Aug. 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.
Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.
Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.
Care about people's approval and you will be their prisoner.
Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity."
~ from the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tsu
 
Take Five!
Today we’re pressured to do more, want more, get more. But really, it all leads to having less time, less energy, and less money. Putting more into work leaves less for private pursuits. Acquiring more valued possessions creates more debt and yet more work.
 
“Fill your bowl to the brim and it will spill.” You don’t have to have it all and have it right now. Allow some room for development; give yourself space to grow. Don’t assume you’re accomplished because your bowl is already full.
 
“Keep sharpening your knife and it will blunt.” Don’t overwork yourself. Focusing too hard and too long on any one thing dulls your senses and wears you out. If you’re at the top of your game, why would you need to do better?
 
“Chase after money and security and your heart will never unclench.” Anyone obsessed with wealth probably doesn’t offer compassion or service to others. Those who always seek safety always fear risk. Do what you love, accept risks, and the rest will follow.
 
“Care about people’s approval and you will be their prisoner.” Do you work to satisfy yourself or others? Can you ever find happiness if your only concern is pleasing everyone else? Take pride in a job well done, then let it go. Your enthusiasm about your work will show, and anyone who doesn’t like it isn’t worth worrying about.
 
“Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” It’s easier to see where you’ve been than where you’re going. The journey to happiness begins by stepping back and releasing your endeavors. Let them go and free your mind for other pursuits. Good or bad, put it all behind you and look forward.
 
Shun the fear of not having enough and not doing enough. Concentrate on one of these lines each day this week, and then have a fantastic weekend!
Posted in Morning Coffee
July 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"A single thorn of experience is worth a whole wilderness of warning."
 
~ Unknown
 

 

THESE SHOES ARE MADE FOR WALKING!!
 
Remember one of the ancient sayings from your first-grade teacher? It went something like this: "We learn to do by doing."" So . . . from "Chicken Soup" comes this story by John Holt:
 
"Not many years ago I began playing the cello. Most people would say that what I am doing is learning to play the cello. But these words carry into our minds the strange idea that there exist two very different processes: 1) learning to play the cello; and 2) playing the cello. They imply that I will do the first until I have completed it, at which point I will stop the first process and begin the second. In short, I will go on learning to play until I have learned to play and then I will begin to play. Of course, this is nonsense. There are not two processes, but one. We learn to do something by doing it. There is no other way."
 
How do we learn to swim? Do we get the basics in a classroom, taught to us on a chalkboard, and then hit the pool like Mark Spitz or Esther Williams? How about riding a bike? Do we study the laws of physics, the effects of gravitational pull, or other Einstein-like theories, and then launch ourselves into the top spot in the "Tour de France" No - we just fall down and scrape our knees a lot.
 
Want to add new direction to your life? Begin walking in that direction. Put one foot in front of the other. In other words, "Just do it!" It all begins with your imagination harnessing the power of your mind and the energy of your body. Once you choose a new role for your life, don't learn the part - act the part. One other thing - don't let that "single thorn of experience" deter you!
Posted in Morning Coffee
June 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"For fast-acting relief, try slowing down."
 
~ Lily Tomlin
 

 

 KEEPING (ON) TRACK!
 
You've heard it a million times, "Less is more!" If less really is better, then maybe it's time to start giving yourself, and even your family, an "allowance." This isn't about money, per se, but more about the other things that either drain our resources or over-complicate our lives.
 
This “allowance” idea got rolling in light of rising fuel prices. Instead of a monetary gas allowance for the family vehicle(s), consider enforcing a weekly "mileage" allowance. By combining trips and walking or biking whenever possible, there could be enough miles "left over" for the extra trip to the mall or concert hall.
 
This works with a host of activities, and improves life by simplifying it. How about a television budget? Are there really three hours of television worth viewing every night? One hour a night during the week would leave oodles of time to watch a favorite movie or sports event on the weekend. Or just hit the "Record" button, and watch when there's a better time.
 
The same could go for time spent surfing the net or sending funny emails. It's easy to convince ourselves that we're "working" when we're on the computer, but often we're just passing time that could be spent more industriously. Leave as much "real" computer work as possible at the office, and try to limit the time spent in front of the screen at home. There is such a thing as becoming too wired!
 
Likewise, if you're trying to lose weight, you've probably encountered the concept of the "food allowance," or calorie budget. Like everything else, you have to keep track of how much you're consuming, how much is left, and when to stop. Many of us are moving so fast these days that we neglect to tally our activities against our need for "down time." We don't realize that we've maxed out our time and need to stop.
 
Whether it's driving, watching tv, or net surfing, we could likely benefit from a reduction in any or all. We forget to put "Relax!" on our list of things to do. Work it into your "budget" by using less of your time "allowance" on other things. You don't have to stop completely; you just need to come into balance.
 
