“Ships don’t sink because of the water around them. Ships sink because of the water that gets in them. Don’t let what’s happening around you get inside you and weigh you down.”
Image of SS Edmund Fitzgerald by NewsMax.com
As a citizen of Michigan, I greatly appreciate our five Great Lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. The lakes have been traversed by native people since the dawn of time, and by western man since the 17th century.
Thousands of ships have sunk in these waters, and an estimated 30,000 people have lost their lives as a result. The most famous was the wreck of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in a Lake Superior storm in November, 1975, with the loss of the entire 29-member crew.
What personal and professional waters are you navigating these days? What stormy or rocky events are causing you to take on water and giving you that sinking feeling?
How and in what ways can you bail any water that has entered your worlds, and begin sailing toward calmer, more prosperous seas?
“Nobody in the history of the world has ever washed their rental car.”
Image from ultimatecarwashanddetail.com
Are you familiar with the “Endowment Effect”?
I wasn’t either, until I learned that it is our tendency to undervalue things that aren’t ours, and to overvalue things because we already own them.
Do you, like many people, have drawers, closets, or even entire rooms filled with items that you haven’t used or worn in years? What are these items worth to you, and what might it be costing you in having them take up space in your world?
Consider what you would actually pay for these items, if you didn’t own them already.
Imagine that you are planning to change your place of residence. The two criteria I’d like you to consider as you go through the things you own are:
- You will be downsizing your living and storage space by 25-35 percent.
- You must pay a substantial extra fee to bring all non-essential items along.
What would stay, and what would go?
What actions will you take based on your answers?
“The real question is not whether life exists after death. The real question is whether you are alive before your death.”
—Osho, Mystic Guru and Spiritual Leader
Image from znanje.org
Over twenty years ago I attended a seminar with almost 200 other people. The session leader posed the question:
Why do most people wake up in the morning?
After the audience provided all the expected responses such as to go to work, or to start the new day, he shared his own thought, which was:
People wake up in the morning because they did not die in their sleep.
When the shock of his answer dissipated from the audience, we began a most interesting and engaging inquiry into what it means to be fully alive. Common aspects of being “fully alive” included traveling, learning, extraordinary relationships, spiritual pursuits, and making a bigger difference in the world.
What adjustments and changes are you willing to make in your life to cause you to enthusiastically and energetically bound out of bed each morning?
What one action will you take immediately to build this into a life-changing habit?
“If your feet are firmly planted on the ground, you’ll never be able to dance.”
—Iris Johansen, Crime Fiction and Romance Writer
Image from Flickr by Roger Jones
Who do you know personally or professionally that is exceedingly stubborn, rigid, set in their ways, and rarely budges in their thinking and actions? These are people who almost never produce new and better results because they are living examples of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.
Who are the people you know that are open-minded, flexible, and even playful—people who “dance” with life, always exploring and creating new possibilities around them?
Where in your world is it appropriate to stand firm? Where is it time to be more flexible and dance to the music of your own life vision?
“When you want to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department uses water.”
Image from Flickr by Jeshua.nace
When was the last time you were in a heated argument with tempers flaring and things getting out of control? If you cannot recall a specific event, just turn on a local, national, or global news program to see plenty of examples!
Rarely do such interactions result in win/win outcomes. Most of the time, we are left with win/lose or lose/lose results.
When we consider how to put out undesirable fires, all we need to do is take a bit of coaching from professional fire-fighters: use water to reduce the temperature of burning materials and extinguish the flame.
What new and more constructive ways of dealing with heated situations can you find to produce a better result for everyone involved?
“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
-Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet
Image from Flickr by Orbital Joe
When was the last time you visited a fine jewelry store? Imagine yourself in one, examining all the beautiful diamonds and gem stones.
I am sure that If you were to go back in time to when these stones were pulled form the earth, you wouldn’t recognize them. They would be dull, rough, and unremarkable. It takes considerable rubbing and skilled cutting to bring out their brilliance.
How and where can you examine and appreciate the daily rubs of life as experiences and resources to bring about your personal and professional brilliance?
“Every success story is a tale of constant adaptation, revision, and change.”
—Sir Richard Branson, KBE, founder of Virgin Group
Image from www.64ouncegames.com
We all know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Life in general, and our journey toward success, never really works that way.
To navigate our world we must, as Sir Branson suggests, adapt, revise, and change our approach moment to moment. This iterative process works very much like an internal GPS system, constantly informing us of where we are, and where we wish to go. It helps us plot the alternative routes we can take to progress toward our desired destination.
Where is it necessary to adapt, revise, or change your approach to tell a more successful tale in either your personal or professional life?
“Fall in love with the problem, not the solution.”
—Kaaren Hanson, VP of Design /Innovations/ Intuit
Through the course of our lives, we have all developed strategies for success which we apply to the daily challenges we face in our professional and personal worlds.
As long as these default solutions work reasonably well, we rarely seek alternative solutions that may actually work far better.
When we embrace, and even fall in love with, the problems we face, we generate a higher ability for innovation and creativity, discovering possible solutions that were previously unrecognized.
How might falling in love with your problems help you release some of the “sacred cow solutions” you have used over the years? What new and potentially more successful solutions would be possible?