Thursday, May 31, 2012

Most of us regard good luck as our right, and bad luck as a betrayal of that right.


- William Feather (read about him here)


Disappointment can be a hard thing to deal with, especially if you’ve worked really hard at something.  Putting forth real effort to reach your goal, to drive toward your mission is always a great achievement, but there’s something so deflating when you don’t reach your goal due to no fault of your own.  Sometimes, things or people get in your way and you fail, not because you didn’t try, but because your efforts were thwarted by circumstances, or by other people.  Unfortunately, you may encounter people in your life who actually try to sabotage your endeavors.  Sometimes they do this because they are ignorant of your aims and inadvertently get in the way.  Sometimes, they are deliberately vindictive or jealous, and actively attempt to ruin your work.  Yes, there is that type of ugliness in the world and I’m sure you have experienced it.  I myself have been the target of nefarious individuals at one time or another in my life.  And let me tell you it is not pleasant. 

It would be one thing to fail because you gave up, or because you simply weren’t good enough, but when another individual deliberately stands in your way and tries to make you fail, it’s a despicable thing.  So how do you handle that?  What do you do?  It would be a cope out to say ‘just live with it’ and it would also be dismissive to say ‘just think positively.’  Those cliché type pieces of advice don’t really help at all.  If you really do have someone that is deliberately trying to sabotage your goals, the best thing to do is eliminate them from your life.  Cut them out completely and do not let them back in.  I knew someone that took every opportunity to try and degrade me, insult me, slander my name and deliberately lie about me to try and influence people to dislike me.  I know the quality of my character and anyone worth knowing would take the time to get to know me as a person, not just the lies of a malcontent trying to break someone down instead of building themselves up.  As soon as I cut off all contact with that person and redirected my life on a new course, guess what!  My life became so much more enjoyable, meaningful, and most of all, positive. 

You DO NOT have to allow negative, self-interested and destructive people into your life.  If you have found someone like that has crept in, evict them.  You are the one that has to live your life and the world will make it difficult just by its nature.  Don’t assist the forces of despair and negativity.  Situate yourself so positive, uplifting people can assist you in your goals, and help drive you toward your mission.  That way, when disappointment does strike, it will have much less power than it would otherwise.  Positivity is great, but structuring your life to accentuate the positiveness of the people around you is even better.  Go ahead, set yourself up for success!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Adversity is like a strong wind. It tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.


Today our quote comes from Arthur Golden.

What is Adversity? 

How do you deal with Adversity?  How do you handle it?  Adversity, like a challenge, is something to overcome when driving on your mission in life.  But Adversity is something greater and much more sinister than a mere challenge.  Adversity is usually a prolonged, serious struggle, a difficult and stressful hardship that won’t simply go away or disappear if you give it enough time.  It’s the giant gorilla in the room if you will.  Sometimes it is a physical disability, sometimes, it’s a mental one.  Sometimes adversity comes from society, maybe it’s legal troubles, or persons bent on causing you distress.  Unfortunately, adversity comes in many forms, and it haunts many people in various ways.  I for one have dealt with adversity for many years.  If anyone of you has ever set foot into family court, you know exactly what I mean.  I’ve also dealt with people suffering with psychological problems, who don’t even realize the harm they are causing.  You too might be dealing with something similar, or even if it’s totally different, that adversity still remains.

Can you cope with it?

So how do we deal with this giant gorilla in the room?  I mean it’s a monster and he won’t go away.  More than likely he’s going to smash up the place.  How do we stop him?  Okay, I’m using a metaphor here, but hopefully you get the idea.  And the answer is, that giant gorilla probably won’t just go away, and he probably will smash up the place, despite your best efforts.  Now I’m not saying his to dishearten you.  No, actually I’m saying this to liberate you.  Life is full of sweet and wonderful things, but also harsh and terrible things.  Accept that.  Sometimes bad things happen, no matter your preparedness, your contemplations, you plans and contingencies.  They happen regardless.  Now, some accidents and missteps happen because you were unprepared, so by all means, try to prepare.  Know this however; unexpected things occur for which you cannot prepare.  But that doesn’t mean you have to just accept the strife and be miserable. 
Whatever your adversity is, DO NOT let it define your life.  Do not let it envelop your life or dictate every action and thought you take or have.  Your personal adversity is not your master, your adversary yes, but not your master.  Once you let it take control, burrowing deep into your mind, it will take over.  So for every thought of gloom and doom, match it with a positive one.  Let yourself experience as many positive things as possible, despite the adversity. 

Even though I know my particular and personal adversity won’t go away any time soon, I know I will NOT let it dominate my life.  If I did, my life would be consumed by it.  Even if your adversity seems insurmountable, just keep in mind there was a time when it didn’t control your life.  If you truly believe, you can take back control from it as well.  Good Luck.


