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Let's Focus a Bit...

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By Douglas Clark

Most people have no idea of the giant capacity we can immediately command when we focus all of our resources on mastering a single area of our lives. ~Tony Robbins
A very big challenge for me has always been focus. True at heart, I am a day dreamer. There have been and are multiple scenarios and situations where I find myself being whisked away to a dreamland conjured up from my imagination. It's just fun to get lost in a world of my own creation. 
From a young age, if I were staring out the window of my parents’ car, watching the rain come down, stuck at the dentist’s office, bored at school, etc., I would always find myself creating fantastical narratives for me and my imaginary characters to explore. Now I never got in trouble in school or work for distractions, but I realized a long time ago that even though daydreaming and imaginations are great fodder for creating art, lack of focus can wash away all relevance those daydreams brought.
You see, focus keeps us in…

How Do You Deal With The In Between Time?

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Douglas Clark
-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

I heard a story once where someone said “Live the dash”. The sentiment here comes from the notion that when you die, your grave stone would say something like 1975-2075. That little dash in the middle encompasses all of your life: every little thing, every big thing, every sadness, every joy, all your relationships and accomplishments, the failures and triumphs, the crushing defeats and the wonderful experiences, all you’ve ever known and all you will ever do. The advice here was to live that dash to its fullest, with the deepest of meanings and the greatest appreciation possible. That’s a pretty nice sentiment isn’t it? But I’m wondering something. Not every moment of your life is a mind-blowing experience of joy, or a heart wrenching assault of painful sorrow. You can’t fill every moment with some really cool experience, it’s just not possible. Even if you tried (which might be cool for a while), you’d be exhausted and need some d…

Laugh at the Rain and Get Inspired

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Like a welcome summer rain, humor may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you. Langston Hughes



Two things that have always inspired me are laughs and the rain. Those are two rather disparate things don’t you think? You see the way I feel about inspiration, it doesn’t matter where it comes from, just as long as you feel something that moves you. Involving yourself in an activity that fuels your creative energies is a positive thing that can really make the difference in achieving your mission in life. Surrounding yourself with things that make you think or feel powerful emotions stirs up the will and drive to create. Some people might call that karma, some might call it setting the mood; whatever you choose to call it, take advantage of the power it can create.
Now I know that some people get a motivational kick from negative emotions too, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. I would caution, however, that dwelling too much in the negative can drag you down mentally, m…

The Sum Total of Your Life Should Not Reflect the Negative

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Have you ever wondered why it seems so easy to lose motivation, get discouraged, become downtrodden and unhappy? At first glance it might appear that life is mostly negative, full of unpleasantness and grief; what with all the suffering and unhappiness in the world, the idea is easy to believe. But it’s not true. You might wonder though, why does the negative seem to get more attention? I would say it’s force of habit. Really! Think about your day-to-day life. Does your car break down every day? Does your cat run away all the time? Does your girlfriend break up with you repeatedly and often? Well, unless something is seriously wrong in your life, none of those things happen with enough frequency to truly be a daily event. The emotional impact, however, is significant, and that is why you dwell on it.
This morning, for no reason at all (actually there is a mechanical reason), my car decided to not start. What a pain in the ass, right? My daughter had to get to school, I had to get to w…

It Always Comes Down to Focus

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How Did This Happen?A few months ago I found myself stuck in a malaise.  Every day was a repeat; not much happened except the same old same old.  In December of 2011, I finished my master’s degree, three years of classes, including three and a half semesters of thesis writing.  It was an incredible effort, but I finished.  Mentally and intellectually I need some time off, so that’s what I did.  Before I knew it, I got stuck in a rut and felt mired in the bland boringness of doing nothing.  For a while I wasn’t sure what to do.  I mean I knew that I wanted to start writing again and make some headway on my novel.  But the thing was, I wasn’t writing, not one word.  Well, my one saving grace was this blog.  Other than that, I had abandoned my passion.  And that needed to change. 
I also remember thinking that it was about time I started learning how to play my saxophone.  See, I played for a little while back in grade school.  I really liked it but had absolutely no discipline to practi…

Fortitude is in the Mind

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Stay strong in body and mindHave you ever been accused of being stubborn?  Are you stubborn?  Being single minded about an objective or goal is actually a very good thing.  It keeps you focused.  I call it fortitude.  Applying your personal strength and conviction to a single goal helps achievement, but what about applying fortitude to life in general.  What good is that and what purpose does that serve? Well, having the strength of mind to withstand the pains and adversity of life is a pretty valuable asset don’t you think?  I’ve talked about perseverance and how it aids you on your life’s mission and keeps you going toward your goals.  But perseverance isn’t enough.  That’s right, you need fortitude.  Being able to keep going is one thing, being able to maintain your mindset and inner strength as well is totally different.  There will be a time when challenges in your life beat you down so much you might think you’ve lost.  But if you have a solid foundation of who you are, what you…

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

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- 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 yo…

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.

