Wednesday, December 31, 2014

10 Commandments for Success in 2015

Every year for the past couple years I have taken a look at my suggestions for being successful in the new year, updating them and then re-blogging them.  I hope you like this years updates. 

I remember as a child when we went on some cross country vacations in the car.  We could drive accross the USA to go to one destination or another.  My mother was a music teacher and my sister and I grew up singing.  When we would take those long car rides we would sing the scores of every broadway musical we knew and every other song we could think of. Everything was in 3 part harmony. Mom, my sister and I would sing while dad filled the role of audience (he was one of the only people I have ever met who truly couldn't sing). 

Today, forty years later, I only have vague memories of our destinations. I don't remember much of the details about Disney land or being seasick on the fishing boat in Oregon.   But my memories of singing, laughing, talking and sometimes fighting in the car on those trips are as vivid as if they happened yesterday.  If you have ever heard someone tell you that the journey is more important than the destination, believe them.  I suspect that the milestones in our lives, as important as they may be seem, with time  will fade away but the paths we took to reach those milestones stay with us forever. Enjoy the trip!

1. Decide to be happy! It’s not magic. Deciding to be happy doesn’t automatically make you happy and it can at times involve hard work. But deciding that you want to be happy and deserve to be happy is the first step that will lead you to making the necessary decisions and choosing the actions to move you in the right direction.

2. Be forgiving! Forgive others and possibly hardest of all forgive yourself.

3. Keep learning. Be curious. Ask more questions and really listen to what people say. Talk to strangers. Read more books.

4. Get involved in something outside of work that is voluntary. Your kid’s football team, a charity, a church or a scout troop, whatever it is get involved and invest some time in it
5. Exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a fanatic! A little physical activity done regularly can make one hell of a difference in both your physical health andyour mental wellbeing.

6. Don’t work for money. Work for stimulation and satisfaction. The money will follow. 

7. If you find yourself in a bad situation, for example at work or in a relationship, make a plan and take the necessary steps to either improve the situation or to move on to a better one. If you find yourself in a good situation invest more of yourself into it.

8. Spend more time with friends and family. Try hard to really be with them when you are with them. That means turning off whatever problem is mulling around in your head, the TV or your cellphone for just a little while and just be. Don’t avoid people you don’t like. They will help you learn a great deal about yourself.

9. Work hard! Be wary of easy answers and quick fixes. Creating anything worthwhile whether it’s a painting, a career, a relationship or a life is hard work.

10. This moment is the only moment you have and it will never come back, make the most of it! The past is the past and if you are lucky enough to have a future it will be to a large extent the result of how you spent the accumulation of all the moments just like this one.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions.

This is the time for compassion and understanding.  This is the place for forgiveness and acceptance. The battle between good and evil is not a battle between nations, religious or political factions, races or even between individuals.  It is a struggle within the hearts and minds of each and every one of us.  The battle is fought every single day through our words and deeds.

If ours beliefs lead us to do evil then our beliefs are evil. If our gods cause us to hate others because they are different or believe differently, then our gods are evil.  Our gods can take many shapes. We may worship Jesus, Allah, God, Buddha, money, our nation, our political party or any number of other things.  If that which is holy to us causes us to hate or harm others then we are on the side of evil.  If our beliefs encourage us to dictate who or how others should love, if our beliefs cause us to believe that our path is the only right path and to be judgmental or damning of people who choose other paths then we are the ones who are lost.

If our beliefs cause us to love and forgive then we are on the path of good. If our gods cause us to help those in need and accept those who are different from us then our gods are virtuous.  If that which is holy to us causes us to be humble and accept that what is right for one of us may not be right for all of us then good will triumph.

No good every came from evil acts.  Good comes from good.  In the end what you feel or believe is far less important than what you actually do. There is no shame in thoughts; there is only shame in actions. Do not fear your fears, fear is natural. You may fear those who are different than you or those you don’t understand and still offer them help in their time of need. Triumphing over your fears to do good displays courage, allowing your fears to dictate your behavior displays cowardice.