12 Pieces of Unwise Conventional Wisdom – Day 222 of 365 Days to a Better You

Axioms, idioms, proverbs, aphorisms; whatever you call them these tiny tidbits of “wisdom” permeate the popular consciousness. Many are very useful. Others, such as those below, offer abysmal and disempowering life advice.

  1. Better the devil you know than the one you don’t. This is one of those things a protective mother might tell you to keep you safe. It sounds like risk aversion advice, but it’s worse. It acknowledges that you’re dealing with a person or situation worthy of being called “the devil,” but encourages you stay put because taking a chance on change is supposedly more dangerous.
  2. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt. Abraham Lincoln said this one so it must be true, right? Well, it’s pithy and could be true in some situations. However, most people have a hard time finding their voices. They don’t speak up, make their contribution because of fear of appearing foolish. That’s what makes this bad advice. The team, the country, the world is better off when everyone feels empowered to contribute without fear.
  3. Curiosity killed the cat. This is another one that assumes the worst and culls one of our most important traits as humans – our curiosity. Celebrate and be inspired by curiosity. Don’t fear it,
  4. Do as I say not as I do. This one requires little commentary. Never use this in someone else and never let it be used in you.
  5. Do not upset the Apple cart. Um, look around at the world. We need more people willing to upset the apple cart not fewer.
  6. East is east, west is west, and never the twain shall meet. This one is a battlecry for dogma. What is is. There are absolutes that can’t be changed. So why try? Nonsense. Beyond birth and death little else is unchangeable.
  7. You can’t teach and old dog new tricks. This one claims that once you reach a certain age, it’s too late to learn or change or that people can never change. Neither is absolutely true. As long as there’s breath there’s hope. It’s never too late to be the person you came here to be.
  8. All’s fair in love and war. Here’s a mindset that’s simply justification for bad behavior. No wonder relationships are in such chaos in our culture. Love is not a competitive sport. It’s not an excuse to become cut-throat. Aspire to something higher in your relationships.
  9. Every man has his price. This assumes that all people are unprincipled if tempted enough. It also is saying that normalizes this idea.
  10. Fight fire with fire. Here’s the mantra of people content to be vengeful and get even. Consider putting fires out in the world rather than pouring oil on them.
  11. Great minds think alike. I get that this one is usually said in fun when two people have the same thought. In truth, though, great minds think for themselves.
  12. Ignorance is bliss. This is among the most commonly used on this list and among the worst advice. It promotes apathy, disempowerment, and dependency. A strong human being ought never live in more ignorance than his or her seeking to date has left undiscovered.

There are more of these and I may do a second post on this down the line. Just because you’ve heard something said you’re whole life like it’s wise, doesn’t mean it is.

You’re all amazing. Take that to the bank! Have a great Sunday.

Ray

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The Power of L.O.S.S. – Day 220 of 365 Days to a Better You

Today’s Affirmation:
I accept my losses and learn from them! Defeat is simply opportunity disguised as setback.

Many people see losing or a loss as a very negative thing. Like anything else, losing is all in how you look at it. A well-studied loss can be every bit as valuable in our journey as a victory. I’m not saying that losing is more fun than winning or that winning isn’t valuable. Clearly, we all want to win.

The truth is that most winners had to experience losing before they ever succeeded. So what if you chose to look at your losses in a slightly different light? A loss might be seen as Lessons and Obstacles on your way to Stunning Successes.

  • L – Lessons: Losing nearly always provides some lessons and some clues on how to improve. If you pay attention to the things that contributed to the loss, you can apply those lessons to future situations. Given time, you find the winning combination.
  • O – Obstacles – Losses are clearly obstacles. After all, your goal was to win or succeed. However, an obstacle might challenge you to improve or increase your determination to succeed. Used as mental and emotional leverage, a good obstacle can propel you to future victories.
  • S – Stunning – Losing can get you down and make you feel unworthy. In that dark moment of loss, remember to see what a stunning miracle you are. You are a diamond in the rough slowly being polished into something very special.
  • S – Successes – Success is that moment of break through when the journey of loss has been transformed into victory. The lessons, obstacles, and seeing how stunning you are kept you on track to enjoy the sweet taste of success.

