#648 I Won’t Complain

Posted by frank May - 18 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I am not going to complain.  Not even a little.  Not for one minute.  I am going to spend the entire day today in that posture.  Wish me luck.

 

I have to tell you truthfully, I am not really a complainer. I usually make the best of a situation or try to think my way through things but I have noticed that I do complain more than I thought I did.  Sometimes it’s just in my head, like when I am trying to move quickly as I walk through midtown but everyone on the street seems to be walking though mercury.  Sometimes I complain out loud, whether it’s about me, (I hate when I do that!) or you, (“I hate when he does that!).  Sometimes it’s when I’m driving, (Why do I AWAYS wind up behind the guy digging for change in an EZ Pass lane?) Sometimes it’s a phone call I’d rather not take (Argh!  Why is he calling me AGAIN?)

Regardless of the catalyst of my complaint, I’m just saying that I have been paying attention to these complaining moments lately and I have found that they make me worse; not better.  I find no catharsis in complaining.  Instead, I find myself a little more angry, a little more edgy, and definitely a little less friendly.

So I’m giving it a shot today.  Today, when I get cut off, or the grocery store is out of the apples I like, or a motorcycle roars down my street at midnight, or my favorite show buffers for ten minutes instead of streaming steadily (The way the cable company promises on their commercials) or I get to the train station on time but the train is running 20 minutes late, I am going to think of the promise I made to you, here, and smile and think of the 100 other things I took for granted today that all went well, starting with: I WOKE UP THIS MORNING.

I don’t know what the outcome of this experiment will be nor do I have any expectations of permanent change, I just want to see if I can do it.

 

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#647 Same Sh*! Different Day

Posted by frank May - 11 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

If you don’t change you will be where you are now, only later. 

For me, two irrefutable principles in life are that self-awareness is paramount,  and personal growth is essential.

The growth comes from the awareness.  Some people say you ought to be satisfied with where you are; accept your lot in life.  I don’t think so.  I like to be happy where I am today while I look to the growth of tomorrow.  And I can do that because happiness is  inside out.

Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” 

Remember, nothing changes until something changes and rumination is not examination.

2015 Motto: “Life is choices.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#646 Do You Need to be Left Back?

Posted by frank May - 3 - 2015 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

Life is like getting left back in grade school.  You keep learning the same lessons over and over. 

Robert Louis Stevenson said “Sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet of consequences.”  The word consequences makes me think of paying the price for something I did badly but, in truth, consequences are just the result of something that occurred earlier. 

It is certain that if I’ve lived a crapulous (I’ve always wanted to use that word) life, I will suffer the consequences. But it is just as certain that if I lead a life of character I will also reap the consequences (rewards).

I find that, from time to time, I do need to learn the same lessons over and over.  Old habits, as they say, die hard.  I still occasionally lose my temper even though 99% of the times that I have lost it, it led to bad outcomes.  I still procrastinate things I dislike doing though I suffer regret each time. 

I’d like to think, though, that I am getting better.  That my patience and tolerance have increased with age and that I don’t need to be left back again today.  That instead, I am a work in progress and I know you are too. (I’m talking to you my talented Italian friend)

Self-awareness is the key.  It’s been said that I’m not who I think I am and I’m not who you think I am but I am who I think you think I am.  But I am from a school that says my self-awareness doesn’t need you to anoint me.  I am from a school that says I should evaluate myself, take total responsibility for the results of my life, and make adjustments based on those results. What do you think?  I’d love to hear from you.

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#645 Adversity

Posted by frank April - 27 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Did you read this weekend the guy who crashed his small engine plane into the side of a mountain and lived?

He was burned over 80% of his body, broke 19 bones, punctured a lung, needed hundreds of stitches and was in rehab for a year!  Then he went on to invent several products, built a multi-national corporation, and began a worldwide charity organization.

This, to my knowledge did not actually happen.  I made it up to make a point.

We do hear stories all the time of people who face extraordinary adversity and then do extraordinary things don’t we?  And they are always so believable.  We want to believe in exceptional bounce-back-ability.  It is a cultural given.

 

It got me to thinking.  There are certainly a lot of people doing extraordinary things out there who haven’t burned up in a plane crash, escaped a POW camp, or overcome a debilitating birth injury and you may be one of them.  If you are, I tip my hat for you for excelling despite the relatively easy life you’ve had.

How about the rest of us?  Do we need to be thrust into our darkest hour to spring back with zeal?  Maybe it shouldn’t take more than a look at your mate or your kids to push you to excel.  

Don’t die with your song still inside you.  Push the fear aside, find the motivation in your everyday surroundings and explode in to whatever it is that you’ve dreamed about or imagined but pushed aside thinking the status quo will do just fine.

It may not be an invention or swimming the English Channel, it may be blowing through the ordinary as a mom or a Grandad or a coach or a teacher or it may be climbing Mt. Everest!  The point is, it doesn’t matter.  You don’t need extraordinary pain to vault yourself in to extraordinary fame. It’s in you.  You have everything inside of you to do whatever it is you want to do.  You’re not lacking it, you’re blocking it.

