from bridgemaker
  1. If the map doesn’t agree with the ground, the map is wrong. We are given mental maps as children. Our parents and other adults tell us what is right and what is wrong – sometimes they don’t always get it, well, right. Now as adults, when we find the maps we have relied on for so long can get us lost, we need to recalibrate and create more reliable guides based on what we now know to be true and where we want to go.
  2. We are what we do. We are not what we think, or what we feel, or what we say, we are what we do. Actions do indeed speak louder than words. If you are unhappy with a particular part of your life, take a strong look at what you are doing to be happier.
  3. It is difficult to remove by logic an idea not placed there by logic in the first place. By nature, we are emotional creatures. Often we live and react based on feelings, not logic. Feelings are wonderful, but when we become tied to a particular thought or belief we tend to ignore the fact that change might be necessary. If a negative behavior is driven by an emotion, then we must find a way to still satisfy the emotional need while putting an end to the destructive behavior.
  4. The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas. For some, childhood was pleasant, almost idyllic. But for others, when there has been serious physical, sexual or emotional abuse it is important to recognize this and process this with a trained professional. No matter your past, change is the essence of life. In order to move forward in life we need to learn to live in the present.
  5. Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least. When relationships end it is typically because of unmet expectations or one person is not feeling love or cherished by the other. For relationships to grow and last both members have to be equal with the love they give; and both should do it, not because they think they have to do it, but because they want to do it.
  6. Feelings follow behavior. No matter how hard we try, we don’t control what we think or what we feel. But, we do know which actions bring us happiness, pleasure and confidence. So, we do the actions that make us feel good. It is the action, the behavior that comes first. Take the next few days to notice how you feel after doing a particular behavior. If you like the feeling, do more of it. If not, change the behavior.
  7. Be bold, and mighty forces will come to your aid. When we step out and claim what we want from the world a wonderful thing happens – the Universe responds.
  8. The perfect is the enemy of the good. While it’s important to have control over our lives, it can be counterproductive to attempt to control our lives. The energy spent trying to be perfect can keep us from enjoying and appreciating all the good things that exist right before us.
  9. Life’s two most important questions are “Why?” and “Why not?” The trick is knowing which one to ask. Understanding why we do certain things is the first step to change. Until we understand what motivates us, what we get from doing a particular behavior, there is no momentum to begin the change process. Likewise, by asking “Why not?” we begin assessing the risk versus reward aspect which can lead to bringing about productive change in our lives.
  10. Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. One of my biggest strengths as a person is I’m caring, sensitive and emotional – it is also my greatest weakness. While this strength helps me to build and maintain healthy relationships, it can also make me too reactive and less effective when dealing with conflict. This can create a confusing paradox for me from time-to-time, but having the awareness of the thin line between the two better prepares me to either use my strength or be mindful of my weakness.
  11. The most secure prisons are those we construct for ourselves. What is your fear of change costing you? Too often what keeps us stuck is the belief we can’t move forward. Our head-trash tells us we are not worthy to have our heart’s desire. This fear; this incarceration, prevents us from breaking free and having the life we desire. Remember this: Before you can do anything, you must be able to imagine it. Imagining who and what you want to be, and then taking action, is the key to begin freeing yourself of what is holding you back.
  12. The problems of the elderly are frequently serious but seldom interesting. The thought of our own mortality and demise can be a frightening one. Therefore, our attitude towards the aging can be callous because they are unwanted reminders of what’s ahead for us. However, the elderly can hold great value and wisdom for us. We must remember to show respect and gratitude for those near the end so the cycle can be repeated when it is our turn.
  13. Happiness is the ultimate risk. No matter how painful, sometimes what we know is more comfortable than what we don’t know, even if we are depressed and miserable. Our misery can feel safe because it has been a part of us for so long. To seek happiness, to do things to break free of the depression, is a risk because we don’t know what it looks like or feels like to be happy. The antidote for this is hope and faith.
  14. True love is the apple of Eden. “When I look back, the Garden is a dream to me. It was beautiful, surpassingly beautiful, enchantingly beautiful; and now it is lost, and I shall never see it any more. The Garden is lost, but I have found him and am content. – from Mark Twain in Eve’s Diary. True love is fair compensation for the obstacles and burdens of being human.
  15. Only bad things happen quickly. When we think about the things that can change our lives in an instant we usually think of the negative ones first: accidents, our employer going out of business, or the news of a loved one becoming seriously ill. There is plenty of room; however, for good things to happen too, we just have to be more patient. Losing weight, improving a relationship, or creating a rewarding career all take effort, but the life-long satisfaction these bring can help to fill our souls when they are emptied-out by the bad.
