Taking things for granted

From your relationships with people to the environment to modern day conveniences, the things that are most often taken for granted in the world require effort and energy to simply maintain them, let alone improve them.

Take the time to think about what it would be like if the things you appreciate most in the world became scarce or went missing.

Take the time to think about what you might be taking for granted.

And then take the time to express your gratitude for these things.

Not only will it give you a greater appreciation for the things you take for granted, it’ll remind you that there are people and places in the world where those things no longer exist or never did.

And as a result, not only increase your appreciation for what you have, increase your desire to maintain or improve upon it.

There’s a saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.”

Be sure you take inventory.



Relationships 101

Relationships 101

Never stop doing the kinds of things that made you and your partner fall in love with each other in the first place.

Many people make the mistake of no longer furthering their efforts once they achieve what they want. Only to then wonder why they lost what they had.


Yes, learn from your mistakes, but don’t penalize your current partner for past partners offenses.

Every person you meet has different habits and a different history. The past is not the present.

Give people you meet a chance to demonstrate the type of person they are through their actions not someone else’s.


Relationships 101



“Greater in battle than the man who would conquer a thousand-thousand men, is he who would conquer just one — himself. Better to conquer yourself than others.When you’ve trained yourself, living in constant self-control, neither a deva nor gandhabba, nor a Mara banded with Brahmas, could turn that triumph back into defeat.” — Buddha

Your ability to listen to and take action based on your inner voice — regardless of how you feel, other influences, or temptations you face — is the key to self-mastery.

When you increase (or decrease) your discipline in one area, it increases (or decreases) your discipline in all areas that require self-control.

Like a muscle, the more you exercise self-control on a consistent basis, the stronger you get. As your self-control increases, the more you gain the ability to direct your life in a manner that is congruent with the true you. The more congruent your actions are with your thoughts and feelings, the better you feel about yourself and the decisions you make. Every time you feel good about a decision you make, it raises your self-esteem and your self-confidence. You also reinforce in your mind what you are capable of and it makes it less difficult to make similar decisions in life.



Today is day one.

Today is day one.

You’ve just been handed your life in its current state.

Your health, your skills, your relationships, your job, your education, everything.

So looking at your life today, what is it you want to change?
What is it you want to get better at?
What bad habits do you want to break?
What good habits do you want to adopt?

Does your current life accurately reflect your values of today or are you filling your schedule with activities you would no longer choose to do if you had the chance to start over?

Has your life become cluttered with possessions you no longer value as much as you once did or no longer use?

Make a note of your answers to these questions and redirect your aim and attention to what you want to improve in your life even if it means changing direction.

Let go of the things that are simply taking up space and time and no longer serve you.

The more that you incorporate things that you truly value into your life — from knowledge to skills to people to activities — the more value you not only bring to your own life, the more value you bring to the people and places you encounter on a daily basis.

Invest in bettering yourself and the future you. Let your future self look back on the changes you make today and be thankful you made them.

Today is always the first day of the rest of your life.

Today is day one.



Not caring what people think is not the answer

[This post is similar to another post I’ve written called: Not giving a damn is not the answer.]

No, you shouldn’t change who you are to be liked by people. And you shouldn’t cave into to peer pressure at the expense of your identity.

But not caring what people think is not the answer.

While you may not agree with what people think or say about you (and some would say it’s none of your business), if you believe in bettering yourself as a person, it’s important to allow yourself to internally acknowledge and be aware of the feedback you get in life.

  • Do you ruffle feathers everywhere you go?
  • Do you get into arguments or make enemies easily?
  • Do you find yourself getting into the same kinds of dysfunctional relationships?
  • Do you act creepy or make people uncomfortable without realizing it?
  • Is your body language saying one thing while you are saying another?

These are important things to be aware of.

Acknowledging what others think (positive or negative) provides us with valuable feedback that allows us to make sure we are acting and communicating in the manner we think we are. And if we are not, it provides the opportunity to make changes to how we do things (if we so choose).

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” — Winston Churchill

There are a lot of people who suck and act badly simply because they refuse to even acknowledge the feedback they get on a consistent basis.

“You think I’m a jackass? Well, I don’t care.”

The fact is, if people are calling you a jackass, it’s a good idea to be open to the idea of exploring *why* they said that and if it has any validity.

And it may not. Just because someone calls you a jackass doesn’t mean you’re a jackass, but something about the circumstances you found yourself in led to negative feedback. And after analyzing the situation, you may discover that you could have done something more effectively in the situation — even if was simply to avoid it altogether.

While I don’t believe in not caring what people think, I do believe in is not fearing it.

And that’s a huge difference.

One approach says, “I’m fearful of accepting or acknowledging negative feedback” and the other says, “I have a strong enough sense of self to not let criticism (or praise) adversely affect my sense of self-worth.”

When you truly know who you are — and who you are in the process of becoming — you will no longer live in fear of what people say or think about you.”

Because you can’t please everyone, sometimes you will act in a fashion that upsets people or makes them uncomfortable. And sometimes it is completely justified — it comes at the cost of expressing yourself in an authentic fashion.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act that way. But it also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the response you get — you simply shouldn’t be afraid of it or let it bother you.

Not letting what other people think bother you is one thing, not caring is another.

