“Reality is the other person’s idea of how things should be.”
—John M. Shanahan, author of Hooked on Phonics
image from consciouslifenews.com
As part of my Personal Excellence Training, I teach my clients to coach themselves, with a technique I call The Pivot Point. The first part of this tool is to help my clients assess the “current reality” of the situations in their lives.
The challenge for most, at the beginning, is that they often believe that their perception of reality is shared by everyone around them.
How open are you to the possibility that the people in your personal and professional worlds perceive “reality” quite differently than you?
-Gautama Buddha, on whose teaching Buddhism was founded
image from kevingcook.com
When people say, “perception is reality,” they often mean that the way we perceive something makes it real. What if we don’t perceive an issue, challenge, or lesson to be learned, simply because it is invisible to us?
As a student, we must first see a situation and determine that there is value, opportunity, or benefit in it. Only then is there the potential to hear the teacher and see how they might assist us in understanding the lesson.
Where are you stopped or stuck in your life? Where are your efforts to move forward being thwarted? To whom could you go with the challenge you face, to determine your readiness and receptivity to the lesson?
“Traveling: it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”
—Ibn Battuta, 14th century Moroccan explorer
photo from goodreads.com
One of my favorite books by Dr Seuss is Oh The Places You’ll Go, often given as a gift to high school or college graduates as they step into their life journey.
For many of us, this sense of adventure and excitement wanes as we settle into our day-to-day lives, work, and other more routine responsibilities.
Perhaps this is why most of my coaching clients have travel, adventure, and fun as things they want more of as they move forward. We simply want more WOW moments that leave us speechless. When we tell these “wow” stories, they often ignite the flame in others, causing them to more fully experience life, too.
Where have you longed to travel? Find someone who has actually been there – or perhaps a few people – and let their stories ignite a spark in you. When you make your plans and go yourself, consider what stories you will share that would benefit others.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”
-Seneca, Roman statesman & tutor to Nero
Photo from Flickr by Eelke de Blouw
Traveling in Europe was a learning smorgasbord. I did all I could to taste the variety and abundance of its offerings, including:
The variety of languages
Local customs & traditions
Music & art
Great food and drink
Business & commerce
Politics & religion
The natural beauty & history of the region
As an American, I was shocked at how my mental models and perceptions of the world have limited me and kept my world reasonably small. As a business and personal coach, I plan to take the blinder off, in particular with my coaching colleagues who live beyond my doorstep.
How can you more fully benefit from your own travels and change of place to experience greater vigor in your journey of the mind?
The calm riverboat cruise my wife Wendy and I took down the Danube was a trip of a lifetime, providing us lots of time to reflect on our lives. Of particular interest was how this journey took us back in time to visit the lives of people who lived hundreds and even thousands of years ago.
We were accompanied by 136 fellow passengers from around the world, who generously shared their friendship and bits of their lives with us as we toured a number of cities, sharing good food and conversation.
As you enter the summer months, how can you more fully embrace the places you visit? What can you do to look beyond the surface and experience these adventures more completely?
“Life is like a road trip. Enjoy each day, and don’t carry too much baggage.”
Photo from Flickr by Georg Sander
When I first met my wife Wendy almost forty years go, she would often tell me stories of her family’s famous road trips. Her mom, dad, and two sisters would spontaneously jump into their station wagon and head off to places unknown. Each passenger had their turn at directing the driver, telling them to continue on the current road, or to turn right or left.
When they got hungry, they would discover places to eat. When they got tired, they found places to rest. They often traveled with only the clothes on their backs, and little else.
How can you live today as if you were on a road trip? What can you do to enjoy it to the max, taking little or no real or mental baggage along for the ride?
“I would like to travel the world with you twice. Once, to see the world. Twice, to see the way you see the world.”
Photo from Flickr by Nilanjan Sasmal
The majority of my coaching clients would include travel as one of their core values. They want to see and experience more of the world with the precious time they have left. To some extent, they have a bit of regret that they haven’t made a bigger dent in their bucket lists.
Have you ever noticed how much joy and excitement is experienced when a baby is born? Perhaps it is because this new life allows all of us—especially the new parents and grandparents—to start a new life “adventure” with a child who is seeing the world for the first time.
How can you be far more intentional in your efforts to see and experience the world, and at the same time, double your pleasure by looking through the eyes of those who share the adventure?
We’ve all heard the phrase “Nothing Lasts Forever.” This, of course, includes the good things as well as the bad. After each great storm the sun shines again, and then the clouds and storms return.
Given these facts, how might we gain power from Heraclitus’ words of wisdom? Perhaps we can choose an optimistic frame of reference to both maximize and celebrate the good in life, and also minimize the times when life brings us down.
How can you accentuate the positive and eliminate or at least minimize the negative, which will come to pass throughout your day?
Consider making the exercise above a daily practice to support you in living an even more extraordinary life.