  16. Not all who wander are lost. When we were children we were told what to do. In our jobs, we are assigned tasks and projects. Our culture even has expectations of what we should do. It’s OK to step outside of the lines in order to follow what your inner wisdom is suggesting you do with your life. It’s not that you are lost when you wander, it’s just the opposite: You know what you want and you are only attempting to find the best path to your destination.
  17. Unrequited love is painful but not romantic. Love is meant to be shared. When you give your heart to someone who is uninterested, it will only result in loneliness and disappointment. Instead find someone who will share love with you. When you do, you will feel the real power of love.
  18. There is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results. This truth also provides a very good definition for insanity. When things are not working in your life, try different things. The rub comes when we become so comfortable with the familiar we refuse to try something new. To grow we must also embrace change. The question then becomes what level of fear you are willing to walk through in order to change, grow and create the life you want.
  19. We flee from the truth in vain. Somewhere along the way there are truths about ourselves we never allow to see the light of day. Shame, guilt or embarrassment keeps these truths hidden and locked away. But remember, we cannot change or heal what we do not acknowledge.
  20. It’s a poor idea to lie to oneself. We may say the words, the words of a lie, but inside we know better; we know the truth. The most damaging lie we can tell ourselves involves making a promise. While good intentions are important, living the truth has far greater value in our life. Do what you say you are going to do, not just to improve the quality of your life, but to be able to live your life with confidence and self-respect
  21. We are all prone to the myth of the perfect stranger. Unless you are being victimized by your partner, chances are very good there are plenty of reasons to love your partner or spouse. It takes maturity, patience and trust to look across the fence and know your grass is greener.
  22. Love is never lost, not even in death. To lose what means the most to us is the ultimate test of helplessness and survival. I have been very fortunate to not yet experience the death of a close relative. That day, however, will come. When it does, my hope is I can transfer all of the love I have for that person to others still with me. In that way, the love for the person lost will always be alive.
  23. Nobody likes to be told what to do. As a parent it’s easy for me to sometimes tell one of my children what to do instead of just listen and offer advice, if requested. My need to control can trump their need to be heard and grow on their own. When this happens, communication is strained and trust can be eroded. Rather than telling my children what to do, my job as a parent is to give them hope that they can be successful in a very uncertain world. This can be achieved by limiting my lectures and by giving them the time and space to “figure it out,” while I’m standing by with a safety net.
  24. The major advantage of illness is that it provides relief from responsibility. In an ironic twist, the days we feel under the weather can be some of the healthiest for us. We push, we rush and we often don’t take time to take care of ourselves. But when we are feeling ill, we are forced to to slow down, perhaps call in sick at work, and take it easy.
  25. We are afraid of the wrong things. For the first 18 years of my marriage I feared the wrong things. I feared not earning enough money or not advancing quickly enough in my career. I should have feared losing my wife and family instead, because I almost did. Now, I try to live in the present moment and appreciate all I have. When I do this, I stay centered with hope and not distracted by fear.
  26. Parents have a limited ability to shape children’s behavior, except for the worse. My wife and I often hope our greatest legacy to our children is to be able to break the cycle of pain and doubt we experienced as children. Our hope is our children will have the self-love and confidence needed to live a rich and full life. With that said, we are far from being perfect parents. But our focus is to help them be as happy as possible in a world that takes and demands so much of them.
  27. The only real paradises are those we have lost. Too often we may view the past with a special fondness, perhaps reverence, too. But the past for most of us may be no different than the present, it just feels that way. To be honest, we may not always see the past for what it actually was. This view can be dangerous and it can keep us from living fully in the present, in the here and now.
  28. Of all the forms of courage, the ability to laugh is the most profoundly therapeutic. Yes, things can go wrong in life. Yes, there are issues and problems to solve. But we have a choice. We can choose to become pessimistic and not see the value in what we experience, or we can choose to laugh as an admission to the fact we are not perfect and life can get the best of us at times. What a relief to know that no matter how bad things may look, a smile or a rift of laughter can begin to make the circumstances feel better.
  29. Mental health requires freedom of choice. No matter how bleak or desperate a situation may appear to look, we always have choices. Even with the absence of answers or direction, we do have the power to choose what our next action is. We can choose to ask for help; we can choose to pray; we can choose to get up in the morning, get dressed and forge ahead. The ability to choose gives us power. We can use that power to begin removing the obstacles that confront us
  30. Forgiveness is a form of letting go, but they are not the same thing. To be clear, the purpose of forgiveness is not to let the person who harmed you off the hook, the purpose of forgiveness is to end the grief it has cost you. Don’t just let go, forgive and truly surrender the feelings of anger and pain. This may seem difficult, almost impossible, until you attempt to do it.

