Posts tagged with ‘optimism’

18 sep

Every No Gets Us Closer to a Yes

WEJMDConsider this example: Using a hypothetical number (since I am not aware of the statistics involved in car sales), let’s assume that for every 10 prospective customers that walk through the showroom door, one will be converted into a sale.

That being the case, a car salesman can expect to get a no from nine people before he closes a deal. Consequently, when he gets one no after another, there is no need for him to get depressed, anxious or angry. He doesn’t need to take it personally by interpreting it as a failure on his part. He doesn’t need to get discouraged or demoralized. He doesn’t need to perceive it as a setback or an obstacle. He doesn’t need to look at it as the universe giving him a hard time.

He simply needs to remind himself that it’s all part of the plan; that it’s all part of the law of averages; that every time he gets a no, he should actually be celebrating, because it brings him closer to the statistical number that equates to a yes.

Oftentimes, we get frustrated by things not happening on our timetable. Rather than seeing each “no” as one step closer to our goal, we interpret the “no” as a delay holding back our success. This speaks to our desire to control the universe so that it will do our bidding as we think it should and when we think it should.

The problem with this is that we can’t control the universe. People and circumstances that will eventually cooperate with us have their own timetable that we need to accept. Any attempt to manipulate and accelerate the process is oftentimes a mistake. It can lead us to either a burning bridge that could have been an appropriate path, or finding ourselves heading down a path that, in the long run, will prove to be a road to nowhere.

Acceptance & patience
It is better to accept that it takes time for people and circumstances to come together in a beneficial way for all concerned and to try not to force outcomes. Sometimes it’s best to accept the ebb and flow of things. Sometimes it’s best to not paddle furiously but rather to row our boat gently down the stream. Sometimes it’s best to let things happen at their own pace and have faith that when things don’t happen the way we think they should, it doesn’t mean that they never will.

Bottom line: We needn’t be afraid of rejection and failed efforts — take Thomas Edison, for example. Every time the universe said no to one of his attempts to invent the electric light bulb, he saw it as a help rather than a hindrance. He saw it as an opportunity to put aside an ineffectual approach he was taking so that he could redirect his attention to an alternative approach that might yield the success he was looking for. Every failed attempt brought him closer to success by enabling him to eliminate a wrong way so that he could eventually find the right way.

There is a right way for all of us, regardless of what goals we have set for ourselves. But we will not find it if we get derailed by perceived setbacks, obstacles, rejections, delays and outright failed attempts. Best that we be okay with every no we get and every failed attempt, seeing each as a positive stepping stone to our ultimate success.

Best we stay true to our vision. Best we stay confident and positive. Best we be flexible and stay open to alternative paths so as to modify and adapt our plan when necessary. Above all else, we don’t give up. We keep on trucking. We remind ourselves that it’s never over till it’s over.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on September 18th, 2011 in Career | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

08 apr

“Let There Be Light”

SaskiaShakinIn the ancient wisdom of the Kabbalah, the mystic teachings of Judaism, it is said that God created the Universe by uttering the words, “Let there be light.” Kabbalah reveals that the world didn’t just appear. It was announced with those well-known words. What can we learn from this?

We learn that the act of creation—any creation—is set by intention, by words. In pronouncing “Let there be light,” God was also saying “Let there be language,” for it was through words that the cosmos took form.

Like God, man is distinguished by his ability to create with his word and with his thoughts. No other animal has the same capacity to create reality from abstraction.

Although other creatures communicate with each other, man alone uses intention as God did to create something new that had had no precedent.

Language, therefore, is a window into our soul. Just as a culture is reflected through its language, so, too, is man’s soul reflected through his use of words.

How we choose words, how we use words speaks volumes about us, about how we see the world and, thus, how the world we see is reflected back to us.

Like a two-way mirror, what we send forth with our words comes back as our reality, a reality that we’ve created as well as a reality that reflects back upon us. If we don’t like our present reality, all we need do is change our words.

