Cow Talk!

Insights to Happiness

I think this is Fascinating! You?

Isn’t that fascinating!

I was recently having a conversation with someone, who was telling me about something that was really fascinating to them. I could tell they truly were fascinated because of the emphatic way in which they were describing the event. Of course, it was something that was unfolding on a newscast and pertained to politics, both of which are major turn-offs for me these days; my thoughts were wanting to go someplace else. Eventually, I lost the battle of trying hard to listen and let my thoughts drift where they wished.

Surprisingly enough, where my thoughts took me were somewhere fascinating. No, literally fascinating, because I People on cellphonesthought about the word itself and what is fascinating to me. Naturally, before they had finished speaking I had already formulated my response, which I hate doing because it means that I wasn’t listening, right? Okay, that’s my confession for the day; now on to my response.

You know what I find fascinating?

So, you think that’s fascinating, huh? You know what I think is fascinating? I think that my life is fascinating. Each day I wake, I find a whole new set of challenges. There are so called “bad things” that occur and there are also “good things” that occur. Generally, it is some combination of the two. When you wake every morning, you just never know what the mix of bad and good might be that day. Isn’t that fascinating? With so much fascination contained within my own life, I just can’t imagine why someone would want to turn on the television and watch the fascination with someone else’s life.

Now don’t get me wrong: I totally understand how it is easy to get caught up in these moments. Back in the day, it was just television that drew people into this situation, but today we have social media which just begs us to get fascinated with other’s lives.

It’s you.

Person in silhouette of tv screen of white noiseAs a person who likes to promote happiness within people, I want to ask you: What are you fascinated with? Is it your own life? Through my life, I have known and met a lot of people. Enough to know that all of us have fascinating lives. I like to think of them as stories, fascinating stories. And that’s it. Because each day holds an adventure for each and every one of us. Please make sure that you enjoy your adventure, and if you are fascinated with another’s story, that’s okay; just don’t be consumed by it. Remember, you’re life is fascinating.

Don’t be a Cow! Become fascinated with your own life.

Soulful Quote: ” … don’t be fooled by the radio, the TV or the magazines/ They show you photographs of how your life should be/ But they’re just someone else’s fantasy”  – Songwriter Dennis De Young. Lyrics from the song “Grand Illusion”

Song: Grand Illusion, Styx

Game Exercise/Life Changer: A toughie this week. Go one day without television or social media. Then throughout the day as you pick up your phone to check social media, ask yourself what is the fascination with my life? Believe me. it’s there; you just need to take time to find it.

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11 BOOKS to read to improve your social skills

Man speaking in front of a group

We are thrilled to be included in this list of books to read to improve social skills.

And we’re in very good company. Please take a moment to look at the list, make a comment or share. It will mean a lot to us. And if you don’t have a copy of Don’t Be a Cow! or would like to share with a friend or family, be sure and take a look!

Many folks have told us we have already empowered them to “find their own paths.

Procrastination: Are you guilty? Would you like to end the control it has over your life?

fighting procrastination concept - do it phrase on color sticky notes posted on a cork bulletin board

There are actually two types of procrastination that I learned recently:

  1. Procrastination with deadlines – with this type of procrastination the effects are contained due to the deadline itself
  2. Procrastination without deadlines – with this type of procrastination the effects are not contained, as there is no deadline. This type of procrastination is long-term, can lead to unhappiness, and regrets. He says “the frustration was not that they could never achieve their dreams, but that they couldn’t even start chasing them.”

We all Procrastinate.

I learned this from a great presentation by Tim Urban, “Inside the mind of a master procrastinator.” Tim goes on to say that he thinks that we are all procrastinators to some extent. I tend to agree; however, I don’t believe that this is a function of procrastination as much as it is a function of not really knowing what it is you want. It is the ole “what do I want to be when, I grow up?” (when your 60). Sometimes it might sound more like this: “when I retire, I’m going to do ‘X.’” If you can procrastinate for 30+ years until you retire, I would say that you are a pretty good procrastinator.

I think this goes beyond procrastination: I call this “cowism.” It’s going through life not thinking about what it is you really want to do and be (Wait for retirement? Really?). 

What happens when we don’t think about what it is WE want to do? We end up following the lead of others. Someone give me a ‘moo’ please, MOOOOOO! Thank you!   

When did we get here?

“How could this happen, and certainly not me!” I hear you say. Careful, it creeps up on you so very subtly, and it can go on for many years. It’s no wonder why so many people feel like they are going through life not living up to their full potential. Feeling like something is missing. Because they are.

The Don’t Be A Cow! lifestyle is the answer. As I lay out in our interactive book, I’m going to share with you a Soulful Quote and Song.

Soulful Quote: From the lyrics from “The Impossible Dream” Man of La Mancha

“This is my quest, to follow that star

No matter how hopeless, no matter how far

To be willing to give when there’s no more to give

To be willing to die so that honor and justice may live

And I know if I’ll only be true to this glorious quest

That my heart will lie peaceful and calm when I’m laid to rest”

What is your quest?

Song: Digging deep for this one: “Dream Weaver” by Gary Wright

Game Exercise/Life Changer: What’s your dream? What do you want?  Find a quiet comfy place maybe even include some comfort food, lean back and allow yourself to dream. Don’t allow the voices of the herd to creep in and tell you things like “it’s unrealistic” just dream and enjoy the moment.

BONUS: Check out Tim Tebow talk about his new book, “This is the Day.”

Have You Checked Your Pride Lately?

What I ‘m talking about is internal pride: That pride that gives us self-confidence, makes us believe in ourselves, and makes us happy and productive individuals.

This time of the year there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of pride in the air. It’s often easy to see pride displayed when it comes to our favorite ball team. But, what about when you look in the mirror? Pride is something we often don’t think about on a daily basis, but pride provides the foundation to who we are. Pride can be a very positive asset; it can also be somewhat detrimental as I think we have all see this displayed in the sporting world.

What I want to talk about, however, is that internal pride. The pride that gives us self-confidence, makes us believe in ourselves and makes us happy and productive individuals.

Which would you prefer?

Now, how I came upon this particular subject matter at this time was from listening to a local radio program. The deejays – I guess they still call them that – were discussing a poll that asked people if they were given the choice of someone giving them a million dollars or the choice to work and earn a million dollars which would they choose? In both cases, a million dollars was guaranteed and there were no specifics on time; therefore, you would have been given the million dollars in the same time span that it would have taken to earn the million dollars.  So, which would you choose?

I was in disbelieve that the majority of people would rather be given a million dollars than to be given the opportunity to earn a million dollars. This is the perfect example of pride, or should I say, the lack thereof.

We all accomplish many things each and every day. Yes, many of these may seem rather small and of no value, but our daily accomplishments fuel the pride that should exist within us all.

Photo of Peggy Wills the "We Can Do it" Model for the poster

Peggy Wills, the “We Can Do It!” Girl

Give yourself some credit

We as humans build on our accomplishments through life. It is these accomplishments that give us a sense of worth, and ultimately, give us self-confidence and pride. What accomplishment is achieved from someone giving you something? The problem is, we develop this disillusion that our accomplishments need to be on the scale of earning a million dollars, and if not, then we consider it useless. When we refuse to give ourselves credit for our daily accomplishments, no matter how big or small, we can develop a sense of worthlessness. A feeling of worthlessness can lead to many places: none of which is good.

I’m fearful that in today’s world, with so much sensationalizing from television and social media, there are far too many people that don’t understand. Hence, why so many people are willing to just be given the million dollars? Remember, when given the million dollars, the worthlessness still exists. It’s just in a bigger nicer house.

I would rather earn $100 than be given a $1,000,000, because the $100 is worth so much more!

I feel like this has had to have been said by someone before me and if so I apologize for not giving credit: If not, heck I’ll take credit! Hey an accomplishment woo who!

Make your Bed.

Navy Seal Admiral Mc Raven explained at a University of Texas commencement why making your bed every day means you accomplish something  at the start of every day.  Accomplishments don’t have to extraordinary but when you stack all of yours on top of one another you have quite a few. Let accomplishments serve as the base for your pride.

Accomplishments are to be built upon and not rested upon. And yes, there are some days where making out bed would be a great accomplishment. I’ve had days where I’ve thought merely making it out of bed was a great accomplishment.

In our Book, Don’t Be a Cow!, our interactive guide on finding happiness, we share soulful quotes and game exercises for each day’s topic. Here’s one for this blog post:

Soulful Quote: 

“If the accomplishments of yesterday are still a big deal to you today, then you haven’t done much today” 

Mikhail Gorbachev

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Make a list of your accomplishments, give special attention to the small ones (at least small in your mind – likely not so small in the minds of others). Use this list as your pride check and use your pride check to improve your self -confidence.

