- Thoughts for inspired living

March 25, 2019

Below The Belt

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:52 am

Below The BeltThere’s a boxing term called, “below the belt.” It means that a fighter has struck his opponent below the waistline, which is a no-no.

So it follows that hitting below the belt is striking a vulnerable area. When this tactic is used metaphorically, it can often be labeled as an attack.

It also can be a useful tool when getting someone off their “horseshit soapbox.” That’s the place where they cite “their truth” about why they are the way they are. It’s always a defensive position and it keeps them stuck in place.

Hard questions are perceived by many as hitting below the belt.

Many won’t ask hard questions of a person suffering, thinking it will further damage them. I find that’s not the case. Hard questions are focusing agents. They are bridge building questions – taking you from where you really are to where you want to be.

I wouldn’t recommend a steady diet of them but a well placed, succinct inquiry can take the fight out of a long held defensive position. Perhaps an example would be helpful.

Here’s an excerpt from my book “INTER RUPTION: The Magic key To Lasting Change.”

“It was some 30 years ago and I was pitching an employee communications program to the owner of a propane gas company. I did all the usual rapport building one would do and began my presentation.

There was a lot of back and forth, along with many questions about the content and expected results of the program. It was all pretty routine, until he asked me this question: “How will I know I’ve enhanced my employees’ communication skills?”

I had a ready-made answer for him but for some reason I didn’t bring it out. I just let the question hang in the air for what seemed like an eternity. It may have been no longer than 10 to 15 seconds but in a setting like this, that’s a long time for silence. I just sat quietly and then this question popped out of my mouth: “Why do you think your employees hate you?”

His eyes widened, he sat up straighter, and he looked at me as though I had visited his soul. He asked me, “How do you know that?” I don’t remember exactly what I said but it was along the lines of “Just a hunch.”

This piece of information may have never surfaced unless my patterned answer got INTER RUPTED. The good news for both of us was that we got what we wanted: He learned to communicate with his employees, and his employees learned some new, fun and useful stuff as well. Me, I got paid, and in the bargain I got a bigger payoff than money can buy, that is, how to find deeper, more meaningful answers by INTER RUPTING my patterned way.”

If your patterned way is using kid gloves, you may not be getting measurable results with yourself or others. It may be time to “lace them up” as they say in the boxing world and land a strategic blow below the belt.

I can tell you this for certain: it will take the wind out of any defensive position.

All the best,


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March 19, 2019

Is There Real Magic?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:05 pm

Magic Castle

If an ancient civilization saw an airplane take off and fly, they would think it was magic. We know it’s mechanics and science.

Then we see a master magician do incredible feats, but we know there is some sort of trickery going on. So it’s more magical than it is magic.

So the question is: Is there real magic? – something past hoodoo and voodoo.

I continue to be amazed about the magic of beliefs – the ability to create something unbelievable from concentrated thoughts and feelings.

Think of a beautiful piece of music that once wasn’t even notes on paper. Someone believed they could create something that no one had done before. How about a story writer or a scientist? What led them to their creations and discoveries? It began with an idea and belief.

So the next question is: Do you have beliefs that aren’t working for you? Or better stated, they are working but not to your benefit.

Those beliefs are worth examining and worth outgrowing. That practice makes room for new beliefs – ones that can help us create our own brand of magic.

Your belief that you “can’t” is your biggest impediment to getting to “can.”

I readily agree that believing you’ll be the best ballet dancer that ever lived and you begin your training at age 70 is, to quote Betty Crocker’s husband, “pie in the sky.” That doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a level of personal greatness in ballet. You can. Magic starts with a belief.

One of the best workarounds to “can’t” is to pretend you can. The magic of pretending opens up avenues of belief that were being held back by the paralyzation of two words: “I can’t.”

Pretending you can is the real magic of believing.

When someone tells me they can’t, I often respond with, “pretend you can.” It’s a magical phrase that opens up possibilities – ones hidden by can’t.

The land of make believe is not hocus-pocus. It’s the proving ground for real magic.

