and trusting Him that all is working out in this life for His purpose. Some of you may not be there yet. Some of you may be far beyond my learning but regardless of where you are the fact remains that sooner or later we will need to learn to surrender.

"You cannot run away from a weakness; you must sometimes fight it out or perish. And if that be so, why not now,
and where you stand?"

Robert Louis Stevenson

In His service,
Tim Connor

Attitudes – the major contributors

July 17th, 2013 No comments

I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times – attitude is everything. I know I’ve said it thousands of times, but what exactly does this mean or better still what are the factors that contribute to our attitudes? The list is really long and complex, but I will cut to the basics hoping that if you feel you need an attitude adjustment or know someone that does, that this abbreviated version might be of some value. So what are the major contributors to attitudes? In no order of importance I believe they are;

Experience – Experience can be a great teacher or it can cause our attitudes right or wrong, good or bad, to become further entrenched in our behavior causing us to just default to previous responses when dealing with totally new circumstances or people. If we don’t learn from our experience we can’t use it as an effective tool to improve or change for the better. Negative experiences have a significant impact on our attitudes and until we are willing and able to evaluate them maturely and accurately we are destined to continue to repeat similar behaviors in completely new and different situations.

Mindsets – Think of a mindset as cruise control. Once you press the button everything happens automatically. So, if over time you have become a negative or pessimistic person it is easier to think this way about everything than think otherwise. Attitudes are driven by mindsets. If you have any prejudices as a part of your attitude base you will tend to think and act this way regardless of current circumstances. Mindsets are one of the major factors that contribute to our attitudes whether it is your attitude about time, weather or any other human factor or interaction. To change attitudes requires that you change a mindset, but I’m sure you realize that because of an existing mindset this can be a very difficult if not impossible task. And why? Because most people would rather remain the same than do the work to change. The other reason is that when we have certain attitudes we will go to great lengths to defend them as right or appropriate.

Personal history – Your personal history; how you were raised, values you were given, beliefs you have developed over the years are a significant factor contributing to attitudes. If you have consistently failed over the years regardless of the activity or endeavor, if you have not come to see these failures as a valuable learning tool but a reason to bring this philosophy to any new action you will tend to continue to repeat these outcomes and justifying them as – that’s life.

You can’t change your history, but you can change how you choose to interpret it in your present moments in present circumstances. It’s a choice, one that is vital if you want to change any attitude.

Expectations – The number one cause of disappointment are unrealized expectations either of yourself or someone else or even a situation that does not turn out the way you hoped or planned. Disappointment leads to frustration and stress and both of these can have a temporary or even permanent impact on your attitudes. Expectations are simply what you want to happen or when or how you want someone to act or behave. These expectations are generally grounded in your personal attitudes like – people should be on time, the weather should cooperate, stupid drivers should stay off the road while you are travelling, planes should be on time – got it? These are simply personal beliefs that you have that have developed over time that are then manifested through your expectations thus reinforcing your attitudes in this area. So when someone is late you typically bring a certain set of behaviors or attitudes to this situation. If they are continually late this sets up other emotions such as resentment and even anger. These then feed your sense of disappointment and therefore continually impact or reinforce these attitudes. This is true of all of the expectations you have of life, others or yourself.

Conditioned environment – You were raised in an environment you couldn’t control. All that your parents or caregivers could pass on to you were their beliefs, values etc. Although these might have been appropriate for them given their circumstances it is unlikely that some of what they passed on to you is still relevant in today’s complex world. What you learned from teachers, church leaders, relatives or even neighbors was “where they were coming from in their life” but it has no relevance whatsoever to the decisions you face and the choices you must make in your life. Yes, some of these lessons and information can have an impact on how you feel, what you believe or how you act, but they must be filtered through your current situations and life in general.