… and if you want to pursue your own path to happiness, or know someone who could use a little encouragement, please consider purchasing Don’t Be a Cow! 

Do you make time for yourself? Meditate

Clock with the words Make time for what matters

Ancient Chinese Proverb: Meditate for 20 minutes every day, if you don’t have 20 minutes meditate for 60 minutes every day.

On my journey through life, I can’t over emphasis the importance of taking a little time everyday for yourself. It’s really easier than you think to get started. First, forget everything you have ever heard or seen about meditating. Forget about the 20 minutes or any set amount of time. It is as easy as doing the Game Exercise below every day. (In our book, Don’t Be a Cow!, every day ends with a Game Exercise)

Soulful Quote:“Remember: In life time is all you really have, and you are your greatest asset. Doesn’t it make sense to spend time with your greatest asset-You?” Yours truly.

Jim Croce musicianSong:  “Time in a Bottle” – Jim Croce

Sing it to yourself! (That should be entertaining! – remember I love laughing and keeping things light-hearted)

Game Exercise/Life Changer: Each day this week, take time out of your day for you. This may even be a pause while sitting at your desk, on a walk, lying in bed prior to falling asleep. Or when you first wake up … or the shower – it’s always a good spot! You may even want to slip off and buy yourself an ice cream cone or some other treat. I’m certain you deserve it.

If it has been awhile since you have spent time with yourself, try answering these questions:

            ❋ Who am I?

            ❋ What do I enjoy doing?

            ❋ What do I love doing?

            ❋ Who do I like being with?

           ❋ What would I eat/drink everyday if it weren’t for dietary restrictions?

Have fun with it! Put no limitations on your answers. i.e. “I enjoy ‘X’ but it costs too much.”

And if you want to take it to the next level, actually write your answers down, and think of other questions you would like to ask yourself. This will begin the process of spending time with you. Who knows, you might discover another you. 🙂

– Joe

Be Who You Are! The first step in living a life of happiness!

Be Yourself Quote from Isaac Newton

“Happiness is actually an art of living, which is in us.”

It sounds so simple, right? Be yourself. Be unique. The fact is, I imagine almost everyone struggles with it at times, if not often, within their life time. Why? Because the problem is that when we are truly ourselves, our uniqueness will shine through. This uniqueness makes us different. Although this uniqueness should make us shout from the mountain tops, it often has just the opposite effect. I think some of that stems from a simple matter of semantics: Being “unique” has a nice ring to it; however, when we see ourselves as being “different,” often we have the tendency to go negative and feel “like an odd ball,” or someone who isn’t liked. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Why? Your friends are your friends because of your uniqueness, not in spite of it.

Just remember: your friends are your friends for your uniqueness. If it were for your sameness – and we were all the same – then everyone would be everyone’s friend and eveyone would be the same. My head hurts.

How to: It begins with risk, as in are you willing to risk being seen as who you truly are?

Risk has always been a fascinating word to me. When looking at risk from a dictionary definition, risk always equates with danger or adverse circumstances. But, there is another side to risk. It is the side that also holds the potential for great things to happen. Sometimes it feels like we risk our lives for the great thrill of a roller coaster ride. But there are times when we truly do risk our lives, for better or worse. What I really like about risk is that it is this great balancing act between the possibility of a negative outcome and a great outcome.

In the world of finance, this great balance is described as risk vs. return. In finance this balance is directly correlated. This means that the greater the risk the greater the return. Like Newton’s Law’s of Relativity, this law of risk vs. return is absolute. ( Note: believe in this law. Anytime someone offers you great returns on an investment, the risk is directly correlated. Just like the saying “going out on a limb,” we also have “if it’s too good to be true …” both adages based in truth, and risk vs. reward.) But this is an blog on happiness not finance, right? So what does all this have to do with happiness?

It’s really quite simple: If you want an abundance of happiness in your life, be willing to take the risk. A lot of it. You see, I think most of us live somewhere in the middle. We are willing to risk somethings, sometimes; however, often it’s hard to make the next step toward “risking” being happy. Therefore we have good days and bad days.Take the next step. Take the risk in becoming happier.

In our book Don’t Be A Cow! at the end of each chapter we offer a Soulful Quote and Song to round out that day’s exercise. Here’s a quote and a song for today’s blog:

Soulful Quote: “Cause the greatest risk we’ll ever take is by far to stand in the light and be seen as we are” -from the song,  “Stand in the Light” by Jordan Smith

Song: “Stand in the Light” by Jordan Smith

Game Exercise/Life Changer:

Change – Change to a Happier You

I am always humored when I hear people say things to the effect, “I’m not going to change, I like being the way I am,” or “It’s not going to change me.” News Bulletin: Change occurs, you don’t have a choice in the matter. The only say you have in the matter is in which direction do you wish to change. You basically have three choices:

  • Direct my change to where I want to go
  • Change how others want me to be
  • Happenstance – just drift around going wherever the currents take you

Change Happens

For those who have their heels dug in refusing to submit to change, I suggest you go back and take a look at some photos of yourself, family and friends (people you see on a regular basis) that are five, ten years old. This is really a good exercise for us all to do from time to time. Change is often so slight, so incremental that it goes totally unnoticed.

When we start embracing the change that is naturally occurring in our lives on a daily basis, we can then begin to manage it, lest I say actually control it – well at least in part. There will always be things in our life that are beyond our control.

Use this Technique

Same tree 15 years later

Same tree, fifteen years later

Remember doing fractions in school? Reducing everything down to its ‘least common denominator”? This is also a major philosophy employed in problem solving. Strip away all the minutia, all the distractions surrounding the issue, and get down to the core of the problem.

Now let’s try to apply this technique to change in our lives. Let’s reduce it down to its least common denominator. Change occurs daily (actually by the minute and by the second, but we won’t go there!) For this exercise, I am also assuming you have chosen the first bullet from the list above and want to direct the change in your life, for this is the only way to a happier you.

We must first strip away everything down to the least common denominator. And in the case of change, since it occurs daily, it only makes sense that we consider only the changes of today – this day.

How might this look in our lives?

  • I need to eat healthy today
  • I need to exercise today
  • I need to put a little money into savings today
  • I need to call an old friend today
  • I need to ………………………. today

Does this seem ridiculously simplistic?  Maybe, I also understand that you may say this works with some things but not all things. But remember, problem solving techniques work on all types of problems. Whether its math, what to wear or changing a hairstyle, even a job,  problem solving is a logical sequence of procedures to, well, solve a problem. No matter the problem, it always works.

Putting it to work

Let me put in context from the list above. Today “I am going to exercise and eat healthier.” Doesn’t that sound much easier and more doable then, “I have to lose ten pounds this month”? I get started, I’ve made the commitment to do this diet and jog every day. I will do this by diet and jogging every day.

Day one I sprain my knee. So much for that plan. What next? Change to a new plan!

To incorporate the Don’t Be A Cow!lifestyle into your life, you must learn to embrace and direct the change in your life on a day-to-day basis.

Because remember:

  • “Today is all you have, yesterday is gone, and tomorrow never comes!”

Soulful Quote:“We are the change we seek” President Barack Obama

Song:(From Day 28 – Don’t Be A Cow!)Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitude. Jimmy Buffett

Game Exercise/Life Changer:Look back at some old photographs, take one or several with you today so you can look at them throughout the day. Make a mental note: “I have changed.” Then give yourself one little thing to change for only today.

*An exercise guaranteed to help you live a happier life!!

Don’t Be A Cow!Be You, Be Happy!

Self-Awareness | Keys to Happiness

I believe in me text with heart in background for self-awareness

Lately, I’ve seen a good number of articles floating through email pertaining to self-awareness.

And of particular interest to me are the articles correlating self-awareness to happiness. As I scan these articles, it’s not the particulars of each one that stands out, nor is it the commonality or the stark contrast that stands out. What stands out to me, is how we humans have the remarkable ability to make the complex out of the simple.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put anyone down. These articles share good insight, and the supporting research provides validity to the simple-minded such as myself. We even posted one such article on our “insights to happiness” blog on dontbeacow.com. I just feel that too often this type of article overthinks things.

