Blog Post # 316 – The Other 1 Percent

The other 1 percent.

No, this is not a blog post about the rich versus the poor.

What we are talking about today is incremental, 1 percent improvement.

My buddy Greg Jenkins, Infusionsoft guru extraordinaire, sent out an email yesterday linking to an article by James Clear.

The article talks about how if we make 1 percent improvements across the board, the ultimate impact of those improvements vastly exceeds the sum of its parts.  

In other words, if we make tweaks to our systems or our lives by 1 percent across the board, then all of those tweaks combine to bring about extraordinary change.

Clear uses the example of the British cycling team that implemented a strategy to make 1 percent improvements in all aspects of the team’s routine in an effort to win the Tour de France within 5 years.

They won it after only 3.

The team changed the gels they used, the pillows they used, they washed their hands more frequently, etc.

All of these small, little changes had a profound impact on the success of the team.

So often in life, we look at change as a monumental task.

But, in reality, it is the small, incremental, purposeful changes that bring about massive success.

For today, let us think critically at the way that we are doing things.

And search for small, achievable changes that can add up to extraordinary change in our lives.

Blog Post # 315 – Action or Distraction?

Justifiable distractions.

We need to stay aware and awake as to what is going on in the world.

As engaged citizens, we should be paying attention.

And they do what they can to get us to tune in.

They tell us alternative facts.

They report on the latest outrage.

In fact, they have spent a lot of time and money to figure out what pushes our buttons.

All in an effort to grab our eyeballs.

To have us paying attention.

But is it possible that all of it is still just one big distraction?

Is paying attention to the powers that be really going to affect us in the here and now?

Obviously, they can set policy and implement regulations that harm us or the people that we care about.

And we do need to be vigilant.

But we cannot do so at the expense of our own work, goals and plans.

We should give a certain, limited amount of our time to paying attention and the occasional outrage.

We cannot, however, get consumed by it.

It takes us off our game.

Gets us so mad or depressed that we cannot act.

For action is what it is going to take to implement real change.

Action, not distraction.

We can choose to be crippled by our anger or our outrage.

Or we can do something.

Focus on something.

Build something.

For today, let’s give the news the appropriate amount of space in our lives.

And then let’s act.

Blog Post # 314 – Who Locked You Up?

What is holding you back?

Holding you back today.

Is someone preventing you from doing what you want to do?

Watching your every move and thwarting all of your efforts.

Stopping you whenever you try something new.

Are you locked in a prison?

Denied freedom of movement.

Confined to a jail cell of someone else’s making.

These examples are obviously extreme.

For the vast majority of us, we have tremendous personal freedom.

The freedom to choose our own path.

To make real change in our life.

Yet we act as if other people and our circumstances confine us.

Artificial restraints.

If anyone has thwarted our efforts, it is us.

If anyone has crafted boundaries on our success, it is us.

Today is the day to unlock the jail cell door.

To give ourselves a get out of jail free card.

Unlock that door and step out into a new sense of freedom.

We will be here waiting for you.

And your magic, your beauty, and amazement.

Your truth.

Blog Post # 313 – Life in Flux

Note:  I am having a little problem with publishing.  I keep forgetting to hit send.  Sorry for not pushing this out yesterday.  But it was done on time!

Life gets difficult.

But that allows us to contrast with when life is good.

If we lacked struggle, we could not truly appreciate victory.

We seem to have this idealized future view where everything is clean, happy and “good.”

In reality, there is an ebb and flow to life.

Times of intense happiness.

Followed (sometimes very quickly), deep and profound grief.

We need both to appreciate the richness and fullness of a life well lived.

And it’s not really “both.”

For things come at us that are both good and bad.

Happy and sad.

A life in flow.

A life in flux.

We have to be ready for anything.

Ready to jump, to pivot, to dive or to soar.

This is true on an individual level and as a collective people here on planet Earth in 2017.

So it behooves us to be aware of the things that happen to us.

Adaptation is our goal.

Constantly asking ourselves “what’s next?” and being confident that we can handle it will serve us well.

For today, let us take it all in – the good, the bad and all the rest.

Life is no longer black and white for us.

Rather, it is a series of adjustments – tweaks both big and small.

Are you ready?

Blog Post # 312 – The Day Has Come

The day has come.

The day we dreaded.

An admitted groper of women becomes President of the United States.

A man who mocked the disabled becomes the most powerful person on the planet.

A person lacking any qualifications for the office whatsoever.

A man bereft of civility, compassion or empathy.

Here he is.

The once and future king.

He surrounds himself with zealots and people lacking experience or knowledge on how to run a government.

This is who America allowed to become President.

We can throw up our hands and let him do what he wants.

That is one choice.

Or we can fight.

To hold him accountable for this decisions.

To speak truth to power.

To organize for the elections in 2018 and 2020.

That sounds a lot better.

A lot more empowering.

Let him have his crown.

His party has control of the White House and the Congress.

The Supreme Court to follow shortly.

