Friday Motivation November 15, 2019

We are all on this beautiful blue marble spinning around our star as it cruises through the galaxy. The universe is expanding, stars are born and die in fiery explosions, always on the move, always something new. Change is natural; inevitable, impersonal.

It is only us humans that try to deny and fight the reality of change. We narrow our view to a pinpoint, closing our eyes so only the tiniest bit of light gets in. Proclaiming things are the same, staving off our fear of the future.

We judge everything. From cradle to grave, judgement is how we compare and contrast the world around us. We judge ourselves and push that judgement outward as we then measure everyone else. These judgements are opinions that have turned to concrete. The more experience we gain the more we solidify those judgements.

Judgement is the end of learning, the end of growth. We have our facts, we have measured the person or situation based on our set of rules and beliefs, and we have made a mental proclamation. All facts that come after only support our already established positions. We are the filled vessel unable to take anything new.

When we can reserve judgement, then we are the open vessel. Our opinions can evolve based on experiences. We are not locked into defending a position. We can change and grow.

Thursday Motivation November 14, 2019

Our mind has evolved to protect us from what is painful. This protection has moved from just the physical. Our brains have become very good at moving our decision making into a place of avoiding painful experiences.

“Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing”

Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

While this maintaining of the status quo protects us from pain, it does not help us to grow. We need discomfort in our lives, to learn, to experience something new, to provide us with new context and perspective.

“Great things never came from comfort zones.”

Neil Strauss

When we step out of our comfort zone, with time, patience and learning, we make what was once out of our comfort zone, into the zone.

Devote yourself to learning and to growing, and when you do, you have to accept that discomfort serves a powerful purpose.

We suffer the more we try and avoid pain. It cannot be escaped. Our minds already try to avoid pain, and when we run from it, this becomes a habit loop that is difficult to break. This multiplied with how even the small stuff, when avoided, begins to torture you, as you multiply your fear of being hurt.

Break the habit cycle. It won’t be easy, but confront the painful and uncomfortable.

Don’t wallow in it. But stare it right back, and roar.

One mechanism for breaking the fear response that is crippling you as part of this habit loop, is to take quick and decisive action. Just do it.

As an example, if you are afraid of speaking up at work, and you are at a meeting and have an idea. The moment you think of the idea, speak. Don’t ponder and consider whether to talk or not. —Once you consider it, your habit response will kick in and protect you from the pain of speaking up. You’ll never do it. And each time, you don’t do it, the fear of doing it confirms your habit response.

Wednesday Motivation November 13, 2019

Life feel like it is spinning out of control?

Have no idea where the day goes?

Working for the weekend?

Days measured in, “days until” we have drinks with friends, or vacation. Living for a better day.

Common, but sad.

*The joys of life are found in the moments. Today. To do this, we have to over come some unhealthy habits. Being present, means practicing mindfulness and living in the moment. This allows us to appreciate the beauty that exists in the every day.

*Simplicity. The simple pleasures of life can bring about the most happiness. Enjoying the tiny joys of life. Life is all the more rewarding enjoying simple things every day, than living for 3 weeks of vacation every year. We still need our unplugged vacation time. But what we do with our other 330 days has more impact on our overall happiness than anything that a few weeks of vacation can do for us.

*Reduce distractions. If you are spending time with someone, then be fully invested in the moment. Quit looking at your phone. This signals that you would rather be doing something else, or are more interested in what is going on somewhere or with someone else.

*Check in with yourself for just 5 minutes every day, at some point in the day. Sit, quietly, with no expectations of yourself. Just listen to your heart beating and the air coming into and out of your lungs. Feel the sensations in your arms and legs. Stretch your toes outward, and your fingers apart. This helps us become grounded in the moment.

Overtime, this will help you reduce those days where it feels like time is just flying by and you have no idea where the time is going or even how you go to this point in your life.

Monday Motivation November 11, 2019

It is perfectly normal to complain. It is rife in our society and culture. Countless hours are spent as work friends complain to each other about the injustice in the reality of their day to day world. Happy hour wouldn’t look the same without those that can’t help but hold court over a beer and a healthy dose of, “I can’t believe they-“

A little venting, relieves the pressure that can build up inside us. In short bursts, it helps.

