“The oldest, shortest words – Yes and No – are those which require the most thought.”

“The oldest, shortest words – Yes and No – are those which require the most thought.”

—Pythagoras, ancient Greek philosopher

We can learn a lot from babies and toddlers as they begin taking in the world through their senses. They begin their ability to use language even before their first Yes or No. Their cries and coos let us know what they do and don’t want in their lives.

As we age, our Yes’s and No’s are two of the most critical influences on how we spend our lives and who we spend them with. This is especially so when we are launched into the world beyond parental and social influences such as school.

EXERCISE:

How much thought do you give your current Yes’s and No’s? What criteria or inner compass do you use to influence and guide these life-altering choices?

How can and will you be even more discerning with these two little words, now and in the future?

“The secret of prolonging life consists of not shortening it.”

“The secret of prolonging life consists of not shortening it.”

—Ernst, Baron von Feuchtersleben, 19th Century Austrian physican/philosopher

Image from Amazon.com

Undo it: How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Disease by Dean and Anne Ornish is a worthy read for anyone wishing to live a longer and healthier life.

As pioneers of lifestyle medicine, Dean and Anne demonstrate – with substantial scientific evidence – that diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and even the aging process itself can be impacted.

His 72-hour program, which includes exercise, nutrition, stress-reduction, and what he refers to as loving more, has been so successful that it is now covered by Medicare and other major insurance companies.

EXERCISE:

Please watch this short video by Dr. Des Harrington, and consider upgrading your own efforts to put more years in your life and life in your years.

“Consumers don’t just want to understand the story…”

“Consumers don’t just want to understand the story. Increasingly they want to be part of it.”

—Robert Fabricant, Co-Founder/Partner, Dalberg Design

Image from Unsplash by freestocks.org

Storytelling is big business—very, very big business.

Consider all the products and services you use every day, and ask yourself: What’s their story? Or What is their Brand Message?

Perhaps what their story says about you is just as important, because you buy, consume, or use what they are selling.

Given the vast number of choices, most people want to make those that resonate with their personal beliefs and values.

Consider the choices you make that support being intelligent, popular, and having high status. Perhaps your choices are also healthy and good for the environment.

EXERCISE:

What is your story or brand? How would communicating your authentic life message attract more people who would like to be part of it?

“Is the work people pay for the work you want to do?”

“Is the work people pay for the work you want to do?”

—Bernadette Jiwa, global authority on business philosophy

Image of Bernadette Jiwa from thestoryoftelling.com

Today’s quote comes from a blog post Bernadette Jiwa wrote on August 21, titled “The Value Shift.” Check out her insightful work and website.

What is your answer to the question posed in today’s quote?

Are you a yes, a no, or a sometimes? What would it take to be a Hell Yes!?

Yes, we all have our responsibilities and commitments we sometimes feel we have to do, instead of want to do. But overall, to what degree is the work you actually do what you want to do?

EXERCISE:

What bold, courageous, and creative actions would it take to move the “no” or “sometimes” far closer to the “yes” you deeply desire?

Feel free to reply to this post with the actions you will take to have a far more rewarding life.

“Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.”

“Don’t get your fuel from the same place your car does.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Mehluli Hikwa

Far too many of us are living in overdrive, trying to squeeze in one or more “to-do’s” in our days. Of course, our vehicles as well as our bodies need periodic refueling, so that we have the energy to get where we are going.

Over the last few decades, smart marketers took advantage of these overdrive trends and created the mini-mart that sells fuel along with all sorts of junk food with the shelf life of radioactive carbon.

Who hasn’t found themselves sometimes using their car as a dinner table, producing an occasional stained shirt, or at least crumbs on the seat?

EXERCISE:

What would be the benefit to your waistline and your overall health if you developed the habit of packing your own foods for most if not all of your road trips?

What tasty and healthier choices will go into your portable cooler, to enjoy a break in your day?

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

“Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”

—Bob Marley, 20th Century Jamaican singer/songwriter

Image from Unsplash by Steve Harvey

How strongly do you “fit” and experience a sense of belonging in your personal and professional communities?

To what degree do your beliefs and core values align and resonate with others at home and at work?

Where may you be looking the other way or squinting a bit as you view your world, due to the benefits and payoffs some of your communities or associations provide?

What, if any, soul-diminishing effects are you experiencing due to certain decisions or indecision?

EXERCISE:

What wise and perhaps courageous choices and actions can and will you take to strengthen your soulful foundations toward an even more richly rewarding life?

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

“When you decide to collect experiences rather than things, you never run out of storage space.”

—Joshua Becker, Founder and editor of Becoming Minimalist

Image from Unsplash by Chuttersnap

Did you know that the self-storage industry generates revenue of 38 billion dollars annually and that almost 10 percent of households use them? Many also have basements and garages full of stored items.

The volume of self-storage units in the United States alone could fill the Hoover Dam with old clothes, skis, and keepsakes more than 26 times.

Beyond the costs, consider the maintenance and generalized stress caused by the clutter and junk most of us would never pay for again if given the chance.

EXERCISE:

What are some strategies to lighten your load to live a simpler and perhaps more minimalist lifestyle? At the same time, what are a few life experiences you wish to collect that may only take up space on your camera or computer hard drive? What actions will you take today to make progress in both areas?

“The man who runs may fight again.”

“The man who runs may fight again.”

—Menander, 2nd Century BC Greek dramatist

Image from Unsplash by Raul Cacho Oses

From an early age, we are repeatedly exposed to messages such as: “Be brave!”, “Never Give Up!”, “Winners never quit and quitters never win!”. There are countless stories, shows, and movies that play off the “feel good” tale of victory and coming out on top.

I’m all for being an optimist on most occasions, however, many times a far more realistic and objective perspective may be the wiser way to go.

What fights and battles are occurring in your professional and personal worlds? Where do you see progress and have a sense of hope that you will prevail? In what situation do you feel and know deep down that it’s time to “fold’em,” like a losing poker hand?

EXERCISE:

How would using your head, heart, and gut help you know when it is time to run versus stand your ground, so that you may fight another day?

“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.”

—Mick Kremling, Daily Fitness Motivation

The only thing that stops us is stopping.

Sure, we all have our reasons for calling it quits, be it externally or internally driven.

Where have you stopped along your life journey? To what extend did you make a clear and conscious choice? Or was it some default setting related to discomfort or fear that stopped you from proceeding toward some important goal?

EXERCISE:

Where and on what important objective can you:

  1. Acknowledge how far you’ve come, and
  2. Summon the strength, courage, tenacity, and grit to persist and fulfill far more of your potential for greatness?

Feel free to reply to this post and let me know how far you go.

Tweak the balance between your dance and your march

“Tweak the balance between your dance and your march.”

—Michael Bungay Stainer, Founder of BoxofCrayons

Image from Unspash by Sarah X Sharp

What comes to mind when you consider the word dance? For me, it’s playful, fun-loving, and self-expressed.

Now what about the word march? Perhaps thoughts of the military, or simply disciplined work not necessarily of your choice come to mind.

As a young boy in grade school, the though that I could or should not play until all the work was done was prominent.

EXERCISE:

Given that for most of us the work never seems to be done, where would tweaking your own dance/march ratios make the biggest difference?

How might you bring more play to your work, or dance into a more enjoyable and productive life?