“Our imaginations are what allow us to accomplish things in life that we never thought possible,” says author and motivational speaker Tom Corner.
“Using our imaginations is what allows us evolve,” he says. “Our imaginations allowed us to land on the moon. Our imaginations allowed us to create the smartphone.”
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Welcome back to Part 3.0 Resolutions, hooray! Oh crap!
Seriously, don’t stop setting resolutions. Just change your expectations — At the outset I mentioned that I stopped making resolutions years ago. But, I really didn’t. Yes, I grew tired of failed resolutions. I grew tired of hearing the same resolutions year after year. But, the simple fact that I kept them front and center every year gradually laid the groundwork for ‘sudden’ success.
Another aspect of failed resolutions and successful ones are expectations. Most resolutions are made because it is the thing to do and are based on flawed expectations. Real resolutions are thought out and planned, not at the spur of the moment or based on other peoples’ resolutions and expectations.
Many expectations are flawed because they are based on the illusion of instant success smeared across the headlines, social media, tabloids, news, and more.
By revising my expectations and gradually changing my habits, I absolutely changed my mindset. I, too, have learned from failures which paved the way for success.
Remember —The road to success is riddled with potholes of failure. More often than we like to admit we hit big potholes which stop our momentum, change our direction and tease us with thoughts of a failed journey. These potholes in life’s journey test our fortitude, our strength and our resilience.
Know —We really don’t quit. On the contrary we simply revise our goals (resolutions), reset our expectations to eventually meet with success. The goal or resolution that we end up achieving may be altered or modified from its original form to meet our current needs and expectations at that particular point on our journey.
Believe — Success is always in our sights, but all too often we hit the potholes of failure, which temporarily reroute us and provide us with learning opportunities.
This year you can still make your usual resolutions, but make at least one that you will stick with for 66 days. Once that incites real change with the right mindset. Keep it in your sights, adjust it when you hit a pothole on your journey and focus on gradually getting better with each day, then suddenly you will realize you did not wait and you actually met with success.
Tomorrow be on the lookout for Resolutions, hooray! Oh crap! (Part 4.0) when we take a look at the how toEnsure You Meet with Success and Sooner!
Welcome back! In Part 2.0 Resolutions, hooray! Oh crap! we will take a look at Real Change and Right Mindset.
#2 Real Change, Right Mindset — Real change as Tony Robbins has mentioned happens when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain to change. Allow me to elaborate, real change must also be done with the proper mindset for it to truly succeed. If our mindset is misaligned and change is made in the face of anger or resentment it may not be the real change we intended.
Think about when you were a kid or think about your own kids. We often resisted change coming from our parents or other adult figureheads. Even if we forged forward and made the change (because we had to) we made it with a mindset of resentment, maybe even anger. Once the change proved successful we still held onto anger and resentment until the realization hit us that the change we made was in fact for the better.
Even worse, have you ever experienced the scenario when someone was forced to make a change and they ended up doing more of that particular thing they were supposed to change Could it be that a mindset of resentment and rebellion results in a failure to make the change necessary or even worse doing more of it?
Creatures of Habit —Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit. We do the same things over and over again because it works, or appears to work. If our habits or rituals cause no harm and keep us safe, then why would we change?
Pay attention to your routine and how you respond or react to people. If things worked in the past and you remained safe why in the world would you change it? Even if the things we are doing are inherently bad, unhealthy, or negative we most likely continue to do them because they seem to work. No harm, no foul, so why change? Can you see now how our minds just might perceive change as a potential threat to our comfort and safety, ultimately leading to failed resolutions?
66 Days— Have you ever heard of the 21 day rule to break a habit? Well, I have more news for you. It takes 66 days to start a new habit! Meaning you have to give your resolutions time; gradually and then suddenly.
Tomorrow be on the lookout for Resolutions, hooray! Oh crap! (Part 3.0) when we take a look at changing our expectations; expectations of ourselves and expectations of others.
I am a little early, but Happy New Year! Did you make your resolutions? I have news for you. I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in years! I never quite understood the practice especially upon hearing the usual culprits year after year; lose weight, start exercising, stop drinking, start eating healthier, stop smoking, and many more.
Over the next few days we will look at what we can do this year to manifest the real change we desire in our lives. Enjoy Part 1.0.
