Ancora Imparo – I am still learning

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“If anyone can prove and show to me that I think and act in error, I will gladly change it – for I seek the truth, by which no one has ever been harmed. The one who is harmed is the one who abides in deceit and ignorance.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.21

Read: The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday

It is okay to change my mind today. I don’t need (or want) to always be right.  Go ahead, prove my thinking wrong. Correct me. When I stand corrected, I change for the better,  for resisting may only harm me. 

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If I am not changing, then I am not growing and isn’t growth the whole point? To slip into a better, bigger version of myself each day. Sometimes this requires a real change of mindset.

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Sometimes, the script in our head runs on automatic for years, unquestioned, unchallenged. What if you flipped the script? What would it be like to challenge our thinking? Read: You’re One Moment Away From Being Who You Want to Be

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We might neglect our future selves because of some failure of belief or imagination. – Dereck Parfit.

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To My King Bee Rider – A Time for ThanksGregging

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Today I honor, acknowledge, applaud, celebrate and recognize the watchful one, my husband, partner, collaborator and best friend, my Knight and Day, Sir Gregory Johnson on his birthday.

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madeline

My wish for him today and everyday – that he may remain awake, alert and aware to the divine truth within him and continue to co-create and prevail with God.  Stand tall in the tower Gregory. I support you in every way.

Knight and Lady

Gregory, extraordinarily beautiful yet slightly out of focus, this raging river runs madly deep. This meditation from Marcus Aurelius sums you up for me.

Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.

Having been terribly misunderstood by many, I believe it was but Aristotle who said –

No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.

How to Spot a Genius, Deadhead and Follower of Rhythm Devils, Space Jams and Shows that were The Sacrament.

According to Roman mythology, the genii were gods who watched over particular people and places. Each man had a genius (he not was not “a” genius), a genius was a spirit who had given him being, who taught him and protected him.

No Wasted Time

Sometimes we wonder what happened to our past and linger on whether we took the right path.

dragonTo make the contributions for which they are known, all geniuses depend on the same general process. It starts with an unrestrained search for ideas without foresight into their utility. This hunt takes a creator down many dead-end roads, causing him or her to backtrack and start over. This trial-and-error process eventually leads a solution that works. For anyone who has engaged in a project for which progress is hard to measure or that seems to stall or meander, this theory is heartening.

When a problem or endeavor is difficult, we should probably not expect our research to proceed in a linear fashion. The many seemingly wasted hours exploring roads that lead nowhere may really be necessary to find an effective and innovative solution.

Or in words that resonate with Greg

“There is a road, no simple highway

Between the dawn and the dark of night”
-Ripple

You got to listen to the heavens, you got to try to understand. The greatness of their movement is just as small as it is grand. – Grateful Dead, Walk In The Sunshine

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Taking Charge of Your Day

afreedommuralThere are so many lovely wonderful distractions in life to keep us from doing what we must be doing. Our hobbies, our family, our friends. The things we truly enjoy. And then there are ridiculous distractions. We need to get rid of these to focus. If you want to focus and achieve something important you need to consciously remove unwanted distractions. This practical tip is inspired from a six minute podcast from Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits. “Redesigning Your Life’s Interface“.

Leo recommends removing notifications, pop ups and emails, phone messages, blogs as well as news that continues to bombard us throughout the day so we can concentrate on the one important task in front of us.

A Distraction Free Day

Say no to sales pitches, to interruptions. No one walking into your office unannounced anymore.  Pay for ad free music on Spotify. Avoid sales meetings at all costs. Read articles that strip out ads. Unsubscribe from ads disguised as newsletters and unfriend people in your life trying to get you to buy into a multi-level sales thing. We’ve got work to do and this important work can’t be distracted by unwanted interruptions. Here is an article I plan to read on the new ad blocking apps.

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The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

@Charles Bukowski

Maintaining Momentum

How to be irresistibly relevant in your life and your career by taking extreme ownership over your future.

1. Adapt

darwin

2. Update

I liken this to updating your internal operating system. Discover the essential actions you need to do, the specific knowledge you must have and the most efficient skills needed to become great at what you want to do.

3. Skill Building

Soak up the knowledge needed to build these skills by using on demand learning tools like Udemy, Coursera and Lynda. Education has never been more accessible and affordable. Stumble your way to success by learning, practicing and doing. Practice your new skills daily.

4.Tune in to News

Set your Twitter, Instagram and SmartNews channels to key words for up to the minute news and information about your profession, industry, career path or passion.

