Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Eight words than can change your life.

Eight “L’s” for a contented life

Tim Connor

I thought I would keep things simple with this article since the average adult attention span is less than 15 seconds.  And, yes, there are many more words than eight words or concepts that when interpreted correctly and integrated into our activities, decisions, behaviors and life in general can have a significant positive impact on our life outcomes and consequences – but here are a few that I believe are an important foundation.

FYI – Starting in January 2018 for the first 26 weeks of the year - each week I am going to publish a new article focusing on eight specific words –  on a different letter in the alphabet (starting from A-Z). I thought I would get a head start on 2018 with the letter L (giving you a preview of this process before it starts in a few weeks).  Starting January 8th 2018 if you want to see each week’s article on the words I have selected – check my blog or my website every Monday and click on the heading - Wisdom.

OK, here are the first eight as a teaser;

Learn – If you are not learning you are stuck.  Doesn’t matter whether you are twenty-five or seventy.  We were not put on the earth for a few years to learn in high school or college and then just float through the rest of our lives. Learning is today becoming easier and harder for many reasons but in the end if you don’t make it a life mission to learn every day – why are you still here? Learn something new every day.

Love – I’m not referring here to romantic love but the mindset of love.  We have two basic emotional states that determine the quality of our lives – love and fear – that’s it.  Both of these have many sub emotions that they support whether joy or anger, peace or hate, forgiveness or jealousy. So, the question is which determines your actions, decisions, behavior and consequences today – the negative ones or the positive ones?

Let go – Sooner or later we all need to let go of something – regret, pain of loss, skills, activities, success, good looks, people etc.  Whether it’s giving up skiing or scrabble, your high school sweetheart or lost loved one – holding on for too long causes unnecessary ongoing emotional pain that will impact other current circumstances, abilities or relationships in a negative way. Letting go isn’t easy but it is necessary if you want to move on with peace, success, happiness, contentment and less stress.

Listen – Do you talk too much? I know I do as a global professional speaker I get paid to talk but you what I learned a long time ago – I can get paid more if I listen better and more.  I don’t care if it’s a spouse, customer, employee, one of your kids or a total stranger you learn nothing while you are talking that can help you become wiser, get smarter or improve a relationship.  Youi can only do these when you listen.

Lighten up – Most people take life far too seriously.  I recall a quote I read years ago by one of my mentors Og Mandino who told me to “Take what you do seriously but who you are lightly.”  I asked him what he meant by that and his response was classic, “Tim, you’re here for a little while and then you are gone – your legacy will be who you touched with your life while you were here not what you did.”

Laugh – It’s a medical proven fact that people who laugh more live longer and get sick less than people who don’t.  Know anyone who can’t or won’t laugh?  Walks around with a constant frown on their face? Or Is always critical and complaining about something?  Well, guess what – all their frowning and complaining doesn’t change anything but what it does do is shorten their life. I’m not talking here about constant joke telling but a light and playful spirit that sees the good rather than the bad, the positive rather than the negative and the hope rather than the despair.

Lead – Leadership or leading is not being the School Principle, Company CEO or State Senator.  Leading is setting an example.  Yes, during history there have been many negative and disruptive leaders but there have been more creative and positive ones.  The answer to a better organization, family, church, school or government is not a bunch of elected leaders but an entire group that takes seriously the simple role of setting a positive example and living congruently with what they say.

Labor   I’ll close this one with a simple concept – Nothing worthwhile is free or easy.  If you want something in life – a better relationship, better career, better business better health – better anything it takes effort and not mindless effort, but effort grounded in wisdom, patience and integrity.

And your thoughts are?  What words (with the letter L) would you add and why?

Sunday, November 26, 2017

21 of my life mantras

21 Of My Life Mantras

Tim Connor

We all have our favorite sayings, verses, quotes or just simple and honest ideas that in many ways each day govern or direct our lives either directly or indirectly.  Over the years I have developed what I call my “Life Mantras List” that are the primary and critical thoughts or concepts that I use to live, work and play each day and as this year (one I am grateful for - for many reasons) comes to an end I thought I would share just 21 of them that are the foundation as to how I try and live my life each day. There is no order to the following as I have not included all of the items on my list but just some of the major ones that I thought might trigger some action, reflection or introspection on your part. Please accept that I am in no way suggesting that if you don’t have a list, your items are not the same as mine or any other criteria - that mine is better than or more appropriate than yours. Just sharing.  By the way, just to be clear some of these are not my original ones but things people over the years have taught me.

Since this will be my last article submission for this year – I offer you my very best wishes to you and your friends, family, customers or co-workers for a safe holiday season and a healthy and prosperous 2018.

