GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


October 10, 2019

Let’s Argue

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:56 am

Cloudvisual co uk DCtwjzQ9uVE unsplashWant to start an argument? Use comparatives or superlatives!

“Better” or “Best” is a good place to start. “My idea is better.” “Inky Octopus has the best calamari in the city.”

Notice that comparatives and superlatives bring up instant counter-arguments.

Who’s the greatest quarterback of all time? “Of course, it’s Tom Brady.” Notice that if you live outside of New England, you may have a different player you want to make an argument for.

To avoid counterproductive arguments, use verifiable language. “Tom Brady has won 6 Super Bowls. No other quarterback in the history of the NFL has done that.”

Use softeners when using comparatives. “There may be a better way to go.”

It’s always productive and less argumentative to put the accent on the information rather than the opinion. This is especially apt when using the words “right” and “wrong.” If you have the right way, notice the only option you have given anyone with a different opinion is to be wrong. No one wants to be wrong.

Putting the accent on the information sounds like this: “According to the Office of Management and Budget, that information is not accurate.” Notice you didn’t say the person was wrong; you just stated the information was inaccurate. It’s much softer on the psyche and leads to a discussion rather than an argument.

I’ll admit there are people, when faced with irrefutable facts, will continue to argue. That’s why they invented the word “moron.” Move on from that person or you will witness never-ending moving of goalposts.

Some people like to argue. If that’s you, continue using comparatives and superlatives and right and wrong and you’ll find someone to spar with all day long.

All the best,

John



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October 7, 2019

Never Ending Beginnings

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:49 am

John torcasio GwSG508AYPQ unsplashThe Grasshopper popped in the other day with this phrase: “Never ending beginnings.”

I got curious about what he meant. The following is what I came away with. We begin each day with a clean slate – with an opportunity to start over – to go back to that famous piece of real estate: Square One.

We can be like the movie “Groundhog Day” and have each day repeat itself, or we can start anew.

Starting over is often looked upon as failure when, in fact, it’s the solid foundation for stepping-stones to something new.

When we fail at something, the conditioned tendency is to get caught up in the “what I should have done” drama, rather than focusing on what to do NOW!

Even if you’re not a football fan, you can appreciate this scenario: There are 20 seconds left in the game – 20 seconds left to win or lose it. The quarterback calls for a pass play in the huddle and tells the player who catches the pass to get out of bounds to stop the clock, giving the team ample field position and time to attempt a winning field goal. The player catches the pass but chooses to run forward instead of stepping out of bounds. He gets tackled and the clock continues to run. The quarterback in his frustration runs over to the player with the remaining 10 seconds and chews him out for not stepping out of bounds. The clock runs out and they lose.

What would have happened if the quarterback reset and ran another play? He would have another chance of winning instead of “whining out the clock.”

We get an opportunity to begin again every moment of every day. It reduces our chances for failure and gives us the wisdom to call another play.

All the best,

John



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September 18, 2019

Somewhere Else

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:01 am

I witnessed this Roman arkhipov wEFvY8mi1zc unsplashphenomenon yesterday at the post office: Somewhere Else!

Standing in line, I noticed the patrons behind me shifting and silently “hurrum-phing.” I interpreted their behavior as wanting to be somewhere other than where they were: waiting in line.

I recognized the pattern because I have executed it so many times myself – wanting to be somewhere other than where I am. There is an unsettled feeling that goes along with that mindset.

I could almost read their thoughts: “I only have a half hour for lunch and I’m spending it here.” “I’ve got 15 other things to do.” “Can’t they have more people at the counter?” We’ve all been there, but not really there.

The next time you find yourself waiting in line, notice your thoughts, then take a deep breath and exhale slowly and recognize exactly where you are. Notice the things around you: the people, their clothing, the surroundings, the temperature, the feeling in your feet, the conversations people are having. In short, experience where you are.

It will get you out of your head. Your head is the only part of you that’s somewhere else. Your body is standing in line and you’re ignoring that experience.

Notice I didn’t say you have to like standing in line; just experience it with your senses rather than yak about it in your head. It will ground you where you are and you’ll avoid the being “somewhere else” dread.

All the best,

John



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September 2, 2019

Regrets

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 10:41 am

Matthew henry kq3MXXDGeOM unsplashThe Grasshopper said something obvious this morning: “Regrets indicate you are looking backwards.”

We all have regrets, but keeping the focus on them for too long has them morph into drama – which is the number one killer of moving forward.

