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Eliminating the Shoulds

April 14, 2017 by  
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If each of us is to live a much better and more fulfilling life, it’s very important that we move from living a life of things we ‘should’ do and move to a life of things we ‘must’ do. The ‘shoulds’ are the things that other people and institutions have told us we should and should not do while the ‘musts’ are those things we think and decide for ourselves.

So, the big question is, how does a person dump those ‘shoulds’ that were put on us by others? Many, if not most of the ‘shoulds’ of our lives were put on us when we were young and easily persuaded to do or not do certain things. Of course, as kids, we did need to be told what to do, what not to do, and how to act.  But if we want to live a total and satisfying life, one that is our life by our own design, then we need to move from the ‘should’ mindset that came from others to our own life of what we feel we ‘must’ do.  If we do that, then we can really follow our own dreams, ambitions, passions, and natural talents.

But how do we really get there?  How do we discover what we really want, who we really are, and what we want our lives to be?  First of all, according to the book we looked at last week, Elle Luna’s The Crossroads of Should and Must, it’s not easy to get rid of our ‘shoulds’ and move to our own designed ‘must’ list and life.

Elle says that “we need to know each ‘should’s’ origins, how it got there, and when we first began to integrate it into our decision-making … look for recurring patterns and choices both little and big that are affected.”

Luna further suggest that you “grab a piece of paper, and make a list of the ‘shoulds’ you hold on to by completing the sentences that I listed in last week’s blog. She adds that you should “listen to what comes up first and write it down … where did you come from? Are you true for me? Do I want to keep holding on to you?”

Think about how many ‘shoulds’ that have been put on you in so many parts of your life–religious beliefs, education and what you specifically studied, the job or occupation that your ended up in, your political leanings, and what you think you want to do for fun and for pleasure.  The list of these affected areas could go on and on. Of course, some of your list would be things that you personally chose for yourself and were not pushed on you but those that were not your choice need to be examined and eliminated if it’s not what you really want and not who you really are at your core.

Next week I will give Elle Luna’s suggested ways of how one goes about discovering who they really are and what you really want your life to be like. It’s not an easy process but it is so very worth the effort and the results that will make your life so very much better and more fulfilled.

 

 

The Paths of Should and Must

April 9, 2017 by  
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I ended my blog last week by saying, “Give more so others can live more,” which, of course, not only helps your life but also lifts the life of others. My dear and wonderful giving wife, Kimberly, is always giving of her time and talents as well as gifts to my kids, to my grandkids, to my ex-wife, and to strangers. Recently she gave me a great gift. It was a simple book but, wow, what a great life giving and life changing book it can be if you follow the advice of the author.

The book she gave me is entitled The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion, written by Elle Luna. The author is convinced that those people who do what they ‘must’ usually discover who they really are and what they really can do with their lives as opposed to those people who do what other people say they should do and should become.

Elle goes on to make a very good case for following what we feel we ‘must’ do versus what we feel we ‘should’ do. “Must is different. Must is who we are, what we believe and what we do when we are alone with our truest, most authentic self. It’s that which calls us most deeply. It’s our convictions, our passions, our deepest held urges and desires–unavoidable, undeniable, and inexplicable. Unlike the should, must doesn’t accept compromises.”

The author goes on to explain how to get rid of all the ‘shoulds’ of your life and then how to discover what the ‘must’ of your life and existence really is. On the ‘should’ side, she suggests you make a list of what others have told you that you should do and should become then with that list you can start to figure ways to eliminate the ‘shoulds’.

Finishing these sentences is a good way to start, Elle suggests.

YOU SHOULD NEVER ________________.

YOU SHOULD ALWAYS___________________.

YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER THAN TO ___________________.

YOU SHOULD NOT____________.

From the time we were born, or as very young kids, all of us, no doubt, have been told what we should do or should not do or should become and most people seem to blindly follow that advice even when we are mature adults. So, we are not really living our own life or following what we truly love and are good at so we don’t become the best of ourselves.

I want to close out this week’s blog by quoting a famous person:

“It’s your life, but only if you make it so. The standards by which you live must be your own standards, your own values, your own convictions in regard to what is right and wrong, what is true and false, what is important and what is trivial.” –Eleanor Roosevelt

Next week I will discuss ways and methods that the brilliant Elle Luna suggests to move from living a life of ‘should’ and moving to discover your real self and live an enhanced and happier more fulfilling life of ‘must’!

Being a Giver

March 31, 2017 by  
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There are a lot of various reasons and motivators that push people to go after wealth, even great wealth. But the real bottom line basic motivator to make even a little money is simply survival because we all need money for food, clothing and shelter. Thankfully, here in the good ole US of A, most of us are beyond that stage. Certainly, a large part of the reason for this is because of our great freedom and our wonderful free enterprise system that allows even a person born into poverty the real chance–albeit with a ton of work and effort–to rise above it all and make lots of money and even a fortune starting from scratch.

