You have power over your mind not outside events

“You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.”

Marcus Aurelius, Ancient Roman Emperor and Philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Ümit Bulut

What does it mean to have power over our minds?

If you have ever tried to meditate, you know that this can be a daunting challenge at first. Focusing on something as apparently simple as our breath, a physical sensation, or even a sound in the distance seems to go sideways in seconds.

Marcus Aurelius would probably suggest that instead of powering through our ever-bouncing thoughts, we begin playing with them like a child by simply noticing them and where they take us.

With this initial awareness, we can begin developing our mental muscle and strengthen our capacity to focus its power.


What are your preferred approaches to stretch and strengthen your mental muscles?

On what topics and in what ways can you improve your ability to concentrate and focus its power to influence your world?

“So much of the development of mental strength flows from our ability to normalize adversity.”

“So much of the development of mental strength flows from our ability to normalize adversity.”

Rohan Rajiv, Author of A Learning a Day Blog

Image from Unsplash by Aziz Acharki

Over the years writing this blog I’ve reference a book titled The Power of Full Engagement numerous times.

A key premise of its content is to expand one’s ability to increase their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies.

Consider replacing the word energy with strength.

Where are you experiencing adversity in your life?

How are you being challenged and tested in your personal and professional pursuits?

Where are you feeling resistance and a sense of being stretched beyond what’s comfortable?

How do these situations actually increasing your overall strength, capacities, and resilience?


Read or re-read The Power of Full Engagement. Consider how normalizing adversity has actually supported your growth and development.

Feel free to reply to this post with some examples from your own life.

With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.

“With a new day comes new strength and new thoughts.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States 1933–1945

Image from Unsplash by Dyu-Ha

A few weeks ago my wife, daughter, and grandchildren took a road trip back to Michigan to reconnect with some of our closest friends. Even with a rooftop carrier there was simply no room for me in the little SUV.

This “bachelor time,” as they called it, allowed me to do as I pleased, including binging a Netflix show called Alone.

Now in its eighth season, this reality program places ten expert survivalists in some of the most remote places on the planet to carve out a way of life without any human interactions except for periodic medical checks.

It was surprising to note how with all their adversities including loneliness, starvation, and many real dangers—including grizzly bears—most participants held out far longer than even they expected.


How does waking up each morning help you think and act with new strength and optimism about the day ahead?

One small crack does not mean you are broken

“One small crack does not mean you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.”

—Linda Poindexter, @PoindexterLinda on Twitter

Image from Unsplash by Johnny Cohen

In professional sports virtually all athletes play hurt on some or many occasions. Aches, pains, strains, and sprains are the price of their efforts to excel. We loyal fans cheer them on as they continue to test themselves and pursue victory.

Over the past two months I’ve been going to physical therapy to strengthen my right knee, which has been causing me some pain and instability.

During my regular visits I’ve met dozens of other patients who also have experienced a variety of physical setbacks.

It’s been nice to see all of them progressing with the targeted therapies and supportive staff assisting their efforts.


Where are you noticing a few cracks in your personal armor?

Where and how is life testing you?

How can you acknowledge the champion spirit within that has you continue to suit up and get back in the game?

The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished

“The chief prevention against getting old is to remain astonished.”

Kevin Kelly, founding executive editor of Wired magazine

Image from Unsplash by Esther Ann

Regardless of your age, how do you stay young at heart?

The other day I was feeling my age and didn’t like it very much.

I’m reading Arthur Brooks new book From Strength to Strength, and I’ve reached the chapters where he describes the overwhelming evidence of how we decline from our peak capabilities far sooner than we care to admit.

Putting our heads down and striving even harder is usually not the answer and often compounds our frustrations.

There is considerable evidence that life satisfaction for many people tends to increase once they shift their attention from personal success to a life of significance where they pour their skills and wisdom into others.

Doing this type of work as a coach for many years keeps my moments of astonishment coming and, on most days, puts pep in my steps.


What are the activities that astonish you with excitement and wonder?

How and where can you engage in more of these to remain forever young?

Friday Review: Strength

Friday Review: STRENGTH

What are your strengths? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”





“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”




“He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.”






“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.”

“Crying doesn’t indicate that you’re weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you’re alive.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Aliyah Janous

On Veteran’s Day in November, My wife and I were very moved by a news anchor describing an army nurse called to serve our country in World War II. Now 101 years old, this extraordinary woman came from a family in which most members also served in the military.

This normally stoic and forceful news anchor was moved to tears as he shared many heart-warming aspects of her life of generosity, contribution, and service.


Where and how are you currently moved to tears regarding various aspects of your world? How can you more fully see these moisture-filled expressions of emotion as a source of greater aliveness and strength?


“Draw strength from others.”

“Draw strength from others.”

—Cheryl Strayed, Author of Tiny Beautiful Things

Image from Unsplash by Neil Thomas

To what degree do you consider yourself the rock in your family or community?

How often are you the one to come to the rescue or lend that helping hand in your personal and professional worlds?

About 20 years ago, I overextended myself through a rigorous workout, resulting in a significant case of sciatica. It caused severe back and leg pain, and I missed many days of work.

Beyond the physical pain, I took a very unfamiliar emotional ride, which included frustration, anger, and even a sense of worthlessness. My normal optimistic view on life was flipped, and I did a fair job of playing the “Why Me” victim card.

Surprisingly, letting others serve and support me through it was very difficult. Frequent thoughts of “That’s my job,” or “I’m supposed to do that,” ran through my head.

Eventually, someone must have turned on my gratitude switch, allowing me to more fully accept and embrace many acts of kindness and generosity from family and friends.


When in the past, or recently, have you been reluctant to seek the support of others?

How and in what ways may you more fully seek and draw on the strengths of others in your personal and professional communities?

“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”

“Nothing has more strength than dire necessity.”

—Euripides, classic Greek tragedian

Image from Unsplash by Vicky Sim

It is so sad that in order to see man at his best we often need a crisis to occur.

When lives are on the line, new levels of extraordinary courage and strength are found and mobilized.

Almost every newscast ends on positive notes of heroism, acknowledging this capacity in select individuals, hopefully to engender this quality within us all. In this way, our own strength and inner heroes are aroused to come to the rescue of those in our personal and professional communities who are in need.

What will happen when the dust settles on the pandemic and we get back to whatever “normal” may look like mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and economically?

How might we maintain our individual and collective strength when things are a bit less dire?


What new or greater capacities have you discovered in yourself and within your communities?

How can and will you expand and build on these to proactively better your individual and our collective world in the good and not so good times ahead?

“Sometimes it’s not strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.”

“Sometimes it’s not strength but gentleness that cracks the hardest shells.”

—Richard Paul Evans, contemporary American author

Barry and Wendy with Weston

As a relatively new grandpa, I find it fascinating to watch my daughter, son-in-law, and wife interact with little Weston.

Although he is a very good-natured, happy little boy, he does get cranky, fussy, and a bit difficult to manage from time to time.

On most occasions, the trick that works is gently singing one or more of his favorite songs. Within seconds he calms down and begins to smile.


Where and with whom in your personal or professional life would a bit more gentleness crack some hard shells? What specific steps can and will you take to open others up to your influence?