#1 Be realistic! — The aforementioned resolutions are very abrupt. To simply ‘stop’ or ‘start’ something is a huge shock and quite difficult to accomplish. Especially when we make resolutions to stop drinking after we just had a drink, to stop smoking after we just had a cigarette, or to start eating healthier after we just had a big piece of pie.
Include a lack of planning and focus our New Year’s resolutions become even flightier and an easier target for failure leading to an “Oh crap!” moment.
Gradually and then suddenly — Do not fall for the illusion of instant, or overnight, success. Anyone who has ever met with success, or failure, experienced it gradually and then suddenly. (The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway 1926) (Fierce Conversations, Scott 2002)
Tomorrow be on the lookout for Resolutions, hooray! Oh crap! (Part 2.0) when we take a look at the Real Change and Right Mindset.
“Hey! You gonna write about this?” the words floated from the phone.
“Are you kidding me? Of course!” I enthusiastically cheered to my friend John Knowles, host of the What’s That Like? Podcast.
I knew this was worth writing about. It would be an honor to write about it,….but after recording the podcast, and after listening to it, the following question arose; “What else is there to write about?”
We laid everything out for the world to hear on John’s podcast. Over seventy-seven minutes I reveal my life, my fears, my anger, my doubt….ultimately revealing my strength [your strength]! What else was there to reflect on?
Well, if you are reading this you know that I am gonna write about it and I am gonna go a little deep. It was as though each precious minute we spent together represented seventy-seven individual forms of release from, and forgiveness for, the nearly one-hundred self-inflicted scars from my past. This was a past I laid out for the world to read in the thirty-three thousand words of my memoir, Borrowed Eyes and Feet – Finding Enlightenment After Rage.
We spoke about life, dreams, fears, the past, the future, friendship, the “What?” and the “Why?” of life. I found forgiveness for most of the scars from my past, yet a few still lingered. Undeterred, I continue my journey towards forgiveness for all that remains.
So, what am I gonna write about? Stay tuned, for this is just the beginning and I will leave you with this to ponder, “Will we ever be free from our scars [from our past]?”
John does an amazing job interviewing guests. Those who are good at conversation and interviewing make it appear simple, that anyone can do it. This is far from the truth. Months before John and I spoke about how easy it appears to be, which is something he takes for granted. He is excellent at conversation. He is excellent at allowing his guests to speak. He is excellent at keeping the dialogue moving and ferreting out the tidbits and gems from his guests which ultimately keeps you listening. My interview was no different.
The topic of being a guest on John’s What’s That Like? Podcast was something we spoke about doing for quite some time. When the day and time was upon us for the actual interview, we spoke for an hour on the phone before officially hitting the record button and once the interview was finished we spoke for yet another hour. (Next time we will have to press the record button so we can then reveal what hit the cutting floor. Maybe an encore Podcast is in our future? Hmm.)
I have nothing to write about because this is something for you to hear about.
Thank you for your friendship!
“Hello! Here is a little information about my latest book.” Grasping to a bookmark about my latest book I reach out to a passerby, extending my arm, my life, my vulnerability.
“No, I am not interested!” Was the reply from this guy who didn’t even break his gaze to acknowledge me.
Crap! The heck with you! I roar to myself. My heart sinks, deep. The mosh pit of my mind starts raging. People are passing me by. They’re not talking to me about my book. What am I doing here? This is not working. This is a waste of my time. Thoughts were moshing around the pit of my mind. Ahhh! Crap!
I stay and remain resolute, but need a quick break. “Time for a quick bathroom break,” I mutter to myself. I walk away from trying so hard and, instead, move toward allowing myself to flow into simply being. I stroll to the restroom away from the scene allowing myself the opportunity to reframe. I feel better
On my way back I walk between the corridors of shelves lined with hundreds of books. At the end of one of the corridors I take a right-hand turn. This takes me toward theCustomer Service desk which lies in the center of the store. It is like one of those traffic circles in the middle of town allowing traffic to easily flow through. Yielding to oncoming customers I navigate around the Customer Service desk back into the flow.
Realizing that I am grasping on to remnants of frustration from the ”No. I am not interested!” guy, my bruised ego is looking for a fight. Up ahead I see this young man with a few friends heading in my direction. My wounded ego wants to redeem itself by having me remain ‘in my lane’ and not yield to this man.
