Friday, September 19, 2014

Your Future

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

The Pain you Feel

The pain you feel is a reminder that you are alive, living life. Your not on the sidelines, you are in the game. Let it be a stepping stone instead of a stumbling block.

Stephen Goforth

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Walls and Masks

We need to be able to express ourselves, to talk ourselves out without fear of rejection by others. Too often the problems that we keep submerged within us remain, in the darkness of our own interior, undefined and therefore destructive.

We do not see the true dimensions of these things that trouble us until we define them and set lines of demarcation in conversation with a friend. Inside of us they remain as nebulous as smoke, but when we confide ourselves to another we acquire some sense of dimension and growth in self-identity and the capacity to accept ourselves as we are.

It may well be that our walls and masks will make this difficult. We may instinctively try to rationalize that there is really no one near to whom we can talk ourselves out. Many of us practice the self-deception of believing that there is no one in our supposed circle of friends that can be trusted. Very commonly these excuses that we have rehearsed so often are merely excuses. Our real fear is that we would be rejected, that the other person would not understand us. And so we wait and wait and wait behind our wall for the sufficient sound of reassurance in another or we gaze out of the windows of our towers looking for price charming to come and rescue us. We excuse ourselves from all initiative seeking truly human interpersonal relationship with another on the grounds that the time is not ripe or the circumstances right. In the meanwhile, we can only perish.

John Powell
Why am I Afraid to Love

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Social Sins

The seven social sins: politics without principles, wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, and worship without sacrifice.

Mahatma Gandhi

We've Lost Our Mirrors

Societies have rites of passage to help members deal with change. When these cues are missing and we have nothing in our lives to affirm that change is appropriate and timely, we’ve lost our mirrors. This is when a dependable support system can step up to make the difference. Just like the recovering alcoholic needs reminders about what a healthy identity looks like, we need a trusted circle of friends to remind us that the change in our lives is both positive and necessary.  And we need that circle to encourage us to embrace the new identity and not the old one.

Stephen Goforth

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Standard

The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people's ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.

Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must be something-some Real Morality--for them to be true about.

If the Rule of Decent Behaviour meant simply 'whatever each nation happens to approve,' there would be no sense in saying that any one nation had ever been more correct in its approval than any other; no sense in saying that the world could ever grow morally better or morally worse.

CS Lewis
Mere Christianity

Monday, September 15, 2014

Reframing

Reframe the other side’s accusations as opportunities to talk about problems.

Building on Sand

People who circle the wagons when questioned about their religious creed are usually afraid that what they profess might not be true.

Seldom (if ever?) will you run across a belief system that’s 100% false. There are scattered nuggets of truth in each one. That’s why there are people in every religious, political, and philosophical system who simply accept the group’s views at face value. They grew up in it, they gave in to social pressure and joined. Or else they simply are unwilling to come to terms with the fact they have been walking on the wrong road. Admitting that you’ve invested yourself in something that’s been a waste of your time is not easy. Going back and starting over again is not very appealing. Ultimately, it’s a choice about whether to maintain a comfort level or pursue truth.

If you surround yourself only with things and people who reinforce your belief system, you don't have to worry about your worldview being knocked out from under you (although circumstances have a way of eventually doing this, anyway). The choice ultimately becomes denying reality--or reassessing cherished ideas on which we’ve built our lives.

Stephen Goforth

Friday, September 12, 2014

The limits of Reason

Reason is not omni-competent.

Daring to say "No"

Many of us seem to have great difficulty in simply saying “No” to requests made of us or even invitations to us. Somehow we assume – whether we are aware of it or not – that either the other person is too weak to cope with our refusal and will be offended or a relationship is impossible to maintain without 100 percent mutual agreement.

Daily examples of the results of this nonassertive belief can be seen when other people invite you out to join them in some social activity. How comfortable do you feel in assertively revealing your true state by saying simply and openly: “No, I just don’t feel like it this weekend. Let’s try it another time?” Instead you invent “good” reasons that will not allow the other person to get irritated, feel rebuffed and possibly dislike you. Most of us follow this inane behavior pattern because of our childish belief that we cannot function properly if we do things that cause other people to remove their good will toward us, even a little bit.

Although generalizations are suspect and typically useless, our behavior in this area is sufficiently childish to prompt me to make this observation: one cannot live in terror of hurting other people’s feelings. Sometimes one offends. That’s life in the big city!

Manuel Smith
When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Abandon Ship!

A Chinese general decided to get his troops focused on the battle ahead--by burning the ships in the water behind his troops. They had no retreat. And it worked. Dan Ariely uses this illustration in his book Predictably Irrational, suggesting we hurt ourselves by trying to keep too many options open, failing to make decisive moves forward.

Perhaps this is one reason we fail in our marriages. In the back of our minds, we know there is a back door. If anything goes wrong, if we no longer enjoy our situation, we can take the door marked divorce. Sure, we want it to work out. But we’re not committed to the union as if we have no other way to go but forward. Perhaps part of our wedding ceremonies need to be a torching of the ship.

I do not mean there is no retreat no matter what. There is a difference between keeping a path available as an active option throughout an experience and using an option as a last resort for an extreme situation.

We should approach our battles by throwing ourselves wholly into the war from the start. Go at it as if you have no retreat. According to Ariely's experiments at MIT, your chances of success will go up.

Stephen Goforth

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Defining Success

Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom. - George S. Patton

The Law of Priorities

The most remarkable aspect about John Wooden--and the most telling about his ability to focus on his priorities--is that he never scouted opposing teams. Instead, he focused on getting his players to reach their potential. And he addressed those things through practice and personal interaction with the players. It was never his goal to win championships or even to be the other team. His desire was to get each person to play to his potential and to put the best possible team on the floor. And, of course, Wooden’s results were incredible. In more than 40 years of coaching, he had only one losing season--his first. And he led his UCLA teams to four undefeated seasons and a record 10 in NCAA championships. No other college team is ever come close.

John Maxwell
The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Improving your inner circle

I reviewed by life when I turned forty. I had the desire to keep going to a higher level and to make a greater impact, but I realized that I had leveraged my time as much as I possibly could, and it would have been impossible to sharpen the focus on my priorities any more than it already was. In other words, I could not work harder or smarter. That left me only one choice: learning to work through others.

John Maxwell
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Monday, September 8, 2014

New eyes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust