Are You Living Your Life?

Are you living your life or merely passing through it? The world presents each of us with this great gift, every day. Each morning that I continue to breathe, there are possibilities – new challenging and exciting. Putting my head down, burying my head in the sand, eyes shut tightly doesn’t change the world but it changes how I live in it.

In a few hours another page turns and an arbitrary marker (January 1,2016) begins. This is the best time, or at least as good as any to begin living your life to its fullest potential. In the first week of the new year – do 7 things for the first time, meet 7 people that you don’t know, walk 7 miles, read 7 chapters, share something 7 times, say “I love you” 7 times, celebrate 7 remarkable things.

May 2016 be filled with possibility, passion, prosperity, and problems in perfect proportion.

B

Simple Year End Exercise

1. What brings you the most joy?

2. Why does this bring you joy?

3. What two actions can you take today to have more time for 1?

4. How committed are you to taking these two actions? (1-10)

5. What would it take to move the commitment to 10.

Take 6 or 7 minutes for all the questions. Don’t get bogged down in analysis. Don’t let barriers rise up. Just let the answers flow from you. Write them down. Put this sheet away and reflect on your answers for a day. Tomorrow come back to your answers and jot down what you notice. If you are satisfied and ready for a small step, act on one of your actions. If not answer question 1 again. Rinse and Repeat.

Make These Three Days Positive

Positive or negative, it is your choice. Inside our head, we have the opportunity to change the script. Once edited, the new dialogue will facilitate a re-framing. The process of shifting the focus from negative to positive requires some small changes in behaviour. Geoffrey James posted 57 small changes on Muse. It is definitely worth a read but here are my favourite five.

4. Begin Each Day with Expectation – I try to focus on my preferred future before my feet it the floor at 5am. On the days I resist jumping into the day and staying for a moment to dwell in the possibilities, I find solace.

9. Define “Failure” as “Failing to Take Action” – my serious action bias loves this one. The only wrong thing to do is nothing.

17. Drink More Water – Like most westerners I don’t do a good job of ensuring that I stay hydrated. My body can scream and I can still ignore it so this is my number one small thing to work on.

31. Never Attend Agenda-less Meetings – my biggest pet peeve (after drivers who can’t merge) is wasting my time and that of others sitting in a circle as a way of justifying employment. Set the agenda, stick with the agenda and honour the decisions arising.

55. Work 40 Hours a Week (or Less) – This one I am beginning to master. after years of 70 hour weeks, I am usually heading home as my energy and productivity fades at about 3:30

 

Make Today, Tomorrow and Thursday Positive,

B

 

Everybody is Making Lists

My Top Ten Books for 2015

Not necessarily published this year but books that I read between January and December this year.

10. The  Divine Magician by Peter Rollins Peter Rollins knows one magic trick–now, make sure you watch closely. It has three parts: the Pledge, the Turn, and the Prestige. I did a 5 week online course with Rollins and am taking in his Atheism for Lent series in February.

9. Brief by Joseph McCormack  “Brief “isn’t a nicety, it’s a necessity. It’s the new norm. The problem is most people don’t have the know-how or verbal discipline to do the groundwork and get to the point.

8. The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow Mlodinow shows us how randomness, change, and probability reveal a tremendous amount about our daily lives, and how we misunderstand the significance of everything.

7. The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell is a brilliant and bitter polemic that has lost none of its political impact over time.

6. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer  Performing as a living statue in a wedding dress, she wordlessly asked thousands of passersby for their dollars. When she became a singer, songwriter, and musician, she was not afraid to ask her audience to support her.

5. Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan Drawing on cutting-edge research from behavioral science and economics, Mullainathan and Shafir show that scarcity creates a similar psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need.

4. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. Its about the task you were born to do.

3. Meaningful by Bernadette Jiwa A power read about adding value (especially for our customers) by helping them dicover meaning.

2. The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands I bought this YA title for a grandson, after introducing sands at Wordfest, but really enjoyed the magic and history sewn throughout.

  1. Etta, Russel, Otto and James by Emma Hooper. This won’t be a surprise as I have written about this masterpiece on this blog before. Save to say, it unseated a long standing title from my sacred bundle of 5, to take to a desert island. EOR&J fits neatly between Diamant and Twain.

What were your top reads of 2015?

The Last Sunday of 2016

Another year is coming to a close, another chapter, with lots of loose ends is nearly written and I ponder lasts this morning. What were some of my lasts of 2015? Was there someone I spent time with that was the last time I will see them? Did I go somewhere that I will never return to?  Did I eat something that I won’t taste again? Did I do something that is completely in my past?

I remember my oldest son saying ” we do such a good job of recording our kid’s firsts – first steps, first word … but miss all the lasts. When was the last time that one of the kids crawled into bed with you, after having a bad dream? When did they last come to you crying about a broken relationship? When did they …

I don’t know what to do with the awareness that there are lasts. Maybe every day. I am going to be observant for the remainder of the year and try drink in the ‘lasts’ as much as the busyness allows.