Let me demonstrate my simple-minded approach to correlating self-awareness and happiness:

First of all, let’s break it down into the individual components:

  • Self – One’s own being, consisting of the mind, the body and the soul (or spirit if you prefer)
  • Awareness – Understanding that the soul is the only one of the three that you control 100% of the time, and you certainly can’t control anything beyond the self
    • The Mind – It gets too much influence and commentary from outside sources to be controllable. Plus, the mind likes to do things like make simple things complex to make itself feel smarter;
    • The Body – It can become sick or injured from outside sources far beyond our control;
    • The Soul – It is always beautiful if, like cream, we allow it to rise to the top;
  • Happiness – When you live your life always remembering and being self-aware (yes it requires practice but that’s okay). i.e. stop trying to control things outside of your control.

Now, a few examples:

  • First day of vacation, the body gets a virus. The mind is angry about wasting valuable time off, the soul relishes in the much-needed rest.
  • A beautiful Saturday morning with a final exam on Monday. The mind is anxious because students from the semester before say how hard the final is; the body is worn from a semester of long study especially the past week; the soul understands you know the material front ways and back, and longs to spend the beautiful day with friends and understands the break from study will actually help the brain at test time.
  • The mind worries about tomorrow, a week from now and retirement. The body wears from the worries of the mind, the soul understands that tomorrow never, ever comes no matter how hard we plan; therefore, the soul relishes in the moment!

Finally: How to Get Started

Self awareness Image of a frog made of bronze meditating near a body of water.

  • Meditate daily.It is the only way to shut out the noises of the mind and body. This also takes practice, but be persistent. As with anything, start small; 3 to 5 minutes at a time. The soul will provide step-by-step instructions tailor-made just for you.
  • Believe, believe, believe. Never stop believing!

The cream that rises to the top from within is what we like to call Happiness!

And to get on the path to Happiness, pick up a copy of “Don’t Be a Cow!” my interactive guide to true happiness today!

Tweet, tweet, tweet

Keys to Happiness : Tweet, tweet, tweet

Tweet. Ah, the sweet sounds of the song bird as the sun rises or their signal at dusk of another day’s end. Is there anything as simple or pleasurable as listening to the song of a bird?

But, I know not all of you were thinking about birds when you read tweet, tweet, tweet. How words change meanings over time. Today, I am not interested in how words change over time. No, today I want to look at how a large portion of our lives have changed over the past 10 to 15 years.

Birds chirping in the tree, illustrationTweet. Is there anything as simple or pleasurable as listening to the song of a bird? Tweet. Is there anything more complex in the modern world than social media and all of its nuances?

In years past, life was much simpler, in spite of the lack of today’s modern conveniences and technology. Yes, I understand that part of that nostalgia is a function of age, namely mine; however, even if you are proficient at Insta-this, Face-that, Pinning and tweet, tweet, tweet you have to admit that there is a lot going on within the social media world. Much of this information isn’t even pertinent to our lives; It certainly doesn’t appear to make life any easier. It seems it’s just information out there that absorbs much of our cerebral space, and much of it puts us into comparison/competition mode (see Keys to Happiness: Winning). It can be exhausting just thinking about it.

Again, I ask, is there anything as simple or pleasurable as listening to the song of a bird? Maybe. Read on!

A quick observation:

women circ 1950s drinking coffeeRecently, I was early for an appointment and had a few minutes to spare, so I decided to pop into a local coffee shop, sit down and enjoy a good cup of joe, which I normally would get to go. The shop was quite full, but I was able to find a seat. I had left my phone in the truck and decided not to go back and fetch it. After all, the world could go on without me for 30 minutes. Besides, I always enjoy people-watching and a full coffee shop offered just the place – almost as good as an airport! A good cup of joe and the occasion to observe my fellow human beings. Life was good! Little did I know, I was in for a big disappointment.

As I looked around, trying to be somewhat discreet (nothing worse than getting busted when someone starts watching back), I was amazed to see 99% of the patrons were staring at a device of some sort: a phone, pad, laptop, and one device I seriously couldn’t figure out what it was.

The one percent was me. Now, I am not naturally a very conversational person, but in a situation like this, I will usually try to strike up a conversation with someone as long as the person appears to be somewhat approachable. Nope, not today, not in this coffee shop. Not only did no one look approachable, I could hardly even see a face, as they were so buried in their devices. Even people who appeared to be there together, weren’t talking to each other. Of course, this lack of activity made for some boring people-watching; however, I became so fascinated with it, and curious how long it would last, that I ended up being late for my appointment! I will say that this phenomenon lasted the entire time I was there with not one. word. spoken. There were even two people sitting at the same table who got up and left without saying a word to one another. It was as though there was some type of mental telepathy between them signaling “time to leave.” Of course, all of this lack of conversation got me thinking (I can hear Jane sighing now!).

Is there anything as simple or pleasurable as listening to the song of a bird?

Kids in line looking down at their phonesBecause of our devices, we are now able to carry our own little world around with us everywhere we go. In so doing, how many other worlds are we missing out on? I thought beyond this coffee shop and all the other places and opportunities where we no longer engage with other human beings. Below are a few, from recent memory:

  • Airline flight – The conversations with the person sitting next to you. Now everyone has headsets, blocking out all around them. Back in the day we had to engage in conversation out of shear boredom.
  • The local Watering Hole – After 5, that is, or at least after work anyway. I had to check my theory, and much to my chagrin, I found the same situation I experienced at the coffee shop. Even the bartender kept checking her phone once she knew everyone’s glass was full. I even tried staring at one person and they never even knew I was starring at them. Ha! I’m not a stalker, this was a test!
  • The grocery store – I was bent over getting something, as someone approached from behind talking. I started talking back in response, as she had asked a question. As I stood upright and turned around, I discovered she had been asking the question of the person with whom she was on the phone.
  • Standing in line. Anywhere – And the list goes on and on. I would  love to hear where you have noticed a lack of conversation in your life.

Is there anything as simple or pleasurable as the song of a bird? Yes!

Conversations with total strangers, for one. Think about it. Going in, you know that you are going to walk away from that conversation and likely never see that person again. No biases or prejudices going in or coming out; No strings attached, no agenda, no need to impress and no need to be impressed. Just a simple conversation with another human being about anything or maybe even about nothing. A brief divergence out of your own world and into someone else’s.

Has the erosion of the art of conversation made us less tolerant of others?

Strangers at park having a conversationI like to think of these encounters as meaningless conversations. I like to refer to them as meaningless because they are harmless, but by no means are they meaningless. In fact, as I have already eluded, these conversations have great meaning: What they do is allow us to enter into someone else’s world, someone else’s space. We do this without trying to convert them to some other way of thinking or try to understand a point of view. That’s not what these conversations are about. And, in any event, most of the time if they say something you disagree with, just smile and nod (Yes, I understand that there are people out there who will argue with a brick wall if given a chance). But, why argue? While standing in line or waiting for your plane? What is the point? Just listen and talk; It’s about as simple as it gets.

These conversations – with no judgment or preconceived notions – will bring more meaning and satisfaction into our lives than many of us realize. Wow, could we use some more of that in the world.

I love having my phone and having access to friends and family at anytime. I also love setting it aside at times and engaging a stranger in some meaningless conversation. I hope you will do the same. With so many complexities in life, try enjoying some of the simple and pleasurable ones, and see how much happier your life becomes.

Who knows, maybe one day you and I will bump into each other and engage in a meaningless conversation! Cheers!

A. Regular Joe

Keys to Happiness: Winning

Winning Cup

“Winning isn’t Everything. It’s the Only Thing!”

“There is No Such Thing as a Moral Victory!”

What a time of year for the sports enthusiast! The 2018 baseball season is catching full stride, there are playoffs in hockey and basketball, the NFL draft, the professional golf tour is in full swing, no pun intended (okay maybe it is :-). And, for the non-professional enthusiast out there, you’ve got college and high school softball, baseball, and track that are wide open, and youth baseball and softball diamonds are full … and lest I forget, summertime swimming leagues.

Today, so much of our lives are built around the sports world. There is absolutely something for everyone, as the above-mentioned list didn’t even mention tennis, soccer, bicycling, cricket … well, I think you get the point. Now I know that even with all the options available, there are many of you out there who are still not impressed. Just never got into the sports “thing.” That’s fine, I have found my own interest has waned quite considerably over the last several years; however, there is no escaping the impact that sports and athletics have on our society.

