Self Improvement

Popeye Arms

Are you exercising regularly but focusing on the same routine? Like Popeye the Sailor Man you may end up with huge forearms and tiny ineffective muscles everywhere else.

popeye

I worry that many of us are exercising our brains but the routine is so predictable that we are growing giant frontal lobes ( not a physical representation but a metaphor for what I see happening). I spent time with three different groups over the past week and discovered that they were well read and well versed in a narrow band that gave them agreement comfort. If we don’t stretch away from the echoes bouncing around in our heads, we end up with a distorted image, likely uni-dimensional of the world that we live in.

I was with 1300 bright, interested, motivated people last week who were okay being pushed within a very small bandwidth. They felt thinking out of the box required that they keep their bodies inside and maybe let their nose sneak out and smell the air. There was an opportunity to be challenged, checked, changed and choices were waiting to be made but there was a lot of escape hatches offered and most people retreated to the same thoughts they were having when they walked in.

I wonder if Trumpamania and Brexit are manifestations of getting to the edge and ‘remembering that the world is really flat’ and pulling back, out of fear, into something that sounds vaguely familiar (and safe). Most troubling is the polarity that single-minded opinions, confirmation conversations, and willfully blind tribal loyalty encourage. The more you focus on bicep curls, the bigger your biceps get but now those tiny calves don’t give you a leg to stand on.

Enter into open and curious conversations with people, books and ideas that you don’t understand and/or disagree with.

B

 

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Turning a Deaf Ear

After yesterday’s post, I received 5 emails from readers who said ” I don’t have any art to make”. This was sad and telling.

I am told, by my beloved,  that I can exhibit ‘selective hearing’ – only being aware of what I want to hear. This can be rude and hurtful if done with other people but may be helpful if you can hone it for conversations you are having with yourself.

What if my heart was screaming “say something, do something, this isn’t right” and I tuned  out the voice? If the gift of fear was warning me to “stay away from this scheme” and I ignored it, the consequences might be serious. “You are remarkable” comes into my head and I deny it. ” Bob, try again” is the encouragement I ignore.

It is tricky business selecting which of my voices I should honor and trust and which are the voices of procrastination, dishonesty, anxiety. How do I know it is anticipation speaking and not naivete?

Lewis Smedes says “Seeing reality for what it is is what we call discernment. The work of discernment is very hard.” It is hard  given the judgments of the world. Unless I can discern, I cannot be certain I am acting in the highest and best manner. “However, when I feel aware, expanded and full of love, I must be doing something right (and conversely, when I feel bored, impatient and regretful I am not listening to the highest voice).”~ Sal Rachelle

Discernment is an act of awareness, whereas judgment as an act of ego. Practicing discernment  is like everything else and contrary to the adage it doesn’t simply make it perfect. Practice only makes permanent, if there isn’t reflection and accountability. Doing this practice alone is possible but can be earned and learned more easily and more quickly with a coach. I know that I have been assisted by the wisdom, challenge and accountability of a formal coach and my clients have added remarkable value and insights  to their lives through feedback, accountability, courageous goals, tension  and some systems thinking.

As always, I am available and open to discussing how coaching might add value to your life. Contact bob@remarkablepeople.ca

Make Today Remarkable, by being aware rather than judgmental,

B

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Do Something Slightly Uncomfortable, Today

My comfort zone can be a trap. Like a big sagging hammock, it can pull me down and lull me into a satisfied stupor. When I recognize the problem I can usually drag myself out by doing something outside the zone. Jumping on a trampoline, walking in the rain, reading an author who I don’t really appreciate … A couple hours of uncomfortableness reminds me that the status quo and stability lull me towards mediocrity. In order to be near my best I need tension in my thoughts, my actions, my intentions and my expectations.

Taking someone or something for granted or being taken for granted is disrespectful and destructive. Add some spice. color, absurdity to add friction and see  if any of the sparks light a new approach.

Simply walking in the rain can make you taller, sharper, handsomer, quicker …

waking in the rain

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Too Weak for Gossip

The Human Brain is too Weak for Gossip by Neal Bearden in a December HBR article begins with ” Gossip is evaluative talk among familiars about a third party who is not present.”  This is all too common and usually goes unpunished and for the most part is thoughtless (without thought and without care). The  evaluation may only be based in opinion or bias and that too often goes unchallenged. What gives gossip its stickiness?

Is it the herd gathering to claim a slight by a common foe? Does some common prejudice or imagined  wrongdoing erase the need for valid metrics? Is it that cowardice loves company and rather than discuss the concern openly with the third person? Or have we just become less productive and more petty?

Maybe all of that is true or none of it but my challenge is for you to examine your motives before you drag someone into a gossip gabfest? Is there something of value that can/will be achieved? Likely not. If you have something to say – be courageous and say it. If you can’t, it likely isn’t worth saying.

Make Today Remarkable by doing something remarkable,

Bob