Monthly Archives: February 2009

Get What You Expect

It is funny about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the very best you will very often get it. – W. Somerset Maugham

Life… It tends to respond to our outlook, to shape itself to meet our expectations. – Richard M. DeVos

Life is funny. It responds to us, our expectations, our outlook, out attitudes and our beliefs. Most people think we respond to life, but really it’s the other way around. We have examples all around us every day, but we still refuse to see that we are making our own lives. Think about the athlete who refused to accept defeat; the seriously ill patient whose expectations of being well give him the edge to heal; the person in desperate financial straits who pulls him or herself out of a fiscal abyss.

The difference between these people and the ones who wallow in one bad moment after another is their unwavering high expectation, strong faith and belief in themselves. That’s the only difference. Who they are, where they’ve been and what’s happened to them have nothing to do with their success. Their outlook or attitude is the key.

Getting what you expect is less about action and more about thinking. When you get your thoughts, your attitude and your beliefs in order, action flows naturally in reaction to what’s in your head. You’ll find things just seem to flow, like it’s the next logical step.

Many people and systems of thought teach these concepts now and have done so for hundreds of years if not longer. Check out some of the books on the right to get started.

Have a great day!

Michael

Living Our Lives

While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness. – Gilda Radner

I was thinking today about the things we give up at points during our life. These are the parts that cause small areas of us to die inside. We have a million excuses; too busy, too tired, raising a family, work, errands, too busy, not good enough, someone else will always do it better, too busy, not enough money, didn’t finish school and too busy.

Shortly after my daughter was born, I stopped playing guitar regularly. That turned into even longer periods of not playing the guitar or music at all. 20 years later, I wondered where the time went. I kicked myself because I would be in a very different place musically and creatively if I had continued to play for those twenty years. I used most of the excuses I listed above. What I discovered was that a part of me had “died.” I had shut off a portion of who I was inside. Funny thing was that I felt a “hole” in my spirit but didn’t put two and two together.

I know people who love to paint, draw or pursue other creative endeavors, but they aren’t doing those things. Many times I sense something is missing in their lives. I typically give gentle encouragement to try and push them along. But, ultimately, it’s not my responsibility. We have to make those decisions for ourselves or they don’t stick. I can only be support when they need it.

Well, I get it now. I won’t let that happen to me again. In fact, I’m making sure that I pursue all the activities and creative pursuits that I feel define who I am. I’ll even try others to see if they fit. It’s been a very interesting experience to go through. I started playing guitar more seriously and all of a sudden I found two others to play with. Now we have a band. The more photographs I take the more opportunities to take photos seem to pop up. It really is a self fulfilling prophecy.

So, if you love to draw, start drawing again. If you love to play music, play! If you love to take photographs, get out there and take them. If you love to paint, take some time and start a painting. I believe in the concept of paying yourself first. This small act of self-love will transform your life and the ones who care about you.

There’s nothing like right now to get started in living your life to the fullest.

Michael

Preparing to Play Music in Public

Tonight I went to a local tavern with the rest of the band. We wanted to check out the open mic sessions they have on Thursday evenings as we are looking to play in public very soon. It was an interesting experience. There was a wide range of musical talent. All but one played acoustic guitar. Some had good voices. Our trio will be quite unusual there since everyone played solo. I think we will have a good song mix to entertain the laid back crowd. Our goal is to perform here in about a month.

One thing I really enjoyed was to watch people perform. Regardless of talent, they were up there on the stage. It takes guts to do that and I have a lot of respect for people that try. Anytime you can bare your soul on a stage in front of people is a good thing in my opinion. Even more so when you realize that the single biggest fear for people is to talk in front of others. In fact, this fear tops even the fear of death. Can you believe it? People have less fear of dying than speaking or performing on a stage. Wow!

It really was inspiring to watch. I had no qualms about playing there, but I’m sure when it comes to our night to play, things may be different. The bottom line is that we should focus on having fun just like we do in practice sessions. Nerves will go away quickly if you are having fun. Some musicians made mistakes tonight, but no one had a problem with that. That’s reassuring.

Have a great day!

Michael

No Stress at Work

My relatively new consulting job is virtually stress free. In some ways this is taking a bit of an adjustment as I went for some many years with a high stress job. Even though I took 5 1/2 months off, the old patterns seem to be there. By old patterns, I mean that my mind expects things to be stressful, is looking for stressful parts of the job and trying to gear my body into stress all from previous patterns of behavior.

But, there is no stress. So, I’m retraining my mind and body to understand that you can have a job that is not stressful especially if you like what you do. My goal is to go from a stressful, no fun job to no/little stress, somewhat fun job to a stress free, very exciting and fun career. It’s a three step process. I’m on step two.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed many aspects of the stressful job; like the worldwide travel and the challenge of doing things that had not been done before. So, it hasn’t left bad memories. In fact, the skills I gained during that time translate to so many different jobs and careers. There were many times I had a lot of fun. It’s just that the job didn’t sustain my passion.

It’s an exciting time as I figure out what I want to be when I grow up. :-)

Michael

Do Something Difficult

Undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow. – Ronald E. Osborn

Stretching yourself is the best way to grow. You can do this in any area of your life; work, physical, emotional, mental and etc. We do best as humans if we are constantly on the move; i.e. changing, growing and experiencing new things.