Overall, it is fruitless and unproductive. We are not accepting the way things are. Our emotions are coloring our viewpoint of “they”, it is always someone else in these complaining sessions. We don’t take responsibility for our viewpoint. Remove the expectation of others and complaining becomes all the more ridiculous.

  • Simply -accept what is
  • Quit expecting things of others. – those expectations are thinly veiled demands. How you know, is if you get upset when you have an expectation of another person and they fall short, then this is really a demand without being upfront.
  • Realize that what is, may also not be reality but is your emotions coloring the situation
  • If there is a something to decide, then make a decision and decide.

Do these things and you will get off the hamster wheel of complaints that in the end are getting you no where.

And remember, the only reason anyone is listening to your complaints is so you will listen to theirs.

Having people in our lives that listen to our complaints, is less rewarding than having people in our lives that we can share how we are overcoming our opportunities. Celebrate positivity.

Thursday Motivation November 7, 2019

Oh, the shackles we put on ourselves. It is not the world that limits us, society, or the people in our lives. The chains are not put on us from where we come from or how much money we have.

None of them constrain us as much as we do to ourselves. The mental chains that hold us earthbound.

Certainly there are hardships. There are challenges to be sure. Very difficult challenges. When we do let them become barriers, then they are opportunities, things that we can learn from and rise up and overcome.

Unshackle yourself, you have the key, you are the key.

Reach for the sky and don’t ever look back.

As a kid, we didn’t always know where our next meal was going to come from. My parents fought about money all the time. Always wondering, when were they going to come and kick us out of our home? My dad was always out doing work, trying to scrape together a living.

Our family was not like every one else’s family. We came from a different world. A very different world, and I learned how to hide in plain sight. The only thing I knew was that I could learn. I studied, not always what I was supposed to in school, but I studied everything and everyone.

And yes, the world could be cruel and merciless, and uncaring. None of that was as damaging, as what I did inside my own head.

I know personally, how important it is to unchain yourself.

To not let the masses, the majority, and every one else’s normalcy hold you back. Fight the voice in your head that is doubt. Stare your fears right in the face, and shout, you have no power over me.

You created that fear and you can destroy that fear.

Turn it to work for you. Inside of fear, after you have let it pass over you and through you, there is an energy, a power that you will possess that is unlike anything else.  

Wednesday Motivation November 6, 2019

Des Moines, WA

Why should we pay so much attention to what the majority thinks?


Our social groups can have such a powerful effect on our lives. The desire to fit in and to be accepted by others ripple with strong undercurrents in our day to day actions. We over attribute our thinking to being that of the majority.

We are mesmerized by what everyone else is talking about. These social influences sways us into conformity, and from conformity – polarization grows stronger.

Fascinating that the more we conform, the more polarized our worlds become. The more we seek to fit in, the less information we get, the less divergent thoughts are shared, and we are proven correct in our crowd sourced thinking.

Inequality, slavery, the subjugation of women throughout history. The majority is wrong all the time. The majority keeps answering the same answers to the questions on the test, even as times change and we have better answers. The majority loves to say,  it’s the way it’s always been done.

It takes individuals who stand alone and challenge the status quo for every change we see and have ever seen in the world. Don’t be enslaved by caring what the majority thinks. 

Unchain yourself and live boundless by growing as a person and expanding those horizons both within and without.

Tuesday Motivation November 5, 2019

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.

— Tim Ferriss

Fear can be turned on it’s head. And used to point us in the right direction for our growth.

 At a primal level, fear can be a useful feeling, allowing us to perceive danger or threats and to either fight or flee those dangers. In our modern world, fears and our perception of fear doesn’t hold the same moment to moment need that it did when we lived in a vast and dangerous world, where our dinner could possibly eat us.

Overcoming fear may be one of the most significant things you can do in your life to be successful and happy. You ability to work through your fears, improve your resiliency, and actually get good at the thing you fear most will have a lasting positive effect on you.

The more fears we rack up, that we keep with us and allow to control us – the more weight fear in general has in our lives. The less in control of our life we feel. And surely, it is difficult to feel true happiness under this constant pressure.

If you are at a place where you need to make a decision and are unsure of where to turn next. Look to the fork in the road and look closely at the path that scares you the most. That path is the harder path. The scarier path. But ultimately, it is the one that will set your life in a better direction.

If you want your life to be different. And you find yourself always taking the path away from fear. It is time to take a step in a new direction. One that will be scary. It will be unknown. It will require you to think and do things differently so that fear doesn’t rule you and your decisions. Go do the thing that scares you the most.

