Blog Post # 233 – Easy Street

Easy.

We want an easy life.

For things to come easily to us.

My daughter Noor’s favorite musical is Annie.

Noor and I listen to the Annie soundtrack on Spotify all the time.

The best part of the show is when Ms. Hannigan’s brother Rooster and his girlfriend Lily show up and the three conspire to swindle Daddy Warbucks out of a reward to be paid to the parents of Little Orphan Annie.

They belt out a stirring rendition of Easy Street, a song highlighting the difference between them and the millionaire, Daddy Warbucks. They keep trying to get to Easy Street.

The song builds with a refrain of Easy Street, Easy Street and then they sing “when you get there, when you get there, when you get there …. Stay!”

So often we want things the easy way.

We take the easy way out.

We refrain from doing the hard work.

Sometimes good things do actually come easily.

But most success comes from hard work.

From declining the quick, easy buck.

From putting our heads down and getting moving.

Easiness is a false idol.

We should embrace hard work.

We toil in the fields now to build a better life later.

Leaning towards the easy so as to avoid the hard is understandable.

But it leaves us flabby and untested.

Here’s to the people that are going to work hard today.

Building something.

Creating something.

Implementing their dreams.

Blog Post # 232 – What Remains?

If we take away the distractions ….

If we turn off the devices ….

If we eliminate the busy-ness ….

What remains?

Eliminating the busy work that we have in our lives can cause significant resistance.

Our habits are our habits.

They bring us comfort.

Comfort and excuses.

And maybe that is just it.

Perhaps we tell ourselves a big lie.

The big lie says “look at me – I’m so busy, so tired, so hard-working” (but much of my time is so wasted).

And we are indeed busy. No one is denying that.

But are we effective?

Maybe we stay busy so that we don’t have to think; so that we can just react.

To do something – anything – to keep from looking inward.

Busy-ness and hubbub to prevent ourselves from engaging in introspection.

If we take away the distractions, we have to focus.

If we turn off the devices, we have to look at the world around us and think about our place in said world.

If we eliminate the busy-ness, then we have to do effective work that matters.

What remains after we eliminate these mental crutches may be our best us.

An effective, reflective, introspective human being who glides through the world fulfilling our life’s purpose.

Even the thought of that instills a bit of fear deep inside us.

So much easier to get caught in the triviality and banality of the unimportant.

But losing these crutches leaves us standing there, naked.

Just us and our big, big thoughts.

Our true purpose.

And maybe that is a good thing.

Blog Post # 231 – Our Own Path

Do we choose our own path?

Or was it chosen for us?

Some people go through life as if they have no choice.

Live their life as a series of “have to’s.”

I have to do this, I have to do that.

They have ceded responsibility for their lives to some other force – God, their spouse, their children, their history.

When did we give up our control to another?

Who knows?

But it is time to take it back.

Time to wrest responsibility for our own lives back from all comers.

This is our life.

No one else’s.

We have responsibilities to a lot of other people – our significant other, our children, our workplace.

But our greatest responsibility is to the person in the mirror.

We have a choice. An everyday choice.

Do we bob along today subject to chance and the whims of others?

Or do we own our choices? Own our lives?

We can forge a new path. Starting today.

Break our patterns.

We love you and support you and will see you on the other side of whatever hurdles have been holding you back.

Go for it.

Blog Post # 230 – Six (Is A Serious Number)

Six things.

There are six things on my to do list each day.

Six things that I have to get done before going to bed.

Sometimes it is tough – like when I SO want to do more than six things.

But six is a serious number.

And a realistic one.

The chances of me getting twelve things done in one day, on top of my normal schedule, are extremely slim.

But for the past week, I have been writing out the six things that I want to get done the following day.

Then I estimate how much time I think it will take.

And the last step is to then insert the tasks into my actual calendar.

To actually block out the time for those six things.

This brings a sense of deliberateness and focus to my work.

Keeps me from bouncing from email to email, putting the desires of other ahead of what I need to get done.

I adopted this approach after reading a book with a terrible title – the Ultimate Sales Machine – by Chet Holmes.

But I am really liking the focus that it has brought to my workday.

Maybe it can work for you.

Blog Post # 229 – Cost of Admission

No awards for breathing.

Just showing up is never enough.

We don’t get a gold star for taking out the trash.

Life has a fair amount of drudgery.

Folding laundry, raking leaves, making a meal.

These are the basic building blocks of a pleasant life.

Sort of “have to do’s.”

But when we come to the end of life, none of these will really matter.

They are just the cost of admission for greatness.

For greatness comes from the extraordinary things that we may do.

Our art, raising our children to excel, our unique contributions to the world.

If we want to leave an impact, we have to not only pay the bills, but to go beyond the mundane to do something amazing.

Does this resonate?

What are we drawn to – outside the everyday tasks?

If we want a legacy, we must think big and carve out space outside of our routine to create something fantastic.

