Archives for category: random

booo south korea lost today 😦 we’ll have to wait utnil 2014

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.

http://www.fromthebasement.tv/artists/gnarls-barkley/performances/crazy

http://www.29-95.com/time-suck/story/bobby-mcferrin-fucks-your-mind

Stop buying unnecessary things.

Toss half your stuff, learn contentedness.

Reduce half again.

List 4 essential things in your life,

stop doing non-essential things.

Do these essentials first each day, clear distractions

focus on each moment.

Let go of attachment to doing, having more.

Fall in love with less.

Everything you know is bullshit. Death isn\’t real. Life is just a dream. Enjoy yourself. Stop worrying. Stop being scared. Go after what you want, even if what you want seems beyond the realm of possibility.
Make it happen. You are god here on Earth, whoever you are. Even if you have to crawl out of the dirt to make it happen, you CAN make it happen. Never surrender to your own fear and never lose the energy you have inside.
There is no god, there is no ending, there is only just here and now.

awesome: http://watchwliia.blogspot.com/

from Raptitude

Everyone gets drilled with certain lessons in life. Sometimes it takes repeated demonstrations of a given law of life to really get it into your skull, and other times one powerful experience drives the point home once forever. Here are 88 things I’ve discovered about life, the world, and its inhabitants by this point in my short time on earth.

1. You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.

2. It is a hundred times more difficult to burn calories than to refrain from consuming them in the first place.

3. If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, you may be talking to someone who knows way more about whatever you’re talking about than you do.

4. The cheapest and most expensive models are usually both bad deals.

5. Everyone likes somebody who gets to the point quickly.

6. Bad moods will come and go your whole life, and trying to force them away makes them run deeper and last longer.

7. Children are remarkably honest creatures until we teach them not to be.

8. If everyone in the TV show you’re watching is good-looking, it’s not worth watching.

9. Yelling always makes things worse.

10. Whenever you’re worried about what others will think of you, you’re really just worried about what you’ll think of you.

11. Every problem you have is your responsibility, regardless of who caused it.

12. You never have to deal with more than one moment at a time.

13. If you never doubt your beliefs, then you’re wrong a lot.

14. Managing one’s wants is the most powerful skill a person can learn.

15. Nobody has it all figured out.

16. Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.

17. Every passing face on the street represents a story every bit as compelling and complicated as yours.

18. Whenever you hate something, it hates you back: people, situations and inanimate objects alike.

19. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s works alone can teach you everything you need to know about living with grace and happiness.

20. People embellish everything, as a rule.

21. Anger reveals weakness of character, violence even moreso.

22. Humans cannot destroy the planet, but we can destroy its capacity to keep us alive.  And we are.

23. When people are uncomfortable with the present moment, they fidget with their hands or their minds.  Watch and see.

24. Those who complain the most, accomplish the least.

25. Putting something off makes it instantly harder and scarier.

26. Credit card debt devours souls.

27. Nobody knows more than a minuscule fraction of what’s going on in the world. It’s just way too big for any one person to know it well.

28. Most of what we see is only what we think about what we see.

29. A person who is unafraid to present a candid version of herself to the world is as rare as diamonds.

30. The most common addiction in the world is the draw of comfort. It wrecks dreams and breaks people.

31. If what you’re doing feels perfectly safe, there is probably a better course of action.

32. The greatest innovation in the history of humankind is language.

33. Blame is the favorite pastime of those who dislike responsibility.

34. Everyone you meet is better than you at something.

35. Proof is nothing but a collection of opinions that match your own.

36. Knowledge is belief, nothing more.

37. Indulging your desires is not self-love.

38. What makes human beings different from animals is that animals can be themselves with ease.

39. Self-examination is the only path out of misery.

40. Whoever you are, you will die. To know and understand that means you are alive.

41. Revenge is for the petty and irresponsible.

42. Getting truly organized can vastly improve anyone’s life.

43. Almost every cliché contains a truth so profound that people have been compelled to repeat it until it makes you roll your eyes. But the wisdom is still in there.

44. People cause suffering when they are suffering themselves. Alleviating their suffering will help them not hurt others.

45. High quality is worth any quantity, in possessions, friends and experiences.

46. The world would be a better place if everyone read National Geographic.

47. If you aren’t happy single, you won’t be happy in a relationship.

48. Even if it costs no money, nothing is free if it takes time.

49. Emotions exist to make us strongly biased towards or against something. This hinders as often as it helps.

50. Addiction is a much greater problem in society than it’s made out to be. It’s present in every person in various forms, but usually we call it something else.

51. “Gut feeling” is not just a euphemism. Tension in the abdomen speaks volumes about how you truly feel about something, beyond all arguments and rationales.