Every time that I’ve done this in my own life, I’ve grown as a person. That growth has always brought new blessings into my life. And most importantly, I’ve unburdened myself from another fear that I’d been weighing myself down with.

Monday Motivation November 4, 2019

If it’s endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining.

— Marcus Aurelius

You are stronger than you imagine.

We are capable of more than we expect of ourselves.

When we work out, our mind gives out before our muscles. Whatever number we have set in our head, that becomes the finish line. For some, we power through to that finish line. For others, they quit when they get within sight of that line. That first moment, our muscles say, hhm this is getting tough, we start questioning how much more we have in us.

We can endure. And to endure, we need our mind. And to believe that we can endure, we cannot engage in complaining.

If you’ve got this, then don’t complain. It defeats the purpose. It brings you down. It is futile and useless. Anyone who is complaining, can’t say they “got this” and are announcing to the world they cannot endure. Don’t give up.

But we also love to complain. We complain without even realizing it sometimes. We relate to others through complaining. I’ve known plenty of people who are friends only as a complaining circle, outdoing each other with the trials and tribulations of life.

It’s normal to complain. We all do it. Venting is good when it is done to relieve a little pressure so that it doesn’t build up into an eruption. But once the venting is done, you have to move on, find a productive way to take action.

Other than in short bursts, most people just don’t want to be around a complainer. When the complaining is so pervasive that it is stemming from having a negative attitude, or is contributing to a negative attitude.

There are some simple things that we can do to increase our resiliency and decrease the hold that negative thoughts have on us, and the incessant complaining that may be taking a hold of your day to day life.

If you are complaining, you have decided to not be happy.

Friday Motivation November 1, 2019

The true hero is one who conquers their own anger and hatred.

— Dalai Lama

Conquering anger and hatred doesn’t mean abolishing it completely from your being.

Anger is a natural manifestation of frustration, injustice, insecurity, fear; and can be a self defense mechanism. Knowing how to deal with your anger is important in leading a healthy life.

Anger takes a toll on the body in a myriad of ways from high blood pressure, headaches and can be so stressful that it impairs your immune system.

When we are seeing red it is near impossible to think correctly. We are not productive. We are caught in just that emotion.

Then there is the toll on the relationships around you.

Anger comes from within. It is our reaction to external pressures and internal thoughts and feelings. You can learn to grapple your anger and dig into the core to resolve these feelings. This can change your reaction to these external pressures.

We all feel these things. Knowing how to cope and deal so they don’t negatively impact our lives is important for our well being and our relationships. 

As wise master Yoda said, “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, Hate…to suffering”

Being angry once and a while is certainly human and completely normal. When it is social injustice, that anger when not self consuming can spark action to a better world.

Working through an argument and anger with someone you love and care about is a key part of a healthy relationship.

Doing what we can to resolve our anger and to resolve the underlying causes of that anger so that it doesn’t continue is indeed a heroic undertaking. Applaud yourself for working to grow as a person. These are not easy, but they are infinitely rewarding.

Thursday Motivation October 31, 2019

Bar Harbor, Maine
*Photo © J. Marcus Ross

The mind that is anxious about future events is miserable.

— Seneca.

How often do we make ourselves miserable thinking about that conversation with our boss later this afternoon or that presentation we have to give next week ?

Thinking, quickly becomes anxiety, when we spend time doing it without constructive thought. If there isn’t a direct purpose in figuring something out and coming up with an answer, then we are just whooping ourselves up about the future.

We miss the moment. What needs to get done now –  worrying about something that isn’t even happening yet. The anxiety is impacting the here and now. And that may in fact make the future be what you fear. 

I’ve done this plenty of times in my life. I’d say it used to be a big part of my life. It still rears it’s ugly little head from time to time.

Working to reduce this helps not only be more productive, but happier overall.

It takes some adjusting.

Each time you find yourself doing this, remind yourself – there is no purpose in thinking about it now.

Plenty of time to deal with it when it’s happening.

Don’t fight the thought.

Don’t get upset with yourself for thinking. Just don’t lean into it. Acknowledge the thought and feeling that comes with it, and move on. Go back to what needs to be done right this moment.

With practice it can be done. You’ll be amazed at how much happier you are when you adjust this one thing. It takes work, but it is so worth it.