Here’s my list;

I am on God’s schedule. This one doesn’t need any further explanation.

I’m just getting warmed up. I don’t ever plan to retire – why would I want to stop doing what I love – speaking around the world and writing in my spare time.  I’m not famous, a celebrity or wealthy but I am having a blast and hopefully getting better every day.

If it happens I’ll get excited if it doesn’t I won’t be disappointed. We can’t control much in life.  So, the best thing we can do in my opinion is do our best to do what we can and then let go of the outcomes.

It’s not over till it’s over. Too many people die emotionally before they do physically. If you are one of these people why?  Live while you still can.  Yes, age and health issues can change lifestyle, but they don’t have to eliminate it.

God is in control.  Again – this one speaks for itself.

No excuses will ever be enough when you give up on your mission. Doing your best is no guarantee that you will win or achieve your goals or dreams.  But not doing your best sure won’t work in your favor.

This life is not about me but you. I was put here to serve not be the center of attention or the center of your world.

Life is short and fragile – you are here for a littler while and then gone forever. Having survived a few recent health challenges, I can tell you – live to the fullest while you can.

I will learn as much as I can every day and share everything I learn.  Read, learn, grow and share every day, otherwise what’s the point?

I was not put on the earth for your approval. Like me – don’t like me – approve of me – don’t approve of me – I have to be me.  When I try to be who or what you want - I lose me – not going to happen folks, no matter how hard you try.

I refuse to grow up. I am forty years + younger than my age and with each passing year I intend to get younger and not older.

I will say thank you all day – every day. Again, this says it all.  No matter what or who comes into my life and whatever their or its agenda I will just say thank you.

Every day is a gift. Not talking here about presents, money, health or anything. Just that far too many people are not given the gift of life today.  We were – so cherish it and stop whining, complaining etc.

Failure is necessary to succeed. I have failed at more things and relationships than I have succeeded at during my life but each of them has taught me more about life and its value and purpose than any of the successes.  So, bring them on.

This too shall prepare me. One of my favorite people gave me this line.  It’s not this too shall pass (common phrase) but – well, read it again.

You are never too old or too young to dream. So, stop acting your age and go for it.

Quitting is stupid. Do I need to explain this one?   If I do well, no disrespect intended but you need to go back to kindergarten.

Don’t wait for God to start you – keep going till He stops you.  I love this one.

You never fail till you stop trying. Bought this sign years ago when I was taking my kids horseback riding.  It was in the gift shop.  It’s been on my wall for many, many years since that day.

It’s all trivia. You are born.  One day you will die.  Everything in between is trivia.

My age is just a number. “My age is none of my business.”  Mark Twain.

Da, That’s it folks . . .

Monday, November 20, 2017

You have only three choices.

OK, you have three choices –

resist, accept or consider.

Tim Connor

I know what you are thinking – three choices about what?  No, I’m not a psychic, but the title is basically saying in life we generally have three choices when it comes to decisions, actions and behavior.  Consider – A job offer? (three choices) Start a new relationship? (three choices) End a relationship? (three choices) Move? Invest? Retire? Start a business? Sell something?  Buy something?  (three choices).  See where I/m going with this?  Not yet?  OK, how about you are sitting in one of my seminars and as I share my ideas, approaches, solutions etc. you sit there thinking – this guy is an idiot or -  he is a genius or – I’m not sure where he is going with this, but I’ll give him a little more time?  (Three choices). Ever been there?  There now with a decision that needs to be made or an option you are considering that needs action?

I’m not trying to make something difficult or challenging seem simple or trite but ask you to look at most of life’s choices in a more practical way rather than what I hear so often “It’s complicate!”

What I’d like to share in this brief article is what contributes to which position we take based on the title regardless of what we are facing, dealing with or has come into our life unexpectedly – do we resist – say no, accept – say yes or consider – say I’ll think about it?

Yes, I could go on for pages and there are thousands of books that address this issue but let me give you my short version. (say yes!!!)

Why we say no (resist) – sure we all know about the impact fear has on our life, decisions and actions but have you ever considered what fake fear (yes borrowing a line from politics – but it applies here) has on your actions?  What is fake fear – it’s simply stuff that doesn’t warrant real fear in the present, but for whatever reason we talk ourselves into being fearful.  Should I ask her/him out?  Should I ask for a raise?  Should I _______?  There are literally hundreds if not thousands of - should I’s or should I not’s - that we don’t or do - do because of the impact of self-generated fear.  (Yes, I just made that up).  We convince ourselves that there is real (emotional or physical) danger with or without this action or decision.  And where does this come from?  I’ll tell you – 10 years of early mental and emotional (and sometimes physical) conditioning given to you by your early environment (parents, teachers, friends, relatives etc.).  They drilled into you – you can’t, you shouldn’t, you won’t, you will never, and you know what – you are still hearing those messages no matter how subtle or distant.  You are still behaving according to their rules, guidance or expectations.  Enough – that was years ago – you are a new you – turn them off, let them go and no longer give them power over your life.

