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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

We're all the same.

     Haven't you ever thought to yourself: 'Gee, how come I'm like this?' Or 'How come my family was at such a disadvantage that I couldn't do the things other people did?' Or 'Why couldn't I have the talent or the looks or the brains of so and so?' Or 'I'm so different than others. I just don't fit in.'
     Although I've spent most of my life thinking that way, I can tell you that this sort of thinking is absolutely false. Life's not as mysterious as it seems. There are no superpowers out there. People all have the same flesh and blood, the same fears, desires and dreams. The only difference is in the degree.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Are you simple?

     No, I'm not dissing you. lol The composer Chopin wrote:

Simplicity is the hardest thing. It is also the final thing.

     From a book called Living Deliberately by Harry Palmer:

A staggering amount of complexity and confusion began to dissolve into simplicity.

     And General Electric CEO,The  Jack Welch:

The important part for me was going down all the blind alleys, repeating myself, feeling frustrated, until I got to where it was simple. I'm a firm believer that simple is the most elegant thing one can be.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Ever have an unsolvable problem?

     If you have, you  know how frustrating it can be trying to overcome it. You just keep banging into it over and over and over and the darn thing just won't  give. You could give up but you're not going to. So you keep banging away at it. Still it doesn't give. So you try new tactics. Nothing. You're just about beat and you're thinking that having this unsolvable problem is the most unfair thing in the world. You can't  beat it!
     But...is that necessarily a bad thing? Consider this from novelist Iris  Murdoch:

A problem is a star. An unsolvable problem is a sun.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Who's steering YOUR ship?

     There's this business book by Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherman called Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will. That's quite a title. Is it true though? You bet it is.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A different kind of spirituality.

from the character Reverend Jim Ignatowski on the TV show "Taxi"

I meditated for hours on end. Chanted. I was finding God all over the place. He kept ditching me. You gotta understand, I thought I was on my way to Nirvana. All I ended up with was recurrent flashbacks of the original Mouseketeers.

     Come on. It is funny. And sometimes we just gotta laugh at how crazy spirituality can be. I used to compare it to playing the board game Monopoly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Is the grass always greener on the other side?

     You sure you don't have what you want right in front of your nose? Oh, sure, it's easy to say, No. But look a little closer. You might surprise yourself. This from William Least Heat-Moon's Prairy Erth :

What I cherish I've come to slowly, usually blindly, not seeing it for some time...

     Don't we do the same thing sometimes? Not see what's (good) coming. Being blind to it for a long time before realizing what we've got.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Is failure your friend? (It should be.)

     I'm a golfer. (Please don't hold that against me.) Just recently professional golfer Adam Scott won the Masters golf tournament after a crushing, disheartening defeat in another big golf tournament, the British Open. On the PGA Tour (and other tours similar to it) 150 golfers play every week and 149 lose. Tough odds, don't you think? But the interesting thing is—the guys who lose most often eventually win—and they end up winning more often too.
     Ironically losing is the fastest way to winning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Want to be a diamond?

     If you do, you're going to be under a lot of pressure and you'll have to withstand a lot of heat because that's how diamonds are formed. And if you want to be a human diamond, really want it, the Universe will make you into one. And how it will do that will be by blasting you with heat and putting you under the most intense pressure. 'Well, that doesn't sound like fun,' you say. Well, if you wanted to be an ice cube, it would have to be below freezing, wouldn't it? If you wanted to boil, you'd have to be 212 degrees.
    You want to be a diamond, you're gonna have heat and pressure.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

What is true spirituality?

     Every group thinks it's got the true spirituality. The born-agains, the 12-steppers, the Jews, the Catholics, the Muslims, the Buddhist, the Hindus, the Mormons the New-Agers. Pretty annoying, isn't it? Or how about this notion that all fundamentalism embraces—follow our doctrine and you will have peace. Well, maybe you will, but it will be a false peace, a peace built on avoidance and fear.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ever feel like you're invisible?

...I began to believe that I was a ghost no one could see. (from Isaac Bashevis Singer's The Certificate)
     
     I've felt invisible in my life. I mean just about literally invisible, not just ignored or overlooked. And I have a theory about it (that sort of invisibility). I don't think it's a bad thing at all. In fact, I think it's a good thing. I think that sort of invisibility is an indication that a person is very spiritual. In the literal sense: you're more spirit than body.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Does money really matter?

     Here's a news flash: you're going to die some day. (I'm not trying to be morbid. Just hear me out.) And you're going to die whether you have a little money or a lot. And really, what is money anyway? Somebody said: What is being rich? Being rich is being able to do what you want all day.
     And somebody wrote: Money talks, but does it tell the truth?

I've always been a loner.

    I figured I could do everything on my own. And it worked pretty well for a while. Like I said "for a while." Then I ran into some problems I couldn't fix on my own, and that's when a lifetime of being a loner really worked against me because I still tried to do everything on my own even though I needed help. Now I'm quick to embrace help and really see the benefit of NOT going it alone.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Get ready.

