“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

“Opportunities are seldom labeled.”

—John A. Shedd, 19th Century American author and professor

For most of my life, I have been fascinated by the subject of personal and professional success.

I’ve read hundreds of books, attended dozens of seminars and conferences, and can hardly count the number of blog posts, podcasts, and TED talks I’ve explored.

In his book, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker digs into the science of success, to mess a bit with the conventional and unconventional wisdom on this subject.

One seemingly universal tenet of success does, however, point to the idea of taking massive action and trying many things along the way to stir up far more possibilities and opportunities to pursue.

EXERCISE:

To what degree are you waiting or being too passive, hoping for an opportunity to reveal itself?

Where would taking far more action and trying many more things help you bark up and climb the right trees for you?

“Electricity is really just organized lightning.”

“Electricity is really just organized lightning.”

—George Carlin, 20th Century American comedian

Image from Unsplash by Lucien Kolly

Imagine early man looking to the night sky during a storm, with all those thunderous bursts of lightning. What wondrous, frightening, and awesome source could generate such power?

As time progressed, great thinkers and scientists saw the potential to harness this power for the benefit of man.

Consider that you, too, are a source of lightning, given your numerous gifts, talents, ideas, and the contributions you’ve made at various points in your life.

How consistently or inconsistently do you experience the flow of energetic expressions of yourself?

EXERCISE:

In what ways can you more fully harness and express your energy and brilliance, to lead a more powerful and electrifying life?

“Accept this moment as if you had chosen it.”

“Accept this moment as if you had chosen it.”

—Eckart Tolle, Author of The Power of Now

Image from Unsplash by Luke Chesser

What percentage of your day do you find yourself irritated, upset, or even angry about how things are going?

Consider your thwarted intentions and unfulfilled expectations as precursors to such feelings.

What benefit might you experience if you stopped resisting how things are and chose instead to accept and allow them to be as they are?

EXERCISE:

What people and events are occurring in your life in which acceptance would provide you the greatest value?

“A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.”

“A man may learn wisdom even from a foe.”

—Aristophanes, 4th Century BC Greek Playwright

Image from India Today

Take a look at this list of famous foes:

  • Batman / The Joker
  • Superman / Lex Luthor
  • Professor X / Magneto
  • Spiderman / The Green Goblin
  • Harry Potter / Voldemort

In the business world, consider the following pairs:

  • Coke / Pepsi
  • Ford / GM
  • Thomas Edison / Nikola Tesla
  • Bill Gates / Steve Jobs
  • Marvel Comics / D.C.

What other famous adversarial pairs can you think of? What potential positive benefits have been brought forth due to the considerable challenges faced on the battlefield – both imaginary and real?

EXERCISE:

Who do you consider your foe? How and in what ways may they be providing you wise lessons you often overlook?

“Enjoy life to the fullest – it has an expiration date.”

“Enjoy life to the fullest — it has an expiration date.”

—Author Unknown

Image from SupermarketNews

When was the last time you went grocery shopping?

What strategies do you use to select the freshest and healthiest foods for yourself and your loved ones? If you are like me, you check the expiration dates or “best if used by” dates on items such as meats, dairy products, and other packaged goods.

Master shoppers, of course, always dig a bit further back or down on the shelves, knowing all stores rotate their newest shipments toward the rear and place foods that are sooner to expire up front.

EXERCISE:

Given your current life expiration date extending strategies, and the wonders of modern medicine, how can you improve your efforts to add many more years to your life, and of course, far more life to your years?

“My job is to protect and to serve.”

“My job is to protect and to serve.”

Image from LAPD

Did you know the phrase “to protect and to serve” became the motto of the Los Angeles Police Department Academy in the mid-50s as the result of a contest? Its acceptance eventually expanded to the entire department, and it has been placed alongside the City Seal on all patrol cars.

Police protect and serve us by helping with emergencies such as car accidents, fires, illnesses, and rescues. Police can often be seen patrolling our streets and neighborhoods to prevent and solve crimes. When many of us would be paralyzed by fear or even run from such events, these brave men and women are often the first on the scene.

EXERCISE:

Who are the people you are committed to protecting and serving so they can live a happier and safer life?

Please make a point of including yourself on the list, and perhaps go a bit farther to lend the men and women in blue a hand from time to time.

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.”

“Happiness held is the seed; happiness shared is the flower.”

—John Harrigan, writer, director and performer

Image from Unsplash by Yuriy Garnaev

Did you know that Norway is considered one of the happiest places on the planet? The CNN special Chasing Life, hosted by Dr. Sanji Gupta, recently highlighted a small town 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Despite the frigid temperatures and the complete darkness November through January, most people interviewed described themselves as a 9 or 10 on the Happiness Scale.

A critical component to their happiness was the focus on the level of family and community engagement.

In Norway, after the birth of a child, a parent receives 80% of their wages and a full year off of work to focus on raising the child. If they choose to take off only ten months, they receive 100% of their wages.

EXERCISE:

Where can and will you plant the seeds of happiness in your community gardens, so that you can share the flowers of happiness with those you care about and love?

Friday Review: Optimism

FRIDAY REVIEW: OPTIMISM

Are you an optimist or a pessimist, or a little bit of both? Here are a few optimism-related posts you may have missed.

 

“The optimist already sees the scar over the wound; the pessimist sees the wound underneath the scar.”

 

 

 

“Complaining is Draining.”

 

 

 

 

“I have hope and I’m not afraid to use it.”

 

 

 

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

“Consider the postage stamp: Its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.”

—Josh Billings, pseudonym of 19th-century American humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw

With the advent of email and texting, my use of regular or snail mail has declined by over 90%. How about you?

For selective or special mail such as birthday cards, I’m still an old-fashioned guy who sends cards with hand-written notes.

Despite my reduced use, I cannot recall stamps every falling off, and perhaps only a few times when my special message failed to arrive. The speed with which these message got there is another story.

EXERCISE:

What current project or top priority in your professional or personal life requires even greater focus and “stick-to-it-ness” for you to get to the result or outcome you desire?