I admit it, I’m a sports junkie

Before I continue, I must admit that I have always been somewhat of a sports junkie. Much more so as a kid than I am now. Beyond the actual competition, which I love, there are so many life lessons contained within the sports world. But, sometimes I do wonder, if somehow, we have allowed the sports mentality to enter into the other parts of our lives, and vice versa? Do we turn other aspects of our lives into a competition? The win-at-all-cost attitude, after all, for some people, it is the “only”thing. Maybe we treat our sports with too much emphasis, taking it too seriously? Instead of treating it as recreation, which it is? (Excluding, of course, that small percentage of those for whom sports is a living).

Two cases, to illustrate the point

Kevin Costner drops the ball in the film Tin Cup

Kevin Costner, in the film, Tin Cup.

Here are two cases to illustrate the point I’m making: One from the cinema; the other from television. (This is sort of ironic for me because I watch very little of either tv or movies.) The first comes from the movie Tin Cup starring Kevin Costner. Costner is a professional golfer with a chance to make it onto the big tour. To do so, he must win the tournament he is currently playing. He is playing the last hole, and all he has to do is hit a safe shot short of a lake, then a nice short shot over the lake onto the green, make a two putt and he wins. Okay, to the layman maybe not so simple; however, he’s a professional and he tells his caddie, “I can reach the green from where I am, I don’t need to lay up,” (a golf term for this particular type of shot). His caddie begs him to lay up and roll to victory. But, Costner can’t do it. He knows he can make this shot – in his mind –  he has to make this shot. He goes for it, and naturally, it finds the lake.

“Play it safe. And win”

His caddie says, “that’s okay you still got this, just play it as we talked about before.” I might also mention that as this is unfolding the sportscasters and analysts are berating his actions. They agree with the caddie. The crowd is also mumbling the same, “play it safe, and win.” The crowd had been pulling for him because he was such an underdog. He looks at his caddie and says, “I can make this shot.” He drops another ball down (the penalty for hitting the ball into the water hazard) and yes, hits it into the lake. He continues to hit several more balls into the lake and has totally eliminated himself from competition. Alas, he drops a ball and hits it like he should have done the first time and it rolls up on the green to within a few feet of the hole. The crowd roars, the media people rejoice as everyone watching has now been emotionally drawn into his struggles. It’s as though everyone can all of a sudden relate to the struggling golfer. They have all realized that maybe there was something going on here larger than the game of golf. At first, they think he is merely having an ego trip, trying to do something against the odds. When in actuality, all he was really trying to do was prove to himself that he could actually do something he believed he could do. Is winning always about out-doing a competitor or is winning about internal victories?

Is It Worth It?

The second illustration comes from the sitcom, Everyone loves RaymondRaymond’s daughter is in the Girl Scouts, and Boxes of Girl Scout cookiesit is Girl Scout cookie time. Raymond vows that this year his daughter is going to be the number one seller of cookies. In the past, another girl has taken this honor as her mother makes sure her daughter gets the prime location at the grocery store and wherever else Raymond and his daughter might go to sell cookies. On this occasion, Raymond and his daughter get to “the spot” early and claim it. The other woman and her daughter arrive and make claim to the spot. It ends with a big fight between the two adults – all to see which girl can come out victorious in the Girl Scout cookie sale. Yes, I understand that nowadays they can get some pretty nice prizes for selling ‘X’ number of cookies, and yes, I realize that this was just a show, but I think we can all agree we see similar things played out in life every day.

This is what I refer to as bringing the competitive sports world into other aspects of our lives. Isn’t the point of selling cookies to raise money for the Girl Scouts and its mission? Aren’t both parents supposed to be working towards the same goal? Shouldn’t they be wanting to help each other and help their daughters succeed? Look around in your life, work, church, school, social circles, and volunteer organizations; I think you will find plenty of examples.

“Winning isn’t Everything. It’s the Only Thing.”

Yes, as long as you are the one who defines winning. To Costner, winning was internal. It was more important to him to be able to make that shot then to win the tournament. When we define winning as overcoming those internal battles, it is okay to extend it beyond the athletic field. When winning is about out-doing a competitor, it is best left on the athletic field.

“There is no such thing as a moral victory.”

Maybe true on the athletic field, but I hope you won’t allow athletics to carry over to the rest of your life. For a happy life, winning (overcoming the internal battles) is a moral victory!

Jane & I hope that you won’t allow the herd to define winning for you. We also hope that you can remember when you are involved in an athletic competition and when you aren’t!

Don’t Be A Cow, Be Happy!

Joe

Related: The Story behind the infamous ‘Tin Cup’ scene

Keys to Happiness : Spring has Sprung!

Bright green leafs with monach butterfly landing on them

Ah spring has sprung!

At least for today, and I realize that many of you to our north have not yet fully evolved into spring; hold on, it’s surely coming.

For this year’s spring, a simple reminder. In today’s society, when we refer to “long green,” we are referring to money and lots of it. This spring I hope you will stop chasing that green long enough to enjoy the beautiful green of springtime. Everywhere we look it’s green. It’s in the trees, it’s in the bushes and it’s on the ground. Wow! what an abundance of green.

We think, man if only my bank account looked this green. The things we could buy, the trips we could take, the people we could impress. Reap the benefits of all those hard years of toil. We have heard and many of us believe that money doesn’t buy happiness. Yet, why do we still keep chasing it as if it did?

Sure, I understand that we have to eat and we need a roof over our heads, and a few comforts, but is it necessary to sacrifice one green for another to achieve this? By sacrificing one for the other, and by that I mean chasing money so we don’t stop to enjoy the natural green that surrounds us in the spring. The green that nature provides this time of year is special. We don’t have to do anything to enjoy it. The weeds are even green, the grass is green without fertilizer, and the insects haven’t begun to eat all the leaves of the trees and shrubs. We do absolutely nothing and we are blessed each day with an abundance of green. What makes all this green seem even better is that we have just come through the long, cold, dreary, colorless winter.

It’s as if your bank account has been dead empty for six months and now all of a sudden, some nice generous person has come along and deposited thousands.

Rejoice!

Sometimes shaking off the drabs of winter can be difficult. Everyone’s vitamin D is low and sometime it’s hard to find the energy to shake out the cob webs. This is where that natural green really comes into play, because it can reverse all of that in no time flat, and it’s totally free of charge! The only thing you have to do to stop long enough to experience it.

From Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” “I see trees of green, red roses too …” A beautiful little song about all the simple things in life. It is these simple and free things that truly make life so wonderful and happy.

It is Jane’s and my hope that you will take the time this spring to get out and enjoy some of the abundance of green. Like that thousands that was deposited into your bank account, it won’t last long. The scorching heat of summer, and the insects won’t hold off forever so get out and enjoy it while you can!

Roots of Leadership, Part 2

Image of the I (heart) Me written in fireworks.

Before we continue our discussion on leadership, a quick synopsis of our beginning discussion. We made a tie into Valentine’s Day, yes, the ‘love’ holiday, but instead of looking at love with our significant other, we put it in the context of love of oneself.

With all the books and publications today dedicated to leadership, why do so many seem to still struggle?

We discussed the importance of achieving love of self before it is possible to lead others. Leadership must start with the leadership of one, and that one being one’s self.

As we move the discussion along, let me convey one of my favorite quotes pertaining to leadership. My apologies for not remembering where I heard it and who to credit: “He has all the attributes of a great leader, just no followers”.

We see examples of this every day:

  • The boss no one respects and only follow because it’s mandated …
  • The person who is in position to tell people what to do but has not the wherewithal to get people to actually follow …
  • The manager who complains about the ineptness of his/her staff, never stopping to think they are simply following his/her lead.

Why? With all the books and publications today dedicated to leadership, why do so many seem to still struggle?

Look at the list below. How would you answer?

a) poor leadership technique
b) no one is interested in going to wherever it is they are being led
c) the boss/manager is just not a leader
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

A case could be made for either a or b. I think it would be a weak case. It can’t be c, because we can all be leaders, remember leaders of self. It might take a little practice, but it lies within us all. Since c cannot be the answer, d is eliminated. Through the process of elimination, the only viable answer is e. To understand my rationale, it is important to look at one’s motive and purpose.

Motive and Purpose

These two words are instrumental when it comes to leadership. Leadership, contrary to popular belief, means serving. When we serve the needs of others, they are more than willing to go where we go. They like being helped. When a boss’s sole motivation is self-promotion, he/she will struggle to get others to follow. When a business’s sole purpose is to show a profit, which we all know is important, they will struggle to get buy-in from its employees.

Believe it or not, these misplaced motives stem from a lack of the love of one self. It is the desire to prove to the world that “I am better, richer, smarter, than you.” It is going through life always thinking you have something to prove. When we have a love of self-first, we believe that each day, the only one we have anything to prove to is ourselves.