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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…

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

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-Les Brown


Disappointment is unavoidableThings 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 …

While there's life, there's hope.

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- Marcus Tullius Cicero.   


Struggles of lifeThere will always be struggles in your life.  Things will always present themselves that seem insurmountable, unbelievable, and oppressive.  In short, life is a challenge.  In fact, life is the single greatest challenge you will ever face.  It’s difficult by nature, unforgiving and callous too.  You will suffer, you will despair, you will cry and you will feel sorrow.  It’s unavoidable.  But guess what!  There is good news, and it is this: There is Hope.  As our famous quote from Cicero states, while there is life, there’s hope.  Do you know what that means?  It means that life doesn’t have to be all gloom and doom.  Every moment you live is a chance to turn things around, change your perspective, find your focus, achieve your goals, and continue on your mission.  All you need is hope.  So, what is hope and why is it special.
Pandora’s box The ancient Greek myth of Pandora’s Box tells us that even though the world is full of hateful, evil thin…

Enjoy the silence.

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Sometimes it’s okay to have nothing to say.Sometimes it’s okay to just be quiet, sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet that can come with inactivity.Relaxing and letting your mind decompress from the day, or week depending on how stressed you are, can be a great thing.Not every minute of every day of your life has to be chasing your dream, carrying out your mission, or on your feet.You are allowed to relax every once and a while.In fact, it should be part of your schedule.You know that old saying, ‘All work and no play makes jack a dull boy?’Well, it’s true.You have to know when to slow down, take a moment and pause.Reflecting on what you’ve accomplished for the day, the week, or just at the task at hand is a good way to gauge how your success is going, or not going as the case may be.
Sometimes I have felt myself pushing too hard and not getting a good return on my time investment.If that ever happens to you, slow down, stop even.After I finished my master’s thesis, I wanted to just …

Why is it so hard to get motivated?

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How many times have you asked yourself “How can I motivate myself?”  It’s a fair question; motivation is important and necessary to accomplishing your goals and mission in life.  Without motivation, you just sit there on the couch.  Without motivation, you wander, meander, and drift.  Without motivation, there is nothing.  So how do we get this mythical motivation?  What causes the stirring emotions within us that fuel the drive and impulse of creativity, igniting the fires of motivation?  Well, the answer is simple.  It’s desire.  Want.  If you really have a true desire and want to attain something, someone, a job, a title, a goal, the championship, whatever, you NEED the desire to go after it. 
Have you ever doubted your motivation while doing something?  Ever thought maybe you were wasting your time?  It might be that the desire to pursue that goal was waning. Maybe you didn’t really want what you thought you wanted.  I’ve literally stopped what I was doing right in the middle beca…

What’s really important?

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Douglas Clark

-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

That may seem like a simple, even trite question to ask.  If you give it more than a passing thought, the deeper meaning of it starts to shine through.  What is really important?  I mean the life-long stuff, the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning, the stuff that gets your heart pumping, your body moving; those things. 
I’m not talking about getting up and getting to work, paying the bills, or making sure you get the laundry done.  The day-to-day minutia of life is important on a small scale, but there should and Must be a deeper meaning in your life (your Mission) to make it all worth it.  Now it might come as no shock that a lot of people don’t have a mission, or what some might call Passion.  They drift through life without any foundational drive or motivation.  Is that you?  I must admit, there have been times where I felt completely directionless, lost even.  There have been times where I could see the path…

Your Mission, If you Choose to Accept it…

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Douglas Clark

-Head writer, The Inspiration Engine

Have you ever thought or felt like you were wandering through life and things were just happening to you?Have you ever felt as if you had no power to direct the course you were heading toward?Ever feel as if you had no choice in the events and scenery in your field of view?Ever just feel totally directionless? I have and I hated it. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re a spectator in your own life.But it doesn’t have to be that way.Not at all!What you need is a mission.Something that drives you and fills you with motivation and passion, something that spurs you forward, regardless of the financial gains or losses, regardless of the snickering or derision of others. Something you’d do for free, or something you’d do even if YOU had to pay to do it.That’s a passion.Making your passion your mission in life gives you direction and focus. But how do you find your mission?For me, it took a long, long time to recognize something that …