The closer I get the bigger he appears. Do not allow his presence intimidate you. I hear my ego barking commands. Okay. This is silly. You are just pissed off at being rejected by the “No. I am not interested!” guy. He was not ready to receive your story. Sound familiar? That was you a long time ago, resistant to everyone and everything. No matter how people tried to connect with you, you pushed them away. Just stop it and let these people pass!
Like an 18-wheeler rumbling down the freeway at full throttle this powerful looking guy and his friends blew past me. I felt a gust shake me as they roared by, but I still remained on my path. Wow! That dude was a monster. I don’t think I will be talking to him about my book. He would probably laugh at me and squash me. I thought to myself as I ventured back to my table. Whew! I was spared!
A dozen or more minutes pass me by until I see the man who roared past me now standing across the walkway from me. He is as large as life and talking to the store manager who is an angel; always smiling and a delight to talk to.
I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation as she spoke with this man about love, about relationships, about anger and frustration. Huh? What! Did she read my book? Oh my gosh, she is amazing. I thought to myself.
When I snapped out of my daydream I found myself across the aisle, away from my table and standing directly in front of this man! Oops! What the heck am I doing? This guy is going to squash me like a bug.
My thoughts do not deter me though and for some reason I find myself extending a hand in greeting. “Hey! I apologize for intruding, but I couldn’t help overhear your conversation. My name is Tom Corner. I am here for a book signing today. I think this is something you might want to read….”
I sensed his energy of strength and felt it, as his hand enveloped mine in greeting. “What’s it about?” He asked. I proceeded to share my story about the struggles with anger and self-destruction to ultimately find my true strength in love and acceptance.
“Wow! I woke up this morning and for some reason I felt compelled to come here today,” he replied. “A couple weeks ago I had an experience similar to the one you just described.”
“Well, I believe things happen for a reason,” I replied. “By the way, I own that book you have in your hand. It’s a good one.” He held onto Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck. The title itself screams “Pick me up!”
Then his girlfriend walked over, “Hey baby, you’ve got to hear this guy’s story,” he said enthusiastically. “Can you tell her what you just told me? She has to hear this. This is amazing!” He excitedly commented as though he had just won the lottery (of life).
I proceeded to tell my story again and in that moment I knew I was intended to speak with this man. “Hey! Come over to my table. I’d like to give you something.” We walked back to the table where my books were on display. “I bought a copy to support the bookstore and hoped to give it to someone as a gift. I would like you to have this.” I handed my book to him.
“Yes, I think my story will resonate with you,” I spoke some more about the book and he reflected on his current situation.
“Thank you. This is amazing! I could give you a hug.”
“Come on over!” Unafraid, I walked around the side of the table to hug this man.
“This is great. I could use this book,” commented his friend, who’s presence was just as powerful. “I have to read this!!”
After momentarily allowing my ego to misinterpret the encounter with the “No, I am not interested!” guy I shifted my wrong perception back to the truth of love and acceptance. This allowed the enlightening conversation with this man and his friends to arise.
Through my eyes I initially saw a very strong and confident individual, even intimidating. Yet, when I approached him, I approached him with an energy of love. He was seeking answers and a way to see clearly through clouds of anger, rage and doubt.
I leave you with this question to ponder: Was what happened that day another coincidence? Was it a coincidence that a group of strangers became one? (My previous blog article: Four Strangers Become One. Coincidence?)
Thank you for your belief and your love.
P.S. After my amazing encounter with my new friends something in my book called to me. The following lines are from Chapter One: My Year of Enlightenment. Enjoy.
“Before you read any further, I ask that you pick up this book, pull it to your chest, and hold it close to your heart. Wrap your arms around the cover as though you were hugging a loved one. If you feel resistance or embarrassment about the foolishness of this exercise, do it anyway. Your resistance and embarrassment are fear in disguise.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer spoke of coincidence often; “In mathematics, two angles that are said to coincide fit together perfectly. The word coincidence does not describe luck or mistakes. It describes that which fits together perfectly.”
This past Sunday things fit perfectly together. I was holding a book signing event at a Barnes & Noble book store more than two hours from my home. Being in an unfamiliar location and not knowing who would show up presented opportunities for fear and doubt to jump around the mosh pit of my mind (Chapter 3). Although I did not know exactly how the event would play out, I knew a miraculous day would soon transpire.
