Sunday, February 28, 2016

Is your life purpose: what you have, what you do or who you are?

Many people in life send mixed messages to their family, customers, employees or even total strangers creating confusion, a lack of trust and yes a lack of integrity with what they believe, stand for or how they will be remembered or even who they really are.

Is it fame you seek or fortune, power, wealth, love, influence, achievement, control, stuff, recognition, approval, success, all of these or something else?  Or, is it inner peace, contentment, service, joy, happiness or salvation and the inner sense that your life was more than what you had or what you did while you were here?

Having travelled the world for over forty years meeting thousands of people in all walks of life in many cultures you would be amazed at how many people want the latter examples, but believe they can achieve them with the former ones.

When the end comes for each of us – and it will one day - what do you think will really matter or how will we be remembered even if we are remembered?  Will it be the car we drove, the house we lived in, our net worth or the lives we touched in a positive way and a legacy of compassion, understanding, support and giving?  What do you think?  How do you want to be remembered?  What do you want your legacy to be?

You’ve heard it – you can’t take it with you.  Yes, I’m sure a few of you are thinking – but while I was here I had a great life – travelled the world, ate in the best restaurants and had a life of pleasure.  But let me ask you – did you live a life of joy?  Did you live a life for others or for yourself?  Did you give more than you received?
When I look in the eyes of others I see superficial desires and dreams but when given the chance and the ability to see into their hearts I often see pain, disappointment, regret and a sense of emptiness no matter their status, fame or wealth.

I have had the pleasure of knowing many millionaires and a couple of billionaires during my life as well as many people who struggled to survive day to day every day and I am amazed at how life’s simple and free pleasures meant more to them than any amount of money could ever buy.  I have stood by the bedsides of a few friends who left here with a smile instead of sadness and a few who left with regret.  But, for all of them it was over.  No second chances.  And you know what were the common traits in both groups?
The folks that left with a smile achieved their dreams of service, kindness and caring while the others still had far too many things on their financial bucket lists – never to be realized.  How sad.

But this article is not about them or me but you. Are you living your life searching for what you want or what you can share, what you own or what you can give, what you accomplish or how you can help others achieve, what you do or how you can help others rise up and what you meant to others or how others could contribute to you?
Until you can honestly answer these questions and others and live with an inside-out integrity consistent with basic human values, purpose and consistency, I will guarantee you will live a life of uncertainty, disappointment and frustration.

Is it worth it?  Time will tell!  And, it’s your choice!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Are you winning the battle against fear?

The single factor that determines a person’s success, happiness and overall satisfaction with life is their ability to manage the emotion of fear.

The inability to successfully handle fear regardless of the circumstances you face will have a negative impact on your decisions, ability, talent, success, inner peace, relationships and every other area in your life day to day.

Fear is the universal nemesis. It is the common enemy that stands between all of your potential and ability to act decisively in times of uncertainty.  It prevents you from trusting your inner guidance system and it stands between you and all of your dreams and their fulfillment. Fear is the number one cause of illness and stress and it haunts you relentlessly as you go through the situations and challenges of each day.

If it is your desire to find inner peace, happiness and enduring success you must learn how to disarm this emotion once and for all.  The critical thing to keep in mind however is that only you can conquer your fear.  Yes, you can read all of the self-help wisdom from others.  You can attend seminars and even participate in some form of counseling but in the end how you handle this emotion is up to you.  Only you can do the inner work necessary to once and for all eliminate this debilitating and relentless thought pattern from your mind.

Why do people fear so many things in life?  Is it the need for control or to be able to know the future?  Is it the simple fact that they don’t believe they are capable of handling what’s around the next corner?  Is it a belief that life should unfold as they feel it should?  Or is it simply the lack of self-belief and self-confidence that no matter what comes into their life they can handle it?  Yes, Yes, Yes and Yes.

Ever felt afraid of what will happen tomorrow or next year?  Feeling fear today for some situation that you are uncertain about?  If yes, think about a simple truth – you are focusing on what might be in the future rather than what is happening now. 

It’s a proven fact that over 80% of the things people fear never come to pass.  So why do so many people waste all of their now moments losing the value of them to something that will most likely never be?

I for one have had my share of fears for what the future held but in retrospect I can tell you at the end of the day I often wondered why I let this debilitating emotion control my life.  On introspection I finally figured out, and it took a lot of effort, that I didn’t trust God and myself that all would turn out as I hoped or desired.

Is this arrogance, a lack of faith or some other self-imposed attitude or belief that I did not posses the ability and confidence to handle whatever came my way?

I finally decided that I could no longer let what might one day be, control what was now.  I had to surrender and accept that no matter what crossed my path was there to help me grow, mature and learn to trust myself and my Creator.

This process took time, patience and courage but in the end I won the battle against fear.  How are you doing?  Are you working on eliminating this emotional threat from your mindset or does it still from time to time get in the way of your progress, creativity, success and or happiness?

I am confident there are many ways to once and for all eliminate this deadly emotion from your consciousness but the technique I used was a simple process of displacement.  Let me explain.