Consider this:  If we live life with a mantra that says “I can’t,” then that becomes what we live—obstacles, frustration, doubt. And if we live life with “I can!” then that, too, is what life delivers—opportunities, possibilities, confidence.

Consider, too, that when we utter a put-down such as, “Oh, that’s just wishful thinking,” we demean, disprove or disavow a longing of the soul. Wishful thinking should never be put down! It should be embraced, honored, practiced night & day because our wishful thinking can change our world! Wishes are nothing but dreams unrealized.

If you let the naysayers guide your thinking to pragmatic, realistic thoughts, tied only to what the five senses can tell you, your wishful thinking will never show up in your life. And who among us would choose to live creating and recreating the same reality, day in and day out with no change, no improvement, no growth.

Words create. They create our world, our consciousness, our actions and our circumstances. They can be used as sacred tools or as weapons of mass destruction. Children chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me.” This refrain could not be further from the truth!

Broken bones mend. But words can harm for a lifetime—especially if they are hurtful words that we continuously hurl at ourselves.

Since words do create our universe, it pays to choose them wisely. Choose them lovingly. Choose them with care so they never come back to haunt you, and you won’t find yourself having to “eat your words.”

But there’s more.

Not only do words reveal our intentions, the tone in which they are spoken is even more revealing. How many arguments between spouses or partners might sound like: “I love you very much, BUT you’re driving me nuts!” Spoken in a certain tone, these words may reveal bemusement and acceptance. Spoken in a different tone, these become fighting words.

The French have a saying: ”C’est le ton qui fait la musique.” It’s the tone that creates the music. And just because tone is more covert and words more overt, don’t assume that our tone does not say more than our words.

Words convey meaning; tone conveys feeling. And when meaning and feeling are in conflict, we always believe the feeling and not the words. Perhaps it is because we listen more with our heart than our head. Perhaps our emotional intelligence is stronger than our intellect—despite the fact that we honor the intellect more in our culture.

Whatever the reason, we would do well to remember that people will often not remember what we’ve said, but they’ll always remember how we made them feel.

So, in keeping with the teachings of Kabbalah, let the light of your words illuminate the Universe, the larger one we all inhabit and the smaller one that belongs to you alone.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Saskia Shakin on April 8th, 2010 in General, New Directions, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in ,

19 mar

Live Fired Up!

JayFortePeople tell us life is tough, tense and difficult. And we believe it.

I don’t listen to what people say. I think life should be thrilling, exciting and energizing. Life is not a dress rehearsal so I want to be passionate, enthusiastic and fired up in my one shot at life.

We choose how we live. We allow the discussion in our heads to direct us. And today, much of this discussion is negative – it highlights the things we can’t, shouldn’t, or couldn’t do. We dwell on it and soon we believe that is the way it must be…it will be. But, we can redirect this internal dialog to positive; our self-talk can be optimistic. Our choice.

I find the reason why many people are more negative than positive is they do not know themselves well. As has been said, “We fear because we forget how capable we are.” We activate our negative self-talk because we forget (or don’t know) how talented, wise and competent we are. By knowing ourselves well, we learn how to use our hardwired talents, strengths and passions to successfully direct our lives to areas that support what we are good at and love doing. This engages our confidence and competence. This activates our positive self-talk. This helps to fire us up.

Many people also look to others to make their lives great. We want our partners, spouses, friends and families to make our lives fun, dynamic and easy. Though they are part of this process, the choice of being thrilled (or bored) about life belongs to each of us – not to others. It is our responsibility to choose how we move through life in the best and most fired up way.