Education – Education can be a significant factor when it comes to attitudes as what we learn, who we learn it from and how we are trained to apply our learning can impact views, opinions and beliefs and how we execute these. Our education system can be perceived in many different ways depending on your political leaning. I don’t want to dig into the weeds on this political influence as I am sure no matter what I say on this topic you will either agree with or disagree with me. I have therefore with this last statement just proved my point. Your political influence is driving many of your views, prejudices, opinions and values. I am not implying that any of these are wrong, right or neutral just that they are impacting your attitudes. Yes after our early educational influences many people change their views, but this is usually due to continued neutral and impartial ongoing education.

Perceptual interpretations – Everyone filters what they hear, observe and experience through a very personal and unique mental emotional filter. If you have read any of my thousands of articles you are well aware of the importance and impact on life and our attitudes of our unique filtering process. Let me just conclude that the ingredients in your mental filter, things like; expectations, age, gender, race, religious beliefs, cultural background, education etc. all have contributed to your opinions, interpretations, beliefs, values and yes prejudices. As long as you are unwilling to approach any new topic, situation, person etc. with a clean or empty filter you are doomed to continue to default back to your previous beliefs or attitudes regardless of how accurate, appropriate or true they are.

Yes, there are many more contributors to a person’s attitudes, but I’ll wager that most of your current attitudes can be measured using the above topics as your template.

I’ll leave you with a question – are any of your dominant or primary attitudes in some way sabotaging your success, happiness, inner peace, relationships, career or any other life area?

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.”
William James

In His Service
Tim Connor

Whatever Happened to Personal Responsibility?

June 12th, 2013 No comments

During the past couple of decades there has been a shift taking place in a major life area. Yes, this is just my opinion but if you will take a serious look at trends and people’s behavior I am sure you will agree. People today are spending more time blaming than looking in the mirror when it comes to a simple yet vital personal attitude and that is simply, (you and I are responsible for our life’s circumstances and outcomes.)

Yes, there are many situations where you may have not had control;

-Some stupid driver tailgates you and ends up hitting you from behind in an accident.

-Your spouse has an affair.

-You end up with an illness or disease due to heredity.

-Your house is broken into.

-You lose your job because your company goes belly-up.

I could give you hundreds of examples but the real question is here not what is happening to you for whatever reason but how are you reacting, responding or dealing with it i.e. personal responsibility.

If this is true, that we are gradually becoming a society of people who no longer in general are willing to take responsibility for their actions, decisions or circumstances why is this a trend, what are the consequences and what can we do to do or change to correct this destructive behavior?

The why.

There are numerous reasons but I believe they fall into three major groups – Our upbringing, the government and the inability to manage fear and uncertainty in our life.

Early conditioning–Each of us were raised and conditioned in an environment we couldn’t control by parents or caregivers, teachers, religious leaders or anyone who had significant influence over our lives. Most of these people were well meaning but in the end all they could do was pass on to us their beliefs, prejudices, opinions, judgments and the results of their experience and learning. So your parents grew up in the 30’s, 40’s or 50’–think all of their lessons are appropriate today in this century? Sure some of the values, lessons and teaching will always be appropriate like learning discipline, optimism, responsibility or consequences of choices but let me ask you – do you think each of us learned all we needed to from them to survive or prosper in this dynamic and evolving world culture? I doubt it. But here’s the problem – what they taught you – right or wrong – good or bad – valuable or not is deeply embedded in your unconscious and to this day has a significant impact on your attitudes, choices, decisions and behavior. In a sense it’s as if they are sitting on your shoulder each minute of each day saying, “Do this, do that, don’t do this don’t to that, think this, believe that etc.”

Yes, some of this can be valuable to live a full and happy life, but not all of it may be relevant to us and our unique current circumstances in today’s world. If you were taught personal responsibility there’s a very good chance you are succeeding in many areas of your life, but if this was not part of your conditioning influencers mindsets then you have some work to do to begin to see your life and its outcomes and situations as your responsibility and nor theirs or anyone else’s.

