When your feet start to hurt

“When your feet start to hurt, place yourself in someone else’s shoes.”

—Demi Lovato, American Singer-Songwriter

Image of Factfulness book cover

Image from Amazon.com

I recently finished reading Factfulness by Hans Rosling. The book’s subtitle really grabbed my interest: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World – and Why Things are Better than You Think.

Through the latest socioeconomic data he challenges the reader to find themselves along the continuum of low, middle, and high income countries. What Lovato’s quote suggests is a day walking in the shoes of others when our lives seem so difficult.

The wonderful news is that compared to 20 or 50 years ago, we are phenomenally better off today.

EXERCISE:

Where could putting yourself in other people’s shoes help you be far more satisfied and appreciative of your life?

To learn more, consider checking out Hans Rosling’s TED Talk.

One looks back with appreciation

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.”

—Carl Gustav Jung, 20th Century Swiss founder of analytical psychology

I recently watched the Netflix documentary, Genius of the Ancient World. The three-part series focused on The Buddha, Socrates, and Confucius.

Surprisingly, they all lived about 2,500 years ago, but worlds apart geographically. Many of their teachings and influences are still very apparent in our world today.

Who are the brilliant and soul-touching teachers from your past? Who are the current teachers and mentors that continue to make a meaningful difference in your life?

Where have you, and are you, that brilliant and perhaps more importantly, soul-touching teacher for others, personally or professionally?

EXERCISE:

Reflect on the questions above, and determine some meaningful way to show your gratitude for the teachers who influenced your world.

I Will Love the Light

“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”

—Og Mandino, 20th Century American Author

Image of a starry sky

Image from Flickr by Kristopher Roller

Every summer when I was young my entire family headed to Camp Indian Lake in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.

Back then, our trusty flashlights were essential tools for nighttime navigation in finding our way back to our cabins.

On clear nights with virtually no ambient light for miles, we would often turn off our torches to enjoy the spectacle of the night sky, filled with what must have been millions of stars.

The flash lights were only helpful in seeing 50 or so feet ahead. The darkness allowed us to see the light of stars, and perhaps galaxies many light years away.

EXERCISE:

Where would a greater appreciation for both the light and the darkness of life reveal even greater insight into yourself and the world?

Savor the Most Fleeting Delights

“Savor the most fleeting delights of your days.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a tasty bite in chopsticks

Image from theeatenpath.com

The word “savor” makes me think of appreciating of a fine meal with, perhaps, a glass of excellent wine.

Surely none of us would inhale that meal or guzzle that wine the way we would a burger and soda from a fast food chain!

Unfortunately, many of us race from one activity to another throughout our days, trying to be optimally efficient, and of course, highly productive.

What does running this rat race cost us in terms of our happiness and life satisfaction?

What would be the value and benefit of slowing down to truly savor and appreciate the delights of your day?

EXERCISE:

Consider creating a time log to identify where your time goes in a typical workday or weekend.

How and where will you do less, or stop doing some activities, in order to do more of, or start savoring, the things that delight you?

The Knowledge of the World

“The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.”

-Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

Image of Milford Sound in New Zealand

Image of Milford Sound from Flickr by Bernard Spragg

What do the following places have in common?

  • Bay of Islands
  • Milford Sound
  • Auckland
  • Dunedin
  • Tauranga
  • Wellington
  • Akaroa

For those who wish to travel more, these are wondrous destinations in New Zealand.

I visited these amazing places as part of my 60th birthday adventure. Getting out into the world can be transformational! In just a few weeks, I felt I took a quantum leap in my awareness and knowledge of geography, history, culture, plants, animals, and many other subjects.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you investigate and explore your world more fully to add and expand to you awareness and knowledge?  Consider scheduling one of your most exciting “Bucket List” travel adventures soon.

Some books are undeservingly forgotten

“Some books are undeservingly forgotten. None are undeservingly remembered.”

-W.H. Auden, 20th Century English Poet

image of books on a shelf

Image from Flickr by UNCG Research

Do you love books, as I do? Do you prefer fiction or non-fiction? Regardless of your choice, take a moment to recall the books that told a great story or taught a profound lesson that has stayed with you to this day.

What percentage of the books you’ve read have you forgotten completely – perhaps undeservedly – due to a less than optimally open and receptive mind?

EXERCISE:

How would a far more open mind and receptive attitude toward seeking value and benefit from the books you read support you in living a fuller and more prosperous life?

Appreciation Friday Review

Appreciation: Friday Review

Who and what do you appreciate? Here are a few appreciation-related posts you might have missed. Click on the link to read the full post.

Guy standing on a mountain

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”

 

 

 

hand with scrap of paper that says "Thank You"

 

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing; it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

 

 

View from the top of a mountain

 

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

 

 

 

Roll out the Red Carpet

“Roll out the red carpet for each new day before you take your first step. Today you write your own script, tailor-made for yourself.”

—Laurent F. Carrel, Messages from Melanie

Image from Flickr by Nan Palmero

Image from Flickr by Nan Palmero

I met Laurent Carrel and learned about his book, Messages from Melanie, at a recent coaching conference. The book contains messages from his daughter who passed away 35 years ago, but has shared wisdom with her father in his sleep, every night since 2007.

When I think of “rolling out the red carpet,” I think of the rare occasions of great honor it offers to dignitaries, royalty, and people of great character.

What if we chose to see each day in our own lives as so miraculous and special that we rolled out the red carpet for ourselves before our feet touched the ground in the morning?

EXERCISE:

What would be the result of rolling out the red carpet for yourself and others in your world? How would the acknowledgement and appreciation of each new day improve your life?

“You are my sun, my moon…”

“You are my sun, my moon, and all my stars.”

-E.E. Cummings, American poet, painter, essayist & playwright

Image from ark.ie

Image from ark.ie

The sun, the moon, and the stars emit or reflect light. When light shines upon and around us, we can see and better understand things.

The people closest to us that care the most offer us this opportunity every day, particularly when our eyes are wide open with receptivity and gratitude. It is at these times we discover more about ourselves and can become even more of what is possible for us.

EXERCISE:

Who are the sun, moon, and stars that have made and continue to make a difference in your life? How will you thank them, illuminate their lives, or the lives of others in the same way?

The Best View

“The best view comes after the hardest climb.”

-Author Unknown

Image from emilykjesbo.blogspot.com

Image from emilykjesbo.blogspot.com

When I started my coaching career many years ago, my wife Wendy gave me the gift of a customized license plate that reads “I Coach.” Over the years it has become a conversation starter, with people often asking me what sport I coach.

This leads to a discussion of my role as a business and personal coach. Recently, I noticed that in all these years I have never coached a professional or even top amateur athlete.

This means that there have also been no actual mountain climbers, but we all climb metaphorical mountains every day. Surprisingly, the bigger and more daunting the climb, the more satisfied and rewarded we feel when we reach the summit.

EXERCISE:

What challenging projects or goals are you pursuing these days?  How can you more fully experience the growth satisfaction along the way as well as the wonderful views when you reach the top?