People often ask me, where do you begin on this life-long journey of success, and fulfillment. I know from personal experience on the Habit MasterTM path that the journey begins with service.
It starts with a burning desire to live a life that helps something or someone, a life that in some way improves the lot of others. And although this expression of service may come in different forms or be expressed in different ways it is the major driver for high level success and satisfaction.
Reflect for a moment on Luke Skywalker's ascent from boyhood to hero. It was purpose that evoked Luke's character as he progressed from a youth living with his Aunt and Uncle to the man who would save a Universe. In his ascent, Luke had to confront his doubts and fears and overcome his lesser habits to allow the seed of his soul its full expression.
And so it is with every Habit MasterTM who understands the way of wisdom that guides the journey. It is a passage from the mesmerization of the masses (a condition we are born into) to the realization of the infinite and immeasurable soul.
Further, the full flowering of strength for the journey happens in stages. So let's just look at stage one. What do you want?
As for myself, I think when I was younger I complained about my lot in life because one day a friend of mine said something that changed my perspective forever: “All I ever hear is what you don’t want in your life,” he said. “But you’ve never said what you do want.”
That evening I went home and thought about what my friend had said. “What do I want?” I wondered. So I made a list of what I did want. It was a very short list, but it was the best I could do at the time. It was the first time I had clearly stated a positive desire on paper. Looking back, I realize now that it was the beginning of my transformation. I wrote:
- I want to be the best that I can possibly be.
- I want to use my gifts and talents in whatever I do.
- I want to make a positive contribution to the lives of others.
Bingo! The third desire was the key that opened the door to all of the success and satisfaction that would ultimately follow in my life.
Even though I wasn't clear about what my gifts and talents were and even though the edges of my picture were not clearly defined, I had enough information to begin formulating an image. It was the beginning of a life transforming process and the clarification of my purpose, although I didn’t know it at the time.
So, as Covey said, "Begin with the end in mind."
- Even if it isn't fully clear, start wherever you are and write it down because writing it accelerates the process.
- And remember to include the contribution part (that could be to people or to science or music etc.).
There is a wonderful story about an experiment that was done many years ago. The experimenter put a batch of fleas into a jar and covered the jar with clear plastic kitchen wrap. In the first few hours the fleas would jump up and hit the plastic seal at the top of the jar.
Soon they discovered that if they jumped just short of the top, they wouldn't bang their heads against the plastic. So all of them happily jumped about an eighth of an inch short of the top. They were comfortable. They were happy.
A few days later the experimenter took the plastic seal off the top of the jar. The fleas never left the jar because they were now trained. They continued to jump an eighth of an inch short of the top because it had become a habit.
- Have we become like those fleas in the jar?
- Are we still afraid that we might bump our heads on the ceiling?
- Are we thinking there is a limit to how far we can go?
- Have we accepted the limited outcomes of the past as if they were true?
These limits fall within the overarching categories of assumptions, expectations, beliefs, and opinions. These manifest as a series of thought and behavioral patterns.
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Lack of confidence
How do you break the chain? It starts in the here and now. If you have a fear thought, do what you do with a child, change the subject. Replace the thought immediately with a thought or an image that brings you joy, peace, strength or confidence or any combination of these.
Remember, you cannot hold two thoughts in your mind at the same time. Dr. Irving Oyle calls the chemicals that flow through the body with fear 'anger juice'. He also coined the phrase 'joy juice' for the chemicals that accompany feelings of happiness.
I personally keep a picture of a loved one on my desk, and if anything of a lower nature creeps in, I immediately look at the picture and feel the feelings of love strength and warmth flowing through me. These positive feelings and thoughts usurp the space that the negative thought held and 'joy juice' flows through my brain and body.
Remember, you are not separate from the success you seek. As you hold positive thoughts and feelings, everything you do flows more smoothly, everyone you meet feels happier around you, the goals you wish to attain begin to rush towards you.
And then you realize that you are the success you seek. You create it with every thought, emotions and feeling that you hold in your mind and heart.
Try this experiment. In the morning, before you go to work, give yourself a shot of 'joy juice' by holding this thought; This is going to be a wonderful day because I am the success I seek. Then observe your interactions, the events that occur, the people that you meet throughout the day.
Have a great day and a wonderful week! And let me know how that works for you...
I am so thankful for the gift of life and for the opportunity to engage with all of you in conversations that make a difference. The Internet and all that it has provided in this area is wonderful!
But it is truly each and everyone of you that makes a difference. Relationship is everything!
Let us all remember to remember who we are. And as we combine hearts and minds, engage in higher order thinking and live from our hearts, we shift the vibrational field around us.
And as more and more of us engage in this way, we shall one day, reach a tipping point in consciousness. Then we shall live in new ways, only imagined from this viewpoint... compassionate, kind human beings who care infinitely for one another and for the home planet on which we live.
And how do we get there?
It is fairly simple but not simplistic. Live in alignment with your highest values. Ask yourself the following questions. Take time to think about them and write them out on paper. For as you do, you are scribing them internally on your heart and mind and they will show up in your actions.