52. Posture and dress change profoundly how you feel about yourself and how others feel about you, like it or not.

53. Everyone thinks they’re an above average driver.

54. The urge to punish others has much more to do with venting frustration than correcting behavior.

55. By default, people think far too much.

56. If anything is worth splurging on, it’s a high-quality mattress. You’ll spend a third of your life using it.

57. There is nothing worse than having no friends.

58. To write a person off as worthless is an act of great violence.

59. Try as we might to be otherwise, we are all hypocrites.

60. Justice is a human invention which is in reality rarely achievable, but many will not hesitate to destroy lives demanding it.

61. Kids will usually understand exactly what you mean if you keep it to one or two short sentences.

62. Stuff that’s on sale usually has an annoying downside.

63. Casual swearing makes people sound dumb.

64. Words are immensely powerful. One cruel remark can wound someone for life.

65. It’s easy to make someone’s day just by being uncommonly pleasant to them.

66. Most of what children learn from their parents isn’t taught on purpose.

67. The secret ingredient is usually butter, in obscene amounts.

68. It is worth re-trying foods that you didn’t like at first.

69. Problems, when they arise, are rarely as painful as the experience of fearing them.

70. Nothing — ever — happens exactly like you pictured it.

71. North Americans are generally terrible at accepting compliments and offers of help.

72. There are not enough women in positions of power. The world has suffered from this deficit for a long time.

73. When you break promises to yourself, you feel terrible. When you make a habit of it, you begin to hate yourself.

74. A good nine out of ten bad things I’ve worried about never happened. A good nine out of ten bad things that did happen never occurred to me to worry about.

75. You can’t hide a bad mood from people who know you well, but you can always be polite.

76. Sometimes you have to remove certain people from your life, even if they’re family.

77. Anyone can be calmed in an instant by looking at the ocean or the stars.

78. There is no point finishing a book you aren’t enjoying. Life is too short for that. Swallow your pride and put it down for good, unfinished.

79. There is no correlation between the price of a brand of batteries and how long they last.

80. Breaking new ground only takes a small amount more effort than you’re used to giving.

81. Life is a solo trip, but you’ll have lots of visitors. Some of them are long-term, most aren’t.

82. One of the best things you can do for your kids is take them on road trips. I’m not a parent, but I was a kid once.

83. The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you.

84. Einstein was wiser than he was intelligent, and he was a genius.

85. When you’re sick of your own life, that’s a good time to pick up a book.

86. Wishing things were different is a great way to torture yourself.

87. The ability to be happy is nothing other than the ability to come to terms with how things change.

88. Killing time is an atrocity. It’s priceless, and it never grows back.

Connecting with People

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.

~ Ernest Hemingway

For a long time I didn’t feel like I had a lot of people to relate to.  Being shy, I didn’t find myself in a lot of conversations with people I didn’t know, and when I did, I was uncomfortable.  Bonds did form, deep ones sometimes, but it was always a product of circumstance.  I made friends with people I was in class with or worked with, because some interaction is bound to happen in those places.  But to actually form a relationship without the help of circumstances was something I had never experienced.

I’ve shed much of my shyness through deliberately speaking up more and other forms of comfort-zone-pushing, but I eventually made a discovery that really opened the floodgates for me.  I see the potential for connection in just about everyone now; I no longer feel bound by differences of age, interests, cultures, or opinions.

The secret to connecting with people is this:

Always try to understand what people really mean when they speak.

It doesn’t sound like a huge revelation.  Many of you are probably thinking that you already do that anyway.  But chances are you don’t, at least not very well.  Certainly we know what the other person is saying, but most of the time, we don’t particularly care for the topic, or if we do, our minds are already busy forming a response.  Sometimes we take the liberty of finishing the person’s sentence, or even beginning one of our own before they finish.  This is fairly normal behavior, at least in my culture, and as such, it isn’t considered terribly rude in most circles.

Next time you’re out, try watching an exchange between two people.  Inmost conversations I witness, each person appears to clearly hold his own opinions as being of primary importance, and the other’s as being worth considerably less, though each might pretend otherwise.  It’s not that we’re arrogant, it’s just human nature.  Each person is usually waiting for their turn to talk, perhaps tossing in some polite remarks and nods so as not to appear rude.

However, things do flow more smoothly when one person’s opinion matches the other’s.  That’s when real listening happens without any effort, and conversation is unhindered.  But because of this human tendency to revere our own opinions, many people find they can onlyreally connect with people who carry similar views.  With friends and family, we’ve already established some common ground, so it’s easy to really communicate with them.

