“He never chooses an opinion, he just wears whatever happens to be in style.”
—Leo Tolstoy, 19th Century Russian, regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time
Image from Unsplash by Hermes Rivera
Wendy and I recently saw the film AIR — the story of how Nike pursued Michael Jordan to wear their basketball shoes.
One of the companies also competing for this sponsorship opportunity was Converse. At Creighton Elementary in the sixties and early seventies, having a pair of Chuck Taylors was a must. Any alternative sneakers were called Bo-Bo’s and this meant certain school yard ridicule and razzing.
To what degree can you relate to similar types of peer pressure and the need to conform? How does this influence your thoughts, beliefs, and social norms? Where do you find yourself going along to get along?
Where and how did you develop your current thinking about life?
How often do you stick with popular opinion and what’s in style?
Where do you feel the tug to go in another direction and still hesitate?
“With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States 1933–1945
Image from Unsplash by Dyu-Ha
A few weeks ago my wife, daughter, and grandchildren took a road trip back to Michigan to reconnect with some of our closest friends. Even with a rooftop carrier there was simply no room for me in the little SUV.
This “bachelor time,” as they called it, allowed me to do as I pleased, including binging a Netflix show called Alone.
Now in its eighth season, this reality program places ten expert survivalists in some of the most remote places on the planet to carve out a way of life without any human interactions except for periodic medical checks.
It was surprising to note how with all their adversities including loneliness, starvation, and many real dangers—including grizzly bears—most participants held out far longer than even they expected.
How does waking up each morning help you think and act with new strength and optimism about the day ahead?
“Your thoughts are bubbles waiting to be popped.”
—Jon Kabat-Zinn, American professor emeritus of medicine
Image from Unsplash by Alex Alvarez
The other day I was refilling a soap dispenser at the kitchen sink. While pouring the liquid soap carefully into the opening a bubble formed, creating a dome-shaped barrier which caused the soap to spill over the counter. Until this bubble popped my efforts to continue filling the dispenser were thwarted. This happened a few times and given my level of impatience, I used my finger to pop these bubbles to get on with my task.
This routine chore got me thinking about how I used to read the comic strips in the Sunday paper, or eat a piece of Bubble Yum gum in my youth. How are your thoughts like bubbles of awareness? How long do these bubbles last and guide you successfully through your days?
How aware are you of your inner voice? How many of your thoughts bubble up without your awareness? Where would greater mindfulness help you sustain the bubbles you want and pop the ones that don’t serve your best intentions?
“If your mind were a suitcase and could only hold five things, what would they be?”
Image from Unsplash by Amy Shamblen
About 10 years ago we bought a set of luggage from a local warehouse store. It was a good value, the right color and the set of three pieces conveniently fit inside one another for easy storage. This was actually a second set and we justified it because we packed heavy for some longer trips to address all contingencies, and our desire to not use unfamiliar laundry facilities.
Prior to our recent move from Michigan to Pennsylvania we amusingly donated more than two thirds of our luggage and about a third of our possessions, realizing that traveling lighter had many advantages.
Keeping our most essential items was a step in the right direction to reduce both our physical and mental loads.
What size mental suitcase are you carrying around? What are the five most important things packed inside? A small backpack may actually be all you need.
Notice your internal playlist.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Mohammad Metri
The moment we wake up it starts. Our inner voice begins and won’t stop until an undetermined time after our heads hit our pillows. If you — like many people — experience insomnia from time to time, the pause or stop button can be most elusive.
What thoughts have you been playing on repeat lately? What pivoting strategies can you apply given this awareness? How can you shift your playlist to one that soothes and serves?
What gifts in your life do you often take for granted?
—Calm App Reflection
Every moment of life is a precious gift.
Open each of these gifts slowly and mindfully so as not to miss a single one — this will help you live more fully and purposely, regardless of what you may accomplish. Don’t be surprised, however, if you accomplish a lot living this way!
What tangible and intangible gifts do your intend to offer the people in your various communities? How can putting greater thought and heartfelt intentions into your offerings? Please remember that your time might be your most special gift of all.
You may wish to explore the book, 4000 Weeks – Time Management for Mortals.
“Behind every criticism is a veiled wish.”
—Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist
Image from Unsplash by ahi ismail
How do you feel when you are criticized?
How often is your immediate response to defend yourself or perhaps go on the offense and attack others?
Explore a few recent interactions in which you were criticized for something you did or didn’t do.
Dig deeper into the thoughts and emotions of that person to see if there was a hidden desire or veiled wish below their barbed message. What did they secretly want that was not communicated in an acceptable way?
How might you shift your perspective and translate the harshness of their words into simple requests that would have a higher probability of acceptance?
A few books that can help your relationship skills are Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott, Crucial Conversations, and Crucial Confrontations.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or reply to this post with your email address and I will be pleased to send you a copy of my one page Communication Toolbox.
”It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
—Robert Kiyosaki, American author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Image from Unsplash by magnet.me
Thoughts become things. In a typical day, we actually use our inner voices far more than our external ones.
We are constantly having what Susan Scott describes in her book, Fierce Conversations, as versations — which is simply a conversation with ourselves.
The power of bathing in our own thoughts is a form of leadership where we repeatedly speak about our reality and our vision for the future. This repetition carves deep grooves in our conscious and unconscious minds, which can and often do lead to behaviors that determine our lives.
Notice your inner voice whispering to you throughout the day. What is it saying?
Is this voice positive and affirming or negative and judgmental?
How can and will you use the power of versations to enhance your life?
“One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
Image from Unsplash by Sharon McCutcheon
Do you take a daily vitamin or perhaps a variety of supplements each morning to support your health?
What foods do you eat for breakfast to start your day?
How much time do you allow for yourself to feed your mind before you jump into your busy schedule?
Consider yourself a sprinter about to run the 100 meter dash in the upcoming Olympic Games. How important is it for you to be powerfully positioned in the blocks when the starting gun goes off?
How can you add one or more positive thoughts or nuggets of wisdom to your morning routine?
Consider sharing this lesson or insight with at least one person in one of your communities.
“Negative thoughts are nails.”
Image from Unsplash by travelergeek
Where do you stand on the negative to positive spectrum of thought? How do you view yourself when you listen closely to your inner voice?
Carpenters use nails all the time to fasten and hold things together. Adding an extra nail or two can make a structure even more rigid and solid. As someone who isn’t particularly handy, I often use nails to hang pictures on the wall as a way of hiding a blemish or mark.
How are you seeing the world and relating to the people in your personal and professional communities these days?
How do you judge others on this spectrum when you examine their words and actions?
Where do you see the negative thinking in your world keeping people stuck and rigid?
How would greater positivity and optimism offer greater possibilities to build a better future?