Taking It All for Granted – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday September 29, 2009

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They say you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Maybe it’s just human nature to walk through our daily lives and take what we have for granted. It takes an act of conscious awareness to open our eyes to the people, situations, and miracles that populate our environment each and every day.

I’ve always loved this Kathy Mattea song. She strikes the chord of remembrance for all of us with “Standing Knee Deep in a River (Dying of Thirst). That’s what we’re doing when we fail to recognize what we have while we have it. Our lives can seem unhappy and unfulfilled when we already have everything and everyone we need in our lives to turn it all around.

Enjoy this beautiful song!

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

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What Are Your Auto Destruct Stories? – The Affirmation Spot for Monday September 28, 2009

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auto-destructFor those of you familiar with Star Trek, you know that Federation starships are equipped with an auto-destruct feature. Auto-destruct is a decision of last resort to prevent the ship from falling into enemy hands. The feature is only used when all hope of another solution has been exhausted – basically when the captain and first officer have conceded defeat.

Many of us have personal auto-destruct buttons and we regularly use them to concede defeat in situations in our lives. These auto-destruct buttons are the stories that we tell ourselves to prevent us from success or happiness. We allow doubt to creep into our minds and then we begin to solidify the doubt by articulating it.

On Friday, I was observing a business sales new hire course at my company. I co-wrote the course and had not been in to visit for a while. The course is five days and on the final day there is a sales presentation.

Before class started I happened to hear one of the young sales reps out in the hall telling his partner that he was nervous because he had never been any good at stand up presentations. He proceeded to tell the story of something that happened in a presentation in the 6th grade. “Ever since then,” he said, “I’ve never been good at these presentations.”

When class started he recounted the story again in front of the instructors and the whole class. As the presentation began, it was clear he lacked confidence. This young sales rep – who otherwise seemed very talented – was struggling.

He obviously has a habit hitting his auto-destruct when placed in the situation of doing a stand up presentation. Rather than affirming messages of “I can do it”, he is sending the message to himself and everyone else that, “I am no good at this.”

He was done before he started his presentation.

Do you ever do this to yoursel? What are the situations when you hit your auto-destruct button and self-destruct? How do you address them? Here are four ideas.

  1. Awareness – the first step is to be aware of situations when you hit auto-destruct. You probably can create a list of them without too much trouble. Be observant and notice situations when you do it.
  2. Tell Different Stories – once you are aware of situations when you hit auto-destruct, you can take steps to tell yourself different stories about yourself and your abilities. Focus on “I can” messages. Lose the baggage of past situations when you have come up short and focus on the success of this next opportunity.
  3. Coaching or Training – take steps to improve your skills. When you are more confident in your skills you become more confident in your ability to perform.
  4. Believe – you have to believe that something better is possible for you in that situation. It costs nothing for you to believe in yourself and everything not to.

You don’t have to live according to old paradigms about yourself. You can change those paradigms, change the stories you tell yourself and others, and overcome those scenarios where you are prone to auto-destruct.

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Are Some People Just Luckier Than Others? – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday September 23, 2009

Earl Wilson once said, “Success is a matter of luck. Just ask any failure.” The concept of luck can be very disempowering for some people. To the casual observer, luck seems to grace the lives of some while leaving others out in the cold.

Wilson’s quote does describe the mindset of many unhappy, unsuccessful people. They look at those who have what they want – happiness or success – and attribute it to pure chance. Further, they conclude the Universe has chosen not to bless them with that luck. They walk through life feeling cheated and that life is somehow unjust.

Is this an accurate view of luck or is luck something that is predictable by how a person observes the events in his or her life?

Former Starbuck’s CEO Howard Schultz said,”I believe life is a series of near misses. A lot of what we ascribe to luck is not luck at all. It’s seizing the day and accepting responsibility for your future. It’s seeing what other people don’t see And pursuing that vision.”

In this brief video, Ben Sherwood offers an interesting perspective on luck and who becomes lucky.

Stay inspired!
Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Being Authentically You – The Affirmation Spot for Monday September 21, 2009

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The venerable jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker once said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out your horn.” He was speaking of authenticity. It’s an important quality for a musician and for someone – like you – seeking to get the most out of life.

So what is authenticity? The short answer is being yourself or being the person you came here to be. Now I’m not talking about any kind of predestination. I am a strong believer that being yourself is a highly individual and choices-based pursuit.

