To Know The Truth

Don’t deny your world. Your world does not need saving, it needs more of your loving care.  It’s begging you to pay more attention to the details.

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Pay attention.

Accept this moment for what it is.

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Suffering is just the refusal to accept what is.

Healing is really just letting yourself feel your most suppressed feelings and recognizing that these feelings are fleeting.

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Each day we must go to war and fight the good fight. Vivere est Militare. To live is to fight. Fighting for our dreams with fortitude. Fighting against impulses with discipline. Fighting to be the person I want to be with courage.

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Life is a battlefield.

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Overcoming The Fear of Not Being Good Enough

It usually happens when I declare I am going to learn something new.  Like right now, I am learning how to film
and edit with Adobe Premiere Pro. Hours can go by and I don’t even know what happened. I am so involved in the process. Struggling through learning something new on After Effects, I look up and it’s 11 pm. My Fitbit app telling me it’s time to get some rest.  I like this kind of work. The work I can get lost in.
I use to worry about whether something new that I am trying (like video)  is “good enough”?  I wondered if I seemed really amateur (of course I am, I just started).  I realize that while I may suck now I won’t always stay at this level. Especially if I commit myself to practicing every day.
Yesterday’s challenge was filming one of my favorite places at the very start of my favorite season, summer.
I came up with some strategies to get over my fear of not being good enough because. . .
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 I can’t think of anything more frightening than a boring life.
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Stop rushing. Give yourself more time. Lot’s of it. Getting good takes time. Be more thoughtful with everything. Take out a notebook or your phone notes and list everything you have to do in order to produce good work. What do you need to learn? practice? – including what you must read and watch before you can begin. Create a strategy to be good enough.
Never compare what you do, create, write, film, edit to ANYONE ELSE’S WORK
Good enough compared to what? Doesn’t matter. You are just starting out. If you are going to compare your work, compare it to the newcomers, the just starting, the first timers.
Get inspired by learning from the BEST work. Watch the greats, read the bestsellers, listen to award-winning talks. Ignite your enthusiasm and raise your standards by looking for great mentors and creators. Don’t compare, but learn. Decipher their best techniques and use them in your work.
Start. Do a very little thing. Pick up the camera, dust off the sewing machine, buy a good pen and notebook and just do one small project, something you can do.
The grass is greener where it’s watered. Nurture your work. Train and practice something daily. Learn something daily. Don’t know what to learn? Don’t know what you need? Ask a question and Google it. Read more than one answer. Watch more than one tutorial.
Look at children’s artwork. Remember that we all start out sucky. Cute but really sucky. Be prepared to suck at first. That’s okay.
Only show people your work when you are absolutely ready. Don’t show off your first draft or your second. Go back and revise it until you are super confident that that is your best version so far.
Don’t try to do the hard stuff first. Do the easy stuff first. Make it easy to start. Don’t climb the mountain, take a short hike. Do it every day. Write one paragraph, paint one stroke, sketch one prototype.
Review your past accomplishments, some things you are really proud of because that work will remind you of what you can do when you put your mind to it.  What was your process there? Did you put in a lot of time? effort? energy?
Remove all negative energy – including people from your life. The cranky, the crazy, the ignorant, the complainers, the whiners and the naysayers. Drop em like their hot. Don’t let them violate your psychic space.
Do not seek approval, even your own. Just do the work. Struggle through it. Get a headache, drink more coffee, open up ten tabs, watch the video tutorial again. Save the link. It’s okay. Then take a break.
When you start procrastinating, call yourself out. Don’t let the laundry, your kids, the beautiful sunshiney day outside tempt you to stop. You are in training. Stay focused and disciplined. That’s how your work gets better. A little bit every day.
Don’t forget feedback. Especially good feedback, from the pros and those also giving it their all. Feedback will have you feeling like your actually working on your new project. You are all in.
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I am curious, what are you working on? How have you dealt with the “Am I good enough?” concern.  Comment below.

