you can’t take a crash course in serenity

“You can’t take a crash course in serenity.”

—Shirley MacLaine, American actress and author

Image from Melissa Heisler

Shirley MacLaine is an American film, TV, and theatre actress, a singer, dancer, activist, and author who has achieved much and earned many awards in her 60+ year career.

Her well-know interest in New Age spirituality has even made its way into films, including Albert Brook’s romantic comedy, Defending Your Life, where we are introduced to the concept of past lives through the “Past Life Pavilion.”

Most of us would like a far larger helping of peace of mind and serenity, although they appear to be contrary to our high velocity, quick-fix world that generally over-promises and under-delivers.


In what ways can you slow down and take a deeper inner journey to realize greater serenity in your life?

Ask those you know and trust what they find helpful. Consider a bit of experimentation to see what works best for you.

Peace is not made at the council table

“Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.”

—Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States

Image from Flickr by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

Image from Flickr by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan

In the movie, Miss Congeniality (2000), Sandra Bullock plays an undercover FBI Agent posing as a contestant when terrorists threaten to bomb the Miss United States beauty pageant. Bullock’s character, Gracie, is the only female FBI agent who can “look the part” despite her complete lack of refinement and femininity. She prides herself in being “just one of the boys” and is horrified at the idea of becoming a girly girl.

Since the film was a comedy, the audience wasn’t alarmed. We all happily watched all the interplay of contestants and other characters. In one scene, the contestants were asked about their personal goals and aspirations. Almost every contestant mentioned world peace at some point in their response.

In today’s dynamic and often violent world, we sure could use more people working on world peace in their personal and professional lives. If all of us did our part, we would never need a council table or treaty, which as President Hoover points out, rarely works.


What heartfelt attitudes and actions can you share in your communities to bring about greater peace on earth?

Finding Fault

“Finding fault replaces peace of mind.”

—Author Unknown

Image from

Image from


There doesn’t seem to be much peace of mind, serenity, tranquility, or calmness in people’s lives or in the world these days. In our hyper-connected, media-inundated society, the levels of judgement, blaming, and outright hostility are unprecedented.

In addition to conducting your own version of a media diet or even a complete media fast, take a very close look at your immediate professional and personal worlds to determine the level of fault-finding you observe and perhaps initiate.


Beginning with yourself, make an extra effort to see what is right with people and in the world around you, and replace fault finding with the peace of mind you desire.

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson, American writer and philosopher

487Image from Flickr by Celestine Chua.

Self-reflective work, as part of a coaching journey, can produce remarkable results. Pursuing greater inner peace through some of the seven strategies below may help:

1. Seek to love and appreciate others and not control them.

2. Moderate your convictions and consider the viewpoints and perspectives of others.

3. Increase your tolerance of others who are different; learn to better “live and let live.”

4. Embrace your ability to have compassion for others and avoid all forms of violence.

5. Seek forgiveness when you hurt others and be willing to forgive those that may hurt you.

6. Create a naturally beautiful place of peace in your world to provide a sanctuary away from the chaos of your fast-moving life.

7. Do work that you love – that makes a difference in the lives of others – even if this is not your primary vocation. Consider volunteering for a cause you believe in.


Please engage with at least one of the strategies above and determine how it helps you live a more peaceful life.

Consider discussing this list with others in your world, so that you can take this peaceful journey together.

Please reply to this post with some of your best peace-producing strategies to add to the list.

“If everyone would learn that what is right for me doesn’t make it right for anyone else, the world would be a much happier place.”

“If everyone would learn that what is right for me doesn’t make it right for anyone else, the world would be a much happier place.”

– William Glasser, psychiatrist

This is a guest piece from Bette Blance, president of the William Glasser Institute, New Zealand (

Perhaps you have people in your professional or personal life who frequently give unasked-for advice, using Glasser’s “disconnecting habits” of criticizing, blaming, and complaining to try to impose their will on you or on others. You may even be able to think of times when you’ve done the same.

This behavior drives us further apart rather than connecting us more strongly. If you recognize it in yourself, remind yourself that the only person you can control is yourself. By giving up trying to control others, you can, as Glasser suggests, make your world a much happier place.


Over the next week catch yourself using these disconnecting habits

  • Criticizing
  • Blaming
  • Nagging
  • Complaining
  • Bribing
  • Punishing
  • Threatening

Change these habits to ones that support and encourage and see what happens.

If you would like to write a guest piece for The Quotable Coach, please take a look at our guidelines here:


“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”

“An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”

– Mahatma Gandhi, pacifist leader of Indian independence movement

I’m not a big fan of gossip, negativity and conflict. For me, revenge is never sweet – and the idea of war is inconsistent with everything I hold dear.

When you look into the animal kingdom, you only see examples of killing as a means of eating and survival. Humans seems to have an appetite for conflict over the millenniums and today all you need to do is watch TV for the latest news report, sporting event, or reality TV show to see this.


How can you channel your inner Gandhi to make your own life, communities, and world more peaceful places?

“Find inner peace and thousands will flock to your side.”

“Find inner peace and thousands will flock to your side.”

– Serafim of Sarov, 19th century Russian monk

For over 30 years, my professional life has included some form of sales or business development component. The volumes of books, tapes, videos, CDs, and DVDs on the subject is enormous – and yet this simple statement may save us all considerable time if we make its message paramount to our efforts.

My interpretation of this idea is that people are attracted to something or someone when they realize that others have a highly favorable experience, or benefit.

Remember the scene from the movie When Harry Met Sally when the woman across from Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks said, “I’ll have what she’s having.” 🙂


What have you achieved or realized in your life that attracts others to you?

What is it that others have achieved and realized that attracts you to them?