Drama puts Gorilla Glue® on forward movement. That’s because we’re focused on the past vs. the present, and the present is where all movement happens.

I think it would be productive to sing along with Frank Sinatra for a couple of bars: “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention.”

Imagine if you will two people sitting around talking ad nauseam about all their loses. That’s a conversation I want to run away from. If there is something to be learned by reviewing a loss, I’m all for it, but if it’s just a trip down Bad Memory Lane, I think that’s insane.

I once heard Jerry Stocking say, “Judge quickly.” I took that to mean that we all judge, so do it and get it over with. Because if you hang with a judgement too long, it too turns into drama. So, “Regret quickly.” Let it have its say and then get on with your day.

I think a lot of people believe if they don’t regret, they’ll forget. Quoting one of my dearly departed teachers, “You don’t need to go to the dump to remember what garbage smells like.”

The only regret I currently have is not knowing how to end this blog post. So, Happy Labor Day!

All the best,

John



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August 28, 2019

Just the Highlights

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 12:48 pm

Aaron burden Hzi7U2SZ2GE unsplashI wrote a book last summer and when people asked me what it was about, I really didn’t have a ready made answer. The name of the book is INTER RUPTION The Magic Key To Lasting Change.

I was having trouble coming up with a concise answer. In the spirit of full disclosure, I used to underline the entire page of a book I was reading with a highlighter, not just certain passages. Everything seemed important to me. But when you do that in a verbal explanation, you will witness peoples’ eyes glass over.

So, today when I was swimming, a shorter answer came to me: The book is about interrupting the noise to make room for the quiet.

That’s certainly shorter but probably more cryptic than the title.

Attempting a further explanation, it is the noise in your mind that prevents creativity from coming in. When you stop and notice the noise, you interrupt it, and for that brief period of quiet, you enjoy mental peace – the environment that spawns creativity.

The answers to all of our questions that can’t be Googled come from this quiet place.

The more often you engage in the habit of noticing and interrupting the noise, the more often you will experience the creative magic of a quiet mind.

The last time I checked, Amazon had a couple of copies of my book left but it’s also available on Kindle.

You don’t need to buy the book to learn how to make lasting change. You can do it by noticing your thinking. That interruption leads to the short answer that you seek.

All the best,

John



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August 21, 2019

Pay Attention!

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 2:42 pm

Redcharlie QohYeMg19c unsplashThe Grasshopper popped in during my swim today. He said, “I paid more attention in life than I did in school.” I had to muse on that for a while.

My sense is the message is more about paying attention than anything else. Attention is the main commodity in human communication. The more you pay, the more you receive.

Too often we escape into our heads when someone is attempting to communicate with us. I think that’s where I spent most of my time when attending school. When it came to life, I finally figured out that I had to come out and play in order to comprehend what others truly had to say.

Paying attention pays dividends. You can really decode what someone is communicating, even if their words are saying something different. One of my teachers called it “Other Than Conscious Communication.”

I’m reminded of the St. Francis of Assisi quote: “Preach the gospel at all times; use words if necessary.” And also the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you are saying.”

Paying attention is a Win-Win. You connect with others more deeply when you pay attention to them. And you see, hear, and feel pertinent things you would have otherwise missed if you stayed inside the mist of your internal thoughts.

Final thought on paying attention: Give it a go and you’ll see more of the show.

All the best,

John



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August 20, 2019

No Guts, No Glory

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:55 pm

Ash goldsbrough 2qBInlIcCTk unsplash“It doesn’t take smarts to notice a gut feeling.” So said The Grasshopper last night.

Even the stupidest among us make brilliant decisions when we pay attention to the sensations our body is sending us.

There is science behind a gut feeling. Your brain doesn’t get the signal first; your body does. Your brain then puts words to the the sensation. It may offer something like, “This doesn’t feel right.”

Long discussions about what the sensation means are unnecessary and most often counterproductive. You can boil down a sensation to two labels: “OK” and “Not OK.”

Learn to calibrate your body’s signals. Learn what Not OK feels like in your body. Do the same calibration for OK. You may get a knot in your stomach, or a lump in your throat, or a flushness on your face, or a gurgling of the bowels. Your signals will be unique to you, so find out where they register in your body and pay more attention to them when they arrive.

Your body has intelligence separate and apart from your intellect. Your body is a sensor; your intellect is a labeler. The only labels you need are OK and Not OK. They will pay dividends when heeded. You, too often, will pay the price when they go unnoticed or are ignored.