The government and society–Without coming across as political although it has been my experience that no matter what your political leaning you will tend to agree or disagree with what you read – not based on what you are reading, but how compatible or consistent it is with your attitudes, opinions or philosophy. Anyway, the government is tending to get bigger and bigger and the reason is simple – their agenda is to give more of us more and more benefits thereby creating a dependence on them for many of these benefits. In the end what they are doing is relieving us gradually of personal responsibility. Yes, there are many people who worked for and earned, deserve or need the government’s help but to the degree that exists today? I’ll let you decide. For me, having travelled the world and spoken to over a million people I can tell you that more and more people are beginning to feel entitled that are not entitled.

Fears and uncertainty–The number one emotion that affects everyone in a negative way is fear – fear of what is happening, fear of what might happen or even the residual effect of fear of something that happened in the past. Without going into an in depth explanation of this – accept that there are only two basic emotions – love and fear and all other emotions are just derivatives of these. In other words – hate, anger, disappointment, jealousy, guilt, resentment etc are all just relatives of fear and joy, happiness, glee, contentment, bliss, cheerfulness etc are all related to love.

The oldest part of the human brain is what is called the reptilian brain and it has been conditioned over the millions of years to react first to threats that create fear reactions of flight, fight or freeze. So is it any wonder that when you lose your job, get a bad health diagnosis, or any other bad news your first reaction is fear? No, as a human you have been conditioned over the hundreds of centuries to make that your first response.

When we can’t successfully manage the causes or contributors to fear, even in the modern world, we automatically do what we have learned to do during our evolution as humans and that is a fear response – again –fight, flight or freeze.

Uncertainty is a major contributor to fear as with it we feel we lack control over our life. When we feel we are losing control of any major aspect of our life, our first response is fear, then panic and then the stress sets in.

The consequences.

The consequences are almost universal when we fail to take control in some way of the circumstances or events that cross our path and that is – stress. Unmanaged stress is the number one contributor to all medical issues that we face from colds to heart attacks. From rashes to strokes. Everything in life is a stressor and the brain doesn’t distinguish between positive or negative stressors – a wedding, a divorce, winning the lottery, bankruptcy, getting a promotion, losing a job or any other positive or negative event or situation. The brain treats all stressors the same – a raised physiological awareness and then response of some kind. In the end, failure to manage your stressors, note I didn’t say control them, will take their consequences on some area of your life.

What do we need to do?

There are many steps you can take to address this issue of personal power and responsibility, but let me share just ten questions and/or approaches that when consistently embraced will go a long way to help you achieve success in these two critical mindsets.

1)Spend time focusing on what really matters to you in life – your goals, purpose, desires, mission and legacy.

2)Think about how your current values, expectations, needs and lifestyle are inconsistent with your answer to the above.

3)How do you spend your time? Is it consistent with number one or number two i.e. do you spend as much time in self-improvement as you do watching television or just doing nothing that will move you forward in a positive way?

4)Who do you spend time with? Is it people who have similar attitudes, mindsets that reinforce your current status or is it with people who can help you achieve your goals or dreams?

5)Do you have someone in your life that holds you accountable? A coach, spouse, friend or someone else?

6)Do you spend regular and routine time in serious self-improvement?

7)Do you have an attitude of entitlement or personal responsibility regardless of where you are in life?

8)Do you feel like a victim – someone who doesn’t deserve your current circumstances? Or empowered no matter where you are or what is going on?

9)Take risks, try something new, throw away the box, stretch and accept both failure and success with the same attitude – what can these teach you?

10)Strengthen your spiritual nature. Learn to trust God and accept what He brings into your life as a way of Him helping you learn what you need to, to move to the higher ground or next level in your life.

I suggest you spend some serious time on the above suggestions and/or questions. With time, effort and patience you can see miraculous positive results if you will just be willing to grow, learn and change.

“Stop blaming the world for your troubles.
The world was here first and owes you nothing.”

