Archives for December 2011

Mow the Lawn?

JOKE: If your child wants to mow the lawn, you know he is too young to do so.

REALITY: Isn’t the grass always greener on the other side of the fence?  When you can’t do something yet, you long to be able to do it.  As a kid, we long to be able to mow the lawn. As teenagers we can’t wait to leave home, but not long after we seem to gravitate back.  Whatever our neighbor has looks great … until we get one, too, and then we notice another neighbor has something else that looks pretty good.

But we already have all the things we need, and whatever age we are is just the right age for us right now.  It is great to have dreams and to work toward them, but not at the expense of missing what we have now…which quite often are the dreams we once longed for.

JOKE: Someday, all kids who can mow will want to, and all who are too young will be happy to wait.



* image by Michael Marcus

 READ ALSO: Enough

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The Power of Focusing Your Attention

In a world of multi-tasking and hand-held devices, our moments of laser focus are in danger of extinction. Instead of dedicating our full attention to one thing at a time, we live in a society that promotes the opposite. The idea seems to be that the busier we are, the more productive we’ll be. However, the critical question is, how do we continue to approach our tasks at hand during the busier times?

I have encountered many professionals who are perpetually busy with various projects and aspects of their work, yet, seem to rarely ever make progress. I believe the culprit is multitasking, and the answer is focus management. Contrary to time management and multi-tasking, focus management is a thorough approach to getting things done. It’s about being in the moment and dedicating full attention to the task at hand until it’s complete.

Too often I have found that whenever we come across a large amount of things to do, we tend to fall into a state of desperation, causing us to hit the panic button and scramble our attention. This is when multitasking comes into play. Instead of trying to swallow the elephant within one bite, we need to relax, take a step back and dissect this large, overwhelming task into small individual steps. Once we accomplish this, it is our responsibility to then focus our entire attention on that step, without thinking about the next step until the current one is completed.

READ ALSO: 11 life lessons

Consistency is another vital attribute when it comes to focus management. I believe that focus + consistency = tremendous gains and results. If we manage to set up a focus management plan but lack consistency, we will not get very far in whichever endeavor we pursue. This is one of the reasons why I believe it’s important to break down our tasks into small, individual ones. This gives us the opportunity to accomplish more as well as gain momentum. Once we begin to gain momentum, we will then begin to generate the energy needed in order to achieve consistent results.

This new style of working may sound a little bit awkward for those who are accustomed to multitasking, but I guarantee it is more productive than divvying up your attention. It’s all about making consistent and focused increments towards accomplishing your goals.

This is a guest post by Luis Rosario, the Director of Communications / Event Relations for Personal Development Community, an online community that focuses on prosperity & abundance, lifestyle design, quality of life, and motivation. With an educational background in Sociology and Inter-cultural Communications, his mission is to change the world for the better one event at a time!

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Proud to Be a Grinch [humour alert]

It was my first meeting of “GA”. This is not AA (Alchoholics Anonymous). It is not even AAA (American Automobile Association). It is GA…Grinches Anonymous. This is roughly how the meeting went.

“Please stand up and introduce yourself,” I was urged by the wall-of-brick bouncer blocking the doorway.

“Uh, OK…” I paused to remember how I had seen them say this on TV at AA meetings. “My name is The Happy Guy, and I am a Grinch.”

The room fell silent. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Finally, a little old lady spoke up, “Isn’t that somewhat of a conflict of interest, sonny?”

It’s true. The Grinch is not generally seen as the most jovial of fellows. And I am called The Happy Guy. Even my website says that: But I had to face the unhappy truth. I am a Grinch.

Oh sure, I don’t have lots of cute furry, green skin like famous Grinches can afford. And I can’t seem to twist my face into that famous diabolical grin, no matter how hard I try. Not even when I use a plunger, a blow torch and a porcupine – but that’s another story.

“Tell us, please, what makes you a Grinch,” the moderator suggested.

“I just seem to spoil everybody’s Christmas. They ask me what I want for Christmas…and…and…and I draw a blank. I can’t think of anything.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady spoke up (again), “You mean I can have your Christmas presents, sonny?”

I know it is probably hard to believe, but when somebody asks me what I want for Christmas, I just can’t think of anything. It’s like asking me to list the international hopscotch tournaments won by the American Samoa team.

At the moment I am being asked, I just don’t want anything. I always seem to have enough. In fact, I always seem to have more than I need. I have over a hundred music CDs, but when was the last time I played most of them. I’ve given away more books than I’ve read, and I’ve read more than I have.

We have a special machine just to make waffles. And one just to make popcorn. Both of them make prize-winning dust bunnies. And we have a machine just to make bread, which we at least use to make pizza dough. We have glasses and bowls that I would never recognize and some clothes in which I would not want to be recognized.

“Why does that make you a Grinch?” the moderator asked.

“I make it difficult for them to give. What I really want is less, not more. What I really need is for somebody to come and take things away.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady passed me a notepad, “Mind jotting down your address for me, sonny?”

