Thursday, September 18

Own yourself

We make choices every second of every single day that we are alive. It’s a simple fact. There must be a bajillion choices and decisions we make every day. And…the funny thing about choices is that they ALL have consequences.

Consequences…now THAT’S a word that has a negative connotation. :-)

But it really isn’t a bad word. In fact…our friend Mr. Webster says that consequences are something produced by a cause or necessarily following from a set of conditions. WOW…that really helps doesn’t it? ^%$%$* Webster.

So…consequences…in my definition are simply the results of choices. They are both good and bad, dependent upon the choices made.

I think that works a little better. Don’t you?

So, by now, I’m sure that you’re wondering…what is he talking about today?? Choices…consequences…and the accountability that we all have for ourselves.

Accountability…that’s another wicked little word isn’t it? It’s one of those words that strikes fear into most people.  We all hate accountability, simply because we associate it with the pain of our choices. That and the fact that as humans we like to blame everyone else except ourselves.

Now, don’t stop reading…I’m not going to make this a slam on people for lacks of accountability. I don’t think anyone needs ANOTHER one of those. We take enough beatings every day anyways.

My thought today is on how to make accountability more a part of your life. How CAN you break from tradition and start to accept your own personal accountability for your own choices.

I believe that personal accountability is just like anything else…it’s a habit. One that needs to be cultivated and grown just like any other. Now, most of us currently have the bad habit of avoiding personal accountability. And why shouldn’t we? We laugh about it, it’s a joke, and we watch the world respond in a similar manner. Hell, even our own government and Presidential candidates don’t take personal responsibility for their own choices. We call it the “Blame Game” and it seems that everyone plays it.

So tell me…how’s that working for you? Is your life better because of it? Or is it a source of stress, frustration, and pain for you? My money’s on the last one.

Sure, being an accountable human being DOES mean that when you screw up and make a mistake, you have to feel the bad consequences of that choice. But…and listen close here…THAT IS NOT A REASON TO NOT BE ACCOUNTABLE! YOU are the one making the choices…therefore; YOU are the one responsible for its results.

Now…I’m trying to get everyone living a Heroic Life. So, someone name me a Hero that wasn’t accountable for his actions. Yes, some of them STARTED by trying to avoid responsibility however, in the end they solidly accepted responsibility for their actions. And THAT is when they fully succeed in their quests. No one will ever be able to live a full Heroic Life without accepting the consequences of their choices. It is an impossibility.

So…how do you start being accountable for your choices? First…you need to be completely honest ABOUT your choices. And then be willing to stand up and say, “Yes…I did that.” I know that that is probably the hardest part of this whole thing. Especially when you make a mistake. So, remember something for me…YOU ARE NOT YOUR MISTAKES! No matter what anyone wants to tell you. Everyone makes mistakes and wrong choices; it’s a part of being a human. YOU are no different.

Hold on to your core and believe in yourself. Let the bad consequences go and deal with them, then move on. Remember the good consequences; they will help you make it through. And above all…know that you are a better person by owning all of yourself…your choices included.

I believe in you. Choose well, my friends. :-)

Wednesday, September 17

Making it real...

What do you dream about? If you were to simply sit and daydream for the next 10 minutes…what would it be about? Would you see yourself sitting on the deck of a boat, soaking up the sun? Or maybe traveling the world? Or getting a huge raise and promotion at work? Maybe driving a kickin’ car? Or having a beautiful woman hanging on your arm? Or a hot guy pampering you silly…for all my female readers. :-)

So tell me then, aside from the mental vacation time and the “happy thoughts” that these daydreams give you, what is the point of dreaming? In other words…our dreams are the best fantasies that we have for ourselves…are you going to make them happen?

Let’s take a step back for a second, and instead of focusing on the greatest dreams you have for your perfect life, let’s look at something similar…let’s look at your goals and hopes for your life. Are your goals as fantastic as your dreams? Most people will think that’s a silly question. “Of course not!” they will say. “That’s why they are dreams…not goals.”

I think that kind of reasoning is wrong. Why shouldn’t your goals for your life be great and fantastic? Think about it this way…if you are going to achieve every goal that you set for yourself, do you want great, exciting goals, or would you rather have boring and mundane goals?

