Practice Living A Happier Life

Practice, practice, practice … practice makes perfect, phrases in which we are all familiar. In his book, Success Is A Choice, published back in the mid to late 1990’s, Rick Pitino, University of Louisville basketball coach, states that practice doesn’t make perfect, but “perfect practice makes perfect.”

Of course from one point of view, this makes sense: Think of shooting a basketball with a major flaw in your technique. Hours and hours of Continue reading “Practice Living A Happier Life”

Commencement 2017 – 3 simple things

What a wonderful time of year.

The grass is green, the sun is shining and the days are getting longer! And, oh yeah, how could I forget graduations are in full swing. Good ole graduation, the ceremony of two tales:

● The Graduate – Give me my diploma and let me get out of this place.

● The Parent – The memories, the future, so much of life left to taste.

Unfortunately, it seems that most commencement speeches are geared more to the parent than the graduate. Long speeches about what the future holds in store. Praise given to the parent, family members, teachers and friends. All the while, the graduate may briefly reminisce about the long nights, the awful tests, but mostly thinks, when will the ceremony end so I can get out of this place.

Well this commencement is for the graduate. For it is my belief, you are the ones that deserves it. You are the ones who persevered, you are the ones who stuck with it, you are the ones who put in those long nights. Everyone else was simply doing their jobs. And, actually by you persevering and graduating, you made their jobs easier. So here is to you Graduate, short and sweet! Three simple things:

#1 ATTITUDE

This is yours. It is the one thing you have that you have total control over. That is, unless you hand control over to someone else. I implore you to never allow your attitude to be controlled by others. You have heard that Perception is Reality. Your perception stems from your attitude; therefore, if your attitude is good your perception will be good and your reality will be great! For, you see, Good + Good = Great!

Attitude. Never ever forget that yours is yours and yours alone!

#2 THE BIG PICTURE

Picture yourself as the only human being left on earth. Even for an introvert such as myself, being totally alone forever is a depressing thought. My point is that people are necessary, and yes, all people. They may not all agree with you, or like doing the things you like to do, but believe it or not they are all necessary. In the Big Picture of everybody in the world, where do you fit in? What can you contribute to the greater good of everybody? You have a talent that is unique to only you. Discovering that talent and putting it to use for the greater good will far outpace putting your talents to use for selfish pursuits over the long run.

The Big Picture. You are not the sole person in this world, nor want to be, remember that!

#3 HOUSING

You all, I’m sure, have heard of the following two phrases:

You are what you eat

No pain, no gain

Food fuels our bodies, and we all have different fuel requirements. Jets use one type of fuel, tractors another type and cars one type and race cars even another type. There is no one set of fuel for all.

Exercise compensates our bodies for the mostly sedentary lifestyles we live today. But like different fuel requirements, we all have different exercise requirements. Some need to put themselves through excruciating pain to feel as if they have accomplished something whereas others can simply go for a nice stroll through the park.

HOUSING. Our bodies are where we house Attitudes, and our Big Picture, so as long as our housing unit does not take away from those two things all is good. We were not all meant to be Barbie and Ken.

I congratulate you and you alone for this is your accomplishment. You, too, should congratulate yourself on a job well done, It’s Over!

I hope you will always remember:

the mind – attitude – is yours to control

the soul – the big picture – your heart

the body – housing – simply holds the other two while you are on earth

Keep all three in proportion, for these are you and you alone!

The Rock and the Odds

A friend, one of the first people to read Don’t Be A Cow!, was recently taking a walk on RiverWalk in Columbus, GA. She looked down and something caught her eye. It was a rock with something on it; taking a closer look, painted on the rock was … a cow!

Imagine. What are the odds? Especially the odds of an early reader of Don’t Be A Cow! finding an otherwise unassuming rock with a cow painted on it?

She couldn’t believe it either, so she snapped the photo and sent it to Jane and me. All three of us had the same thoughts: What are the odds? Isn’t this odd? And, of course, was it just a coincidence or a sign? You know, a destiny kind of thing.

Maybe it was telling her that she’s is on the right path. Maybe she was on the wrong path – meaning it wasn’t really her path – and she was simply the messenger – and the real message was meant for Jane and me. One thing for certain: it brought a smile and a laugh to us all.