Though I write, speak and teach about connecting to talents and passions, and getting fired up in work and life, I still have my days where the negative and challenging thoughts are louder than the positive ones. I know this will happen so I created a list of things I can do get myself re-fired up – re-energized – and back on the ride of life. Here are some of my techniques to light the fire instead of dousing the flame. Use these and share what works for you:

  1. Laugh. A minute of laughing can boost your immune system for more than 24 hours (a minute of anger weakens your immune system for 4 hours). So find humor in everything. People are naturally comical, pets too. Stop finding faults and find humor. (I have the klutz gene –it is a family trait. If I got upset every time I bumped into something or tripped on something, I would always be upset. Instead, it is a great opportunity to laugh).
  2. Read an inspirational quote or text. Find authors, famous or familiar people who move you with their perspectives, attitudes or energy. Keep these handy.
  3. Think about two great things that have happened in the last day, hour or even minute. Dwell on these, not on the things that did not work so well. Applaud yourself for your great work, even if you were the only one who noticed it. Praise and (a little) self-praise are good ways to stay fired up.
  4. Develop a network of fired up contacts – people you can contact to help you reconnect to your fire. The commitment, however, is you are the same resource for them. Sometimes we need a little help to get the fire going again.
  5. Do something kind or unexpected. Send a card, make a call, serve your kids, partner or spouse breakfast in bed, make your favorite desert or meal and bring it to a friend. Get out of yourself and pay attention to someone else. Their reactions will fire you up.
  6. Tell a story about a time when you were younger that highlights happy and great times. Show pictures, watch home movies and share feelings. Celebrate your personal stories. Never miss providing an ovation after a story. Everyone loves some applause. It fires us up.
  7. Make the ordinary things around you, extraordinary. Dinner – ordinary. Dinner with the best dishes, flowers and cloth napkins – extraordinary. Lunch – ordinary. Lunch with candles, a card, your favorite soup and music – extraordinary. Bring home flowers. Make your own scented water to spray on the laundry. Stack laundry with each person’s name on it and a surprise in the bottom of each pile. Change the color of your front door – to something that gets the neighbors talking. Buy something bright to liven up an ordinary room. Notice “ordinary” then do something to make it extraordinary. You get a “two-fer” – a “two for” the price of one fire up. You get something extraordinary and you get fired up doing it.
  8. Music – high-energy music can get you fired up. Turn it up loud, close the door and dance. And if you have the nerve, dance with the door open and invite others to join you. Find your fire up song and play it when you need to get energizing. My favorite “change my mood” song is Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas’s “Smooth.” My favorite get fired up and dance songs are Frankie Valli’s Oh, What A Night, Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” or Katy Perry’s “Hot N Cold.” What are yours? (I know you have some.)
  9. Go for an “inspired walk.” Some people find inspiration on a busy city street with lots of action. Others find inspiration in a quiet walk on a beach, through the woods or in the mountains. Bring your iPod with inspirational music (your definition of inspirational) to add to the moment. Or, just learn to listen to hustle, or the natural quiet. Get reconnected to your internal fire with others or by yourself, whichever activates you.
  10. Make plans for fun. Once a week plan an event that gets you excited. Try a new restaurant. See a movie. Go to a lecture. Do yoga. Buy an outrageous coffee drink. Have game night with your family or friends. Host an American Idol, reality show, awards show or big game evening. Start a dinner club with other couples or singles. Host a progressive party around your neighborhood. Create one fired up event; its anticipation is energizing.
  11. Love your job. Choose a job that plays to what you are good at and love doing. Know yourself well enough to know how to play to your talents, strengths and passions. A job of purpose, power and passion will keep you energized and fired up throughout the day.

Some say life is tough. And some feel they should suffer through life. Go ahead. That is not for me; that is not the story of life I intend to write. I have learned the more I know myself, the more I can direct my response to my world and play to my strengths. I can control my response to conflict and put myself into more areas of joy, happiness and energy. My choice.

We are amazing creatures. Each of us is hardwired with amazing gifts – unique gifts – that take much of our lives to interpret and learn to use. We did not arrive on the planet with an owner’s manual; we write it each day as we live. The more and quicker we learn about ourselves, the more and sooner we get introduced to the things that make us sizzle and those that make us fizzle. So, figure out how to add more sizzle. Then live fired up!