2015 Motto:  “Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#644 An Apple a Day

Posted by frank April - 20 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

It’s almost beach season and in order to feel more comfortable in my favorite shorts or swimsuit I’ve got to be in better shape.   Maybe I should wait until May 24th and then go to the gym for 24 hours straight, so I can be ready on Memorial Day!

Of course we know it doesn’t work that way.  The saying is, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  You can’t eat 30 apples at the end of the month and expect the same result.

Dr. Rob spoke about this last week.  He said it this way; “It’s better to do a little a lot than a lot a little.”

Studying all semester beats cramming for finals and funding your 401K or IRA a little each year beats trying to live on PB&J for the final couple of years before you retire so you can save some money.

Walking a little every day is better than trying to walk 50 miles once a month and avoiding bad foods on a daily basis is better than a crash diet the week before the big event.

What little things could you be doing a lot to save yourself panic and pain in the future?

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#643 Cynic or Sucker?

Posted by frank April - 13 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Cynic or Sucker?

If you trust you will get burned.

If you trust again, despite the burn, you will get burned again; and again; and again; and again.

If you don’t trust you will be safer.  You will be hurt less.

If you go in to any relationship expecting a bad outcome, or even hinting at the possibility of one, you’re protected.  When it goes badly, you aren’t surprised.  You called it early and you feel justified in being right.

When you give your trust to someone and they let you down, or, worse, they play you, it hurts.  But every now and again, when the trust is repaid with loyalty and love, it wipes the slate clean and renews you.  After all isn’t it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all?

Cynic or Sucker?  Who would you rather be?

For me that isn’t even a question.  In fact if you believe it is a real question, you are on the cynic side of the equation because those who trust, despite repeated disappointments, never feel like “suckers.”  They know that “Ya gotta kiss a lot of Frogs.” Suckers?  That’s a moniker pasted on by the cynics; from a safe distance.

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#642 Does ANYONE like YOU?!

Posted by frank April - 6 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Napoleon Hill wrote “Think and Grow Rich”  He wrote it after interviewing Andrew Carnegie who was the richest man in the world.  Hill wanted to pass on Carnegie’s secrets to success and he did.  Think and grow Rich began the self-help era and is one of the best selling books of all time.  Subsequent to Think and Grow Rich, Hill wrote an article based on his dealings with Charles Schwab.  Schwab worked for Carnegie and was paid a bonus of million dollars a year back in the early 1900’s!  Carnegie is reported to have said “The salary is for the work he does.  The million dollar bonus is for what Schwab, with his pleasing personality, could get others to do.”  So based on his research that began with Schwab, here are Hill’s 14 habits of the most likeable people.

1. They develop a positive mental attitude and let it be seen and felt by others.

It is often easier to be a cynic and to predict bad outcomes but while you will be right some of the time, you may be avoided much of the time.

2. They always speak in a carefully disciplined, friendly tone.

No matter what the content of your message is, your tone and body language deliver more than your words.

3. They pay close attention to someone speaking to them.

I can’t say enough about active listening.

4. They are able to maintain their composure in all circumstances.

Giving in to the emotion of the moment be it fear, anger or frustration will not endear you to people.  It is good to express those things but to do it with thought and measure.

 

5. They are patient.

6. They keep an open mind.

You don’t know what you don’t know.  Staying open to learn more about a situation or the people involved is an important habit.

7. They smile when speaking with others.

Regardless of what you think of their politics, picture the smiles of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.  Who was more likeable?

8. They know that not all their thoughts need to be expressed.

Likeable people have tact and discipline in conversation.  Even though they may be thinking something, they know it isn’t worth offending someone just to say it.

9. They don’t procrastinate.

Procrastination sends a message of unreliability to others.  Not a likeable trait.

10. They engage in at least one good deed a day.

They are actually looking for opportunities throughout the day to help someone.

 

11. They find a lesson in failure rather than brood over it.

IT’s fine to lament…for a moment.  It’s fine to sit in a failure to really understand it…for a moment.  Sit in it too long and the stench of it tends to cling to you making you someone to avoid

12. They act as if the person they are speaking to is the most important person in the world.

Again, this is about listening.  Ask questions and listen with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply.

13. They praise others in a genuine way without being excessive.

Genuine praise is good.  Inconsistent and excessive praise smacks of insincerity.

14. They have someone they trust point out their flaws.

Continued growth only comes from examining one’s self and to get the viewpoint of someone you trust is invaluable.

 

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

 

#641 Alicia Turns 30!