Enlighten yourself this week by keeping a journal of how much time you spend on all your various activities, and look for somewhere to make a cut. By next Monday, you'll be glad you did!
Posted in Morning Coffee
May 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
" Only the educated are free."
~ Epictetus"
 

 

READY TO BEGIN AGAIN?
Have a child or grandchild who graduated this month? Whether it's high school or college, commencement exercises mark the end of a full curriculum of education - or do they? In fact, why not ask the graduate?
After four or more years of study, homework, reports, science projects, and exams, many graduates would quickly answer that commencement marks the end of their education. In fact, you can often hear students reinforce that line of thinking in their lament, "I'll never pick up another book as long as I live!"
The definition of "commencement" leads, however, in another direction. It is the beginning, not the end, of a bright future. It is the beginning of a life-long quest for knowledge, not the slamming shut of the books that opened so many new doors.
If it's been a few years since you graduated, perhaps you might also benefit from a renewed commencement - by opening some new doors to your own life-long learning curve. When's the last time you attended a workshop, bought a taped educational series, or thought about taking college courses or embarking on a new degree track?
No longer are books the only on-ramp to education. Distance learning over the Internet, tapes, videos, workshops, seminars, and many other educational resources are yours for the taking. Why not let your graduating family member be the inspiration for your own commencement?
Posted in Morning Coffee
April 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"To have a friend, you must first be a friend."
 
~ Unknown

 

ARE YOU RELATED?
 
In the long distant past, all generations of a family lived in the same town, if not just across the road or down the lane. Each member of the family knew all the good - and the bad - about every other member (as well as all the neighbors). They worked together, played, and prayed together.
 
Today, families are scattered throughout the country. What we call relationships now are often only acquaintances introduced through business situations or chance meetings. They may be casual and based only on a single shared interest, i.e. golf, fitness, children's school activities, etc. These relationships may lack depth and rarely go beyond that single shared interest.
 
Even with family relations more scattered and unavailable to us on a day-to-day basis, our human side still has a need and desire for deeper relationships. The good news is that they are not only possible but also available to us with just a little effort.
 
A single common interest through school-aged children may result in having lunch together. The lunch may reveal that both individuals appreciate the arts, with one being an amateur photographer and the other a proficient watercolor artist. Further conversation may find that both are caring for aging parents, have endured similar life challenges, or witnessed brilliant successes.
 
In short, deep relationships, akin to those shared by families in the past, are still possible. Yes, they must be cultivated. They don't just passively occur as in the daily activities of a family. The result is the same, however, as these relationships can provide a richness to life that is missing in their absence. Try to find some missing relations today!
Posted in Morning Coffee
March 16, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Things themselves don't hurt or hinder us. Things simply are what they are. How we view these things is another matter. People think what they will think; it is of no concern to us."
 
~ Epictetus

 

DON'T LISTEN!
 
Someone once said, "When I was in my twenties, I worried about what others thought of me. When I was in my forties, I didn't care what they thought of me, and when I was in my sixties, I realized they weren't thinking about me at all." Who hasn't had a parent or friend tell us "What will people think?"
 
How easy it is to let the influence of others govern our actions. By listening to others, then carrying out our lives to the tune they wish us to play, we are but puppets. One of "Aesop's Fables" addressed the same issue.
 
It told of an old man, a boy, and a donkey making their way down a hill. As the boy rode, while the old man led the donkey, they overheard a neighbor comment about the shame of making the old man walk. The next turn in the road saw both man and boy astride the donkey, and the next passer-by shook his head at the shame of putting such a load on the poor donkey. By the time the two reached the final turn in the road, they were seen carrying the donkey on a pole.
 
The message, of course, was that we should not live our lives to satisfy the expectations of others. It is up to us to set a clear direction for our own lives, and then follow that path to the exclusion of others.
 
It's really about choices, isn't it? We get to make our own choices in life. When we fail to do so, we have still made a choice - that being to let others make our choices for us. As the final days of winter approach, it's an excellent time to let your vision take hold, to set a bold new direction for your life in the coming Spring. Make some choices - no matter what "they" think!
Posted in Morning Coffee
Feb. 17, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one's horse as he is leaping."
 
~ J.C. and A.W. Hare

 

GIVE SUCCESS A CHANCE!
 
Have you ever tried to accomplish something, but given up before your plan or actions have come to fruition? Maybe you're just trying to organize a huge stack of paperwork, or perhaps you're trying to build up your database of leads or increase your sales by a certain percentage within a certain amount of time.
 
Of course, you feel a degree of frustration if you don't achieve the results you were hoping for. Frustration points you in one of two directions: either you'll be defeated, or you'll be pushed to try even harder to succeed. The surest way to guarantee failure is to quit before you've given enough time or effort to get the job done.
 
Also consider by whose standards you are measuring your success. Are you trying to live up to someone else's unreasonable expectations or goals? Then it might be time to approach that boss or spouse or instructor and let them know that your progress is guaranteed, but perhaps not on the established schedule. Bill Cosby once said, "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
 
Chances are that whatever goals you've set for yourself, you can achieve them, but setting reasonable goals in the first place will go a long way toward success. Maybe you should "pull in your horse" BEFORE he leaps if you feel he's not going to make it over the hurdle. Also remember that it's your effort to achieve that is ultimately the most important part of that success (kind of like the old adage about the journey vs. the destination). Don't forget the words of Lloyd Jones, who said, "The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed."
 