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on March 19th, 2010 in Career, Family, General, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

07 mar

Your “Half-Empty” Perspective Is Killing You

JayForteAttitude – it defines us. I remember working with a colleague who was chronically pessimistic. Whatever was said, he always found the negative. If it were a nice day, he would comment how bad weather was due. If we had success in the workplace, it was a matter of time before something failed. I chose to see the glass half full; he chose to see the glass half empty. I focused on gain, success, optimism and possibility; he focused on loss, failure, pessimism and shortage. He was a chronic downer; a vortex of negative energy. He was, however, a life lesson.

I wasn’t always optimistic. My background, like for many, taught me life was difficult; good will always be offset by bad – as if there were some required life balance of pain and pleasure. It was this colleague, however, who introduced me to seeing the negative and positive attributes in our responses, and noticing how they made me feel. His perspective reminded me of how brief life is and by focusing on the negative instead of the positive was a waste of time.

This started my interest in researching the impact of a positive attitude not only on a person’s success but on his physical and metal wellbeing. Dr. Esther Sternberg’s states in her book, The Balance Within, The Science Connecting Health and Emotions, “Perhaps if we could relearn a new set of associations, turn negative into positive, we could in some sense consciously control our health.” She continues, “The more optimistic the person, the less an event was perceived as stressful, the more robust were their immune-cell responses.” There is a direct correlation between positive emotions and a strong immune system.

This is further explained in Dr. Robert Sapolsky’s book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. He presents when we are in periods of calm, our body’s systems work as they should – the heart slows allowing normal blood flow to all of the routine life systems – digestive, circulatory, excretory, reproductive. We maintain our bodies internally – we stay healthy.

However, when we encounter an event (including an emotion) that activates our fight-or-flight mechanism, different biological functions respond. Blood is called from the maintenance systems and is now directed to organs that will increase our ability to survive (blood vessels are constricted raising the speed and force of the heart’s contraction, widening air passages to the lungs, dilating the pupils for increased perception, releasing glucose into the blood for quick energy, and shifting blood from the intestinal tract to the heart and muscles – paraphrased from How We Live by Sherwin Nuland). This reaction suppresses our immune system; if sustained, this impacts our health.

It is important to note is that a negative attitude can activate the fight-or-flight response. So the office downer, the family curmudgeon, or the negative energy friend – those who are constantly focused on the “half-empty” perspective – live in a perpetual state of fight or flight. This activates the fight-or-flight systems and suppresses the immune system. Being a cynic, grump or pessimist is bad for your health.

This ties in directly with Ariane de Bonvoisin’s first principle of successfully handling change, “People who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs.” This positivity activates your health, your greater thinking and stronger positive emotions. Positivity and optimism actually create a healthier life.

Positive beliefs come from you – you may not be able to control the things that happen to you but you can control how you respond to them. You can choose to see “half-full” – upbeat, optimistic and confident – or “half-empty” – down, pessimistic and unsure.

Consider these ways to build a more positive perspective:

  1. Notice when you become negative and immediately focus on something positive. Have others help you see your behavior.
  2. Read a power quote or an inspirational passage to start your day on a positive tone.
  3. Create an upbeat “break” during the day. Focus on 3 things that have gone well. Celebrate them. I like to use a “what went well today” list.
  4. Choose your friends wisely; associate with positive and confident people.

To make the point, here are some great half-empty/half-full perspectives from the website www.businessballs.com.

  • The project manager/engineer says the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
  • The bar fly says is not about whether the glass is half full or half empty, it’s about who is paying for the next round.
  • The consultant says let’s examine the question, prepare a strategy for an answer, and all for a daily rate of…
  • The worrier frets that the remaining half will evaporate by tomorrow.
  • The fanatic thinks the glass is completely full, even though it isn’t.
  • The entrepreneur sees the glass as undervalued by half its potential.
  • The computer specialist says that next year the glass capacity will double and will cost half the price.
  • The Buddhist says don’t worry, remember the glass is already broken.
  • The personal coach knows that the glass goes from full to empty depending on the circumstances, and reminds the drinker that he can always fill the glass when he wishes.
  • The grammarian says that while the terms half-full and half-empty are colloquially acceptable the glass can technically be neither since both full and empty are absolute states and therefore are incapable of being halved or modified in any way.