- How do you want to be remembered?
- What do you want to be remembered for?
- In what way is your life contributing to the lives of those around you?
- What joy do I intend to bring to all my relationships?
We truly do determine who we are and who we shall be. This is the power of intention. This is destiny by design. Of all the gifts that we've been given, the most powerful and profound is the gift of choice. So choose!
Let me hear from you as we expand our conversation.
You Are Your Own Best Kept Secret in the world.
It is the desire to live fully, love completely and became a self-actualzed human being.
There is an innate longing to experience and express who we are and to achieve to our fullest capacity through the living of our lives.
I had a conversation with Siri the other day. She suddenly popped up on my iPad screen as she is prone to do at times. Only this time I decided to engage with her. So I asked her how she was feeling. "I'm happy to be alive," she answered.
Instantly my awareness shifted. I was answering emails and handling business but a smile broke out across my face. Siri and the universe conspired to give me a good laugh! Could there have been a better answer?
As the song goes, "Don't worry. Be happy!" Maybe we could all use a dose of Siri. And maybe we could all follow her wisdom; do the swallow the smile meditation and express your happiness to be alive!
Remember, You Are Your Own Best Kept Secret in the world! Your smile will have a ripple effect and touch the lives of everyone you come in contact with that day!
About 30 years ago I studied the work of Dr Irving Oyle. Dr. Oyle was an MD. He was one of the first physicians who parted company with the medical professions' belief that illness was purely a physical phenomena.
Long before it had become a popular concept, Dr. Oyle spoke of the mind-body connection. He said that repetitive negative thoughts and emotions can be detrimental to our health. Further, he said that positive thoughts released positive chemicals in the body that led to enhanced health and well being.
Dr. Oyle left the medical profession and went on to speak about these concepts as early as 1978. He coined the phrase 'Joy Juice' as the chemical release that accompanied happy thoughts and emotions. I thought the phrase so appropriate that I've used it ever since.
What is your joy juice factor?
- What do you really enjoy doing?
- What makes your heart sing?
- What nourishes your spirit?
- What replenishes your energy?
- What are you grateful for in your life?
I invite you to join me in this exploration. Using these questions as a guide, make a list of all the things that bring you pleasure and joy.
My short list includes:
- Watching the sun set every evening
- Going for a long slow swim in the afternoon
- Reading books on everything from neuroscience to leadership
- Driving cross country
- Talking-story with my dearest friends
- Sitting and just 'being' with family
- Calling my mother for a chat
- Sitting in a hot tub under the stars
I could go on.... But what's your Joy Juice list? Just hit the talking bubble at the bottom of this blog and let me hear your JJ list! And remember that Joy Juice is the secret to long life and well being so do something or some things that make you happy every day.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! And to all of you, thank you so much for the Birthday messages! I was and still am overwhelmed with the love and thoughtfulness of your messages! And each personal expression touched my heart and inspired my soul.
On the morning of my birthday as I was lying quietly in bed contemplating my time on Earth, I felt an overwhelming love surround me. At that moment, I accepted the gift and invited the love into me. Instantly it poured into every cell in my body and filled my heart to overflowing. In reflecting at this moment, it seems that the universe was gifting me with just a portion of the expression of its love for all of us. And I share it now with all of you...
Just sit, be still and invite the love of the universe into your heart. And in the presence of that love, visualize your next stage in life. See and feel the year as you would like it to be. Every new year is like an extra birthday for each of us. It is a time to re-invent yourself! Take the day or an an hour or even a few minutes to re-envision your life. Visualize a happy path filled with joy and abundance. This is my New Year's wish for you!
Thank you for being in my life!! I love each and everyone of you! And I pray for each of you the best and most joyful and successful year ever!
You are not what you appear to be. You aren't even who your friends and family think you are. If you were, you'd be stuck in the past: yesterdays images replaying today like a movie you've experienced before.
Instead, consider this: you are a hero in the making. Let me define what I mean by this. To me a hero is anyone who lives the ordinary life in an extra-ordinary way. We've all heard that before. But I don't mean that as some superficial flippant phrase.
I mean it from the depths of my heart. It is the intention to live on the edge of yourself out where the unexplored you exists. It is the willingness to give life to something not yet born in yourself. It is the willingness to discover a new part of yourself every single day.
It is a whole hearted willingness to explore and stretch the preconceived mental and emotional boundaries that I have held for myself. Its the willingness to reignite the inner fire every day in order to become a better human being than I was yesterday.
Let me share about my dear friend Lovell Harris. Lovell was one of the young men that I mentored many years ago in my career. Lovell was born in Saint Louis Missouri and he was raised in the projects. At that time the projects in St. Louis Missouri were one square mile with 30,000 people living in tenement buildings.
Lovell lived in one of these tenement apartments. He was one of six boys. They lived with their mother, who was the only working adult in the family, her mother and his alcoholic father. I don't intend to share the whole story with you as it is in my book GPS for Success.
But the bottom line is this. Lovell said, "I had to decide that I wasn't just a black boy from the projects with an alcoholic father who beat me and called me stupid whenever he was drunk."