Right…I’m going for the great goals too. :-)

Now…I want you to take a second and think with me. Think about what it is that you’re doing to make those goals happen. Anything? :-)

If you’re like most people, you’ve got a great idea of what you might want and how you might want your life to be, but you probably have no idea how to go about making it become a reality. That’s when our goals, simply become dreams that we use to escape from everyday life.

So, let’s start today, together, to make your dreams and goals become your reality. Because I KNOW that if you want it bad enough and work hard enough, you CAN achieve those goals.

First thing you need to do is make a list. I know…it sounds simple and silly, but if you can’t accurately write out your goals, you can’t accurately pursue them. In this list, you need to be as specific as possible. The more details you can put into your list, the clearer your goals will be. So, if you want a specific kind of job, making a specific amount of money, then you need to specifically write it down. Don’t write this…”I want a good challenging job that pays me enough to be comfortable and pay all my bills.” That is what I call a crap goal. :-) Try something like this…”I want to be an investor, specifically in the commodities markets, making a minimum of $10,000 a month on average.” That’s specific. It also happens to be MY specific work goal.

After you’ve got your list, break all your goals down into the steps that you will need to take to get there. If you’re not certain of all the steps needed, that’s OK. This list will be a work in progress, just like you. Get the first set of steps down, if more come to you, then just add them after.

Once you’ve got the steps down, you’ve got the starts of a goal plan. Now you need to make a commitment to yourself to work on the first steps of your goals a bit each and every day. Do NOT try to tackle every goal that you have all at once. Pick one or two and make a start there. As you start making headway on a few of your goals, you might be able to start a few more. Just remember, the idea is to actually achieve the goals you set for yourself. Don’t try to do too much and let things slide.

Goals have a purpose in our lives. Even goals that others might think are ridiculous. Goals give us something to strive and work for. Something that allows us to raise our eyes from the floor and look towards. They motivate us and sometimes give us a great ability to do more than we believed we could. Having goals that help make us into a better person have the added benefit of improving the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us.

We all need to have goals for our lives. But be certain that you’re setting goals…not spending your time lost daydreaming. :-)

See you on my boat…it’s a 36’ Catamaran sailboat. In case you wondered what another of my goals was. :-)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. - Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, September 16

One is the loneliest number…

So, you have a great life, right? Full of meaningful work and the joys of good family and lots of friends…right? :-)

OK, so maybe you’re like the rest of us. You’ve got some things to be happy and content about in your life, but there are also some things that just don’t exactly sit well. Maybe you’re not happy with the job, or some of the people you call friends. Maybe there’s just something off in your life and you can’t even pinpoint it.

So what DO you do? Spend more time in the things that you DO enjoy and hopefully carry enough happiness with you to get you through the trying times? Do you try to drown yourself with your friends? Keep your life SO busy with things and people that you might not feel any disappointments?

What about taking some time just to be with you? Do you even LIKE spending time with yourself?

I think that most people don’t like spending time alone. It becomes a time when your inner fears and demons tend to come out of hiding and play around in your mind. Sometimes things seem SO much worse when it’s just you and your own imagination.

But…it shouldn’t be that way! Everyone NEEDS to have time alone. Every great Hero takes time to just be alone. It’s a time to recommit, refreshen, and realign your own life.

When you take the time to isolate yourself from all the distractions in your life…yes…even and sometimes especially, family!...then you can actually get to the business of YOU.

And what is the business of YOU? Do you know it? Have you tried it?

The business of YOU is simply a process of looking inside, reevaluating, and organizing yourself. You need to be able to look at the things that happen to you and your own responses to it and see if you’re living in line with your own core. You can examine the things you believe and accept as fact, test them for accuracy, and either put them back or throw them out as needed.

More importantly, it is a time for you to just spend time with YOU. Most people, I think, are afraid to spend time with themselves. (NO! not THAT kind of time!) It’s funny really. If you think about it, most people don’t have a real good grasp of the person they spend the most time with. They don’t know everything about a person that is with them through every second of every day.

If you ask the question, “If you could do anything, right now, but for only the next 10 minutes, what would you do?”, most people will tell you, “I dunno” and leave it at that. They don’t have any idea what they would do with time, just for themselves. In essence, they don’t really know the heart of the person closest to them.

The only way to figure that out is to spend time with yourself. Uncover some of the places inside that we hide from everyone else. Open that box where you stuff the things that have hurt you, clean that shit out! Most everyone has SO much extra, unneeded baggage that they lug along with them, that sometimes, it’s amazing that they can even walk upright. It doesn’t have to be there.