Now granted, for many that love of one self involves rising to the top of the corporate ladder, but often we do see in these people the genuine desire to help others along the way. And, generally, the people who do have genuine desire to help others are the ones who make it to the “top.”

When we have love of ourselves, we believe in ourselves. Our motives are pure, and our purpose is always clear. This gives us passion and energy, which far surpasses technique. It always leads to places of interest, otherwise why else would you go? When you are going to a place of interest, others will always want to go with you.

Love, love of one self, the very foundation of leadership. It all begins with the leading of one, one self.

Valentine’s Day, the Root of Leadership.

If you don't love yourself, you cannot love others - Dalai Lama

Today there is much said about “leadership.” Let’s just say that leadership is “in vogue” in our society today. So, let me put my two cents in on the subject as well. I know you must be wondering, okay but a tie-in to Valentine’s Day?

Ground Hog Day

Punxsutawney Phil being held on Groundhog Day

Ground Hog Day – Said to be my favorite holiday, I understand that technically it’s not actually a holiday of the year. Why?

First, it is a day of anticipation, the cold and bitterness of winter has set in and for many there is no relief in sight. People looking for any sign that will say the end of winter is near.

Second, it is a fun and somewhat silly concept like Don’t Be A Cow. Think about the modern day lifestyle with tiny cell phones and computers and all the so-called intelligence of the modern day society, yet so many still put hope in a ground hog!

Third, and final, the movie, one that I think Hollywood should remake. Think of waking everyday and applying the mistakes of the day before in a direct effort to get what it is you want that day. What a concept!

Allow the anticipation of your expectations and the mistakes of yesterday help you make today extraordinary! What are you anticipating today?

-Joe

Spontaneity vs. Planning

As the new year gets rolling to a full head of steam, I’m sure many resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. Of course, I know there are still plenty of you dedicated souls out there still holding true to your aspirations for 2018.

Tis the Season!

Winter_Lodge

Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way. I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh. Snow bells ring, are you listening? Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Frosty the snowman was a jolly happy soul. Fresh baked cookies, candies, pies, and cakes. Colorful lights that fill the night sky. The sights, sounds, smells, and taste of the Christmas season.

With all the special Christmas recipes, we hope you don’t forget about the two important ingredients for a  Happy Christmas season.

Smile and Laughter!

With all the special Christmas recipes, we hope you don’t forget about the two important ingredients for a  Happy Christmas season.

Smile and Laughter!

They are both contagious. And, unfortunately, are often lost in the hustle and bustle of the season. After all, we must find the perfect gift, we must cook the best roast, we must bake the perfect pie, yet sharing a smile and a laugh can be the greatest gift. One that could last a life time.

And remember cows neither laugh or smile: Don’t Be A Cow!

We hope you enjoy this Christmas season to the fullest.

Joe & Jane

A Thanksgiving Gobble

Gobble, gobble, gobble

Another toast,

A little more wobble!

O, to Thanksgiving

To the feast

That brings forth the day!

O, to family

To friends,

That brings forth the joy!

Have You Ever?

Grizzly Play Time

Now that the ghost and goblins have vanished for another year, we enter the month of Thanksgiving, quickly followed by the month of giving and receiving. I think it might be a great time to ask the question, “Have you ever … ?” Let’s look at dealing with Thanksgiving’s frantic pace. But first let me lay a little ground work.

We all lead busy lives. For most of us, our days are filled with “to do lists”: goals, sets of accomplishments, and routines. On top of this, we have to analyze diets and evaluate which are the most effective. Not only for losing weight, but maintaining “good” health. Then, there is the exercise component. We have to somehow figure out how we are going to work exercise into the schedule on top of everything else. It is as if we are always on the go, always something to do.

Through this rigorous lifestyle, I wonder, and feel certain that most of us have – I know I have– how many of us have taken some time to blow it all off. Now I’m not talking about a vacation, heck those end up being just as rigorous, if you’re not careful, as the “to do” list.

And, I’m not talking about living it up on the weekend. I’m talking about times when maybe you’re trying to get your day started and you wind up cleaning your office, or maybe you start cleaning the house before you leave for work. Maybe you go out to lunch and you spend some extra time doing a little window shopping. I’m talking about unplanned and unscheduled events. You just stop everything and spend a few minutes, maybe a few hours or even a whole day, just doing what it is you want to do. I knew a person that used to love to just take an afternoon off and go to the movies by themself. I remember, once years ago, blowing off an entire morning to finish a Tom Clancy novel. Man was that nice! I put on an extra pot of coffee and everything (even though I realize the mortal sin of drinking too much coffee!). I’m not really sure why these moments happen but often wished they would happen more frequently. I think that sometimes our insides, our gut, our heart, is simply telling us we need some down time.

Regardless of the reason and the timing, I like to think of these times as “feeling good” times. A time to just be! That’s got a nice ring to it doesn’t it? “Feel Good” time. I do believe that taking some time, more frequently than most of us do, to simply feel good is very rejuvenating. In the long run, I’m certain that it will make us more productive and successful managing the rigors of today’s lifestyles.

Have you ever, have you ever taken the time to feel good? You can learn more by reading “Don’t Be A Cow!”

As we approach this special, but often very hectic time of year, Jane and I hope that you take some time to just feel good.

Tell us: How have you spent some feel good time?

ANTS

Have you ever noticed how quickly ants (Pronounced, aints, in the South) are able to relocate? You run them over with the lawn mower, or even spray poison on them and the next day, three feet away, is a new mound that is bigger than the first. (That image is an anthill in Africa, by the way).

Read more

TODAY

Have you ever played the “Today Game”? Now, before I explain, let me give a little background. Maybe you have experienced this to some extent, too.

There are times in life when everything seems to be going wrong. Some say it comes in threes, but there have been times when I wished it would have stopped at three. Transmission goes out, roof springs a leak, drier stops drying, and then …

When we are going through these times, we hope for better times. We are assured that it will certainly come, although sometimes we wonder. Friends and family assure us that these better times are just around the corner, and it is these times that make us tough, so we learn to be strong. We forge ahead waiting for tomorrow and better days.

Then, there are the times when everything seems to be going really well. We finally get that promotion, raise and bonus all in the same day; the kids bring home perfect report cards; the cars and appliances are all functioning perfectly; and the cat isn’t pregnant after all! In fact, things are going so well that we begin looking over our shoulders. Our minds keep reminding us that these times can’t last forever. The wheels are certainly going to come off at some point! We think back to yesterday to recall how long this has been going on, and we think about tomorrow and when it might all come crashing down.

All too often what is lost in all the ups and downs in life is “today.” Today is a great day! It is such an easy concept. Yet, as with many simple things in life, we tend to make them complicated. Sometimes I think that it is so simple, we just ignore it, getting caught up in the moment(s). Life just isn’t that simple is it? Or is it?

*****

I challenge you to play the “Today Game.” Let today stand on its own. Forget, just for today, yesterday’s highs or lows, and put tomorrow out of your mind. For we all know, that tomorrow never really comes anyway. Think Today. This may seem easy and straightforward, but it can be a little more challenging than you think; however, the rewards are huge. It can be like a giant cleansing of the brain. Good luck!

  • I’m only dieting today (Ah, is that a comforting thought!).
  • I’m only exercising today, not all week (Ah, is that a comforting thought!).
  • I don’t care how fast I ran, or how many sit-ups I did yesterday, and I’m going to ignore my goal for some point in the future – Today … I’m going to do the best I can! I’m not even going to time myself or count. I’m just going to do what I can.
  • The hours I worked and what I accomplished yesterday don’t matter; I’m going to focus on today and accomplish all that I can today.
  • I’m going to spend time where I need to today.
  • Come up with your own focus on today.

Today is a Great Day! Make sure you enjoy all today has to offer you. Then with luck, you will have another Today awaiting you when the sun rises in the morning. Along with the sun, will be a rainbow just waiting for you to explore where it leads!

Don’t Be A Cow! Live a Happier Life – Today!

Soulful Quote: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day” Mathew 6:34 RSV

Song: U2’s, “It’s a Beautiful Day”

Blurred Vision? Blink, Blink, Blink!

If you are a frequent reader of our blogs, you realize that we love taking everyday life happenings and making analogies to a deeper meaning. I like to think of it as making the simple out of the complex; however, Jane tends to think I just do the opposite and make the simple complex. In any event, see if you can follow along with this thought.

We all experience times where our vision becomes temporarily blurred. So, what do we do? Blink! When do these moments tend to occur?

