Box? What box? – Day 266 of 365 Days to a Better You

This photo was shared by my friend, Becky Sivley, over on Facebook this morning.

We’ve all heard the phrase – think outside the box. It’s generally regarded as a positive aphorism. However, there’s a subtle but powerfully negative assumption in that phrase.

It assumes you’re starting in a box or that there is even a box to start in. Sure, society is constantly trying to put us in various boxes. What if we simply choose not to play?

What if, instead, we see ourselves and the people around us as genius creatives and empowered agents of this universe capable of just about anything?

Lose the box and your other limits. You don’t need them and they were likely never more than societally planted control mechanisms to begin with.

In case no one else reminds you today, you’re AMAZING you boxless wonder.

Ray

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Your Ever-Ready Survival Pack – Day 255 of 365 Days to a Better You

Life, I think you’d agree, is not a straight line from here to there, from poverty to riches, from ignorance to enlightenment. It’s a gnarly, windy road that can lead you astray, if you let it. Being human, we often let it.

One of my all-tine favorite quotes is a simple piece of profound wisdom that can instantly act as a survival pack on that road you and I are walking. When all has gone off track, this quote gives you all you need to get restarted.

As with most useful quotes, it’s often changed and misattributed. It’s normally attributed to President Teddy Roosevelt or tennis great Arthur Ashe. The Roosevelt attribution is a little closer as the quote comes from his 1913 autobiography. However, he uses it quoting Squire Billy Widener.

Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.

Eleven words of sheer genius.

    It begins with do what you can. You don’t have pull off a miracle or make up 20 points on one play or change the world in an instant. Just do what you can.
    Next do it with what you’ve got. You don’t need obtain a Master’s degree or someone else’s approval or have more money in the bank to begin. You can begin with what you’ve got.
    Finally, do it where you are. You don’t need to wait for the perfect moment. You don’t need to undo what’s been done. You don’t need to move to a new city. You can start right where you are.

It all seems very simple, but how often do you and I place all kinds of conditions on beginning a change? We’re always looking for a better time, a better place, a better situation. Those are myths. They don’t exist or, if they do, you’ll wait your life away in the hope they might one day arrive.

You don’t need them. You have your ever-ready survival pack in this quote – Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are. You have permission to use it without orders from headquarters.

The journey of a thousand miles does begin with the first step, but the first step begins by beginning.

In case no one else has told you today, YOU are amazing! Rock on!

Ray

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Get Curious Again – Day 254 of 365 Days to a Better You

Curiosity – a strong desire to know or learn something. Do you remember when that was you? Every day was an adventure in discovery. The world was a big place with so much to learn and to know.

Then, one day, you knew everything or at least you thought you knew enough. You stopped being curious and started hardening into routine, dogma, and complacency. You stopped asking WHY? You stopped questioning all together and you accepted the faulty notion that “It is what it is.”

The great John Wooden once said,”It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

There’s more to know than the consensus. There are horizons to explore beyond where they convinced you to stop and be satisfied. If “they” have it all figured out, then why aren’t more people happy, abundant, and enlightened?

You can stay put, blend in, and keep the rest of the herd comfortable by not challenging their paradigms. Or, you can reclaim your curiosity and be the amazing, dare I say, extraordinary human being you cam to the planet to be.

What’s the reward? Joseph Campbell nailed it when he wrote, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.”

The magic, you see, is transcending the limits of logic, seeing beyond the numbers of the equations, and through to the deeper reality beneath.

You were born to go there. We all were. Wondering where the insight will come from? Worry not, my friend! Remember the old aphorism. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.”

Always be ready. Always be curious and just watch what happens.

Thank YOU for spending a few more minutes of your valuable time reading the blog. If you find value, please share it with someone else who might too!

Ray

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Are You an Open-Minded Person? – Day 250 of 365 Days to a Better You

I did a recent poll on my Twitter and Facebook account asking if people consider themselves an open-minded person. Not surprisingly, the results came back with 78 percent of people claiming the open-minded mantle.

Being open-minded or seen to be open-minded is generally considered a positive trait in our society and one most people readily claim. You always get the person, when you ask a question like this, that quotes the old phrase, “Don’t be so open-minded that your brains fall out.” That aside, most want to be seen this way.