Whatever it Takes. Four New Ways to Grow Today

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Surrender and Slow Down

Expect some pain today. When faced with problems during the day, I like to think of them as growing pains.

You see, the counter-intuitive (and funny) thing about embarking on the path of personal growth is that it’s not going to be all cake and cookies. Read: 7 Harsh Truths About Personal Growth.

However, whatever you do, don’t add to your pain and problems. Slow down, see life as it is, not worse than it is. Please don’t make it worse with a second  arrow.

What’s a second arrow?

“If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself?” 

If we look at the way we move through the day, when something happens, when we have pain in our body, when somebody treats us in a way that feels disrespectful, when something goes wrong for someone we love, that’s the first arrow.

Our mind and body go into a reactivity that does not help to bring healing. We blame others, we blame ourselves. That’s the second arrow. – Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance.

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What I’ve come to learn and accept is that there is always a solution of the highest good, but it may not be aligned with what we think we need.  Our job is to surrender to the fact that the Universe has a plan far better than ours. I’ve found that the more I surrender to the Universe’s plan the easier it is to move through the discomfort of uncertainty.  @GabbyBernstein Read: The Universe Has Your Back

 Connect meaningfully

Heart to Heart

If you look at it this way, it becomes clear. If you don’t add value to another person’s existence, then you will not be missed when you are gone.  Read: 13 Simple Ways You Can Have More Meaningful Conversations.

 

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Understand the Payoff

of Putting Things Off

The payoff you get for procrastinating is that you don’t have to do the work. You don’t even have to try. It’s so much easier to stay the same, to stay small.  Hell, you’re use to it. It’s comfortable. You may not like it that much, but it kind of works. You know what to expect from your day. The work is easy. You are complacent, but you can deal with that. That’s the payoff.

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Once you begin to realize that doing the same things you always do will give you the same results you don’t want, then you realize the hard part is starting.  You have to put in the effort and be okay with stumbling and bumbling around for a while. It’s like walking through a dank and dark tunnel without a torch. Starting something new is really hard and frightening sometimes.

 

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The Temptation to Control and Repair Everything Around You

When life is uncertain – and when is it not really? – I feel the need to try to control the people around me. It gives me a false sense of security. If I can control what they do, then maybe I can control some of the results. The outcomes.

And we all know, no one really wants us to control them. So, this only has me feeling more frustrated. I am wasting all that control energy doing something that is absolutely frustrating. The only thing I can control is me and my attitude.   I must be like water.

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Go with the Flow

Try this. Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless. Be water My Friend.

In order to control myself I must first accept myself by going with and not against my nature. This is the true meaning of ‘Be water’. It is the complete and unconditional acceptance of the self. Where the self itself melts and becomes formless, fluid and flexible. When you attain that state, you are water

Read: How to Stop Trying to Control Everything

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

Repeating this mantra softly to myself has helped me sail through the hours of overwhelming tasks in a day. It has stopped me from rushing and I hate rushing. Rushing just sucks. It makes life feel hasty.  I want to savor life. Even the boring parts.

This idiom also applies to anything you do. It has helped me improve my days.

When properly learning something new

quote-the-only-skill-that-will-be-important-in-the-21st-century-is-the-skill-of-learning-new-peter-drucker-81-53-26Any new skill that you are trying to learn should first be practiced slowly.

Performing any action too fast will have you sacrificing technique which will in turn slow your development. It will also limit the greatness you could have achieved.

 

You are the Eyes of the World

From Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay on Behavior and the wonderful expressiveness of the human body.

Wise men read very sharply all your private history in your look and gait and behavior. The whole economy of nature is based on expression.

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The face and eyes reveal what the spirit is doing, how old it is, what aim it has. The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul. . .

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An eye can threaten like a loaded and leveled gun, or can insult like hissing or kicking.  . .

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Pavel Guzenko

or in it’s altered mood by beams of kindness, it can make the heart dance with joy.

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The eye obeys exactly the action of the mind.

