May 10th, 2013
Mundane: (adjective) typical, ordinary, lacking interest or excitement, dull.
Mundane a great word. The way it rolls off your tongue even sounds mundane. I know it’s an adjective but I wish it was a noun. I’d define it like this:
Mundane: (noun) the dreaded place people settle into when they stop challenging themselves, stop trying new things, stop dreaming.
When you’re there, the days blend together. You come home from work, grab the chips out of the cupboard, turn on the TV and eventually fall asleep on the couch, day after day after day, all the while promising yourself you’ll start that exercise program tomorrow. You take a sleeping pill to go to bed and caffeine when you wake up. You’re not happy but no one knows that because you smile and function reasonably well at work. Mundane is a secret that turns into a habit that weighs you down but you rarely complain because life is good enough…ugh.
I saw a post on Facebook once that said something like this:
The definition of hell: At the end of your life, meeting the person you would have become if you had lived to your potential.
That’s an unsettling thought, more unsettling if “Mundane” rules the day. On the other hand, if you love your life, if you’re living without regret, I don’t think it would matter because life is filled with infinite possibilities which are narrowed down by a combination of circumstance, opportunity and the choices we make. Honestly, where we end up isn’t as important as the way we travel.
So pay attention to how you travel. Loving your life and escaping the grips of mundane is about traveling through life with purpose. Every day you cross the paths of numerous people…family, friends, co-workers, and strangers and your impact on them is either positive, negative, or neutral. Choose to make it positive.
The last thing I say to my kids as I drop them off to school in the morning is, “Make someone’s day better, today.”
It’s so easy…smile, hold a door open, help with a project, compliment someone, thank someone, listen. The ripple effect of kindness is beyond measure and if you live with that intention your life will never be mundane.
May 1st, 2013
- Why does the young boy growing up under the influence of the Taliban hate Americans? Why does he believe giving his life in an act of terrorism will be rewarded in heaven?
- Why do children who grow up under the influence of the KKK believe white people are superior?
- Why do most Americans still think cows milk does a body good?
- Someone in a position of trust or respect said so.
That’s why, generally speaking, we stick with the religion we were taught as children…it’s what we’re comfortable with…it’s who we become. Throughout our lives we are highly influenced by the views of parents, teachers, physicians, friends, and the media. We rely on the “experts” to steer us in the right direction. Unfortunately that information can be misguided and when we accept it blindly, we’re behaving like cattle being led to the slaughter house.
How many of your “truths” have you verified? Thanks to technology, for the first time in history, we literally have information at our fingertips. With laptops, tablets and smartphones there’s no reason to be a victim of misinformation. When presented with an idea, Google it!
Knowledge is power. It could save your life. Maybe someday it’ll lead to world peace.
April 27th, 2013
The journey is tough…often messy…sometimes unbelievably cruel. Everyone has experienced variations on that theme. No one escapes the “unfairness factor” of life. When you’re young and struggling, you think you’re the only one. But with age comes the realization that life is a two sided coin…happy/sad, success/failure, easy/hard. Just as you need two sides to even have a coin, you need the ups and downs to have a life.
However, those ups and downs aren’t an excuse to “settle” in life. Have you ever thought to yourself, “Oh, my life’s good enough. It could be a lot worse. At least I’m not_________?”
I know you can fill in that blank. There’s always someone dealing with things worse than what you’re going through, someone who weighs more, someone with a worse marriage, someone with more health issues, etc… You’re supposed to appreciate what you have, right? Okay, but be careful:
Happiness doesn’t come from measuring yourself against a standard of misery. That kind of thinking just lowers the bar and keeps you from reaching your potential.
I think you should love, not like, love your life, in spite of the hardships that cross your path.
Here are three things you can do to get more excited about your amazing life:
1. Build a great support team
Humans are incredibly social creatures. We have built in mimic and acceptance tendencies. In other words, you are who you hang out with so hang out with people you admire, people who are a great influence on you, people who believe in you. Friendship is a privilege not a right.