You control your attitude. Know yourself; choose to be positive and upbeat. It is great for your happiness and your health.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource, Stand Out and Get Hired. He is working on his new book, Work Strong, Live Stronger. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to live fired up! More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on March 7th, 2010 in Ariane, Career, Family, General, Health, Personal Stories, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , ,

23 feb

Never Miss An Opportunity To…

JayForteWith Valentine’s Day just behind us, I was reminded of our tradition to take a day and celebrate special events. We celebrate mothers, fathers, pilgrims, veterans, workers, religions traditions, famous people and presidents. Overall, a good idea.

What struck me more is the concept of a holi “day.” If these are really important events, why do we limit the celebration to just a day? Shouldn’t we identify the reason for the celebration and build them into all aspects of life each day?

Here’s my thought. Holi “days” aren’t cutting it. The daily celebrations are too infrequent and don’t encourage enough of the right behaviors to last all year. In a world that is increasingly unkind, selfish and confrontational, couldn’t we make an improvement if we were to extend the meaning of the celebrations? Couldn’t we stay more focused on being kind, considerate, passionate, loving and respectful?

In my house, we wake up each morning and say either “happy anniversary,” or “happy Valentine’s Day.” Every day we celebrate our relationship as the cornerstone of our lives – a good and happy place. The message of both an anniversary and Valentine’s Day is a daily celebration.

Imagine if each day were a “thanksgiving” celebration. What if each day you made time around the dinner table to celebrate one great thing that happened. Imagine how it could change the victim and cynical perspective that our troubled world inspires. Make the home the safe place, the grateful place, the loving place that supports, inspires and protects. This prepares each member of the house to boldly go into a challenging world and be more upbeat, optimistic and caring – something the world could use more of. And we have a chance of making it happen if the thanksgiving celebration was a daily event.

I find that holidays have become either commercial events or traditions. Neither supports the true intent of the holiday. Gift giving is a great thing; it should never be obligatory. A celebration of faith and belief should not put you into debt. A celebration of freedom and of those who fought for it should be a daily event, lest we forget the degree of their sacrifice and the requirement of our continued sacrifice. Again, daily lessons, daily celebrations.

So my suggestion is to replace holi”days” with a “never miss an opportunity to…” approach – a new daily focus on celebrating what matters most in life. Here is the start of my “never miss an opportunity to…” list. What would you add?

“Never miss an opportunity to…”:

  • Tell (and show) the people you love how much you love them and what they mean to you.
  • Share a story about your life’s success and failures to teach someone else.
  • Make someone else feel important, even if you did most of the work.
  • Show your patriotism and respect for your country.
  • Show your tolerance for and acceptance of someone who does not look like you or believe in what you do.
  • Stop and appreciate a flower, a tree, the wind, a star, rock formation or any other part of nature.
  • Know yourself, your talents and passions, so you can build a life that makes you happy, successful and engaged.
  • Say thank you, hold a door open, let another person or car pass ahead of you, or to be kind to someone you don’t know.
  • Give away some of your “extras” to someone who has no “extras.”
  • Learn something new to expand what you know and your contribution to the world.
  • Make the first call even when it is the other person’s turn.
  • Share a call, thought, card or gift with someone you love or who needs to hear from you – just because.
  • Say you are sorry when you hurt someone – even if you didn’t mean to.
  • Allow another to have an opinion different than yours, and still respect them.
  • Spend more time with your pet; be kind and respect all life.
  • Develop your personal faith; have it encourage your acceptance of yourself and others; allow it to accept, not reject others.
  • Keep your planet safe for those who will need it after you.
  • Talk about differences instead of fight about them; find commonalities and reasons to get along instead of disagree.
  • Respond to natural and social tragedies with care, urgency and self-sacrifice.
  • Sing, dance, laugh, tell a joke, cry or be more human, even when others you don’t know are watching. Invite them to join it.
  • Smile at someone you don’t know.
  • Bound out of bed, excited you have another day.
  • Remember you must share the planet with others who have the same right to be here, be respected, earn a living, find love, develop their talents, create a life, share a history and make and impact.