They cannot blame Obama anymore.

They cannot vilify Hillary anymore.

It is all belongs to them now.

We may be inclined to wish them well.

For, in the end, we love our country.

But we cannot let them turn this nation into the hellhole they envision.

So we stand our ground, call them on their lies and fight.

And hopefully, in 1461 days, it will be Mr. Trump and his entourage departing the House that is White.

That, of course, is up to us.

Blog Post # 311 – Stand

Don’t give up hope.

Don’t quit.

Today is not the day that you give in.

That you stop.

That you raise the white flag.

Keep going.

Keep striving.

Keep pressing forward.

Progress is slow.

Progress takes steady dedication and a will to overcome.

Overcome whatever it is that torments you.

Push.

Kick.

Fight.

Do not give in.

Do not say no.

Grab what you need.

Clear your mind.

And stand tall.

Resolute in your conviction.

And in the knowledge that you are building something with your life.

Something bigger than you.

And your own interests.

Be the biggest you that you can be.

At least for today.

You can do it today.

Leave tomorrow in the future.

Focus on right now.

Be present right here.

And stand.

Blog Post # 310 – Change Our Tapes

Our tapes.

The strange things we tell ourselves.

The recordings that swirl around in our brain.

Telling us that we are no good.

That we are stuck.

That any attempt at change is futile.

Our tapes are powerful.

Harmful.

And keep us trapped.

I used to have a friend in OA who would say “my mind is dangerous territory. Better for me to not go there alone.”

It helps to get these isolating thoughts out in the open.

They lose some of their power.

Speaking them to another.

Or writing them in a journal.

These simple acts can help us change our internal conversation.

Another thing is to develop new tapes.

To re-record.

Best way for me to do this is to listen to music that lifts me up.

Or to listen to podcasts or audiobooks with a positive and hopeful message.

It is possible to infuse our brain with new tapes.

And when we change the tapes, anything becomes possible.

Our fear dissipates.

And we get clear on what we can actually accomplish.
Change our tapes.

And change our world.

Blog Post # 309 – Hello, Resistance

Resistance is our friend.

Resistance gives us something to work against.

In order for a muscle to strengthen, an opposing force must be present.

This is true of our biceps, quads and triceps.

But this is also true of our mind.

And our heart.

When we want to change, to become stronger, in some aspect of our life, we have to first acknowledge that there will be resistance.

Outside resistance, as well as internal resistance.

Just part of the deal.

In fact, the more resistance that we recognize, the more likely that we are on the right track to overcome.

Difficult change does not come easily.

The person trying to overcome a sedentary lifestyle is going to face tremendous internal resistance.

The person trying to quarterback his team to victory will face 11 defenders who want nothing more than to annihilate him.

The person trying to advance civil rights for an entire people will face all of the forces of the present power structure.

So instead of running from resistance, we should embrace it.

Acknowledge its strength but vow to overcome it.

To welcome it.

To push back.

With all of the effort that we can muster.

And then kick its butt.

Blog Post # 308 – Race is Still a Thing

So, race is still a thing.

Not going away anytime soon.

America is in no way “post-racial.”

Yes, we elected our first black President.

But then we elected a man who was happy to be endorsed by the KKK and the American Nazi Party. Who made big headlines by capitalizing on the racial divide.

We still look at each other through the prism of race.

Their race and our race.

We still generalize, stereotype and discriminate.

Predominantly Caucasian schools still get more funding than predominantly African American schools.

Yes, there may be reasons for this.

But it is still a thing.

African American men are incarcerated at much higher rates than their white counterparts.

Economic disparity often tracks race.

Have we made strides?

I suppose.

But if we look around, we see a racial component to many events of the past few years.

Ferguson.

Black Lives Matter.

Make America White Again.

Anti-immigrant sentiment.

I’m not here to share some Pollyanna, can’t we all get along drivel.

I am just acknowledging the state of where we are at.

For today is the celebration of the birth of one who challenged America on its racist past and present.

Who died speaking for the poor, the discriminated against and the forgotten.

A man who died because of the color of his skin and the hatred of a white man.

We will never have another Dr. King.

Which is too bad.

Because we could really use his eloquence, his leadership, his empathy and his passion right about now.

Here in 2017.

Where race is still a thing.

Blog Post # 307 – Hard to Let It Go

Let it go.

Just let it go.

All that shit from my past.

Want to let it go.

So hard.

Easier to be angry.

To replay, relive and recall the hurt.

But what’s the point?

Isn’t the better approach to look forward?

Maybe this is why I am such a fan of change.

Of improvement.

Of looking forward instead of back.

Striving, creating, building, sustaining.

Goodbye to the hurt.

Sayonara.

Not to be ignorant.

Not to be naive.

Not to forget.

But because I don’t want it to rule me.

I don’t want it to define me.

I need to box it up.

I need to give it boundaries.

So that I can breathe.

Focus.

And to keep going.

Leave all the shit behind.

And keep going.