Make Today Remarkable, for someone unexpected,

B

A Second December Frenzy

Black Friday and now Boxing Day. According to USA Today, Brits and Welsh have been officially celebrating ‘boxing day’ since 1871. Back then it wasn’t the mad rush to the malls to try fill the void that was left or the space that remains because some thing that you thought you needed didn’t show up in your Christmas stocking. Having never ventured out to box, my criticism is more philosophical than practical. ( I realize,too late that there is an edge of smuggness in that line (maybe the whole post)).

Maybe asking some questions would be a gentler approach.

What could you possibly need that you don’t already have something like in your cupboard, your closet or on a shelf somewhere else?

What are you trying to say to the world about yourself? Will another purchase make that statement? Is there some other way to dispose of your cash? Would it bring more meaning? Is there someone that you could share an experience with on December 26 who would treasure the memory for a month, a year, forever?

Make this gap, between Christmas and New Year’s meaningful,

B

Breathe in Your Blessings

I watched “White Christmas” last night and was reminded by Bing and Danny and cast that ” if I am worried and can’t sleep, I should count my blessings instead of sheep”. Great specific advise but I would add that we are better when we counting our blessings.

When times are low, I can wallow in the moment and forget the amazing things that I have/that I was given/that are yet to come and dive deep into ‘woe is me’. I don’t do much better when times are grand – I can take everything for granted and stop counting blessings while seeing them as entitlements.

This Christmas season, I am counting my blessings and realize they are so abundant and rich they are. I am in awe of the variety and quality of people in my life. I am mesmerized by the beauty I get to see and the majesty of creation. I am inspired by the freedom I have and the remarkable ways that others use their opportunities. I inhale deeply the love I have and the love I feel for my beloved, our children and grandchildren (my 20). I am embarrassed by all the small blessings (the coffee I have while typing, the good night’s rest that lead me to the computer, the heat and light, the fridge and provisions, the family and friends …

However short lived, I commit (again) to being aware and thankful for the gifts that surround me.

 

Make Today Remarkable, by counting your blessings,

B

Curiousity Didn’t Kill the Cat

You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over. ~ Richard Branson

When you stop being curious, you begin to dig your own grave.  For some the hole gets completed quickly and they mercifully pass. For others they drone into a life full of blah and stifling boredom.  Just behind your right ear (about 10 cm ) is the curiousity bone ( Latin – curiosulus). Every morning before you head into the world, take the index finger of your left hand and rub vertically on the the curiosulus for 30 seconds and wonder what unimagined event, idea, opportunity or challenge might arrive in your field of vision today. Take the next 5 minutes to ponder how that instance might change your disposition, position or opinion.

After activating curiousity, it needs a bit of care and feeding so you will need to to repeat this exercise at 11:21 and 19:37. Just before you go to bed take the middle finger of your right hand and massage the curiosulus horizontally. This embeds the new ideas and memories into your bank and creates fresh space for tomorrow’s adventures.

Make Today (and tomorrow) Remarkable, by being curious,

B

25 Wishes

From an excellent post on For Impact by Tom Suddes here are some of my wishes for you.

  1. Hold hands with someone, every day.
  2. Walk into each day with your head held high.
  3. Resolve to be involved not absolved.
  4. Use your strengths to strengthen others.
  5. Try some one thing new every day.
  6. Smile more.
  7. Sing your own song loud enough for someone else to hear.
  8. Seek fairness in all things.
  9. Rest in silence every day.
  10. Breathe deeply.
  11. Read deeply.
  12. Listen closely.
  13. Give away something you ‘love’
  14. share experiences with friends.
  15. Be hopeful, helpful and graceful.
  16. Pick up your stuff and some of someone else’s.
  17. Write a manifesto in 140 characters.
  18. Make ‘that’ call.
  19. Celebrate everything.
  20. Change one thing this week.
  21. start a new tradition.
  22. Dance like tomorrow might not come.
  23. Laugh, at yourself and with those you love.
  24. Share your heart’s desires with at least one person.
  25. Seek hope and embrace her when she comes running.

 

B

Make an Impression Immediately

In good times and not so good, we meet new people who have sources, resources, ideas and contacts that can add value to our lives. We meet men and women who we may never see again and some who may become a close confidant. Being intentional about how we approach these encounters is hospitality at it’s best.

Lolly Daskal of Inc offers 13 Hints to improve the chance meeting.

Here are my favorite 4.

1. Neutralize the Fight-or-Flight Response – this is hard to do because some ancestral conditioning flashes impressions and judgment to the front of mind (from the amygdala) that high jacks neutrality. Being aware of this and turning off the first impression gives time to make an honest appraisal.

10. Be Curious, Open-Minded, and Interested – Be curious to understand, be open-minded to engage and interested to be respectful.

12. Have a Personal Statement – Craft your 30 second message, manifesto, before you enter the room. Be engaged in any response you get rather than defensive.

8. Synchronize – This takes awareness and sensitivity to those around you. If you struggle with this, you will alienate and likely feel an awkwardness in the conversation.

Make Everyday Remarkable, by appreciating every encounter,

B