How will you never miss an opportunity to connect the very special people in your world? And how can you make the core of our holiday messages become part of your daily approach to life?

Never miss your opportunity to celebrate and to make a difference. Your life, your choice.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 23rd, 2010 in Family, General, Health, New Directions, Relationships, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,

15 dec

Lessons Learned from the Recession: Getting Better, Getting Stronger

JayForteToday’s tough economic times have forced us to look with greater attention at what we do, the decisions we make, and how we use our resources. Surviving the recession is not just about cutting back – it is about changing how we think about every aspect of our lives to redefine what is truly meaningful, valuable and important.

Everything changes. Life has no guarantees – we get what we get. But we have the capacity to handle what comes our way – including dealing with change. The real issue isn’t the change itself – it is how we use, respond and even welcome change. To be successful in a changing world we must relearn much of what we took for granted; we must become better at inventing, responding, communicating, sharing and staying focused on what is important. There are many lessons learned from this recession – and when learned, we get better and stronger.

In a period of great downs it is easy to focus on the things we are missing, doing without, and are upset about. Or, we can realize that from every tough time, opportunities are generated. It takes a lot of effort to stay optimistic but that is the key to getting better and getting stronger; we must refocus our attitude to hunt for and find the good in every situation instead of fixating on what is lacking or changed.

Committed to remain positive in tough times, I started a list of things that are actually better as we all have dealt with a tough economy, lost jobs and limited cash. And as I started my list, I noticed that with a change of mindset, there was no shortage of great things – even better things – than I had initially thought.

So, I share my list of how life is better in spite of our recession. And if you have found that some things have improved because we had to look deeper into ourselves and become more creative, more connected and more determined, please share them. I’ll keep the list going and hope that others see how to hunt for the good instead of the bad.

As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It really is all about attitude. So if you think life is miserable. It will be. If you think there are reasons to celebrate you’ll find them. I vote for celebrating.

My List – Getting Better, Getting Stronger

• We realize we can’t spend what we don’t have; credit and credit cards are not the same as cash.

• We now spend more time at home, we eat as a family, we are learning to spend time again with each other and talk to each other more.

• Dinner out is now more a treat than a routine.

• Dessert out is as much fun and more affordable than dinner out.

• We do more family events using what we have; we look at photos, remember events and reconnect to our kids, parents, cousins and grandparents, and what to what they remember, share and think.

• Track shoes and a two-mile jog around the neighborhood burns as many calories as a tread mill, stair climber or elliptical stepper at a gym.

• We use our now more limited weekly food money on real food and have eliminated many of the snacks that are not good for us; we are starting to eat healthier.

• We reconnected to our neighbors and learned to share our extra when they did not have enough; we are building our social networks face-to-face.

• We hang up our clothes instead of leaving them on the floor or on the chair; we do less laundry, and we make things last.

• We watch the movies, wear the clothes and play the games we forgot we had; we treasure what we have.

• We waste less food, create less garbage and leave less of a footprint on the planet; we are more aware that supplies of things are limited – and once gone, they may be gone for good.

• We are less fixated on whether we have the newest, shiniest, best or most expensive, in favor having the right things that keep people healthy and safe.

• We drive our cars less, consume less gas and learn about the great things in our neighborhood; in the process we make our cars last a little longer.

• We slow down on the road knowing that it conserves fuel and offers a view of some great things we generally didn’t notice in our rush to get places.

• We spend more time with each other; we rekindle friendships that evaporated when life became too busy to stay in touch.

• We recycle more, go to garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. Bohemian and trendy salvage styles are making a comeback.

• We buy local produce that saves on fuel and gives us healthier things to eat.

• We have learned to extend any meal by adding cans of things we had in the pantry; we invent new family recipes; we use what we have.

• We borrow books and movies from the library instead of buying new ones.

• We spend more time with crayons, glue, paper and a box to make great things and have a great time.

• We are beginning to realize that a gift is truly based on the thought instead of the cash value – and that a flower picked or a handmade card delivered at the right moment creates the right memory.

