Posts Tagged 'success'

Information Overload? Just Do What You’re Inclined To Do

Seth Godin posed this question in his blog today:

Redoubling to system failure

Every 18 months for the last decade, the world has doubled the data it pushes to you.

Twice as much email, twice as many friend requests, twice as many sites to check, twice as many devices.

When does your mind lose the ability to keep up? Then what happens? Is it already happening?

As his blog is not open to comment, I’ll respond here.

Thia actually happened to me about a year ago.  There was so much information coming to me and at me that my mind just GAVE UP. Before this break, the mental chatter went something like this:

“Gotta know this.” “Must reply to her today.” “OMG! I have 25 emails since 9am this morning, and it’s only 9:10!”

I came to the following realizations:

  • It’s impossible to keep everybody happy.
  • I cannot keep up with ANYTHING
  • I cannot control ANYTHING
  • I cannot know ANYTHING for certain.

So, I’ve decided that my best approach to the issue of information overload is as follows:

  • Be really clear what I want from life
  • Attend to each moment with a sense of openness, and let the moment decide what I do next
  • Trust in Life (God, the Universe, Allah, etc.) – what Life wants to happen through me is Life’s responsibility (not mine), and that whatever happens is part of the overall Plan.

What do I mean by “letting the moment decide what I do next”? It’s listening  – giving my full attention – to what is present in the moment. The action (or non-action, as the case may be) then presents itself and happens naturally: not from fear or desire, but out of a “rightness” or “correctness” that this is what I am to do (or not do) Now.

By living life from this perspective, I do not worry.  There is nothing to worry about, as ultimately I cannot Do anything to improve or screw up my situation. If I could Do something, I would be God. And I am not. I am only God living through this form called Carol.

I’ve been a whole bunch happier after this “mental breakdown”, and actually get more done with less stress than I did before (with NO guilt).

Free at last, free at last. Thank God, I’m free at last!

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How can I protect myself in a failing economy?

This wasn’t exactly the question I’ve been asking myself lately, though it is the one I think is on most people’s minds.

The first thought that comes to me when I ask this question is “Protect myself from what?” I started thinking. Usually a need for protection comes out of a sense of a lack of something – in this case a lack of security that comes from a stable financial base. But, is this true? Can we really find true protection in “stuff”?

My spiritual heritage has its roots in the Christian tradition. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been meditating on the following verses in Matthew:

Look at the birds of the air. They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the filed grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

So do not worry, saying,”What shall we eat” or “What shall we drink” or “What shall we wear”. For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.

But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

-Matthew 6:25-26; 28-33

Are you worrying about what you will eat or what you will drink or what you will wear? If you’re a person of faith in a higher power, it isn’t really useful to spend time concerned over these issues, as God already knows we need them. So, where then should the focus of our thoughts be if not on our desperate condition? On the Kingdom of God.

Right. Anybody got a roadmap to where this “Kingdom” is?

Well, actually, yes.

“The Kingdom of God is within you.”(Luke 17:21)

OK. If that’s the case, how do I know what part of me is the “Kingdom” and what is not? Actually, God gave the answer to Moses after Moses asked him, “Who should I say sent me?” God’s answer? “Tell them ‘I AM’ sent you.”

The Kingdom of God is when you are connected to the “I AM”. And, what is the “I AM”? The only thing that there is – The Present Moment. The NOW.

Anytime you feel fear, anxiety, worry, guilt, anger, etc, etc., it’s because you’re living in a time-bound experience. These emotions imply a sense of time, as fear, anxiety and worry are rooted in an imagined future, while guilt and anger have their source in a remembered past. Neither is happening now (though your ego-mind would like you to think this is so).

When you’re Present, you experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (does this ring a bell with you Christians as the “fruits of the spirit?”).

How do you get and stay Present? A few ways:

  1. Acceptance and Surrender
    Allow the present moment to be what it is. Completely accept the situation as it stands. This does NOT mean you cave in and do nothing about it. Quite the contrary – by not judging the conditions you find yourself in, you bring a sense of clarity to the moment. This permits you to see things in a different, less emotionally charged, light from which a better course of action can be determined
  2. Gratitude
    I like to think of gratitude as the energetic opposite of “surrender”. “Surrender” to me implies an inner acceptance of what appears to be an outward experience. “Gratitude” to me is the outward expression of an inner state of being derived from surrender. Having gratitude – or thankfulness – means you are OK with what Is and is the natural result of Surrender.
  3. Do not Judge
    (anybody got a good antonym for “Judge”? I couldn’t find one!)

    Ever wonder why Jesus admonished, “Judge not, lest ye be judged”? I would dare say because we do not know the mind of God. What we deem to be good (or bad, or fat, or old, or ugly….) may not be so because we tend to look at the situation from our own small point of view rather than God’s bigger picture. If you can cease to label an experience, you open up yourself to a wealth of possibilities only accessible by this freedom from your inner critic.

  4. Give.
    “Give, and it will be given to you. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your lap, because you will be evaluated by the same standard with which you evaluate others.” (Luke 6:38 ISV) .Do you ever wonder why it feels so good to give? Because when we give, we are filled with a sense of abundance, not lack. And, don’t just give money – give the most valuable item you own to everyone and everything: Your Attention.

You say you’re a Christian, a Buddhist, a Jew, a Muslim? All of these religions have these tenents at their heart. You’re living as a “Pagan” (read: “Non-Believer”) if you are not living in the Kingdom, and the only place you’ll find the Kingdom is by being Present Now.

Enjoy the Peace and Abundance of the Kingdom of God!