Think about this…we spend billions of dollars on “Therapy” and “Counseling” each and every year. Hell, I even went to a counselor for a while myself. And you want to know what happened there? We talked about things that were going on in my life, and she would tell me, at the end of each session, to think about something that I really needed to discuss with someone. In other words…I needed to spend some time with myself and uncover some of the things I kept hidden inside and deal with them.

You don’t necessarily need to spend tons of money in therapy. You need to spend some quality time with yourself. Don’t get me wrong…I totally believe that therapy and counseling have their place. Some tragedies are simply too big to handle alone. But most of the issues that we hold on to and the hurts that we mould our lives around, we can really deal with ourselves.

So, before you spend another night out with family or friends…do yourself a favor. Take yourself out for a nice dinner…maybe a movie…some wine afterwards. And get to know YOU…from the inside out.

Just remember…don’t put out on the first date! :-)

Monday, September 15

Hang ‘em from the neck, till his feet stop twitchin’!

“And besides, you have judged many throughout your life. You have judged the actions and motivations of others, as if you somehow knew what those were in truth. You have judged the color of skin and body language and body odor. You have judged history and relationships. You have even judged the value of a person’s life by the quality of your concept of beauty. By all accounts, you are quite well-practiced in the activity.” – William Young, The Shack

I really kinda like the old saying, and in fact have used it MANY times, “Who died and left YOU in charge?” It really sums up a lot of feelings and ideas very succinctly. After all, who ARE you to try and be my boss, or my judge, or really my anything?

It seems that as humans, we have this need and great desire to judge…well…damn near everything. We judge each other and anyone else that wanders into our sights. We judge events, nature, and even animals. But really, what in the hell are we doing? Who are we to judge ANYONE or ANYTHING else?

Really…what are our qualifications for judging anyone? Let’s see…we are just as screwed up as anyone else…our perceptions are skewed by our previous experiences and current circumstances…and in all honesty, we really don’t KNOW anyone else to a level that would allow us to make ANY judgment about them.

And yet we persist in insisting on judging.

What’s wrong with us? Why do we insist on categorizing and judging everything in our lives? If we are so unequipped and incapable of doing it right?

“Judging requires that you think yourself superior over the one you judge.” – William Young, The Shack

You think, maybe, that we, as humans, are really all control freaks inside? That maybe we all feel so lost inside that we NEED to have that feeling of being better than someone else? That rather than empathizing with another’s pain in spite of their bad choices, we feel better when we cast them down and put ourselves above them?

I think that it’s high time that we get off our egocentric, arrogant, self-righteous podium and realize that, in reality, we are probably no better than those that we judge. Granted, we might not make the same choices that they have, but then, we also haven’t lived their life and suffered through their experiences. We bear our own scars and wounds. And we make our own wrong choices.

Realize something with me here…there is no grading system for wrong choices. My wrong choices aren’t in some way “better” than yours. True, they are different and come with different consequences, but they are still WRONG. My choices may not land me in jail, but that don’t necessarily make me a better person than someone whose choices do.

OK…you know what? I’m going to give you homework today. :-) HA HA! You thought this was just going to be a quick read and then you can go on and forget all about it. Surprise!!!

Homework…Take one day, just one, and don’t judge a single thing. Not one single person gets a judgment. Not the guy that cuts you off in traffic, or the slow person in the Walmart checkout line. NOT ONE SINGLE JUDGMENT. And here’s the kicker…you have to keep trying this until you go the entire day. No mistakes, not one. If you judge…you start again tomorrow.

Now, I’m going to give you a little hint on how to actually accomplish this assignment.

For your day, you need to have no expectations of anyone. Not one. This is the ONLY way to make it work. You see, we live our lives CHOCK FULL of expectations, for ourselves, for others, even for the THINGS that exist around us. We expect other people to behave a certain way. We expect the world to react a certain way. And when they don’t, we stand firm in the “Truth” that the way we wanted things is the way everything should be. Guess what?? You’re wrong. And from that wrong assumption, you judge the offender. However, if you live without expecting anything from anyone or anything, then you have no preconceived idea about how they SHOULD react. Instead, you are free to simply accept however they DO react. And if you want to know the real “Truth”…your life will be happier because of it.

I hope that we meet along down the road…but I’ll still love you, even if you decide to go another way. :-)