All the best,


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March 7, 2019

Hate Hole

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:32 am

HoleIt’s my sense that some of the most stuck people on earth are stuck in a “hate hole.”

Just look at your friends on Facebook. Is there any doubt about the ones steeped in hate? Also notice that they’re stuck in life, often financially.

Also notice that they blame their stuckness on someone else. If you want to bond or influence these folks, give them someone or something to blame for their station in life and you’ll have a friend for life, albeit a hateful one.

I don’t know a foolproof way to extricate yourself from this abyss, just the following suspicion.

Open yourself to the possibility that there’s something more redeeming than hate. You don’t have to own this position, just explore it. You can always go back to hating if you choose.

Looking at life from another angle is the mindset that needs to be adopted to begin the process of climbing out of this hellhole. It gives you an appreciation that there are other ways to go.

If you can just get a glimpse of your culpability in keeping hate in place, you have a leg up on all the other haters. Sadly, most people won’t adopt a new perspective and stay in their hole. You don’t have to. If you’re tired of looking up from the bottom, stop digging.

Just entertain the notion that giving up hate is a magic potion – one that sets your ascent in motion.

All the best,


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February 26, 2019

Liar is a Label

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:22 am

LiarThe noun “liar” describes someone who tells lies. But it’s also a label, one that has extreme emotion attached to it.

Notice that people most often argue about labels. “He’s a cotton headed ninny muggins” comes to mind. The attached emotion to a label keeps the facts out in the field and agreement without yield.

Calling someone on a lie vs. labeling them a liar is the difference that will make a difference.

Pejorative labels always lead to escalation. If all you want to do is pummel another, keep labeling them. But if you want a resolution, start peeling back your labels.

Pinocchio was a puppet who lied. If people continued to label him a liar, there would be no metamorphosis towards a happy ending. And that’s no lie!

All the best,


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February 20, 2019

Making Time

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:01 am

Interruption phoneWondering if someone has your back? Here’s one signpost that they do: Making time when they don’t have time.

Have you ever dropped everything to listen to another’s concerns even though you were knee-deep in something that was important to you? That’s making time.

Sometimes it’s just not possible to make time. If you’re a veterinarian in the middle of surgery on a wharf rat, it’s understandable.

But if all your activities take on the air of importance – too important to be interrupted – you tacitly communicate the lack of importance that person has to you.

Here’s a telltale sign of a person who can’t make time. You begin to communicate something deeply concerning to you and the other person launches into a personal experience they’ve had that’s much worse than yours.

Making time is a major indicator that someone values you. One caution: Don’t overuse the open door policy of another. If you do, all your problems take on the same hue – unimportant, not worthy of making time for.

If you demand abundant access to another’s ears – friends, Romans and countrymen, plus Mickey Mouse will not invite you to join them for a beer.

All the best,


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February 13, 2019


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:41 am

ArrogantThe word “Spin” popped into my mind this morning. It arrived as an acronym: S.P.I.N.

“Spin” for me is presenting “what is” as “what isn’t.”

There is a positive side of spin. The NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) folks call it “reframing.” The reframe most are familiar with is the Helen Keller quote: “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

The technique takes the whole painting and reduces it to a corner that acts a springboard to a change of attitude.

Others use spin differently. It seems to be a pattern that can be reduced to four steps.

S. Sidestep

P. Prevaricate

I. Insist

N. Negate

The first step is the favored strategy of the politician. Don’t answer the question asked.

The next step is to lie. The bigger the lie the more convincing it seems to be. (I believe it appeals to the conspiracy theorist that’s in all of us).

Next, insist emphatically that people believe you because you are on the side of the angels.

The last step is to negate the counter argument by not acknowledging it. This involves continually moving the goal posts which takes us full circle back to step one: Sidestep.

On and on it goes, around and around with endless rebound.

I recently heard the following quote to stop the merry-go-round. It came from TV talk show host Don Lemon: “Don’t play me, play lotto. Your odds are better.”

