Book Ideas- A Brainstorming Session

A few months ago, I started writing a book about elderly people and technology. I got to about 50 pages in before I got bored of my own writing and stopped. I still like the topic but not sure if it’s something I am passionate enough about to rewrite and continue talking about. I have also realized that I continually try to write fiction stories when all I read and write are non-fiction things. I once learned that in order to become a good writer of any genre, you must read and write it. So, if I am not reading or writing fiction regularly, perhaps fiction is not the best genre to start this writing journey in.

Then, when I reflect on non-fiction topics, I think about my own life and if there is anything interesting I can write about that would be engaging for not only my own interest but the interest of a larger audience. I’m sure there is something unique about my life that I might be overlooking, so perhaps that is something to practice exploring to discover a non-fiction topic. I love writing and learning about the various topics that I try to present here on the blog such as gratitude, presence, development and understanding ourselves, but since I do not have all the answers to these topics, I feel I cannot write as an expert on them at all. I believe I am a practice but not a preacher at this point. Still, I hope I can provide content that can inspire, teach and motivate others from a genuine place.

One non-fiction topic I have thought about writing was taking one lesson I have learned in my life and turning it into a sort of fiction/non-fiction approach to present the lesson as a story like the Alchemist or Richest Man in Babylon. I would just have to narrow down that one lesson.

Regardless, this post alone has helped me to brainstorm I bit more about what topics interest me and what topics I could write diligently about that would also captivate an audience, so thank you for listening.

 

 

“What is This Here To Teach Me?”

In life we expect to encounter our share of failures, whether it is as trivial as not being selected for the softball team or having a business deal fall through. No matter the magnitude of failure, they all exist to teach us something as long as we are open enough to listen to the message. The most successful people in the world have all risen from failures of the past, and have adopted them as contributors to their story, not a tarnish.

It is easy to give up after failures, not wanting to face family at holiday parties and admit to the lack of tangible accomplishments. It is easier for us to give the whole thing up and just stop feeling the pressure of others expecting something from us, right? Well, that feeling of embarrassment exists to do just that, to have you give up in order to protect us. Our minds, which were once wired for protection from predator threat in the wild, are still wired for protection but protection from negative emotions. Now that we no longer have to fear the attack of a wild animal, our minds have evolved to protect us from mostly social fears. It is the protective mind that will tell you that you should stop if you don’t want to feel that embarrassment or rejection again. It will stop you if you let it.

Knowing that each failure exists to teach us something is the most powerful thing to get us through the debilitating fears the mind as produced, and have us continue our journey to be great (whatever that may look like for you). Next time you are faced with a failure, ask yourself,

“What is this here to teach me?”

In my own life, I have found that the lesson to cultivate the persistence to continue pursuit after failure, alone has been enough to continue my journey. There are times when I do get discouraged and think things would be easier if I just gave up and throw up the white flag to all of the people who have never understood what I have been moving towards.

Who you are meant to be evolves from where you are right now. So, learning to appreciate your lessons, mistakes and setbacks as stepping stones to the future are clear signs you are moving in the right direction.

~ Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure (2012)

Oftentimes these failures can feel like taking steps backwards, but the fact is that simply taking that action was progress enough because those who never took action could have never failed and learned, or won anyway.

Perhaps the answers are just you need to better equip you for the step in your journey. Keep going!

THE ONLY RESOLUTION YOU WILL EVER NEED TO SET FOR A NEW YEAR

Resolution: Improve my self-awareness.

I strongly believe this is the SOLE and ULTIMATE resolution to be set in replace of all those in the past and future New Year’s.

By committing to a journey towards improving self-awareness, all other life improvements will come as a byproduct. We all set new goals in the New Year to try to improve our self-esteem and make our lives feel richer, right? We begin to think about all that we are not doing, what we do not have and what we want, and formulate these goals based on all of these components. Some of the most popular New Year’s goals are eating healthier, getting more exercise, saving more money, getting more sleep, reading more, getting a new job, etc.

But, what if I told you that we really only needed to set one goal that would lead to the accomplishments of all those proceeding? Sounds good, right? It is easier said than done, but by committing to a journey toward improving self-awareness, we will develop the discipline to lose the weight we wanted because of our improvement in decision making and understanding ourselves, and will also be able to save more money as we become more aware of our priorities and what is truly important.

