This blog will hopefully inspire you, warm your heart, make you smile and feel positive.

Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Why Older is Better

  1. You really have watched a lovelier sunset, eaten a sweeter peach and seen a more beautiful baby.
  2. You can say, “When I was your age …” to more and more people.
  3. You don’t have to feel compelled to know all the answers. Or all the questions.
  4. If you want to change your mind, nobody thinks anything of it.
  5. When you decide to do something on the spur of the moment, nobody thinks anything of it either.
  6. There’s nothing left to learn the hard way.
  7. You’ve seen it all before, even if you don’t remember where and when.
  8. No more pregnancy scares.
  9. Senior-citizen discounts – reduced motel rates, airfares, movie tickets, etc.
  10. You can relax, quit trying to impress people and be your best self.
  11. Enough time to give blood, forget a grudge, pray for someone you don’t even like and do something kind for someone who’ll never know who did it.
  12. Lying about your age is easier now that you sometimes forget what it is.
  13. Instead of counting sheep when you can’t sleep at night, you can count your retirement accounts, friends with hip replacement, pills you forgot to take and the birthdays you had celebrated.
  14. You will probably be among the first hostages to be released.
  15. Drivers are more likely to stop for you when you’re in a crosswalk.
  16. More body parts can be medically replaced.
  17. Taking time out for a walk is no longer considered a luxury but an essential.
  18. Most of life’s major disappointments are behind you.
  19. You have developed a new appreciation of old things – old friends, old books, old values and old ideals, old wine … and yourself.
  20. You have gained the amazing insight that the faults of others are no worse than your own.
  21. Personal experience has proven that spending time with loved ones is far more meaningful than spending money on them.
  22. You’ve learned that enjoying the journey may be just as important as reaching the destination.
  23. You realize that the gifts of life, health and love outweigh anything mere money could buy.
  24. You’re finally accepting the reality that you won’t live long enough to do all the things other people want you to do; so you’re beginning to select priorities that matter most in the long run.
  25. You know that lighting someone else’s candle in no way diminishes yours.
  26. You change the things that can be changed, accept those that cannot and pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
  27. You minimize preoccupation with the negatives in your life and concentrate on your gratitude for all the positives.
  28. You listen more, learn more, laugh more, love more, lend a helping hand more and live more.
  29. Leaving a legacy of love, integrity and good deeds is far more valuable than a great estate of material wealth.
  30. Finally, good enough is really good enough.
Advertisements

1% Better

Instead of trying to make radical changes in a short amount of time, just make small improvements every day that will gradually lead to the change you want. Each day, just focus on getting 1% better in whatever it is you’re trying to improve. That’s it. Just 1%.

The quest to become a better version of yourself often feels like a roller coaster ride. It’s hard. And it’s usually so uneven. You can end in failure. But life is a journey, not a marathon, so you always have another opportunity to restart and improve. Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. When you are up for change, you have to start embracing change in small ways. Aim for small, consistent change. Not rapid change. Small changes that’ll make a big difference. It’s the only way to be successful at habit change. Self-improvement isn’t a destination. You’re never done. Even if you have some success, and you want to maintain it, you have to keep doing the things you were doing that got you that success in the first place.

It’s easy to follow the crowd and to be great in a small pool. If you don’t want that, go places where you know you will be at a disadvantage. Step outside the line. Competing against superior performers. Watch, read, listen and analyze what they’re doing differently than you. The secret to success lies in the very thing you’re avoiding. Those things that seem to break you down and humble your spirit. Be deliberate about doing things that push your limits magnificently. Difficulty helps us to grow. So stop avoiding what’s hard and embrace it now. If you’re truly pushing yourself to improve,  you will be uncomfortable. Devotion to the right things is the difference between those who are living a complete, meaningful life and those who are just reacting to what others require of them. Pick a target and move towards it despite the obstacles. Aim to push boundaries. Break your own records.