from manvsdebt

  1. Being a parent is harder than you think. Before I had kids, I used to get annoyed by kids whining on airplanes.  I used to think “Gosh, get control of your kid” in a lot of situations.  How hard can it be? And now… I know.  Even with only one (who, by the way, is an angel 95% of the time) I get it.  I can’t believe how easily I become frustrated sometimes.  I can’t imagine those of you with 3, 4, or 5 rugrats.
  2. Being a husband is harder than you think. Of course, this was the main topic behind my original 3 marriage lessons post.  Everyone told me marriage takes dedicated and consistent effort.  I acknowledged the words, but detached myself because I assumed we were an exception.  Doh.
  3. There will always be haters. No matter what you do or how much you give, there will always be haters.  I’m making a pledge to rid my life (and my online world) of any consistently negative, non-constructive forces.  If you want to hate… go get your reaction someplace else.
  4. Be willing to give away the glory. One of the best ways I’ve found to have someone accept an idea/concept is to make them feel like they came up with it themselves. Many of the people I respect most are amazing at sharing and giving away the limelight when it comes.  They are constantly taking a back seat to build up others.
  5. You can do anything you want.  No seriously… you can literally do anything. As kids, we are always told this, but most of us dismiss it as foo-foo.  It’s not.  In the last year, I’ve really come to terms with this.  I can literally do whatever I want.  Some of that is confidence and some of it comes from just having my eyes opened recently.  The largest thing between you and what you want is whatever glob of excuses you can pile up.
  6. Very few decisions in life require intense research. 90% of research/data-gathering is a waste of time.  I’ve found this true in my personal life and I’ve certainly found it true in my business.  Nearly without exception, I over analyze every decision I make.  Stop talking… stop thinking… stop planning… start doing.
  7. Intensely research any decision that limits a large amount of your freedom. :-) As a rule, the more freedom that is at stake in a decision, the more I’ll research it.  The real reason is that I’m o.k. if research leads to indecision in cases where freedom is at risk.  Take buying a home, deciding to have kids, or taking a new 80 hour/week job, for example.  It’s not really a bad thing to second guess yourself there.  Things to stop analyzing?  The perfect weekend to go camping, a new product/service you want to launch, or whether or not to let your kids paint their room neon pink.  Do it.
  8. The majority of people think they are above average. I constantly remind myself of this fact.  By nature, we tend to over estimate our own skills and/or contributions.  Not only that, but we are much less aware of what other people contribute. I do it and you do it, too.  So recognize it.  Go out of your way to thank people for the things you do notice.
  9. The best feedback you’ll ever get is when you try to sell something to someone. So this is a purely entrepreneurial one I’ve learned.  It goes back to #7.  The most valuable data/feedback you’ll ever have is after you launch a product, service, or idea.  Seth Godin refers to this a “shipping it”.
  10. People automatically devalue anything they get for free. While we are on the topic, be careful about what you give away for free.  This can be applied beyond business, too.  Family, friends, clients, colleagues…  We automatically place more value on things we have to pay (money, time, effort, energy) for.  Give someone something for free consistently and they quickly begin to expect it.
  11. Instead of teaching kids to study concepts, we should be teaching them to solve problems. I won’t dive too much into what I know is an insanely deep and polarizing concept.  Courtney is much more equipped to discuss education system intelligently.  However, I’m not sure teaching kids to “study” a concept (many times something that’s in a weakness) is an empowering approach.  Instead, I’d love to see us playing more to kids strengths (whatever those may be individually) and focusing on obtaining solutions to problems.
  12. Choosing the correct mentors is the #1 most important factor in success of any kind.Modeling a mentor is the fastest way to success.  It doesn’t matter if you are climbing the corporate ladder, starting a web-based business, playing professional basketball, or studying religion.  You’ve gotta find your Branson, your Jobs, your Jordan, your Jesus, or your Buddha.
  13. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Mentors are essential, however you’ve got to also find a relate to inspiring people on a daily/tangible level.  My wife and daughter inspire me.  I want them to be involved in everything I do, including my business and my passions.  Many of my fellow bloggers inspire me.  A couple blogger who are in similar spots, yet continually inspire me are Glen AllsopCorbett BarrEverett Bogue, and Grant Peele.
  14. You don’t need nearly as much money as you think you do. Another revelation that has come into my life in the past year or so.  You really *need* far, far less that what you think.  There are single people who travel and live on $5,000 a year.  There are families of 5 that eat on $100/month.  As a culture, we absolutely squander.  I know Courtney and I do.  It’s that straightforward.