I believe the goal should be develop a strong enough sense of self to not let what others say or think about you diminish (or inflate) your sense of self-worth, not to simply “not care”.

Allowing yourself to be open is a sign of confidence, and it’s a strength that will get you much further in life, and provide you with the ability to weather more storms, than simply pretending that storms don’t exist.”


Integrity isn’t only for when life is easy

Remember that time you lost something and didn’t think anyone would return it… But they did.

And you were so grateful for that.

Perhaps it gave you a bit more faith in humanity?

Be that person the next time you find something that isn’t yours and it’s possible to return it to the rightful owner (or to someone who can).

Because if you do take something that isn’t yours and claim it as your own, what you’re essentially saying is that you’re fine with other people taking your stuff when you misplace it.

Integrity isn’t only for when life is easy. It’s for when life is hard. It’s for when you face temptation or your values are challenged.

“A person’s true nature is revealed at times of the greatest adversity.” — Daisaku Ikeda

Integrity doesn’t take advantage of another person’s misfortune for one’s personal benefit. Integrity lends a hand.

What you do and how you act when you are challenged and put to the test says a lot more about you and your true character than what you say or do when life is easy.

Find something that isn’t yours? Maintain your integrity, show your true character, and do the right thing.

Your decision to think right, choose right, & do right will rarely if ever be the easiest course to follow.” — Thomas S. Monson



Are you awake?

Far too many people drift through life waiting for “the good stuff”. They choose a career or a path in life with the expectation that that path will bring them something they seek — perhaps happiness. And if it doesn’t come — or they find themselves conflicted because they feel as if they chose poorly — they think, “Well, this is the path I chose, there’s no changing it now.”

But this is a self-limiting belief. There is no rule that says you cannot correct the course you’re on.

If you want to makes changes to improve yourself as a person, you can. And if you want to take action to change the trajectory of your life, you can do that, too.

You don’t have to sit back and watch your life pass you by thinking, “If only…” and regretting all the things you could’ve done, but chose not to.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

Remember: Living life to the fullest means continually reaching out for newer, richer, deeper, life-changing experiences. It means using those experiences as a means for personal growth and pushing the boundaries of yourself mentally, spirituality, and intellectually for the betterment of yourself and the world at large.

Living life to the fullest means taking an active role in your own development. It means steering the rudder of your own life and taking advantage of your unique and powerful potential as a person.”

If you don’t like where you are in life or some aspect about yourself, you can take steps to change that. And if it sounds a little scary, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re on the right path. Dealing with discomfort, fear, and situations we don’t want be in — or situations that we are completely unfamiliar with — is an absolutely essential part of growth.”

This is your life. Here. Today. Right now. Your life is in progress. Every day that passes is another day closer to your expiration date.

What you aim for and where you go in life as a result of striving to meet your goals is up to you.

Everything you want should be yours: the type of work you want; the relationships you need; the social, mental, and aesthetic stimulation that will make you happy and fulfilled; the money you require for the lifestyle that is appropriate to you; and any requirement that you may (or may not) have for achievement or service to others. If you don’t aim for it all, you’ll never get it all. To aim for it requires that you know what you want.” — Richard Koch

If you want to make changes to yourself or your life, you can choose to make changes. But to do so means you have to be proactive and awake, not passive or asleep at the wheel.

So… are you awake?




Supplemental: Image from: Kaiji (manga)

Pink Floyd: Time

In a 2003 interview to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon, bassist and songwriter, Roger Waters (who was about to turn 30 when the album was released) explained:

“I suddenly realized then, that year, that life was already happening. I think it’s because my mother was so obsessed with education and the idea that childhood and adolescence and… well, everything… was about preparing for a life that was going to start later. And I suddenly realized that life wasn’t going to start later–that it starts at ‘dot’ and that it happens all the time, and that at any point you can grasp the reigns and start guiding your own destiny. And that was a big revelation to me. I mean, it came as quite a shock!”

[You can hear Waters speak some of the above quote in this ambient music mix (cued up).]


Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter; never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

Home again
I like to be here
When I can

When I come home
Cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones
Beside the fire

Far away
Across the field
Tolling on the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spell



Leadership and power


Some people who claim to be leaders want you to feel like they are important. They’ll talk about their accolades and achievements. They’ll claim seniority. They’ll drop names and try to associate with important people. They’ll do just about anything but truly inspire you.

True leaders don’t waste time trying to convince you of their importance. True leaders will make you feel like you are important simply from their behavior and how they interact with those they encounter.

A true leader is someone that people believe in and want to help without being required to.

True power doesn’t demand action. It inspires it. And true leaders don’t demand respect. They earn it.

A leader leads from in front, by the power of example. A ruler pushes from behind, by means of the club, the whip, the power of fear.” — Edward Abbey


Encourage caring

Excerpt from: What stress is caused by and why you should give a damn

Lessons Learned from The Path Less Traveled by Zero DeanWe should not be encouraging ourselves or others not to care or give a damn. Or toughening ourselves or our children to deal with a hostile world.

We should be encouraging people to care — and educating people on how to do so effectively — and teaching our children to be the change they wish to see in the world.

We must learn to let go of those things we have no control over and focus on what we can do. Remember not to let the things you can’t control stand in the way of what you can.