When we are too focused

Times when we are really concentrating and focusing hard to see something, even straining to see. Maybe it’s early morning or late evening or something almost out of eyesight. We stare so hard that we must blink to refocus.

When we are distracted

We are looking at something, and something quickly pops up somewhere in our field of vision, and we become distracted, if but for a brief second. We then have to blink to refocus on what we were looking at.

Life

There are the times, for no particular reason we lose focus and we must blink to refocus.

Now think about life in general. There you are focusing on your dream, your goals, really making progress and then all of a sudden you realize that something has happened. I have heard it said that it only takes a small object to derail a fast moving train. And, just like that we realize we have been derailed from pursuing our dream; something has happened! When and why do these moments tend to occur?

When we become too focused, we become so absorbed in a project perhaps submersed in the details that we are no longer moving forward. Blink, in these cases, blinking may involve a small vacation, a break in routine, some type of diversion. A chance to think and do something else for a while.

When we become distracted with all these outside issues that pop up and at times they seem to pop up one after another after another. After these times diminish, we often have a difficult time getting back to our dreams and goals. Blink, in this case blinking may involve finding a quiet place and turning the cell phone off. Find a place to write your goal or dream again so you can see it in writing and refocus.

Life; it moves quickly at times (most of the time). I love the definition of life that goes like this: “life is what happens to you while you are planning what you are going to do with yours.” Sometimes life places, in front of us, some tough obstacles. Blink, check your resolve. What do you want? and just how bad do you want it? Maybe it’s not your resolve that needs checking but what it is that you want that needs to be re-evaluated.

Blink, an important visionary tool and an important tool in life as well. Have you ever noticed how cows are able to stare forever? It seems that they can stare without ever blinking! Don’t be a Cow, Blink! We would love to hear your comments!

Joe & Jane
PS Also please note that sometimes even after blinking several times, we still have a hard time focusing. In these cases, nothing works better than splashing the face and eyes with a little cold water!

Labor Day Weekend and the “Little Man”

Labor_Day_USA

The Little Man

Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” Years ago, Alan Jackson recorded a song entitled the “Little Man.” The song tells the story of how many towns in this country started with the town squares, who were built by the “little man,” – the hardware, the five & dimes, and the local drug store could all be found within these squares – and through the passage of time, town squares were replaced by big box stores and strip malls and the town squares eventually died.

It is not the point of this Labor Day message to discuss the ramifications of this progression, but rather to focus on the “Little Man” and just who this is.

In my eyes the “Little Man” is the men and women who get up every morning and make this country move. It has been the “Little Man” that has made this country the strongest most prosperous, and well off country in the history of mankind. Although Labor Day was originally established to celebrate the “labor movement,” this part of America, as with the small town squares, has under gone drastic change as much of this movement is now in other lands. In many ways, the term labor has now shifted from a physical feat to one that is more mental, which is a tribute to the much maligned educational system of the country. Think about it: instead of making the proverbial widget we are now programming different functions of the widget. We are designing widgets, that are faster, slicker, and, of course, prettier.

All this to say, that the essence of things do not change, but merely the facades and the settings of things change. You see, the “Little Man” for whom Mr. Jackson sings was at one time considered the “Big Man” in that town. He was merely replaced by a bigger man, thus making him appear to be a little man. Just as with labor, the sweat, dirt, and grime have been replaced by blurred vision, migraine headaches, and anxiety from starring at computer monitors all day. I can assure you, the latter come home just as tired as the former.

It matters not

The one constant, since the beginning of time, is the “Little Man and Woman” who get out of bed every day and do their best to contribute to the betterment of life. It matters not whether you get sweaty at work, or if you sit in a cubicle starring at a computer screen, or whether you are a CEO of a large company – all contribute in their own way. This not only includes the labor of paid work but all those who labor running and working for the thousands of volunteer organizations in this country – absolutely amazing when you take the time to stop and think about it.

On this Labor Day Weekend, it is our hope that you take a few minutes to remember the “Little Man.” It is all of us “little” men and women, and always has been, that have made this a great nation. I like to think of it as the Labor of Love that we get up and do what we do every day. Also remembering, sometime this weekend take a good hard look in the mirror, take one of your hands, reach over your shoulder and give yourself a big pat on the back. This day, this weekend is for you!

Happy Labor Day Weekend, All! And don’t forget, cows had nothing to do with this labor movement!

Don’t Be A Cow! – Have a Happier Life!

Quote: “Employment is nature’s physian, and is essential to human happiness” Galen (Greek physian, surgeon, & philosopher – Died 210 AD)

Song: Alan Jackson’s – “The Little Man”

Game Exercise: Stand in front of the mirror and thank yourself for your contribution to this great country of ours. God Bless the USA!

Sunset

Sunset

I think we all know how beautiful a setting sun can be. I think the symbolism that goes along with it can be every bit as beautiful. In fact, when truly embraced, it can be so life changing that the visual beauty of a setting sun pales in comparison to the symbolism.Follow along for a few minutes and see if you agree.

Before there was electricity – pre-electricity – it was easier to appreciate and understand the significance of a sunset. Most people relied on natural light for their livelihood; sunset simply meant the day is done! Easy concept. I’m sure many managed to carry to bed with them the same anxiety that many of us take with us: All that plowing, all that seeding, all that weeding, when will it rain again? If it doesn’t rain soon all will be lost, how will we make it through the winter? (And it’s only April!)

At least for these pre-electric people, when the sun left the sky, the day was over. They had done all they could do, the rest was up to the powers to be. The faith this must instill.

Today, for us electricity-era folks, the end of the day can become very muddled. Because of this, it is easy to fall into the trap. Trap? Yes, trap! The trap where one day runs into the next and the next into the next and on and on it goes! If we leave the office, there are lights and laptops waiting for us at home.

For the pre-electricity person, nightfall meant the body rested. And although the mind may have been filled with anxiety, the soul provided the faith, which calmed the anxiety.

The sunset is a beautiful thing to observe. Not merely because of the array of colors, or the fact that no two are exactly alike, but because what is represented when the sun sets. The visuals are very soothing for the mind; however, to the soul it is the realization that the day has officially ended. Wow! What a restful and peaceful thought. The day is done: let me be done with the toils of today. For tomorrow, very early, the sun will arise in the opposing sky and with it, opportunity and adventure. Unless, of course, we didn’t allow our sun to set; therefore, a new day has not arisen, but you are still living yesterday, and yesterday’s yesterday, and on and on it goes!

Our creator gave us a day and a night. I don’t think this was an accident.

We hope you enjoy a sunset each and every day. No matter your work schedule, no matter what conveniences electricity affords you, no matter where you are, allow your soul to enjoy a sunset each and every day. And, to make it extra special, share that sunset with another soul! Then with excitement embrace the opportunities that arise with the rising sun in the morning.

Joe

PS To emphasize the importance of the setting sun, I am borrowing the format from our book Don’t Be A Cow. A soulful quote, a song, and a game exercise.

“Don’t let the sunset on your anger” Ephesians 5:21

I don’t think Saint Paul would object if we added ‘and anxiety’ to the ending.

Song: From the movie Frozen “Let it Go”

Game Exercise: Find a picture of a sunset. One you really enjoy or some sort of statue if you like. Slap it as you walk out of the office door every day. You could also place it just inside your door at home or possibly across from your bed so you see it before you go to sleep. Whatever works good for you and hopefully your spouse as well, so that you can make sure that each and every day, actually ends. Thus, the excitement of the opportunities that await with the rising sun in the morning.

Eclipse

Solar Eclipse

As what seems like the entire country mobilizes to catch a glimpse of such an event as the solar eclipse, I find that I just can’t let such an opportunity go to waste.

When we are plodding along through life, following the herd, our paths become blocked just as the suns path is being blocked by the moon. The big difference is that this solar eclipse last only a short time. When our paths get blocked it can last many years denying you the life that you were meant to lead.

Don’t be a Cow! Get out of line so you can find your path and Happier Living!

Start today by taking a few moments to see what might be blocking your path and then join us!

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Don’t Be A Cow!

Running Through Life – Where is Your Head?

Keeping your head down in football

As the aging clock continues to tick away, the body really starts to feel all of our mistakes from the past. Worn out knees that don’t like to bend much anymore, to ears that were exposed to too much rock and roll and shotgun blast. Whatever the past culprits are in your life, I’m sure you will agree it s _ _ _ s! For you younger readers, just you wait!

