Reluctant Realizations

love it

Crazy Love-Filled Life

Guess what? You’re on this journey to a better year with me!! Aren’t you excited?? I know I am! I’m going to need your help though – I have a tendency to get excited and start out really well with things and then the excitement wears off and it becomes a slog and UGH! I usually get bogged down and eventually stall. I DO NOT want to do that this year. I NEED to, and my family needs me to, keep on going even when it becomes a slog. Sharing my thoughts along the way is one way I have to make sure I keep on going – a way of being accountable. I am hoping that knowing someone might be reading this just might be what I need to beat those slog days down! Thanks for joining me!

Now to what I really wanted to say today:

I’ve been doing…

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A Guaranteed Way to Have a Better Thanksgiving

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We have a choice on how we will think. We can choose to focus on the negative or realize the positive. It is true that bad things have happened to you. In fact, you have probably dealt with tragedy. You may have been deeply wounded in your life. You may have been abandoned. You may have been abused. Your scars, or wounds, are very real, and I do not want to belittle them or ignore them. You should acknowledge them. You should deal with them. But you must not embrace them.

The thing about wounds is we all have them. Your past may be horrific, so is someone else’s. This does not mean your past is not important, but it means you have some liberty in how you will deal with that past. In other word’s depressed people, entirely negative people, and unsuccessful people have bad stuff in their past, and negative impacts in their lives. On the other hand happy people, entirely optimistic people, and successful people have bad stuff in their past, and negative impacts in their lives. The negative influences in our lives do not have a direct correlation with the outcome of our lives. Our attitude and responses to negative influences are what make us who we are and determine the course of our life. The older I get the more I realize we have a choice of how we will live.

I think that’s what this verse means. You have a choice to see the glass half full or half empty, and everyone’s glass is pretty much the same. This is important, because your thoughts affect everything.

“Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.” -Chinese Proverb

I know bad things have happened. Ugly things. Terrible things. Things of which we do not even speak. They should not have happened. It should be different. But it is not. The hard truth is those things did happen, and that will never change. But you can. You do not have to be defined by your past. You can start by thinking on higher things. You can start by thinking of all the good in your life, regardless of how well it is hidden. It is there. It is in your thoughts. I hope you find it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Can you read???

I love the part about putting letters into words into sentences. You are reading right now. What an incredible gift. What an incredibly overlooked reason for thankfulness. How many more things will we encounter today for which we should be thankful? Our immediate advice should be to be more observant and therefore more grateful. This is true, but what is behind our ungratefulness. We should embrace gratitude as a lifestyle, not just a once a year occasion. Here are a few tendencies that lead to a lack of thankfulness.

We compare ourselves to others

If we are constantly looking at others for validation or status, we are destined for misery. A great line from Advicelike youth, probably just wasted on the young written by Mary Schmich states, “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.” Forget about the comparison’s. You are you. You are wonderfully created. You are incredibly valuable. Rejoice in this fact, and be grateful.

Our sights are too small

We tend too focus on what we do not have. Too small. We tend to focus on what must happen now. Too small. We tend to think of the things that have not been finished. Too small. Today, I encourage you to take a step back and look at the big picture. You will probably find a sigh of relief. We have much more to celebrate, than despise.

We haven’t worked hard enough

This one may hit pretty hard. I have lived a pretty cushy life. You probably have also. While some of my readers have no doubt experienced tragedy or real life difficulty, most of us have not. Furthermore, even those who have had hard times, have had easy times most of the time. I think this lack of struggle creates an extremely entitled outlook. Like the guy in this video, we go through our day with good things, really good things, and overlook them. I hope I do not live this way.

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So, can you read? Me too.

Happy Thanksgiving

What is your greatest Area of Impact?

I just started reading Becoming the 1% by Dennis Crosby, and there is a great exercise that I had to share.

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In the first chapter he describes your AOI or Area of Impact.  All it takes to reveal your AOI is one question, regardless of what you. The question is: “What do I do that has biggest impact on ______________?”

You fill in the blank with any part of your life you want to improve.

“What do I do that has biggest impact on my family?

“What do I do that has biggest impact on my office.”

He gives a great exercise to see your AOI.

1. Choose 3 main areas of your life like work, family, and spiritual.

2. Write the top 5 things you do in each category that bring the results you seek.

This is surprisingly tricky. We do so much, so many tasks that don’t get us very far, that it is difficult to determine the most accomplishing activities.