I used to have the following strategy to decide who to vote for. I asked myself if I would follow that person up a hill. If the answer was “no,” they didn’t get my vote.

I now have added another criterion: The politician who spins the least gets my support to procure their seat.

All the best,


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February 6, 2019

Believing Without Evidence

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:02 am

Scales of JusticeHere’s something we all have in common: We believe without evidence.

Whether the topic is social, religious, political, cultural or something else, we believe without backup.

Then we often get on a soapbox and believe “louder.” Here’s one of life’s little known secrets: The loudest one doesn’t win. They just temporarily drown out the facts. But eventually the verbal storm passes and the evidence has a way of sticking around.

Here are two personal examples of me believing without evidence. We all were exposed to the allegations of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford against Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and now we have the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia accused of sexual assault. I personally believe both of the women. But I don’t believe they “should be believed” without evidence.

The hue and cry is that the victims “should be believed.” No, their allegations should be taken seriously and then held up for inspection and serious investigation. Believing, by itself, is relying on your conditioning and prejudice, neither of which has a good track record when compared to the facts.

Sexual assault is a serious charge and should be taken seriously as should the person making the allegations. But to believe without looking at the evidence is about as prejudiced as we can be.

This is not a political or social stand. This is my observation on beliefs and how they are formed and how we, without evidence, conform.

All the best,


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January 31, 2019

Crumbling Control

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:23 pm

CookieBasic fact of life: There is no such thing as control. Yet that doesn’t keep us from continually craving our concept of it.

What’s so important to us about control? It comforts us with the illusion that we can avoid reality. We are so frightened about the unknown showing up at our doorstep, that we make up something to deal with it – Control.

There is only one response that works with reality – Choosing a response. If we automatically react the way we did before (trying to control), we already know what we’ll get – what we got before.

When we choose a response, we are responding to what’s right in front of us – not a ghost from the past or an illusion on the horizon. We’re responding to something real – Reality. We have a much better chance of dealing effectively with reality when we choose a response.

Reality is a constant in our lives. Control is an illusion. Attempting to control has the same odds of getting the tooth fairy to pay your mortgage.

Start responding to reality and watch your concept of control crumble into the nothingness that it is.

All the best,


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January 28, 2019

Doses of Reality

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:16 pm

VitaminsThe only pure truth is reality. Reality is always a self-contained whole, never nuanced.

Accepting that, reality is often too strong a drug to administer, so we dole it out in doses.

Just like you don’t teach Algebra until there is some mastery of basic math, introducing reality without laying a foundation, will doom your mission to failure.

Yes, if there is an emergency, it’s best to present undiluted reality so all can know the necessity of an immediate response.

Effectively presenting reality is a lifelong lesson that I continue to learn. I can easily describe myself as an opponent of nibbling around the cookie, but too often I feel crumby when I don’t take small bites.

The lesson here is most folks are averse to reality even though it’s exactly what they need to formulate a response to their difficulty. The deeper lesson is: You can’t eat a whole cow at once.

Pure reality often gets people to shut down and think “What’s the use?” Dosing out reality in smaller measures keeps them flexible – loose with the requisite juice.

All the best,


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January 25, 2019

As I’ve Always Said

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:41 pm

DbusinessmanknowitallGet ready! It’s coming! It’s a telling phrase: “As I’ve always said.”

You will be hearing “As I’ve always said” from people who said no such thing.

It will be the ass covering phrase of people who have been extremely vocal in favor of something or someone that can’t be defended anymore.

Their “as I’ve always said” claim will be that they never expressed such allegiance and will express a position they have never taken as the one they’ve been espousing all along.

Think of someone you know who was proven dead wrong, and when confronted with their position, they moved the goal post. The telling, goal post repositioning phrase will be some form of “as I’ve always said.”

It’ll be here soon. Be on the lookout. When you hear it, know you are listening to someone who can’t admit to or bear being wrong. They’re part of the “I’m sorry but” crowd – meaning they’re not really sorry.

Quoting Charles Barkley, “I may be wrong but I doubt it.”

All the best,


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