Take a full glass of water and gradually pour sand into the glass.  If you continue this process of displacing the water with the sand at some point the glass will no longer have any water in it and will be full of sand.  Think of the water as fear and the sand as any other positive feeling or emotion. 

So as simple as this process might sound it does require a few actions on your part.

      1)    You have to recognize that fear is in some way causing you to lose all of the joy,
           happiness, success and inner peace in life.

2)    You have to buy some sand.

3)    You have to keep pouring the sand into the glass no matter how long it takes or how uncomfortable it might be.

4)    You have to turn off all of the outside influences that keep you locked in the fear state of mind.

I don’t care if you use affirmations, visualization, psychological anchors, prayer, meditation or some other approach.  The key is that every time you feel any form of fear you learn to stop giving your attention to it and displace it with other actions or thoughts.  So if you want to eliminate fear in your life and be all that you can be and do all that you can do.  You must eradicate fear from your mind – once and for all. So, go buy some sand.         

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Is the glass half full or half empty?  Will this product, policy, strategy work or fail?  Can I really achieve my dreams or am I living in fantasy-land? 

These and hundreds of other questions are asked every day by well-meaning and hard- working people.

Lionel Tiger in his great book, Optimism, the Biology of Hope, written over forty years ago discusses how optimism impacts a person’s attitudes, outlook, success and health.  He suggests that people who are less optimistic about life, the present and the future tend to get sick more frequently and often die sooner.  In the book, Learned Optimism by Segleman, he discusses how each of us begins every project, activity, task, relationship, career etc. with either a YES or a NO in their heart - YES I can and I will or NO I can’t and I won’t.

You can’t measure optimism.  You can’t bottle it, regulate it, run out of it or manufacture it but you can learn to develop it if you will only take the time and effort.  Some people feel it is better to be realistic than optimistic – why set yourself up for disappointment?  Tell me what is realistic?  Looking back over the past 100 years.  Where would we be if: Edison, Bell, Gates, Ford, Land, Disney etall. were realistic?  If their attitude had been, it hasn’t been done yet so I guess it can’t be done!

There are numerous benefits to having an optimistic outlook.  And just as many pitfalls in not having one.  Here are a few of the benefits.


You will achieve more, you will have more fun. you will be happier, you will have more friends, you will enjoy life more, you will be healthier.


The pessimists of the world will laugh, smile or even gloat when your optimism seems to give you no real obvious benefits.  But no one can determine the hidden payback that may not be evident to society but is a known in your own heart and mind.

If you are wondering, questioning or challenging my thinking here I’ll leave you with a thought.  If I am positive and optimistic about something and I am wrong, what have I lost.  If you are negative or pessimistic about something and you are right what have you gained?

In the end it really isn’t about whether we were right or wrong, negative or positive or optimistic or pessimistic.  The only thing that matters is did we live a peaceful, happy and contented life with whatever views we held.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Can you let go of – yesterday and tomorrow?

The most common challenge for most people is to stay focused in now rather than the issues, memories, regrets or mistakes of yesterday or the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow or spending time with the wonderful memories of yesterday.  By this I am not suggesting that planning and goalsetting are not important and valuable exercises or use of time, but that when we let the negative influences of what happened yesterday or may happen tomorrow have too great an impact on today’s actions, thoughts or decisions we will tend to let these have too much control over our life rather than the reality that is now.

All the regret and angst of yesterday’s actions, mistakes or decisions can be relived.  All the worries about tomorrow will not change what happens next and living now in either of these mindsets is just stupid – yes I said stupid. No matter how smart, wealthy or good you are you can’t change anything in the past and no matter how smart, good or wealthy you are you can’t guarantee anything tomorrow.

Now keep in mind I’m not referring to simple things like what you eat, how you dress or how you drive but the many aspects of life you can’t control and these are far too many to list.  But here are a few to consider;

-you can control how you drive but not how the person behind you or in front of you drives.

-you can control what you eat but not how it impacts your body.

-you can control what you say but not how others react to it or interpret it.

-You can control how you spend your money but not all of the circumstances that may be associated with this spending or investing.

-you can control what you read or watch but not how it impacts your mind.

-you can control your decisions but not all of their consequences.

Shall I go on?

I have many wonderful memories of family, world travels and friendships but they are just that – memories.  I have goals that I have worked toward for years and are still not reality and I have accomplished things I never dreamed possible.  So what’s the answer?  Stop setting goals? No. Stop dreaming? No. Stop hoping and planning? No.  Stop spending time remembering? No. But . . . are any of these getting in the way of cherishing what is in my life now, this day or this minute?

We are all going to die.  It’s a simple yet often complicated fact.  How, when, or where is not possible to know or forecast so what’s the answer to all of these life options?  Quit, give in, settle or hope, dream, pray, ask and wait?  Frankly I don’t have an answer for you but I do for me and that is simply – let go of yesterday and don’t get attached to tomorrow.

I will share one of my many life mantras’ with you – I will be excited if it happens and I won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t.  And one other – I am on God’s schedule not mine.

How about you?  Stuck in some aspect of the past? Fretting and worrying about some element of tomorrow? I’ll leave you with a simple question – why?