Why we say yes (accept) – we all have real and imaginary desires, goals, dreams and hopes and we really want them.  Some we work hard to achieve while others remain in our “I hope someday” column but that’s what they are – hopes or dreams that we want, think we want, believe we want etc.  Ever had someone give you a special present you didn’t ask for, expect or deserve?  Did you refuse it? Return it? Probably not because deep inside you feel/believe you are worthy of it, deserve it or want it even though you didn’t even know it existed. 
Ever had a conversation with someone where all you did was keep nodding yes, saying – yeah or just keep agreeing with everything they uttered?  Where did this come from?  Read the above example (resist) again but this time just replace the fear and negative stuff with positive stuff – you know why – because the outcome has the same contributor or source – what you were taught, instructed, guided, conditioned etc. to believe before you were eleven years old.  Try it.  I’ll do one for you.  “Name” – have you ever thought about starting your own business?” “You know I always have but just didn’t know what the best time would be, or circumstances were - to begin.” “What are you waiting for?”  OK - here comes either the fake fear or the fake optimism – you will either convince yourself that now is the time (say yes – accept) or feel uncertain (say no – resist).  Or, the next camp which is to say – maybe (I’ll think about it). Think about something in your life right now where you are either in camp one (resisting) or camp two (accepting).  What’s contributing to the thoughts, feelings, emotions or actions? And where are these coming from?

Why we say maybe (I’ll consider) -  If you are still with me - I’m sure you know where I am going with the third option or choice.  Yes, you’re right – the maybe or I’ll consider it - is a mix of both camp one and camp two above and you just are not sure at this point which way to go.  Well, let me tell you if you aren’t sure which way will be your final verdict.  Whichever is the strongest in your mind, (you can’t or won’t lessons or can and will ones) history and experience will ultimately sway or convince you to go in that direction.

So, you have some no’s in your past, but you also have some yes’s there also.  I’ll leave you with a final question – you are considering something new or different (what should I do or say) you already know which way you want to go (and even will go) and you are just waiting to receive, feel or experience enough validation, evidence, proof or confirmation to admit your decision, choice or action.  Am I right?  Think about it.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

How do you feel about yourself?

How do you feel about yourself?
Tim Connor

This might, at first seem like a silly question – and probably one you have never asked yourself. I know I never have and I have written entire manuals that are nothing but page after page of questions - go figure.

How about another quickie – why is this question important?

Without appearing to be looking for either praise or pity let me share what this question did for me the first time someone asked it of me.  By the way, this person died over 100 years ago but is one of my mentors.  When I was recently re-reading one of his books after a few years this question just hit me between the eyes like a baseball bat.  Trust me – I never saw it coming, but when I put the book down and thought about it seriously - both tears and laughter filled my head for a long time.

You might be asking at this point – why – this question isn’t that big of a deal.  OK, well let me ask you a few more and then you can decide whether you want to finish this article or not.

Have any regrets in life?

Ever disappointed anyone? Yourself?

Ever felt abandoned or betrayed by someone?

Ever felt stuck?  Lost? Confused?

Ever asked yourself – what is this or why did this happen to me?

Ever felt like you got something negative you didn’t deserve?

I could go on but if all of your answers to the above were no – well - have a nice day. Yeah right!

First – notice that I didn’t use the words – describe yourself, defend yourself, define yourself, explain yourself or promote yourself. How do you feel about yourself – in other words – how and why do you – like, approve, love, accept, validate and justify yourself?  Answer these questions in writing - one at a time – take a few minutes and when you have finished the exercise come back and finish the article.

Did you do the exercise?  Let me guess – you just kept reading!  Oh well - here’s the rest of the article, hopefully it will have value for you even though you didn’t do your homework.

There are many contributors to how and why we feel about ourselves from time to time and just a few are – self-esteem, fears caused by either real or imaginary emotional or physical threats, the need for others’ approval, the desire to be in control of all areas of our life, the desire to avoid adversity, challenges or even failure and the need for validation and appreciation.