  15. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys everything else! :-) This is my fun way of saying that I like money.  I want a lot of money.  While true, don’t let #14 fool you.  I want my family to live a remarkable, yet secure life.  I rarely worry about money now, but I want to all but eliminate it as a concern altogether.  I want to be able to focus my life on giving in the coming years, while still being able to have an income.  But even with money, I want to ensure we embrace…
  16. Experiences almost always trump possessions. I don’t mind spending money (you shouldn’t either), but the key is to do so consciously.  For me, conscious spending is concentrated on 90-95% experience and 5-10% actual “stuff”.  Up until the last few years, I had it backwards.  I liked to talk about how I loved “experiences”, but I spent my money on stuff.  I want to keep our focus on experiences whether we are making $20k per year or $200k per year.  *Note:  Unless we are talking about an iPhone.  Seriously, have you seen this thing?* :-)
  17. Focus the bulk of your energy on leveraging your strengths, not on improving weaknesses. I touched on this in #11, but it doesn’t just apply to our approach to education.  When we think about ourselves, many of us tend to try to work on our weaknesses.  In doing so, we limit the time we spend leveraging our strengths.  I’m not suggesting to ignore areas in which you need improvement, but every time I focus the bulk of my energy on my strengths (without totally ignoring other areas), I achieve much better results even within my weaknesses.  It’s a matter or positive perspective and sustaining motivation.  It really works.
  18. Be the change you want to see in the world. Yeah, I know…  a little foo-foo.  But this one is a good one.  If you are trying to convert people by knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets, you are doing it wrong.  It’ll always be an uphill battle.  Try modeling for people.  Try impressing… try inspiring.  Use your actions to show me not only the how, by the why.
  19. The answer will always be no if you don’t ask. Seriously, if you want something you have to ask.  Don’t be a blunt prick.  Ask genuinely and ask politely.  If you just ask…  you’ll be surprised more often than not.
  20. The worse I eat, the less productive I am.  The less productive I am, the worse I eat. Also, I’ve realized that feeling like crap on a regular basis is not enough motivation to eat healthier.  Sad, but true.  And I don’t think I’m alone on that one.  Most of us know that it’s the cause of so many problems, yet we don’t change.  You don’t get out of debt because “you should”.  You don’t eat healthy and exercise because “it’s good for you”.  Find your motivation (I’m talking to myself here).
  21. Empowering other people is what really matters in life. I want to empower.  I want to empower Courtney to be the most amazing and fulfilled person she can be.  I want to empower Milligan to do whatever passions are currently bringing her joy (right now she really likes playing with her purple ball, playgrounds, and taking naps).  I want to empower complete strangers to see opportunities in their own lives that they’ve buried under mounds of stuff, debt, and excuses.  :-)
  22. Saying “no” politely is far better than saying a half-assed “yes”. Learning to respectfully and politely say “no” is one of the skills I desire most. Especially in the online world, I tend to want to say yes to everything.  There are so many amazing people, opportunities, projects, and feedback.  It’s all right here, right now.  But, I’ve been saying “yes” and then completely letting people down way too much recently.  It’s not a matter of being “busy” or “important”.  Everyone is busy and important.  It’s a matter of really being to knock the socks of the projects I can do.  I want to either give 110% or 0%.  I want to learn to say “no” in a way people enjoy.
  23. There are very few unique personal problems. Chances are millions of people have gone through whatever issue you may have.  Chances are at least one of those people is much closer than you think.  Problem is we think any issues we may have are unique and we assume those close to us wouldn’t understand.  Wrong.
  24. It’s o.k. to be a fan. I used to reject the concept of being a fan.  I didn’t want to be seen on a “bandwagon”.  I didn’t want someone to call me a “fanboy”.  I wanted to think for myself.  Now, I’ve come to terms that being a fan is fun.  I like cheering for the Packers.  I love my man crush I have on Chris Guillebeau’s work.  I love how much passion Eddie Vedder brings to every song.  I love watching Wine Library TV even though I’ve never tasted a wine in my life that I enjoyed.  I love the fact that Big Mike was saved by the judges last week on American Idol…  (too far?).  :-)
  25. The more I act like my daughter.  The happier I am. The more I play, mimic, tease, and chase my daughter in any given day… the happier I am when I go to bed at night.  The simple act of being silly is one I lost over the last 6-7 years.  It’s taken a toddler to slowly infuse this back into me.  I want to embrace it even more.
  26. As a child, I never once worried about food, water, shelter, or love.  I was never once abused or neglected.  I got everything I needed and most of what I wanted.  Both my parents were (and still are) hard-working, supportive, and have great values.  The older I get, the more I realize how insanely fortunate this makes me.