So you see a loss is never loss. It’s an opportunity, an invitation to a journey of self-discovery, stretching yourself, and new achievement.

Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

Seven Ways to Lose the Drama in Your Life – Day 219 of 365 Days to a Better You

Drama is awesome in a movie, but taxing in our lives. How do you minimize the drama in your life? Based on feedback from readers, TinyBuddha.com compiled a list of seven things you can do to reduce the drama.

  1. Recognize when you’re the source of the drama. If you want to go on a drama diet, start with you. You’re the person you have the most control over. You might find, when considered beyond the heat of the moment, that you started or contributed to your last dramatic episode.
  2. Change your perspective. Is the situation going to matter in a year or even 10 minutes from now? Avoid making mountains out of molehills.
  3. Don’t feed into other people’s drama. So, you didn’t cause the drama, but did your pour oil on their fire of drama? Let them have their moment and move on.
  4. Reconsider unhealthy relationships. Are there people who bring nothing but drama to you? Harsh as it might sound, you may have to cut ties to cut the drama. This is, of course, a balance. If a person brings real value in your life but lots of drama too, you may try having a dispassionate conversation with them to see if you can come to an agreement to reduce drama.
  5. Be clear with other people. Sometimes drama is just miscommunication. Both people are reacting rather than responding to the situation. Go to your calm place and take the emotion out of it to get to clear communication.
  6. Be slow to label it drama. Sometimes it’s just a lack of patience or insight that causes us to call something drama. The other person might just really need you right now. Seen and understood in a different light the “drama” might just be a need for compassion.
  7. Learn from drama. This might be the most important one. Are you having the same drama over and over? Maybe the other person and you aren’t learning from past dramas. Get conscious. If you know something sets them off, do you really need to go there? Conversely, if you know your buttons are being pushed, get conscious and choose a different reaction or take some space.

Your life doesn’t have to be a constant soap opera, if you’ll take these steps to lose the drama.

You’re amazing! I just wanted to tell you that in case no one else reminds you today.

Ray

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Give Yourself Some Credit – Day 217 of 365 Days to a Better You

“We have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply we esteem too lightly.”

Thomas Paine
from “Common Sense”

Paine’s words reminds us how important it is to value our successes and the work it takes to achieve them.

We live in an instant gratification-obsessed world. We want the shortest, simpliest, most effortless route to victory. That’s not always a bad thing and I’m not suggesting that we purposely complicate our lives in some misguided attempt to build character.

However, when everything comes too easily for us, we fail to fully appreciate it. We lose sight of the sacrifice and effort that creates lasting success. We skip the lessons to be learned along the road to victory. We miss the fulfillment that comes from struggling, but still progressing.

Paine suggests that without the struggle we undervalue our accomplishments. He implies a natural human tendency to take for granted that which comes easily to us. You might call these easy accomplishments “blessings” or “luck” or “synchronicity” because they seem to fall into your lap.

Look closer. You see that you have worked hard for these “easy accomplishments” as well. It may be subtle changes in you or your attitude toward life that suddenly makes an impossibility possible. The work and the change originated within you.

So, what’s the take away? Appreciate every step of the journey not only for the learning, but the scars earned. Relish your successes. Most of all, remember to give yourself the credit you are due for your accomplishments.

Stay inspired, my friends and have a fantastic Tuesday!

Ray

Five Ways to Open Your Mind – Day 215 of 365 Days to a Better You

People always tell you, “Have an open mind.” Rarely, do they suggest how. Here are five very practical ways to open your mind.

