What do YOU think #623

Posted by frank November - 17 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

You are the origin of your thoughts.  You think about what youchoose to think about.  Moreover, you act on those thoughts.  There is no action without the precursor of thought.  Thought is the mother of every action.

If you accept this as true, how important is it to govern your thoughts? 

If you think all day about how miserable your life is what are the chances that it will go from misery to joy?

If you think all day about how badly you feel what are the chances that you will feel good anytime soon?

My friend Gina recently told me a story about a woman she met on the street in Manhattan.  Gina saw a statuesque woman up ahead of her dressed like a movie star from the 1940’s with high heels, straight seam stockings, a shimmering dress and a fancy hat walking with a bounce to her step and looking like Ann Miller in her prime.  She was so intrigued by the fancy costume she hustled up next to the woman to have a closer look.  That’s when she learned that this was not some young hipster but rather a 90 year old lady!  Gina was amazed at the woman’s ability to even walk in those heels let alone with the spring in her step and confidence she exuded.  She introduced herself and they chatted for a few minutes.  The woman told Gina that she was indeed 90 years old and living alone but still danced and loved to dress well.  Gina asked her how she managed to stay so youthful or something to that effect and the woman gave her the key to life and reinforced today’s message about thought.  She said, “I wake up filled with joy and excited for the day.”

 

She may have conditioned herself to wake up that way but I promise you it was a choice at some point in her life.  She could wake up lamenting her age or focusing on people she’s lost or her aloneness, but instead she wakes up filled with joy and excited for the day.

 

What are your thoughts upon facing a new day?

 

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

Personal Responsibility #622

Posted by frank November - 10 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I have to admit that I live in a bit of a news blackout.  I do look at Yahoo news in the morning, cruising the headlines, so that I’m not totally unaware. As a general rule I do not watch TV news or listen to radio news for more than a few minutes.  I do want to know that Cuomo was reelected but I don’t want to know that some nine year old shot his six year old brother and it seems to me that the news is filled with more of the later.

 

Anyway, I did catch a story that I have to share.  Citi-Bike is a service in Manhattan.  There are bicycles all over the city and subscribers to the service can swipe their card and jump on a bike to another Citi-Bike depot near their destination.  The news I heard was that a seventy year old man who is in the City-Bike program crashed and injured his head.  He is now suing City-Bike because they did not REQUIRE him to wear a helmet.

 

Deborah and I watched a Jim Rohn video clip this morning.  If you don’t know Jim Rohn, America’s greatest business philosopher, you should.  He is deceased now but his books, CDs and video lessons live on.  Jim’s primary message is one of personal responsibility.  “Life gets better when you get better.”  “Things won’t change until you change.”

 

Imagine a society in which such an abdication of personal responsibility as the helmet incident above can actually become in a lawsuit.  I’m sure that Mr. Rohn is turning over in his grave.

 

This man will actually stand in front of other adults and say, “I should be compensated because I used this bicycle service but no one required me to wear a helmet, and I fell and hit my head and it’s their fault.”

You’re SEVENTY for God’s sake!  Someone has to REQUIRE you to wear a helmet? I have jury duty in December.  With any luck, I’ll be on that jury and give him another bump on his noggin.

2014 Motto: “Mindful in every moment and grateful for everyday”

 

 

#621 Take the High Road

Posted by frank November - 3 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

The other day a song I’d forgotten about came on while I was driving.  It was The Blind Boys singing, “Take the High Road” The opening lyric is, “Take the high road through the valley if you want to reach the Promised Land.”

The Blind Boys are singing bible references about getting in to heaven but I thought about that line more secularly.

On Friday, my friend Larry and I were talking over a nice breakfast at the diner and the subject of “Calling someone out” came up.  When do you make a big deal about someone else’s behavior?  Do you endure a slight insult or make a point of it?  How about mistakes?  When do you turn a blind eye and when do you correct? When you overhear something about you or hear it second hand do you address it or do you take the high road?

 

Of course there is no universal answer to this.  It is a matter of individual judgment and choice.  What you may take to be just a slight, I may see as a massive insult.

Getting back to The Blind Boys.  It seems to me that their opening lyric is a nice mantra and may even make it as my motto one of these years.

