GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


January 29, 2010

Relative Truths

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:33 am

By and large, arguing for your beliefs is arguing for your limitations.

The Grasshopper popped out of the tall grass the other day with this thought:

“Beliefs are relative truths.”

The whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God is rarer than a lime seed. That, however, doesn’t prevent us from believing that we have cornered the market on truth with our personal beliefs. And we argue.

Look at the embarrassment known as Washington, DC. The argument for limitations plays out every day and the only progress we make is toward gridlock.

Rarely do we evaluate whether our truth is working. Sadly, when all is said and not done, we would rather be right than happy. If you read that prescription bottle carefully, you’ll find the main ingredient is glue. It keeps us stuck on a belief that isn’t working.

We get most of our beliefs by accident, through conditioning. Most of our beliefs belonged to someone who came before us who couldn’t validate them either. That didn’t prevent them from passing them on under the guise of truth, and it insures that we propagate that relative truth to others – one that’s relative to our conditioned beliefs.

One way out of this sticky wicket is to begin noticing something new about our beliefs. What’s old about our beliefs is that we are right. We already know where that strategy takes us – Nowhere!

The new thing to notice and ask about our beliefs is this: Are they useful?

Do your beliefs produce results or resentment? It pays to notice.

The ultimate success strategy begins by noticing that something isn’t working. Reminds me of a story from a world class, gone, but never forgotten, story teller, Dr. Dave Dobson . . .

Dave was a pilot and a keen observer of human nature. He asked us what we would do if we were piloting a plane and it suddenly went into a nose dive toward the ground at 500 miles per hour. The answers came fast and furious. None of us were pilots so we kept giving the same answers like, “Pull up on the wheel.” Dave answered every answer with the same question. He said, “What would you do if that didn’t work?” Finally a woman said, “Pray” and Dave again asked, “What would you do if that didn’t work?”

He then asked in his Socratic style, “Would you like to know the answer?” We all said “Yes.” He said the answer to the question of “What would you do if that didn’t work?” is “ANYTHING ELSE!”

What prevents us from attempting anything else is the belief that we are right – a belief that isn’t working.

How useful is your truth? The test is simple. Does it get results or does it deluge you in debate?

Here’s a suggestion: Make this an ANYTHING ELSE Weekend and free yourself from the shackles of relative truth.

All the best,

John

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January 27, 2010

Blessings

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:33 am

There has been so much written on the topic of gratitude that it seems appropriate and useful to filter it all down to one word – “Blessings.”

What have you been blessed with?

We tend to give these blessings such short shrift and hide them in the corner rather than display them in a place of honor.

Even more to the point, we rarely celebrate them.

The conditioned tendency is to focus on all the “curses” we’ve encountered, even though they pale in comparison to the blessings.

We seem to give more attention to what’s awry instead of considering what’s working.

This is the main reason I created my CD set called “I Love My Body.” It’s an exercise in self appreciation and self acceptance. Have you ever just stopped to consider all that your body does for you? It’s to be celebrated.

The shift in point of view from cursed to blessed is one move many people will never take. They will stay mired in myopia and never get to see the vistas that blessed reveals.

This is more than a suggestion to think positive. It’s more about arithmetic. You have more blessings in inventory than you ever count, and leaving them unaccounted for results in you starving at a smorgasbord.

There is a magical old song that I’ve come to love even more as the years pass. It’s called COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. My favorite version of it is on Diana Krall‘s CHRISTMAS SONGS CD.

Counting my blessings is a pre-sleep ritual that I’ve conditioned myself to do. There is no better time to imbue your mind than at bedtime.

If there is one small thing you can do to shift direction, it’s to shift your focus.

May I humbly recommend a strategy to do just that? As the song says, “Count your blessings instead of sheep.”

All the best,

John

P.S. The results of my “Quotes” survey are in. I asked you to pick your favorite between these two:

“The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.”

“Talk doesn’t cook rice.”

The hands-down winner, by your vote, was: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.” Thank you for participating.

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January 26, 2010

What Fuels You?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:34 am

If I were looking for a label, “Sentimental” would be one I’d choose for myself.

I’m a romantic at heart and a tad old fashioned. Even though women have been liberated for years, I still hold doors open for them. I take time to look for greeting cards that fit my feelings for the people I’m buying them for. Peoples’ special dates are important to me and I remember and make an effort to make a connection.