If we handle these or get the ones we need or value as needed on schedule and from the sources, we feel necessary guess what – we will generally feel great about ourselves and our life.  However, if we fail to get any or the ones we feel vital we will tend to let the absence of these have a negative influence on our self-perception and thus our feelings about how our life is, is going or how it might be in the future.

Keep in mind all of these self-emotions, reactions and responses are caused by expectations and often if not, always these expectations are not grounded in reality but controlled by ego needs, or insecurities caused by any number of situations, people or circumstances in our past.  The real issue is – how do these feelings contribute to the quality of our life?  It’s really simple but not easy – negative stuff tends to make us feel negative and therefore think negative stuff and these tend to create negative circumstances that drive negative emotions and feelings.  The opposite is true – positive stuff tends to make us feel positive and positive feelings generally create positive outcomes.  Neither of these are absolutes - as I said – they tend to.

So, the real question is – how can we learn to always feel good about ourselves no matter what is going on in our life, who is in it and/or what is missing etc.?
One of the topics I discuss in some of my seminars is – are you an inside-out person or an outside-in person.  Let me explain.

Outside-in people turn over the quality or the responsibility of their lives and how they react, accept, deal with etc. to outside circumstances or people i.e. the weather, traffic, long lines, unpleasant people, poor service, flat tires – you name it - if it happens to them they go into blame mode, whine mode, complain mode, anger mode- whatever.

Inside-out people just accept what is happening whether they like it or not, feel they deserve it not and deal with it.  They don’t scream, yell, panic, blame – whatever – they just wait, fix the tire etc. and move on.

So, before we wrap this up let me share a few ideas on how to better manage life’s circumstances that contribute to how we feel about ourselves. I call these my Life ”Mantras.” In no special order here are just a few of them; If you want the whole list let me know – it’s on me.

-If it happens I’ll get excited if it doesn’t I won’t be disappointed.

-I was not put on the earth for your approval.

-I can’t control much but IK can control me.

-If I’m thinking it it’s impacting me.

-Every day I can learn something important if I’m open and willing.

-We are here for a little while and then we are gone forever.

-I am on God’s schedule not mine.

-Every day is a gift.

-It is what it is.

-My life does not revolve around yours.

-Failure, adversity and trials are necessary to grow and get better and wiser.

-Gratitude and appreciation of others are more important than selfies.

-We’re born then we die – everything in between is trivia.

-If you don’t ask you will never know.

-It’s not over till it’s over.

-My age is none of my business.

-What can you lose that you don’t really need.

-Our dreams should be better than our memories.

-If you always tell the truth you don’t have to remember what you said.

Got any of your own that you use to help you deal with issues, people, challenges in a positive way so that they don’t have a negative impact on your day, life, career, relationships etc.?

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Is technology stealing the quality of your life?

Is technology the answer to

life’s present and future challenges?

Tim Connor

Let me be perfectly clear from the outset – I am not against technology, change, AI, transformation or the steps we take into the future.  Also, I’m sure many of you will take issue with some of my points that follow – remember – truth is not what you or I think it is but – what it is.  But let me also be clear that I believe that not all of these advances will improve humanity’s ability to deal with many of its core issues such as; conflict, separation, loneliness, uncertainty, decision making, inner peace, fear, the need for love and acceptance, life meaning and purpose.

Trust me – your latest iPhone version, Facebook connection and iPad app are not going to solve your issues of patience, the need for control, stressors, but let me guess – at this point I have lost a large percentage of people who started reading this article and came to the conclusion that I am out touch, living in the past or just don’t get it?  For you folks check back with me in a few years and let’s chat about how technology has improved your overall life and its fundamental desires, needs and challenges.  For the rest of you who have an open mind, let me share what I believe are the positives as well as the negatives of our gradual addiction to any device or technology in general that we feel is vital for our existence and the ultimate achievement of our human purpose on the earth.

The age-old questions for thousands of years that have still not been answered – where did we come from, why are we here and where are we going still plague most of humanity and yet every year more and more technological progress is made.  Yes, technology may make some cures more successful and rapid, it may improve transportation and our ability to more quickly grab information that is vital and valuable. But consider - stress is still increasing, the divorce rate is the same as it was in the 50’s.  “Or, how about suicide rates among those 35 to 64 years old they have increased 28 percent (32 percent for women, 27 percent for men). The greatest increases in suicide rates were among people aged 50 to 54 years (48 percent) and 55 to 59 years (49 percent).  

Why?  There is more technology and information available today than at any time in history.  Isn’t it helping?  How about obesity - more than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese today. Adult obesity rates are highest in the United States. Obesity rates are projected to increase dramatically by 2030. Got an iPhone that will solve that?