If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear them.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy Birthday


So it may surprise you to know that today is my birthday.  Yes the conductor of The Inspiration Engine is turning one year older.  I like to think of it as turning one year better.  Now to be honest, I don’t really pay too much attention to birthdays.  It’s not that I don’t care about them; it’s just that to me, a lot of times, it seems repetitive and arbitrary.  However, there is a certain value in reflecting on the past year and seeing if you’ve managed to improve, learn, better yourself, and continue to drive toward the goals of your life mission.  So in that regard, birthdays are a great thing. 

On a personal level I can say that I’m doing pretty well.  Now I’d like to bitch about little things, stuff that irritates me, and stuff that continually hounds me even despite my best efforts to irradiate them from my life.   And trust me, I’ve got some monsters. Well, such is life I suppose.  But I’m not lacking for simple needs and compared to most of the world I’m doing pretty damn well.  I can say there are some things I’ve tried over the last year that have not been very successful, although I’ve had a few successes to counteract the negative.  And I like and need to focus on the positive, as most of you should too.  Some of the most impressive and personally rewarding goals include finishing my thesis and graduating with a master’s degree, taking an acting class (which was hella fun), starting to play the saxophone, continuing to write on my novel, This Blog; actually the list goes on.  To be clear, I’m not bragging.  So why am I telling you this? Because your list should go on and on too.

I look at life like an unfinished book.  Each day adds a page to a certain chapter. And I guess each birthday can mark a new chapter.  Each chapter should be as full of detail and amazing experiences as possible.  Now I know each page can’t be an adventure story, but it would be great if each chapter was.  At the end of my life, I want to look back at my ‘book’ and see that it’s a gigantic story, written not just in one book, but volumes of books.  You can’t get that kind of narrative from sitting on the couch and wishing for ‘what if’ or ‘if only’.  So my birthday comes once a year and I reflect on what I’ve done and what I will be doing, not ‘what if’ I did something, or ‘if only’ I tried. 

So, get out there and start writing your life’s story and make it a long adventure!


Feel free to leave a comment or a question.  I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead

-Les Brown

 

Disappointment is unavoidable

Things don’t always go according to plan.  Sometimes, things go so far off course you wonder how the heck it ever got so bad.  Even with all your planning and preparation, everything is just Fubar. So what do you do with that sort of disappointment?  How do you handle it?  I mean, it’s not like you missed the opening three minutes to a movie, or missed out on the opening pitch of a ball game.  Sure, those things can be a disappointment too, but when the weight of being disappointed gets really heavy, when it turns into a load you feel you are forced to carry, there’s got to be something you can do, right?  If you don’t change your perspective on it, that disappointment can become regret, and regret is a far worse burden to bear. 

At every stage of a person’s life, they must deal with disappointment.  This was very evident to me yesterday thanks to my daughter.  She had plans to play with a friend after school on Thursday; she was excited and looking forward to it all week, then at the last minute, plans changed because of unforeseen circumstances and the play time had to be altered.  She was crestfallen.  For a kid, play time is serious business and when it gets disrupted, watch out!  I was sad for her, but we played ball together and I tried to show her that even though she was disappointed, directing her energy and focus somewhere else was healthy.  For an eight year old, that’s not the easiest thing to do.  But it’s never too early to learn how to cope.  It’s never too early to try new techniques and develop skills to redirect that negative energy of disappointment into something positive.

Directing Your Energy

I’ll admit, I have wasted a lot of time being disappointed and feeling sad for myself.  It’s natural and we all do it.  I think allowing yourself just a little bit of time for feeling sad and downtrodden is alright.  I mean we can’t just ignore all the negative and pretend it doesn’t affect us.  But after a certain point, we have to let go of that sadness and disappointment or it festers.  Allowing one negative thought after another to distract us lays a foundation of negativity that only feeds on you and grows stronger.  If you find yourself mired in negative thoughts, chase each one with a positive one; one you know to be a fact.  Remind yourself of that fact and then let the negativity go.  Carrying that baggage around with you only slows you down and you don’t want that.  All that time and energy you dump into feeling sorry for yourself and feeding that negative energy is time you could be challenging yourself to improve and carry out your mission. 