Although we can use such occasions to mean almost anything we want to believe, a couple things are certain about finding this rock. First, when we are out in nature, out enjoying the great “out of doors” (Day 7), there are limitless treasures just waiting to be found. Secondly, we can find happiness in the oddest of places, under the oddest of circumstances with the oddest odds – a lot of odds – all which may not seem all that odd when we are willing to “Try Something New” (Day 25).

As our friend picked up the rock, she noticed something painted on the back. (No, it wasn’t Don’t Be A Cow! as that would have been mind-blowing), but what she was halfway expecting. No, painted on the back was the following: “Smile SPARK Art.” SPARK Art is an organization established to spread art and kindness into the community. The organization encourages people to paint rocks, placing them in different places around the city, with the idea being they will bring a smile to someone when found.

If such an effort was to bring a smile to someone’s face, it certainly worked. And, maybe it wasn’t coincidence after all; maybe it is a sign, that our destiny is continuing to share with others about living a life that will bring a permanent smile to your face! That happens by living your life and not the life where the herd directs you.

What’s your Destiny? BELIEVE!

– Joe

PS Check out this related article and video from the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer about SPARK! 

 

Nature – in the Backyard

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

The vibrant red of a cardinal on a gray and gloomy winters day
The soaring of an eagle in what appears to be an endless sky
The sounds of water as it travels after a torrent rain
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

 The swaying of a tree, in a Summer’s warm sultry breeze
The weaving of a web from a spider from tree to tree to tree
The symphony of crickets and frogs, as I sit upon my deck
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

 The power of an ant moving a beetle ten times its size
The revolving carousel of birds around a feeder hung near by
The rapid flittering of the hummingbird’s wings,
Is always a wonder
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

The warmth of the sun, on a brisk fall day
The harvest moon, or any that is amongst a star lit sky
The emergence of new leaves, ready to spring forth all life, a fresh breath
It’s there for all to see, it’s there for all to hear, for you see, it is…

 Nature’s way to speak to us all,
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

You need not travel far, you need not travel wide
You need not procure additional clothing and wares
All you need, is to be aware, for you see, it is…

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

Something for everyone, just waiting to please
You need not fret, if you are prone to sneeze
For even an open curtain, may bring you to your knees
For I wish, that all would see, it is…

Always a wonder,

Nature’s way to speak to us all
If only we stop, to absorb it’s awe!

 

Wasting Time! Research I can Truly Relate To!

“The psychological importance of wasting time,” by Olivia Goldhill

I got this article from a friend the other day, which got me thinking! Of course, I think that was the intent of my friend. Unless, of course, they were just trying to drop me a hint to make me feel better. Because I think I am really great at wasting time, so I’m happy to know there is an Up side!

In short, the article describes benefits from involving yourself in mindless activities such as watching television, taking walks, or simply staring out the window (a favorite of mine). I think that most of us know this. It is simply a matter of making ourselves do it, and then when we do it, not feeling guilty for it.

I think of it like throwing a ball into the air. As we all know, what goes up must come down; however, just before the ball starts traveling downward, it does something that we rarely think about: The ball travels nowhere. For a brief moment in time, the speed of the ball is zero. It is not traveling up and it has not yet begun its descent downward. One could view this brief moment as “dead” or “wasted time.” Although it is a critical time in order for the ball to change its direction.

In our lives, we to need to experience “dead” time to change our direction! You say you don’t need to change direction? I think that’s great, but does it hurt to experience some of that wasted time – just for affirmation sake? How many times have you had someone come up to you and tell you to stop what you are doing and go jump into your recliner? Yea, that’s what I thought, so I will tell you now.

Stop what you are doing and go jump into your recliner!

This also provides me a great set up for next week as I can provide some great insight into how to waste time and do it right! For this I feel, I am an expert!

Self-Reliance

Self-reliance what is it? What does it mean? Is it a good thing or a not-so-good thing?

A school of thought says man is to live in community, therefore all must contribute to the community, and all must rely on the community. This contribute-and-rely relationship forms a bond between the individual and the community. This may sound like a great concept, but it has a major flaw: It overlooks individuality!

Humans are born as individuals and this is a biological fact. A child is born as its own individual. Yes, it carries jeans – I know it’s “genes,” but I’m trying to lighten up this heavy, but important subject – from each parent so there are direct similarities, but the child is also uniquely different. This unique difference and its importance to life is huge.

