025 Build Your Community

This episode is part of a three part series exploring growing your potential.  This one is about the power of community.

LetGo Hello: Homeostasis for Your Life.

Learn the things they should have taught you in school.  It’s not more cogs the world needs, but rather more people who will choose to live intentionally, meaningfully and collaboratively.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, provocative, and noteworthy people to get their perspective on a life well lived.  Catch weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

Join us at:  www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

024 The Magic Variable in the Equation of Life

This episode is part of a three part series exploring growing your potential.  This one is about the magic piece that results are made of.

LetGo Hello: Homeostasis for Your Life.

Learn the things they should have taught you in school.  It’s not more cogs the world needs, but rather more people who will choose to lives in an intentional, meaningful and collaborative way.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, provocative, and noteworthy people to get their perspective on a life well lived.  Catch weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

Join us at:  www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

023 Shrink Your Comfort Zone and Grow Your Influence

This episode is part of a three part series exploring growing your potential.  This one is about comfort and pushing beyond.

LetGo Hello: Homeostasis for Your Life.

Learn the things they should have taught you in school.  It’s not more cogs the world needs, but rather more people who will choose to lives in an intentional, meaningful and collaborative way.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, provocative, and noteworthy people to get their perspective on a life well lived.  Catch weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

Join us at:  www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

022 Public Speaking with Corporate Keynote Christy Largent

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Christy Largent is back with a brief episode on building speaking skills. 

Christy is the opportunity expert and corporate keynote speaker.  You can find her online here:

christylargent.com

…and you can visit her speaking page here: 

http://christylargent.com/speaking

On the show, the following resources are mentioned:

Grant Baldwin’s Speaker Lab

Ken Davis’s material

Toastmasters

National Speakers Association

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LetGo Hello: Homeostasis for Your Life.

Learn the things they should have taught you in school.  It’s not more cogs the world needs, but rather more people who will choose to live in an intentional, meaningful and collaborative way.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, provocative, and noteworthy people for their perspective on a life well lived. 

Catch weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

Join us at:  www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

021 Homeostasis for Your Life with Krysten Stilwell

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On this episode, we explore homeostasis (or balance) for your life.  I join forces with my better half and up and coming podcast personality Krysten Stilwell.  This was a fun one full of knowledge nuggets and just some plain old good advice. 

LetGo Hello: Homeostasis for Your Life.

Learn the things they should have taught you in school.  It’s not more cogs the world needs, but rather more people who will choose to lives in an intentional, meaningful and collaborative way.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, provocative, and noteworthy people to get their perspective on a life well lived.  Catch weekly episodes on your favorite podcast app.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

Join us at:  www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

020 Build an Opportunity Mindset with Christy Largent

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“Don’t compare your starting point with someone else’s end point.”

Christy Largent is a Corporate Keynote Speaker who’s passion is to help people Create Positive Connections and Cultivate Purposeful Living.  She has created a program around a concept she calls “The Opportunity Mindset”.

This is a loose conversation, but it’s packed with value.  To learn more about Christy, or for information on booking her to speak, visit:

http://www.christylargent.com/

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LetGo Hello This is YOUR journey.

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LetGo Hello is here to support your journey.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big-picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

We delve into topics including, courage, purpose, personal finance, human behavior, connection, communication, and influence.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

 

019 Music, Networking and Marketing with D. Edward

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D. Edward is with us today.  On the show, we cover a variety of topics.  He talks about his latest album “Love Is”, he shares his 70/30 rule for building and engaging with your fanbase on social media, and he shares strategies for maximizing your time at events and conferences.

D.Edward started his career as a percussionist and traveled with the likes of Con Funk Shun and others.  He’s stepped out into the spotlight as a frontman with his solo career and is currently working on his third album.  His music has a deep laid-back soulful sound.  Check it out!

You can find him on the web at http://dedwardmusic.com/.

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LetGo Hello This is YOUR journey.

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What if your curiosity could connect you with your deepest desires? 

What if you had the courage to be the person your dreams require you to be.

LetGo Hello is here to support your journey.

On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big-picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

The LetGo Hello blog is a repository of information to support your journey toward a more free and well-lived life.

We delve into topics including, courage, purpose, personal finance, human behavior, connection, communication, and influence.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

018 What’s in a Good Story

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Storytelling is a tool that is innately human.  Story telling has been part of the human experience as far back as recorded history goes, and most likely continues back through the dawn of man. 

The intriguing thing is that the themes within the stories we tell tend to be very common and.  The mythology of today is similar to the mythology of yesterday, just updated. 

Here we explore storytelling.

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LetGo Hello is here to support your journey.

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On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.  Links to new episodes will be provided as they’re released.

The LetGo Hello blog is a repository of information to support your journey toward a more free and well-lived life.

We delve into topics including, courage, purpose, personal finance, human behavior, connection, communication, and influence.

Pick up your FREE guide “3 Ways to Build a Happier Life” and check us out on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

 

 

017 Time Money and Ideas | How to Maximize them with Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation

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Nick’s mission is to teach part-time entrepreneurs 1: strategies for building a business 2: and also to highlight opportunities to make extra money in their spare time. 

He’s also recently released a book called: “Buy Buttons: the fast track strategy to make extra money and start a business in your spare time.”

Nick answers the number one question Entrepreneurs ask, as well as the question they SHOULD be asking…

We cover time management, thoughts on money, and how to generate ideas. 

He suggests that the best place to start, is just to start.  So many people are waiting for the perfect idea and the perfect plan.  Spoiler alert, it does not exist.  Just begin.

We also discus different side hustles, and how people are making money online these days.  Tune in for some of the best from Nick Loper!

Check him out at Side Hustle Nation:

www.sidehustlenation.com

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LetGo Hello is here to support your journey.

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On the LetGo Hello podcast, your host Mark Stilwell, interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.  Links to new episodes will be provided as they’re released.

The LetGo Hello blog is a repository of information to support your journey toward a more free and well-lived life.

We delve into topics including, courage, purpose, personal finance, human behavior, connection, communication, and influence.

Pick up your FREE guide 3 Ways to Build a Happier Life and check us out on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…this is YOUR journey. 

016 Don’t Waste your Time on this, It’s a Killer of Dreams

This is a shorty to get you through till next week when I interview Nick Loper of Side Hustle Nation.  If you have any interest in earning income on the side, or starting something outside of your nine to five that you’re passionate about, you won’t want to miss that show.  It’s going up Tuesday, November, 29th.

This episode is about the dream stealer that stops many of potential greats before they even get the ball rolling.  Brought up in this episode are Jeff Olson for some of his wit, and Les Brown for an example of how our beliefs about ourselves can keep us from even trying.

Remember, you don’t need to be responsible for other people’s opinions of you.

……

LetGo Hello is here to support your journey. 

Your host Mark Stilwell interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

Check us out on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…because this is YOUR journey.

015 Facing Conflict with Confidence, with James Rapson

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James Rapson is back on the show to do a deep dive on a chapter from his book.   

This time we focus our discussion on the practices of the warrior.  We’re NOT talking about violence.  Instead, we talk about the courage that comes from restraint, following your heart and your ethic, and holding empathy for yourself as you begin walking the warrior path.

Check out his book, that he wrote with his longtime friend Craig English: “Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice”

…then visit his site to get more information on his 1:1 coaching.  You can find him here:

http://www.jamesrapson.com

……

LetGo Hello is here to support your journey. 

Your host Mark Stilwell interviews thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people, across disciplines to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

Check us out on the web at:

http://www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

/LetGoHello

@LetGoHello

Let go of what’s been holding you back…because this is YOUR journey.

014 Imagine your Passion as your Playground with Comedian David Lew

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David Lew is an insightful and hilarious comedian.  Lew blends life events into funny and inspiring material.  Prepare yourself for this one because it is a bit out of the norm and intended for a mature audience only.

Hang on while we take a trip through his wires We explore some of his inspirations from boy bands, RnB, Wrestling, his wife and daughter; and how he’s adjusting to fatherhood and life as a cancer survivor. 

Reach out to him and find out where he’ll be next here:

http://www.facebook.com/iheartdavidlew/

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Have you paused your grinding long enough to find an ache that something is missing.  Does it feel like the more you chase what you think you want, the more it tends to elude you.  You don’t need to accept that feeling as just another part of life.