For example, if you play a musical instrument like the guitar, you’ll learn and grow more with your instrument if you play with people that play better than you do right now. Or take a class in a subject that you know very little about. If you like to workout at the gym, take it up a notch by taking a slightly more advanced class.

The important thing is to challenge yourself just enough so that as you practice more or perform, you will notice a gradual improvement. I think a key component is to make sure you are enjoying your difficult undertaking. It makes it a lot easier and your motivation level will be very high. In other difficult doesn’t mean forced, bad or no fun. It’s just a challenge.

Stretch and grow on a regular basis and you will feel better about yourself.

Michael

Appreciate Someone

Appreciate people. Nothing gives more joy than appreciation. – Ruth Smeltzer

Appreciation is such a powerful tool to help people change. Sincerely given, it can instantly make someone leap out of any quagmire they may find themselves in. Appreciation is universally desired and I feel should be universally given.

We tend to hand out appreciation to our families and close friends, but I think the real magic is in giving it to people you don’t know or know only slightly. A kind word to a stranger. A smile to someone who looks like they could use it. A helping hand to a person in need. Listening to someone who needs to talk.

Think about what our world would be like if all of us showed appreciation to one person each and every day. We’re talking change on a global scale. What if everyone felt just a little bit better today because we all took responsibility in showing each other a little appreciation? I can imagine a world like that and it looks really good. Can you?

I’m going to start today. What about you?

Michael

Release Your Burdens

People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them. – George Barnard Shaw

At almost any given moment, many of us are carrying burdens. Maybe it’s something from the past, a bad relationship, trouble with family, a physical ailment or any number of a thousand items. We become attached to our burdens. We get used to them being around. We start to define and view ourselves based on our burdens. We talk to others about our burdens. Our friends don’t help us by asking about our burdens.

Your burdens are not who you are. They are only events or things in your life. When we attach to our burdens, it makes it difficult to get rid of them. But, that is what we must do. We have to step out of our burdens. In other words we need to re-define ourselves without our burdens.

So, to begin this process ask yourself:

  • How would your life would be different without your burdens?
  • What would you do differently without your burdens?
  • How would others view yourself without your burdens?

Next, use your imagination to visualize your life without your burdens. In other words, bring to life in your mind’s eye the answer to the first question. Feel what it would be like. Make this imaginary journey as detailed as possible complete with feelings.

If your burdens seem bigger than you can handle at this time, seek professional help. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact it’s an excellent idea in many cases.

Be gentle with yourself. If you’ve been carrying something for quite some time, it may not go away immediately. It could, but keep your expectations reasonable.

Michael

Night of Laughter

Erica and I went to a comedy show last night in Newport. The Newport Winter Festival hosted two comedians; Paul D’Angelo and Mike Donovan. It was a great evening at the Viking Hotel in Newport.

The two comedians, though quite different in material, were very funny. There was a constant laughter ranging from strong to intense for almost two hours. My check muscles were started to ache a little. :-)

This is one thing I like about Newport. The city is continually bringing in artistic, comedic and musical talent throughout the year. There always seems to be something going; Newport Comedy Festival (summer), Jazz Festival, Newport Flower Show, Folk Festival, Chowder Festival, Sunset Music Series, Black Ship Festival, Irish Festival and many many more.

Also, the harbor is filled with multi-million dollar boats (ships) during the summer. It’s a lot of fun to see these huge pleasure boats.

But, on this cold winter night, we were all warm down at the Viking Hotel laughing for two hours. It was a great way to relax and release a little stress.

Michael

Opportunities Abound

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the Dream Job. It is a fantastic opportunity to live and work in an exciting part of Australia. Since that post I’ve been working on completing my 60 second video to apply for the position with the Queensland Bureau of Tourism.

It was completed today, so I uploaded and officially applied for the job online. So, now it is a waiting game to see who will be in the final 50 and then the final 11.

On a side note, an interesting opportunity presented itself. The lady who did the editing for my video is looking to start a tourism show on the local PBS station and possibly do some work with tourism type videos for local hotels. She asked if I would be interested in working on this project with her.

Uhhhhhh! Let me think……….Absolutely!

Moral of the story: When you step out of your comfort zone, you just never know what can happen.

Have a great day!

Michael

The Present Time

The present time has one advantage over every other–it is our own. – Charles Caleb Colton

I talk about this subject a lot. There is a simple reason and that’s because it is a critical key to being happier. Most people tend to focus on the past and the future, typically in a negative way. In other words, they think about “bad” events that happened in their lives, how they could have done something better, how they screwed up, the missed opportunities and etc. Then, they take all that has happened to them and extrapolate into the future. So, now the future is bleak because things never change. Bad things will continue to happen to me. I’ll always have money problems and etc.

The only way you can change the past is to travel back in time. So, spending time thinking and re-living the past is a complete waste of your time. The only effect you get is to feel bad right now; i.e. in the present. The future is slightly different because you can use your imagination and sense of hope to visualize a positive future event or outcome. As you visualize the positive future experience you feel better in the present.

The present is the key. When you think thoughts, you are thinking them in the present moment, not the past or future. When you visualize future events, you are seeing them now. The trick is to simply focus more of your attention on what is going on inside that mind of yours. Because right now is the point where you can change how you feel. The cool thing is that changing how you feel now will ultimately affect your future, but your moment of power is right now.

So, start spending more of your present time for helping yourself. The benefits are extraordinary.

Michael