Day to day, I’d like to take the high road, and not feel the need to address every snide remark, bump on the street, dirty look or lie uttered as truth.  “The valley”, for me, is the temptation to strike back or to do less than my best, or shade the truth, or mix with people I should avoid and the Promised Land is a successful life.  Not success as in a seven-figure bank account, but my definition of success; the one that has me in the rocking chair as the end approaches, looking back without regret.

Voyeurism #620

Posted by frank October - 26 - 2014 - Sunday 1 COMMENT

 

I will not do a reality TV rant.  It’s too common and too easy, but my observation is that we seem to have become a society of watchers, viewing the world through the lens of a camera and that’s just not good

When my daughter Christine got married she asked her guests not to take pictures as the ceremony ended.  When she turned to the crowd after being pronounced “Husband and Wife” she wanted to see them…not half their faces and the back of their iPhones’

I love having the pictures and videos I have preserving some great memories.  I’m not down on pictures or video, I’m down on the lack of interaction; on the proliferation of cameras instead of eyes.

I want to do things and be fully engaged.  I want to absorb the moment I’m in, not voyeuristically, with the camera seeing what’s happening, but me, IN IT, up to my elbows, feeling every emotion.

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

Just do it #619

Posted by frank October - 12 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

YESTERDAY YOU SAID TOMORROW

#618 Addiction

Posted by frank October - 5 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

How many of you can relate to substance abuse or addiction?  I, for one, am addicted to tobacco.  I don’t use tobacco now but the addiction remains because tobacco feels good to me.  I like the drug.  Whether your drug is tobacco, alcohol, heroin, or self-pity, addictions are tough to overcome. What you just read is correct.  Self-pity is as addictive as drugs.  The problem with self-pity though is awareness. At least a heroin addict knows he is addicted.    

It’s hard not to compare yourself to others.  We are barraged with images of superstars with charmed lives we should aspire to, and in this age of easy debt, Botox, plastic surgery and liposuction, it is impossible to know if that person you’re comparing yourself to is real or if their outside situation remotely resembles their inside reality!

 The SP addict may draw conclusions that everyone has it better than they do.  According to noted author Dr Jeffery Bernstein, self-pity is highly addictive and difficult to quit and stems from this unenlightened, unfavorable comparison to others.

Some of the difficulty with quitting self-pity is that it feels good.  SP addicts like the obfuscation of the “why me?” question.  It makes it seem like what they pity about themselves is out of their control and trying to talk themselves out of self-pity is like going to the enemy for advice on how to win a war; the inner dialog is the core of the problem!

The answer on this one is outside.  Honing gratitude skills is key as is getting outside of yourself and helping others.

Dr. William James, the father of American psychology said, “If I ever felt myself getting depressed, the first thing I’d do is go across to the poor side of town and find someone to help.”  Seems to me that that would work with self-pity too for the same reason; it takes the emphasis off of SELF.

2014 Motto…“Mindful in Every Moment and Grateful for Every Day”

#617 Gratitude and Change

Posted by frank September - 29 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

How many of you hate your job?  This is for you.

I’d like to go through an exercise with you now.  Think back to when you first interviewed for your current position.  Did you hope it wouldn’t go well?  Did you pray that you didn’t get the job? 

How about when the call came in that you’d gotten the position?  Did you curse your luck, kick the dog and go on a two day bender?

What about that first day?  Did you come home to tell your family what a horrid, stupid boss you have and what an unfair, inept company you work for?

So what’s happened since?  Familiarity, the saying goes, breeds contempt.

 

I think that what happened is that you forgot about applying, interviewing and starting.  I think that rather than feeling gratitude for having the job and remembering that joy, you are focused only on what you don’t like.  “But Frank”, you say, “My company really is inept and my boss is horrible!”  Then quit.

Here is the deal.  Think with gratitude about having the job, remember why you took it and what you expected.  Act like a person who likes their job and try to change things OR GET OUT.  Complaining doesn’t change things.  Moping doesn’t change things.  Carping with other employees by the water cooler doesn’t change things.  Nothing changes until something changes and I suggest that the first change is you.  A good job, a good life and good anything comes from the inside out. 

2014 Motto: Mindful in every moment and grateful for every day

#616 Move!