5. Meet Up, Connect and Communicate

Join communities of people that are committed to doing the same. It could be a special invitation on eventbrite, meet up or a Facebook group. Connect with others and learn from them. 

Emerson

#motivation

#mondaymotivation

Daily Victories and Mapping Out a Successful Day

BigMagicFinal_cropped-for-headerMost of you will agree that we can read, listen and study for hours upon end on how to enhance our minds and become 1% better versions of ourselves daily, but the greatest lessons in life are from actual experience. 

Mapping Out a Successful Day

I am a professional list maker and note taker. If I don’t write it down, my wild and creative crazy nine year old inner child takes over and the next thing you know I have 20 projects that I have begun but will probably never finish. This is one of the things that I struggle with daily, so I have decided that as I begin to declutter my life and brain, I will become more mindful of my approach and system to tackling the day.

Listening to an interview with one of my favorite writers, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of  Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear I love the way she handles the creative younger sister in her mind, the one who wants to do everything at once. She calms her down by devoting 15 minutes a day to letting her mind run free and capturing those creative thoughts on index cards and in notebooks – to do later on.   Listen to her interview with Rob Bell here.

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The Morning Journal, Master List and the Top 5 for the Day

As for prioritizing my daily to do list, I have a new approach. I have come to appreciate the wild and creative mind that I have as just an excitable version of me that wants it ALL and that is okay. I love that about me, I just know that I can’t do it ALL right now. So here are my steps/system to making it happen over time.

The Morning Journal

After a five minute gratitude journal moment, I write down my goals and tasks for the day/week/month in Evernote. I love how Evernote is accessible from everywhere – my phone, desktop, tablet and laptop and automatically syncs my lists so they are always updated.

Organizing My Tasks – The Master List

I organize these tasks in three categories: Personal, Work and Creating (writing, photography, making things). I dump everything I want to include in this master list – things like outlining my book, clients I have to call, learning more about social media strategy and tools like Periscope, etc.

My Daily Top Five

I then take a notebook from Muji (love this Japanese store) and write down the Top 5 tasks I will complete for the day – or start for the month. I am sure to include at least one thing from each area of my life to keep it balanced. I prioritize by sense of urgency and importance.

I also use Moleskin note books and Pinterest to help keep track of things that inspiring me throughout the day.

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Recording Daily Activities

Try this with me.  I am now committed to taking an extra 90 seconds a day and recording not only what I have achieved, but how it felt to accomplish the task. This will include my personal and work achievements because I don’t believe any one of my clients is recording my wins. This job journal will come in handy later on when I decide to raise my fees and move towards more.

Organizing Systems

If you love journals and notebooks and have developed a system for creating tasks and documenting wins I would love to hear more about what works for you. Be sure to comment in the section below.

Moleskine_notebooks_GROUP Moleskine Classic Notebook, Extra Large, Plain, Black, Soft Cover (7.5 x 10) (Classic Notebooks)

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Not just for wandering the world, Midori Traveler’s Notebook Brown Leather (1, 1 LB)

Because inspiration can spark at any time. . .

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Rite in the Rain – Green Tactical Note Book (All Weather)

On your road to greatness, the details make all the difference. Write them down.

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Leuchtturm Medium Notebook, Ruled, 5.75 x 8.25 inches (LBL11)

True Grit, The Act of Envisioning and Living to 100

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I am adding yet another new daily habit of 30 minutes of focus and deep concentration by journaling precisely what I want to create in life with the honest intention of being in service to everyone I meet.  I imagine and behold a (super) better version of myself, eliminating any negative thoughts including envy, hatred, judgement, selfishness or cynicism. No matter what, I will carve out this time to make sure this becomes a ritual in my life.

“. . . in applying one’s whole soul to doing right and speaking the truth. There remains only the enjoyment of living a liked succession of good deeds, with not the slightest gap between them.”  – Marcus Aurelius

Study: Meditations (Hardcover Classics)

marcus-aurelius-quote-fridge-magnet-2_largeSystem Restore -A Metaphorical Moment

The other evening I was pulling my hair out while trying to free up some space on my computer with Daisy Disk (not worth the $9.99, a total waste). After backing up my laptop I had to restore my operating system. Not something I wanted to be doing at 11 pm at night. I have no patience for this, but it’s like laundry and cleaning the kitchen, it just needs to get done. But I had a moment of true realization while I waited for my Mac to restart with a new blank desktop –  I am also in the process of refreshing and restoring my operating system.  Some call it reinventing ourselves.