3. Rank your items

The highest is your AOI, and will see double the results of the rest. Again, it is difficult to distinguish between them.

I found this activity to be very enlightening. Thanks Dennis, I look forward to the rest of the book!

How much are you worth?

Value:
val·ue – ˈvalyo͞o/noun1.
  1. the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
    “your support is of great value”
    synonyms: worthusefulnessadvantagebenefitgainprofitgoodhelpmerit,helpfulness, avail; More

    I have a few things in my office that are not worth much…to you. To me, however, they are extremely valuable. Maybe even priceless.

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    To you this Nick Collison poster is worth about $30 from a sports store, or nothing if you are a Heat fan (God have mercy on your soul.)

    To me this is a signed poster of my most beloved current player. If John Stockton is reading this, fear not, you will never be replaced. It is also a gift from my brag buddy.

    IMG_0162To you this is a silly moose box that’s maybe worth the $10.50 label on it.

    To me this is a great memory with wonderful friends on a Man Trip that can never be replaced.

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    To you this is a children’s book, worth about 14.95.

    To me this is a priceless book from my best friend in high school. It is also the greatest book ever written.

    All these illustrate one point. There is no such thing as intrinsic value. Value must be given, or perceived. Gold is only valuable because we say it is. These items have value because I say they have value. The classic example of perceived value is Tulip Mania, when Dutch tulip bulbs sold for thousands of dollars. Even items necessary for our existence, food and water, are only as valuable as you perceive them to be. If you do not care about eating, then the value of food is zero.

    So, how valuable are you?

    You cannot derive your own value internally. Regardless of how confident you are, that confidence came from somewhere, and therefore your perceived value is derived from your received confidence. There are only two options from which you are valuing yourself.

    This is important, because I speak to people all the time who have self esteem issues. Everyday I encounter someone who has a negative self image. They are not seeing themselves in a good, positive, and to me, truthful way.

    Option 1: You are perceiving your value from other people. This is where most people derive their worth. The things people say, the images we see in ads, the comments on facebook all add up to our self worth. This is why bullying is so detrimental. It is not just a matter of negative comments. It is more than that. When we consistently hear and receive negativity about ourselves, we interpret that to be true. Our self worth, our value, comes from somewhere other than ourselves. If I am only receiving negative input (or mostly receiving), then that becomes my self image.

    The converse is true also. If I receive positive input, I will have a positive self image. This is why supportive parents and strong families are so important, and underrated. The problem with option 1 is consistency, and human nature. If I base my self worth on what people say about me, then I will have an inconsistent image of myself. People like me today, then I like myself today. People say ugly things, then I feel ugly. Human nature has a tendency to tear down rather than build up. And as a race, we ten to be very fickle. Just ask this guy. Or these guys.

    Option 2: You perceive your value from God. You are valuable because God says you are valuable. This is why I am against both abortion and suicide. God values human life. God values you. Here are a few things He says about how valuable you are.

    Psalm 139: 13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
    16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
    17 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!

    Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork (or craftsmanship), created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

    Matthew 6:26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they?

    Matthew 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

    TODAY: You are worth so much more than you think. God has bestowed value on you. We tend to value things based on rarity. How true!

    You are the only you!

    You are one-of-a-kind!

    You are irreplaceable!

    You are priceless!

    Others may not perceive or understand your value. Others may be mean, ugly, and stupid. They may say things about you that are not true. They may say things that are not who your are. They are wrong. They don’t understand. They do not see you the way God sees you. God sees the masterpiece He has created. This God, who created the Grand Canyon, Aurora Borealis, and Angel Falls, says those are nothing compared to you.

    You are his masterpiece.

Friends we used to know

Yesterday, I talked about the good old days, and had a nice blast from the Numa past. Here is some wisdom form Andy Bernard.

I had a great conversation with a friend from high school the other day. Friends have a tendency to drift apart. This is not necessarily an evil thing, or even intentional. It just happens. We move. We get married. We make different career choices. We make different lifestyle choices. We just drift apart. There is a great column, called, “Advice, like youth, probably wasted on the Young.” In this column sits a few lines:

Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get,the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

I am now finding this to be true. Who are your precious friends to whom you need to hold on? Who are those friends you knew when you were younger with whom you should reconnect.