Join the journey as we interview thought leaders, across domains to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a fulfilling life.

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative, and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment.

Join us, and remember…your journey begins with your joy.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Facebook and Twitter:

@LetgoHello

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

013 Goals | How to Run a Half Marathon

This short episode is a take on blending reach-goals and shorter milestones.  A story about running a half marathon weaves the two together.  There’s a twist at the end.

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At LetGo Hello, we’re interested in building courage and community.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we think we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

012 The Promise of the Next Generation with Rob Adams

Rob-Adams

Rob Adams is the Assistant Superintendent for one of the largest school districts in the North State area.  Join us as we discuss grit and mindset in the school system, Common Core, and leadership.  You can find Rob’s blog at:

http://reddingschools.net/curriculum/ 

His latest blog on Grit can be found here:

http://reddingschools.net/2016/10/05/why-good-ideas-have-a-hard-time-spreading-and-a-little-bit-of-basketball/

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At LetGo Hello, we’re interested in building courage and community.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we think we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

011 Begin Now, Two Big Ideas Concerning the Magic of Action

All of the things that you believe you need in order to get started are probably not as necessary as you think.

You’ll learn as you go

Many people will focus on researching and researching with the thought that they will build when they have all the data/knowledge/skill etc.  the truth is that that time never comes. 

It’s a form of stalling.

My lovely and talented wife (who by the way I’ve found is awesome with voiceovers!  She’s the voice on the LetGo Hello intro and outdo)…she is always reminding me of this.  I can easily analyze till I’m paralyzed.  I can easily busy myself on things that make little or no difference to the outcome.  Jim Rohn always talked about people who major in minors.  We spend our time on things that make little difference.  Do we really need to check our email 20 times in a day?  Why not just twice…and definitely  after you’ve knocked out a big agenda item.

Austin’s Kleon’s short read “Show Your Work”  Not mentioned, but check it out…

Have Faith

  1. We grow in the process as we put our work out there.  We learn by doing…

Before I started my blog, my thoughts circled around a couple nebulous ideas.  I could begin to articulate them but the ideas felt half stuck.  It wasn’t until I actually wrote them down…and then uploaded them onto the blog (opening them up to an actual audience, that they began to make more sense…and more importantly…free up my thoughts and energy to not only further develop those ideas, but also make room for more ideas.  It seems the more I shared, the more room I had.  In addition, that’s where things started coming my way.  Most of the guests

On this podcast, with every episode that I release, I’m further refining my voice and my focus.  I get so nervous before every interview, and sometimes during…  I am embarrassed by my past releases, and I’m working to get better with every one.  That’s part of the process, I’m finding and developing my voice as I go.  My focus tightens up with everything I share.  I really appreciate all of the feedback that I’ve received from the listeners out there as the podcast evolves. 

Reid Hoffman Linkedin “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”

2. the resources will appear when you need them

Field of dreams… If you build it they will come.  This is a cry for action.  If there is something in you to create, then do something about it TODAY as a step toward it.  Do it today…a small step.  just get the ball rolling.  no more imaging.  Don’t let today be like the other todays that have passed, and then you find yourself at 40 wondering where all the time went.  Just Begin.   Just begin.  Just begin.

I believe the concept can be turned around into an enlightened self interest, the more we give, the more comes back.  That’s not what it’s about though.  It’s all about the community that we develop as we embark on our journey.  James Rapson (who I’ve interviewed on this show) said something that’s stuck with me.  He said:  The people who you are looking for…are also looking for you.  Many of the people I’ve come into contact with that a have been helpful in someway are a result of action I’d taken.

Remember, just begin, and the resources you need will come along the way.  Also, you’ll grow in the process. 

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we think we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

 

010 The Relativity of Money

This episode is about the relativity of money.

This thought came from a recent conversation I had with Leisa Peterson of WealthClinic.com, but we were talking about scarcity mindset.  We were talking about how often, there never seems to be enough money no matter how much we make. 

Following that conversation, I thought some more about it.  No matter how much money I’ve earned, I’ve always been able to live relatively comfortably within my means.  I haven’t always been able to buy all the things I’ve wanted, or travel wherever or whenever, but I feel like I’ve been pretty lucky. 

Whenever I’ve come into extra money though, it seems that my lifestyle would quickly absorb that extra income.

The other side is also true.  When I’ve earned less, my lifestyle seemed to automatically adjust to compensate for having less money coming in. 

Three examples come to mind immediately.

First, When I took a job as a teacher, I took roughly a $10,000 pay cut from what I was earning in the corporate sector.  Oddly, I needed more education to become a teacher too.  Go figure.  That’s how we currently value education in our country.  Maybe that will change.  I became a teacher because I wanted to help students see different ways of solving problems.  I wanted to teach them to become better consumers of information, and I wanted to help to instill a lifelong love of learning.  As justified, the pay-cut was worth it. 

Well, I hardly noticed the cut, oddly enough.  Everything I needed was still taken care of. 

Caution:  don’t set your lifestyle standards so high that you can’t afford breathing room in your budget…

The second example came later when I went through my divorce.  My ex wife made about $15k more than me per year, and we were living with two incomes.  Every month, we spent what we earned (we hadn’t mastered saving quite yet.  We always had enough, but we cut it close every month.  Toward the end of our relationship, I ran an experiment and began funneling $500 every month into a savings account.  I assured my ex that it would be there if we ever needed to tap into it.  Oddly enough, once it was pulled out of the account every month, we never needed it.  It was a classic situation of out of sight outa’ mind…

A third example:  Well, things eventually didn’t work out for us and I ended up moving out.  I was now living with my kids on less than half of our income as compared to when I was married.  The expenses when I was the sole earner (on less than half of what we were pulling in before were’t all too different.  The biggest difference was that I was saving $250 in rent because I didn’t need as big of a place.  Anyway, although I was very cautious about spending at first, I didn’t notice much of a difference in the amount of money at the end of every month.  I was even able to start putting aside 10% of my income without much of a hit. 

The point is that, within reason, our income vs expenditures is relative.  We all have wants, and those wants will always stretch beyond what we can afford.  If we are making more money, we tend to spend more and if we make less money, we tend to spend less.   

Maybe mindset has something to do with it as well.  No matter what, I’ve always had the view that I’d have enough and that I’d be OK.  The universe will provide…   

The trick is to recognize this tendency and then to always pay yourself first. 

Jim Rohn, my unofficial mentor talked about the book “The Richest Man in Babylon.  When I first heard him talk about it, I went out and got that book.  It’s so simple, yet so profound.  George S. Clason talks about paying yourself first from all of your earnings and using that money to work for you in providing for your future.

Remember that we truly do live in abundance if we are willing to see things from that perspective.  Pay yourself first and you probably won’t even notice you’re living on less. 

009 Leisa Peterson: Mindfulness and Abundance in your Relationship with Money

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Leisa Peterson is a business and money coach and also the founder of WealthClinic.

Her mission at WealthClinic includes detailing the value of having greater mindfulness in money relationships.

Her work is a complimentary blend between spirituality and finance.

On this episode, we talk about relationships with money, and her work in supporting her clients while they break their relationship patterns surrounding money. 

We talk about awareness, her 7 stages of Scarcity and 7 stages of abundance, why you need 3 budgets, and how to begin to shift your mindset around our money troubles.

You can find more information at www.wealthclinic.com

You can reach her at lpeterson@wealthclinic.com

At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we think we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

008 Leonardo Da Vinci was the Bernie Kelly of the 16th Century |The Quest of a Native American in an Evolving Nation

Bernie

Bernie Kelly is a modern day Leonardo Da Vinci.  He’s a science teacher, writer, seeker, Karate instructor/dojo founder, one-time high-ranking California State Militia officer, wildcraft and wild foods/medicinal plant dabbler, family man, and all around great guy.  Listen and see why I consider him to be in the realm of

Listen in as we explore topics ranging from the quest of finding identity, the practice of self reliance, directions in education

This interview is a philosophic freediving experience, covering a few different areas that could all vary well be episodes in themselves.   Shoot me an email and Let me know if there is any interest in having him back on the show to dive deeper into any of the areas discussed.

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we think we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

Find us on the web at:

www.letgohello.com

Reach out to Mark at:

mark@letgohello.com

Check out this brand new LetGo Hello episode!

