Act or Accept

ActOrAcceptI always find it helpful to have some “rules” to live by.  Short statements that help keep me pointed in the right direction, ready to handle the challenges of life.

And let’s be honest:  challenges are an unavoidable part of life.  Those who tell you that having struggles, challenges, or illnesses is an indication that you are doing something wrong?  They are wrong and misguided.  Life is going to challenge each of us… right up until we die.  Which every one of us will do.

So the question is how we live our lives.  Today.  Right now.  Regardless of what life is throwing your way.

What we often do, in the face of a challenge:  Worry, Complain, Avoid.  All three keep us stuck, frozen in place and to the challenge ahead of us.

So, I have decided instead, to adopt the rule of “Act or Accept.”  I will either act toward resolution, or I will accept where I am.  And the acceptance?  It need not be permanent.  It is about where I am right now.  It may be waiting for a possible action.

Let’s talk about this rule and how to apply it.  Listen to the podcast episode below.

RELATED RESOURCES
Getting Unstuck
Anxiety Resources
Rules for Living
Thrive Principles Book
Immutable Laws of Living Book

Clean Pain vs. Dirty Pain

CleanDirtyPainAnyone who tells you that you can go through life without getting hurt and feeling pain is either lying or hiding.

Life is rough-and-tumble.  Pain is unavoidable.

But there is a type of pain that we can leave behind.  That is more a result of our own thinking than anything external, any injury either physical or emotional.

Call it “Dirty Pain.”  Which is distinguished from “Clean Pain.”  Clean pain, that is the initial hurt.  When you hit your foot, it hurts.  That is the bodily response to the injury.  When someone says something to you that is mean and spiteful, your feelings are hurt.  That is the emotional pain.  It is initial.

But what if you chastise yourself about your being “clutsy,” or about your “stupid action” that led to that foot injury?  Or what if you made that hurtful comment about you, and not about the person who said it?  What if you kept dwelling about it?

Let me be clear:  it is fine to ask how you might prevent an injury in the future.  It is fine to listen to feedback from others, that might give you some insight into things you need to change.

It’s the next step after that.  When you keep berating yourself.  It’s when you take the next step… you attach to the pain.  Buddhism refers to that as suffering.  You and I can think of it as “Dirty Pain” (a term coined by ACT – a mode of therapy).  It is dirtied by our own mental state — not the cause of the pain.

What do you do about that?  We discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.  Listen below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Life Is Tough
Letting Go
What You Can Control
The Forgive Process Book

Charging Into The New Year

ChargingIntoNewYearThe New Year.  It is upon us.  And along with the start of a new year is an opportunity for us to re-start.  To make some changes.  To find some ways to charge into the New Year, with a new approach.  Maybe even a new attitude!

Many people make resolutions around this time.  And most of those resolutions are broken by February.  Gyms are full in January and quiet again in February.  Health foods fly out the doors in January, only to be tossed to make room for cookies and chips in February.

Change is a tall order… unless you have some clarity to your change.  Some simple approach that makes your hopes and dreams a part of your life.

Let’s make a 4 step plan for charging into the New Year.  (And even if you listen to this episode at some other time in the year… guess what?  You can use the exact same 4 steps at any time!)

Start the year right… by making a fresh start!

Listen to the podcast episode below.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Your Word
Gratitude
What You Can Control
Thrive Principles Book
The Immutable Laws of Living Book

MORE Life Lessons from Jiu Jitsu

On multiple days each week, my wife and I play a game.  She points to a bruise and asks, “How’d that happen?”

Fair question.  But I don’t have a specific question.  All I can say is, “Rolling at jiu jitsu.”  Yep, my 52 year old body has to tolerate my decision to take up jiu jitsu last January.

A few months after I started going to jiu jitsu, I posted a podcast episode on Lessons I Learned At Jiu Jitsu.

MoreLessonsJiuJitsuWell, here we are, some 11 months later.  And I have learned a few more lessons.

Since I posted the first episode, I have continued going to class throughout the week.  And with continuing to go, I also progressed.  In the Gracie Academy framework, I earned my Combatives Belt back in November.  That means that… well… I am still a white belt.  Just an advanced white belt!

Which means that I am now allowed in the advanced class, the Blue Belt Cycle.

Which meant that everything I had learned up until then was met with a block or defense when I tried it on a higher ranked belt.  It had worked fine before!  But now, I was back to square one.

As I have told a few people, it is kind of like when you are in the last year of middle school.  You think you are “top dog,” and strut around a little, pretending to own that school.  Then, you go to high school.  And you discover you are at the bottom of the ladder.  Back to beginner.  That would be me.  Back to beginner.

Humbling?  A little.  But more of a reminder that progress includes lots of new beginning points.  So now, when I can’t make a move (or more likely, when I get submitted and have to tap), I just have to laugh… then learn.

Listen in to this week’s episode for 4 more life lessons I have (re)learned from jiu jitsu.

RELATED RESOURCES
Life Lessons from Jiu Jitsu
You Have To Show Up
When Your Ego Trips You Up

Perspective
Book:  The Immutable Laws Of Living
Book:  Thrive Principles

Embracing Discomfort

EmbraceDiscomfortHave you noticed how we all like to keep things in a narrow band of comfort?  We keep our houses not-too-warm, not-too-cool.  Most homes, all year long, stay in a very narrow band of temperature.

Most of us go to the same restaurants, listen to the same music, hang out with the same friends, and do the same activities.  Every now and then, something new.  And then, back to the comfortable.

But not much growth happens in comfort.

If you want to improve in yoga, you have to stretch a little bit further, hold the position a little bit longer… be uncomfortable.

