From Point A to B

Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. -Buddha

It is a new day. Today we start at Point A and begin the journey to Point B. It should be easy to figure out what our Point A is. It is where we are right here, right now. You have to make an honest assessment of your Point A. It does you no good to pretend your starting point is somewhere else. Be truthful. This is your Point A. The great thing about Point A is that it starts over every day. So what if it is the same place as it was yesterday. We can’t go back and do it over. The do-over starts today.

This new day is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. -Brian Tracey

What is your Point B? Can you see it up ahead? Hopefully we all have a dream destination that we are headed toward. Hopefully we all have a Point B. Take a moment and think about this place. Close your eyes and visualize what it would be like to occupy this point. Imagine your dream as reality.

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. –Paulo Coelho

The journey from where you are right now to where you are going is not always easy. Some, never looking to the left or the right, will trudge along always making progress. Others get distracted by what’s around them and never even realize they deviated from the path. And then there is another group that never leaves Point A. Which group are you in? If you are not in the first, it is okay. You can be there. Once again, today is a new day. Do it differently. Do it better.

The Frailty of Life

We all know that death could come for us at any moment. But we usually don’t give it much thought, until we, or the ones close to us, near that threshold. When we are not mindful of death, when it feels far away, we tend to find importance in things that are really not very important at all. But when we are at the gate and the time is near, suddenly the time becomes more precious and a sense of urgency to live becomes paramount.

No one knows when the time will come, but all could live in a way that when the end fast approaches there would be little left to do. Even if the mission was left unfinished, you could leave knowing you did all that you could. You could leave knowing a moment wasn’t wasted or a transgression wasn’t rectified. We could go in peace from this life into our next without a regret.

Show me that the good in life does not depend upon life’s length, but upon the use we make of it; also, that it is possible, or rather unusual, for a man who has lived long to have live too little. –Seneca, Letter #49: On the Shortness of Life.

This was one of the thoughts I originally had when I started writing for my son. That if I was to go before he grew up, he would have this as his legacy. I wanted him to know the treasure of wisdom and the value of searching for it. I wanted him to know the path I have travelled in my own quest to find it. Often I went down the wrong road. I had to learn to hard way. But an easy to find treasure really isn’t a treasure. You have to dig for it, often into the depths of the hell of your own making to find it. My dream is that he will find the path and then stick to it, not forsaking it for an easier way. If I can’t be there for the journey, maybe the writing I leave behind will help. Maybe it will even help others.


For those who loved one is nearing the threshold, my heart is breaking for you. I can’t imagine your pain, but I can see your bravery during this time. Remember, death is not an end but a gateway into the next life.

Listening To That Voice

Do you have a life’s work? Perhaps a field or industry that needs to be improved or even invented. Was there something that called to you? Something that touched your heart in such a way that you had no choice but to respond with a simple, “Here I am.”

“Here I am.” That was Samuel’s response when he heard a calling. He thought it was the priest, Eli, calling for him. Eli told him to go back to bed. After this happened a third time in the same night, Eli told Samuel if he hears the voice calling him again respond by saying, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:1-11)

When you have a calling, perhaps by God or even by a tiny voice within your soul, do you have the ability to hear it? And if you can hear it, how will you respond? You could choose to ignore it. You could drown it out with other pursuits so that eventually the voice is lost in the noise. Or, you could chase it. You could pursue it knowing that you received a rare glimpse of your destiny, and that it is attainable. Maybe your work only reaches a few people. Maybe, like Samuel, it reaches a whole generation and the generations afterwards. You never know, but it starts with listening to that voice within.

The secret of success is constancy of purpose. -Benjamin Disraeli, the 1st Earl of Beaconsfield and British Prime Minister from 1874-1880

The journey will be long. After all it is a life’s work. It may be lonesome. There will be many forks in the road offering an easier path. But if you stick to the straight and narrow, you could find a personal success beyond your imagination. This calling is about making a difference. Fixing something that isn’t working right. Creating something that the world needs. It is about adding value to other people. It is about making lives better in some way, shape, or form. And if your life’s work only improved the life of one individual, wouldn’t it be worth it? It is not for the glory. It is not for recognition. It is about doing the things which you know within your heart you should be doing. Things you keep doing until the mission is complete.

Legacy

Seneca writes that his works are going to last throughout the ages. He even states that he has the ability to take others with him in his legacy. There may not be a lot known about the life of Lucilius, but his name has lived on through the letters addressed to him by Seneca. You have to be rather confident to believe your works will have that kind of lasting power. By the way, Seneca lived in the first century of the Common Era and his works are still being read to this day.