007 Dean Bokhari talks about his biggest influences and the meaningful movement he’s pushing forward

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Dean Bokhari is highly steeped in personal development, so I was eager to pick his brain. Dean is a masterful storyteller, so I think you’ll find his delivery and the concepts discussed both engaging and easy to relate to. On this episode we talk about his top 5 books that he’d recommend for someone starting out. We also talk about the power of thought, Discipline, Action, and kids soccer! He talks about his own personal journey as he discovered a new way to live that revolutionized every aspect of his life.

Dean Bokhari is passionate about personal development, in fact, he’s created a company around personal development called GetFlashNotes.com where he condenses down personal development books in the areas of business, finance and life into bite sized chunks. He releases the content in both audio and written formats. The bonus is that you can consume a large breadth of work in a short span of time. It’s really a great way for the busy person who in interested in building their skills. 

Dean also has a podcast related to personal growth and a blog dedicated to the same topic at Meaningful HQ.

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at:

www.letgohello.com

006 A Different Way to Find Success

The first thing we need to do to find success is to stop looking for it.  The expression that “Success is a Journey, not a destination” has become so overly used and cliche that I hesitate to suggest it’s importance.  I was inspired the first time I heard it, but being as slow as I am to pick up on the subtleties, it’s taken over twenty years to really begin to understand what it means.  Yes, we should enjoy the journey on the way to our destination?yes, we’re often disappointed shortly after we get something we’ve been wanting, so we should enjoy the journey.  That is true, but it’s occurred to me more recently, as I’ve been starting to look at my habits and examine their consequences, that these explanations fall short.

I’m learning that the quotation above is really hinting at mindfulness.   Mindfulness is a state of being, not a state of becoming.  Mindfulness, to me, most simply means that we let go of the the trappings of regret and anxiety.  Our regrets come from the way we think about the past.  I’m not suggesting that consequences (contrived or natural) are bad or to be ignored.  What I am suggesting is that our past doesn’t have to define us.

Anxieties often come from self doubt regarding how we will perform in the future. Anxiety sits on the shoulders of that little voice that tells us we’re not smart enough, sexy enough, talented enough strong enough, etc.  This is a voice that I continue to struggle with today.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve created this website.

Relating these ideas to the quotation “Success is a journey, not a destination”, suggests that we need to change our definition of success.  We need to be very careful with the assumption that happiness will come once we reach our goal.  The goal in fact is secondary in our development.  Goals are targets.  As a middle school Resource teacher I’ve written and worked toward goals for a living.  It’s so easy to get hung up on last year and next year.  One of the most common things I hear parents say in this regard is:  “I’m worried that [she’s] not going to be ready for high school.”  This fear keeps us pinned to a limited now.  It’s easy to doubt our potential and let our worries dictate how far we reach.

The truth is, we have every thing we need right here and right now, to be happy in this moment.  We don’t need to let our regrets from the past or the worries about the future hold our dreams hostage anymore.  The “magic’ comes when we let go and embrace the moment.  We can live fulfilled right now.  The paradox is that it won’t come later until we find it now.

Success is really a state of being that can begin any time we choose.  When I was in high school, there was an Army slogan that ran constantly on TV.  It said: “Be, all that you can be?”  Hidden in that message is mindfulness.  It didn’t say: Become all that you can become.  Some marketing genius nailed it.  There was a time when I considered joining the Army.  I chose college instead?and then traveled on my own rather than through the armed forces.

Success is not about becoming.  Success is about being.  We must look at the person we want to become and be that now, to scale.  We must be disciplined when the amounts are small.  The only way to become, is to start being.  We can only have the skills and abilities of “success” by practicing the skills and abilities of success now, in this moment.  We can only become fulfilled (arguably another way to look at success) if we find fulfillment in the moment.  Now is really all the time we have.

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at:

www.letgohello.com

005 Movement as a Lifestyle with Brian Pratt of Thrival Life

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Brian is the baddest assed person I’ve ever met.  He is a movement instructor who specializes in natural primitive movement technique and is a proponent of the paleo diet.  He works with his clients on their health goals while engaging in natural movements within a natural environment.

I had the honor of going through an introductory exploration of some of his techniques and processes.  The woods near my house served as our gym, and the fallen trees, grassy pastures and boulders filled in for our equipment.  After my punishment in the 110 degree Redding heat, we sat down in the wilds for a slightly winded, but informative interview about his philosophies on incorporating movement into everything we do.

Thrival Life considers the health of the whole person and how to maintain a fully alive lifestyle. Whether you’re at home, work or on the go, their goal is to help you create and optimize your best life with nutrition, movement, restoration, and community.  The goal is to help you to be ready, capable, and resilient so that you are thriving in your life.

Start the adventure of living your life on purpose, today!  Check them out:

www.thrivallife.com

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at:

www.letgohello.com

Check out this brand new LetGo Hello episode!

004 Simple Disciplines | Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

This episode is about the act of engaging in simple disciplines every day in an effort to improve your tolerance and increase your threshold for managing challenges that naturally come to us all. 

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at:

www.letgohello.com

Check out this brand new LetGo Hello episode!

003 Embracing your Inner Warrior with James Rapson

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iTunes link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/letgo-hello-perspective-shifts/id1143410487?mt=2&i=375190778

In this episode, we dig deep into the difference between niceness and kindness, and we delve into the many pitfalls that people with chronic niceness (like I’ve personally been working through) fall into.  We also discuss several of the 7 practices that James Rapson M.S., LMF (along with his co-author and long-time-friend Craig English) discusses.

James is a veteran therapist and teacher whose writing combines hard-won personal insight with clinical experience and scholarship. He is the co-author of “Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice,” released nationally in April of 2006 (second printing November 2006).

James is the founder of Group of Dads, which offers classes, workshops and groups for fathers.  For more information on the book, or his groups, you may follow the link below.

http://www.anxioustoplease.com/index.html

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At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing.  We search for meaning.  We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us.  We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment.  Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at:

www.letgohello.com

002 Why Being a “Nice” Person Sucks, This Guy’s Making and Dismantling of a Nice Guy

This episode is a bit of a departure from the typical interview format, as the shows will sometimes go.  This episode is all about the anxiety that comes from keeping your mind focused on future outcomes, rather than in focusing on what’s in front of us.  My own struggles with chronic niceness are discussed as well as how my awareness began to grow around my own insecurities.  As we shine a light on our own insecurities and allow them to inhabit the same space as us (without attempting to push them away or shrink away from them) their power over us weakens.

I talk about how I’ve recently invited some of my own insecurities in to examine them for what they were.  I get into what I learned in the process.

Awareness, is a key element of growth, and a the surest way to break down personal boundaries.  Join me on the journey.  You can learn more at www.letgohello.com

At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing. We search for meaning. We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us. We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment. Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

On the next episode, James Rapson shares insights into niceness -vs- kindness.

More information can be found at www.letgohello.com

001 Overcoming Rejection with Laura Yates, Breakup Coach and Writer

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On this podcast, you’ll get great advice on getting past rejection.

letgohello.com

Laura Yates is your relationship and breakup coach, helping you heal from heartbreak.  Visit her Website here:

www.laurayates.org

Her podcast can be found on iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/lets-talk-heartbreak/id1090813996?mt=2

Breakups can be devastating experiences.  On this show Laura talks about her coaching of people who are fresh out of a breakup on reclaiming their own individuality as well as coaching them as they begin dating again.  We discuss perspective shifts required as people go through the grieving process and find their identity, and how to know when a relationship is over.  She talks about common mistakes people make in the process that slow the healing process as well as strategies that can support people as they move on.  We also get into what makes a healthy relationship.  We also delve into business relationships as well.

On a personal side, she talks about her thoughts on finding balance…or rather her philosophy on stepping out of balance to accomplish big things in life.  We get into ways she structures her time to work toward personal goals as well as well as her thoughts on following passion and finding your calling.

At LetGo Hello, we bring value to people who care.

On the show, writer, speaker and educator Mark Stilwell, interviews thought leaders, in a variety of areas including psychology, philosophy, health, business, personal finance, relationships, and spirituality, to get a big picture perspective of what it means to live a more fulfilling life.

