I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys

“I’ve been afraid of people playing their life away with too many toys.”

—Ray Bradbury, late American author and screenwriter

Image of two toddlers playing with a computer

Image from Unsplash by Jelleke Vanooteghem

Take a trip down Memory Lane and look at the toys you played with as a child. For me, the top three were a used sled for winter, a banana-seat bike for the rest of the year, and of course, a pimple ball for all sorts of games we would invent.

I vividly recall that before the age when I could venture out with friends, my mom would give me a bucket of water and an old paint brush. I would express my artistic talents on the sidewalk before the summer sun erased all traces of my work. It was like an Etch-a-Sketch without the cost!

Fast forward to today and look at the toys you and your children or grandchildren play with. How many are digital? How many can be and are often used alone, instead of with friends or family?

EXERCISE:

Where would taking more of a “The Best Things in Life are not Things” approach help you lead a simpler and more satisfying life?

Don’t close the book when bad things happen

“Don’t close the book when bad things happen in your life. Just turn the page and begin a new chapter.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a page-turning book

Image from Unsplash by socialcut

Did you know that the average Social Security payout for retirees is just 29 months?

Although most of us think of retirement as our “Golden Years,” and while we continue to hear of all sorts of fantastic new medical breakthroughs to extend the quality and length of life, this statistic is shocking. But it improves considerably when three critical factors are present:

  • Friends, family, community
  • Financial stability – a nest egg
  • A future-oriented mindset

The level of engagement and overall life purpose can diminish with retirement. Retirees  often find much less meaning in life and a reason to get up in the morning when their vocational years are over.

EXERCISE:

What relational, financial, and mindset factors can and will you put in place to keep writing each new exciting chapter in your life for many more healthy, and happy years to come?

We are mere journeymen

“We are mere journeymen, planting seeds for someone else to harvest.”

—Wallace Thurman, 20th Century African-American Novelist

Image of two men in a wheat field

Image from Unsplash by Warren Wong

For virtually all people alive today, the standard of living and the quality of life has improved exponentially over the past few decades, and particularly in the last two centuries.

If you have ever interviewed your parents, grandparents, or even looked back over your own life, things have improved in countless ways.

Consider the idea that all the people known and unknown to you have been farmers planting and cultivating the seeds we all get to harvest each day.

EXERCISE:

Who in your world can and will you thank and acknowledge for all the abundance we experience today?

Where and how are you currently planting the seeds of a better world to benefit the lives of other’s for future generations?

In every man there is something

“In every man there is something wherein I may learn of him, and in that I am his pupil.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson, 19th Century American essayist and poet

Image of two people talking at a business meeting

Image from Unsplash by raw pixel

There is a wise saying about the fact that we have one mouth and two ears, and should use them proportionately.

For most of us, coaching, teaching, advising, and mentoring others, although with good intentions, plays into the fact that we often prefer to be interesting rather than interested.

Consider yourself an explorer or a miner looking for the gold in “them thar’ hills.” To reap such riches, the only tools you would need would be an open set of eyes, ears, and of course, an open mind.

EXERCISE:

In what area of your life is it far more important to be the pupil rather than the teacher?

What is it that you most wish to learn to support either your personal or professional life?

Who are the specific teachers in your world that hold the wisdom you seek?

A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows

“A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows.”

—St. Francis of Assisi

Image of a sunbeam coming through a tree

Image from Unsplash by Darren Bockman

Who are the people in your world that light up your life?

Take a minute or more to make a list of these special people, and note the qualities and characteristics they exhibit that caused you to put them on your list.

On the flip side, note the individuals in your personal and professional communities that cast shadows over your world and reduce your aliveness and life satisfaction. What are their specific behaviors and attitudes that cloud your world?

EXERCISE:

Beyond spending far more time with the first group and less with the second, how can and will you personally bring more sunshine to those around you, for the benefit of all?

This effort will almost certainly attract many more sunbeams from others who also desire brighter days.