2. Don’t judge yourself by your past
Mistakes are tests. You can learn as much from things that go wrong as from things that go right. It’s important to treat yesterday as homework. Those lessons can set the stage for a great future. They give you wisdom…UNLESS you judge yourself by them. Babe Ruth had way more strike-outs than home runs. If he focused on the strike-outs, he never would’ve hit the home runs.
3. Have at least one “happy” goal.
What would make you happy, really happy? Build a goal around that with tons of detail so you can take little steps toward it every day. Focus on the things you CAN do. With persistence, tiny steps eventually turn into success. You deserve that.
The challenges we face are like mountains we have to climb. It might seem like your mountain is steeper and higher than anyone else’s, but keep climbing because the higher the mountain, the better the view from the top.
March 13th, 2013
When I was in college I took the train into Manhattan to spend some time with my dad. We went to his favorite restaurant for lunch and I felt like I was sitting next to a movie star. People kept coming to our table to talk to him and nearly everyone who walked through the door knew his name . I remember thinking, “Wow, my dad is famous.”
Dad was one of those people who loved the world. He was honest but more than that he was careful with his words. He believed in people and had a way of making them believe in themselves. When you talked to him, he listened. Then he’d ask questions and listen some more. He made you feel like you mattered, regardless of your circumstance. My dad’s attitude was magnetic. He was confident and humble at the same time. He didn’t expect the world to be fair, he just expected to be able to handle the unfairness. People were happier if they were lucky enough to cross his path so when they saw him coming, they crossed his path.
My dad wasn’t world famous; he was famous in his world and it had little to do with his success as a businessman. He was famous because he was a servant. Life wasn’t about him, it was about you.
March 6th, 2013
Do you love your life? Are you excited to get out of bed in the morning? Are you thriving in your current situation or just surviving?
Several years ago, I woke up one day, wishing I was somewhere else. I guess I was so caught up in the routine of getting through my days that I lost sight of the bigger picture. Instead of being proactive, I was re-acting to the things going on around me. That’s not to say my life was bad. It wasn’t, but it wasn’t great either. It was “good enough.”
There’s no passion in “good enough.” It’s safe and it comes with sympathy from the rest of the “good enough” people in the world. For example: “Oh, so what your boss micro-manages you; at least you have a pay check. You should be grateful for that.”
Stop thinking that way! You weren’t born to acquiesce your way through life. Here’s what you need turn it around:
1. RIGHT PEOPLE:
- Personally – Who do you spend the majority of your time with? Who are the major influencers in your life? Regardless of your age, you’re a reflection of the company you keep so choose to spend time with people you admire, people who love their lives, people who are always looking forward. Remember, friendship is a privilege not an obligation.
- Professionally – Who do you align yourself with in the office? These relationships need to be strategic. Negativity and gossip can derail your career. It’s important to build relationships with co-workers who support the vision of the organization.
2. RIGHT GOALS:
- What would you do professionally if money was no object?
- What could you change about your personal life that would make you happier?
Be specific. Paint a clear picture of what your life would look like in five years if you accomplished that goal. Is it different than your current path? If it is, CHANGE your current path! Start taking small steps that move you in a direction you love. Dream about it. Visualize it. It’s never too late to create something that excites you.
3. RIGHT THINKING:
Believe in yourself. Change, adversity and roadblocks are part of everyone’s journey. You might even be victimized but being victimized isn’t the same as being a victim.
- When you carry yesterday with you, it turns into baggage. It becomes a self-limiting excuse and you become a victim.
- When you treat yesterday as an event, separate from who you are, you can let it go. You can even use it to build a stronger foundation for tomorrow.
Bottom line: Expect to struggle but remember, you’re not defined by the challenges you face. You’re defined by how you face those challenges. Life is a gift. How you travel through life is a choice. With right people, right goals, and right thinking you’ll never wake up wishing you were somewhere else.
You’ll love your life.
February 27th, 2013
How much do you know about digestion? How much do you rely on the “experts” to guide your food choices? Have you ever believed any of the following statements?
- “I like diet coke. There’s no way it can be THAT bad for you. Those additives have been tested and re-tested.”
- “A high carb, low fat diet is good for your heart.”
- “Sugar has to be okay, it’s in fruit. It’s natural. It’s fine as long as the rest of your diet is healthy.”