Life tends to keep us busy grinding away until one day we awaken with the ache that something is missing. We search for meaning. We try to fill the holes, but the more we chase what we want, the more it tends to elude us. We can often be left feeing empty

LetGo Hello is all about perspective shifts on the transformative journey of fulfillment. Our goal is to connect you with thoughtful, clever, provocative and noteworthy people and ideas in an exploration of fulfillment and how to attract more abundance in life.

Join us as we discus ways to find lasting meaning and happiness.

More information can be found at www.letgohello.com

Imperfectly Achieving Your Goals

It is vastly important to remember what makes you human.  Your imperfections are what make you unique and allow you to connect with other people.  Have empathy for yourself as you meet obstacles and make mistakes.  Have empathy for yourself while you refine your character as you stumble along.  These are the experiences that will shape and build who you are.  When it’s time to share; these “failures”, setbacks and experiences may become the stories that will one day keep people riveted.

While you amble along, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to have all the requisite skills prior to beginning.  I play guitar and ukulele as a hobby.  Years ago, it was something that I wanted to do, but since I couldn’t play, I never bought a guitar, or even tried to play.  It took me years to initiate.  After a breakup, I finally bought one.  It was partially the breakup, but also stumbling upon some of Bob Dylan’s earlier recordings that prompted me.  I figured that if he could sing, well then hell…  I knew nothing about how to play, but I spent periods of time every day practicing moving between chords that I had found in a book (before internet).  The changes became more and more fluid and within two months I was writing songs and playing at a local open mic in Marin where I lived at the time.  I didn’t get the skill before I started playing, I had to spend hours playing to get the skill.

Building skills through practice tends to make sense, but so often, people have it backwards.  We hear people all the time say things like “I would love to paint, but I’m not artistic.”  …or “I want to write a book someday, but I don’t know where to begin.  The truth is, anyone who is an artist or a writer started in the same place.  The key is that they started.  If you’re not getting the results you want in a specific area, it is important to look back at the things you did, or the actions you took to get you to where you are.  The actions we took in the past determine where we are now.  The actions we take now, determine where we’ll be in the future.

It may also be important to broaden your definition of what a skill is.  Maintaining a strong love life is a skill.  Growing your savings/investments is a skill.  The key is that it can be learned.  It takes focused effort in that area.  Napoleon Hill said: “Do the thing and you’ll have the power…”   By actually doing the thing you wish to learn, you build skill in that area over time.  The key is to begin, and to have empathy for your clumsiness and mistakes as you grow.

What do a Hairdresser and a Programmer Have in Common? Six Ways to stand out in your field.

The normal person who cuts my hair was out today, but I put my name on the list anyway.  While waiting, another hairdresser was in the front area consulting with a woman who was getting highlights.  It was evident that she either had a lot of knowledge, or that she was clueless.  My knowledge of coloring and “W’s” and “V’s” etc. is sufficiently lacking to where I couldn’t tell the difference.  When she later called my name, I decided to risk my image to her with a certain unestablished trust.

Immediately following a short discussion on what I typically did, she gave me her opinion of what she’d like to do with my hair.  There was a ring to her voice and a confidence despite her fresh-out-of-high school appearance that I felt no need to protect against.  I went along with her suggestion because there was a feeling in me that good things could happen if she were given free artistic reign.  Besides, I’m past the age of knowing what good style is anymore anyway.

In the conversation, she explained that she loved her job.  She said it was depressing to her that so many people spend so much time at their jobs when they don’t like what they do.  She talked about how when she’s not at work, she’s constantly observing people and how they put themselves together (some of which would benefit from a step into her chair.)

Her energy remind me of a conversation I had long ago at an art showing in San Francisco.  While my girlfriend at the time supported her cousin with her exhibit, I was getting water in the lobby.  An indian with thick glasses, who was so tall he stooped, happened to be standing alone in the lobby.  Rather than maintain the two pockets of individual awkwardness there, I nodded and said hi to him.  His eyes awkwardly darted to other parts of the room, but I pressed him anyway. 

I found out that he was a programmer.  When I asked him how he got his start, he underwent a transition in front of me as his awkwardness morphed into enthusiasm.  He was the guy who gave personality to those weird little Microsoft characters like the paperclip that tapped on your screen, or the dog that sniffed when you did a search.  His eyes widened and the muscles in his shoulders and face relaxed as he told me of people he imagined who were working on their computers all day.  He said that it makes him happy knowing that he’d had the opportunity to make someone he would never meet smile from their interaction with one of his creations.  I spent the rest of my time talking with him about his work.

I’m always fascinated when I talk with someone who really loves what they do.  I’m so interested that I’ve spent time studying it.  The coolest thing I’ve learned is that it is a skill.  Skills can be learned.  Love for what you do is teachable.  It turns out, that you don’t have to “find your passion” as so many assume and as so many motivational speakers profess.  You just have to bring your passion with you and build as you go.  Some people create that “love” for what they do deliberately, but most stumble upon it accidentally.  Regardless, it is a skill, and it can be developed.  People who love what they do have several commonalities.  as follows are major components:

They See Themselves as Self-Employed. 

This concept is a favorite of sales and business philosopher Brian Tracy.  He has made popular the idea that top performers in every field see themselves as self-employed.  Even though they get a paycheck, they are really self employed and see it as their duty to create a positive experience for their customer.  They want to build that relationship by bringing exceptional value to their customer.  In some cases, they see their employer as their customer because, in effect, they are selling a service to that employer.  They also see that the more value they provide, not only does their value to the employer go up, but their happiness does as well.  They know that they are providing value, which directly affects their self esteem.  A person who is showing up at work, and not giving their best is subconsciously destroying their self esteem because they’re not delivering their potential.  They know they can do better, but they don’t, therefore their ability begins to shrink with their self esteem.  Just like muscle will weaken through lack of use, a person’s skills atrophy if not used.  The opposite is true.  The more a person contributes, the greater their potential to contribute in the future becomes. 

They Aren’t Deterred by the Talk or Perceived Thoughts of others.

Unfortunately, there’s a trait in people that seeks equilibrium.  There tends to be a social pressure to not stand out in many organizations, families, or other social networks.  It’s a shame that many would-be greats are cut down and pulled back by their peers so early in their process of of growth and in developing their skills.   These friends and family are typically well meaning, but just can’t envision the potential for success.

despite ridicule (or the potential for it) people who love their work keep on with their bad selves and avoid dwelling on the well meaning cautions thrown out to them by peers and family so haphazardly.  They don’t much worry what people will think if they try something new.  They realize that although they aren’t good now, it doesn’t matter.  They love what they do.  They get better the longer they work.  What they pursue is an exciting experiment.  They let the talkers talk and don’t worry too much about it.  They’re not afraid to stand out.  They know that eventually, their ideas and work will find a place and an audience.  Jeff Olson, marketing expert and author of The Slight Edge often talks about the concept that new ideas tend to go through three stages.  First they’re ridiculed, then they’re violently opposed, before finally they become self evident.  People with a love for their work are not afraid to go through the stages.

They Want to Make a Difference in the Lives of Their Customers.

People who are fulfilled by their work don’t often stand out at first glance, but when they get going, they actually begin to draw a crowd.  They are eager to help others along their own path and tend to not worry too much about guarding secrets.  They believe that there is plenty of room at the top and don’t mind sharing what they know with people who care.

They don’t just have a job, they instead see themselves as providing a service to others.  They love what they do so much, they want to make a difference in the lives of other people around them and they are eager to share their talent and everything they’ve learned in the process.

They Speak Positively About their Work.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he” is a phrase that goes back thousands of years.  It’s been the subject of many talks and books since.  People who love their work, love it because they think positively about it…not the other way around.  They don’t dwell on the negative.  Some do this consciously, others not, but everyone who loves their work, focuses on the positives and successes.  They don’t dwell too long on the negative.  Our thoughts tend to dictate our attitudes and actions.  Our actions dictate our results and the way we feel.  This in turn influences our thoughts again.  There is a feedback loop.  Negative thoughts have the same, yet opposite effect.  The place to start is your dominating thoughts surrounding what you do.

They “Work” Longer Than Their Shift

People who are in the right line of work (or who have put themselves in the right frame of mind surrounding their work) work longer than their peers who are first to hit the parking lot after fulfilling their contracted hours.  Not only do they tend to work longer and do more than they are paid to do, they work while they are at work.  They don’t waist too much time in idle conversation with coworkers or waisting time with minutia.  They often bounce ideas off of other like minded individuals, but spend most of their time in action.

