Reality Reflection: Letting Love In

This month one of the things we’ve been talking about is love.  As I was thinking about love I thought about all the different ways we can see love, feel love, express love, share love and define love.  Love isn’t black and white, it’s something that evolves, changes, grows, multiplies, and can be different for each and every person.  There’s a lot more to love than just saying “read a romance novel” or “get married.”  Love isn’t something you can really put in a box.  Plenty of people have tried though, and I think more often than not it’s those people who have the worst experiences when it comes to love (and try to ruin it for the rest of us).

If you want the best experience possible when it comes to love I think you have to be open to seeing where it takes you.  You have to be willing to take the good with the bad, to listen to the experiences of others, to try new things, and to work for it.  Sometimes it is effortless, but if you let it go for too long without contributing or exploring, the overall quality and longevity of love may begin to suffer, especially when it comes to relationships.

Yes, some people can go through life with a very narrow view of the world, very limited skill set or very limited interaction with others.  However, now more than ever people are wanting to get more out of their lives and actually have the opportunity to get more out of their lives.  We aren’t as limited as we were even 5 or 10 years ago in many regards, let alone 50 or 100, now more than ever we have the ability to become our best self ever and get the most out of our lives and the world we share.

The same is true for love.  Some people have very limited interactions with love and they leave it at that. However, I don’t believe that’s the way to live life.  I believe that our lives are better when they have love in them and that we’re better people when we choose love.  Love isn’t always easy, but in some ways it can be much easier if we’re willing to be open to how it changes and reveals itself to us and the teaching/learning opportunities that are presented to us.  There are tons of ways to have more love in your life, the question is are you willing to experience all that you may feel and see when you really let love into your life?

Learning to Listen

In our lives we have lots of questions and issues that pop up.  We don’t have all the answers, nor will we ever get all the answers.  But I believe there’s a lot of good advice out there, should we only take the time to look for it or listen to it.

There are tons of people around the world who can give us advice.  That advice isn’t always right for us, the same thing doesn’t work for everyone.  But if we’re not able to see the real issue or think we’ve exhausted all possibilities and we’re stuck, getting advice from someone else is the best course of action, rather than choosing to stay stuck.  I’m a big believer in the power of education and learning, and getting outside opinions is one of the best ways to work through an issue you may have or discover what the real issue is that you weren’t even aware of.

Listening to advice is one of the hardest things to do.  It’s not easy to hear someone else’s opinions or judgments on something we worked really hard on or something we really like, but their advice may give you the motivation and freedom to do something you’ve been debating or try a course of action rather than stay stuck.  If we can get over ourselves, our pride and our self-reliance and open up to the possibility that someone else may have some good ideas and may be able to offer some good insights, there are tons of people willing to give their opinions (educated or not) about your challenges.

No, not everything is relevant to everyone.  It’s important that when you’re given advice you take time to think about it before acting on it or dismissing it.  Don’t reject it because it’s too simple or too hard or because it doesn’t sound like something you want to do or would work for your situation.  Instead ask them to clarify and give you some more insights on the aspects that particularly challenge you.  Ask them to address the specific concerns you have.  And if after you’ve really talked it through it still doesn’t seem like a good fit, then maybe you should ask for some other advice or advice from someone else.

No one knows everything, so no one can give perfect advice all of the time.  Take all the advice you receive with a grain of salt, but always be open to learning new things and seeing things from a new perspective.

Passion: Present and Future

As we finish out last month’s talk on health, I want to talk about something that is sometimes necessary: starting over.  I was thinking about finishing September and getting one step closer to the end of this year and the start of a new one and I was reminded that sometimes you have to keep trying things to see where you fit in throughout your life.  What worked for you as a younger person may not work for you as an adult at this stage of your life, and what works now may not work for you in a few years.

As I was thinking about this I heard more about the phenom that is Tim Tebow.  If you’re not familiar with him, he was a college football star. He won the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore and continued his record setting career through the rest of his college years.  He spent a few years playing Pro football, having a few very successful (some would say lucky) plays and games, but ultimately retired in 2012.  He went on to do some broadcasting, but decided it wasn’t the right fit for him and moved to pro baseball in 2016 to quite a few heckles and jeers, but managed to hit a home run on his first at bat.

