Have you ever written a love letter?
A letter that describes your true feelings about a partner, a child or a friend.
A letter that brings in to focus how much a person really means to you.
A letter that details the qualities about them that brings you alive.
A love letter is a powerful tool that can strengthen a relationship even if you never share it with the person it’s written for. In fact, you can hide the letter away and read it to yourself just to remind you how you feel about them.
If a letter is too difficult for you or not your cup of tea, then write a list. Make it as detailed as possible; use words to describe them how you would as if you were head over heels for them.
Remember, the people closest to you will test you the most. Children, friends, parents, partners will all at one time or another have you asking yourself- why?
Use this letter to remind you why.
And by the way.
Let’s hope they have a letter written about you too.
How much of your attention do you really give people, especially the ones you love?
Do you rush through your interactions?
Are you ever really present?
Being fully present can be an extremely powerful feeling, both for you and the person you’re speaking to. Especially in today’s highly distracted environment, where attention spans have dwindled to almost zero.
If you have the opportunity to engage with someone today then try to be fully present. Turn your entire body, from your eyes all the way down to your feet towards them. Relax and let them speak. Just absorb what they have to say. Let them finish and give them a moment before you speak.
At first, you might feel awkward doing this but stick with it. You’re only feeling awkward because your mind has become accustomed to moving on to the next thing.
Being present and paying attention helps you really feel what the person is saying rather than just hearing it. Being present can move you from just skimming across the surface of your relationships and take you to new depths.
What would you do if you knew no one would laugh at you?
Would you dare to be creative?
Would express more of who you are?
Would you share your crazy ideas?
What if you learned that those laughing at you were actually laughing because they wish they could be more like you?
That their laughter was masking their pain and deep down they wish they had the courage to do what you are doing.
The story you tell yourself about other people is just that, it’s a story. It’s your narrative, your interpretation of what you think they’re thinking.
This is not a call to abandon personal responsibility.
It’s a call to your soul.
It’s a request for you to turn up the volume just a little more on who you really are.
Don’t let your true nature be extinguished with the passing of time. The world is waiting to hear more from the real you. It’s waiting to laugh with you, not at you.
Have you found it yet?
Do you need help looking for it?
The last time I saw it, it was hiding behind that new thing.
But then, like it’s known to do, it moved to that other thing.
It seems to have a life of its own and rarely stays in one place, but it always goes back home. It returns to the one place it feels safe because is it knows that people won’t look for it there.
It really enjoys the chase.
It loves to wear disguises and covers its true identity. So people mistake it for something else and it gets called by countless names, such as new car, new house, new friends and so many more.
But you can call it by its real names, contentment, happiness and peacefulness.
And if you stop chasing it, you will find it.
You will find it in the one place it’s always been and loves to hide.
It’s inside you.
Just waiting for you recognize it and embrace it.
How much time do you spend living in the past?
Reminiscing fondly about great memories can be a wonderful experience that you can thoroughly enjoy, but beating yourself up about things you could have done differently causes you to re-live the pain in the present.
At times it might seem as though you’re the only one that has made mistakes and has regrets, but you’re not. Everyone has something in their past that they wish they could have done differently.
Learning from your past can be great tool if used properly, but all too often people use their past as weapon against themselves. And the great irony about memories from the past is that they are often a combination of what you remember, what really happened and the story you’ve created in your mind.
Rather than focusing on your past, focus on the present. Your past will always be part of who you are, but it doesn’t have to define who you are going to be.
Do you remember the kind of grades you made in school?
How much of who you are and what you do today is influenced by those grades?
If you walk the hallways of any school or college you can see the weight of getting good grades etched in to the faces of the students. Rarely are they told that the grades that they are working so hard for does not define their full potential but only their ability to perform in that moment.
Those that do well carry their A’s as a sense of pride to their homes and in to the future, whereas those with C’s and D’s shrink with shame hoping no one notices.
The modern day grading system was created in 1792 by William Farish, a tutor in England. He created it so that he could process more children through the classroom in a shorter amount of time. The grading system that he adopted originated in shoe factories to determine if the shoes made on assembly lines were ‘up to grade.’
So, essentially a system to grade inanimate objects was taken in the name of efficiency and implemented to grade children and determine their future.
If you’ve let the grades you received in school define your capabilities and it’s worked out well for you then fantastic, but if you’ve gone through life thinking that you don’t have certain abilities because you weren’t good in school then perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Remember, grades are only one tiny measure of the entire capabilities of any individual.
Simple as they may seem, these are powerful words and when said with conviction and sincerity can create change beyond your imagination.
