Blog Post # 49 – Angry on Purpose

Do you know anyone who is angry more often than not?

A post on Facebook recently captured some attention when I stated that it seemed certain people walk around this world looking for something to be angry about.

We see it far too often. Friends, clients or co-workers angry at every slight – both perceived and real.

Everything around them could be going well, yet they refuse to see it.

Where does this anger come from?

Born with it? Channel it? Learn it? Catch it (like a fever)?

Someone with an angry mindset can usually find something to make them mad.

Bad drivers on the highway, poor customer service, canceled flights, low marks on a report card, too much rain, too much sun, a bounced check, an unreturned email, lost shipments … any of these things can set our angry friend off.

It is okay to be angry. It is even okay to lose your cool. But we have so much more to be grateful for than we do to be angry about.

Get over yourself.

Are you alive? Is your heart breathing? Does your mind still work? Are the people that you love okay today?

We are living in the best time to ever live on this planet. The world is literally at our fingertips. As compared to people all over the world, most of us live a life of abundance.

Carrying all that anger around accomplishes nothing. Viewing the world through an angry red filter serves little purpose.

Ease up. Chill. Engage before you enrage. We will all be a little happier for it.

Blog Post # 48 – We Forget

What do we want?

What do we really want?

So often, we go through the motions. The routine. The easy.

We forget our true North. We chuck our goals to the side and coast.

If we set a goal, we should work towards it with all our might.

Focus. Clarity. Short term sacrifice for a greater benefit down the road.

Ant vs. grasshopper.

If we forget our goals or experience burnout or act contrary to our goals, then the “why” behind that goal was undoubtedly not strong enough.

Sometimes, we have too many goals. Or competing goals.

We only have 24 hours in a day. Too many ephemeral goals lead to incompleteness and frustration.

In Stephen King’s book 11/22/63, the protagonist travels back to 1963 and tries to stop the Kennedy assassination. The past conspires to thwart the protagonists efforts at every turn. He experiences physical threats, the wrath of new enemies and mini-emergencies that compete with his attention.

Trying to achieve a goal is a lot like trying to change the past. Forces surround us trying to keep us docile. Drugged, dumb and disoriented.

For today, let us remember our goals. Our better future. And let’s do what we can with this 24 hours to move a little closer to the finish line. Go!

Blog Post # 47 – Easy Hard Work

We tell ourselves that we worked hard yesterday.

Put in a good day at the office.

We pushed some paper, closed some files and replied to a ton of emails.

Talked on the phone, surfed the internet and called it a day.

Hard work.

But did we really work hard?

Did we really go all in?

Did we build something, create something or announce something?

Or did we just move things along.  Piddle down the highway of life.

Very few of us dig ditches any more.

We don’t have to plow the back 40 acres before the sun goes down.

When was the last time we had to ride a horse into town.

Or dig a well.

Or treat our daughter’s fever alone because the town doctor was too far away.

Life in 2016 has its struggles and burdens.  No one is minimizing those.

But let’s keep things in perspective.  

The digital economy is 1,000 times easier than the lives that our grandparents had to live.  

And 10,000 times easier than the lives of their grandparents.

Let us be grateful today for how easy hard work is these days.

 

Blog Post # 47 – Our Imagined Truth

Isolation is always easier.

Getting inside ourselves, where we don’t have to face the consequences of our actions.

When we choose to disengage, it is so much easier to fool ourselves.

Convince us that our perceived slights are bigger than they really are.

That our imagined truth is actual reality.

No one can challenge our train of thought if we are not sharing it with the world.

Meditation and contemplation are noble endeavors, but they have little to do with isolation.

When we speak of isolation, we mean that hardened, dry place where we refuse to engage with others.  Our quiet space to check out and deny ourselves the benefits human interaction.

Isolation offers false solace.  A false sense of safety.  False serenity.

We can isolate at work or at a party.  We can isolate with people all around us.

Isolation is a mindset – a refusal to allow the things going on around us to impact us.

Sometimes, isolation serves a valuable purpose.  It can protect us from abuse or from harming ourselves.

But in most instances, isolation represents barriers, closed minds, echo chambers and fear.

Isolation and fear go hand in hand.  When we are afraid, we retreat to our corner and shut down.  Believing with our whole heart that our imagined truth is the only truth.

When, in fact, it is nothing of the kind.

Blog Post # 45 – The Itch

And then there’s the itch.

The new thought blooming in your mind.

An awareness of something that has been there for a while.

Inviting you to make a change.

The itch starts small. Microscopically, in fact.

The itch gets inside your head and asks you to listen.

What if I tried this?

What if I did things a bit differently?

An idea. An awakening. A reconnection.

The beauty of the itch is that it can pop up at the most amazing juncture.

When you are in a dark place, the itch invites you out.

Calling to you.

Lighting the path ahead like Harriet Tubman leading slaves to freedom.

The itch is your lantern, your muse, your better self.

Look for the itch. Cherish it.