What interests me about the transitions he’s done in his life is that he keeps trying.  He was a fantastic college football player, but as it sometimes happens he wasn’t built for pro football.  Many people after they finish their pro career go to broadcasting or some related sports non-activity, which he tried.  But for some just being near something isn’t enough, they have to be truly immersed in it, as seems to be true for Tebow.

I would say the message here is two-fold.  First, that you should never give up on your passions.  Second, that you may have to keep trying and reinventing to get to your best.  Don’t give up because past success isn’t working in the present, instead, pick yourself up and try something else.

Reality Reflection: Books are Awesome

This past Friday was Read an eBook Day and September 6th was Read a Book Day, and of course it’s back to school month so there’s lots of talk of learning!  I am a huge book lover, I love reading articles online and in my emails and think that reading is one of the best ways to learn.  Of course there are other ways of learning, but to me it’s one of the best and most enjoyable.  There’s nothing quite like holding a book in your hand, but eBooks have certainly revolutionized the book industry and made it much easier for everyone to be able to read, not just those who have access to physical books or a place to keep them.

I always check out book list posts when they come through my inbox because I like to know what other people are reading both fiction and non-fiction.  Sometimes there will be books that inspire you or give you a new perspective on something that you would have never picked up yourself but thanks to someone else’s recommendation you’re able to read.  I usually go first to my local library and see if I can get the book through there since it’s not necessarily something I want to keep a copy of.

One of the things I’ve been seeing lately on posts like these and especially others that talk about the benefits of reading is how down on fiction books they are.  I love reading books about and by great leaders that can help further my knowledge about business, people and personal growth.  I’ve even read a couple good history books.  But the majority of books I read are fiction books, as are the majority of books I read with kids.

Why do I love fiction books?  First because of their passion for adventure, curiosity, love, relationships, learning, growing, dedication and sense of accomplishment.  Many authors do extensive research before doing writing and do their best to make many of the details in their books accurate to how things are in the world and given the fictional setting and characters is often a more palatable way for people to learn things.  Second because they keep us adults connected to the passion and energy that kids go through life with.  We encourage our kids to read anything they can get their hands on and enjoy when they’re kids. But when they become adults we start telling them to read newspapers and serious publications because the fiction they used to read can’t be good for anything now as adults.  But as with other things, it’s not true.

I believe there’s a need for us as adults to spend time in worlds where things are a little less structured and a lot more fun.  We’re super serious because of all that goes on in the world and because of all we’ve seen.  But just because we need to know about the reality of the world around us, doesn’t mean that a little fun, adventure and out-of-the-box thinking can’t get us just as far or further than if we just work with the box.  So get out there this week and try a new author, read a favorite author’s latest book, or pick up one of your favorites and get lost in it for a little while.

Reality Reflection: Mysteries of the World

As I was seeing what was going on in the world during my daily visit to a popular news site I saw an update on a story I’ve been following, the disappearance of the MH370 airplane.  Did you know that the plane disappeared over 2 years ago?  It got me thinking about some of the mysteries of the world.  Some things are mysteries because they happened before there was all the technology we have today so there was no way of recording or communicating things like we do today, and certainly very few ways of making sure whatever communication tools they did have lasted until today.  Other things are mysteries that we haven’t been able to figure out no matter how much technology we apply to it, like cancer and Alzheimers.  And of course you can’t ignore the mysteries like why certain things taste good to us some days and not other days or how styles are really created and chosen.

There’s just something about a mystery that catches our interest.   There are the murder mysteries that are part of our lives and books, mysteries in the art world, and tons of events, places, and people that are mysteries throughout history that fascinate us, maybe even just because we weren’t or aren’t there and there aren’t a lot of records about them.  For example, things like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Sphinx, Genghis Khan, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  We know that these things and people exist or existed but there’s a lot we don’t know about them and are continually discovering new details.