Posted by frank March - 30 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS
I’m turning 30 tomorrow. I’ve spent a long time contemplating this day over the last year, a lot of time in self study; a lot of exploration, excavation, and innovation when it comes to mySELF. I continued to discover how much I absolutely love Alicia while uncovering more flaws this year than ever before, I think. My time alone in noble silence shined light on much of mySELF that needs work, a lot of work, to feel like my best me. I learned, though, that as a drug addict chases a high, we too (the Magellans of the SELF, the deep sea soul divers) can chase perfection until the day we die, if we aren’t careful. With this realization, I fell more in love with my life and how I respond to the circumstances around me. My best friendship with mySELF grows everyday, even when we don’t get along. Entering my 30s tomorrow, I am completely satisfied with knowing that I know NOTHING, but believe in SO MUCH, SO deeply. My strength in body, mind, and spirit grows daily even if just the tiniest bit. I embrace all I have been and all I am yet to be. I am open to what I am calling “true adulthood” as I enter marriage, starting a family, and owning my first [tiny] home. I vow to never stop asking questions, reading books, taking classes, and learning from others. My cOMmunity has expanded so greatly in my 20s, and I am so thankful for all who still surround me and support me. I thank my creator for this opportunity, to live this exact life as Alicia Somma, in this exact body, with all of you as my family. Namaste, everyone. Thank you for helping to create this version of me, brothers and sisters. Namaste.
'I'm turning 30 tomorrow. I've spent a long time contemplating this day over the last year, a lot of time in self study; a lot of exploration, excavation, and innovation when it comes to mySELF. I continued to discover how much I absolutely love Alicia while uncovering more flaws this year than ever before, I think. My time alone in noble silence shined light on much of mySELF that needs work, a lot of work, to feel like my best me. I learned, though, that as a drug addict chases a high, we too (the Magellans of the SELF, the deep sea soul divers) can chase perfection until the day we die, if we aren't careful. With this realization, I fell more in love with my life and how I respond to the circumstances around me. My best friendship with mySELF grows everyday, even when we don't get along. Entering my 30s tomorrow, I am completely satisfied with knowing that I know NOTHING, but believe in SO MUCH, SO deeply. My strength in body, mind, and spirit grows daily even if just the tiniest bit. I embrace all I have been and all I am yet to be. I am open to what I am calling "true adulthood" as I enter marriage, starting a family, and owning my first [tiny] home. I vow to never stop asking questions, reading books, taking classes, and learning from others. My cOMmunity has expanded so greatly in my 20s, and I am so thankful for all who still surround me and support me. I thank my creator for this opportunity, to live this exact life as Alicia Somma, in this exact body, with all of you as my family. Namaste, everyone. Thank you for helping to create this version of me, brothers and sisters. Namaste.'

#640 Your Joke Rolodex

Posted by frank March - 23 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

Do you know the best way to get someone to tell you a joke?  Tell them a joke.  While you are telling your joke, the other person is going through the joke rolodex in their mind to come up with a joke to tell you when you’re done.  i learned this from Dr. Rob Gilbert.  It is human nature and works almost all the time but there is a danger in this.

I noticed that it isn’t just limited to jokes and therein lies the danger.  Last week i’d had a terrible morning; my pet chickens were killed by foxes who managed to break in to the coop overnight.  When i discovered the carnage in the morning i was really upset.  I couldn’t shake off the sadness all day.  I must have been wearing it on my face because one of my coworkers commented that I wasn’t myself.  I said, “I guess it shows.  I had a really rough morning.”  But before i could go on to say why my morning was rough she said, “Oh my God, me too.” and then went on to tell me about a flood she had in her basement, the late and crowded train she had to ride, and the big splash that hit her when a truck passed too close to the curb on her way to the office, soaking her outfit.  By the time she was done, my opening statement (and my feelings) were forgotten and it felt silly to bring it back up so i just commiserated with her about her rough morning and went about my business.

I noticed later in the week that i did the same thing to my wife.  When she said “I had a rough night sleeping” I jumped in about how I’d slept before before i listened to her story about what kept her up and how she felt etc.

The joke rolodex is a very real part of human nature and, in joke telling, is probably harmless.  Relating and matching during a conversation is a good thing but not at the cost of good listening.  I have begun to notice more about how i listen.  Am i listening with the intent to reply or am i listening to understand? These little episodes from last week have me resolved to make a conscious effort to practice the latter.

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”

#639 It’s Easy to be an Ass

Posted by frank March - 16 - 2015 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

There is nothing easier than being an ass.  When things don’t go your way yelling and screaming about it is pretty easy.   Giving in to frustration doesn’t take smarts.  But shouldn’t we be more thoughtful than that?  After all, you don’t still hit your brother do you?  When you were two, and your brother took your toy truck, this was an expected behavior that (hopefully) your mom nipped in the bud.

But that emotion is still in us.  For some it resides closer to the surface than it does for others.

Being an ass is easy.  It takes no thought or discipline.  You just let fly with whatever is bubbling to the surface and then, after the fact, say things like, “You make me crazy.” Or “I can’t help it I have a bad temper”

The truth is, you can help it.  You’re a grown up.  You don’t still hit your brother.

 

A moment’s hesitation before spewing venom will drastically alter the outcome of any charged situation.  A quick thought as to the effect of your words BEFORE you say them will serve you well and put you in a place of esteem among the people in your life while throwing tantrums or belittling people will get you talked about behind your back and a reputation as one to be avoided.  It really is a choice.  You really can help it.

 

2015Motto…“Life is choice.  Your very next moment can be different if you choose it to be”