When the event began an older gentleman immediately walked up to me. I introduced myself and he purchased my book. Wow! That was easy. He did not ask many questions, yet seemed determined to get a copy and then go about his day. (Coincidence?)
Moments later a young woman floated by. She came to a stop at the table of books next to me. “Hello. Looking for a gift?” I uncomfortably asked.
“No, just looking around,” she replied.
“If you are looking for a good story, maybe you would be interested in reading my latest book.”
I sensed resistance, but something urged her on. “What’s it about?”
Half an hour later I was engrossed in conversation with this ‘stranger.’ (Coincidence?)Then, as though on cue, a man approached us at the table. “What’s your book about?” he asked.
My new friend smiled at me as though she could answer his question and tell him mystory. He instantly joined our magical conversation and the three of us were deep in discussion about my book, about life, about anger, about fear, about love… (Coincidence?)
Eventually he picked up my book, gently placing it on top of another he picked up off the shelves earlier. Glancing in my direction with a smile, my new friend pointed to the book this man held in his hands. “Look familiar?” she queried.
“Oh my gosh!” I replied. “You must read my book!” I rejoiced.
In his hands he held onto Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now. The book that I end my story with. It was as though this was a dream; my book together with Eckart Tolle’s book! (Coincidence?)
Another 45 minutes pass us by when, yet, another ‘stranger’ approached our table. “I don’t mean to interrupt.” He commented.
“Come on in. We were waiting for you.” I enthusiastically replied.
“What is your book about?” He immediately asked.
My new friends’ faces lit up. They were ready to tell him about my story as though it was their own. “What led you to your anger?” He asked.
I paused for what felt like an eternity and tears began to flow. I did not know how to answer his question. The anger that I held fast to for far too long was gone. My life and my happiness was no longer a hostage of fear and anger. I was free.
Although we had different stories, different backgrounds and different journeys somehow the four of us came together as one on that day. We shared stories, shared our fears, shared our happiness and emotions flowed. (Coincidence?)
We shook hands, embraced and then went on our way. Our lives were transformed that day as four apparent ‘strangers’ became one, fitting perfectly together. (Coincidence!)
By the way, a strikingly similar scenario of four strangers becoming one manifested the Friday before at another book signing event. Perfectly aligned!
Love is my strength. Love is your strength.
How can I truly hate myself, my job, my boss, my life?
After spending the spring participating in Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Presence online teaching I found myself enthralled by Eckhart’s…presence. Yet, I was still lost in my own suffering.
Reveling in my past I spent the present moment pondering my flawed thinking about how deeply I worshipped a fear of the world. I thought about how much I hated myself. How much I hated who I was. How much I hated nearly everything about me.
After annoying myself with this relentless self-deceit I asked the one question that changed it all; Is this really true? It is truly possible to hate myself? Or, on the other hand, have I been despising the illusion, the thoughts, I have created about myself and the world?
My realization at that moment? It is truly impossible to hate. What we hate are the thoughts, or illusions, we have created about that which we apparently “fear.” How could anyone hate themselves or another?
Take away our imprisonment to the past and what do we have? We have the present moment of now. No judgment, no attachment, just now. If all I have is now then who am I? Am I the collection of thoughts I have accumulated about someone I once was? Am I allowing my past dictate and create my present?
If I was a little wiser about this and based the thoughts of myself and the world on acceptance and love, it would be a world transformed. All that I desired would be possible.
My past was plagued with ‘friends’ who were intended to protect me but turned my world into one of fear. Can’t, won’t, don’t, shouldn’t were all there to somehow keep me safe from failure and harm but when received (perceived) through the eyes of fear they became enemies.
It dawned on me that I hated the illusion I created of myself. The untruths built up in my mind about who I was over all of these years kept me away from who I was truly intended to be, until now.
Peeling away these illusions, I discovered a deeper understanding that our doubts, our hatred, our fears are illusions we have created of ourselves and the world. When we perceive, and receive, the world through the eyes of love and acceptance a world of ‘all things possible’ is born. This is our strength
Love and light.
Growing up with three brothers, being the youngest, I had my fair share of ‘rough and tumble’. Lots of bumps, scrapes and bruises came with the territory. Having three older brothers was awesome and what made it even more exciting was growing up in a family of athletes. My parents were outstanding athletes and my father was a successful football coach.