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Our eyes are projections of the self-absorbed movies we produce inside our minds. When we are lost in our self-delusional narrative, the imaginary stories we tell ourselves, we risk projecting our true soul.

 

Featured & posted drawings

Overdrawn Face Illustrations by Stefan Zsaitsits

Inspiration

Say Little, Do Much

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2. and try not to make anyone feel threatened or alienated.

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Sometimes I get so damn angry with myself. I get so impatient with people and although they don’t say it, I know they feel resentful.

3. Be thoughtful.

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4. Create new ideas, ways of doing things. Give the best away. Just let it go.

5. Reach out. Connect people. Cross wires to make new sparks.

6. Be the one to do the hard work. The drudge work. The work no one else wants to do.

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7. Find inefficiencies and redundancies and fix them. Solve every day problems.

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8. Produce more with quality.

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9. Make others shine.

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10. Do great work and then give up the credit.

Lessons for today.

Through Giving We Are Truly Living

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We all play many roles in life, sister, brother, wife, husband, doctor, lawyer, manager, director. . .  Sometimes there are roles we want to play and other times their are roles we get to play. Taking care of a terminally ill loved one who may not be the best version of themselves due to pain, anguish and fear is not an easy role to play. My brother and his wife have taken care of my dear Aunt Angela with grace, love and humility. She passed away from pancreatic cancer in January.

My Aunt taught me so much, not just by words, but by effort and example.

Her biggest lesson to me -to give is to live and through giving we are truly living.

I feel blessed to have been able to spend time with her and to have been touched by her inspiration, passion and immense love for life. She gave freely of her time, her advice, her thoughts and her talent, energy and heart. The time she spent here with us was spent meaningfully and connected with our hearts and souls.

If she was needed, she showed up, fully armed with the research, willingness and incredible desire to be as helpful and encouraging and as compassionate as she could be. Whether it was with her career (she learned how to code at age 50 so that she could keep herself relevant and be helpful to the company she was working with) or it was through her mother’s dying days and her husband’s long and horrific bout with cancer. Aunt Angela continued to give even supporting my daughter who suffered a traumatic brain injury through long patient phone calls, letters and loads of love.

Aunt Angela would do the work and become knowledgeable in the best way to help and support those she cared about. Whatever she did, she was all in. No holds barred.

Without leaving out a detail she gave fully and with this giving she was fully engaged in life. She knew how to create space for others through their pain and suffering when it was needed and she also knew how to encourage us to move forward.

Aunt Angela is truly unique and has an astonishing combination of creativity and discipline. Whether she was expressing her love of life through photography, ceramics, knitting, writing, baking, cooking, she dove into each project deeply to learn and practice with disciple and determination.

I was both fascinated and amazed at Aunt Angela’s ability to turn “pro” at whatever she put her mind to.

Aunt Angela gave so much of her time through listening for hours on end while not judging but holding space for the most vulnerable parts in all of us and at the same time she knew how to fight, to be strong and to persevere. She did this so well, that at first I found it extremely challenging to understand why she did not want to continue with experimental and alternative treatments for pancreatic cancer. However I have come to understand and appreciate her deep spirituality and connectedness to life that left her unafraid to move on and she has done so with dignity and courage.

Aunt Angela was like a second mom to me. So different than her sister, my loving mother, who is incredibly strong-willed, intelligent, wise and incredibly loyal. Together, the combination of these two amazing women, these spirited souls, I have been blessed to have the guidance and love to keep me on track, navigating life with gratitude and appreciation for each and every miraculous moment here on earth.

It is with Aunt Angela’s fantasy-filled, child-like mind that I have gotten through the saddest and most tragic events in life with faith and understanding that we learn and grow from it all.

Aunt Angela may not have had a huge network of friends and acquaintances but to those that she held dear she made certain to give all that she had. Her time, her energy and love.

I will always take with me her biggest lesson. To give is to live.

 

Three Things to Make Your Life Better

 

how-to-get-people-to-tell-the-truth2-620Three things that are helping me grow right now . . .