The Act of Envisioning the Future

The way I see it, we can worry about the future or we can focus on creating a better story for tomorrow. Recognizing that the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually transform themselves into physical reality, I have committed to concentrating my thoughts on precisely who I want to become and I am creating a crystal clear picture of that person each day, by writing a new future. This also helps with incessant useless monkey-mind worry because I am putting my thoughts to better use. I highly recommend you try it for yourself.

True Grit

Just like building a start up or pursuing any dream, this life project of mine requires deliberate practice and focus and as many have come to understand a great dose of grit. Grit defined as perseverance and persistence coupled with an unwillingness to wilt, complain, or cry about my current state. It’s the ability to accept my reality and make the best of it, never wishing I was somewhere else, or in someone else’s shoes.

I have come to understand that people who value grit have a number of things in common. They appreciate everything in their lives and what they have right now.

small-daily-improvementsThe “gritty” among us also –

  • Remain cautiously optimistic.
  • Exercise their muscle of self-control.
  • Have a higher level of social intelligence.
  • Maintain the ability to preserver through even the toughest times.
  • Stay enthusiastic about the process.
  • Embrace the art of curiosity about everything. Even their problems.

Grit: harnessing the courage, the resiliency, and the power within.

Climbing Hills and Recreating Blue Zones

Barring heavy rain or deep wet snow, every day I take a 25 minute steep hill hike around my town. What I am trying to do is recreate the effect that blue zones have on the body.  Blue Zones are places in the world where people live to 100 and stay healthy.

The five blue zones are as follows:

  • The Italian island of Sardinia
  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Loma Linda, California
  • Costa Rica’s isolated Nicoya Peninsula
  • Ikaria, an isolated Greek island

Ikaria_1428628iThe people in blue zones don’t need to artificially incorporate exercise into their lives with machines.  The exercise comes for free, already built into their daily lives naturally.  Common across all of the blue zones is that the people climb mountains, walk through the hills, work the land, and generally use their bodies in a constant grind as they perform their daily activities.  And it doesn’t have to be high intensity “run as fast as you can” exercise either.

To live long and healthy requires a constant, daily lifestyle of positive enrichment for the body and mind.  For many this may seem hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Read more about what it takes to live to 100 here.

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Read: The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People

What I Like About You

heart_shaped_shimshal_lake_pakistanWhat I adore about me is you. Yes, you.

I am enthusiastically curious about you. I  have a genuine interest in learning more about how you think, how you live, what works for you, floats your boat, inspires and ignites your soul.

Ever since I was a teen, I’ve been absorbed and engrossed in learning about others. I use to draft interview scripts for all of my friends. Yes, I was that annoying girl. Pusher of The Proust Questionnaire.

The purpose of my blog “Undisputed Origin” is to inspire all of us to the magic of this amazing moment right now, our connectivity and the wonders of this world.

My motto –  Lighten up, Spark Joy, Create Love.

I would love it if you would respond by answering one of the following questions.

  • What is your idea of perfect happiness?
  • What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
  • What do you value most in your friends?
  • What is your motto?

These Horns Were Made for Tooting

Your Standing Ovation

Mick Jagger Oakland 1969
Mick Jagger Oakland 1969

We have all had this anxious moment. The split-second before you post. You re-read your writing, watch your video for the 50th time, re-work a paint stroke or study your sketch and ask yourself- – Is this authentic enough?  Does it stand out in a sea of sameness? Is it “unique” enough for the world to appreciate?

Michael Port, Author of Steal the Show, said it brilliantly in an interview the other day.

You don’t have to be different to make a difference.

Must Read
Steal the Show: From Speeches to Job Interviews to Deal-Closing Pitches, How to Guarantee a Standing Ovation for All the Performances in Your Life

Madeline Johnson's Top Book Picks
An inspiring read “Steal the Show” has great work and life performance advice.

In my mind, way too much cred has been given to creating “authentic” and original work in a “unique” way.  This thought can really stifle your creativity.  Worrying about the “authenticity” of your work will only blur your vision and mission. Instead, strive to create a higher caliber of work each day. Your best work. You see, the distinction is that you are already different from everyone else. You don’t need to focus on your authenticity, you are already unique, just as you are. Yes, you do stand out in a crowd, even if you do absolutely nothing.

It also really helps if what you are creating what truly inspires you. If you are bored doing it, then chances are someone else will be bored reading or watching it.

