The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life

“The way you look at things is the most powerful force shaping your life.”

John O’ Donohue, late Irish poet, author, Hegelian philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Bradley Pisney

Today’s quote is an excellent reminder to develop and cultivate our self-awareness and mindfulness abilities.

When we choose to adopt constructive perspectives and attitudes, we can harness our powers of perception to create a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

If and when we look at things from a negative or closed mindset, we limit our abilities to navigate life’s challenges and complexities.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you exercise and develop your powers of perception to shape your life and your world for the better?

We can take a wonderful vacation in spirit, even though

“We can take a wonderful vacation in spirit, even though we are obliged to stay at home, if we will only drop our burdens from our minds for a while.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder, late author of Little House on the Prairie

Image from Unsplash by S’well

Taking a vacation usually means heading out on the open road and going someplace new.

There is almost always a good deal of anticipation and excitement during these times, and who doesn’t need a break from the routine trials and tribulations of everyday life?

How many days a year do you get or give yourself for actual vacations?

To what degree is it never enough before you have to return to the usual, ordinary grind?

When we go on vacations there is usually a shift in our mindset and attitude. Why is it that we wait for only a few weeks a year to give ourself permission to drop our burdens of the mind?

EXERCISE:

How could you introduce vacations of spirt into many more of your days?

How would doing so lighten your load and free your mind to lead a more richly rewarding life?

“Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.”

“Feelings are much like waves. We can’t stop them from coming, but we can choose which ones to surf.”

Johan Mårtensson, Swedish professional footballer

Image from Unsplash by Jeremy Bishop

Wendy and I recently took a 5-day Caribbean cruise with good friends.

We got an extra good deal, which included a balcony and numerous other perks.

I made it a point to sit outside throughout the day to let the sights and sounds of the ocean flow in and around me.

Between wave watching sessions, I paid particular attention to the many conversations with our shipmates.

Learning more about them — how they surfed waves and managed the high and low tides of life — was profound, endearing us to one another more than ever expected.

EXERCISE:

How have you managed and ridden the waves of your life?

What are some of the nautical lessons you’ve learned over the years to help surf the ups and downs of life?

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving a new one.”

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving a new one.”

Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress

Image from Unsplash by Greg Shield

Take two minutes to complain to yourself about your life.

If you are like most people, this short time interval may only get the ball rolling.

Now that you vocalized these items, capture them on paper or a device of your choice to work on in the coming days.

Unlike the unattended potholed roads we often travel during winter, you get to be your own paving crew to smooth out the roads of life that lead to a better future.

EXERCISE:

What areas of your life need some resurfacing?

Who are the people, and what resources will be necessary, to create an autobahn of life to get you where you want to go?

You find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people

“You find yourself refreshed by the presence of cheerful people. Why not make an earnest effort to confer that pleasure on others?”

Carolyn Fansler, ElderShare Program Manager at Central Pennsylvania Food Bank

Image from Unsplash by Tyler Nix

Over the holidays I had extra time to be with family and friends, and for a bigger helping of entertainment.

One quiet afternoon while others were napping and digesting their last meal, I finally got a chance to begin watching the Apple comedy, Ted Lasso.

After only a handful of episodes I can see why it is a fan favorite.

Ted’s cheerful personality and warm “good old boy” charm definitely smooths the rough edges on virtually everyone he meets.

EXERCISE:

Who are the cheerful people in your life that bring smiles to your face and brighten your world?

To what degree would you be mentioned on the list of others as you try to lasso their lives?

How often do you project your current mindset and assumptions into past and future events

“How often do you project your current mindset and assumptions into past and future events?”

—Author Unknown

Image from Amazon

Over the past several years—and especially in the past few months—I’ve become increasingly interested in the phenomena of conscious and unconscious bias.

When I examined my upbringing and the various communities in which I operate, I experienced repeated rude awakenings.

It was always easier to see other people’s biases and be blinded to my own. Though books, seminars, and conversations with friends and colleagues, I’ve gotten a better look at myself and didn’t always like what I saw.

With greater awareness, I am inspired to do better, and filled with a sense of hope.

EXERCISE:

How aware are you of your current assumptions and biases?

When and how often do you use them to protect and justify your views?

Consider reading the book Caste — The Origins of our Discontents, by Isabell Wilkerson to take a deeper look into this important issue.

 

Be aware of your attitude and energy

Be aware of your attitude and energy. Making mindful transitions helps your mode meet the moment.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Patrick Hendry

How masterful are you at tuning into your inner and outer worlds?

How aware are you of your current attitude and energy levels?

How in sync are they with the people and events around you?

Seeing when the pieces fit and feeling when those flow states show up is the best! Wouldn’t it be nice if these conditions could be sustained for hours instead of minutes?

What makes this so difficult may be that we are constantly experiencing more and more transition states that require constant pivoting and adjustments.

Consider all the various sporting events in which you participate or watch.

Mastering the transition game is what separates the good from the great.

EXERCISE:

In what ways can you mindfully monitor your attitude and energy to have more of your modes meet more of your moments?

The plateaus of life are simply part of our journey

The plateaus of life are simply part of our journey. Learn to love them and keep moving forward.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Rob Wingate

I recently watched the Netflix series on the Tour De France. I haven’t ridden a bike in years, and was surprised how this event captured my spirit of adventure and ongoing desire for excellence.

The twenty-one days over which this event is held is one of the greatest tests of grit and endurance I’ve ever seen.

The 170+ riders face grueling mountain climbs, bumpy cobblestone roads, and downhill runs where speeds of over 80 miles per hour have been clocked. Of course, there are plenty of flat parts where the peloton pushes forward at a pace that has the riders wiz by, cheering fans in a blur.

EXERCISE:

What races are your running these days?

How hard do you push yourself on difficult uphill climbs? How fast do you go when the grade of life is downhill?

What is your approach to the plateaus of your journey on your way to your own yellow jersey?

“We learn nothing by being right.”

“We learn nothing by being right.”

Elizabeth, Princess Bibesco, 20th Century English socialite, actress and writer

Image from Unsplash by Robert Ruggiero

When was the last time you had a discussion in which the phrase “I know” was voiced by yourself or the other person?

How often does this phrase show up during a typical day at work or home?

When you hear these words, consider translating them into “I’ve stopped listening.”

Being right and making others wrong not only damages relationships, it also shuts down the potential of learning anything new.

EXERCISE:

Where would embracing a healthy dose of uncertainty and a more open mind improve your relationships and keep your wheels of wisdom turning?

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition

“A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition.”

William Arthur Ward, 20th Century American motivational writer

Image from Unsplash by bruce mars

A few days after the Labor Day holiday our outdoor community pool closed for the season. Although I like to think of Autumn as the season where every leaf is a flower, many of our local residents begin hibernating or flying south.

I like the idea of wherever you go, there you are, in which case we can actually take our attitudinal weather wherever we go.

Who are the happy, peppy people in your life?

Who are the individuals who are constantly walking around under a dark cloud of their own making?

What type of person are you?

EXERCISE:

What attitude adjustments can and will you bring into the fall and winter seasons?

How can a sunnier disposition brighten the months ahead for everyone in your various communities?