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.
—Abraham Lincoln
   
     Ever try to cut something with a dull axe or saw? It is an absolute frustration. And what makes it particularly maddening is that the axe or the saw can look sharp (and like it will cut) but it doesn't. And really that's like life.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Numbers don't matter.

     Honestly, isn't it the quality of the people you're involved with, rather than the sheer number of people? I mean, wouldn't you rather have somebody really kind and intelligent interested in you, than a thousand mindless people? They say the masses only like ordinary stuff because that's all they have the capability to appreciate. Whereas the greater intellects and the greater artistic sensibilities can, accordingly, only be appreciated by those with the capacity to appreciate them.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When nothing's going right.

     You know the feeling: no matter what you do, you run into one failure, one roadblock, one more disappointment after another after another after another. No easy answer for this one. It could be the old 'pull yourself up by the bootstraps' and although that's good advice to an extent, there's much more to it than that.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Anybody want to be great?

     I do. I mean, why the heck not. I just talked to a friend who said, 'I know it's silly, but I want to do something great and be really famous some day.' I said, "That's not silly at all." Last year's Masters champ Bubba Watson was asked if he really tried to hit heroic shots. He said, 'Heck, yeah, that's why I play golf—to hit heroic shots.'
     Being great is not the same as being grandiose. In fact, true greatness would be just the opposite. When you're truly great you don't need to be showboating your ability or touting your achievements. You don't have to be knocking anybody else down.
     When you're truly great just knowing that you're great is enough.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Nobody can beat you. Nobody can top you.

     You know why? Because they're not you.

What another would have done as well as you, do not do it. What another would have said as well as you, do not say it; written as well, do not write it. Be faithful to that which exists nowhere but in yourself—and thus make yourself indispensable. —Andre Gide

Thursday, April 11, 2013

You can't leave a place you've never been.

     That almost sounds like a Country & Western song title, doesn't it? (Speaking of which, one of my favorites is: "I've Fallen in Love (and I Can't Get Up)") But seriously, there's a lot to acceptance. But our minds, our egos often fight it at every turn. Haven't you ever been at a place in your life where you're like: "I can not be this messed-up." Or "I can't have that far to go." Or "I can't be that far behind everybody else!"

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Does God have a dream for us?

     And if he does, is it better than the one we have for ourselves? I was going through this little book called The Prayer of Jabez and I came across this:

Do we really understand how far the American Dream is from God's dream for us?

     That got me thinking.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Things getting hard? That's a good sign.

     When life gets tough it usually means you're in for something good. Friedrich Nietzsche (who knew some tough times) wrote:

Life always gets harder toward the summit—the cold increases, responsibility increases.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Are you afraid?

     Who isn't? It's the human condition to have fear. If you don't have fear in your life, you're not sane. The mentally ill and psychotic often have no fear. Be glad you have fear. It's part of life. But don't use fear as an excuse.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The "genius" fallacy.

     Most people love to look at the life of somebody like Mozart and say, 'Oh, Mozart was a genius. He was born with genius. Heck, he was composing music at five-years-old.'
      Do you know what those people are really saying? 'Well, you either are born with genius or you're not, so I obviously am not, so there's  no real reason to work hard at developing whatever talents I may have.' In other words, it's an excuse and a rationalization not to try.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Are you a hero?

     Life is hard. If you expect extended stretches of blue sky you're deluding yourself. Life is pretty much non-stop struggle, and you need a fair amount of anger to rise up and deal with it. At least I do. Sometimes life just seems stupid. Like, Why are we here? I mean, really, what's the point?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Are we eternal beings?

     Some people say we're animals. Just glorified apes. Well, I would agree that some people are (I'm just kidding). Do we resemble apes? Sure. But I imagine a nuclear warhead must look pretty similar to a non-nuclear one and yet the difference between them is huge. So, we're not animals. But then what are we? Bodies or spirits?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life as a series of shocks?

     Doesn't it seem that's the way life is sometimes? You go along and you're pretty stabilized, then pow! something knocks you out of the water. It's quite unsettling. Now I'm not just talking about once in a blue moon type shocks. Everybody gets those. I'm talking about shocks you get on a nearly daily basis.

The big "MO"

     Momentum. It exists in everything and it's a very good thing that it does. Have you ever felt like, 'What's the use of trying to take on that huge problem in my life? I just don't have the wherewithal to overcome it'? I know I have. I used to let bills pile up and then be like, 'That's going to take ten hours to do so forget it.' But the thing is the effect of effort is cumulative and no honest effort is ever wasted. And so once you start storing up all the cumulative effort that's when the magic of momentum kicks in and that's when the fun starts.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Be a big empty cup.

     If you're an empty cup you can be filled up. If you're already full, there's no place for anything new. So don't be so full or sure of yourself that you're not open to new ideas or to help.  And if you want to take in a lot, you need to be a big cup. So work on building a bigger cup. Then make sure it's empty.

Monday, April 1, 2013

You've got to hang.

     It's those last few seconds that make all the difference. Well, it's not always seconds. It could be minutes or months or years, but the principle is the same— hanging tough, especially when things are going against you. I don't understand why good things come when you hang tough when things are going against you, but I know that they do.