Friday, March 20

The Sweet Smell of Confidence

"I'm not a teacher: only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead - ahead of myself as well as you." - George Bernard Shaw

So, I was watching a movie, “My Best Friend’s Girl”, and MAN was it a funny movie. Let me tell you a bit about it…It’s got Dane Cook, Kate Hudson, and Jason Biggs. The basic plot is that Tank (Dane Cook) is the worst rebound date EVER. Guy’s go to him after their girlfriend’s break up with them or want to see other people or whatever. Tank makes certain that they have SUCH a horrible time that the girls run back to their nice, sweet, caring guys. Like I said…recipe for FUNNY!

Now, let’s get this straight, Tank is a COMPLETE asshole. And he ever admits it several times in the movie. But what struck me about him is that he has complete and total CONFIDENCE. There was a scene that illustrated this perfectly. Tank is in this bar, getting paid for the latest service, and he’s walking through the bar, checking out the women there and he goes up to the bar and steps between these two girls. He then proceeds to be the BIGGEST ass you could imagine to one of the girls until she leaves, declaring “You are a complete asshole!” Now, he goes back to his drink and the other girl says, “You know, she’s right. You are a complete asshole.” His response?? “So walk away then.”

Now, I’m not about to encourage ANYONE to be an asshole. I personally, don’t like people that are like that. But what struck me was the total acceptance of himself and the way he chose to be. He didn’t make excuses, he didn’t play any games or wear any masks, he didn’t even lie about it to anyone including himself.

So that leads us to today’s topic…Confidence.

"There comes a time when you have to stand up and shout:
This is me damn it! I look the way I look, think the way I think, feel the way I feel, love the way I love! I am a whole complex package. Take me... or leave me. Accept me - or walk away! Do not try to make me feel like less of a person, just because I don't fit your idea of who I should be and don't try to change me to fit your mold. If I need to change, I alone will make that decision.
When you are strong enough to love yourself 100%, good and bad - you will be amazed at the opportunities that life presents you." - Stacey Charter

A lack of confidence in yourself is probably the single biggest thing that will hold you back, in every way. If you have no confidence in yourself, there’s NO way that you’re going to try something new, or take any risks, or just put yourself out into life. You place yourself in your own little cage and call it cute little words to make you feel better. Comfort zone, stable, normal, safe and secure.

And sadly, by keeping yourself locked up in your comfort zone, you will never develop the confidence to step out. See, confidence isn’t something that you can read about and gain. It’s not a theoretical concept. Confidence is something that you have to actively work in order to build. You can’t just think it into being.

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." - Dale Carnegie

Confidence is the trait that lets you become more than you are right now. It lets you grow. It makes you step outside of your comfort zone and try things that you have never done before in ways that you’ve never tried before. Confidence gives you the ability to fail. That’s really the bottom line. We all live with fear; confidence allows us to rise above that fear.

“The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and the faith to believe that it is possible.” - Richard M. Devos

There’s no easy, step-by-step plan to building confidence. It’s not a checklist that you can tick off items and BOOM you’ve got confidence. I wish it were that easy. :-) The biggest thing to remember in this quest for confidence is to not give up. You ARE going to fail at times. That’s part of life. Get used to it! It takes time, and work, trial and error, and a dedication to the work. Just don’t give up…the rewards for your life are more than you think.

“Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.” - Richard L. Evans

Thursday, March 19

In the land of the free...

***Note*** This is NOT a bashing post! I’m not comparing freedoms in any other places. I happen to love the country I live in and consider it a GREAT blessing. If you want to argue and point out how bad it is in other places…feel free, just don’t do it here. :-)

“Ring the bells, ring them loud
Let them ring here and now
Just reach out and ring the bells of freedom
When your world's crashing down like you've lost every round
Stand your ground
And ring the bells of freedom”
Bon Jovi – Bells of Freedom

So, I was listening to a comedian this morning and he was ranting about the misnomer or America being the land of the free. He was really quite funny. However, he got me thinking. See, he was listing off all the things that you really aren’t free to just go do. Silly things, like how you need a license to catch a fish, a license to drive…hell you even need a license to get married!! :-)

And as I was thinking about it, really laughing my ass off at him, I found myself thinking about all the different ways that we are NOT free, independent of any worldly laws or rules. And I realized that in SO many different ways, we are not free.

OK, use this as an example…given that in the world today, you can’t just go running down the street naked …but WOULD you if you could? Or are you restricted simply by yourself?

Can you remember back to a time when you were personally free? My son is almost 3 years old and he’s the freest soul that I know. :-) See, he’s not restricted by any sort of social conditioning or fears. He regularly runs away from me butt ass naked! He likes to take the trash out for me and put it outside the door…and he’ll do it naked too!

Too often, I think that we are held back by ourselves. How many times have you NOT done something because your mind conjured up the worst possible scenario and you believed it or were simply too afraid to take the risk?

Somewhere along the way of growing up, we were taught that fear. Fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of embarrassment, fear of anything. Think about your life, how many decisions have you made based on those fears? A lot I’m guessing.

We were not made to live in fear of life. Life is a beautiful thing that s meant to be embraced and experienced. All of it.

If you want to make the BIGGEST improvement and greatest change in your life this year, then conquer your fear of life every time that you can. I’m not saying that you’ll be able to EVERY time, but each time you can will make the next time easier.