However, there are certain discoverable activities and life arenas that seem to call you and to which you are well-suited. The great mythologist Joseph Campbell referred to the process of finding and pursuing these activities as “following your bliss”.

The key to finding your bliss is to pay attention. Pay attention to those things in your life that both interest you and draw on your abilities. What do you do even when you’re tired? What would you do even if nobody paid you? Before you know it you’ll be living it and it will come out your horn.

Here’s an affirmation to get you going.

Bliss Affirmation: “Today I find my bliss in the sweet spot where my talents and my passion merge to create magic in my life.”

Enjoy a little of Mr. Parker letting it come out his horn along with some other jazz greats.

Be authentic! Be yourself! Follow your bliss!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”


CALL Your Negative Thoughts – The Affirmation Spot for Friday September 18, 2009

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woman_eyes_closed_sun_rs“Speak of the Devil and he appears,” goes the old aphorism. Some people in the positive thought movement seem to think the same thing about negative thoughts. They are something to be avoided at all costs. You must stamp them out like burning embers of a campfire to prevent their spread.

Obviously, the goal of positive thinking and affirmations is to diminish negative thoughts and counter them with positive thoughts. This is a worthy and highly beneficial goal that enahances your life. Negative thoughts, however, are a natural part of being human. We all have them and we will always have them.

To panic and spend a lot of time concerning yourself with them, only causes them to blossom and grow. Recognizing them, accepting them, and letting them go steals their power and allows them to vanish back into the void from where they came. Having a negative thought is not the problem. Allowing them to become your habitual way of seeing things is what you want to avoid.

Actually, our negative thoughts provide a natural benefit. They spread light on the parts of us that need work and attention. If you always have negative thoughts about your job, maybe that part of your life needs some attention. If you have negative thoughts about certain people, those may be relationships that need work.

It’s rather entertaining sometimes to simply “thought watch”. Our minds are interesting things. When we relax, close your eyes, and watch your thoughts for a while you notice how impermanent thoughts are. They appear and create feelings. The disappear and the feelings disappear with them.

If your thoughts are very destructive and involve hurting yourself or others, get professonal help.
Here are four things you can do to handle and live more harmoniously with common negative thoughts. They form the word CALL.
  1. Counter – counter your negative thoughts with tools like affirmations. Persistent negative thoughts can be countered and changed by offering a positive alternatives.
  2. Accept – accept that you will have negative thoughts and it’s OK. You’re human afterall. No beating yourself up.
  3. Listen – listen to your negative thoughts. They may provide insight into where you need to focus your self-improvement efforts.
  4. Laugh – some of your negative thoughts really are pretty funny when you get enough perspective. Lighten up and see the humor in the way your mind works.

I’m not saying don’t try to transform your negative thoughts into something positive. I’m just saying that when they want to come out and play, CALL allows you to say, “Bring it on!”

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Roadblocks Are Shortcuts – The Affirmation Spot for Monday September 14, 2009

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Roadblocks are simply shortcuts to something better than I had planned.

When you hit a “roadblock” in your life…stop…wait. Often roadblocks are viewed as something negative. We don’t like our plans to be foiled and it can be pretty frustrating. However, if we can avoid the initial negative reaction, we may find that the “roadblock” is in fact a gateway to something better than we had planned.

Sometimes the things we initially view as “roadblocks” – because they interfere with our plans – are actually possibilities we had not even considered.

Today when something seems to be interfering with your plans try looking for the opportunity in it. You may find that “roadblocks” can transform into gold mines.

Peace…

Ray
http://www.theaffirmationspot.com

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Eight Years….Has It Changed Us? – The Affirmation Spot for Friday September 11, 2009

Whatever anger rules anger destroys. Wherever love pervades, hope and possibility flourish.

Eight years ago today the world witnessed what happens when hatred and violence shape human actions. September 11, 2001 was the world’s first truly global terrorist event. The scale, the number of people from around the world gone in a moment, and the planetary TV audience brought us all closer together, if only for a moment.

In the days that followed, I wrote the following open letter. It was partly an attempt to come to terms with my own feelings and partly an attempt to sway anyone who might have been reading that we must find better ways to live together on this planet.

Here is the letter in its entirety from September 14, 2001.

This letter is dedicated to the victims, their families, the rescue workers, and everyone who is a voice or a pair of hands for a more peaceful world.