We live in a wonderful age of social media and connection. You can find friends more quickly than at any other time. Let’s not waste this technology on rants about some pet peeve of which you are pretentious enough to think others should care. Let’s also not merely share silly videos and things that matter little.

So connect with an old friend. Call, text, facebook, or tweet. Just connect.

It was nice to talk to my friend. I bet you will feel the same.

Where were you the 1st time you saw this?

Where were you when you first saw this video?

It was a simpler time then. The days before we tweeted or grammed instantly. We posted our thoughts on Xanga, and kids knew what Napster was. Go ahead, ask a teenager what Napster is and see the confused look. This video takes me back and makes me realize a few things about worry. Worrying does not help me much, and I spend too much time doing it. Before I know it, The Fox will be like the Numa guy. Ferris Bueller may have had it right. Life does move pretty fast.

It has been said that today’s trying times will be tomorrow’s good old days.

The older I get, the more true this appears.

So, today, don’t worry so much. Please give yourself a break. Watch this video and think of some good old days. All of the stuff that is worrying you today, will probably matter very little in a few years.

Make a “Why” List

dreamHello Dreamers who dare to dream.

Hello fellow Makers of Music.

Hello Doer of Deeds of which others fear to dare.

Today, I encourage you to pursue your purpose. Let your mind’s eye see a future and go create it. But, beware, it will not be easy. It will not come quickly. It will take determination, creativity, and hustle.

Some days it won’t feel worth it. You are spending your money, energy, and free time to make a dream a reality and you are getting nowhere. Some days it seems you are at a dead end. A road block has appeared and there is no way around it. It is time to quit. The easy advice here is “Don’t give up.” Well said, Murr, you are an inspirational genius. I know it is easy to say, “Don’t give up” but seriously don’t. You can do this. You just need to look at your “Why” list.

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Your “Why” List is all of the reasons you are doing what you are doing. It may have many items that show why you are chasing your dream, or it may only have one item. The number of reasons doesn’t matter. The content matters. If you know why you are doing something, the rest will fall into place. The cost is of no concern if my reason why is of value to me.

Why am I busting my tail going back to college? My family will have a brighter future.

Why am I  waking up every morning at 5am to work on my book? I am a born author, and find satisfaction nowhere else.

Why am I spending free time planning leadership camps? The joy of seeing a volunteer’s life transform is priceless.

Make a “Why” list. Put it where you can see it daily. Put it in more than one place. Look at it when you experience a failure, because you will. Read it when someone breaks a commitment to you, because they will. Read it again when you question if your dream is worth it, because you will ask that question.

But trust me, it’s worth it. You know why.

101 Objects that Symbolize America – what would you pick?

What do Martha the last passenger pigeon, a fragment from Plymouth Rock and Julia Child’s kitchen have in common? Each of these objects tells an important part of America’s story. These and 98 other objects are part of The Smithsonian’s History of America in 101 Objects. Written by Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, and published by The Penguin Press, the 762-page book chronicles America—from prehistoric times to the present—through national treasures found in the Smithsonian’s vast collections.

This is a tremendous task. Of all our history and heritage, to choose 101 items is a great debate waiting to happen. And I love a good list! Do you lean on entertainment or history? Politics or People? What item would you choose to put in this collection?

Here are some items that made the list. If you want to see all 101, it seems you must buy the book.

The Flag from Fort McHenry
star spangled banner

1796 painting of George Washington

george washington

Nat Turner’s BibleNat Turner's Bible

A piece of Plymouth Rock
Plymouth Rock

Picture of Geronimo

Geronimo

Abe Lincoln’s Hat
Lincoln Top Hat

The Wright bros airplanewrightflyer1382726525

Chuck Berry’s GuitarPHO-11Jan02-280127_chuck004

Neil Armstrong’s Spacesuit

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Those are fantastic items. I can’t argue with these selections a bit. But, just for fun, here are my top 5.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s microphone from “I Have a Dream”  – This iconic speech epitomizes the fight for equality and end of segregation.

A confederate flag – We could have possibly been 2 nations. This flag represents one of our darkest hours, and ironically, our freedom.

Elvis black leather suit – Music and movies are such huge parts of our culture. Elvis captures both.

A map of the Trail of Tears – This is a sadly overlooked portion of our history that must be remembered.

The Declaration of Independence – We are who we are because a bunch of rebels signed this piece of paper.

So, what would you add to this list to symbolize our nation?