Wednesday, January 7


Have you ever been manipulated by someone? Sure you have. We all have.

In fact…I bet it’s already happened to you today. :-)

From TV ads to radio spots, friends, family, coworkers, and just about everyone in between. Our world is honestly built on manipulation. Oh…wait…let’s get politically correct here for a second. It’s not manipulation…it’s persuasion. There, makes you feel better doesn’t it?

If you don’t believe me, think back over the last presidential election. Think there was a bit of manipulation going on there? If you don’t…you were. :-)

So here’s the deal with manipulation. You have to be ready for it and be able to identify it, or otherwise, you’ll be a victim to it.

It’s not that manipulation is inherently evil and bad, it’s the motivations of the people that use it that decide. Now, I admit, I’ve manipulated my friends and family…hell…I’ve even manipulated you, my readers. :-) However, for the most part, my intentions are good. I’ve made you think about things that you might not normally be inclined to think about and in ways that you may not have considered before.

But what about other kinds of manipulation? The kinds that are used for a person’s personal gain or used to hide something else?

We all know that it exists and happens. We might even be in a position to witness it happening or find out that it’s happened to us. What do we do? How can we stop being the victim of those kinds of people?

The answer? Know how it works. If you know and understand how manipulation works, then you are in a position to defend yourself against it. So let’s take a look at some thoughts on how manipulation works.

First, let’s go to the ever-informative Webster…and the winning definition is…

To control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one's own advantage, that’s not THAT bad this time. I can accept that definition. But it really doesn’t help us in knowing what it is and how to defend against it. Artful, unfair, and insidious means can be just about anything.

This might help. I found an article recently that broke down manipulation into 27 words. One sentence that covers the WAY we are manipulated. So, let’s see it.

People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.

Doesn’t really sound like manipulation does it? But really…it works on everyone. In fact…I’ve used some of it today. Bet you didn’t even notice it as I made you think about this stuff. :-)

So what’s my point today? Do I even have one? Can you figure it out before I ruin the moment and tell you?

My point is really pretty simple. Our world thrives on manipulation. From the highest reaches of Government to the lowliest radio ads. We need to be aware and be ready to make our own decisions, to have our own thoughts and not those that other people want us to have. The only way to do that is to have a clear understanding of the world we live in and the people that live with us.

Live your life, your way. Think your thoughts, no matter what anyone else tells you. And above all, be your own person, not some puppet on someone else’s strings.

Tuesday, January 6

Dreams of the Heart

“Most people aren’t courageous. Not in the sense of REAL courage. They simply can’t find it inside themselves to live out their dreams. They can’t find the courage to live. So they settle and call it security.” – BA

Are you courageous? Think you’ve got that backbone of steel and the heart of a lion?

I’m betting probably not. :-)

See…most people like to live a nice secure, easy going, steady kind of life. Sadly, it’s not even remotely close to the life that they dream of in their hearts. In short…they’ve settled. Compromised and even given up. Oh sure, they’ve got all the right excuses and justifications. But they are just that…excuses.

Our world doesn’t LIKE or WANT you to live from your heart. There is NO living out your dreams in this wonderful world of ours. And if you try, what happens? You get all kinds of labels thrown at you. Radical, crazy, troublemaker, unrealistic, and all sorts of other names. It might even cause you problems with the more “well grounded” people you know. You know…those people that are always “playing it safe” and never taking a risk. They are usually the ones that also spend their time bitching that things aren’t the way they want them to be.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" – Albert Einstein

See…there’s a basic fact that people don’t like to accept. In order for things to change, you have to take a risk. There is simply no way around it. If you want the same thing that you’ve always gotten, keep acting the way you always have. If you want something different, then you have to be willing to try something new, and that means you have to take a risk.

Sure…sometimes the risk is very small. Like trying a new restaurant. The risk is that you might not like the food. But if you want to live the life that your heart dreams about…well…that’s a bit bigger risk.

“To the degree we're not living our dreams; our comfort zone has more control of us than we have over ourselves.” - Peter McWilliams

So, how do you start living the dreams of your heart?

Well…since you’ve already GOT a life that you’re living, you’ll have to take it a bit slowly. Very few people are going to be in the position to simply start over. Remember that…don’t just drop everything and jump. The bottom is a LONG way down if you do that.

First, you need to figure out EXACTLY what living the dream of your heart looks like. Write it down. What kind of job? What kind of lifestyle? What kinds of friends? How are you dressed? You get the idea. Firm it up and write it down and most of all, be VERY, VERY specific. The more detailed you are, the better off you will be.

Now, once you know what your dreams look like, you need to figure out how to get there. This will definitely take some time. Develop your plan and remember to keep your goals very small for right now. If you see yourself wearing nice, stylish clothes, then set your goal to budget for one new outfit every other month. The point here is to begin working towards your dreams. Slowly, steadily, with small, achievable goals. In the words of Bob, “Baby steps. Baby steps.”

The last thing that you MUST do to make achieving your dreams possible, is to find and surround yourself with support. So many people get all the right steps in place and find that they are surrounded by people that won’t believe in them and encourage them. That is almost a sure path to failure. If you have your plan and your goals and the desire to live your heart’s dreams, then the people that love you will be there to support you, if you let them. Don’t hide your dreams from them. Sure, they may be hesitant at first. They might even try to talk you out of your plans. But hold firm and help them to see that you’re not just mid-life crisising. They’ll help you succeed, even if they become the cautionary voice that you listen to sometimes.

We’ve just crossed the threshold of a new year. The slate is blank and we’ve just picked up the pen to start writing. What are YOU going to write this year? Will it be the same crap that you’ve written every other year? Or are you going to grab that dream and make it your own?

See you at the top of the mountain! :-)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” - Mark Twain