You don’t have to be successful in quelling your inner demons on the first try.  In fact, it may take you several if not hundreds of tries to defeat those negative thoughts.  Disappointment happens, but it doesn’t have to dominate your mind frame.  Continue to try, and always go back to trying, no matter how many times you fail.  Redirecting your energies into the positive will become a habit.  Once you’re habitually thinking positively, you might find things to be brighter than you once believed. 
Go for it!


baby in utero in outerspace

check out the details on this pick here.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure


A friend of mine asked me once, what I thought of the past and what would I do to change it if I could.  Now I thought about that for a while and had a lot of different exotic and strange ideas.  My natural tendency to lean toward Sci-Fi and fantasy stories led me down a path of great adventure and amazing story telling.  But then I stopped and really thought about what it would mean to change the past, I mean really alter what has happened in my life.  How would I know what would be different if I chose not to go to college, not join the navy, not get married, not get divorced, not have a child. 
The more I thought about it, the more it dawned on me that even though I had regrets and have made some massive mistakes, I couldn’t change a thing.  You see, I have come to understand myself in a way that is much more profound and true as compared to when I was younger.  I’ve been through some really hard times, emotionally.  But I’ve learned from those experiences.  All this contemplation led me to answer my friend thusly:
"All of my regrets, all my failures, all my successes and wins, everything I've every said, felt, every relationship and friendship, my feelings, thoughts, actions, desires and dreams, my experiences and perceptions make my life what it is today. Although at times I might begrudge too harshly the negatives and under-appreciate the positive, All of these things create the essence of who I am. If I tug at the loose strings of the tapestry of my life, it would unravel into the chaotic turmoil of the unknown. Who I am would be lost. In its place would be a void. Trite and fanciful fantasies of altering my life by rearranging my past only stands to cast shadow on my future..." (I felt so strongly about this answer, I put it on my quotes page on fb, in case you find it there.)

My past isn’t perfect and neither will my future, but I’m getting better at being me every day, and in the end, that’s a pretty good thing.  I hope that you can say the same!
Abstract 3d art







Thursday, May 3, 2012

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

- Confucius 


What is beauty?


Just a couple of days ago I went on a hike up in the Mission Trails area of San Diego.  The hills and trails are an amazing place to see the natural world, get some exercise, and really appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.  It’s a wonder how easily people, myself included, can block out the simplistic splendor the world has to offer.  In the fast paced consumerism world we live in, it isn’t sexy or profitable to advertise the beauty in things that don't easily translate into profit.  Apropos to this idea is the very word beauty.  I’ve often found my mind going directly to an image of a gorgeous woman when I hear the word beauty, and it’s not surprising when we consider every American is bombarded with pictures, movies, advertisments, and such constantly telling us that is the accepted form of beauty.  Now there’s nothing wrong with thinking of women as a form of beauty.  I for one am completely anamored with women, however, as Confucius has told us, beauty exists everywhere.  We just need to open our eyes to it.

Does Everything really have beauty?

If you think about it, saying everything has beauty might seem suspect.  Garbage heaps and sewage plants aren’t the most attractive places to be or to visually admire.  Some might argue that abandoned buildings are not very attractive either.  However, if you examine each without the accepted negative connotations associated with them, what do you see then?  Nothing exists in a vacuum, but opening yourself up to a new perspective might lead you to a new appreciation for something you once thought had no beauty at all.  Certainly you may find that some things are much easier to identify as beautiful as opposed to others.  That’s natural. 

Creating a new beauty

Now for the hard part.  Take a moment and set aside all you know about beauty, all you expect and want from beauty, all you have been conditioned to believe is beautiful.  Just try to silence the expectations and just appreciate a subject for what it is.  Contemplate the value of the object before you solely on its merits. Practice with several different things and see if it jars your way of thinking.  Really look, let yourself feel. 

Now, what do you see?


Rocky path along Mission Trails

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Humor can alter any situation and help us cope at the very instant we are laughing.

-Allen Klein.

Can you laugh?

They say that laughter is the best medicine.  Obviously that isn't always the case, but having a good laugh, just at the right time can really ease the tension and release stress.  Have you ever had one of those laughs that was fueled not just by humor, but stress and nerves.  I have, and I've found myself laughing all the harder because it was a release.  The funny thing was (pun intended) as I was laughing I knew it was making me feel better.  Not just because of the funny thing that caused the laughter, but because I needed to let go of the tension and burden of holding on to things that kept me down.  There really isn't any reason to hold on to baggage and when you let it go, it feels amazing.

Humor makes it fun

There are times when serious attitudes and outlooks are wholly appropriate.  At the same time, there's no reason to be uptight and deliberately coarse or mirthless.  You don't have to use crude or offensive jokes to be humorous.  In fact, you just need to see things in a different light.  Sometimes the most innocuous comments can be funny if timed just right.  Humor among coworkers, friends, family, can help build a special bond, and laughing makes things more memorable. 

When people get together and talk about shared experiences, it's a lot more fun to say "remember that time..." and end the story with a great laugh that everyone can share.  And really that's the best thing, being able to share a good feeling with people you care about. 

So go ahead, have a good laugh!


baby in pool


Understanding Pandemics

By Doug Clark Head Writer -  The Inspiration Engine With all that is going on with Covid 19, I thought it would be a good idea to help ...