What will your legacy be? Will the work you do impact future generations? If you are only living for yourself, your scope of influence will not be very large. But if you are reaching out and offering the world your talents and skills, you may just find your name lasting through the ages.

The deep flood of time will roll over us; some few great men will raise their heads above it, and, destined at the last to depart into the same realms of silence, will battle against oblivion and maintain their ground for long. –Seneca, Letter XXI. On the Renown Which My Writings Will Bring You

Aim High

I was speaking to an associate today who told me he has a five year plan to leave his manufacturing job. I asked him what he was planning to do. His reply: play the stock market, get his money, and then get out.

Of course, I was initially skeptical of this plan. This has to be a pipe dream if I ever saw one. How is this young adult going to walk in and accomplish what so many have failed to do over the years? If you are looking for someone to scoff at, this would be the one.

This man plucked this idea out of the far reaches of the ether. But he didn’t stop there, he gave this idea life by saying it out loud and saying it to someone else. Will he be able materialize this thought? Does he have the drive to stick with this dream until the end? As Plutarch said, “Those who aim at great deeds must also suffer greatly.” Is he willing to suffer?

I can’t believe God put us on this earth to be ordinary. –Lou Holtz

After thinking about this man’s dreams and my reaction to it, I began to think about my own dreams. I too, have a wildly ambitious plan that is far beyond where I am today. Why is my dream so realistic to me but the thought of his dream ridiculous? We are both striving toward the same thing: our perception of success. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I get that same skepticism when I voice my dreams. The reality is that many shoot for the stars, but only a few make it there. The few that make it are the ones we remember, and it keeps the dreamers dreaming. It drives them to action and the hope of a better future.

I hope he can achieve his dreams. He just may be a shining example of what one can accomplish with the right amount of creativity, determination, and persistence. There could be a day that he is a role model for others, even a role model for me.

For more on pulling ideas from the ether and giving it substance, check out the Aubrey Marcus Podcast #143: The Road Map to Transformation with Anahata Ananda. I listened to this episode this week and found it really insightful to making my own dreams a reality.

How Big Is Your Universe?

Over the last several months, I began a habit of storing most of my projects on a thumb drive. I did it for convenience, because it gave me the ability to have the same data at work and at home. Those projects are what I believe the foundations of my life’s work, at least what I am presently hoping for. I only kept it on one thumb drive, so I had to protect it. If I lost it, my foundations would be lost. I didn’t lose it. That cheap little thumb drive that hadn’t been backed up in over a month stopped working. My foundations have crumbled. There goes my life’s work. My world is crashing around me.

Okay, that may be a little dramatic. The foundations have already been laid. I just have to rebuild. But in today’s world, we hear phrases like “my universe is falling apart” pretty often. In some instances, it doesn’t take very much to have one of these apocalypse events take place. When was the last time the sky really fell? Sometimes the anxiety we create is so great that we become blind to everything outside of our immediate surroundings.

After completing my 30th day in a row of meditating (This is becoming the newest habit I am most excited about), my perception on this tragic loss of thumb drive is much different than it would have been in the past. My world is barely a speck in the universe. When time is added to the equation, that tiny speck is even more insignificant. Time and the universe continue on. In the grand scheme of things, this instance is nothing.

If our own individual worlds are so insignificant, then one might ask if there is any point to our existence. There might not be. But what if your individual world had a greater effect on other worlds? If I only live for myself, then the chances of my world crashing around me tend to be much greater. But if my mission in life involves others, then my universe gets much larger. All of a sudden, these minor setbacks become less apocalyptic and the mission goes on.

Note: I have learned a lesson here that I should have remembered from the past. This isn’t the first time I have lost data. I need to back up my work on a regular basis. Maybe even spread it around, so all my eggs are not in one basket.

Consistently Winning the Day

Albert Einstein gets credited for the quote, “Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This makes sense if you are stuck and can’t figure out how to fix a problem. But what if you wanted to get yourself stuck, why would you keep doing different things? If you are looking for consistency, you need the repetition. You need to do the same things over and over again. Is there something you are wanting in life? Identify and create the habits needed to accomplish your goals.

Andy Frisella’s Win the Day podcast (MFCEO #107) introduces the topic of having a Power List. He suggests writing down 5 objectives you need to accomplish every day. Accomplish the task, check it off. Accomplish all of them, and you win the day. The question then becomes: How many days can you win? Keep the item on your list until you can get 21 days in a row and then it should be an automatic habit. Once you hit the 21 day mark, you can remove it from your list and add another item.