But that leaves only a small segment of the population with which we have the potential to connect.  Most people will hold no interest for us.  I think part of the problem is that we think that the other person’s message is what they say.

What they say, in terms of what words come out of their mouth, is just a tiny fraction of what they are communicating.  The real message is not what they say.  The real message is why. Where are these words coming from? That why is what tells us who they are and what they value.

The speaker is rarely just trying to relay basic information to you.  Almost always, they are speaking up because there is some visceral desire to express what they are feeling right now.  Speech is always triggered by a passion, a worry, a judgment, a realization, or some other internal encounter with an emotion of some kind.  If your friend suddenly brings up her job, it isn’t because she wants you to be well-informed about her situation at work, it’s because her job is on her mind and she wants to get it out of her mind. Respect that need and she will not only be grateful, but suddenly she’ll be much more likely to take an interest in what’s on your mind.

If you want to connect with people, make this your social mantra:

Always let the speaker be the star.

Whatever their performance is, whether it’s a story about something their kid is doing in school, a trip to Europe they’re planning, a complaint about what so-and-so said to them earlier — be the most respectful audience you can be.  The chair they are sitting in, the doorway they are standing in, wherever they are — that’s their stage, their pulpit.  Let them say their piece, no matter what you think of the story, or what you would do in their place.

Really, really listen to what they say, and recognize that they are saying what they’re saying because it is important to them.  In every single thing every person says, they reveal what they value.  When you can get a glimpse of what people value, you can see the humanity in them.  Andthat is how humans connect: by understanding each other’s values.  You don’t have to share those values, though you’ll certainly find you sharesomething with everyone.

I am not into hunting.  I have no interest in shooting a deer or a goose for fun.  But I do know some who do, and in my more conscious moments, I can genuinely appreciate everything a friend tells me about hunting.  The specifics of his anecdotes are not so important; it’s the glint of excitement in his eyes, and more importantly, the enthusiasm that swells in him when he realizes somebody is actually being receptive to his story.  I reserve my judgments; there’s no need to batter anyone over the head with my own stances.  There would be no communication at all if I did that.  Judgments just get in the way and do neither party any good.

To simply know what it feels like to hold something dear, and understand that we all know that feeling — that means you can understand anybody.  But only if you genuinely make a point of seeing where they’re coming from.  Our failing is that we’re usually much more concerned with being understood than with understanding.  Those who reverse those two priorities are very effective communicators and will never have a shortage of friends.

The Barrier

Distraction, in some form, is what typically prevents understanding.  Distraction is letting your attention wander from the other person’s performance.  It could be captured by what they’re wearing, a TV screen, a book in your hands, anything around you.  But the most common place for it to go is into your own (the listener’s) thoughts.  Most people are distracted by what they themselves would like to say.  Sometimes they want to respond before the person is finished, other times they simply have their own opinion locked and loaded to fire off as soon as there is a break in the dialogue.

Forget what you want to say, just drop all thoughts about yourself and your interests, and let them speak their mind.  Think of it this way: when you are listening, the most important thing in the world is to figure out where the other person is coming from.  Make it your entire purpose on earth — for the thirty-seven seconds it takes for them to tell their little story — to understand what feelings are behind what they say.  If, when they stop speaking, you still don’t understand where they’re coming from, ask a question.

All it takes is putting your own interests on hold until they are able to get their point across to you.

The habit of really listening to what someone is saying is a rare one.  And the people who do it can connect with anyone.  I’ve understood the value of being a good listener for a long time, but I didn’t really know what it meant to be one.  I know now: it means to cherish other people’s desire to express themselves more than your own desire to express yourself. Really, just completely defer your interests for as long as it takes for you to understand them.

That idea might scare some people.  Surely our own opinions are important too!

Relax.  You don’t have to worry about being understood, and here’s why: when you make a point of dumping your own thoughts to make room for understanding, people are so grateful that you are trying to see their perspective, they’ll be happy to listen to you afterward.  By then, what they wanted to say is no longer on their mind, so then they won’t be distracted by it while you are speaking.

In other words, take turns understanding each other, but insist on going first. Let the other person have the privilege of being the first one to be understood.  The biggest distraction to understanding someone else is self-importance.  Needing to say something means you have to be thinking about it, and thinking about it means you have very little mental capacity left for empathy.  Free up yours, and it will free up theirs.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone did this.

That’s all anyone wants, to be understood.  Give it to them.  Give the greatest of all gifts, every time you have the opportunity.  Unless the building is on fire, give yourself permission to let the speaker be the center of your universe, just for a minute.  It won’t hurt, I promise.  Forget what you were going to say.  Forget how you might wish to respond.  You can do that all later.  Abandon everything else in the world for the few seconds it takes to let the other person finish their thought.