A great amount of energy, activity and assertiveness existed in our household. As a young man I would invariably end up in scenarios in which I was hitting someone (typically one of my brothers) or being hit by someone (yep, one of my brothers). I was the instigator of much of it and would oftentimes hit my brother with more than just my fist. I didn’t need a reason, I would just hit him. (Sorry Mom and Dad!)
I recall the day when that changed. It was another one of those days on which I felt the urge to hit my brother. But, this time when I hit him my Dad happened to walk in to witness the attack. Oops! My brother certainly was no idiot and relished the opportunity to see me squirm. Instead of hitting me back it was time for a payback. He countered my attack by saying, “Hey Dad! Did you see that? Tom hit me!”
Permission to Kick My Butt
Oh crud! I thought to myself. Cringing, I awaited my punishment either in the form of being grounded or the threat from the crack of a belt. (To clear the air, I was not hit with the belt. But, the sound of the belt cracking and the thought of being hit with it was enough to send a message). What actually happened was just as bad, maybe worse.
My Dad gave my brother permission to kick my butt! He did not exactly say it in those words, but he did say, “Then hit him back. If you hit him back, he won’t do it again.”
Oh boy! I am dead. I thought to myself expecting punishment, but not in the form of a beating from my brother. Luckily for me, my brother took the high road and walked away. Although, it did leave me wondering when he would seek his revenge.
That moment when my Dad told my brother to hit me back stuck with me. Now that I am raising a family of my own it didn’t occur to me that those words would be resurrected. A year ago “Hit him back!” returned when my third grade daughter met her first tormentor. In the evenings before bed she and I would talk about her day. During one of our talks she summoned up the courage to tell me about this kid who was annoying her on the bus ride home each day. He would grab her shirt and pull her hood over her head, grab her art projects and rip them, call her names, grab her back pack and throw it on the floor of the bus. This boy never stopped.
Almost every day my daughter had to put up with this little trouble maker. We talked about what my daughter could do to avoid any conflict. I suggested that she could sit somewhere else on the bus. She tried that and it did not work. I suggested that she just tell him to ‘Cut it out.’ But, that was also ineffective. He still persisted.
As she shared the experience her words fell upon my ears and I tried my best to fight back feelings of anger. But, when your child is telling you that she is being picked on it is easy to react with anger and retaliation. I became so frustrated that I eventually blurted out those words, “Just hit him back! If he will not leave you alone, then hit him back. Once you do that, he won’t bother you again.”
My emotions got the best of me! I could not believe this was my advice for my eight year old daughter. Ugh!
My Daughter – The Better Person
I am proud to say that my daughter was the better person. She didn’t want to hit anybody, so she took the high road by not heeding my advice. Our dialogue continued and I searched for a way to fix the issue, until one night she made a very simple comment to solve everything. My daughter looked at me and in a matter-of-fact tone said, “Dad, why don’t you just tell the bus driver?”
Wow! My eight year old daughter had the solution to the problem which had nothing to do with my misguided advice of attack. Problem solved! The next day, we informed the bus driver about the trouble this kid was causing. After that it ceased and my daughter no longer had problems with him.
I am so proud of her for not heeding my advice; she never hit that kid. I am proud of my brother (and very thankful) for not heeding the advice to hit me back when we were kids; he never hit me back. What my daughter and my brother did (not do) took a lot of strength and courage. Oftentimes it is easier to attack and much more difficult to walk away. To have the self-confidence, and pride in oneself, to just walk away is no easy feat.
My daughter taught me a valuable lesson. I am now aware of the power of forgiveness and the strength it takes not to retaliate. The best choice is to forgive. Instead of hitting back, we choose to Hit ‘em with a hug!
True Strength Lies in Forgiveness
Don’t hold onto a false belief that hugging is for the weak and that hitting is for the strong and resilient. It may seem much easier to respond with violence which might solve the problem momentarily, but it breeds more hatred and violence. On the contrary, for one to relinquish the need to attack, choosing to lead with forgiveness and love is the boldest and strongest thing someone can do.
The next time you feel the urge to hit someone back pause for a moment and Hit `em with a HUG instead! And know this, true strength lies in peace and forgiveness.
I am thankful for my daughters who are my greatest teachers.
I send you love and forgiveness!
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