Mark Twain

In His Service, Tim

Struggling with anything today?

April 16th, 2013 No comments

Struggling with something now?  Had more than you share of struggle? Had a struggle-free life (I seriously doubt it)?

Why is it that all of us sooner or later struggle in life with; our careers, our relationships, finances, health or a myriad of other life circumstances?  Cause it’s normal, yes struggle comes with life and I can personally attest that as one who has spent his life learning, growing and living with optimism and hope that we can never avoid struggle of one kind or another sooner or later – I know I have not been able to avoid it.

So, if struggle is a normal part of life why do so many people wish they had fewer struggles?  Cause struggle is a pain in the A___, that’s why.

Is there a reason for struggle? YES!

OK Tim, I don’t buy it, but for now I will listen so tell me why the struggles I have faced are good or good for me?

First of all some of us face more struggles in life than others and we all face different ones.  Some may struggle with money while others have more of it that they could ever spend but they struggle with some other life circumstance.  Money, luck, hard work, optimism or good genes will never eliminate struggle from your life.

Struggle like any other life situation gives us two simple choices – whine, complain, blame, feel like a victim or let whatever is happening cause anger, resentment or guilt.  OR, we can; grow, learn, say thank you or accept what is happening that we can’t control and make the best of it.

Notice I just said – control?  There are some things in life we can’t control and there are many things we can.  We can work hard and save money but there is no guarantee these skills or traits will give us immunity to those things we can’t control like; stupid drivers who slam into our trunk, weather that ruins an outdoor wedding or millions of other negative life circumstances.  But we can control our attitudes, life outlook, what we consume, what we do with our time and how we react to things we can’t control.

Simply put – struggle is a teacher.  We can learn from it or not.  If we do, there is a good chance we can avoid similar struggles again in the future. If we don’t, rest assured you will face another similar struggle again at some point in your future.

Yes, good habits, mindsets, values and behavior can help us avoid some of life’s struggles but not all of them.  And why not?  We are human, we make mistakes, we make bad decisions and choices and in life there are always consequences.  Save and spend wisely and you will most likely have a comfortable retirement.  Spend all you earn as you earn it and you will most likely have to work your butt of till the day you die.

Eat too many of the wrong foods and when you break the scale as you check your weight yep – you’ll have to go buy another scale.

Treat your body as a temple and you might live a long and healthy life – note I said MAY?  Lifespan is based on two things and two things only – genetic makeup and lifestyle choices. 

You can control only one of these so you have a 50/50 chance of a long life no matter how you live each day.

Struggle is never easy but consider – where you are, how far you have come, who you are now because of the struggles you have faced and how you dealt with them.

You either have a victim mentality and no sense of personal responsibility or you can look in the mirror and smile as you say to yourself, “I am better, wiser and smarter today because of the way I have handled my previous struggles.

Before I wrap this up, I need to say one more thing about struggle – if you are not struggling now or never have, I’ll bet it’s cause you have never tried anything new, stretched yourself or wandered into unchartered territory in life, you just have an apathetic life attitude or you just love staying in ‘blame or whine mode’.

I’ll leave you with a question – which is your life approach – to learn as you go and keep using what you learn to create a better future or to fail to take mature responsibility for what life puts on your plate? Guess which group tends to be the happiest, have the most inner peace and yes, has greater and enduring success?  Your turn . . .

“The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.”

Pierre de Coubertin

OK – it’s now or; tomorrow . . .

January 16th, 2013 No comments

I’ll bet you’ve heard it or read it at least a dozen times during your life – live in the present moment – now is all you have.  Am I right?  The question is – do you do it or just think it or say it?

I won’t belabor the concept or simple fact that the present moment is all you have as I have written numerous articles and even book chapters on this subject.  What I would like you to consider is the price you are paying or will pay as a result of not honoring this simple yet very beneficial mindset.

