No One’s Life is Perfect

July 4, 2014 by  
Filed under blog

I ran into a friend a few days ago and greeted him with the old familiar “Hey, how’s it going?”  He gave the usual response of “I’m doing fine”, but he added two words to the beginning of his greeting: “I guess …”!  Wow. That totally changed the meaning of his greeting and his facial expression matched those two added words. Obviously, he wasn’t doing “fine”. So I dug a little deeper and found out he really was struggling with some big issues.

In today’s world of fast and quickly expanding social media we are given the impression that people out there have near perfect lives.  I mean take a look at virtually anyone’s Facebook and you’ll see all these fun pictures and comments. Much of what we see is the good stuff, and of course there is really nothing wrong with that, but it sure can make a lot of people feel and believe that their own lives, filled with challenges, big ups and downs, and problems are really “messed up”, causing self-pity, depression and, in the worst cases, even suicide.

The fact is, nobody’s life is perfect or even close, but when you’re looking from the outside you might be tricked into thinking that other people are doing tons better than you. If you take time to look and probe on a deeper level you will see that the surface view can be very misleading since most of us don’t announce or display our problems but prefer to show and advertise our successes.

So, if you really want to know the truth and gain insight into a person’s real and complete life,you need to dig deeper.  One easy way to do this is by simply asking the right questions.  For example, pick a friend or relative that seems to be doing well as you see on their Facebook postings or hear them talk about their world travel, huge income or impressive home and lifestyle, and ask questions like these:

1.  What are the biggest challenges you are having in life right now?

2.  In the past, what do you think has been the worst or hardest part of your life?

3.  Who or what makes you sad?

4.  Do you ever get down or depressed? (If they say yes, ask how often and what causes it.)

5.  What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?

6.  Do you think much about your own mortality?

7.  What in your life scares you the most?

8.  Have you experienced any great tragedy in your life? If so, what happened and when?

9.  Do you worry and think about tragedy striking you in the future?

If you take a little time, you certainly can add your own probing questions to this list.

I’m pretty sure if you question those who you think have “the perfect life” you will find, as I have, that no matter how rich and famous or perfect their lives look from the outside, they too have their problems and challenges and many times much larger problems that you would have ever guessed.

You might ask at this point, “Why go through all of this questioning?”

I personally believe it’s a very good thing to do for at least 2 reasons.  First, it can help you see and understand yourself better and remove any self-pity or feelings of “not as good as other people”. It can even lift you out of a state of depression, so you come up with the thought of “Hey I’m not doing so badly after all.” Because of this, you may see yourself in a much different light and find you have higher self-esteem”.

Second, and most importantly, knowing the challenges and problems of your relatives and friends can put you in the perfect position to step up and help them overcome some of their problems, challenges and obstacles.  This makes it a real Win-Win. And all for just asking a few questions!

Cherishing Our Mistakes

October 5, 2012 by  
Filed under blog

I recently saw this anonymous quote making the rounds on the web:

Don’t place your mistakes on your head, their weight may crush you. Instead, place them under your feet and use them as a platform to view your horizons.”

What a great quote. Isn’t it more often true than not that we let our mistakes weight us down and crush our motivation? Mistakes are nothing more than learning opportunities. We learn best by the mistakes we make because it’s not so likely we’ll forget them.

Every one of us will make mistakes. A lot of them. They will make us feel idiotic, incompetent, and imperfect. But we are all these things at some moment (or two or ten) in our lives. And it’s wonderful! It means we always have something to work on, something we can look forward to doing better the next time.

So certainly, use your mistakes as blocks to step up on, to build the stairs you use climb to success. Don’t carry them around. When setting goals and taking those steps to reach those goals, know you will make mistakes along the way. Tell yourself,” I will screw up sometimes but that’s okay. I will learn from my mistakes and will be that much more competent and successful because of the knowledge I gained from those experiences.” This way when you make a mistake, you’ll be ready to move forward, not let it slow you down or stop you all together, which of course, would be the biggest mistake of all.

**If you like what you’ve read in this blog please send it on to people you know and love, to people who you think this message and information may be very helpful. There is nothing in the world that brings greater satisfaction than helping other people. Don’t you agree?

Perfection and its Flaws

March 4, 2011 by  
Filed under blog

I don’t know if I mentioned this on the blog before, but I grew up Mormon and was seriously involved in the church, even going on a two year mission to England to spread the word. I was a true believer who had certain scriptures pounded into my head over the years including Matt. 5:48 which says “be ye therefore PERFECT even as your father in Heaven.” I tried so hard for many years to be perfect, driving myself nuts in the process. However, I eventually began to think for myself and left the church in my mid-30s. Along the way I realized, to my utter relief, that perfection in ANYTHING is simply not possible.

Even so, the idea that I must be perfect and appear perfect has always been a bit hard to shake. I do consider myself a very successful man, but I have been so very far from perfect. It makes it even more difficult to admit to a lack of perfection when you become a public speaker, write books, and are looked to as an expert. Well, here’s a big news flash: No one, not even so-called experts, do everything perfectly all or most of the time. Experts are as human as the next guy and continue to make wrong decisions, even in their own field when they should know better because it’s always easier to preach a good sermon than to live one.

So, yes, I still have a hard time with the idea that I will never accomplish perfection, that I have and will miss the mark some times and that I’ve ignored my own advice on too many occasions. High expectations come at us from all corners of our lives—from our religious community, families, co-workers, friends and even ourselves and there is no way we can meet them all or even come close. The question is, when we aren’t as successful as we hope to be, do we let it stop us from trying again?

I don’t think there is a problem with reaching for perfection as long as we know it’s about seeing how close we can get, that we are not failures when we don’t meet those high expectations. The problem with reaching perfection is that there is nothing more to reach for after that. So look at those imperfectly completed goals as a blessing. They will always give you something more to strive for and drive the passion that makes life so wonderful an experience.