Perhaps defining self-awareness will assist you as you craft this single goal for the New Year. Self-awareness can be explained as recognizing our thoughts, feelings, emotions and desires, which will in turn allow us to make more reasoned decisions and choices. The constant improvement in this understanding will empower us to lead healthier and happier lives as we make more quality decisions and choices as a result. There are various ways to embark on the journey towards self-awareness. Please see below for four simple practices you can incorporate into everyday that will start you on this path, and take over the New Year!

  1. Meditation
    Through meditation, we allow ourselves a moment of silence, away from the noise in our everyday life. Here, we are able to observe what thoughts have been floating through our mind, and any emotion we are experiencing, prompted from those thoughts. In performing this practice, we are more aware of the various things that may trigger us in a negative or positive way. From here, we have the power to change our reactions to these thoughts and create a new association to them. As we routinely meditate throughout the week, we begin to discover the root of our emotions and are given the power to change them as we see fit. Such awareness will then become part of our everyday encounters, allowing us to manage various challenges and obstacles.
  2. Journaling
    Journaling is another amazing way to reflect on our thoughts and emotions. By putting this into practice, we can visually observe what we are thinking in our minds, and begin to analyze our reactions. Our thoughts are now real and live on paper, as if they have a life of their own. In our journal entry, we can ask ourselves questions like, “What did I do great today?” and “What can I improve on today?” These sort of questions will allow us to reflect on the whole day and revisit when we felt positive, uncomfortable, dissatisfied and/or proud. We can then understand the moments which had been associated with these emotions, and strive to improve our reactions in the more challenging or disappointing moments going forward.
  3. Reading
    Books allow for us to gain more insight into the lives and experiences of others, which we cannot experience ourselves. Reading expands our perspective beyond, assisting us in understanding others and even learning from them. As a result, we begin to empathize with stories, experiences and people who we did not even know existed. We become aware of other’s emotions and the events that lead to these emotions to rationally determine if we wish to be in a similar situation or not. Now, these books have influenced our own decision making and our ability to understand humanity and even a bit about our place in it. We can read specifically about self-awareness and other’s experiences on their own self-awareness journeys. Please visit Books to check out the novels under “Self-Improvement” for suggestions.
  4. Feedback
    This last step is most definitely the most daunting and vulnerable of all previous steps, and quite honestly, something I need to do more of, which is asking for feedback. Who is a better observe of you, you or other people? Of course, other people because otherwise people who chew gum loudly, talk with their mouth full and make conversation with you at the gym while you’re mid-set WOULD NOT BOTHER YOU if THEY knew it was annoying. So, if this is the case, this presents us with a new opportunity to better understand ourselves from other person’s perspective. Maybe we can do this after a big presentation at work, or during a mid-year appraisal review, or maybe more personally, opening ourselves up for feedback from our partner or friend about how we are doing in following through on commitments or listening to them when they tell us about their day. Outside feedback is necessary for us to make a change, because otherwise we may never be aware enough to change it. For example, my partner has pointed out my increase in volume while telling a story in restaurants, which I had not previously been aware of. Now, I look out for it and make the effort to catch myself if I feel the volume may be on the rise (Working on it).

In incorporating these four simple steps into our everyday lives this New Year, we are sure to be on our way to improving self-awareness and making us an overall better person this 2019!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!

 

 

 

 

Change.

“ Live dangerously, take things as they come; dread naught, all will be well.” – Winston Churchill

The quote by Winston Churchill are truly words to live by when dealing with change.

There comes a time in everyone’s life where we experience change, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. At times we are in a place in our life when we might feel too comfortable, and are ready for a new challenge to take on. Or, perhaps there is a more unwelcomed, unpredictable change in which we cannot control. Regardless, our initial reactions to any change can be intimidating. By reframing change in our lives, we can move forward with positive disposition and excitement for a new beginning.

We can all relate to a time we have worked at a job for a number of years, and simply feel like we are not growing anymore. The decision to take on a new job, at a new company, with a new staff of people might frighten us to the point of discouragement from taking this action at all if we allow it. As human beings, we are instinctually programmed to protect ourselves from threat. Change can often trigger a threat response and cause this debilitating fear. We are then in control to respond to this fear. Are we going to allow fear to take over and remain comfortable where we are? Or will we embrace fear and take a leap of faith into a world of the unknown?

