Every Small Positive Change We Make in Ourselves

“Every small positive change we make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.”

—Alice Walker, Author of The Color Purple

Image of a man buttoning his suit jacket

Image from Unsplash by Hunters Race

Confidence is a quality most of my clients and the people I meet wish to increase. Although some may not always admit it, I’ve observed over time that most people have an inner critic that lessens their self-worth on many occasions.

For some reason, they often compare themselves to others and see big gaps, with others being far ahead of them. The leap to reach that level can often seem daunting or even impossible.

An alternative to giving up is the moment-to-moment and daily positive efforts for change we can all exercise. In doing so, we move closer to the future we see for ourselves – one step at a time.

EXERCISE:

Select one small positive change you wish to make in your personal or professional world, and stick with it for at least a week. Share your intention and specific action plan with others, so that you can be supported and reminded to stay on course.

If you continue this practice in the weeks, months, and years to come, I bet many of your friends and colleagues will admire the confidence they observe in you.

A Recipe Has No Soul

“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook must bring soul to the recipe.”

—Thomas Keller, American chef, restauranteur, and cookbook author

Image of a vegetable pizza

Image from Unsplash by Edgar Castrejon

On a recent vacation, Wendy and I decided to visit one of the cruise ship’s specialty restaurants, where they up-charge for the higher level cuisine.

One of the specialty appetizers was home-made pizza cooked in a wood-burning oven. As a vegan, I was looking forward to the chef creating something extra special. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed in that all they did was put a bunch of raw, unseasoned vegetables on a piece of dough and baked it. It had virtually no flavor, and certainly no soul.

EXERCISE:

What special ingredients and soulful spices can and will you bring to life’s recipes to delight yourself and those in your various communities?

Friday Review of posts on TIME

Friday Review: Time

What are your beliefs and practices relative to time?  Here are a few time-related posts you may have missed. Click on the link to read the full message.

 

“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.”

 

 

 

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”

 

 

 

“There are people whose clocks stop at a certain point in their lives.”

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 2018

Dear Friends:

Thanksgiving Day is more than a holiday, a great meal, and big football games to me.
Thanks-Giving—gratitude—is a way of life, a discipline and for many, a spiritual practice. Today I give thanks for all of you—my friends, followers, clients, and colleagues. You have enriched my life by allowing me into your mind, your heart, and your world. May this Thanks-Giving bring you laughter, love, and gratitude for all that you have and all that comes to you over the next year.

Here are a few Thanksgiving posts from years past. May each of them give you reason for thought and celebration:

 

“Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude.”

 

 

 

 

“He who receives a benefit with gratitude repays the first installment on his debt.”

 

 

 

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual.”

 

 

 

 

two words you should always remember never to use

“Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.”

—Wendell Johnson, 20th Century American psychologist, actor, and author

Did you know that always and never are considered violent words? In the book Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life, Marshall B. Rosenberg PhD suggests these words usually get in the way of compassionate, heartfelt relationships.

Consider what you think and feel when people in your personal or professional worlds use these words to dramatically make their point. This practice generally conveys considerable judgement and a critical view, thus attacking the perspective held by the other parties.

EXERCISE:

Where is being right and making others wrong through the use of the words always and never getting in the way or diminishing the kinds of relationships you sincerely desire?

Don’t be satisfied with stories

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

—Rumi, 13th-century Persian Sunni Muslim poet

Image of a woman watching TV and eating popcorn

Image from Unsplash by Jeshoots.com

One of my daily rituals is to read the Word of the Day provided by Merriam-Webster. You can subscribe by email at Merriam-Webster.com.

The word of the day on which I wrote this post was vicarious. It pertains to today’s quote in that we gain a particular experience in our imagination through the feeling and actions of another person.

Consider all the secondhand and surrogate experiences we take in through television, movies, sporting events, social media, and of course, good old gossip.

How does ingesting vicarious stories and experiences truly contribute positively to your world, beyond the distracting, entertainment value?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you live, moving forward, to become far more of the main character of your own life story?

Even though the future seems far away it is actually beginning right now

“Even though the future seems far away, it is actually beginning right now.”

—Mattie J.T. Stepanek, late American child poet & agent of peace

image of Mattie Stepanek with Oprah Winfrey

Image of Mattie Stepanek from oprah.com

What is the best time to plant a tree? If you’ve heard this question before, you know the answer is something on the order of, “25 years ago.”

The typical follow-up question to this riddle is, “What is the next best time to plant a tree?” The answer is, of course, “Today!”

Those of us who desire a more fruitful future continually look for and take the next step that will begin or continue the journey. In this way, we can realize the future that may initially seem far away.

EXERCISE:

What specific seeds will you plant within your community efforts today? Better yet, what will you do right now to make this possible future a reality?

Never mistake a clear view for a short distance

“Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.”

—Mark Spain, top Real Estate Broker

illustration of the distance between earth and Mars

Image from SpaceNews

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and seen Mars without a telescope?

If you have, you were viewing the red planet – which won’t appear red – at a distance of about 34 million miles, when at its closest to Earth.

Although the math is complicated, and there is no way to travel to Mars in a straight line – which, if you could, would take 39 days – here is a list of a few missions and the time it took for the journey:

  • Mariner 9, the first spacecraft to orbit Mars (1971): 168 days
  • Viking 1, the first U.S. craft to land on Mars (1995): 304 days
  • Mars Science Laboratory (2011): 254 days

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you fully prepared to go the distance on one or more personal or professional goals, that you can clearly see ahead?

An object in possession seldom retains

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.”

—Pliny the Younger, lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome

image of a hand placing a piece in a jigsaw puzzle

Image from Unspash by Ryoji Iwata

I recently saw the film Puzzle, in which Kelly Macdonald plays a woman living a dull and predictable life. One boring day, she finds a puzzle on the shelf and decides to give it a go, only to discover a wondrous joy in putting it together with great speed and mastery.

Consider life as a puzzle we piece together over time, sorting the variety of colors, straight edges, and of course, those all-important corners, to frame our picture of an extraordinary life.

For some reason, there seems to be far more interest and attraction to fitting in the new pieces that come our way, and a bit of taking for granted what we have already accomplished and put into place.

EXERCISE:

How would a greater appreciation for who you are and what you have provide more satisfaction as you purposefully pursue the pieces needed to complete your picture of a wonderful life?

A simple Hello could lead to a million things

“A simple ‘Hello’ could lead to a million things.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding up pink balloons spelling "hello"

Image from Unsplash by RawPixel

I see a very kind woman most mornings at my health club. Her name is Pat, and her primary job is to swipe each person’s membership card as they enter the facility.

I know her husband’s name is John, and that she, like me, has a passion for books and reading. Perhaps what is most notable is that she welcomes each person with an authentic ‘Hello!” and a pleasant glance, which in turn generates a reciprocal greeting and kind words from almost everyone.

On days Pat is not at the front desk, the greeting ritual is far less likely, with the front desk person and most of the patrons going through an almost robotic entrance.

EXERCISE:

Where could a few more Hellos, Good Mornings, Pleases, and genuine Thank You’s lead to millions of wonderful things to brighten the day? How can you be more like Pat in your personal and professional communities?