One of the more unique motivators for achieving wealth is sometimes, “I want to make a lot so I can give a lot.”  Some people would question that saying, “Why would that push or motivate people to achieve great financial success?” and my answer to that would be “Because it can make the giver feel on top of the world with wonderful inner feelings that last and last.” Plus, it’s a great legacy that can and will linger on long after the giver has passed on.  That feeling of giving back is so very good for the body, mind, and soul and I’m sure most of my readers have experienced that at many different levels.

That wonderful feeling can be had from giving both money and non-money stuff. Think of how you feel when you give someone a gift, or do a big favor for someone, or give a great compliment and you receive sincere, enthusiastic, and emotional thanks. There are not many feelings that are a greater reward than what you get when you are a giver.

So, if you and I really take the time to think it through, we may well see what a great motivator it can be for us to push ourselves to make more money so we can give more money to others. Also, never forget all those other things we can give–everything from sincere compliments and praise, our time, our service, and our sincere love and attention to others. The return on these kinds of investments are many times much more satisfying than the return we get on our money investments. My motto is becoming, more and more, “Give more to live more.” Or better yet, “Give more so others can live more.”

 

Rethinking Stress

March 24, 2017 by  
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Last week I talked about the good and bad sides of stress and what you can do to reduce the bad stuff. But I also mentioned that I had just found out something that came as a big shock to me. I had just learned about an 8 year study which discovered that how you think about stress can shorten or lengthen your life. Yes, just by believing or thinking in a certain way about stress can affect your health and lifespan. The good news is that you can change your thinking and gain benefits from the stress in your life.

Kelly McGonigal gave a Ted Talk back in June of 2013 and told of the results of the 8 year study. In that study, 30,000 adults were asked if they believed that stress was very bad for their health. There were many that said “yes” to that question and many that said “no”, then 8 years later the death records were examined and it was found that those who believed that stress caused health problems had a 43% higher death rate than those that didn’t think stress caused health problems.

In other words, just by the mind believing the stress was not bad for them protected those people’s health. The mind really does have a lot more power than we usually give it credit for. The healthy group even had a longer life span than the average person.

There is even one more pretty big positive benefit of stress when you have the right mind set—under stress, the body produces a lot of oxytocin which is a neuron hormone that actually increases your energy level. The difficulty is that if you believe stress is harmful for your health, your blood vessels become constricted which increases your chance of a heart attack. However, if you don’t believe stress is harmful then your blood vessels don’t constrict and you have the extra energy caused by that stress stimulating the production of oxytocin.

So, that is the good and the bad of being stressed and now we know that this good ole brain of ours can make it be one way or the other. To stay on the good side of stress, we all need to do mental work outs and practice controlling our thoughts and directing our beliefs to see, and benefit from, the healthy, energized aspect of the stresses we live with every day.

Stress as Good And Bad

March 18, 2017 by  
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This week I want to talk about stress. I am even a bit stressed about getting this written in time to post it! There is a lot to stress about. Because of that people have come up with all sorts of ways and methods to reduce stress. However, stress can be good because it can push you to get more done and try harder to reach your goals. And, get this, you can actually learn how to make it so that even a ton of stress doesn’t hurt or ruin your health! I think you will be surprised and delighted to learn how to do this, as I was. But let’s examine how we think about stress for a minute.

As most people know, stress seems to be caused, for the most part, by our thinking and worrying about some future event–near or far. There is, however, two bits of really good news about stress. We all know that if we wanted to be a better or even a great tennis player, golfer, singer, writer, public speaker, etcetera, there are ways to become just that. One of the best methods is the “10,000-hour rule” as explained in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers. (If you haven’t read the book, I think it’s a must.) It says you need to put in 10,000 hours at something to become world-class in that field.

From my experience and from what I read, we as humans can do “work outs” and do lots of “practice sessions” with and for our brains, just like we can invest those 10,000 hours to become the best at something. Part of the good news is that, when it’s needed, it doesn’t take 10,000 practice hours to reduce stress.

So, before I get to the good news about how stress isn’t always bad for you and your health, let me just list a few simple techniques that are easy to do to reduce or eliminate stress when you know it isn’t doing you any good:

  1. Take a walk outside.
  2. Take a run in a new neighborhood.
  3. Take a Hike.
  4. Meditate.
  5. Go to a yoga class.
  6. Share your problems or stress with others.
  7. Get a massage.
  8. Take a hot bath or jump in a hot tub.
  9. Do a good deed for someone else.
  10. Give or get hugs and kisses from friends and relatives.

These simple things are easy to do and are well known to work.

Okay, that is all well and good but what about the big shocker I’ve been hinting at? This is something that hit me hard. It has to do with changing a person’s thinking and how what they believe changes their health and life span. It is pretty amazing and I will cover it next week. But in the meantime, de-stress as needed and start getting used to the idea that it’s not always bad to be stressed. Then tune in next week to see what I mean!

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