  1. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. We wake up every morning and have to work our compassion and love around this big “I” stuck in the middle of our minds. Choose to consciously stand in someone else’s perspective, without judgement, for a while. You will open yourself to whole new ways of thinking.
  2. Do things with your off hand for a day. Nothing closes our minds to new possibilities like mindless habit. Doing things with your opposite hand requires focus and forces you see your daily activities in a new way.
  3. Play What If. What if just for today you accepted a premise that’s completely out of your comfort zone. You don’t have to buy in 100 percent. Just give it a chance for one day and see where it takes you.
  4. Phone a friend. Have a challenge? Ask three of the most different people you know how they’d handle the situation. The diversity of views might just help you triangulate the best approach.
  5. Get out of your comfort zone. That’s such common advice, I know, that’s it’s practically useless. Here’s a practical way to do it by changing your priorities. When given the choice between “The Adventure” and your security, choose “The Adventure” more often. The security in staying where you are is just the illusion of familiarity. You’re not more secure by staying put than by keep in moving. So, choose to keep in moving.

Follow these five tips often and I guarantee you you’ll have a productively more open mind in six months then you do today.

Stay the course, my friends! One new thought can open a whole new world and you never know when it might happen.

Ray

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You Time – Day 211 of 365 Days to a Better You

Are you the hardest worker you know? Excellent! Are you always the one who makes sure everyone else’s needs are met? It’s a worthy aspiration. Do you have enough You Time?

Most of us were taught that putting ourselves first is selfish and something we should never do. I guess the message was that there’s something unholy about considering our needs and making sure they get met. Could that be why so many people feel so incomplete in our society?

Have you been on a plane and been exposed to the safety briefing? You probably only half listened as you picked your movie, read the in-flight magazine, or tried to find a comfortable sleeping position.

Have you ever noticed the instructions when they get to that part about the cabin losing pressure and the oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling? Secure your oxygen mask first before you helping others. It seems like common sense, right? I mean if you can’t breathe, you can really help someone else can you?

Yet because of that life-long conditioning about always putting other people first, you go through life pretending you can proverbially breathe while you’re helping everyone else secure their proverbial oxygen masks first. Meanwhile, your goals and dreams and well-being are set aside. Soon they’re starved of oxygen.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with putting other people first or being selfless sometimes. I am saying that you need to secure your mask first because you won’t be able to help others for long unless you do.

Feed yourself and you will have more energy to help others. Starve yourself and you will poison your ability to help others.

You’re all amazing! Let’s make this the best week of your year!

Ray

Trust Your Instincts – Day 208 of 365 Days to a Better You

Have you ever noticed how often your first instinct was right? Have had an impulse to take a certain course only to overthink it and choose something that didn’t work out as well? We’ve all done it and we’ve done it repeatedly.

Look nothing’s 100 percent, but our instinct – that first impulse when we’re faced with a choice – has it’s advantages over what comes next. It’s not limited or filtered or justified. In many ways, it’s more completely connected to who you really are and to your connection to the vast wisdom of the universe.

Beyond that impulse, shoulds and fears and various forms of conditioning start to mold and shape your decision until it’s barely recognizable as yours.

I’m not suggesting that you be anti-intellectual and refuse to think or consider all possibilities. Only that you recognize the value, the wisdom, and authenticity that first impulse emits and that you give it a fair chance to inform your choices.

Examples

Examples could go from the very simple to the very significant decisions in your life.

  • You wake up one morning and think, I should go to work a different way today. Quickly, your rational mind starts demanding answers as to why you should change. The way you usually goes works fine. Why mess with it? Is your intuition just trying to mix up or is sharing profoundly important information? The only way to know is to take it up on its suggestion.
  • You’ve got two job offers. All the data says take one job, but your intuition is loudly objecting that you should take the other. Which is right? Either could be right, but it’s fair to ask why your unfiltered, authentic self is suggesting you go against the data. Is something amazing waiting for you on the other side of that choice?

Ultimately, we choose a path. Hindsight is often the only gauge to see which was the better choice. Yet, I’ll bet you’ve regretted not following your instinct many more times than you have rejecting something you overthought.

Just sayin’.

Today’s video affirmation encourages you to follow your instincts.

Trust, young Skywalker, trust!

Ray