Today I say to you – Thank you.
Thank you for your support, comments and ideas. They have given me the courage and motivation I needed to finally publish my book.
The book is titled For You, From Me and is a collection of blog posts that have resonated with individuals over these past two years.
So again I say to you, thank you because you changed my life and hopefully my gratitude will inspire you to say thank you to someone that changed your life too.
Are you in the research trap?
Do you need to find out one more thing before you start?
Research is often used as a shield to hide behind, to buy time because of the fear of taking action.
No doubt that if you’re creating something that has life and death consequences then you need to conduct as much research as possible, but that’s rarely the case for most people.
Yes, research is necessary, but too much can actually be intimidating.
The good thing is that ALL the research doesn’t have to be done upfront, in fact it’s probably better that you make it part of your process since information can change with time.
If you’ve really been moved to start something new and have been endlessly researching how to do it then take the first step. Get out of the research trap because you’ll learn so much from the action you take.
What thoughts come to mind when you hear someone say ‘it must be nice?’
Does it come across as genuine or are the words hiding other emotions?
Do you ever catch yourself saying it must be nice?
What do you really mean?
Must be nice usually comes with the perception that something has come easy to an individual or even that they are undeserving yet things still seem to work out for them.
The phrase also conveys hints of envy and resentment towards another’s good fortune.
The next time you think or hear the phrase used, imagine how you would feel if someone directed those words towards you. Think about all you had to do to accomplish something only for it to be downplayed by someone saying, it must be nice.
Do you know the great secret behind baby steps?
They actually work.
You see, when a baby is able to successfully take a step or two it builds confidence which then leads to steps three and four.
Fortunately this works for adults too.
The problem with adults is that they think baby steps are beneath them, so they don’t take them.
Instead they jump right in thinking they can do any activity or skill at an ‘adult’ level, only to quickly realize they can’t and so they quit.
Then there are also the embarrassment and ego factors that come in to play. Embarrassment from having to start at the beginning and ego saying you should be better than this.
If you can put aside embarrassment and ego and work on taking baby steps in any new endeavor you’ll very quickly realize how powerful they are.
Your confidence will begin to grow as you get better and there might even come a time when you’ll be able to skip a step or two.
So take a baby step today towards something you want to improve or start anew. Remember, you were once an expert baby, so put that experience to use again.
When the feedback, progress report or appraisal comes back with ‘room for improvement’ how do you feel?
Do you get defensive or do you embrace it?
If room for improvement means that there’s the potential or capacity to get better, then why do so many associate it as being a bad thing?
It’s because room for improvement is usually negatively tied to a grade or compensation.
Educators and employers have unfortunately created generations of individuals that fear the words room for improvement. When in reality, room for improvement is one of the best things that can be said about a person.
Imagine a world where the initial software program for a product was the only one ever released. You’d discard that product and the company would be ridiculed and would very quickly disappear.
Think of room for improvement as your own continuous software upgrades.
You are a work in progress and will always have room for improvement. So don’t shy away from it, use it to your advantage.
That was the diagnosis.
The room was quiet except for the rhythmic beat of the monitors.
They weren’t sure how to respond since this was not what they had expected to hear.
But in their hearts they understood the diagnosis and appreciated the candid, honest manner in which it was delivered.
They had a decision to make.
How would they spend the time they were given?
As they held their newborn baby, they knew the countdown clock of life had started.
The race was on. The doctor was right.
The diagnosis of life is terminal.
Until proven otherwise, the clock is counting down for all of us. We all have a terminal condition.
This is not to say that you should focus on death, in fact quite the opposite because it’s guaranteed so thinking about it is wasted time.
Focus on living.
Focus on doing everything you can to really appreciate life and making the most of the time you have. Empty your days, filling your life.
Kryptonite was the fictional material that was able to drain Superman of his strength.
What is your kryptonite?
What people, environments and activities add to, or drain from your mental and physical energy levels?
How can you experience more of the positive and less of the negative?
You can start by learning to attune yourself to how your energy levels feel when you are engaged in activities or with people. Your body has the ability to read the environment and provide you with sensations and signals that enable you to distinguish between positive and negative energy.
Removing yourself from energy draining activities is an ideal situation but not always possible. So, if you find yourself having to be in toxic environments then you can learn to anchor your mind to thoughts that bring you pleasure. You can also learn to detox your mind after dealing with people that negatively affect your energy.
The key is to learn to listen and feel your energy. Identify your kryptonite. And move away from it as much as you can so you can preserve your superpowers.
What does being better mean to you?