Here’s my question for you (and me) today. Are you truly open-minded?

The phrase is defined by Dictionary.com as “being open to new ideas, unprejudiced.” Merriam-Webster defines it as, “receptive to arguments or ideas.”

We human beings have a tendency to hold onto our cherished beliefs about the world against all facts. Are you truly open to ideas that might question your religious faith? Are you receptive to ideas that might change your political ideology? Do you really judge every idea on its merits and put aside previous biases?

The fact is no one does or probably can remain open-minded 100 percent of the time. We’d be shifting our paradigms by the moment as more information arrived and we’d find it hard to live our lives.

That said, it is useful to sincerely gauge your level of openness to new ideas. Do you really listen to new ideas or ideas that question your paradigms or do you immediately dismiss, attack, and become argumentative in defense of your cherished ideas? Do you really measure your beliefs against the bar of your current knowledge or do you hold onto them because “that’s what we’ve always believed?”

This leaves many of us with a kind of cognitive dissonance between how open we believe we are and how open we actually are?

Here’s my challenge to you against the backdrop of a culture deeply divided by paradigms with wide gulfs and little understanding. Can you push yourself a little bit more? Can you hear the other person out before you automatically decide you disagree? Can you facts-test your beliefs once in a while? Can you give a little ground on the idea that your side has the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

If you can do that and I can do that and enough people in our culture can do that, healing and more dialogue are possible. Change that serves everyone can be achieved.

No pressure, but this is one of those things that really starts with you. If you’re waiting for your proverbial “them” to be more open first, you may wait a long time. Someone has to show the glimmer of enlightenment. Let it be you and me!

Thank you SO MUCH for stopping by. I hope today’s post spoke to you. If so, please consider sharing it with a friend or two.

Have a great Friday!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

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You’re in a One-Person Race – Day 246 of 365 Days to a Better You

There’s only one person you’re accountable for being – that’s you. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Today I share a brief story from a great book by author Alan Cohen, The Dragon Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.

Rock the start to the new week!

Ray

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Five Steps to Constant Motivation – Day 234 of 365 Days to a Better You

You often hear sportscasters talk about a team getting “Big Mo” on their side. In that context, they’re referring to momentum. I’m talking about the other “Big Mo” – motivation. If you have the latter, I can practically guarantee you’ll have the the former.

What is Motivation?

It’s an internalized drive that pulls your powers of heart, mind, and body in a purposeful direction. It pushes you toward action and achievement and away from stagnation and procrastination. It’s something within that lights your fire, drives ambition, gives you a zest for life, and provides a reason for getting up in the morning.

Where Does It Come From?

Inspiration. Many use motivation and inspiration interchangeably. They’re similar concepts, but their source is different. While motivation is the internal fire, inspiration is the external spark that lights it. Ate you looking for motivation? The good news is its inspiration can come from a million places – a movie, a book, an experience, a sudden insight, a conversation with a friend. There’s no end to the constant sparks around you ready, as soon as you’re willing, to light that fire inside.

How to Make Motivation Work for You

Great! Now you know what motivation is and where you can dip your candle to get the flame going. How do you use it and keep it burning?

  1. Purpose – undirected motivation is a fire that soon flickers out. You must have a compelling goal that keeps feeding the fire.
  2. Action – stationary motivation quickly fizzles. Once you have a purpose, start moving toward it. Don’t wait. Procrastination is water on your fire.
  3. Goals – your purpose is a big, all encompassing target. Have small, achievable goals along the way towards it. Nothing feeds the fire like success.
  4. Celebrate – celebrate those little successes along the way. This adds incentive to keep acting in the direction of your goals and purpose.
  5. Dream – dream big, colorful dreams that employ as many of your senses as possible. The more senses that are involved the more real the dream. While goals are the intellectual objectives, dreaming is the emotional engine that keeps the whole train moving down the track. It sucks in the inspiration from all around you and keeps pushing you to act.

If you do these five things, rinse, and repeat, you’ll never be unmotivated in your life again.

Have a beautiful and MOTIVATED day!

Ray

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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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