This is a “gut check” for all of us. Start noticing OK and Not OK. It’s the smart thing to do.

All the best,

John



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August 16, 2019

The Focus of HAVE

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

Patrick untersee gujUSnIY63g unsplashI don’t know about you but I‘ve spent a lot of my life focusing on what’s missing in my life. I don’t think I’m alone. Let’s call it “The Focus of HAVE NOT.”

I haven’t found that to be a productive strategy for attaining what’s “missing.”

Truth be told, there’s nothing missing; it’s just not in view. That view is occluded by the mental real estate taken up by “Have Not.”

A more realistic focus is zeroing in on what you have. That’s fact based, not fancy. I’m not a biblical scholar but I do believe the parable of the loaves and fishes illustrates this strategy. The 5 loaves and 2 small fish were said to have fed 5000. By focusing on what was in hand, the supply multiplied.

My experience is that when you focus on what you have, your mental noise decreases, your vision increases, and more options appear. That’s “The Focus of HAVE.”

More choices lead to more possibilities.

I could have made this all up, so prove it to yourself that “The Focus of HAVE” is more than a “fish story.”

Focusing on what’s not there leads to despair. Focusing on what’s here makes your vision more clear.

Final thought: HAVE AT IT!

All the best,

John



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August 12, 2019

Pursuing with Passion

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 11:40 am

Darren deloach 53rqKx28ITw unsplashI’m sure I’m not the first person struck with this idea, but I think it’s worthy of conversation: changing marriage from “’til death do us part” to a 3-year lease.

It could be the modern day “prenup.”

As with car leasing, at the end of 3 years, you could either buy the car or turn it in and possibly lease another.

Of course, there are pitfalls. Suppose children are conceived during the lease. You would be partly responsible for their well being, along with the other lessee. Just like with car leasing, if you dent the car, you have to pay the repair bill at the end of the agreement.

The upside is the divorce rate would go down and the amount spent on lawyers would disappear. It seems like a win-win.

I sincerely don’t believe in the above idea. It has “planning to fail” as one of its major tenets. That’s never a good focus. Yes, 50% of marriages do wind up in divorce but 50-50 is about the same odds for most things that we go after in life. That fact doesn’t keep us from our pursuit, nor should it.

Yes, explore the pitfalls before you leap, but don’t let them rob you from the aliveness of pursuit. Did you ever notice that when you’re pursuing something with passion, you feel most alive?

If there is a lake filled with alligators, I don’t recommend that you take a swim. But if it’s just a mushy bottom lake that keeps you land bound with the deadwood, your odds for aliveness are diminished by not jumping in.

You can own rather than lease passion by the act of pursuit. Even if you do fail, you won’t be deprived of the feeling of being alive.

All the best,

John



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August 5, 2019

Fad or Trend?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:01 am

Screenshot 2019 08 05 07 52 50What’s the difference between a fad and a trend? The answer I come up with is that one is a sparkler and the other is a solar panel.

Fads fade and trends continue. They both have a shelf life but trends last a lot longer and spark new trends. Digging back into my radio daze, fads are “one hit wonders” whereas trends produce a lot of hits.

The passion for trends is a lot deeper than the unsustained zeal for a fad.

When a fad begins to die, there aren’t support groups to keep it alive. That’s not the case with a trend. When a trend senses death, it digs in its heels and fights ’til its last breath.

In the northeast United States, we have wasps known as “yellowjackets” in the summer months. They do their share of stinging. But, in late summer, when the feel of fall is in the air, they go on a stinging spree. They sense they will die soon, and strike out in an effort to show they’re still alive.

There is high resistance when a trend is dying. I think of the Danny DeVito speech to the stockholders of a wire and cable company that’s on its last legs in the movie OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

“Ya know, at one time there must have been a dozen companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best, god damned, buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you’ve liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence, let’s have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future.”

In my opinion, the long-term trend of prejudice is dying. It’s becoming watered down with each generation, but we’re holding on to our modern day buggy whips and lashing out in a last ditch effort to keep it alive.

It’s my experience that almost no one thinks they’re prejudiced. If you believe you fall into that group, have the courage to check with your kids and grandkids and discover that your point of view is circling the drain.

It may be time for us to join the new trend, otherwise we’ll wind up buried in the landfill with mood rings and 8-Track tapes.

All the best,

John



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