Think about it –  what have you not done, seen, learned or become yet in your life that is important to you?  I just read a great book called Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks (a great author by the way) and in it he focuses on a simple question – If you were asked on your deathbed – whenever that is in six months or fifty years from now – “was your life a success?”  How would you answer that question?

Seriously – consider this as vital when it comes to what you do with your remaining time here and how that will contribute to how you would answer this challenging question at that time.

Or to put it another way – what didn’t you do, see or become or what did you do during your life that contributed to your answer.  Keep in mind we are talking here about your life not just your career, relationships, spiritual development, financial circumstances etc.  How would you respond to this overall question either yes or no when you roll all of life’s actions, circumstances, decisions, choices and outcomes into your answer?

I know when I first read it, my answer was NO.  Yes, there have been some great times, accomplishments, happy moments, travel, career success etc. but overall the answer was a quick and honest NO. And I was not at all pleased with my honest answer.

In the quiet of your own mind can you be honest with your answer?  If you can – great then take the next step.  If you can’t don’t waste anymore time on this article.  You need to be honest with this first question to move on.

If your answer to the question is YES – I consider my life a success then ask yourself – why?  I’ll bet you might be in denial in some areas. I’m not suggesting that you didn’t live a successful life but Ill wager that very few people can honestly answer this with a quick and honest YES.

If your answer to the question was NO – it’s now time for some serious work so you can live the time you have left to change your answer when that end time comes for you.

For a moment consider that your answer was NO, so what’s the next few questions?  Here are a few to consider.

Why did you do, I mean really do, that you regret?

What didn’t you do and why not?

What would you change and why and how?

If you could start all over again what single choice, decision or action would you change or do differently?

There are a lot more questions but the key is to phrase your answers honestly and from a past perspective for example –

Question – What would you have done differently?

Answer – I would have spent more time honestly considering my choices and decisions and not just making them from the heart, mind, ego or a sense of urgency only.

OK – Follow-up to this – Why didn’t you do this or what drove your actual behavior at the time?  Spend some real honest consideration on this as your answer, if honest, will give you guidance on how you can, need to or desire to change your way of handling these types of issues going forward.

I’m sure you get my drift here so I won’t belabor this any further other than to say you have two choices –

1)Take the time to go through this process or not.

2)If you do – your honesty will determine its value.  If you don’t you have no right on your deathbed to complain, whine or feel any sense of regret – you had your chance but failed to embrace it.

 

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has

never tried anything new." 

Einstein

 

 

12 words that can change your life

January 6th, 2013 No comments

Would you like 2013 to be one of your best years ever? I would ask you to consider the following simple yet powerful approach to creating permanent change and improvement in the area of your life you most desire.

Words can have a powerful influence on your life. We bring into our life what we focus and concentrate on so why not choose one of the following words and focus on it and LIVE it for 7 days as you go through a week. When you have completed all 12 words/actions begin the process again with the list and repeat this approach four times during the next twelve months. You will be amazed at how this simple exercise can impact your year for the better. I didn’t invent this simple technique; Ben Franklin did many years ago. My word choices are a bit different than his were at the time, but the process and outcome can be the same. The order in which you select your word each week is not important – what is – is that you let that word and all it implies have a positive and complete impact on your actions, attitudes, decisions and behavior during that week. Do this for 48 weeks and I will guarantee that 2013 will be one of your most productive, successful, happiest and peaceful years ever. By the way, I have given you a list of fifteen words to choose from – so just pick the twelve that most resonate with you.Try it, you have nothing to lose!

Passion– Passion isn’t about what you are doing, but who you are. Passion does not depend on experience, education, age, gender or any other external factor. It is an inner mindset that drives your actions, attitudes, beliefs, decisions and behavior. Without passion you are doomed to just pass through life one same day after another – with it you can achieve your dreams. Do not let others or circumstances determine your passion. Live it each day and watch as your desires and dreams become reality.