Driven to Perfection

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to tip toe to my grave safely. I want to take risks, chances, I want to soar through this life.

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So I will let my fear be the fuel. The reality is, we all are afraid.

One of my favorite morning rituals is to listen to Brian Johnson’s Philosopher Notes. They are short, sweet, little bits of wisdom that can fuel your day. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest you subscribe to his YouTube Channel.

In one of my favorite mini-classes, he mentions taking a deep breathe when fear freezes you. Thinking back on my daily meditation practice, everything I have been learning and last night’s Vinyasa Flow Yoga class I find it funny and ironic, that the simple act of breathing has become such a “thing” in my new found intentional life.  Who knew something so mindful and simple could help so much.

Listen to Brian’s 10 minute video  for more tips on how to move through your fears. “How to Conquer Your Fear in 30 Seconds.

Game On

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Today I consider the question that baffles my mind, the question I love to hate most-How do we live our true purpose in life?

I actually considered banning this question from my thoughts, but was inspired this morning with this kind of awesome idea. It goes something like this –

Begin with – guarding our thoughtsThe mind is everything. What you think you become. –Buddha

First we must carefully protect our minds. Our minds produce thoughts. Our thoughts will become our actions, which if done mindfully, will become our habits and our habits become our destiny.  A possibility of a destiny of greatness. It starts there.

And then – Ask ourselves one very simple question.

Note – in order to find our passion and live with purpose – this question should be asked over and over again, momentarily, daily, weekly – right now.  Especially when we feel confused, lost, disillusioned and worried.

What would the highest version of myself do in this moment? What would the bravest, fearless, strongest, happiest, calmest version of me do right now?

Then, we simply we remain open to the answer. Perhaps it is to apologize, share a kind word, maybe a compassionate hug, an encouraging email. Or perhaps it is the inspiration to go out for a long walk or simply to call a friend. Just do that highest version thing moment after moment and watch your true purpose unfold. Game on.

It is when we live like this that we are living with true purpose and intention. We are living a purpose that is in line with our highest self,  while radiating hope, optimism, gratitude, kindness, creativity, energy, beauty, enthusiasm, courage, diligence, playfulness, patience, persistence and generosity.

Every moment we have a choice, we can step forward into the highest version of ourselves or back into the safe habits of how we were. We bear the choice, to go in one direction or another, backwards or forwards, right now.

Inspired by Brian Johnson’s Philosopher Notes

time1Side note about how we spend our time

Consider the possibilities when we take a moment to spend our time in wonder and awe. To rest in this moment in grateful appreciation for the miracle that it is. To recognize and celebrate as we stop reducing time spent in the form of milestones and achievement.

Inspired by

Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Training and Tracking the Quality of Your Time

A sudden and shocking moment of realization came upon me the other day as I was listening to one too many self-help podcasts. The moment when a voice inside of head said, Why, Madeline, this is all starting to sound, well, a bit ridiculously redundant. You my dear, are swimming in a deep-blue sea of self-motivation sameness.

It took me less than two minutes to figure out that I needed a mid-course correction.  Just how many hours was I was spending trying to fix what isn’t broken? Pattern interrupt once again. I had to track my trance of non-productive learning. So I downloaded ATracker, by Wonderapps.se (.se is Sweden)

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I actually do get more than 1.5 hours of sleep, but this pie chart is for today only. And look at all that commuting/driving time spend today. Ugh.

I am still learning how to work this baby, and I am not sure it is the best time tracker, so if you are using one you love, please send recommendations my way. I am totally open.

Quality over Quantity while Upgrading My Time

The goal in this little self-experiment is to not only figure out how much time I am wasting, but to look at how I can jack up the quality of each minute of my life. I want to upgrade it all, the books I am reading, videos I’m watching and how I am training my body.

trxWhich got me thinking about how much I hate my dirty old gym and how I want to try new methods of training. I am stoked about TRX Suspension Training at Covert Fitness along with two to three days of Spinning instead of just the weekends. I am also going to test out a few Streaming Fitness Videos.

The Daily Burn has a 30-day free trial that I am going to sign up for and Shape Magazine has this link to 13 Killer Streaming Videos I just wish there were more hours in a day. Oh but how little time we have.

Seneca on Time

Who can you show me, who places any value on his time, evaluates the worth of his day, and who understands that he is dying daily?   

Read more stoic philosophy here

On the Shortness of Life (Penguin Great Ideas)