One of culprits from my past is posture, or should I say lack of good posture. A life time of walking, running, standing and sitting can be rough habits to change. As a forester, always walking through heavy brush, I never got the tracts that look like National Parks; I have come to discover Read more

An Interesting Phenomenon

A long narrow road

Have you ever noticed how the scenery is different as you travel in opposite directions on the same road? This is particularly true when traveling uphill in one direction and then traveling downhill in the opposite direction. I experienced this phenomenon several weeks ago.There is a road where I normally only travel in the same direction – northwest. On this particular day, for various reasons, I decided to travel this road going in the opposite direction, which is southeast, and I was traveling downhill instead of uphill. I had never really even thought about the slight grade changes before when traveling this road. (When traveling in a motorized vehicle, it’s easy not to pay attention to grade changes, but rest assured, when traveling on bicycle or foot, you notice all grade changes, especially uphill or downhill!)

As I traveled southeast – and downhill – I had views of things off in the distance. There was a large field,  I never knew existed. There was a nice house and yard, offset in the woods, I had never before seen, and I was offered vistas of the distant horizon and the onset of sunrise, all pleasant surprises.

Normally, as I travel uphill (northwest) on this road, I only noticed the forest and small fields adjacent to the roadway. As I experienced this change in scenery with a change in direction, I thought of scenes from tv shows set in San Francisco, for example. The scenery going up a steep hill flanked by row houses and cars is decidedly different than viewed downhill which may take in the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

As I travelled uphill, my eyes saw the adjacent right-of-way and the immediate surroundings – forest, farm land, or tall buildings and houses –  but traveling downhill, I took in the entire landscape, oceans or bays in the distance, and often as far as the horizon. And I thought: It’s as though when traveling uphill we have tunnel vision that is narrowly focused whereas, when we travel downhill we are able to see the entire “big picture.” The reality is that, regardless of which way you are traveling, you are surrounded by the exact same things. The only difference is what you see.

I think the phenomenon has a lesson for life in general: Often we have the same surroundings, but what we need is a change in direction so we can draw a different vision. As we know, it’s not always possible to change our surroundings.

How do you propose I change my direction you ask? Try Something New! (Day 25) is what I would say.

You can accomplish this by literally changing directions and driving a different route to or from work, yes even if it means leaving a few minutes earlier; however, if taking the literal approach doesn’t work for you, try a new restaurant, a new grocery story, visit a different church (just for one Sunday), cook a new meal – by yourself, with your spouse or with the whole family (this can be a challenge, but worth the effort – it can be as simple as pizza).

The list is endless and part of the fun can simply be coming up with “something new,” and certainly don’t limit yourself to just one thing (Word of caution, though, no cheating: you can’t just think about it though, you have to do it!)

Trying something new can bring about a rejuvenation that is refreshing and up lifting. It is an interesting phenomenon, just as traveling downhill instead of uphill.

Try It!

Remember: Cows do the same thing, and eat the same thing every single day.

Don’t Be A Cow! Try Something New!

 

Please share your experiences!

Do You Want To?

Happiness spelled out on a scrabble holder

Want To: Do You Want To? This one seems so obvious. Of course, you want to, especially when we put in terms of do you want to be happy? It always amazes me, after a close hard-fought sporting event, one of the commentators will state, “well it came down to which team wanted it more. I never felt that I ever competed in any event, sporting or otherwise, where I thought my opponent had a greater will (more want to) to win than I did. I say this because I doubt when asked that many people would answer ‘no’ to the question: “Do you want to be happy?”

As with the winning sport team, it boils down to technique, methodology, or possibly even a little luck, and often it’s the little things. When we talk about happiness versus a sporting event or a spelling bee, happiness is a 24/7/365 issue and not merely a few hour event. Because happiness is a 24/7/365 effort, you must check your resolve on a regular basis. This is an area where it is so easy to get in a rut and end up following the herd.

Sometimes the remedies are so simple, if we just stop and think about it. It may be as simple as turning off the T.V. or the radio, both of which serve as great lead cows in today’s world; It may involve finding a different lunch partner or a new crowd to hang out with after work if they are constantly discussing things that anger or upset you. In either case you must first check your resolve: do I want to be happy?

Then, make a conscious effort to remove those things that lead you away from being happy. Remember there is only one thing in life that you can control and that is YOU! Jane and I hope that you have the “Want To” to stay in control of you and not leave it to others.

And remember, check your resolve on a regular basis. Don’t Be A Cow: Have Want To:

Want To Be Happy!

Joe

P.S. We encourage you to share with us, negative influences that you have separated yourself from that has brought about happiness. We can all learn from each other’s experiences.

4th of July – What a Difference It Would Make!

Fireworks surrounding the Statue of Liberty

An Independence Day message using a slight tweak to the phrase spoken by our 35th President, John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address. Just think what a difference it would make if everyone’s first thought every morning or afternoon (if you’re not a morning person) was,

“Ask not what others can do for me, but what I can do for others” today.

Sounds simple enough, but remember, to do so you must first be good with you. For this Fourth of July celebration, I will utilize some phrases from one of America’s biggest pop stars – Katy Perry – from her 4th of July appropriate song “Firework,” one of our favorites, and a featured Soulful Enlightenment Song in our book, Don’t be a Cow! 

DontbeaCowFireworks

Jane and I wish you a very happy 4th of July and our sincerest hope that as you watch the fireworks this 4th, you will think of letting the fireworks within you burst and illuminate the world in which you live!

We all have it within us … but, cows don’t!

Don’t Be A Cow!

Joe

Practice Living A Happier Life

Close up of hands playing the piano

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 practice only reinforces the so-called muscle memory of the flaw and never really helps with the shot. In fact, this imperfect practice could actually make it even harder to break the habit of the bad technique once the correct technique is learned or discovered.

The opposing viewpoint to this perfect practice idea is that without hours of “imperfect practice” one may never discover the flaw. Certainly a coach or teacher may be available to assist with ironing out the flaw but … Remember the days long ago when we were in grade school and we actually had dictionaries? We would ask our teacher or a parent how to spell a word, and they would make you go look it up. Ugh, it was so aggravating, yet it did help you remember the spelling when you looked it up yourself, even though you probably would never admit it.

I am certainly not advocating going without coaching or teaching that helps us become better at a particular skill or task, but I want to emphasize the importance of practice and the importance of all types of practice, and in particular, practice in living a happier life.

We often think of the hours of practice made by great athletes and musicians; however, what about the practice opportunities we all have each and every morning that we wake? Check out the video at the link below:

http://jbne.ws/6kesj

Haven’t we all experienced similar situations? In fact in varying degrees, we probably face them on a daily basis. If only we could make the perfect response to these type of situations as the driver did. Although I venture to say that it is impossible to always make the perfect response, it isn’t impossible to evaluate our responses to help us the next time around.

In my opinion, practice is important and practice is not so much about being perfect but it’s about evaluating. It’s about understanding that we are going to have good days and bad days, and we should learn from each.

At the end of the day, never be too hard on yourself, and here is why because tomorrow you get a chance to do it all over again! Your fellow humans will guarantee it!

If you practice all the elements that bring about happiness, you will have it!

Laugh!

Close up of a horse showing teeth and appears to be laughing
When was the last time you had a good laugh?

I had a rough day the other day; I’m sure you probably know the kind of day I am referring to. So, I thought, well since I co-authored a book on happiness and all, I need to snap out of this. Then I remembered Day 3: Laugh!

I went to my joke folder and started flipping through the pages … and on about the third page, I hit the jackpot. What a good laugh I had … hadn’t heard that one in three forevers. Boy, was I feeling better.

Several hours later, driving along, I began thinking to myself, I could really use another good laugh. As I was approaching an intersection, I noticed a truck stopped in the opposite lane. I thought, oh maybe this person needs help since he’s basically in the middle of the road. As I got closer, I noticed that it didn’t look like a person in need … What in the world?

There were several baskets on the ground at the back of the truck and sitting on the tailgate was a man, swinging his legs, looking quite content surrounded by baskets of tomatoes. This person had stopped his truck – in the middle of the road – and apparently decided to sell tomatoes from the back of his truck. What made it a little more bizarre was we were on back-country roads, where there wasn’t much traffic, sort of in the middle of nowhere. I’m thinking, what is this a toll booth? I’m going to have to buy some tomatoes to get by? And I start to get the giggles. As I drove by, he gave me his biggest grin and an exuberant wave all the while sitting and swinging, and as I turned the corner, there he was in the rear view mirror smiling and waving, and that’s when I began to laugh hysterically. I mean, a really good horse laugh. Upon gaining my composure, I looked toward the heavens, and said, with a big smile – “Thanks, I needed that!”

