Being Right

Being right is not as important as doing what is right.

Doing what is right often has a downside.

Being right tends to be a bet on the upside.

One thing matters – doing what is right in spite of the consequences and you will always have made the right – if not most difficult – decision.

Why Change is So Difficult and How to Make it Easier

The prolific self-help author Wayne Dyer famously wrote:

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

Not change the things you do.

Not put a bandage on it.

Or try something different.

Change the way you look at things and that paves the way for more intuitive decisions.

It’s why hitting “reset” at the New Year seldom works – there are no magic solutions to fixing the things that may be broken in life.  It’s a temporary fix.

But look at your problems in a different way, from a different perspective, in a more global way and it is amazing how people can alter behavior and accomplish what previously was so difficult.

Living in the Now

During a class discussion recently on careers in the music business, my students were in virtually 100% agreement that their 30’s is the decade that they think of for optimum success and happiness.

That’s probably right from a lot of perspectives but not exclusive to any one decade of life.

Over the recent holiday break, I saw an 88-year old clergyman conducting Christmas Eve services with the acuity and vigor you would expect to see in, say, a 38-year old.

And I met a breast cancer survivor – 51 years old who had the deadliest form of this cancer at 32 and survived after a double mastectomy.  She is living life with new-found enthusiasm that comes from being a survivor.

I know a leukemia survivor who also has lung cancer and she is actively riding in bike marathons from South Jersey to the ocean, a living lesson in what it means to live in the now.  Can you do that?  I can’t.

As hard as it may be, living in the now is the only option.

And after meeting adversity, it often turns out to be the best.

The Journey is the Joy

Most of us see ourselves on a long journey … coming by train.

And from the window we drink in the passing scenes of cars on nearby highways…

…of children waving at crossings…

…of cattle grazing on hillsides.

But, uppermost in our conscious minds is our final destination – that certain day … certain hour … when our train will pull into the station with bands playing and flags waving!

And, once that day comes…dreams come true.

So, restlessly we pace the aisles, peering ahead … waiting … waiting for the station.  Once we reach the station, that will be it.

When we’re 18.

When we win that promotion.

Buy that sports car.

Put the last kid through college.

Pay off the mortgage.

Have a nest egg for retirement.

We await each station with such anticipation.

Sooner or later, however, we learn that – there IS no station.  There is NO place to arrive once and for all.

The station is an illusion.  The station constantly outdistances us.

The journey is the joy.

So…stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles.

Instead…swim more rivers…

Climb more mountains…

Kiss more babies…

Count more stars…

Go barefoot more often…

Eat more ice cream…

Watch more sunsets…

Ride more merry-go-rounds…

Life is to be lived today.

This was from a broadcast by Paul Harvey on August 27, 1985.

How to NOT be Overwhelmed

The World War II war general, hero and later, president Dwight Eisenhower had a special system for keeping critical things in perspective and less important things from getting in the way.

This system is now known as the Eisenhower Matrix.

Divide everything you have to do into three categories:  1) Urgent;  2) Not Urgent and 3) Not Important.

Urgent – requires immediate action or attention.

We know what Not Urgent and Not Important are but we all somehow let these things usurp our valuable time sometimes because they are easier to do not more important.

Trying to do everything is no way to be effective.

Today, try asking the question:  “what is so critical (urgent) that I must do it now” and let a famous general help to declare war on being overwhelmed.

The Secret to Walt Disney’s Success

“It’s that he never tried to make money” (observed Disney animator Ward Kimball in Richard Snow’s Disney’s Land).

Disney didn’t know exactly what his grand plan was just that as he told illustrator Herb Ryman “I just want it to look like nothing else in the world”.

Trying to chase financial success is a sure road to failure.

Trying to be the best at what you do even if you’re unsure of what that is a better bet.

How to Turn Losing into Winning

Here’s the winning mindset:

You’re not looking to bat 1.000 because no one does and aiming for unreal perfection actually assures more failure.

Batting 1.000 in effort, now that’s doable.

No quitting.

Brush off discouragement with renewed optimism.

Invest in yourself, don’t outsource it to others.

The person who never gives up or allows discouragement eventually wins.

Stopping Negative Narratives

A coach who motivates through fear or fear of loss will not last long.

Most of us eventually become our own life coach but we often turn to negative narratives to keep going.

If I don’t (you name it), I’ll get fired.

If I can’t make her happy, she will not like me. 

If I don’t give my children everything, I am a bad parent.

Even the mere thought of failure, allows it to come in.

Staying positive is not a pep-talk.  It’s respect for ourselves.

The Fear of Being Fired

Anxiety is worrying about worry.

As an air talent, I worked for a newly-hired radio program director in Philadelphia who would fire a personality every Friday until he removed every performer he didn’t like – approximately six.

The firing schedule was by design – never more than one person a week.  Always Friday.

So, you can imagine how paranoid we all became.

One day as I reached for the front door of the station, I asked one of my fellow air talents exiting “who got fired today?”  Me, he answered.  It was that surreal.

To survive in such a toxic workplace, we needed to focus on doing our best rather than trying not to get fired.

The station failed.  Our competition adopted a more person friendly approach and they won the ratings war.

It took this toxic workplace to teach a tough lesson:  stop worrying about worry because it wouldn’t save our jobs and made us even more anxious.

The Other Side of Silence

Few of us really reveal what we mean.

You can’t make a person talk.

But you can become skilled at listening for the other side of silence.

What they are not saying that speaks volumes.

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