How does this relate to self-reliance? Bear with me for a few more sentences. We are all unique, thus we are all, to use a well-meaning metaphor, meant to be the “black sheep.” For some, this uniqueness is obvious and for others it is much subtler.

Discovering our uniqueness is key to finding happiness because it defines us as an individual. When we know who we are as individuals, we can be ourselves, comfortably, without having to try and prove to others who we are.

Although this may sound simple and straight forward, discovering this uniqueness is complicated by the fact that most of us spend the first eighteen years of our lives living is close relationship (community-family) with people whom we share similarities (genes), and perhaps not much else. As we start out as infants, we rely totally on our parents and sometimes even older siblings. As we grow older, this family attempts to mold us into a shape that fits the family. This is not necessarily a good or bad thing – it just is. This process is where rebellion comes into play as individuals seek individuality apart from their family. Whereas rebellion is a natural part of maturing into an individual, it can often linger for a lifetime. This occurs when the individual is rebelling for rebellion sake and not rebelling as a natural process of becoming their own self.

To complicate matters even further is that our lives incorporate more than just our family. Our community grows to include all the people that we live and interact with daily. As we get older, especially in the teen years, this larger community begins to influence us as individuals to conform to the shape or norms of the community.

Okay, a little deep, I understand, especially for a layman and not an accredited psychologist, so let me move on; however, seeing it for what it is helps us understand the magnitude and relevance our community plays in our lives. Breaking away from the conformity of the community can be difficult.

The breaking of this bond with the community is called becoming self-reliant. Ok, so why is this so important? Because self-reliance equals freedom. Let me explain:

Think of your unique individuality as a bird in a series of cages: The first cage is your heart, the second is your mind, and the third is just this big cumbersome cage that sort of holds the other two cages in place, call it the body. It is somewhat easy to let the bird out of the first cage because it is our true desire our yearning. The second cage is a real bother because family, friends, and society all have their hands on all the cage doors. “You don’t want to do that! You would be better off doing this!” Once we are able – if we are able – to break out of second cage, the third becomes somewhat easier. This is the cage of the “self.” Represented by the body because of the physical nature, as our bird leaves this final cage it will be exposed to the world. It will be shot at, it will be laughed at, and it may be ridiculed: “what an ugly duckling”. Yet out of all three cages, out past the blazing guns and laughing hyenas, lies happiness.

Although getting out of all three cages is difficult, there is one key that works on all three cages – that key is self-reliance!

Once you become self-reliant, you can live a fulfilling and purposeful life by sharing your unique gift, your talents with the community. This is Happiness!

Pinocchio and Discipline

One of the literary tragedies of this century is the take-away message from Pinocchio: If you lie your nose will grow longer! And we all know that won’t happen! The real message? When you live a life without discipline and follow others, you become an ass, excuse me, a donkey! And this, unlike the nose thing, does happen! Continue reading “Pinocchio and Discipline”

Easter!

Christmas – a time of giving and receiving. With Christmas we hear things such as: “Christmas in July,” and “I wish everyday could be Christmas.” Christmas, the holiday where often materialism and commercialism seem to be center stage. But what about Easter? Yes, commercialism has played its part, too, but not nearly to the extent of Christmas. So, what about Easter? When I think of Easter, I think about all the Sunrise services held throughout the world. Everyone awaiting the dawn of a new day.

Easter is more than a day. It is the marking of the end of one era and the beginning of a new one. Whether you are a Christian or not, the significance of this day throughout the past 2000 years of human history cannot be overstated.

Each day, the sun rises and a new day begins. New adventures, new quests, new mountains to climb, new lions to tame. Unless, of course, you choose to relish in the past and dwell on missed opportunities, past failures or successes, and past grievances.

Our hope on this Easter is that you make every day Easter. A day where you start with anticipation. A day to start anew, a day full of adventure, a day you will conquer, a day you will forgive, a day where you leave the past in the past. We believe this is the message delivered by the one whom which this holiday is celebrated for.

Key to Happiness: Live every day as if it were Easter! To find other keys to happiness please read our book, “Don’t Be A Cow”. And share your own story at www.dontbeacow.com