Tackle the fear that has kept you from living your best life. Your mind has a way of rising to the occasion. Challenge it and it will reward you. Be good at making time for what matters to you  –  especially when you don’t feel like it. Recognize the possibilities of living with courage and taking action right now in the direction of your dreams. Give yourself permission to pursue what’s important to you. Don’t just talk about wanting to do things or try a thousand different things and then abandon them. Make something stick. Become a master at them. No one ever came to this planet to take a back seat, play second fiddle or make it small. Push the impossible. Life is short. Your time here is so freaking valuable. Pursue your best self today.

Be an Outlier

We are all habitual creatures. You can’t simply change if you’re not prepared for the change itself. You are what you repeatedly do. Many people are just going through life. Letting time tick away. Fast. Letting things happen. Letting every day be just like the day before and the day after. Nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing unique. Just average. Can things be different for you? Of course they can. You just need to start taking control of your life.

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.

You are you. Your challenge in life is to become the best possible version of you. Not an imperfect approximation of someone else. Define your most important role in this world and start shaping your reality based on that. Purpose fuels your motivation. What do you look forward to achieving tomorrow, next quarter or in the next five years? Imagine waking up every day excited for what you’ve set out to accomplish. That passion alone will propel you to the next level. Raise the bar, crush your goals, and make a dent. It’s never too late!

Outliers are those who have been given opportunities – and who have had the strength and presence of mind to seize them.

Many people are living their entire lives without ever standing up and stepping out. But it’s exciting to witness the rare few who dare themselves and step out of their personal bubbles to work on achieving something worthwhile. Most of us live with a stubborn illusion that we will always have tomorrow to do today’s work. We consistently hold onto this belief and keep procrastinating until work becomes a heavy burden. We always default toward a more comfortable path. Outliers seize opportunities and run with them. People who realize how little time they have and are driven to make the absolute most of it. Those are the ones who really live the awesome and extraordinary lives. Be an outlier!

Your Epiccenter

A man was thinking about opening a pizza place. His passion was making pizza and having others enjoy it, so he thought it could be a good business for him. As soon as he began the process of opening the restaurant, though, there were lots of other questions he had to consider: the location, taxes, staffing and business planning. So he began researching and talking to people, which all took a lot of time. He figured out the right location, the staffing, the tax implications, the business plan, and more. He felt he was ready to open the restaurant. But what suffered when he finally got started was the actual quality of the pizzas.

How could that be? Wasn’t the pizza-making itself his passion? In fact it happens to most of us. We get caught up by all the other things around us that it makes us easily forget the core that creates meaning for our life. So how to turn things around? The epicenter is the core of anything. In terms of earthquakes, it’s where the process begins. In other words, an epicenter is your core idea – your passion. Why are you doing this thing as opposed to doing some other things? When you find that passion in your epicenter, you will work in the flow and produce more quality work. If you begin from your epicenter and view that as your foundation, you can understand more clearly what’s necessary to do in the future and what’s not.

There are always going to be other things that need to be addressed. But if your energy is focused on what you absolutely want to do, you will get better at knowing how to deal with everything else. Think of any random day at work. A lot of people easily become distracted: emails, meetings, people stopping by, and phone calls. This is not focusing on your epicenter. If you arrive at work on any given day and think: “What do I need to achieve today?” Then your day will be much more productive. You will be focusing towards your epicenter. But if you allow yourself to be pulled in any new direction the moment it arises, you’re not working towards your epicenter. You’re just working towards tasks. If you want to be more productive and happy, determine your epicenter. Then work from there.

Be a Jazz Musician

jazz

When you start a new project at work, your boss always wants you to create the project plan first. Planning is a concrete path to success. Without a plan, failure is guaranteed. To an extent, this is true. But in reality, a plan is actually no more than guessing. Hundreds (if not millions) of plans concocted every day. While planning does give you a glimpse of the future, how we think about it is misguided. We view planning as a GPS that can guide us anywhere. In reality, it’s a GPS that sometimes fails to work or give us completely accurate directions.