Posted by frank September - 22 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

“You can’t think your way in to a new behavior but you can behave your way in to new thinking.”

“The difference between knowing and becoming is doing.”

 

The great Dr. Rob Gilbert taught me this: Action adjusts attitudes, Motion changes emotion, and Movement alter moods.

 

Have you ever been in a stadium when everyone stands up and claps and shouts and waves their arms and jumps around in excitement?  Do you think that you could sustain a bad mood if you were in that crowd?

 

Have you ever come back from a run or a good workout (without experiencing an injury) and been angry or in a foul mood?  Action, movement/motion rule.

 

Try this simple test.  At some point tomorrow decide to keep a slight smile on your face for about 30 minutes.  See how differently you feel and how differently people react to you.

You can’t always decide to be in a better mood but if you behave like you’re in a good mood you will have trouble sustaining a bad one and the behavior will often change the way you are thinking.

 

Here is a good behavior that will definitely influence your thinking and your mood!.  Call Dr. Rob Gilbert’s Success Hotline for a new three-minute motivational message everyday, seven days a week.  I have been calling for 20 years and he never disappoints me.

 

(973) 743-4690

#615 NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

Posted by frank September - 15 - 2014 - Monday ADD COMMENTS

I used to joke that if I said to my Dad, “Hey Dad, can I give you a million dollars?”  He’d say “NO!”  No was my Dad’s default answer.  He said no to everything but not because he meant no; he said no in order to give himself time to think. As a teen asking permission for this or that, I learned early on that if I challenged the no right off he’d be forced to defend it and I’d lose.  If I said “OK”, and walked away, oftener than not, he’d call me back in, ask a few questions and reverse the no.

Perhaps you are one of these naturally negative response people and your first response to new ideas and experiences is no.  Recognize that you really want to buy time to think a bit but end up defending your no because it is the position you took. 

 

Try replacing the no response with, “I’m not sure, give me a minute on that.”  You can always come back with a no if that’s really how you feel but in this way, you won’t wind up defending a “No” position just to maintain the integrity of having said it.

You are as Happy as you Choose to be #614

Posted by frank September - 7 - 2014 - Sunday ADD COMMENTS

Abe Lincoln said “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

 

Your happiness is not determined by what other people do but by what you do.  If you don’t make an effort to be happy, you have no right to whine about your lack of happiness. Happiness is strictly and inside job. 

 

If you’ve ever called me and gotten my voice mail recording you will hear me say that, “I am having a fantastic day.”  It says that EVERYDAY.  It is my intention to make it a fantastic day everyday and I believe strongly, that it is mostly in my control.  The question is, can we really be happy all the time?

 

Let’s go back to what Lincoln said about happiness being a choice.  I won’t say that genetic make up isn’t a part of it.  Some people certainly do seem have a naturally happy disposition but I believe that Abe hit it this one the head.  Happiness is a choice we make in a dozen or so moments throughout the day. 

Even more than a choice, i also believe that happiness is nothing more than an acquired skill set.  That’s right; I believe that regardless of genetics and upbringing, you can learn to be happier.

 

Most of us are generally good at getting a quick dose of happiness like a quick vacation or a shopping spree and that’s fine but I also know we overestimate how happy the quick shots will make us and, worse, we recognize and lament the fading glow as we feel it wane even before the vacation or the shopping trip have ended!

Real happiness comes from contentment and satisfaction.  It comes from gratitude and from giving.  It comes form appreciating and being appreciated.

These are things we can work on.  Try one of these exercises this week and let me know how you feel.  Then write back to me with some results or add a few things to my list below.

  • ·         Wake up and think of three things you are grateful for in life.
  • ·         At the end of the day do the same thing.
  • ·         Consciously smile more. (Make it the first item written in BOLD on your to do list so you see it all day)
  • ·         Bring home a small gift for your significant other (a favorite candy bar, flowers, lottery scratch offs, whatever!)
  • ·         Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you.
  • ·         Call someone who is lonely.  Especially someone you usually avoid because of how much time the call will take.
  • ·         Consciously look for opportunities to compliment people and hand out 5 sincere compliments a day.  Keep track!

 

I really do want your feedback on this one so please, don’t think someone else will do it, make believe I wrote this only to you.

 

2014 Motto: Mindful in every moment and Grateful for every day!