What would a Grinch want for Christmas?

My wife suggested socks. Got’m.

Shirts? Got’m.

Nail clippers? Got’m.

Pyjamas? Got’m.

Pens? Got’m.

Bookmarks? Gloves? Paper? Flashlights?

Got’m. Got’m. Got’m. Got’m.

Batteries? There’s an idea. Put me down for batteries. You never know when I might get hungry.

Cologne? Here are the bottles from the last two years. One of them is open. No, wait…that’s just a scratch on the lid.

Isn’t there anything I want?

“Why not ask if they have any ideas you could consider?” the moderator suggested.

“You mean, like hiring them as a consultant on how to give things to me?” I asked.

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady spoke, “Just refer them to me. I want lots of things.”

VIEW THIS VIDEO: I’ve got enough

Why would anybody want more stuff to clean, more stuff to break, more stuff to fix, more stuff to store, more stuff to keep track of, more stuff to trip over? I don’t even know where to put last week’s dirty dishes.

If people keep buying gifts when you already are storing more things than you could ever use, sooner or later your house is bound to explode, the way a balloon bursts when you over-fill it. I wondered if my insurance covered that.

“Couldn’t you humor them? Just a little bit?” the moderator asked.

“Actually, I know one thing I want…a chalet in Switzerland and a map of the best hiking trails in the vicinity.”

The room fell silent. Again. People looked at one another uncertain how to react. Again. Finally, Little Old Lady jumped up and declared, “My bags are packed. When do we leave, sonny?”

I don’t think I’ll ask for a GA membership renewal in my stocking this year. But that is probably what I’ll get.

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Enough – [Christmas video]

This is my favorite Christmas song, by Alberta country artist Remi Boudreau.

I’ve got enough
I’m completely satisfied
I don’t need stuff
Just this thing that’s true and tried
I don’t need the perfect gift to fit me like a glove
I’ve got enough

Even on an average day, I find that we are surrounded with so many messages that tell us that no matter how much we have, no matter how gluttonous we might become, that we could never have enough.  More.  More.  More.  And those messages only seem to grow in abundance as we get closer to Christmas.

Given that we are full-steam into shopping season, this might help us all to keep it real. Watch and listen to the video, and hopefully it will put you in the Christmas spirit.  In THE Christmas spirit.

READ ALSO: Proud to Be a Grinch

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Self-help Comment Carnival – December 1, 2011

New on this blog is a blog carnival with a twist. This is the first Self-help Comment Carnival, where I share with you a few of the more interesting comments I have left on various blogs over the past week or so.


I loved this quote so much …

A pastor saw a beggar amidst the crowd at a Christian conference he was attending. He felt compassion for him and prayed to God, “Lord, please touch him!” Immediately he felt the Lord speak to his heart, “I will, if you will.”

… that I just had to leave a comment over at City Rescue Mission

When Stacey at The Habit Building Challenge started talking about – you, guessed it – habits, I could not resist putting my oars into the water …

I have always believed this is true, that habits define how we succeed or fail at things. We are creatures of habit and we will do mostly things we are accustomed to, so we better make sure those are good things, positive things, productive things. That’s why when I write my book on happiness, I focused on the habits that can make the biggest difference, mostly negative habits that can and should be turned into positive habits.

I had to agree that Dr. Sahnnon Reese’s Life is Abundant (and all of ours are, too) …

Those are ten great reasons why your life is abundant. Even if you stopped after the first two – I am healthy and strong, and I have what I need – your life is abundant. The rest are all great, too, wonderful bonuses. But the fact that even the “poor” people in North America and Europe are rich beyond the wildest dreams of our great-great-great-great-great-grand-parents is enough to make us abundant.

I could go on and on about materialism run amok, but The Cyber Monday No Show did a pretty good job for me. I just added a few words…

Bravo! The last thing our spoiled-brat society that is drowning in overconsumption needs is a holiday dedicated to shopping. Which, unfortunately, is overshadowing the very holiday on which we are supposed to feel gratitude for our overabundance. When greed battles gratitude, look who wins. People may say with words that they support the Occupy Wall Street protesters, but Black Friday and Cyber Monday prove that they would much rather feed the beast than tame it.

On Accepting Inconveniences as a Part of Life, I added this…

Beautiful. I have always said that the reason we get sick is so as to appreciate our health the rest of the time. And the reason we have winter, is so we can appreciate the summer (I still haven’t reasoned away why we need 5-6 months of winter, but that’s another story).

And I got mushy (no, that doesn’t happen very often!) at Kevin’s 20 Things I’m Thankful for this Thanksgiving post …

Kevin, a wonderful list of things to be grateful for, and I think I see my name between the lines there. I can say wholeheartedly that it goes two ways; the “cyber friends who helped make my blogging career possible” are just as grateful for your ongoing support. It has been said before, but in many ways I feel we are more like a family than folks who work together in offices. We have all the support and none of the office politics. Happy Thanksgiving.

There is more great self help reading at Self Help Magazine.

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