How do you experience your desire to be better?
The desire to look better, feel better, live better?
Everyone you know is trying to get better.
When questioned, even those that look like they have given up, secretly have a desire to be better.
They are trying because it’s the human condition. It’s what has enabled us to survive as a species.
The problem with the constant desire for better is that it can breed discontent. Discontent between how you are today versus where you want to be.
Your ability to deal with feelings of discontent as you work towards being better is skill worth developing because it will be your best friend on your journey to getting better.
How long does a juggler juggle?
I know, it sounds like a riddle but it’s not.
You’ve probably watched a juggler juggle only for a few minutes before stopping. And jugglers are experts at focusing on many things at once.
So what about you?
How many things to do try to focus on at one time?
Distraction or unfocused attention consumes higher amounts of your brains energy when you are trying to complete a single task. And the quality of the task at hand also suffers.
Try focusing on one thing for as little as 20 minutes. If just the thought of 20 minutes uninterrupted time sounds too long and causes you anxiety then that’s something you should consider looking in to.
Your ability to focus on a given task even for a short period of time without interruptions is highly effective and is a great way to increase your productivity without extra effort.
What are the first and last thoughts of your day?
What are your first and last words of your day?
How do you bookend your days?
Think of the first and last minutes of your day as critical points on a journey that will dictate the direction of your thoughts.
Summoning words and thoughts of endearment, kindness and love towards yourself and others gives you sense of calm and well-being.
Meditating for a moment on feelings of gratitude and love has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn is great for your overall physical health too.
Make an effort to consciously bookend your days, it doesn’t cost anything but few minutes of daily exercised thoughts away from negative feelings and influences. And that can’t be a bad thing.
When was the last time someone said to you “you’ve changed?”
I can almost guarantee that the words were not used in a positive context.
Whenever you decide to behave in a way that confronts how people closest to you view you, you will feel the pressure to remain the same.
You see, the world around you needs you to remain stable so it can categorize you. And you oblige by staying in your groove until it becomes a rut.
Do you know studies have shown in some cases when one partner in a relationship loses weight the other partner can’t handle it. This happens because there is a change in behavior that is outside the norm of the relationship.
This is the reason that if you’ve ever traveled alone or spent time away from your environment you’re able to take on a different persona. Because your new, temporary location doesn’t have any notion or expectation of who you are.
The next time someone tells you ‘you’ve changed,’ you can choose to fight against it and argue why you haven’t, or you can embrace it, knowing that you’re working hard to do so.
Take a minute to imagine your perfect day.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Did you do it?
If you didn’t then why not?
“If you want to accomplish something, you must first expect it of yourself.”
Sit with this Wayne Dyer quote for a moment.
Do you take time out to expect things of yourself?
Are you always moving from to do, to the next to do without stopping and asking why?
Constantly moving from one task or activity to the next doesn’t allow you to gain any perspective on the bigger picture of life. It’s like viewing the world through microscope.
If you want to live a life where you feel you have influence over your choices, you have to allow yourself time to stop and take a step back.
Step back to give yourself time to imagine, consider and think about what you want to accomplish and then as Wayne so eloquently said “expect it of yourself.”
In a world that this moving towards all your personal needs being met on demand, personalized and delivered instantly what happens to patience?
What happens to your ability to give another person a few seconds to respond to your question before you reach for your phone because they’re taking too long?
What happens to your ability to spend time on a project because it is taking too long?
What happens when you begin to expect everything now?
You see, even though your brain has the fantastic ability to adapt to its environment sometimes the adaptation can become a liability.
Getting used to everything being on demand erodes your ability to exercise patience. And patience is an integral part of being human.
Patience with people, patience with projects and even patience with yourself is a skill that will serve you well and should be practiced.
Perhaps you can learn to summon patience, on demand.
Who isn’t a professional beginner?
Well, at one time we were all professional beginners and some still are.
When you decide that being a beginner is no longer for you, then you limit your possibilities.
Don’t shy away from being a beginner, embrace it. In fact, be so brave as to run towards it.
Yes, you will feel awkward at first, but that’s part of the process. If fact, when you hear the story of any person that has mastered their field, you will often hear them say ‘at first I had no idea what I was doing.’
Your ability to master the uncertainty of being a beginner will exponentially increase your life experiences because you will not be afraid to try new things.
Remember, you were once a beginner at walking, talking and even thinking for yourself yet with practice and time you were able to master those critical skills that keep you alive.
Becoming a master at being a beginner is a freeing feeling. Own it proudly because ultimately it will enrich your life.