You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward

“You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.”

James Thurber, 20th century American cartoonist, humorist, and playwright

Image from Unsplash by Vitolda Klein

Today’s quote offers us alternative ways to fall flat in life.

The first choice involves being a leader in our own life and charting our own course through the world.

The second involves the impossible task of always trying to please others.

In the first case we get to pick ourselves up and start over whenever we wish. In the second, our backs never seem to straighten and it can eventually break you.

EXERCISE:

How often do you find yourself bending backwards to please others?

Where would listening to your inner voice and forging forward be a better approach for successful living no matter how many times you fall?

“When you spend serious time and effort on transcendental things, it puts your little world into…

“When you spend serious time and effort on transcendental things, it puts your little world into proper context and takes the focus off yourself.”

Arthur C. Brooks, American author and speaker

Image from Unsplash by Chang Duong

The few months we recently spent in Florida have been revealing in two significant ways:

The first is how often we design our lives from the outside in.

The second is that we have even more opportunities to design our lives from the inside out.

The warmer climate definitely offers us greater freedom from the choice of clothes we wore to the time we spent outdoors. Both increased the likelihood of daily exercise and the enjoyment of nature.

Spending time in our senior community also helped me see how people’s priorities shift as they age.

Although there is always a bit of gossip and the focus on little things, most people seemed far more interested in what was most significant and meaningful given the finite nature of their lives.

EXERCISE:

How and where are you spending your precious time as the days and years go by?

Where and how could more transcendental things fit into this picture?

Friday Review: Decisions

Friday Review: Decisions

What decisions have you made regarding 2024? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

Decide to decide and then take the leap. You will land on your feet more than you think.

 

 

 

 

“The majority of meetings should be discussions that lead to decisions.”

 

 

 

The Latin root of the word “decision” literally means “to cut.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Don’t swing at every pitch. Wait for the right ones and then knock them out of the park.”

“Don’t swing at every pitch. Wait for the right ones and then knock them out of the park.”

Rohan Rajiv, author of A Learning a Day Blog

Image from Unsplash by Josh Hemsley

I recently had the opportunity to observe two different sporting events on the same weekend.

One—as you might guess from today’s quote—was baseball. The other was tennis.

When I compared the two, I noticed a significant difference.

In tennis, the receiving player tries to return every serve that makes it into the service area, no matter how fast or how much spin it may have.

In baseball, the batter has a number of chances to be more selective on when to swing at what’s being offered by the pitcher.

EXERCISE:

Where do you find yourself swinging at every pitch coming your way?

How often do you strike out or get on base, given your ability to discern which pitches are right for you?

How would more practice increase your batting average and add more home runs to your stats?

See the humanity in others. We are all wrestling with our own stuff

See the humanity in others. We are all wrestling with our own stuff that is making life messy and difficult.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Bud Helisson

To a certain degree we are all narcissists. We can’t help but look through the lenses of our own trials and challenges each day. Doing this can often create a separation between ourselves and others in our communities. We can come to think that the burdens we carry are somehow unique to us and are of far greater magnitude.

I recently watched the National Geographic series 9/11 One Day in America. and got a big wake up call at how our troubles pale in comparison. I’ve also realized in the past few years since Covid the wrestling done by most people is far more than I ever imagined.

EXERCISE:

To what degree do you take the time to fully embrace the humanity in others? Take a few extra moments today to be interested rather than interesting and see what you discover.

We aren’t stuck with our factory settings

We aren’t stuck with our factory settings.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Mika Baumeister

What are your favorite digital distractions?

How much time do you spend on your computer, TV, or cell phone?

To what degree do you accept the factory settings installed on your devices? In what ways have you taken the time to customize the settings to your preferences?

Looking beyond technology, where else might there be “factory settings” within your world?

Consider all the programing installed without your knowledge throughout your personal world, including family dynamics and your schooling.

What about your work life including its culture, organizational rules and guidelines—not to mention the good old job description?

EXERCISE:

In what ways can you take a closer look at the factory settings established in your personal and professional communities?

What adjustments can you make to help you lead a more colorful and vibrant life?

The slogan “Have It Your Way” is not only for burgers.

The slogan, “Have It Your Way” is not only for burgers.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Jacky Watt

Burger King’s Whopper was launched the year I was born (1957).  The food chain’s initial positioning — “Have it Your Way” — lasted 40 years.

Their new slogan —”Be Your Way” — is designed to remind people that no matter who they are, they can order how they want, and they can and should live how they want anytime.

EXERCISE:

To what degree do you experience a life of autonomy and freedom, to be and have what you desire?

What other slogans have you embraced over the years to live the life you love?

So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

“So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.”

Jorge Luis Borges, 20th Century Argentine essayist, poet and translator

Image from Unsplash by Markus Spike

Today’s quote reminds me of Stephen Covey’s habit of being proactive. These days, it has become increasingly easy to have things come our way with little effort. With the click of a few buttons on our phones we can order a meal, get a ride, and have virtually anything delivered in minutes or days.

The caveat here is that we still need to do a bit of searching and actively click a button or two for our flowers to arrive.

EXERCISE:

Where in your world are you waiting for things to happen with little or no effort on your part? Where would proactively planting your own garden and decorating your soul add more beauty and abundance to your life?

Although the best coaching may be offered by good examples

Although the best coaching may be offered by good examples the next best may be found in bad examples. It is up to each of us to discover the lessons in both.

—Calm App Reflection

Who are the people in your life that set a wonderful example of living a rich and meaningful life?

How would you describe their character and best qualities?

How has their example impacted and influenced your personal and professional efforts?

Where in your world do you see terrible examples of how to live?

Where do you see people acting in ways that are contrary to what you value and believe?

How have their bad examples taught you valuable lessons that led you on a far better path?

EXERCISE:

Take an extra close look at the good and bad examples exemplified by people in your various communities.

What new or different choices and actions will you make and take from these observations?

Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly

“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.”

—Marcus Aurelius, ancient Roman emperor & Stoic philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Usman Yousaf

What does it mean to live a “proper” life?

At the end of your life what would you like people to say about you?

How would you have answered these questions 10 or 20 years ago?

As we age, many of us notice changes occurring in our minds and bodies.

Usually, this a gradual process and most of us come to terms with the finite nature of our lives.

We usually strive to do better and make the most of it.

What if instead of a more gradual process your life was coming to an abrupt end? How satisfied and complete would you feel and what regrets would you experience?

EXERCISE:

The movies Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Groundhog Day with Bill Murray offer many laughs and some good examples to consider.