The events of this past week have shocked and saddened all well-meaning people the world over. As an American, my heart breaks for the people tragically victimized by this act. As a human being my heart hemorrhages, that we still live in a world that believes killing each other is a solution to our problems. How regrettable that we human beings still choose to address our grievances with each other in such destructive ways.

It is devastating to witness the results of such hatred, bigotry, and violence in action. No cause, no complaint against the United States can ever justify the actions taken by these fanatics. Their misguided interpretation of their beliefs and their unwillingness to see Americans as fellow human beings, worthy of life, caused them to conclude that any action against America was justified. The outpouring of human emotion and determination this week from around the world should let them know they have crossed a line drawn by all civilized societies and sane human beings.

In our effort to draw that line, we bring ourselves into danger. Not only the physical danger of responding to their actions, but the psychological and spiritual temptations to become like the terrorists to defeat them. If we allow our desire for revenge on groups of people to overcome our need for justice for the individuals responsible, we are in danger of becoming undifferentiated from them. If we succumb to the fear resulting from the terrorist’s actions and curtail the basic liberties we hold dear in our society, then the very thing that sets us apart and is worth defending becomes a victim of these acts. Ben Franklin, the wisest of our founding fathers, said, “Those who give up their liberty for a little temporary security, shall have neither liberty nor security.” Our leaders and our citizens would do well to recall these words as we address what measures should be taken to balance our freedoms with our security.

This week has been a time for grief over the deaths of many of our fellow-citizens as well as a significant number of foreign nationals representing more than 40 countries. By this measure, this was indeed an attack on the entire civilized world. As grief turns to anger and then to action, it is important for us to measure our actions and do what is right not just what would make us feel better. In the aftermath of these events, we might feel justified in doing almost anything. We may believe that retaliating against innocent people or attacking our fellow citizens who might look or share the same religion, in name, as the terrorists is acceptable. Such actions would only make us guilty of sinking to the same level as these criminals. As Americans it is our responsibility in the world to set a different example and show the world different and better ways to solve problems. Simply responding in kind will surely bring a cycle of violence, whose results we cannot predict, and leave us with the same long-term problems experienced elsewhere in this world when violence becomes the only means of communication.

There is plenty of suffering to go around. The victims and their families are suffering, our country is suffering, and the world is suffering as we relive these events on videotape over and over again. In this time of righteous anger, it is also important to contemplate the amount of self-inflicted suffering that must be necessary for any person to carry out this kind of terror. It is a time to reflect on the ways in which we all bring suffering into our lives and the lives of others. It can be a time when, in addition to justice, we seek new ways of relating to each other and working for a world where no one feels either the right or the impulse to inflict such things on others. Suffering was brought by these attacks. Killing more people in response will only increase suffering not bring solutions.

So from tragedy comes opportunity. We have seen this week the heroism of those working directly to help the victims, so there is opportunity to demonstrate our humanity one to another. There is opportunity to reflect on a world that we all create everyday with each thought, word, and action. There is opportunity for all sane and civilized peoples to work together to end the scourge of terrorist violence wherever it occurs. It is justice we must seek, though, not revenge.

Finally, we have the opportunity to start seeing the other people we share this planet with, even those different from ourselves, as human beings just like us. The temptation to divide the world into “us” and “them” is the thinking that created justification in the minds of these terrorists for their acts. To the extent we have all perpetuated this concept of the world, we have all created a fertile field for the conflicts we continue to endure here on planet earth. No religion teaches nor accepts acts like we saw this week. Every religion, however, does teach us to love our fellow human beings. To the extent we fail in the latter, we can all expect more of the former.

Let’s not permit this horrendous tragedy to occur and these deaths to be meaningless. Let us commit, even as we seek justice for these crimes, to create a world where such acts are unthinkable ways of making a statement, even for the most radical among us. An event like this should fill us with hard questions, not easy answers. Let us rally around our flag to seek justice, not as means of supporting a response yet more fierce and destructive in nature. Blood for blood has never brought people anything but more blood. May these events lead us to a greater self-awareness and a more reflective, just world. In that way, we can honor the memory of those lost in New York and Washington D.C, and Pennsylvania.

Some may believe this to be an unattainable goal. One thing is for sure, as long as we believe it to be impossible it will be. Despite our best efforts, crazy people may persist, but as a civilization and as individuals we owe it to ourselves and our children to seek that kind of world. May those who have suffered loss, find solace in their faith and the people around them. May those who are responsible be brought to a civilized justice. May we all find peace in our hearts and greater peace in our world!