Conversely, other changes we have no control over and are oftentimes unwelcomed occurrences, such as a job firing, for example, to stick with the theme. Perhaps you are satisfied at a job, you feel motivated to work and feel you are continually developing, and suddenly, you are handed a pink slip for your departure from the company. Unexpected. Unpredictable. Yet, highly adaptable. Once again our choice in how we react comes into play. We can frame this occurrence as an opportunity or we can continue to sulk in the woe of a job had lost.

We will miss out on many growth opportunities in life if we do not embrace change, regardless if voluntary or involuntary. Personally, I am constantly reminded that we cannot predict the future as much as I would love to believe I have such a sixth sense. All we can do is go by intuition in the moment and taking a leap of faith into something that may or may not work out. Trust and faith in this change may just lead to a more rewarding outcome than you could have ever expected. Releasing ourselves from the anxieties of the future by remaining in the present and submitting to trust and faith can lead us through any change.

Comment with a recent experience you have had with change and how you have adapted!

“Why Reinvent the Wheel?”

This popular phrase came up two times this week, and it got me actually thinking about its meaning. “Why reinvent the wheel?” is such a common vernacular that it can be easy to ignore its actual relevance. Both in work—regular work and real estate work—it came up in regards to “innovation,” though, this phrase sounds almost counter intuitive to innovation at first glance. The wheel was invented as a round, simple rolling object, a design we still utilize today. If this simple object has had such a lasting impact on the world for centuries, why feel the need to fix it or recreate it when it already works?

Innovation is about creating new ideas, products, even leads but think about the greatest “inventions.” Many of them were really more of improvements to already existing innovations from years or decades earlier. Take the IPhone, for example, perhaps deemed one of the greatest innovations of our generation. Though there has been a new generation to come out every other year, the consumer sees each product as its own innovation. However! What Apple is really doing is not reinventing their wheel, just sharpening it, tweaking it, giving it a good oiling. At the end of the day, it is still the wheel.

Two main tasks I have been working on have been creating a logo for a project at work and also generating leads for my real estate endeavor. This phrase rung true in both instances. I remember a time when I would try to think way outside of the box, to try a method no one else had ever used to see if it might score me a competitive advantage. Let me tell you… It often does not. People will instead tell you to steal from the pros, do what they are doing because it is proof that it is already working.

When it comes to my task in creating this new logo design, I had this phrase in mind. I knew we wanted something with our company emblem on the design and also the name of our new program. “Why reinvent the wheel?” I said. “We already have a company emblem, so why not use it.” My final product had been a spin-off of our already-existing company logo, erasing some of the old wording and inserting some color and the name of our project. My team loved it! I made 12 different variations of this, which all came from essentially and already existing design.

Next is my real estate endeavors. Overtime I had learned my lesson about marketing and generating leads, which had been a direct derivative of this phrase. Many people rely on fancy marketing and social media to hopefully obtain leads, having little control over who and how many people will see it and, if they are lucky, reach out. But, I know the one method that has worked timelessly… Cold calling. As uncomfortable as it may be for everyone, if this is a method that every sales book, mentor, coach, etc. has suggested WORKS, why try anything different? That is just my own opinion on the matter.

This week I was able to really exercise the meaning and actions this phrase prompts in my own life, intentionally. We will see if this logo goes over well with upper management and if I will get any more listing appointment prospects from my cold calling method.

You can grease it, but don’t reinvent the wheel.

The Pink Elephant in the Room

A few days ago, I was prepared to diagnose myself with OCD. OCD is also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, essentially a behavior problem that prompts one to inhibit obsessive thoughts and habits that hinder their everyday functions. After recognizing my destructive habit of analyzing every little thought that came to my head, making reason for why it was occurring, and manically scribing away pages and pages in my journal for a full diagnostic report of one simple thought, it sounded like an OCD-type behavior to me. So, I began to read up on the disorder that can be crippling for so many. Ultimately, I realized my behaviors were very much in my control and nothing as serious as such a potentially debilitating disorder. I began to understand this was in my control.

As it was explained in a video I came across about OCD, the psychologist used the example of a “pink elephant,” an objectively bizarre yet meaningless image. She instructed the video viewers NOT to think of a “pink elephant.” Ok, try it for yourself now. Do NOT think of a pink elephant. Whatever you do, do NOT think of a pink elephant. What are you thinking about now? Let me guess… The damn pink elephant, of course! The point of this exercise was to make an example of how the more we think about our thoughts, the more they can consume us. We might even begin to question, “Why am I thinking of a pink elephant? Oh my gosh, it must mean something!” And again, be possessed by meaninglessness.