• We learn how to talk to each other again.

• We get by without 700 cable channels of chatter and stuff.

• We now turn lights off when we are not in a room, reduce the amount of heat or air conditioning and are still fine.

• We live by the rule that for every bag that comes into the house, two must go – one to trash/recycle, one to the needy.

• We buy day-old, discount and reduced-cost foods that help us save money and improve our creativity in the kitchen.

• We now treat things with more respect – a person, book, toy, car or other important thing.

• We take a bike to work. We get our workout, get to work and leave less of a impact on the planet.

• We rent out or share an extra room with someone who can’t afford their house.

• We give all of the clothes that don’t fit or we can’t use to organizations that ensure it gets distributed to those who use them.

• We use coupons and look for the best deals before we buy; we understand what we buy instead of thinking that we’ll throw it out and get another one.

• An afternoon out is now a walk around the neighborhood, time at a park or appreciating nature, architecture, a view or the weather; there doesn’t have to be a purchase to make the afternoon valuable.

Remember how we all came together to deal with the horror of 9/11? We united, became closer and more committed to helping each other out. A tough economy is another wake up call – to remind us of how we must respect each other, our planet and our resources. Societies are built on their unity. When things are tough, it is important to work together to solve, to respond and to help out. How has the recession helped you redefine what and who is important?

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition and Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

Posted by Jay Forte on December 15th, 2009 in Diet and Fitness, Family, Finances, Health, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,

20 sep

The Optimists’ Manifesto

happier_confidenceI’ve had the privilege of interviewing thousands of people for my book, The First 30 Days, who are navigating change in their lives. For some it’s a career change or a shift in their relationship, for others it’s a health diagnosis or a change in their finances. And for others, it’s an inspired course of action they are passionately pursuing that can change the world. So, I’ve been able to be the detective, always on the lookout for why some people are good at change and others take “the elevator straight into the basement”! Why do some of us initiate a change and keep going while some of us never get started? I detail 9 principles in my book, The First 30 Days. Please pick up a copy if you haven’t already done so, for yourself or someone you know going through a change.

I am often asked what is the one thing that really makes the difference? While I always think words are limited, if I had to pick one, it would be Optimism. Optimism in the context of creating and navigating change is about a different set of beliefs. It is about once and for all choosing empowering beliefs about ourselves, who we are at our core, how we see our potential rather than what limits us or what our mind has led us to believe for too long. Beliefs that life is on our side, always, no matter what, and that life is conspiring for us, in the direction of our growth. Finally, it is about believing that regardless of whether we are pursuing a change that is ultimately termed “successful” by our society, that something good will come.

Optimism also comes from believing in something bigger, our spiritual essence, a reminder that we have an infinite amount of Grace supporting us if only we fully trust it to be there for us and stop trying to take control. Optimists can navigate the darkness, the uncertainty and find rest and safety in fixing their focus on God, The Divine, Being, Grace, whatever we want to call it. That part never disconnects from us. We are the ones who disconnect. People who are true change agents have always believed in something greater than themselves. They know they are not alone as they journey through life.

When everything around you is changing, look for that part of you that never changes, that is calm, detached, that witnesses your life, that guides you at all times. Busyness is always the one excuse that gets in the way of your connection, and yet, this connection is always the answer you crave. As you step up to become a true architect of change, answers do not come from a full and overwhelmed mind, they come from a peaceful and calm state of being.

Do whatever you can, daily to cultivate this. A yoga class on the weekends doesn’t quite count here. I am talking about daily quiet time, reconnection, prayer, setting intentions, journaling, contemplation, doing nothing, reading, purifying the mind and body. This should be first on the list, not what you get to if and when you have time. Your courage, commitment and passion to create change will have a very different foundation if calmness, presence and optimism is what feeds it every day.

Let me know some of the ways you stay connected, what you do to remain optimistic no matter what, what tools you find that can help others stay on a path of wisdom and higher truth.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on September 20th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change, New Directions | 1 comment Read related posts in