You just might be amazed at the differences in your life. If anything, you’ll gain the confidence in yourself that you CAN do it. That confidence alone will make a difference in your life.

Now, I’m NOT saying be stupid about it. Don’t swap common sense for fearlessness. But when something comes up, instead of the typical kneejerk reaction of saying no…give it a try and see what happens.

If anything, you’ll have a new story to tell people. :-)

Now, if you’ll excuse me…I’m going to go run around naked for a bit...with bells on!!

Wednesday, March 18

Obsessive? You say that like it’s a BAD thing…

So last night I was watching the movie “The Number 23” again. It’s a great movie. If you haven’t seen it, you should.

But I got to thinking about the book in the movie. Same name, “The Number 23” but it’s got the tag line, “A novel of obsession”. The book is a major portion of the movie, so if you haven’t seen it…I’m not going to ruin it for you. :-)

But it got me thinking, as I said, about obsession. In all its varied appearances, obsession can be…and really IS…a driving force in most people’s lives.

Now, I’m not going to say that ALL obsessions are bad things. Some can be quite valuable. However, it’s the level of obsession that can be the bad thing.

Being obsessed with work, so that you’re driven to do your best and you work your ass off to move up, or in this time, keep your job. That can be a good thing. But, if you neglect your family and friends, think of nothing BUT work, and let your own life take a backseat, well…THAT is bad.

I could pull a dozen other examples, but I think you get the general idea.

We all obsess. We may call it something different so we can feel better about it, but it’s all basically the same thing.

So what do we do? How can we make certain that we have a “normal” level of obsession? :-)

Well…if you have close family and/or live with someone, the easiest way is to simply ask them. If you’re out of whack, they’ve probably noticed and wish you’d actually spend time with them.

Otherwise, you’ve got to do some self study and honest investigation.

A good sign is if YOU feel like you’re spending a lot of time on one thing, excluding all the others. However, since we are NOT our own best critics, we need to have a check to make certain that it’s not just good ol' fashioned paranoia at work. :-)

So, what IS a healthy amount of obsession then? Sounds kind of funny if you put it that way, doesn’t it?

Look at it this way…IF you can have more than one thing that you are obsessed about, odds are you’ve got them at a healthy level. If you can have a life, friends, family, and balance time with all that along with your particular obsession…then I think you’re good.

And the last REALLY big check for healthy obsessions…

Can you put them down and walk away from them for a day or a week and still function and take care of everything else in your life?

If you can’t, then you need to reevaluate the things you’re doing and where your time goes.

Just remember…

Gauge the return on investment of your time, just like any sort of investment. For me, looking into my son’s beautiful face and seeing him smiling and laughing, means that my time is VERY well spent.

Find the right priorities for you and your life and start working them.

Tuesday, March 17

You ARE Special…

Have you ever sat back and just looked around at the fa├žade that the world presents to us every day?

If we were to believe in all the advertising, marketing, and propaganda that is shoved in our faces, it would be an amazing thing that we retained our sanity long enough to grow up. :-)

Nothing is ever good enough and no one is ever just right. The world tells us that everything needs to be faster, better, smaller, etc. Every person needs to shape up and get with the program, be tanned, fit, and have a bright and shiny smile.

It seems to me that the world is trying to eradicate the individual. We all need to be at the same level of mediocre in order for everyone to be happy.

Look at our schools…the teachers are forced to teach at the rate of the slowest (dumbest) child. Sorry, but if you’re a parent, you’ll agree. There are dumb kids out there. No offense.

So we end up frustrating the hell out of the actual smart kids that don’t need 101 explanations of basic math before they figure it out.

In business, there isn’t supposed to be a difference between sex, color, religion, intelligence, etc. We are all to look the same when viewed by the management glasses.

Unfortunately…or rather, fortunately…the people of the world are all unique. We are all individuals. Special in our own rights.

The world isn’t a place of uniform grey and common mediocrity. It’s a place of vibrant and beautiful colors. Where each person is blessed with individual talents, dreams, and desires.

Every person alive is beautiful in some way. And we are all special and precious. That’s just the way it is, regardless of what anyone else wants to tell you.

What is truly sad to me is that in order to provide for yourself and your family, you need to attempt to “fit in”. What an awful concept. So take your rounded sides and stuff them into a square hole. Learn not to complain and we’ll find a place for you in the great machine of life.

I say NO. In fact…I say HELL NO!

But it’s up to us, as individuals to find that special uniqueness that’s inside and foster it, grow it, make it into the biggest and best blessing you might have in life. Find your own groove and by all means…dance to it!

Often, the world wants you to think that being unique is not a good thing. You might make someone else feel bad if you found and expressed your own uniqueness.

I think that’s just too damn bad then. Now, I’m not saying that you should be mean about it; in fact, I’ll encourage you to lift up all the people around you and help THEM find their specialness too.

See…the world isn’t a place to hide who we are from each other; it’s a place where each and every soul should be able to reflect the myriad colors that come from everyone else in their life.

So, today…make yourself a promise to let your own colors shine and refuse to blanket yourself in that dull grey. Skip when you go somewhere, sing a song out loud, draw a picture, laugh A LOT! Ask the question why, and try to answer it for yourself. Look into your heart and see what it is that makes you happy…and by God DO IT!

Happiness isn’t something that just comes along into your life…it’s something that comes from inside you and makes life a better and brighter place to be.

“’sok?” “’sok.”
“’salright?” “’salright.”