Category: Blog

The Truth Will Set You Free – Part 10 of 20

I recently read a post on Johnny B. Truant’s blog that really hit home. So much so that I wanted to do two things: share it with my readers and 2) think on and write about each piece of his post. The post is “20 Truths About Life No One Wants To Believe” and the tenth one (we’re half-way there!) I am going to tackle is:

10. You shouldn’t buy what you can’t afford.Want that TV? Wait until you have enough cash to pay for it. Want to take the vacation but need to borrow from your credit card (and then not pay it off in full) to do it? You’d better wait. I’ve violated this plenty. Sometimes, for necessities, it feels essential. I almost always regret it.

 This is, shall we say, a real growth opportunity for me.

Granted I’m not as bad as some, those who charge everything on their credit cards, pay the minimum payment (or just a bit more), but I don’t set my standards based on what others might do. I decide what the ideal is for me and work to live to that standard.

What I do is be all clever when it comes to credit cards and buying things I don’t have the cash for. I use my very good Credit Score to move money around when I need to and take advantage of new cards to make big purchases, or transfer balances to cards with zero-percent-for-some-period cards.

Mind you I don’t do this all the time, I’m not pathological about it, but I have done it (and am doing right now, actually).

The reason this is a problem is because it violates my standard of paying for things when I buy them. It just plain feels right to do it that way.

What’s one of my primary goals? To pay off the balances, and to do so way before the zero-percent period ends.

In my mind, it’s just the right thing to do.

Your Thoughts Really, Really Do Matter

The ancestor of every action is a thought. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve been reading more and more about the power of thought.

The more I read, and think, the more I believe that our thoughts are the prime movers of our lives.

Everything else is tactics.*

***

Without a solid understanding of how thought – and the tool of thoughts, our brains – work, we are, at best, likely to achieve only a percentage of what we could and, at worst, doomed to a life of mediocrity (or less).

Thoughts (both the conscious and un/subconscious ones) produce our feelings and emotions which determine our attitude and willingness.

When we have a constructive attitude and a willingness to work hard we are effective.

When we’re effective we create an amazing and authentic life.

That’s what we all want, right? (I know I do… ).

So we must learn to think constructively, usefully.

Notice I didn’t say the “p” word? (The opposite of negative.)

I use the word constructively on purpose.

When things go well, ask yourself why and how? So you can learn from your successes.

When things are okay, get curious about what is working and what isn’t quite working. So you can learn from your average experiences.

When things go to sh!t, ask yourself what went wrong? How did things get off track? And ask yourself what role you played in the event or experience.** Why? So you can learn from your negative experiences.

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The other key to harnessing the power of thought is learning to effectively manage your thoughts (/brain).

Notice I didn’t say “control your thoughts?”

Why not? Because you can’t. You can only hope to manage them.

(Now, of course, there are some who are amazing managers of their thoughts (think Buddhist monks… ), but 1) they have devoted their lives to contemplation and meditation and 2) even they don’t have absolute mastery over their thoughts.)

I’m talking about meditation. I suggest – to start – you commit to sitting quietly for 3 minutes each day. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and notice only your breath. As your thoughts come and you lose focus on your breath, re-focus.

Do that for 21 days and you will feel better, think better, be more aware and conscious of each moment and be a overall better version of yourself.

But it will take three minutes a day.

***

* Well, not “tactics” exactly, but it was fun, pithy thing to say…

** We always  play some role in our failures… at least to the extent that we create our success. You will see this if you’re willing to tell yourself the Truth.

Are You Creating the Self You Want?

“We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.” – Earl Nightingale

The concept of the Self and who we are is endlessly fascinating to me.

I think about my life and what I have created, and failed* to create, over the years.

These ponderings are part of how my Self develops.

If I look at my successes with humility and my “failures” with curiosity I will develop confidence and wisdom.

If I look back with blame, and give credence to the expectations of others, I will develop some form of shame and weakness.

I suggest you choose the former approach.

You’re creating your Self all the time, and your approach matters.

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* Again, as long-time readers will know, I use this word intentionally to get your attention, so I can make the point – yet again – that we never fail, we only produce results that we didn’t foresee and/or don’t desire. For the love of Pete, stop thinking you failed in the sense that nothing happened as a result of your efforts. Everything produces something, making that “something” what you want is only a question of intelligently adjusting your approach (and working your ass off).

When Subtraction Is Multiplication

“Losing an illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.” – Ludwig Börne

Sometimes the most powerful skill is knowing what to take away, what not to do.

We tend to focus on what we must do,or add or expand. But what if the best thing we can do is stop doing something, or delete part of the whole, or scale back?

In the case of illusions – the believing in things that simply are not there, or real – loss is our best course.

And the losing of an illusion is often more impactful than a powerful learning.

Sometimes it’s what we know, that isn’t true that holds us back the most.

So don’t always look for the new, or the bigger or the better… sometimes ask yourself: “What could I lose that will help me win?”