With their self-employed attitude, these people see the connection between the work they put in and the results they benefit from even it there are no obvious signs.  They understand that their results are a numbers game and that over time, the more they put in, the more they get back within reason.  It’s a balance to not loose sight of other values in the process.

They Follow the Trends in their Field

They’re so excited about their field, they are on the cutting edge and confidence flows from them as they talk about it.  They pay attention to the development of their industry and in some cases actually drive it.  They love what they do so much that it’s difficult to not talk about it.  They tend to work their passion into every conversation.

In addition, They think about their work outside of work.  They look for opportunities to be better at what they do.  Whether it’s reading trade publications or taking classes, they are constantly improving themselves.  To them, it’s a passion, they don’t see it as work. 

In short, People who love their work think positively about it, bring all of their energy and passion with them and spend time learning how they can better serve their customers.  They realize that the connections they make, are what make their effort meaningful.  The most beautiful piece is that coming to your work with your passion burning is a skill and it can be learned through patient practice. 

How Fear Can Undermine Your Chances at Making a Real Connection

We can smell fear about as well as dogs and bees can.  (Thanks for the reference, little boy from Jerry Maguire!) Face it, if you’re in a conversation with a person who seems nervous, you probably feel awkward and are searching for a way to end the conversation and politely move on with your day.  It’s uncomfortable.

I ran into a past student recently with her parent and had a great conversation with them.  It was a wonderful experience that left us all smiling as we parted company.  I used to have a different experience in running into parents and students though.  Seeing a student or parent outside of work was a somewhat awkward experience for me.  Should I approach them?  Should I pretend that I don’t see them?  What if they want to corner me with question about school that may be awkward to answer?  These questions would roll through my head as if they were on a highlight reel of what-ifs.  Our culture has a way (particularly in the school system) of driving fear into us.  The same can be true of client relationships in a business.

Traditional organizational management systems (and schools are no exception) tend to be very top down.  All too often, the structure is perpetuated through fear.  In the school example, teachers (employees) are afraid of the principal (manager); principals are afraid of the superintendent (CEO); and all of the above are afraid of the parents (investors and clients), or at least the law suits they are capable of bringing down onto the district (company).  Particularly in a school system, staff tend to be very careful about how they behave and what they say, out in public.  We’re warned about the abundance of lawsuits and of the personal damages some unfortunate teachers have been forced to pay.  Though the education budget in my state has seen a recent swing for the better, we live under the threat of a swing in the opposite direction.  We also deal with large class sizes, and changing standards/programs/laws/timelines/protocols/procedures, etc….  The list goes on, school systems often cultivate a culture of fear among staff.  Perhaps there is a good reason.  There is a certain measure of CYA (cover your ass) going on for sure which is necessary in our highly litigious times.  Education is certainly not the only profession where we find this response.  This attitude builds fear in people, and people who act in fear, at best, relate awkwardly with others.

Some would argue that continuously reminding ourselves of these pitfalls and consequences builds continued awareness of what could happen if we slip up or become lazy.  Awareness is extremely important, but we simply cannot live in that fear.  Living with fear and anxiety is being proven more and more to cause a multitude of chronic illnesses including heart disease.  Higher levels of cortisol in the body from stress is being linked to inflammation and other related health problems.  Sitting in staff meetings, I often feel that we all just need to chill out a bit.

The more I grow, the more I realize that there is little to fear.  In any moment, we can only act on what we feel is best based on our accumulated experience.  Typically, that is enough.  If we lack the skills or information we need, we can reach out to others with experience or build the skills we need (the best way to build skill, by the way, is by performing the skill you hope to learn).

In the past, buried under the weight of fear, I’ve found myself quite uncomfortable while talking with parents and even students out in the community.  It’s often felt like a game of hiding my flaws.  In truth however, our flaws are part of what make us human and relatable to the people around us.  We don’t need to make ourselves smaller (or bigger) than we truly are.   What we are, right now, is enough.  I am more and more convinced that a happy life begins with two things.  First, let go of fear (don’t let fear influence your thoughts in an unhealthy way).  Second, see the world from the perspective of love, acceptance and appreciation.

Love Is Letting Go of Fear” by Gerald G. Jampolsky, MD is a great little book on this topic that I recommend for further reading in this area.  It’s been around for a while, but the message is timeless.  The book has been liberally borrowed from by contemporaries in the genre.  It’a a simple look at the power of living in the moment.  The premise is that we are responsible for our present circumstances, and can, at any moment, change our path and choose a more positive experience for ourselves and others around us.

We choose our reality in every moment.  In the recent exchange with the student and parent I ran into, the conversation was made much more natural and meaningful by choosing to let go of the fear.

Another “Secret” to a Happy Life

“The sleep of a laboring [wo]man is sweet”

-Solomon

We often fantasize about not having to work.  Our culture often promotes this ideal.  Automate!  Optimize!  Delegate!  Put systems in place, and you won’t have to work!  So many are making the shout.  The truth is, when I look back, I’ve always been happiest when I’ve had work to do.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve been susceptible to such talk and marketing.  To get past the cravings, I need only remember back to lessons learned while traveling abroad.   It didn’t take many months (about three in fact) before I began to feel too idle.  Along the way, all the towns begin to look the same, no matter where you go.  Even at home, I can only binge watch Game of Thrones for so long before I feel the tug back to reality. 

Maybe it’s not everyone that feels this way, Hell, maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think so.  No matter how much we complain about it, work can make us contented and happy.  As long as I have an opportunity to make some kind of difference (it doesn’t matter if I’m influencing others through teaching, or if I’m wiping tables to make a restaurant experience better for patrons) I have an opportunity to feel happy through service.  I don’t always feel happy.  I imagine if I was, I’d be better off somewhere away from the general population.  I do have a net happiness though.  momentary happiness vs net happiness is the difference between watching the weather and watching the climate.  The day-to-day (weather) can be all over the place, where the long-term (climate) shows a trend. 

Though we dream of not having to work so that we can have the time for the things we want (which, by the way, can boil down to happiness) the reality is that work has the ability to provide that which we seek.  Rather than seeking to not work, perhaps a better idea is to seek a way to serve that brings happiness.  We can either find that meaning in our current job, or make a shift to find it.  It’s usually best to start with the former. 

Luck’s Three Step Formula, and My $2,000,000 Mistake

“To be ‘lucky’, you must build the skills you’ll need in order to ‘attract’ the luck you want.”

Luck is about attracting and then acting upon opportunities.  Though some people just seem to have all the luck, they have it because they act on opportunities when others do not.  Most people have a skewed vision of luck as a passive force, or coincidence.  Magic or not, there is a formula, that if implemented, luck will find you too.

So many seek luck while expecting unusual returns with little or no investment.  Although windfalls do occur from time to time, they never happen with regularity, and what is acquired usually disappears quickly.  I like to play craps in the casinos.  I like it because it’s the only game in the house where the excitement and camaraderie is contagious.  There have been times where I have been “lucky” and walked back to the cashier like a chipmunk with stuffed pockets, but if I’m honest, I’ve lost more than I’ve ever won.  Mathematically, it’s impossible to win in the long run.  People try to beat the house by betting more when they’re winning, and less, if at all, when the table is cold.  In all actuality however, superstition or not, the dice roll randomly and the odds are stacked in the houses favor.  It’s impossible to make a long-term living playing games in a casino (unless you work in or own the casino).

Another side of that type of luck for which people often hope, is where something will come into their life whether earned or not.  Many people wish they could somehow acquire a large sum of money so they can buy the things they want or not have to work anymore.  Others wish they were famous or had a better job, house, car, or whatever else.  Some wish for love.  The funny thing here is that these things seldom last long if the person who somehow acquired the windfall lacked the skill to earn or maintain it in the first place.  It’s common knowledge that most lotto winners go broke within a few short years of winning their large sums of money.  The problem is that they lack the knowledge of money needed to maintain it and make it grow.  They spend it, loose it in poor investments, or it’s taken from them in lawsuits.

Our conventional idea of luck is flawed.  We can’t expect to get something for nothing.  There are people who are lucky often and who actually do make miracles happen.  They follow a formula.  Luck requires three things; preparation, opportunity and action. 