Discomfort accompanies growth.  Sure, you can be uncomfortable, and it just be that — discomfort.  But if you are growing… if you are changing… there will be discomfort.

If we simply avoid discomfort, we also avoid growth.

Or, we could embrace discomfort.  See it as a sign of growth.  Use it as a potential sign that we are growing.  And accept that when we grow, we will be uncomfortable.

I discuss Embracing Discomfort in this podcast episode.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Embracing “I Don’t Know”
Embracing “We’ll See”
Certainty and Variety
Growth Mindset

Embracing “We’ll See”

EmbraceWellSeeFor me, “We’ll See” was my philosophy of survival when I was sick.

The doctor gave me a diagnosis with a bad prognosis.  Lots of ways I could be sick and die.  Lots of ways my body could betray me.

Oh, and this was 15 years ago.  WebMD was the “go-to” for facts on how we would die from any symptom or condition.  So, family and friends let me know all the ways my body could fail me, based on my diagnosis.  And shared the facts in excrutiating detail.

I was not in denial.  I simply knew that there were many ways things COULD go wrong.  But that meant little on how things WOULD go wrong.

It was overwhelming to face the “could’s.”  I had only space to deal with the “would’s.”

So, I took to a single response, “We’ll see.”  For a bit, the tone and volume would go up.  Until the person realized that “We’ll see” was where I was standing.

I find it most helpful to deal with things as they happen, not trying to figure out all the many things that might happen.

This is something I suggest for all of us.  So many things we could worry about.  Or we could just use the energy to deal with what is.  What becomes.  What happens.

Embrace “We’ll See.”  I discuss it in this episode of the podcast.

RELATED RESOURCES
Dealing With Worries
Dealing With Change
Facing “What Is”
Embracing “I Don’t Know”

Embracing “I Don’t Know”

EmbraceIDontKnowHow much can any of us really know?

But how often do we still choose to have an opinion on everything?  Someone asks about a topic, and we give an opinion.  Then, we have to back that opinion up.

According to neuro-science, we look for evidence to support opinion we created, based on emotions.  In other words, our opinions often come first – based on emotions – and our reasons come second.

That sounds a bit dangerous around complex issues, doesn’t it?

Not knowing is a great ending point or a great starting point.

Maybe the question is about a topic over which you really don’t care?  Knowing about it is simply not that important.  “I don’t know” is a great way of admitting you don’t know and don’t care.

Or perhaps it is something over which you care… but which you don’t know right now.  “I don’t know” can start the process of learning.

The danger is in trying to know… when you don’t.

I discuss how to embrace “I don’t know” in this podcast episode.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Growth and Change
Dealing with Change
Showing Up

Why Being Thankful Matters

Be thankful. Be grateful. Shift mindsets and thrive. 4 ways to focus on gratitude.If you are in the States, we are on the cusp of the Holiday season, kicking off with Thanksgiving in just a few days.

For me, the Holidays throughout the year are moments to step into gratitude.  Not just in a little “thank you for that gift,” but in a gratitude for being alive.  For being here.  For experiencing life.

Each morning, while walking the neighborhood with my dog, Ziggy, I reflect on 5 things for which I am grateful.  That starts my day with an attempt to shift my attention to thankfulness, to gratitude.

Granted, some days, that feeling quickly evaporates when the work piles up.

But I try to remember to be grateful on a daily basis.

How about you?

Did you know that research shows how simple gratitude habits can re-wire the brain… away from fear and threat?  Away from depression and anxiety?  Just by thinking with gratitude.  Just by focusing on things for which you are grateful.

In this week’s podcast, I discuss the power of gratitude to shift your thinking and re-wire your brain… just in time for a day we set aside to be particularly Thankful.

Know that I am thankful for you, my reader/listener.  Wishing you the best of Thanksgivings!

RELATED RESOURCES
Gratitude & Appreciation
Two Targets To Thrive
The Appreciation Approach
Stop Trying To Change The Past
Thrive Principles Book

Responsibility In A Culture Of Blame

Responsibility in a culture of blame.Blame is rampant in today’s world.  We all quickly point the finger at someone/something else, proclaiming, “It’s not my fault!”

Interestingly, I also notice how rampant it is for people to take the credit for successes.

They/we claim credit for what goes right but refuse blame for anything that goes wrong.

We live in a “culture of blame.”

Which is what often keeps us from growing.  From changing.  From learning from our mistakes.  If someone/something else is to blame, what could I (or you) do?  Not my fault… not my problem.

Change requires us to change the equation.  To take responsibility, when we are responsibible.  To share credit when others deserve credit.

Great leadership is about accepting ultimate responsibility for mistakes and problems, while giving credit for successes.

So, how do we turn the equation around?  I discuss it in this week’s Thriveology Podcast.

RELATED RESOURCES
Responsibility
NMF Syndrome In Marriage
Showing Up
Thrive Principles Book
Immutable Laws of Living Book

Forgiving: Resources To Help

Stuck in the past? Time to forgive.Since the publication of my new book, The Forgive Process, I have had lots of conversations over the topic.  Enough to know that it is an incredibly important topic… and a thoroughly misunderstood topic.  Myths abound.  And many people just don’t know how to do it… even if they wanted to!

I knew that when I wrote the book.  But I have become even more clear about it over the past month.  People see the book and have a question.  Which generally leads to a conversation about wanting or not wanting to forgive.  Those who want to just don’t know how.  And those who don’t want to often misunderstand what forgiving is about.

So, I wanted to provide some resources to help clarify and even start the process.  Each link below will take you to a special training to help you make a shift toward forgiving.

FORGIVE RESOURCES:
Misunderstanding Forgiveness
Why Even Forgive?
Find Freedom From Forgiving
How To Forgive
The Forgive Process Book