Let me add before I forget what I believe is an important factor – one of the most critical things vital for success, happiness and inner peace is not information but wisdom and yes, information is a valuable contributor to wisdom but if you rely only on it – sooner or later your information will not benefit you but contribute to your life chaos.

You might think at this point I’m being negative but no matter where you look – in some segment of society technology may have many advantages but it isn’t solving many of life’s critical issues and trust me it never will.

There are more books, YouTube segments, motivational speakers, psychiatrists, life coaches available today than at any time in history and yet we still have many of the same problems people have faced for years  such as; impatience and how it leads to stress and then death, conflict and how it leads to separation and loneliness, fear and how it contributes to illness, uncertainty and change and how they lead to insecurity.

Had enough of the negatives?  I know I have.  So, Tim what’s the point of this article – what are you trying to say?  Glad you asked.  Let me briefly share what I believe are the basic causes and some simple solutions.

Before I do however, I want to go on record - during my career I have been a big advocate and supporter of books and studies by some of the world’s most trusted futurists, trend setters and thinkers who were sharing their insight, research and wisdom with the world.

There are some basic human needs that have not changed for thousands of years and are still relevant today – in no order here are just a few – the need for control, the desire for acceptance, answers to some of life’s critical questions, the fear of uncertainty, the concern of conflict and its impact and the need for connection.  Yes, there are others but let’s just briefly discuss these as they relate to technology and its benefits and or drawbacks to dealing with these.

Ever been to a social media site and seen an old flame, buddy or friend who was now more successful, wealthier, better looking or more connected or famous than you? How did you feel – glad, envious, sad, jealous – something else?

Ever received an email or text from someone wanting to end a relationship?

Ever gotten lost cause your GPS lady was in a bad mood? Just kidding but I’m sure you get my point.  Yes, technology has and will continue to solve many of life’s challenges and needs as it continues to advance but my question is simply – are you letting it replace the human element in your life, relationships, career or business?

Do you spend more time on your iPad, iPhone or computer than you do talking with or to – friends, spouse, employees, children, customers or friends?  Statistics now say that the average person spends between 6-9 hours a day looking at a screen!!!  I’ll let that speak for itself.

So, the answer – just a brief look at a few things to consider.

Words are important – Mark Twain once said, “if there is no malice in your heart there can’t be malice in your words.” Words matter – the ones you say to others and the ones you say to yourself.

Intent is critical – There are two types of intent – real intent and stated intent. Know the difference? Simple one is what you say and the other is what you do.

Beliefs are the foundation – Everything you decide, do, say, feel and have or don’t is the result of your foundation of beliefs. If you want something in life to change – you have to start, there.

Validation or self – People who make life about service to others have a greater impact on society than the world of “selfies”.

Gratitude vs. ego – People who come at life with gratitude and appreciation live longer and are healthier than those who don’t.

Everything is perception and mindsets – No one looks at anything the same.  Everything you think, believe, feel, decide is driven by your mental interpretation (perception) of others, circumstances and life.

Closeness and connection – Yes, solitude is valuable, but no one wants to spend all of their time separated from others.  We all want, once in a while or more often, to feel the human touch.

Humility is the difference – You will never be the best looking, smartest, most clever, best, wealthiest etc. person in the room.  Yes, maybe once in a while but it will all depend on which room you are in.

Conflict is normal – Why? Because we all have our own personal version of - right and wrong, good and bad, smart or stupid etc.

Change is constant – Change has been happening for over 150 million years and it will never stop.  But consider, it is happening faster and faster every day as we move into the future and this trend will not end.

Uncertainty is everywhere – nothing is certain.  Oswald Chambers once said, “The only thing in life that is certain is its uncertainty.” Period!

Fear is a choice – There are only two emotions – love and fear.  Love comes from a position of positive while fear comes from a position of negative.

Character matters – Who you are speaks so loudly.  What you do means more than what you say.

And finally, spirituality – You believe in God and a higher power or you don’t.  But, let me ask you – what would the world be like without a higher power governing human’s existence, progress and behavior? Just look back over the past two hundred years of all of the evil that has existed.  I ask you – if these people were able to dominate the world – what do you think life would be like today?

How is technology improving the above?  Think about it.  Yes, it may make positive contributions but are they the answer or do we need something else to ensure that human relationships control the quality of life and not robotic thinking and acting?

Yes, there are more and if you want to become familiar with them and their impact on life - just spend some time using technology to research the consequences of technology and change – you might be surprised.  Here’s just one link to get started  https://www.scu.edu/ethics/focus-areas/technology-ethics/resources/the-unanticipated-consequences-of-technology/.