Simple, right? My first impression is that this would be a cake walk. The reality is different. There are some desired habits I would like to create, but I am not ready for them. Attempting them resulted in losing days. What I really needed to do was reexamine the desired habit and break it down. Taking writing for example. I have some lofty writing goals that I am not ready for. Originally I put on my list that I would blog every day and write fiction for a set amount of time. Doable for a professional writer? Absolutely! For me? Maybe in time, but right now I have too many irons in the fire. And I don’t already have a daily writing habit. So what I really need is a daily writing habit, not a lofty writing goal. What is an easy writing habit? I first started with gratitude and writing down every morning the three things I am grateful for. That was the start, and now it is no longer on my list because it is a new habit. I have moved on to the next stage. It is a little more difficult. Write something else every day. This consists of either journaling or blogging. It doesn’t really matter what it is. I just have to write. If I can incrementally improve on my writing habit, maybe I can build up to some of those loftier goals.

Can I consistently win the day? Can you? We have it within ourselves to achieve greatness. Greatness, however, doesn’t magically appear overnight. You have to refine the process that will get you there. And once you have the process, you do it over and over again.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately so is losing. –Vince Lombardi

Lacking Sense

 

There was a time when those that wanted food had to go out and get it themselves. If they didn’t grow it, they had to catch it. If they didn’t do either one, they had to have something of value to trade for it. The more you wanted for you and your family, the harder you had to work for it. Even better if you worked your own land, instead of someone else’s.

It is much easier to get food these days. But if you want more than a miniscule ration, or if you want better quality, you are going to have to work for it. Maybe it is hearkening back to the old days and growing/catching it yourself. Or maybe, it is doing something of value worth trading. If you are working hard, working smart, and staying focused, you will be able to eat, and eat well.

Oftentimes we find ourselves getting off track. We lose that focus and start doing other things such as:

• Spending too much time engaged in social media,

• Reading material that does not enhance your life or cause your brain to think,

• Binge-watching some television,

• Playing games for the sake of killing time,

• Or doing busy work.

Sometimes we need a little downtime. Seneca in his 14th letter writes, “I do not maintain that the body is not to be indulged at all; but I maintain that we must not be slaves to it.” By becoming a slave to your body, you lose your self-control. Without discipline, your body will tell you to relax and put off the things you should be doing. It will tell you to procrastinate. Those who procrastinate, do not eat as well as the others.

The last point, doing busy work, is a killer that is often overlooked. It is easy to engage in busyness and never accomplish your primary mission. Tim Ferriss makes an interesting statement in his book, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers:

Being busy is a form of laziness –lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being busy is most often used as a guide for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.

Next time you find yourself doing busy work, you should ask yourself whether or not you are moving closer to your task. I find myself falling down this rabbit hole all the time without even realizing it. When I should be writing, I start cleaning the files on my computer or looking for a picture that correlates with the writing. I start doing all kinds of things, except the ones that are most important.

Solomon said that those engaged in idle pursuits lack sense. It is something to consider the next time we go on a marathon involving social media, all the episodes in whatever drama you’re watching, or knocking out the latest romance novel in one sitting. I know this is an area that I can improve in my own life.

Do Not Retaliate

 

This is my 27th consecutive day meditating. I have never picked up a new habit so easily and so transforming. The following is the thought that presented itself to me this morning. I acknowledged it, stored it for later, and then continued the practice.

You do not have to retaliate. Not against yourself. Not against others.

Yourself. You can accept your weaknesses and work to correct them. There is no need for self-flagellation. There is no need to give yourself lashes physically or mentally. Accept who you are and if necessary make the appropriate course corrections in a way that will lead to long-term sustainable growth.

Others. Being Christ-conscious is not weakness, it is strength. There is no need to retaliate against those that offend you. That is pride. That is ego. It is also your perception of an offense that may have been given unintentionally. Operate from a space of humility and demonstrate the true strength of self-control. You have the power to function on a higher level. Do this and the offensive situation will lose the oxygen that feeds the fire.

Embrace Those Quotes

We see quotes all day long. Often they are very inspirational bits of wisdom that cause us to think from a different perspective. The person being quoted has found success in their area of expertise and has shared this pearl of knowledge in hopes that others may find their own success. Does it work? Is the quote just a quick meme to generate some likes? Does it actually resonate within you? Does it cause you to think? Even better, does it cause you to act?

The quotes are out there. They are essentially public domain and are ripe for the taking. Only you can find the truth of the message and apply it to your own life.

Any truth, I maintain, is my own property. And I shall continue to heap quotations from Epicurus upon you, so that all persons who swear by the words of another, and put a value upon the speaker and not upon the thing spoken, may understand that the best ideas are common property. –Seneca Letter XII: On Old Age