- “You’re not going to get cancer just because you eat sandwich meat or cheese with rBGH…that’s ridiculous.
- Every time you turn around there’s some study out there telling you something’s bad for you.”
We live in the United States of America. We have the safest food and water on the planet…don’t we? I’ve always trusted the people who regulate these things because they know more than I do and it’s their job to keep us safe.
Wake up! THEY’RE NOT KEEPING US SAFE!
After years of listening to mixed advice and wondering about the unexplained cancers and illnesses of several of my friends, I decided to started reading. I read Alejandro Junger’s book “Clean“. He talks a lot about the acid/alkaline affect of food so I read a book by Chistopher Vasey called “The Acid-Alkaline Diet,” however, there are many more books available on this topic alone. Honestly, the number of books and blogs on nutrition is mind-boggling. A friend recently gave me Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics” and I learned how influential the food industry is on government nutrition policies. And then, this morning I read an article on Mercola’s blog explaining how some of our biggest, most trusted companies put chemicals and additives in our food that are banned by other nations. Turns out, they provide the same products to those countries without the banned substances!
As a result of the research I’ve done, I believe most of us are dangerously ignorant about our food supply and to make matters worse, most of us have a limited understanding about how our digestive systems work.
It’s challenging to sort through differing opinions and come up with a food plan that will insure long-term health. There are no guarantees and it’s much easier to simply eat for pleasure. But that’s not a risk we can afford to take. My health is my responsibility so I’m choosing the following:
- Minimize sugar except the sugar that comes from eating fruit. Sugar in any of it’s forms…fructose, corn syrup, sucrose, etc… has no nutritional value and it’s acidic in our bodies. Cancer cells love that (knowledge trumps temptation).
- Switch to organic meat, eggs, cheese, vegetables, and fruit. It costs more but I think the hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and genetically engineered crops we ingest thanks to big corporate farming are more dangerous than we realize.
- Minimize consumption of wheat. You can’t buy wheat that hasn’t been genetically modified. The more I read about it, the more I realize I don’t need it or want it in my diet…not even 100% whole grain. Before you disagree, google ”is wheat bad for you” and read several of the opinions out there.
- Absolutely no artificial sweetners. Stevia (not Truvia) is a natural low calorie option and it looks like Nectresse might be okay, too.
These are the choices I’m making. I recommend you pull your head out of the sand, do some research and make your own set of choices. You life could depend on it.
February 21st, 2013
My friend Ellen just suffered a major stroke. As she fights for her life, her husband writes these important words in a Facebook post:
“No news just some ramblings. Ellen and I have been married almost 30 years. While that may seem long by some standards, the thing I’ve learned in the last two days is that 30 years in not long enough, Another 30 years wouldn’t be long enough. While we love love each other deeply I wish I had packed more hugs, kisses and loving into those years. I should have been trying to get 30 years worth of loving into those years.
So as you read this, if your are anywhere near someone you love, go give them a hug and a kiss like you haven’t done in a long time. Make it a priority to double up on hugging, loving and kissing. You will never regret doing it. The only downside it that it will still never be enough.”
Bottom line: Love the people you love. NOW!
February 5th, 2013
Gaining the strength to do traditional push-ups is a progression. In the video below, Shawn shows you an easy and safe way to gradually increase that strength. If you do three sets of 10 push-ups every day at a level that is challenging to you (a level that allows you to use good form but exhausts your muscles by 10-12 repetitions), you will eventually work yourself to the floor. Try it!
Then make a habit of doing three sets a day and keep that strength forever.
February 1st, 2013
It’s a strength challenge that’s part of the February Challenge. It’s a variation of push-ups, sit-ups and squats. The attached video shows my noon Lawrence University class doing one set. Then it shows my 80 year old mother doing the same thing, slightly modified for her level of strength. If you choose this as one of your goals, you need to commit to doing 6-10 sets per day. Remember, 1 set = 10 push-ups + 10 sit-ups + 10 squats. This sounds like a lot but you can split the work up throughout your day; maybe 2 sets in the morning, 2 after work and 2 after dinner. Once you get past the first five days, it gets easier and you’ll feel the difference. Good luck!
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