Preparation

Civil Rights activist Whitney Young Jr. is credited with the quotation: “It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.”  Preparation starts with goals and culminates in activity.  If you truly do want to be a star athlete, you’ll need to invest the time conditioning your muscles and reflexes and in building your skills.  The same is true with money.  If you want to be worth a lot (and keep it), you’ll first have to develop the skills and disciplines of wealth to attract it.  You need to start while the amounts are small.  For more on this, I’d suggest you read “The Richest Man in Babylon” By George S. Clason.  The book is worth far more than the price on the jacket.  The book is a classic collection of parables that teach how to attract more money and make it work for you.

The comparison can continue.  If you want to have a happy marriage and family life, that takes like investments of time and skillful effort as well.  The same goes for health.  We need to learn about the right foods and activities that will promote health.  The necessary skills can be acquired through practice and study.  When I decided that I wanted to teach, and to teach well; I had to eventually take the classes, emulate teachers I respected, and practice what I was learning.  Opportunities come when we’re prepared for them, when we’ve honed our abilities.    

Opportunity

In opportunity is inherent risk.  The luckiest of people risk regularly, but the risk is calculated.  They either have substantial experience with industries in which they invest their time and money, or they have trusted advisors who lead them in benign directions.  In addition, they don’t expect to get rich quickly.  Opportunities are around us everywhere.  Most people rarely see them because they’re not paying attention, fear stops them, or they procrastinate.  Procrastination is the biggest enemy which is why luck tends to favor those who act quickly.  Indecision is a personal demon that I struggle with.  Opportunities are like a breeze that can push your sail with the force needed to arrive at your destination.  The breeze often blows, but with no set destination (as I’ve struggled with before I began setting goals) you’ll lack the necessary direction to set your sail to lead you to your goal.  If you don’t trim the sail, you’ll not catch the breeze and in 5 years, you may be in a different place, but only where you’ve drifted.  

Action

Luck takes action.  We need to act on opportunities that we find…and act quickly.  I appreciate my colleague Pam Chandler for supplying me with another great quotation, this one by Ben Franklin.  He said: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

To be “lucky”, you must build the skills you’ll need in order to “attract” the luck you want.  To build the skills, you’ll need to do the thing that you’re working toward.  That sounds backward, but it’s true.  You must join a credentialing program and teach…before you can become a teacher.  If you want financial independence, you need to put a portion of your income away (when you’re paid, not at the end of the month) every time you earn money.  It’s highly unlikely that you’ll become financially independent if you spend your whole paycheck every month.  Skills are built through the discipline of being responsible starting now, while the amounts are small.  Another way of building skills is through research.  Information can be found cheaply in books, in advice from respected people, and online resources available at our fingertips.  All we must do is search.  Be careful to not spend too much time here.  Research can turn into a drug that stalls forward motion.  The results come from action, so don’t search too long.  This is advice that I also need to take personally.  I like to spend hours researching.  Research is part of preparation, but action is the magic piece.  

A check to determine if what you’re planning to do is something worth going after can be found in a blog by Derek Sivers.  He says, do it if it makes you happy, if it’s smart in the long run and if it’s useful for others. I urge you to read the blog for more of an explanation.

My $2,000,000 Mistake

I’m working toward living more mindfully in the present, and part of that requires letting go of the past and to stop beating myself up.  One regret I have is harder than many to get over though.  I fully knew the consequences when I was in my early 20’s, but willfully ignored an opportunity that would have earned me over $2,000,000.  When I took my first corporate job, I took advantage of my company’s 401k match policy.  It was easy to do, because I hadn’t made so much money before and my money was skimmed off the top of my check before it even hit my account.  In a short time, I had accrued something close to $5000.  When I changed occupations, I failed to take advantage of the opportunity of reinvesting that money.  Instead, I paid the tax penalty and ended up spending it on things that seemed important at the time.  Worse than that, I no longer made regular investments.  It’s easy to say that, “It’s only a few grand.  What difference does it make?”  If I had reinvested that money into an IRA or something similar that was earning perhaps 6.5% annually, it would now be worth over $15,000.  If I left it there until retirement, it would be worth between $70,000-$130,000 depending on the rate of return (6.5-8%).  If I had continued investing around $500 per month (essentially a car payment), I would have likely had over $2,000,000 by retirement.  6.5% average return rate is a highly approachable number historically, and quite conservative.  If I had the money invested mostly in stocks that averaged a 10% return (Which is riskier, but possible especially with such a long term investment), I would have had over $4,000,000 by retirement.  Spending that $5000 was a big opportunity missed, and failing to continue investing when it was already a habit was a an even bigger…or even enormous missed opportunity. 

Starting over right now, having missed the past 18 years, the best I could hope for is between $400,000 and $600,000 investing the same amount at the same rate.  I would suggest that it’s still worth while.  Had I taken advantage of the opportunity I had to start investing 10% of my income back then, I’d be a lot further ahead today.  The point is not to focus on the regret, but instead to do what you can today with what you have available.  Opportunities pop up all the time.  I love the Ann Landers quotation: “Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.” 

The Formula for Luck

As follows is my best attempt at an equation for luck:

L = a²(o+p)

where:

L=Luck

a=timely, consistent Action

o=Opportunities in which you can invest time, capital, etc.

p=your level Preparation

(…so, “Luck” equals the square of timely action over time, multiplied with the value of opportunities wisely invested in, added to your level of preparation.)

Luck starts with wisely and timely invested resources toward realistic, opportunities with the expectation of reasonable returns.  Again, luck isn’t a mysterious force reserved for a select few who just happen to always be “lucky”.  Luck instead is available to all of us as long as we’re open to preparing for, and acting on opportunities that pop up.

Application

Quite honestly, you don’t need to be mindful of a formula.  All you really need to do is vividly visualize what you want, and then enthusiastically sniff out the trail in front of you that leads you there.  An outstanding book that should be on everyones list is “As a Man Thinketh“, a forgotten classic by James Allen.  The mind is like a garden, and your thoughts are like the seeds.  Your reality is what you think it to be.

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When should you fight and when should you give in?

Fight, and you may win; let go, and you may feel like you’ve given in; but what are you fighting for?  What do you value?

If you’re holding on and fighting because you’re angry about a situation or an individual…or if you feel wronged in some way or another…it becomes important to evaluate what’s at stake before launching into a battle.  There is a cost for every gain, and the cost is often far higher that we tend to realize…particularly when we are not using our frontal cortex.  If the cost were evident at the outset, the likelihood would probably be far lower that you’d be willing to pay.  It’s important to remember that you can’t hurt someone else without hurting yourself in the process.

Self Respect

At stake is our self respect.  Self respect is often gauged by examining the courage or strength necessary for the chosen action or response.  It’s important to note that walking away, stopping to evaluate for alternate solutions, or saying “NO.” often requires more strength than facing an issue head on).

Time

At stake is our time.  It becomes important to determine what our time costs to us.  We’re all struggling to keep death at a respectable distance, but we all die.  In addition, we all have roughly 24 hours per day in which to build our lives.  We can’t get more time.  Money on the other hand is a renewable resource.  If you’re fighting over money, is the cost in time worth the benefit?

Mental Health

At stake is our mental health and energy.  Although we can do many things at the same time (just watch a drummer) we can only truly focus on one thing at a time.  We often act out of fear, and when this is the case, there is no room for love.  Again, if we fight, we suffer.  Despite the victory circle celebration and our collective cultural belief on struggle, nobody truly wins.  The only fight won is the fight not fought.  We may determine that our energy can be far more valuable if invested in another, more positive pursuit.

Relationships

More than just the relationship on the other side of the argument, at stake are other important relationships around you.  We become what we think about most of the time.  If we are harboring resentment, these feelings become more powerful and can dominate our thoughts.  People who are chronically resentful become less attractive and it becomes difficult for them to attract and build the relationships that will be a positive influence in their lives.

I’m not suggesting that fighting is never the best option, nor am I suggesting that anybody cowers or always backs down.  There are hidden costs however, that we rarely consider before stepping onto the battlefield.  Is it truly worth the cost?

 

We Try to Control Everything While Feeling Like we Control Nothing. Do we Really Have Any Control?