1. Understanding Certainty vs Accuracy

The Quest:  How to know the truth.

Understanding that just because someone appears confident in what they are telling you, meaning they seem to be 100% certain about their story, doesn’t mean that the story is 100% accurate. Be careful and cautious about believing what you hear, read and watch. “Certainty” does not always equal accuracy. Stay cautiously skeptical.

2. Awareness of The Likability Bias

The Quest: How to remain aware of our behavior.

It’s such a simple concept to understand, yet we continually fall prey to it when we really don’t have to – and great sales people know how to use it. The liking bias knows that the more we like someone the more we are likely to buy something from them or help them in some way. Be weary of people throwing you compliments, those who are friendly too fast. This can have you purchasing things you don’t really need and over extending yourself to do something you really don’t have time to do.

3. Asking Bigger, Better Questions

The Quest: How to have better outcomes.

I have to admit I struggled with this one for a while, but I think I finally got it down and I will start with an example. I can ask myself “What do I need to do today?” or I could start with a better question What should I do today to make it a more productive day?”  

I can also get more detailed with each question. For example, instead of asking “Where can I learn editing techniques for my videos?” I can ask “What three editing techniques do I want to learn to make awesome videos?”

I’d love to hear what you have learned or what you find useful in your life. Please share in the comments below.

This Will Make You Smarter

sketch-doodles-couple-arguing-man-woman-profiles-concept-sketchy-illustration-misunderstanding-32227730Today’s brilliant advice is taken directly from an awesome book written by Paul Arden.  I discovered it while listening to Casey Neistat on The Tim Ferriss Show. Casey is a filmmaker and artist with a massive YouTube following.

This essay hit home today. It’s really resonating.  I’d love to hear if it does the same for you, so be sure  to comment below.

Why It’s Wrong to Be Right . . . .

Being right is based upon knowledge and experience and is often provable.

Knowledge comes from the past, so it’s safe. It is also out of date. It’s the opposite of originality.

Experience is built from solutions to old situations and problems. The old situations are probably different than the present ones, so the old solutions will have to be bent to fit new problems (and possibly fit badly). Also the likelihood is that, if you’ve got the experience, you’ll probably use it.

This is lazy.

Experience is the opposite of being creative. 

If you can prove your right, you’re set in concrete. You cannot move with the times or with other people. 

Being right is also being boring. Your mind is closed. You are not open to new ideas. You are rooted in your own rightness, which is arrogant. Arrogance is a valuable tool, but only if used sparingly.

Worst of all, being right has a tone of morality about it. To be anything else sounds weak or fallible, and people who are right would hate to be thought fallible.

So: it’s wrong to be right, because people who are right are rooted in the past, rigid minded, dull and smug. 

There’s no talking to them.

Read More from Paul Arden here –
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be: The world’s best selling book

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Skills to Sharpen

Three new skills I want to sharpenmaking bolder moves, simplifying complex problems and being more self-observant.

girl-walking-a-tight-rope-optical-illusion1. Making Bolder Moves

Bigger moves usually transform into a bigger, better life and typically start by doing something frightening, like asking for a raise or increasing our fee or maybe telling someone we love them for the very first time.

Bolder also gets better when you start to say no. People respect our confidence and ability to stay true to ourselves.

 

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2. Simplifying Complex Problems

The ability to take complex problems and simplify them to eliminate the feeling of being thrashed about and overwhelmed by life. Complex doesn’t always mean complicated.

 

astronaut-self-portrait-1024x6803. Observing Oneself

To be conscious of who we are, how we think, and what we do is invaluable because it leads to self-knowledge, and in turn, growth.

The Roman philosopher Seneca once said, For a person who is not aware that he is doing anything wrong has no desire to be put right. You have to catch yourself doing it before you can reform.” 

We are creatures of habit. All habits, whether good or bad allow our brain to exert less effort and spend less energy. The potential danger in this is that we can get too comfortable doing the wrong habits, then as Seneca said,  we may have no desire to be put right.

Reading Inspiration

Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics)

Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson