“You should not decide until you have heard what both sides have to say.”
—Aristophanes, 4th Century BC Greek Playwright
Image from Unsplash by Ehimetalor Unuabono
Do you ever say — aloud or perhaps even more often to yourself — “My mind is made up” or “I know!”? How often do you get the impression that others in your personal or professional communities express similar thoughts?
If these scenarios sound familiar, you are probably dealing with what I call “Shortcut Listening.” This happens when an individual or group gathers just enough information to fill in the rest of the word puzzles based on their own opinions, experiences, and biases.
Where and with whom would taking the long road of listening help you and others make far better decisions at work and at home?
“The rising sun blesses my mind with joy. The setting sun blesses my heart with peace.”
—Sri Chinmoy, 20th Century Indian Spiritual Leader
Image from Unsplash by John Towner
Before electricity and the light bulb, our sun and perhaps the occasional fire influenced every aspect of life.
Sunlight was man’s alarm clock to rise and go about the day, to survive and be productive.
When the sun went down, it was time to relinquish our efforts and find safety in our homes with our family. It was time, hopefully, to settle into a peaceful and safe slumber until the sun woke us again.
How has the world — and particularly your life — changed from this simpler time? Consider the fact that we live in a world where the lights never seem to go out, even if its the dim light of your smart phone or the numbers on your alarm clock.
How much additional joy and peace might you experience if you more fully embraced a life guided further by the rising and setting of the sun?
Consider reading Waking up to the Dark – Ancient Wisdom for a Sleepless Age, by Clark Strand.
“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?
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?
“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react, and reinvent.”
—Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft
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Imagine you are Aladdin with a magic lamp and three wishes to dramatically enhance your life. How many of your wishes would be extrinsic rather than intrinsic in nature?
What internal qualities and personal characteristics would you seek to more fully realize your vision of a brighter, more fulfilling future?
Consider that you already have your own internal magic lamp within you. Where will you begin, today, to use it to rethink, reinvigorate, and reinvent whatever aspect of your world you choose?
“What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.”
—Ralph Marston, 20th Century professional football player
Image from Unsplash by Glen Carstens-Peters
The critical word in today’s quote is “can.”
There is, of course, no guarantee that today will improve all, or perhaps more realistically, most of your tomorrows.
With the right attitude, planning, and of course, inspired effort, the likelihood of a more positive and successful future is inevitable.
What attitude-enhancing efforts will you bring into your day today?
What planning did you do yesterday, or this morning, to assure you are working on your top personal and professional priorities?
What inspired and committed actions will you take today to guarantee many better tomorrows?
“I’m breaking the habit of being myself.”
—Dr. Joe Dispenza, lecturer, researcher, consultant, author
Image from All American Speakers Bureau
Describe your best future self.
What personal qualities and characteristics do you intend to develop in the years ahead?
If you find this exercise challenging, consider looking to the people you most admire and respect. You can also look to the past for individuals who set an example you wish to emulate or build upon.
Who are the people you identified?
What are their most favorable and inspiring qualities?
What current habit do you plan to break to more fully realize an even better version of yourself?
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”
—Denis Waitley, American motivational speaker
Image from Unsplash by Constantinos Panagopoulos
Did you know that Harvard University has a course on happiness?
Think about it.
The students of one of the most prestigious universities in the world want to learn what’s involved in living a happy life, and don’t want to wait for some day down the road to begin their journey.
The fact that extrinsic recognition, rewards, and accomplishments alone never seem to do the trick is surprising to many people. It is our inner journey and the pursuit of intrinsic factors that provides the fulfillment we all seek.
Please pick up a copy of the book Happier, by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, which provides the backbone information for Harvard’s most popular course.
You can also look into the work of Martin Seligman, PhD, author of Authentic Happiness, for additional guidance into living a happier life.
“I need to take a sacred pause, as if I were a sun warmed rock in the center of a rushing river.”
—Dawna Markova, consultant member of the Society for Organizational Learning
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To what degree is your life like a rushing river of endless “to do” items? How often do you feel swept away, pulled under, perhaps even drowning in the commitments and urgencies of life?
How often do you experience peace of mind or a sense of calm centeredness throughout a typical workday or weekend?
If you are like many of us, your answer may be, “Not nearly enough.”
Consider the importance of adding a few more “sacred pauses” to your day to regain your footing and catch your breath so that you may fully experience a more satisfying life.
Consider meditation, prayer, walks in nature, exercise, power naps, and digital fasting as some potential strategies. Please reply to this post with some added suggestions you have found helpful.