Success can be a relative term and depends upon the perspective of yourself and others. Do whatever you can to accomplish your goals or the goals that others set before you, but regardless of the outcome, you should ultimately be satisfied with the work you've done.
Posted in Morning Coffee
Jan. 15, 2020

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Strength of numbers is the delight of the timid. The Valiant in spirit glory in fighting alone."
 
~ Ghandi

 

COMMITTEE COMFORT!
 
It has been said that "a camel is a horse created by a committee." You've probably witnessed the process yourself. You put any twelve decision-makers in a room together, and they can't seem to make a decision at all. Worse yet, they create something that is comfortable to all members - a camel of their own making.
 
Ghandi says numbers are the "delight of the timid." At some time or another, we all want the comfort of being surrounded by others with interests common to us. Maybe it's on sales meeting day when the discussion turns into a gripe session. Maybe it's in the break room, around the proverbial "water cooler," or in a training class we've just taken. Wherever the group meets, the results are often the same - a lack of action backed up by all the reasons that justify the inaction.
 
Ghandi also says the glory is "in fighting alone." Look around. Do you see one or two individuals who spend little of their time with the group? Sometimes called "loners," these are usually also the over-achievers, the top producers in life and business. They know where they're going and they don't need your approval to do it. The committee says they aren't "team players."
 
Being human, it is certainly normal to seek the comfort of others. In the case of those few individuals described as "the Valiant in spirit," however, their strength comes from their accomplishments. In each of us, there is also that "Valiant" spirit - the part of us that wants to strike out on our own. You can do that by resigning from the committees of your life. Elect yourself President and Chairman of the Board of your own future - and make it unanimous!
Posted in Morning Coffee
Dec. 15, 2019

Morning Coffee

Good Morning!
INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."
 
~ Goethe

 

BE ALL THAT THEY CAN BE?
 
On a recent A&E Biography segment, Oprah Winfrey was being interviewed. She was asked whether she considered all the competing talk shows to be a threat to her own daytime show. She answered with a personal story about running in a marathon.
 
It seems Oprah had always had a dream of running in a marathon. She trained for two years to get ready, and she ran her marathon. Oprah explained that, to her, competition was like that marathon. As long as she was hitting her stride with her goal of winning in clear focus, there was no time to consider the competition. She added that just turning her head backward to see how close competing runners were to her position was enough to rob her of energy needed to win the race.
 
Oprah's view of the competition brought to mind the U.S. Army recruiting slogan: "Be all that you can be!" Note that it doesn't say, "Be all that THEY can be!" Even when your competition has a recognizable face, why would you want to be them? If you want to improve yourself, speed up your achievements, or earn more money, why not just better your own time? Comparing yourself to others is a waste of precious time and energy.
 
Realizing your dreams requires a roadmap. First, you decide on a destination - your dream. Next, you choose a route. For Oprah, that involved hiring a personal trainer, improving her aerobic capacity, and adding strength training to her daily regimen. It also helps to identify some stops or landmarks along the way to help you measure your progress. Finally, you apply all your energy to running the race - and achieving your dream.
 
Oprah's dream was to run a marathon. What's yours?
Posted in Morning Coffee
Nov. 15, 2019

Morning Coffee

INSPIRATION FOR TODAY:
"Despair is the price one pays for setting himself an impossible aim."
 
~ Graham Greene

 

THE TORTOISE OR THE HARE?
 
This weekly column often encourages you to reach high and focus your energy towards achieving your dreams. What happens when the dream eludes you, or you feel that you're not measuring up against the standards of your peers?
 
Sometimes we do set our sights too high, or expect to reach them in an unreasonably short period of time. Just as important as establishing a goal is to map out an intelligent route. It's not usually all Super Highway between where we are and where we want to go. There are often plenty of other roads leading to and from that freeway, and you shouldn't drive 70 mph on a narrow two-lane country road!
 
But... what better place to slow down and enjoy the scenery? It's these paths that define the greatest part of our experience, and we shouldn't overlook them because we're so focused on the ultimate objective. Strangely enough, the things we see and experience along the way often lead us to change our path - or even our destination.
 
Ignore the worry-warts and over-achievers who want to know why it's taking you so darn long to get there. There is no time limit on success. You'll get there when you get there, and you won't be too old for it when you do. Success is sweet at any age, but it tastes best washing down a lifetime of experience, pleasure, and pride in one's work.
 
Achievement is a certificate that never expires, and there's no "due date." With the right attitude, you'll find small successes every day to keep your outlook positive and your life moving forward - at your own pace. When you make it clear that you are in the driver's seat and enjoying the trip, others will find themselves wanting to get on board. Happy motoring!
 
Posted in Morning Coffee