At first, you will probably experience some angst at the thought of abandoning what you were going to say.  Drop it anyway, and see if your life suffers.  (It won’t.)  So what if you didn’t get to make the wisecrack you had saved up?  So what if you don’t get to tell them about yourupcoming trip to Europe?

Once you resolve to let all that baggage go, it’s actually a tremendous relief.  It’s like dropping an armload of textbooks you’ve had held against your chest.  You  no longer have to struggle to keep track of your thoughts.  You can safely let them all go.  Let them drift away, unfinished and unfollowed.  99% of them never needed to be said anyway.  And don’t worry, the truly important thoughts will be persistent enough to come back to you when nobody else is speaking.  You will get your chance to make yourself understood, just don’t try to be first in line.

There is such a strong compulsion to make our own opinion known, that even the most courteous among us will often practically ignore what the person says, or even interrupt them.  Most of the time the hurried remarks we do make are just little indulgences, self-important grabs at approval or admiration.

I know that I personally have a history of saying things for the sole purpose of sounding clever, or arousing the fondness of others.  I built my whole identity on looking smart, for years and years.  I didn’t know who I was without that approval, so I was constantly digging for it.  It’s really just a bad habit, to grab at the little ego boosts those self-indulgent remarks provide.  I would even call it an addiction, but that’s a whole other post.  For now let’s just say many of us are very strongly drawn to seeking approval by pointing out certain things or telling certain stories, and it impedes understanding others considerably.

The truth is, your opinions probably aren’t that important.  And neither are the other person’s.  Opinions will come and go, they speak mostly to our emotional state at the time we declare them.  There is usually very little logic behind them, just feelings.  And that’s okay.  There is a brilliant Zen saying:  Do not seek the truth, only cease to cherish opinions. This is not a prescription for dismissing what the other person is saying, only for cherishing the human being behind the words, rather than the back-and-forth play of semantics and mental positions.

I’ll be the first to say I’m really not all that good at this yet.  I’ve been getting better and better at relating to people, but old habits do indeed die hard.  But I now understand clearly where I went wrong so often, and I know what to do instead.  The specific concept of letting others be the star only came to me fairly recently, and I’m astounded at the results so far.  My friends and family suddenly became ten times more interesting, not to mention strangers, clients, clerks and passers-by.  I no longer have that bubble of angst growing inside me when someone else is speaking, because I know I can safely drop whatever I was going to say.  More and more I get to witness that wonderful sense of gratitude that washes over people when someone makes a genuine effort to understand them.

And when you do get your chance to speak, their eyes will be glued to you, and you’ll probably have the best audience you ever had.

http://www.digsdigs.com/4500-square-feet-tropical-house-on-a-very-small-lot-but-with-a-garden/

recently, i’ve been thinking about discipline. i need it. wonder how to obtain it.

There really is no secret

Hard work and discipline are what you need to succeed. This applies to everything. There really is no secret—or shortcut—that will get you around this. Get to it. Now.

This has been a public service announcement from Ian Stewart.

http://www.motivatingquotes.com/discipline.htm

The story of the butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
Neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

So have a nice day and struggle a little and teach well.

lol

1. “It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping.” —John Sinor

2. “They don’t grade fathers, but if your daughter’s a stripper, you f–ked up!” —Chris Rock

3. “Sherman made the terrible discovery that men make about their fathers sooner or later . . . that the man before him was not an aging father but a boy, a boy much like himself, a boy who grew up and had a child of his own and, as best he could . . . adopted a role called Being a Father so that his child would have something mythical and infinitely important: a Protector, who would keep a lid on all the chaotic and catastrophic possibilities of life.” —Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities

4. “Whatever you are, be a good one.” —Abraham Lincoln

5. “My mother protected me from the world, and my father threatened me with it.” —Quentin Crisp

6. “There must be many fathers around the country who have experienced the cruelest, most crushing rejection of all: Their children have ended up supporting the wrong team.” —Nick Hornby

7. “My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, ‘You’re tearing up the grass.’ ‘We’re not raising grass,’ Dad would reply. ‘We’re raising boys.’ ” —Harmon Killebrew

8. “You don’t put kids under surveillance: It might frighten you. Parents should sit tall in the saddle and look upon their troops with a noble and benevolent and extremely nearsighted gaze.” —Garrison Keillor

9. “A man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.” —Marlon Brando as Don Corleone in The Godfather

10. “When I was a boy of 14 my father was so ignorant that I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in only 7 years.” —Mark Twain

11. “Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.” —Joseph Addison