Faith– Faith is not just a spiritual belief, but a strong faith in yourself, your dreams, goals, ability and your future. Too often people or circumstances challenge our faith and we have a choice – give in to these outside influences or obstacles or maintain our faith in what we desire and are working toward and one day want to achieve or become. Faith is not always easy as circumstances can relentlessly challenge our ability to maintain our faith in the face of adversity or obstacles.

Wisdom– Wisdom is not intelligence. “Let your wisdom give you understanding”. We are constantly overwhelmed with information. Information is not power – wisdom is. Wisdom is knowing what to do and what not to do, when, why and why not, how and how not and for how long. Wisdom requires knowledge that is properly applied in the right way. Do not be misled. Information is not power – wisdom is and it will only come from learning, understanding and then application.

Effort– Nothing of any consequence was ever achieved without effort. In spite of what you may have heard – there is NO free lunch. On the surface it might sometimes appear that some people achieve their goals with little or no effort, but do not be deceived. Responsible effort is the common denominator for success and happiness – for the long term. The wrong effort will tend to give you the wrong results while the right effort will contribute to your walking into your future with achievement, success and satisfaction. Contrary to the popular beliefs of many there is only one way to achieve anything and that is with effort.

Hope– Every human wants to live with hope. Hope for something better, different or new. No one wants to live their life, especially when life throws them hurdles or curves without hope. It is in our DNA. No matter what is going on we want to live with hope. When we lose hope we lose life not only emotionally but often physically. Hope is simply believing that tomorrow will be better than today or yesterday in some way and it only requires that you hold on to it with every breath you take no matter how dire circumstances may appear.

Patience– A major cause of stress in life is a lack of patience. I want it now. I want it the way I want it and I refuse to accept anything less. Life works on its own schedule and timing and it often has no regard for your preferences, demands or expectations. Patience is the ability to accept life as it shows up. This does not mean you don’t try, work, plan and hope, but in the end the world functions on a simple cause and effect basis and there is often little we can do to control either the causes or the effects. What we can do is flow and not try and push the river as life adjusts, happens and appears from moment to moment.

Belief– What you believe – you will manifest. What you focus on you will tend to increase in your life. Having goals, affirmations and even action without belief is to fail to give yourself the potential for outcomes you say you desire. Belief is an imbedded strong conviction that fills your mind and heart with attitudes and intentions that will bring to pass what you believe whether negative or positive. It is like an alarm clock that keeps reminding you of how to think, what to feel and how to act. When your beliefs are noble, positive and consistent you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Optimism– It’s a medical fact that people who are optimistic and positive live longer and get sick less than people who are negative and pessimistic. Optimism isn’t about sticking your head in the sand and living in La La land where the glass is always half full. Both positive and negative people must deal with the same life challenges, adversity, failure and problems. The difference is focus. Optimists focus on finding a solution, alternative or a way around the obstacle while pessimists stay stuck in the problem. There is no guarantee that this year will not give you your share of challenges and problems, the question is how you choose to interpret them and then respond to them.

Gratitude– Have you ever considered that you get 80,000 heartbeats every day? I could go on with the many blessings each of us receives every minute of every day, but the question is – how often do you thank life and God for all of your special gifts? It’s been proven in the medical field that people who live with gratitude tend to have happier and healthier lives. Just stop every now and then every day and just say thank you.

Kindness– They are called random acts of kindness – to a friend, a co-worker, family member or even a total stranger. Showing kindness to others will tend to keep you out of self-absorption and focused on being of value or service to others. You never know – from where or when your acts of kindness will be returned. But fail to give them and I’ll wager that you will receive very few of them in return.

Now– Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for everyone. All you have is this moment as you are reading this short article. In five minutes whatever happened will be history. Let me repeat – thirty seconds ago is gone with all its pain, uncertainty and opportunity. The single best thing you can do to achieve success, happiness and inner peace is to learn to embrace each moment as it happens. Leaving behind yesterday with all its regrets, disappointments, achievements and memories. If you can learn to live each moment as it is given to you, you will discover the true value of life.