But back to MH370.  It amazes me with all the technology and resources we have that we haven’t been able to find it yet. But of course I’m reminded of things like the Titanic which took some 86 years to find.  It’s another reminder of exactly how big our world is.  So maybe it will take another couple of years to find answers on MH370, maybe even decades.  Part of the reason that MH370, Titanic and other mysteries have remained in our discussions is because they are mysteries.  There are things we don’t know about them, they disappeared under certain circumstances, and because of them lives have (presumably) been lost, and that intrigues us and speaks to something in many of us.

Just because something is a mystery it doesn’t mean it can’t or won’t be solved. It may mean that we learn things in bits and pieces as we typically do when it comes to historical mysteries.  So if you  have a mystery in your life right now, don’t despair, keep looking for the clues that when put together will help you solve it.

Reality Reflections: Titanic Yesterday and Today

Today a little over 100 years ago the passenger liner Titanic sank on its first voyage ever.   I have always been fascinated by this ship and the 1500 of people who lost their lives in the sinking as well as those who survived.  The story of this ship is part of the reason why I don’t go on cruise ships.  You’ve probably seen the movie or read some stories about it, right?  If not you can check out the story here.   As I was reflecting on it this week leading up to the anniversary, it got me thinking about life, failings, and anticipating the future.

The Titanic was a huge success and a huge failure.  It was a huge ship and was completed and did have tons of innovations on it.  However, it also failed spectacularly when it sank.  Titanic has also caused some huge successes for people, like Robert Ballard in 1985 when he found the ship with his team and the major upgrades in safety features added to ships as a result.  Failures are opportunities only if we learn from them, otherwise they’re just failures, and in this case would have just been a tragic loss of human life.

The Titanic disaster is a great reminder that you don’t know when a day will be your last.  All of the people on board thought they had a great visit to America in their future, most of them did not.  Do you really appreciate the life that you have or are you wasting it away?  Are you trying to uncover life’s secrets and go on adventures?

So what of the future? Well, in the news there have been reports of replicas being made, one for a theme park in China, and one for an Australian millionaire.  There’s something about Titanic that has spoken to millions of people over the past 100+ years and will continue to speak to them.  Why would you want to replicate what was a disaster, a failure (and will this one have a legacy curse)?  I think a lot of people will be interested in the new ship because of the history.  The question is whether or not we’ve learned from our mistakes and the ship builders certainly seem to be making it as up-to-date as possible.  Whether or not the people have learned anything is yet to be proven (and in some cases already has been confirmed a failure).

What lessons do you most respect in your life?

Learning to Be Free

Today is our last post on this month’s topic, lessons. Like so many other things in life the power of a lesson comes down to what you do with it. The choices we make determine not only what our personal futures will look like but also what the futures of all generations yet to come look like. I believe the lessons we learn should be applied so that we can make the world a better place for them and ourselves.

Yes, we can use the lessons as a reason to lash out on those that have hurt us, because it’s inevitable that we will be hurt by at least one person during our lives, after all, the concept of justice must exist for a reason. But constructively applying our lessons to our lives means that rather than destroying the world for future generations we may be seen as heroes to them. This is a lesson we have to work through during our lives, and will continue to be challenged by as long as we’re not learning it. We will be constantly challenged by things and people throughout our lives, it’s up to us to decide what to do with these lessons.

Why choose a constructive application of the lessons in your life? So you can be free. It’s that simple. When you choose to be empowered by your lessons rather than let them hold you back you open yourself up to a whole new world of possibilities that isn’t available to you unless you choose to release yourself from them. When you see things as opportunities rather than obstacles you take the actions that will bring you to new levels rather than keep you stuck where you are.

If we really want to see the world change we’ve got to do something different. If we really want to be like the heroes we watch on TV and in the movies we have to be courageous enough to learn from the lessons that life teaches us. If we want to be free and not wake up every day feeling trapped by the lives and ruts we’ve gotten stuck in we have to do something differently than we’ve been doing.

If you’re feeling stuck it’s time to reach out and ask for help. Don’t continue down that unending drain to nothingness, start fighting your way back to the surface. Decide that each and every day you will do something to make a difference for someone, and something that will make a difference in your life. Are you ready to be free?

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.”  Christopher Reeve