Laughter is great medicine. I hope you keep a folder of funny things so you can laugh often. And, never forget, that when you are searching for laughter generally you do not have to look too far, for certainly a fellow human is just waiting to humor you.

Ha-ha! Have a great week!
Have you ever seen a cow laugh? Don’t Be A Cow! LAUGH!!

Joe

Commencement 2017 – 3 simple things

Grads at a commencement holding their mortar boards to throw in the air

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

Rock with a hand painted cow on it

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

Looking at Nature through a window

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! Read more

Self-Reliance. What does it mean?

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 what he tells you about discipline

Blue Green Red Plastic Pinocchio Ornament

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!

Just to refresh your memory, Pinocchio is the story of a wooden puppet that comes to life. The wooden puppet wants to become a real boy and carries the viewer along on his journey to do just that. The boy is told by the fairy who gave him life that if he lied his nose would grow longer. And, sure enough, each time he told a fib his nose grew. Along this journey the boy is told about going to this wonderful island where boys could go and be boys. There were no rules on this island, just drinking, smoking and whatever else you wanted to do. The boys who had been on the island the longest started becoming very hairy and started growing donkey tails and donkey ears, thus making the slow conversion into a donkey (or ass, as I think most appropriate in this case!).

For most of my childhood, it was always said that if you told a lie your nose would grow longer just like Pinocchio’s. It wasn’t until I watched the film as an adult that I discovered the real take-away message from the story: If you live a life without discipline, unsightly things will happen to you.

Yes, I do realize that the true tragedy might be that I would take away a message of any sort from this childhood Disney film; however, I have always felt that Disney made things fun, yet somewhat meaningful (and thus his tremendous success). In any event, the important thing is to understand the importance of discipline and the role of it in our lives. Because without it, we will lead the life that is set by others and not ourselves. The American author William Feather once wrote, “If we do not discipline ourselves, the world will do it for us.”

This is an integral part of being who you are and not being a cow. Living a disciplined life doesn’t have to be as miserable as it might sound and it is easy to get started … just turn to Day 5. Oh, you mean you haven’t ordered your copy of “Don’t Be A Cow” yet? Please do so today, so you can live your life and not the life established by others. And please continue to come to dontbeacow.com to read our blogs and hopefully share a comment. And follow us on Facebook, twitter, and Instagram.

Discipline will provide the perfect lead in to next week’s blog! See ya’ next week.

Easter!

Painted Easter Eggs with smiling faces

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

Keys to Happiness – Lessons from a Giraffe

The whole world, or at least it seems, has been captivated awaiting the arrival of a baby giraffe. It is so nice to see such anticipation, such thrill and excitement created over such a simple act of nature. This is but one example of the beauty of nature. Read more

Offended

Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Politicians come, politicians go.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Conflicts arise out of differing points of view.
While one heart simmers, the other stews.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Out of religions arise
a boasting that is uncompromised.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Unsightly things and aromas
that make my nostrils sting
my fellow man ungraciously sings.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Oh when at first I think my eyes have deceived,
truths rain down all through the eve.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

To relinquish control
to some other soul.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Influences come, influences go.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

At last I come to rest
seldom offering my best.
For allowing others thoughts, I guess
to lay heavy within my chest.
Oh to be offended,
when at last I thought
my mind was all mended.

Certainly there is more to me
That, oh, I must let others see!

Spring! What a wonderful time of year.

Spring has sprung: what a wonderful time of year.

The cold bitter weather, the gray dreary skies, and the trees devoid of their foliage now begin to give way to the warming sun, the green foliage of grasses and bright petals of flowers all springing forth life.

In the song, “the Rose,” there is the lyric,

“that far beneath the bitter snows lies the seed, that with the sun’s love in the spring becomes the rose.”

This makes me think of the seed that lies in all our souls that is waiting to bloom. And when it blooms, the rest of the world will see the rose blooms dance in our eyes like they do in the garden with the warm gentle breezes of spring.

Once you allow this seed that is you to bloom, it can give way to the explosion in the night sky just as the fireworks on the 4th of July – reminding us of another song, “Firework,” made popular by Katy Perry. Two great songs that not only inspire us, but help us to realize the power that lies within all of us.

Utilizing song, light hearted humor and insight our book, Don’t Be A Cow, will help you find your path, to this real happiness like you have never known.

Daylight Savings Time!

Clock with the words Make time for what matters

It’s about that time … or is it?

Once upon a time. A stitch in time saves nine. Working 9 to 5. Clock in, clock out. What a buzzer beater. Hickory Dickory Dock, the mouse ran up the clock. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere. I love Daylight Savings Time; I hate Daylight Savings Time; Why even change time? Don’t be late! Don’t get there too early! 2 minute warning. Saved by the bell … It’s about time!

Does anybody really know what time it is? Although I do not propose to know what time it is, I do know what time is!

Time is the great equalizer. You see, time does not care if you have many worldly possessions or if you have nothing, time cares not if you live in the United States, the United Emirates, or the United Kingdom. Time … well, time is the only thing any of us really have, and none of us knows just how much or just how little we have.

Our hope is that you spend yours being you. We invite you to read our book, “Don’t Be a Cow.” It won’t take much of your time, but it will help you get the most out of your time!

Bells & Whistles

We are all, or most of us anyway, familiar with purchasing a car. Some are rather plain and some are loaded with bells & whistles. It is sort of fun to think back through the years how the bells & whistles have changed. A/C, electric windows, power locks, radios, electric seats, air bags, navigation systems, etc., etc., etc. It’s nice to have all or at least a few of these bells & whistles, but lest we forget, what we really appreciate is the engine, transmission, and the tires.

I think life in general poses great similarities. There are many bells & whistles and these, too, have changed through the years. Today 24/7/365 entertainment through our televisions (remember when TV stations signed off at midnight?), along with the internet, we have 24/7/365 contact with others, some who we have never met and may live half way across the world. But, as with the car … the basic car – engine, transmission and tires that will get us from point A to B – life holds similar essentials. Self-reliance, personal relationships, and purpose. These are the keys to happiness that are often overshadowed by all the bells & whistles.

The Seesaw and the Balance of Life

As we go through life, we are constantly reminded about the importance of living a balanced life, ___% spiritual, ___% work, ___% family, ___% friends or whatever breakdown is important to you. We hear phrases such as “you never hear someone on their death bed wish they had spent more time working.” I often wondered how frequently we should seek to achieve this balance – monthly, weekly, daily, or minute by minute. A case could even be made that we spend the first 25 years working and the next 25 years enjoying retirement, so this equates to a balanced life. Unless, of course, you suffer a heart attack as you enter your retirement. I think most would agree that seeking balance on a tighter schedule is more preferable.

As you try to balance your life, think of the seesaw. As kids we would always try to make it balance. When we put two kids of equal weight on either side, the seesaw was perfectly balanced but the game was boring and everyone lost interest. What was fun was to see how unbalanced we could make it with a really heavy kid on one end and really light kid on the other. Then, we would have to see how many kids we would have to add to the light kids’ side. Then, of course, we would go too far and have to add another light kid to the heavy kids’ side. Oh the fun we would have trying to arrive at balance.

As you seek balance in your life, remember it is the constant moving of the seesaw that provides energy! (And fun!)

Valentine’s Day and Un-Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day, a day considered by a lot of people as a day made up by the greeting card, florist and chocolate industries. I am not sure of the origins of this “holiday,” and why it comes in February. Maybe it is because February tends to be somewhat of a gray and gloomy month and the bright red that is associated with Valentine’s Day brings a little cheer.

Think of how beautiful a red cardinal is on a gloomy winter’s day. Even beyond the brightness of Valentines, think about the acts of Valentine’s Day. Do you remember the days before we may have had only one sweetheart in our lives? When we went around to all the kids in our class handing out fun little note cards and sometimes a small candy was attached? Think about the excitement, joy and happiness you felt not only giving them to others, but receiving them as well. Too bad this tradition ends as we get older and too bad it is limited to just one day a year.

It doesn’t’ have to be that way … it can be every day of the year! One day for Valentine’s Day and 364 for Un-Valentine’s Day. The great thing is that when we go out of our way to say something nice to someone, or perform small acts of kindness to others to make them happier, we also in turn make ourselves happy.

Think of the power you can possess when you can change someone’s mood. Superman will have nothing on you!

What are some small acts of kindness you have done for others or others have done for you? What are some instances you have changed your day and someone else’s day by just saying something nice? Share them with us by commenting. We can all learn from each other!