In our lives, we spend so much energy wrestling for control.  What do you really have control over?  You don’t have control over the family you’re born into.  You don’t have control over what other people do or say to you.  You don’t have control over other peoples perception of messages you send. 

As an educator, this is a difficult concept.  I find myself wanting to maintain control of things I have no control over.  Of course we can influence many of these things, particularly as we refine our delivery; but we really don’t have control.  What do you have control over?  Well, you may have guessed.  You do have complete control over the way you respond to what happens to you.

This can feel limiting, but in another sense, it’s liberating.  Imagine the stress you can avoid when you give up wasting energy on things you have no control over.  If all you have to manage is your own reaction, not only will you act with more sobriety, but your stress level is immediately reduced.  It’s a good way to stay present and in-the-moment.  

You can build your tolerance for negative stimulus with practice and with being a quiet observer in the moment as you react.  Building that awareness of your current patterns is key if you are to recognize your triggers and patterns of response, then you will begin to choose new ways to respond to similar stimulus in the future.

Although you don’t have control over what happens to you, you do have control over your reaction.

They’re Waking Up

What of our children who are nearing the graduation of high school?  They have been sold on a dream that with an education, they can find the job of their dreams.  In my community, I’m seeing more and more people holding down two jobs to make ends meet.   I’m seeing many on disability or welfare who are lacking skills, or knowledge of jobs that they could actually perform.  I hear stories from most people who are discontent with their job or occupation.  The thrill of a new job and self sufficiency is short lived without any self actualization.  So many are waking up groggily from the illusion that a job with nice benefits and pay will make them happy. 

It’s interesting to see the things that are being created out there in the online space by ordinary people.  It’s fascinating to see people taping into what turns them on and finding a way to bring that to the marketplace.  It’s exciting to see so many people out there who are turning within to find that problem that needs solving and then creating a solution for a group of super-fans.  We could be at the dawn of a new revolution.  From the Industrial Revolution through the Information Revolution to a Creation Revolution. 

How the World Sees us is a Reflection of How We See us

“I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger”   -The Faces

When I was in high school, I was small.  I know exactly how much I weighed because I used to wrestle.  I wrestled at 103 pounds through my Junior year, and as a Senior, I started at 103, but finished at 118 pounds.  I wasn’t tall and thin, just small.  I really didn’t grow much bigger until I was well into college.  I must have been 20 when my spirt hit.  I was embarrassed by my size.  My confidence was needlessly low, simply because I felt like less than the other guys who were developed.  I didn’t seem to get much attention from girls, and I blamed my appearance and lack of some kind of magic.  The real reason I didn’t get attention was because of my attitude and beliefs about myself.  I told myself a story that I was too small, too ugly, too immature, too dorky, etc.  I believed the story to such a degree that I fended off potential interactions with the very people I was starving to talk to.  I didn’t believe I was worthy of the attention.  I was afraid that if I failed, my self image would be confirmed.  I was also afraid that if I succeeded, I wouldn’t be able to uphold the image I wished others had of me.  It was a double bind that left me feeling safer to avoid.

The truth is, the image others hold of us is often not far from the image we hold of ourselves.  This is true because we reflect what we believe about ourselves, not what we wish we were.  Of course, the advice is to be yourself.  Easier said than done.  Truthfully, we become ourselves when we face uncomfortable situations, both around us and within us…and are OK with what we see emerging in us in those situations. 

Being OK with who we are has an expanding result in the rest of our lives.  If we like who we are, we begin to eat better, we take better care of ourselves, we exercise, we become better with our money, we may begin to read more and become more of our ideal selves.  Our external world becomes a reflection of how we feel about ourselves.  The reverse is also true.  You can actually act yourself into being.  If you pick an area to improve, there is an expanding affect to the rest of your life and with your feelings of happiness.  If you begin working in one area whether it be finances, health, relationships, or wherever you want to start, you begin to feel better about yourself, and the feeling spreads to other areas of your life.  This “law” can work in a negative way too.  If you make poor choices with your money, you’ll probably make poor choices with your diet, you’ll probably make poor choices with what you read or watch, etc.  Our habits in one area affect habits in other areas of our lives.  The proverb that came out of our computer age fits nicely here: “Garbage in, garbage out.”  Also fitting: Value in, value out.

You don’t need to be a comedian, you don’t need to know what to say, you don’t need fame…  You just need to be willing to take the uncomfortable steps toward a truthful awareness of yourself.  You need only to give yourself space to emerge.  If you are making positive steps, then deep down, you know you’re “worth” it.

Read This Before You Give Up

Are you feeling regret regarding your past decisions when you compare what you have with what others around you seem have?  That feeling you’re feeling is very common.  Hang in there.  It’s something that most people would agree they have felt.  If they say they haven’t, they’ve probably forgotten or are lying to you. 🙂 

Depression tends to come from our anxiety about the future.  We look into the future at the person we want to become and see a big void between that place and where we are now.  The trick is to pay attention to that ideal in your heart (the what) and forget about the how.  You don’t need to know.  There is too much in that void that you get to discover on the path anyway.  It can’t all be worked out before you start something new.  If you’re waiting for the perfect time to start, it will never come.  Just start, and then change course as you go…  The real drama (drama in a good way) comes when you begin to take small steps toward that thing you want.

Fear and anxiety regarding the future is one thing, but there is also regret.  Regret tends to come from too much thinking on the past could-have-beens.  In reality, you may find that someday, everything you have done up to that point was for a reason.  The fact is that you actually may need all that experience some day.  Any way you look, the solution seems to be to focus on today, right now, your first step toward what you really want to do and be.  Be that now, to scale.

Three Places You Can Visit to Get Over Your Smallness

A struggle of mine that rears it’s ugly head from time to time, particularly when unfinished projects begin to stack in front of me, is that all too familiar feeling of overwhelm.  Sometimes I just want to throw in the towel.  It’s about that time that I begin to feel small.  …too small to keep on, too small to build something great, too small to _________…  (Fill in the blank.) 

It’s easy to listen and let this little voice keep us in a comfortable box.  Really though, who are we to ignore that subtle urge that is leading us to fulfill our own purpose in life?  Your purpose is your purpose.  No one else can live your life but you.  How do we make that leap though?

Looking back, one thing that’s helped me to push out of the box, and has also served to keep me relatively grounded (hopefully not delusional), is seeing the scale of my own life.  I’ve had several experiences in my life to fall back on for inspiration in this respect.  Essentially, I imagine the scale of my own finite experience and reach and compared it with something that provides me with a sense of awe.  Read on, you’re already invested.

Il Duomo Di Firenze

Many years ago, I spent a summer in Italy.  The first major town I visited was Florence (Firenze).  Leaving the train station, there is a maze of extremely narrow medieval alleys (narrow compared with the suburb streets of my youth).  I walked several blocks with some other exchange students I was studying with (Study is a loose term, I cut a lot of classes and hopped trains all over Tuscany.  I never earned my certificate of completion, but I wouldn’t ever trade the experiences I had for that piece of paper). 

There was a moment that we were lost in conversation, talking about the tiny cars, flirting, and whatever else when we turned a corner.  The alley opened to a busy street and in front of us was a mountain.  At least it was big enough!  The Duomo stood there, taller than a football field is long.  I had never felt so small before that experience.  It was as close to a spiritual moment as I’d ever had up to that point.  The scale really has to be seen in person to be appreciated. It was hard to believe that anything so impressive could have been built by man power.  It took over a hundred years to build.  The problem of spanning the massive floor with a dome  was solved by Brunelleschi, who’m I’d studied in my art history class a couple years prior.  Textbooks inform, but they can certainly fall short on inspiration.  There was no comparison to being there and actually seeing it myself.  I was in awe that humans could have built such a thing.  I felt small, but simultaneously had an unexplainable feeling that I could do anything. 

IMG_8045 (1)

The street must have gone through several signal changes before I finally crossed.  I later climbed the bell tower with my friends.  We looked out across the cathedral and I tried to capture it on film.  My point and shoot camera’s widest angle couldn’t get the whole dome in one field of view.  This was way before panoramas. 

Il Duomo from the bell tower

By the way, my favorite guide for Italy is “Michelin Green Guide Italy“.  It’s what got me happily around the country!!!

