Burglars shouldn’t keep diaries, and other life lessons

Source: Thumbpress.com

Source: Thumbpress.com

A small toddler has recently learned to crawl. She is crawling on a couch when she veers over to the edge of the couch. Not knowing any better, she continues crawling and falls off. On the way down, she hits her head on the coffee table. What lesson could she learn from this experience? She could learn that “couches equal pain”. That would be totally understandable, and of course completely wrong. It would also negatively impact her life & decision-making going forward. Imagine her awkwardness at parties…

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Everything starts with clarity of focus

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“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where –”

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

This line passed me by the first time I heard it, as it does many people, because it seems so obvious.  When it really hit me, though, that this line was about more than just getting directions, I realized how wise it is.  I was struggling with where to go in my LIFE, as were many of my acquaintances, and we were frustrated with where we were, but we hadn’t decided on a clear goal. [Read more…]

One of my hands is lying!

funny-cute-puppys-eating-legs-no-lying-down-picsDon’t you hate it when your body lies to you?  I know I do, although maybe you’ve never thought about it that way.  The thing is, every time, it turns out it was really me lying to myself (about my body), and so I am learning to trust my body more.  But to trust something, you have to understand it, and the human brain part of the body is pretty complicated to understand.  Its basic function, though, is not that complicated but is widely misunderstood, to our detriment.  This basic fact is simply this:  Your brain is a contrast engine.  Always remember that, and it will never stop helping you in life.  [Read more…]

When idioms collide!

CIMG1155_4We’ve probably all heard a bunch of old sayings, like “A penny saved is a penny earned” (Ben Franklin), “The early bird gets the worm” (someone gross), etc.  Anyway, in thinking about the Middle East refugee crisis, I realized that the only real (possible) solution I could see is essentially a combination of two of these old sayings:  “You will attract more flies with honey than vinegar” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Let me explain…

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The age old question–carrot or stick?

Source:  Flickr

Source: Flickr

Probably for as long as man can remember, there has been the question of which works better–the carrot or the stick?  A new study concludes that it is the stick, but also found an interesting twist:  it doesn’t have to be harsh.

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Naked in the Mirror

images-2I recently read this blog post by Mark Suster and it reminded me of my own post called Strengths & Weaknesses.  Mark was relating this to startups, which is what his great blog is about.  But his point is similar to mine, in that we all tend to see our weaknesses/vulnerabilities but we see other people’s strengths/successes.  I like his catch phrase better than anything I came up with, which encapsulates it nicely–“Naked in the Mirror”.  We see ourselves naked in the mirror, but we see everyone else dressed to the nines, with everything made up & in place.

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Dessert Stomach Mind

DessertThe Zen approach to life is with the “beginner’s” mind. Basically, throw out everything you think you know and start with an empty mind. We also hear, outside of Zen, sayings such as “A mind is like a parachute–it works best when open”. I agree with these, and have had some great learning experiences that I would not have otherwise had, by employing an empty, open mind. In my daily life, however, I find this hard to do for both habitual and practical reasons. And when I look around, I see lots & lots of people who rebel against this approach entirely (especially when it comes to politics!). So, I would like to propose a modified version of this, that may be easier to swallow (pun intended), which I call the Dessert Stomach Mind. [Read more…]

Why aren’t we awesomer?

Great Ted Talk:

This is a truly great talk to watch. If you don’t have time right now, I give some highlights below, but I really recommend you take the time to watch the whole thing.

“Just because you have a thought in your head, it doesn’t mean it’s YOUR thought.”

“We’re not afraid of what we think we’re afraid of. We’re afraid of what we think.”

He mentions how we think the mind is a camera only, just recording the “reality” out there, but we also overlay loads of beliefs that change what it is we think we see. He uses optical illusions to prove the reality that “The mind does not work like a camera, it works like a projector.”

He also makes another point with an optical illusion, that even though we may all think we see something, if we made it up, it’s not there. Even though we all see it, it is still not there. To me, this is profound. We tend to ascribe a greater assuredness of reality to things other people agree with us on, things that other people also see, and we mistakenly believe that we can’t be making it up if other people see it too. Wrong.

“Thought creates our world, and then says ‘I didn’t do it'”. –Physicist David Bohm

This results in such true statements as “You’re not insecure, you just think you are.”

Strengths & Weaknesses

SumoI was talking to the son of a friend this weekend who is going off to the military and ended up giving him some advice that I thought is good for everyone to hear, at any age & point in life. It is about strengths & weaknesses.
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Realization

I finished reading “Awakened Imagination” by Neville and just had a realization. He talks about how we create our outer reality from within our imagination. Many people have said this, so in and of itself it was not unique. However, what hit me in reading it (it is a very strange read) was that really learning this will do something more than change one’s situation (outer reality). That is what the book is primarily about, but something in what he said caused me to realize a second result from this. Again, I don’t mean conceptualizing the idea, or even agreeing with it, but truly believing it to the point where it is embedded within you. The evidence that you are at this point will be when you realize you have consciously remade your outer reality as you chose internally. OK, the second benefit, I believe, is that you will truly realize that “you” are not your body, but rather some other, harder to define but immensely powerful being. This means that physical death is no longer as scary, because it does not mean “you” die, but rather only this body does. I know this sounds esoteric, but I really think it is true.

In addition to reading the book, I started reading The Indigo Room, and it seems like a great blog to get exposed to this way of thinking.