The Secret to Successful Decision Making

Remember in the school playground when we used to choose who batted first? You’d take a bat, and the captains would start at the bottom of the bat, grabbing it – first one captain, then the next right above the grip of captain #1 – all the way up until there was no more room left on the bat. The team of the hand at the top of the bat batted first.

Maybe this is a great way to make a trivial decision, but is it the best way to make a life altering one – you know, like “Should I marry Bobbie or should I continue on my career path towards becoming a marine biologist?” or “Wouldn’t that skull tattoo look great on my left shoulder blade?”

Maybe it is a great decision making tool. “Bat-hands” relies a great deal on randomness. Randomness (or synchronicity) is a form of intuition – the source, I believe, of all good decision making.

I remember having a heated debate with one of my managers while I was with Lexmark. We were discussing whether good decision making was based solely on the facts, or does emotion come into it at all. My claim was that EVERY decision has an element of emotion to it, and regardless of how much time you spend in gathering all the facts, it always boils down to the decision you feel best about is the one that is made (and is ultimately the one that is the most successful.)

My view has changed a bit since then. I now believe the power behind a good decision rests in the source of the “feeling good”. What do I mean? Here are some reasons why a decision might “feel good”:

  • You’ll avoid a disaster you don’t want to face
  • You’ll acquire fame or fortune because of the anticipated outcome
  • You’ll see a competitor go down the drain if the strategy works

This “feeling good” really isn’t a good feeling at all. All of these feelings have at their root the fear or fleeing of pain, or the promise of pleasure. All are future based and are in anticipation of the desired results.

The only true “good” feeling you can rely on is where you use both halves of your brain in the present moment: you look at the facts without judgment and as they exist in the present moment. Next, based on the information that is before you and with your mind fixed firmly on your vision or goal, you choose a course based on your intuition – that gut feeling – that says “This decision is the one that will head me in the direction of my chosen outcome.”

Any other method has you making a decision based on your own severely limited conscious mind. By allowing “intuition”, you tap into the great reservoir of the unconscious and allow thoughts and knowledge that otherwise would have been hidden to bubble to the surface.

Therefore, to make a good decision:

  1. Gather all the facts you can.
  2. Make sure your facts are accurate and are not based on judgment or opinion.
  3. Place all the facts in front of you.
  4. List all possible decisions you could make by examining the facts in present time.
  5. Take a deep breath and list again – let the part of your mind that doesn’t think provide you with a solution you wouldn’t have thought of.
  6. Go inside and “feel” each alternative. Does it have fear or pride attached to it at all? If so, throw it out.
  7. Go with the choice that brings you the most peace and harms the least.

Batter up!

Beyond Passion – What REALLY motivates?

The discussion about passion on the Employee Engagement Network I belong to got me thinking.

What motivates people to accomplish anything? In my own life, I drove myself to achieve some status as a competitive bodybuilder because it was a way I could focus my energies into a creative and healthy endeavor, rather than destroy myself through drink or drugs due to the incredible pain I was experiencing at the time.

It’s been said that people are moved to action for two (and only two) reasons:

1. The fear of pain
2. The anticipation of pleasure

There are no other reasons. Or, are there?

Right now, my husband Clovice and I are involved in starting a new company. Its focus is to provide sustainable small temporary housing solutions (read: a green FEMA trailer replacement) “Why are we doing this?” I keep asking myself. I mean, “Why are we REALLY doing this? What is the core, the essence, the driving force behind us taking everything we have and are, and plunging it into this venture?”

Of course, I can only answer for myself, so I explored the following possibilities:

Is it because….

1. …It would be a really cool thing to be able to provide disaster relief housing to people in need? Nice, but not really.
2. ….if this thing takes off, we’re going to be fabulously wealthy? I’ve always been happy with enough, so, no.
3. ….if we don’t get this thing a bit higher off the ground, we’re going to crash and burn? No. I’ve been there before in my life and survived.
4. ….of the fame and recognition we’d receive from the success? Both Clovice and I are Myers Briggs “I’s” so it’s highly unlikely.

When I came up with all the reasons I could think of – all which ultimately had a pain or pleasure component associated with them – I honestly could say it is none of these that drive me (and I might even say “Us” at the risk of speaking for Clovice) to do this. It’s hard to put a word or a concept to it because it is beyond pleasure or pain. It is something we just HAVE to do. I can’t find a word to describe it.

It’s probably the same reason Maxx, my nephew, just signed up with the Marines. Ever since he was a kid in diapers, he would turn his stuffed animals into pretend guns because his mom wouldn’t let him have weapons as toys. The military is in his blood. He just HAS to do it.

This “HAVE to do” is beyond passion, beyond emotion, beyond any feeling.

The closest picture I can paint for you is that it’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You’ve tried hundreds of piece you swear should have fit in a particular spot, and you even leave one of those pieces in that space for awhile thinking it belongs there. Then, all of a sudden you have a piece in your hand you KNOW is the correct one – you remove the impostor and replace it with the one you are holding. Voilà! Eureka! Alleluia! It exudes rightness, correctness, truth and beauty.

We HAVE to bring our company into the world – Maxx HAS to be a Marine – because the doing in itself creates this deep Knowing of rightness at the depths of our beings. You may have well asked us the question, “Why do you breathe?” The answer is almost the same. There is no emotion attached to it. IT just has to be done.

So, I ask you:

Is there a word we could give to this state, this “IT”? Is IT the ultimate power behind any inspired goal, vision, action, whatever? Do we have to have IT to achieve true success – in the workplace, at home, wherever? If our managers and company executives have IT, would they inspire success from the top down? How can everyone find IT? Can you go your whole life without having IT and still experience real joy and happiness in life and at work?


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