Unique.

Something that only we can do.

We cannot ignore the steps necessary to keep our life on track.

But we must give ourselves the time and space needed to create our art.

Otherwise, we are simple automatons walking through our day with little purpose.

Blog Post # 228 – Perfection

Perfectionism is a trap.

One cannot achieve perfection.

Greatness is the enemy of the good.

We sometimes allow our need to have everything completed perfectly to keep from even getting started.

It is an excuse, a false idol.

When we tell ourselves that we must do everything perfectly, we set ourselves up for failure.

We also have a built in excuse when things don’t go our way.

Give me the guy who starts.

The lady who takes that first step.

Who keeps going after the chance at perfection has passed.

Life is messy, dirty, complicated.

Even in science, perfection is extremely rare.

If we can’t be perfect, who gives a crap?

It is fine to try and do the best job you can, but this unwarranted need for perfection does nobody any good.

For today, let us do our best.

Let us not worship at the false god of perfectionism.

But to instead look for opportunities for incremental improvement.

And let our results stand by themselves.

With gratitude and grace.

Blog Post # 227 – Anti-Facebook

Put your best face forward.

That is what they told us when we were kids.

Hide the bad stuff.

Only show the good.

Facebook and other forms of social media have taken this to the extreme.

If you go by what you see on Facebook, many of are dealing idyllic lives of ease and prosperity.

We don’t talk about the pain.

We don’t talk about our struggles.

We don’t talk to each other.

We pontificate.

We share clever memes.

We try to wow people with our political brilliance, hoping to convert a friend or two.

But what we don’t do is show our warts.

Maybe we need another social media site.

One that allows us to talk about where we really are.

What is really going on.

To talk about our sadness, our journey, our obstacles.

With this blog, I have attempted to be as honest and open about where I am each day.

But I hold some things back.

I think to myself – oh that is too …. honest, raw, revealing.

For today, let us use the social media tools available to us to be a little more real, a little more open and a little more honest.

To show our true face to the world.

Zits and all.

Blog Post # 226 – Listen More, Fix Less

When someone tells us about a struggle, how do we respond?

Do we jump right in and tell them the 4 things that they need to do to fix their situation?

Do this and this and this and this and your problem will be solved.

Such an approach makes us feel better because we shared our wisdom and provided a solution.

It lets us feel a bit superior and like we know a lot about how the world works.

Dispensing quick advice also allows us to move on to the next topic, the next endeavor.

Get past this and on to the next mountain.

But does this approach help our fellow feel better?

Does it ease their struggle?

Perhaps instead of jumping in and dispensing advice left and right, we may be better served to listen more, fix less.

Answers to some problems – especially complex ones – may not be so black and white.

They may not be susceptible to quick resolution.

Before we speak, maybe we should ask more questions.

Try and get to what is really bothering our friend or family member.

To listen and then listen some more – before we respond.

Sometimes, of course, the other person only wants to be heard.

They may also want to contribute to finding their own solution as opposed to having it dispensed as if from on high.

For today, let us strive to listen more to the people around us. To listen more, fix less.

Isn’t that what we want from other people when we are struggling?

To be heard.

Blog Post # 225 – Who is Responsible?

Who is responsible?

Who is responsible for my happiness?

I am.

Not my spouse, not my child, not my boss, not my friend.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

Who is responsible for my freedom?

I am.

Only I can free myself from the bad circumstances that bind me.

I am responsible for my own freedom.

Who is responsible for my body?

I am.

I alone choose what food goes into my body and whether or not I exercise.

I am responsible for my body.

Who is responsible for my centeredness?

I am.

The only person who can make time for me to get focused and present is me.

I am responsible for my centeredness.

Who is responsible for my success?

I am.

No one else can bring me success, no matter how hard they try.

I am responsible for my success.
Who is responsible for my life?

I am.

The world owes me nothing and offers no guarantees.

I am responsible for my life.

The question then is when will I take responsibility?

Stop blaming others.

Look inside to the person that I truly am.

My happiness.

My freedom.

My body.

My centeredness.

My success.

My life.

They are each my responsibility and my responsibility alone.

Blog Post # 224 – A Tiny Step

When we get stuck, it may be helpful to ask ourselves this question –

“What is the least amount that I can do today to move forward on this issue?”

A tiny step.

A pattern interrupt.

A break.

Resistance can be hard to recognize.

The unwillingness takes over.

We struggle to understand why we resist that which is good for us.

But maybe we are asking the wrong question.

Maybe, instead of asking why this is happening, we may ask how do I get out of this?

For me, making a little change today can help set me up for a slightly bigger change tomorrow.

To not try and make the change all at once.

Just a step or two towards where I want to be.

Resistance can be like a block of ice.

We can see where we want to be, but it seems far away.

Insurmountable.

Our small step today is the first break in the ice.

A crack in the wall.

And gets us on our way to a better tomorrow.