One aspect of a successful relationship

“One aspect of a successful relationship is not just how compatible you are, but how you deal with your incompatibility.”

—Daniel Goleman, Founder of the Emotional Intelligence Movement

Image of an older couple sitting on a bench overlooking the ocean

Image from Unsplash by James Hose Jr.

Did you know that in western cultures, over 90 percent of people marry? Healthy marriages are good for the couple, and for their children. Unfortunately, 40-50 percent of first marriages end in divorce, and the divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.

During the courting/dating phase of a relationship, compatibility is a key element to the initial connection. Over time, partners begin seeing aspects of one another they were a bit blind to during the “show only your best side” phase.

Goleman and other experts on successful marriage point to numerous success factors – see the list below – that help marriage stand the test of time.

  • Respecting each other’s differences
  • Sharing common values
  • Open and honest communication
  • Being fair and respectful
  • Having a sense of humor
  • Demonstrating appreciation and gratitude
  • Honesty and integrity
  • Sensitivity, compassion, empathy
  • Seeing your marriage as a partnership and working as a team
  • Forgiveness for your partner and yourself

EXERCISE:

On this Valentine’s Day, consider having a discussion with your partner regarding this list. What efforts can and will you take to make your relationship more successful and fulfilling?

To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory

“To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory.”

—Marty Rubin, Canadian author of The Boiled Frog Syndrome

Image of baked potato in foil

Image from Livestrong

We are currently in the grips of winter here in Michigan, and today’s quote reminded me of a story a friend shared at a holiday luncheon.

As a little girl, she would often wait outside in the cold for the school bus. To keep her warm, her mom would bake small potatoes in aluminum foil and slip them in her pockets to hold through her mittens, making her wait a bit more comfortable. Once in her seat, she had the extra benefit of a tasty snack to eat on her way to school.

To this day, she attributes this heartwarming story from childhood for her current fondness for hash brown potatoes for breakfast.

EXERCISE:

What heartwarming strategies can you employ to show your love and care for others this winter, and all year long? If you happen to have one of your own heartwarming stories, please hit reply and send it my way!

Who needs me on my ‘A Game’ the most right now

“Who needs me on my ‘A Game’ the most right now?”

—Brendon Burchard, High Performance Author

Image of a boy with an A+ paper

Image from verywellfamily

Brendon Burchard is a best-selling author and one of the world’s leading High Performance coaches. His latest book, High Performance Habits, was one of Amazon’s top three best business and leadership books of 2017.

Today’s quote hits home for me personally and professionally. Throughout my life I’ve observed that most everyone desires and is committed to contributing to others. This focus seems to be universally required to live a full and meaningful life.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently operating well below your “A” game and fullest potential?

Who specifically in your world needs you at your very best?

What specific efforts are required to make this level of contribution?

Friday Review All About Relationships

FRIDAY REVIEW: RELATIONSHIPS

How would you describe most of your relationships? Here are a few relationship-related posts you may have missed. Click to read the full message.

 

“You can’t help someone get up a hill without getting closer to the top yourself.”

 

 

 

“Examine the contents, not the bottle.”

 

 

 

 

“You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.

 

 

 

 

You don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note

“You don’t get harmony when everyone sings the same note.”

—attributed to Doug Floyd

Image of two women playing guitar and singing while sitting on a curb

Image from Unsplash by Fotografia.ges

Do you enjoy music? Perhaps you play an instrument or two. Other than trying my hand at the drums in grade school, I realized quite quickly that I was more satisfied listening to it rather than playing it.

Recently, I was watching a Netflix program called “Explained” on the subject of music. I was amazed to learn just how much I did not know about its workings. Beyond the notes were additional concepts of which I knew little, including pitch, timbre, melody, and rhythm. Combining them all in the appropriate amounts can have us tapping our toes, caught up in its harmonious magic.

EXERCISE:

Consider your professional and personal communities. Where and how does variety and diversity of thought and capabilities provide for greater levels of harmonious achievement and success?