The key point is plans reduce panic. We all fear uncertainty, even though uncertainty is essentially normative. Having a plan gives us more certainty and makes us panic less. To reduce uncertainties, we worry too much about covering all the bases. We then lack action around how things actually go. There will always be a gap between the ideal world and reality. When we over-commit ourselves to the plan, it restricts us from solving the problem out of the ordinary and making the best decisions in an unexpected situation.

Planning is essentially guesswork. Don’t get obsessed with your plan. Blindly following an unrealistic plan will only make things worse. Think about jazz musicians. They perform with a plan, but also go with the flow. It’s very spontaneous and improvised by the end. It’s the same with the comedians. Comedians begin their set with a plan of jokes, but they need to respond to the audience. Maybe you get heckled. Maybe one set of jokes isn’t working. You need to adjust the plan.

Planning isn’t the only way to success. Rather, a plan must be reviewed continually to see if it aligns with the challenges faced in reality. Don’t let a plan confine you from making decisions on what’s best for the situation. Follow the base in the plan, but improvise along the way when facing different situations. When conditions change, the plan needs to change. Don’t let the plan be everything. Be prepared to improvise. Be a jazz musician.

Look for the Good in Everything

happy

Success takes hard work. When you hear about an overnight success story, don’t forget about all of the work that came before. It takes time to build a career or a business, prep work, time to learn and fail, time to build a network and a team of mentors and supporters. You may have to do work you do not enjoy and trudge through the trenches of planning, building, refining, moving up, out, over and redefining before you get to the place where success clicks. It’s called work for a reason, so keep going.

We have so much to do, so much to accomplish and sometimes it feels as though we have to be in a hurry to get there. It is likely that you will live upwards of 80 years. That is plenty of time to fit a whole host of wonderful endeavors into your life. People work into their 70s, have children into their 40s and change careers or start businesses at any age. You do not have to do it all at once. Slow down and take one thing at a time, one day at a time. Make plans, but don’t be in such a rush 24/7.

Money is important, but it is not the end goal. Satisfaction in a job well done, contributing to something worthwhile and finding something you enjoy doing can motivate you more than money. Money does not equate to happiness. It does not insulate you from pain and suffering. Money is simply a currency that supports your basic needs. It is not a magic wand.

Celebrate each happy moment, big and small. Search for the lesson and opportunity for growth in the difficult. Stay positive. Look for the good in people. Give helpful encouragement rather than negative criticism. Be helpful whenever possible. This does not mean ignore the bad. Dishonesty, disrespect, unhappiness and evil exist and you will have to deal with them. But don’t let those difficulties color your experience. If you view the world around you and life’s challenges through the lens of goodness, then you will find life much more enjoyable.

Life is serious – and sometimes awful – but you can still be upbeat and hopeful. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Be the Curator for Your Life

curator

What makes a museum great? It’s the things you don’t see; the stuff that’s not on the walls or in the showcases. It’s the art of saying no and making the most of the best. A curator’s job is making those conscious decisions about what stays and what goes. It’s essentially an editing process – there’s much more stuff off the walls than on the walls and what’s left is the best of the best or a sub-subset of all the possibilities.

It’s important to make sure you check your motivation when it comes to striving for your achievements. Is it because you love it? Can you see the genuine benefit for your growth? Or is it to look good to others or compete with your peers? What’s beneficial to others may not be beneficial to you. It’s the quality of things and how they benefit you that matter.

Having the right perspective is the key. When you look at other people’s lives, it’s not the whole picture you’re seeing. People naturally only want you to see the best of them, showing what makes them look good but carefully editing out the negatives. Being mindful of this is extremely important in your quest for success. Don’t compare. Be aware of the motivation behind what you want to succeed at and strive for what’s achievable and relevant to your own life.

Be the curator for your life. Stick to what’s essential and don’t get bogged down with what you believe you should be chasing. Pare things down until you’re left with the most important things. Enjoy this process and don’t get caught up with the achievements and results. What’s important in life is the growth you gain from going after something. This is where the magic really happens. Focus on the few but important goals so you can really get the best out of yourself and life as a whole.

Everything will line up perfectly when knowing and living the truth becomes more important than looking good.
– Alan Cohen