As the doctor went on to explain, WE are the ones who give meaning to our unintentional thoughts. Unintentional thoughts that just pop into our heads are really just the natural random functions of our brain, which we have no control over. Instead of accepting these thoughts as something we have no control over, oftentimes we CHOOSE to give reason and meaning to these thoughts, which in-turn drive our obsessive behaviors.

At the end of the day, it has been enlightening for me to realize that the majority of thoughts I experience throughout the day are not in my control and are completely random. I am the one who chooses to place meaning on the. As much as I love journaling, I decided it needed to be tamed, for it prompted full-fledged analysis of every little thing. Now that I understand, I have been working to allow my thoughts to come and go, not sticking with or giving meaning to the unintentional whims that might show up thought the day. You kind of just have to laugh about it and say, “Oh brain, you’re so funny. I don’t know why you would think that but I’m going to go back to what I was doing. Thanks for visiting.” And leave it be.

This is where the practice of mindfulness comes it, being able to recognize when the mind has drifted into possessive thought, and then bringing it back to the present. It is easier said than done and I am no expert in meditation or traditional mindfulness practices, but I have found that developing an ability to laugh off our thoughts and move on is a mindfulness practice in and of itself. This is what I encourage us all to do to live a more clear-minded day. Place no meaning on the unintentional thoughts that may pop up today, laugh at them and recognize that it is your mind doing its job. It is not you. J

To be Impressive Vs. To be Admired

When thinking about striving to be admired and to be impressive, one may assume them to be essential the same. Many want fame, fortune, and to be looked up to but read this one more time… Do these aspirations really fall in parallel? Does one always admire someone to whom they find to be impressive?

In this day and age, many of our role models are those who are celebrities, sports athletes, even models, but why? What do we truly believe equals success? Most of the time it is just this… Fame and fortune. Those people must have all of the answers, right?

Well, let’s pose another question to dig deeper. Are these people impressive in their accomplishments? Most definitely. Are these people to be admired for their accomplishments alone? I am not sure that is a black and white answer. I think when it comes down to the question of admiration, perhaps it extends beyond ones accomplishments. Here is where it becomes tricky because we now have to do this scary thing and consider ourselves. What are our values? What do we wish to accomplish in life? Who have accomplished such feat? What are their values? Is this someone we want to be like in the future?

When considering the word “impressive,” it is truly just a perception of another one’s accomplishment. This compliment is outward-looking, all about the observation of another, from a far. But did this person’s accomplishment cause you to “admire” them? When admiration comes into questioning we now ask ourselves, “Was I inspired by this person’s accomplishment?” “Did this person’s accomplishment have me strive to be better?” This now becomes an inward-looking observation. How did this person’s accomplishment impact you and your motivation? Most likely, if you felt more driven, more motivated and more inspired by this person’s accomplishment, you feel admiration, for this accomplishment had aligned with your values.

To summarize this thought, I will take an example of young girls looking up to Victoria Secret models, and considering them their “idols.” These young girls are impressed by these women and believe they admire them, but do they? To consider it admiration, I would have to assume these Victoria Secret models are exactly what these young girls want to be when they are older. They strive to walk runways, travel the world and pose for various lingerie photoshoots. However, in experience, this is often not the case (But , if it is, ok. Do you, girl!). Young girls (and boys, men, women, everyone!) often find themselves looking up to celebrities such as Victoria Secret models because of the more surface-level desire for fame, fortune and yes, a kick-ass body, but how shallow an impression being mistaken for admiration.

Personally, I have recognized the difference between “being impressive” and “being admired” by an advancement of someone close to me in their line of work, which had then prompted this very post. I had initially expressed how “impressed” I was by them. Yes, a great compliment, and I am impressed but still, this expression fails to convey how their accomplishment had rather inspired and motivated me FAR greater. The more meaningful and accurate expression is that I “admire” this person, for their accomplishment impacted me in a more profound way then just being something I was impressed by. Furthermore, to be someone who others admire is a much greater compliment and an accomplishment in and of itself.

To convey the conclusive thought of this post, I truly wish to encourage us to consider ways we can strive to be admired rather than be impressive to others. And also, consider the people we admire and what values are cause for our admiration for them.