If you feel stymied, be still. Take three deep breaths. Find the itch.

And the most important thing about the itch is this.

When you finally find the itch … scratch it. Don’t ignore it. Follow it as that is your path to freedom.

Blog Post # 44 – Just Jump

Have you jumped yet?

Taken your risk?

Moved off the safe spot?

If not, why not?

We need you to jump.

We need your art, your voice, your intellect.

You have something very special to contribute to our world.

Something wholly unique.

Only you can do it. Only you can share your insights into our collective experience.

What happened to you. What you know. Why you think that way.

Only you can craft that message.

A friend told me the other day that he wanted to start blogging. We talked about other bloggers in his space and he remarked that one popular website had already staked out a message similar to the one he wanted to provide.

My friend wondered whether there was space for his voice too.

I stated the obvious. We need your voice, my friend. You have a very unique voice (he really does) and it will resonate with a lot of readers.

Don’t try and be someone else. Don’t mimic someone else’s voice.

Be you. Find your voice.

Share it now. Just jump.

Blog Post # 43 – Leader v. Boss

Leaders inspire.

Bosses require.

Leaders set the example.

Bosses make an example.

Leaders collaborate.

Bosses divide and conquer.

Leaders say, “where there is a will, there is a way.”

Bosses say, “my way or the highway.”

Leaders bring out your best.

Bosses bring out your fear.

Being a leader works. But being a boss also works – for a while.

The people with whom we work and live know the difference.

They want to be led, not bossed around.

As humans, we are drawn to inspiring leaders – those who push us to excel. To be our very best.

Yelling and screaming will get the team only so far. Then people shut down and begin to resent the boss.

To see her for how she really is, not how she thinks she is.

A leader. Or a boss. Which do you want to be today?

Blog Post # 42 – Discomfort of the Gray

Yes or no. Binary thinking.

Black or white. Binary thinking.

Free or trapped. Binary thinking.

We so often find ourselves drawn to one extreme or another.

I may have eaten too much tonight, but tomorrow I will start on a diet.

Thinking I will make a lot of money this year and later thinking that I will die penniless.

I love this person; actually, I hate them.

Life is a lot easier when we live out on the extremes.

We don’t have to deal with the discomfort of the gray areas.

The spot where we have to be present.

Our true selves – knowing our strengths and our deficits.

Where we actually have to use our mind to identify where we actually are and where we might want to go.

Where we honestly reflect on the decisions that we have made and the consequences of those decisions.

Extremists of any sort are supremely confident that they are right and everyone else is wrong. This is the trap of binary thinking.

Are there any areas in our lives that we find ourselves on one end of the spectrum or the other?

Our time with the kids, our work/life balance, our relationship with our partner.

For today, maybe we can begin to ease off the fringe and inch towards the middle?

Or not.

Blog Post # 41 – A Righteous Anger

Why so angry?

Many of us walking around angry.

Angry at Trump.  Angry at Hillary.

Angry at our lot in life.

Angry about what happened to us long ago.

In America, we have a cottage industry built on anger.

Us versus them.  Someone/everyone/anyone out to get us.

To shortchange us.  To screw us.  To deny us.

Television and the internet deliver anger to us every day.

Super-sized anger.

And the tricky part is that the anger they peddle is a righteous anger.

One bad member of a group means that everyone in the group is bad.

Darren Wilson is a killer = all cops are racists.  

Osama bin Laden is a terrorist = all Muslims are bad.

Father Roger was a pedophile = all priests are perverts.

Right at this moment, while you stew in your anger, a baby is born.

A poem is composed, a song sung and a marathon completed.

You can continue to stay angry.  You have every right to your anger.

By no means do we want to take that righteous anger away from you.

But know that this is a choice.  A choice to turn on the venom, to suck it all in and to have that be your focus.

At what cost?

What have you decided to focus upon today?

 

Blog Post # 40 – Resistance is Futile

Why do we resist what that which is good for us?

Why do we veer off course, away from the path of success?

Why do we make choices that are contrary to our stated goals?

Resistance to our own improvement can be incredibly powerful.

We know where we want to be.  We know what we want to achieve.  

The signposts up ahead let us know that success may be right around the corner.

But we stop.  Afraid to keep moving.  To take the next step.

We huddle, worry and procrastinate.  We tell ourselves that this spot where we are right now isn’t so bad.  We accept the status quo.  Sometimes way too readily.

The fact is that the closer we get to our goals, the resistance strengthens.  While we sleep, resistance is plotting and doing pushups in the corner.  Thinking up ways to prevent us from succeeding.

If we acknowledge our resistance as an actual thing, as something that is out to get us, we can begin to outsmart it.  To not listen. To see resistance as the false idol that it is.

Sometimes, we have to literally stare down resistance in the mirror and say no.  Not today.

Today, I choose action.  I choose taking one more step towards success.  Today, I say no to resistance and yes to the me that I want to be.

Take that, resistance.