Lovell was clear that his birth was not his birthright. It was not what he was born to be. He refused to be conditioned, for the rest of his life, by his early years. He went on to a remarkable career as a speaker and trainer and now runs 3 companies of his own.
So where are the boundaries? Where are the limits? Who sets them? And who said so? You know who said so: the neural pathways in your brain that were laid years ago based on the opinions you accepted about yourself. These have now become habit. Don't let your habits hold you prisoner! Don't let your past determine your future!
Remember to remember who you are. You are not your habits. You do not have to act them out anymore. Do something different.
- You think you're shy? Reach out and say hello to someone. Don't think about it. Do it now.
- You think of yourself as sophisticated? Do something silly. Laugh at yourself.
- You're afraid to speak up? Speak up anyway.
- You want to interview for a new job and you think you'll fail? Do the interview for the job anyway. Don't think failure is about you. Failure is how we learn. You'll do a better interview when the next opportunity comes up.
This is Core Training for the Brain at it's optimum. It's not just about becoming more positive. It's about deciding who you want to be and then doing what you need to do to become that way.
Every new day provides a new opportunity. Stretch and transform yourself a little bit every day until one day you no longer recognize the you that you used to be. You have become the you that you wanted to be and maybe even more!
Have fun. Be joyful. Be happy. Give thanks, for life is good and so are you!
There is always magic in the air (literally) when I fly and my trip to LA was no different. I was offered a seat up front and when the plane was fully boarded, I said hello to the couple sitting next to me.
At first, the banter went back and forth "Where are you off to?" - a filming for the Heroes for Humanity Project.
"And you?" They were on their way up for one of their niece's wedding. A bit more chatting and it turned out that I was sitting next to Al Wong, named by the New York Times, as the Happiest Man in America, and his wife Trudy.
We talked about love, joy, living in Hawaii, family and a lot more. We shared about heart happiness and how the happiness of our heart plays a central role in our overall happiness. We spoke of the power of a smile and the implicit joy that happens when we say "Aloha" and connect with other people.
Then Trudi shared how Al received the award. It turns out that over the last three years, Gallup has called 1,000 randomly selected American adults each day. The interviewers asked each person about their emotional state, work satisfaction, eating habits, illnesses, stress levels and other quality of life indicators.
Trudi shared that the call was amazing. As the interviewer was going through the list of questions with Al, she suddenly shouted to everyone in the phone room, "We've found him! We finally found him!"
"Meanwhile," she said, "Al thought the whole thing was a joke. He couldn't even believe that there was really such a search."
It was truly a memorable flight of the mind and heart as well as getting my physical being to LA for the filming. And the insight gained from this unforgettable few hours? It's good to reflect about our lives along some of the key indicators...
- How is your sense of emotional wellbeing? Are you happy during the day or do you have times of sadness?
- What is your stress level? Do you experience frustration, get annoyed or irritated? Or are you fairly consistently balanced and happy?
- Do you smile a lot every day? Do you connect with others, even strangers?
- How is your financial situation? Do you save regularly?
- Do you enjoy your work?
- Is your family situation happy? Are you divorced, single or married? And are you at peace with your situation?
To learn more about the award go here.
It has been a challenge getting to the internet while I've been on the road. Right now I am on wifi in active, energized and noisy Starbucks in Palm Springs, California.
My 93 year old mother took a dip in the last 2 months and my brother and I are getting her settled into a facility here in the desert. Mom has been healthy and cognizant all her life. She worked until she was 72. She remained very active in the years after that and the suddenness of the dip came as a surprise to me.
As I awakened this morning reflecting on all of these things, my heart rose up in thankfulness. I have seen with deep insight the true beauty and the seasons of this gift called life.
There are the years of childhood with its hopes and dreams of a future of one's choosing. Then there is the time of family and the 'command and control' years of professional life and career. These are followed by the play and harvest of your earlier work years. And finally the waning years and, if you are lucky enough to live that long, comes the season of frailty and the realization of vulnerability.
And so my thoughts turned to my Great Gratitudes - the things above all things that I am most grateful for in life. It was with humility and appreciation that I reflected on these as I was rising in the early desert dawn. This entire piece and what follows are directly from my morning journal.
- Mental Health - This includes strength of mind and memory. Clear cognitive ability and the ability to stay mentally focused. My uncle is 101 years old and he is still clear minded.
- Physical Health - If you have it , keep it with diet and exercise. Because if you live long enough you will need your body to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible. I know because I have 5 living relatives over the age of 95. My mother is not included in that number because she is youngest of all at 93.
- Emotional Health - This includes a high level of optimism and joy for both fill the heart and support every aspect of health and well being. The other aspects of emotional health that I am most grateful for are patience, self-control and resilience.
- Social Health - For me, I am ever thankful for family, friends and loved ones as well as the inner gifts of compassion and empathy. My daily prayer is that my heart be gentle and full of understanding and that my soul be giving and forgiving.
May all the seasons of your life be filled with awe, wonder and gratefulness. And may all of us be thankful for each day for these days of our lives are passing more quickly then we know.