The Grand Canyon

The following Spring, I signed up with another school group set to backpack the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Side note: my wife and I took our family there last summer as part of a two week whirlwind trip through the western states (8 I think) in a minivan.  Our brand new blended family survived!  It was meant to be.  As a family we walked the first mile of trail and I think my wife was sold.  She’d like to suspend her fear of heights to have the full experience some day.  Score!!  We got by with: “DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: USA“, and a very indispensable “Rand McNally Large Scale Road Atlas USA“.  Yes, Google Maps is the bomb, but what happens when you’re out of cell range??

IMG_5198

Another side note: on my first trip, by chance, I had one of my first real-world leadership experiences.  After the first day, the heat and terrain forced some of our group to turn around.  I was asked to co-lead the group carrying on into the abyss. 

OK, no more side notes…

Water sources were difficult to find, and the sheer cliffs we were traversing brought out the nerves in us.  I remember reaching the Colorado River on maybe the third day.  After setting up camp, I stripped down and waded into a calm section of the river for a swim to let the freezing water wash my dusty sweat and physical body away.  I later lay on the beach looking up at the massive walls around me and couldn’t help but feel small and insignificant again.  Stripped from me was any fear of failure in my future life, because really, at this scale, it didn’t matter.  I felt connected with the canyon walls.  With the canyon’s massive scale and in the span of time it took the canyon to form, my petty concerns were not even a drop of water rolling off my skin.  At that moment, laying on that orange beach, I resolved to begin working toward a dream…to travel to India.

Space (OK, I haven’t “visited” space…yet, only traveled there in my telescope…yes I embrace the fact that I’m a dork)

A few years ago, when I was picking up my daughter from daycare, I had a conversation with the provider.  He happened to be the president of the Shasta Astronomy Club.  He was getting his equipment together and told me he was planning to watch the moon that night because NASA was scheduled to crash a rocket into a crater in search of water.  Being ever curious, I took him up on an offer to meet him in his yard later that night.  We didn’t see the rocket, but just viewing the moon in his giant telescope took my words away.  He showed me a couple more objects including the Andromeda Galaxy.  It amazed me that it was there and that I could just barely see the core of it with my naked eye. The entire galaxy, if we could see it in all it’s dimness, would appear 6 times wider than the moon.  You don’t need a big telescope to make things look bigger, you need a big telescope to make nebulous objects look brighter.   

Andromeda (Image borrowed from en.wikipedia.org)

Andromeda Galaxy (Image borrowed from en.wikipedia.org)

Shortly after that night I bought a Orion 10 inch Dobsonian scope and joined the club.  I spent many moonless nights in awe with the fellow members and general public that joined us.  By the way, my favorite book for hunting objects in the night sky is “Sky & Telescope’s Pocket Sky Atlas“, and if you want to enjoy the sky without a telescope, you can get by just fine with a nice pair of binoculars.  Three of my favorite reasonably-priced binoculars that I’ve played with are:  Orion Mini Giant 9×63 Astronomy Binoculars (jaw dropping views), Nikon MONARCH 5 8×42 Binocular (Good all around for day and night use),  and the pair I own: Vixen Optics 7×50 Forester Binocular (killer edge to edge clarity for this range).

It boggled my mind that it takes 4 years for light from our nearest star neighbor to reach us traveling at roughly 180,000 miles per second.  I was shocked to know that every star above me that I could see was actually within our own galaxy, and just a small corner at that.  The Milky Way, our galaxy, is so massive that if we could stand on one side and shine a flashlight across, it would take 100 years for that light to reach the other side.  (100 years ago, World War 1 was just ramping up…)  It boggled my mind that light from our nearest sister galaxy (Andromeda again) had taken 2,500,000 years to reach the mirror in my telescope.  Every time I look at it, I’m looking 2.5 million years into the past, at what that galaxy looked like when the light left it.  I had a 10 inch time machine!  Again, I was humbled. 

Version 2

Many Cosmologists (maybe some cosmetologists too) estimate that there could be more than 200,000,000,000 stars (200 Billion…with a B) in our galaxy alone.  When we look up at the night sky with just our eyes, we are only seeing about 2000 of those stars.  Our galaxy is only one of more than 100,000,000,000 other galaxies.  Over 2000 planets have been confirmed, to date, orbiting stars other than the sun.  (Yes, the sun is a star).  Astronomers (maybe some astrologers too) estimate that there could be as many as 1 in 5 stars the size of our sun that have a planet the size of earth orbiting it.  Theoretically, there are billions of earth-sized planets orbiting stars near the size of our sun in our own galaxy alone.  Whoa!

This all begs the question of what might be found on some of these planets.  We’ll probably never know, but, it’s all enough to make this man ponder his own existence yet again.  Of what significance was my little body and all of my minute worries when comparing at this scale?  I feel empowered when I think about it.  If I fail…I fail.  People will generally not care.  If I think about things outside of our typical perception of significance, my problems fade.  They are nothing more than tiny, imperceptible fluctuations of energy, on a speck of dust, floating in a beam of light, in a room that is our universe.

When I have a problem, my mind doesn’t always go there, and even when it does, sometimes I’m so “in it” that the trick doesn’t work right away.  At some point though, when I’m able to detach myself from the issue and I think about these things, I have instant perspective.  We really are small.  Small is empowering.  at a deeper level though, we aren’t small at all.  We are connected with this vastness.  At that deeper level, that vastness is us.  In an interconnected way, if we wish for the happiness of others, we are really wishing for our own happiness.  From these perspectives, our petty anxieties and regrets, really have no power over us. 

May all beings, however small, be happy.

How To Find Success

The first thing we need to do to find success is to stop looking for it.  The expression that “Success is a Journey, not a destination” has become so overly used and cliche that I hesitate to suggest it’s importance.  I was inspired the first time I heard it, but being as slow as I am to pick up on the subtleties, it’s taken over twenty years to really begin to understand what it means.  Yes, we should enjoy the journey on the way to our destination…yes, we’re often disappointed shortly after we get something we’ve been wanting, so we should enjoy the journey.  That is true, but it’s occurred to me more recently, as I’ve been starting to look at my habits and examine their consequences, that these explanations fall short. 

I’m learning that the quotation above is really hinting at mindfulness.   Mindfulness is a state of being, not a state of becoming.  Mindfulness, to me, most simply means that we let go of the the trappings of regret and anxiety.  Our regrets come from the way we think about the past.  I’m not suggesting that consequences (contrived or natural) are bad or to be ignored.  What I am suggesting is that our past doesn’t have to define us. 

Anxieties often come from self doubt regarding how we will perform in the future.  Anxiety sits on the shoulders of that little voice that tells us we’re not smart enough, sexy enough, talented enough strong enough, etc.  This is a voice that I continue to struggle with today.  It’s one of the reasons I’ve created this website. 

Relating these ideas to the quotation “Success is a journey, not a destination”, suggests that we need to change our definition of success.  We need to be very careful with the assumption that happiness will come once we reach our goal.  The goal in fact is secondary in our development.  Goals are targets.  As a middle school Resource teacher I’ve written and worked toward goals for a living.  It’s so easy to get hung up on last year and next year.  One of the most common things I hear parents say in this regard is:  “I’m worried that [she’s] not going to be ready for high school.”  This fear keeps us pinned to a limited now.  It’s easy to doubt our potential and let our worries dictate how far we reach. 

The truth is, we have every thing we need right here and right now, to be happy in this moment.  We don’t need to let our regrets from the past or the worries about the future hold our dreams hostage anymore.  The “magic’ comes when we let go and embrace the moment.  We can live fulfilled right now.  The paradox is that it won’t come later until we find it now.

Success is really a state of being that can begin any time we choose.  When I was in high school, there was an Army slogan that ran constantly on TV.  It said: “Be, all that you can be…”  Hidden in that message is mindfulness.  It didn’t say: Become all that you can become.  Some marketing genius nailed it.  There was a time when I considered joining the Army.  I chose college instead…and then traveled on my own rather than through the armed forces.

Success is not about becoming.  Success is about being.  We must look at the person we want to become and be that now, to scale.  We must be disciplined when the amounts are small.  The only way to become, is to start being.  We can only have the skills and abilities of “success” by practicing the skills and abilities of success now, in this moment.  We can only become fulfilled (arguably another way to look at success) if we find fulfillment in the moment.  Now is really all the time we have.