Courage– I’m not talking here about the courage to jump out of airplanes or take physical risks, but the willingness to address each of life’s challenges as they show up in life with the ability to take them head on and not hide from them hoping they will solve themselves or suddenly disappear. Courage is the ability to confront your fears and uncertainties with resolve and bravery. Hoping they will solve themselves is to live in denial and often defiance. The value in facing your fears is that with time you will learn to prevent them rather than having to overcome them.

Appreciation– The single best way to keep your mind out of its natural tendency to come at issues and uncertainties from a fear perspective is to learn to stay in a mindset of appreciation. Your mind has only two options when it comes to emotions – fear and love. All emotions are offshoots of these so to prevent or control – anger, jealousy, resentment, hate and so many others and their ability to rule your life is to learn to come at everything with the feeling or attitude of appreciation. Try it – for one week – learn to pay attention to everything in your life and I mean everything that crosses your path and just keep saying thank you. You will be amazed.

Compassion– No one in life escapes loss, grief or pain. Sooner or later we must all face the inevitable consequences of life. Death happens, illness happens, economic or natural crises hit many of us. And, disappointment is a routine part of life. I will guarantee that someone will cross your path today that needs compassion from you or others they encounter. Compassion is not sympathy but demonstrating understanding and a listening ear. Compassion is simply caring about others regardless of their relationship to you or their status in life. Ever needed or wanted compassion from others? If not, you are most likely living in denial.

Confidence– I’m not talking here about ego domination or conceit, but having belief and many of the topics above as a natural part of your mindsets or life philosophy. False confidence will show itself for what it is sooner or later – insecurity. We all have moments when we lose or lack self-confidence and these are normal depending on our circumstances or situations. The ability to maintain a healthy self-esteem will contribute greatly to your self-confidence as you confront unknowns, uncertainty and unfamiliar territory in life.

That’s it. I encourage you to follow the instructions at the beginning of this article for the next twelve months. If you do, at the end of 2013 as you look back on the previous year you will smile and say to yourself – what a great year this has been. Make it a great one. It’s in your hands!

Make it a great week, In His Service, Tim

Raising the bar

November 28th, 2012 No comments

To get better at anything we need to expose ourselves to circumstances or people that stretch us. To people that help us improve our methods, attitudes or our philosophy.

I can remember when I was in the Air Force over 40 years ago. I was in Japan at the Olympic trials for the discus. I had been throwing the discus since high school and had always been first or second in the major meets. I finally figured out that during my practice sessions preparing for these big state and regional events I didn’t have anyone on my team that could push me. I had to relay on myself to raise my own bar. But I didn’t know how so I settled for the distance I achieved as long as I won or came in second. Consequently I was never able to reach my full potential as a track athlete.

When I got to Japan later in life I was up against some very stiff competition. After winning the Discus in the Pacific Track Meet on Guam I was off to the big one. I didn’t place first but I broke my own personal record. I had finally learned that success is not beating everyone else, because there will always be someone faster, smarter, better, stronger and wiser. I had learned that the only thing that mattered was raising my own bar. It was only important to continue to beat my own previous best.

Success is not about where other people’s bars are. Not about what records they have set. And not about competing with anyone. It is only about beating your own personal previous best.

Why raise the bar anyway, why not be satisfied with where you are and your past accomplishments. It is simple. You have a choice in life to live in the past, present or future. To rest on your laurels, past successes or to see how much better, smarter, faster or stronger you can be. You can fantasize about what could be. Or you can spend your days working on getting better now, without a paranoid fear of failure or desire to succeed in the future.

Life is lived in the NOW moments one at a time. We create both our memories and our future in the present. So don’t worry about where the bar was last year or where it will be next year. And don’t give any energy to where everyone else’s bar is.

Stay in the present getting better little by little, moment by moment, day by day, year by year.

Make it a great week, In His Service, Tim