I believe in celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and special occasions of all sorts. I’m Hallmark’s dream customer.

Sentimental is a power source that fuels me. I never recognized that before. I just looked on it as a label.

I suppose I could have a higher or lower octane fuel, but sentimental seems just right for me.

This is not a plea to switch over to my brand of gasoline, just a gentle reminder to get curious about what fuels you.

It’s a fun discovery and something worth celebrating.

All the best,

John

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January 25, 2010

Expectation

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:34 am

Here is one of the dumbest and most insightful warnings ever uttered: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

The dumb part is believing that you have the ability to expect all of which you didn’t expect.

The profound part is that “Expect the Unexpected” is one of the few totally true things you will ever hear in this lifetime.

Contingency plans are certainly a way to prepare for the unexpected, but no plan that has ever been conceived covers all the contingencies.

What plan could have prevented the tragic reality that has come to the people of Haiti? You can’t prevent the unexpected because you didn’t expect it. You can only respond to the unexpected. Please give!*

The unexpected is “Reality” by a different name. People spend a lifetime attempting to control reality instead of doing the only thing they are capable of – responding to it.

The unexpected is the norm. It happens every day. There is no person who has ever lived who expected every reality, but every person has the ability to respond to that which they didn’t expect.

You cannot bend the unexpected to your whims no more than you can get sprayed water back into a hose.

What you can do is notice that you’re all wet and begin responding.

“If only” is a reaction; “Here’s what I’m going to do now” is a response.

I’m all for backup plans. They serve us quite well, but they can never equal the most powerful tool you have in your bag – Response!

*The American Red Cross, they always respond.

All the best,

John

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January 21, 2010

Lemon Drops

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:12 am

One of my favorite songs is SOMEWHERE OVER THE RAINBOW. It touches a part of me that I can’t describe in words.

It speaks of a place that we all long for, but as another song reminds us, we go LOOKING FOR LOVE in all the wrong places.

The Grasshopper put two of my favorite phrases together in a sentence for me this morning. It explains the two different paths cited by the songs above. He said, “You find the end of pretend when you stop chasing the horizon.”

The end of pretend is recognizing that we can’t find ourselves outside ourselves. That’s where we go “Looking for Love.” It’s a string of one night stands that lacks the wholeness we feel when we travel to that wonderful internal place of peace that “Over the Rainbow” describes.

When we chase the horizon, we chase an illusion that we’ve built – one that says, “When you arrive there, then you’ll be happy.” That’s the trouble with illusions, when you move towards them, they move away from you. You never arrive; you just endlessly strive.

“Over the Rainbow” is not a mystical destination like Oz; it’s a feeling of being connected to something that feeds our soul and grants us peace. “Over the Rainbow” give us a sense that everything is taken care of.

You’ll never reach the horizon but you can travel over the rainbow. It just requires that you discover the end of pretend. That means to stop the chase for just a moment, and realize in that instant of clarity that what you are looking for is never outside of you.

If you need a physical reminder, stop and buy a package of lemon drops and bring one out when you recognize the fruitless chase. It will be your cue to allow your troubles to melt as you travel “Over the Rainbow.”

All the best,

John

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January 20, 2010

Room for Rent

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:22 am

I once worked for a man in radio who took over a highly listened to, but poorly performing station in Texas. They were selling most of their available commercials but were not making budget projections.

He decided to double the rates they charged for advertising. All of his sales people told him he was crazy and that advertisers wouldn’t pay that amount. His thinking was a bit different. He said he could make as much as they were making then if only half of the current advertisers stayed on, and they would have a lot more commercial inventory available for sale.

He raised his rates and advertisers were willing to pay them to have their commercials play on his highly listened to radio station. He solved the budget problem with one decision.

How much do you charge to rent room in your mind?

If you’re like most of us, you have a lot of freeloaders in there not contributing to the bottom line. You have low yielding thoughts that keep coming around again and again, and as long as they remain in place, there’s no room for a higher paying customer.

It’s time to set a new standard. You cannot control what thoughts apply for space in your mind, but you can decide how much time you’ll allot them.

The one decision you have to make is to notice.

Just take 5 minutes right now and observe your mind at work. What you will notice is that thoughts pop in from nowhere. You have no control over the next thought that pops into your mind, or the next. They line up outside of your awareness and then knock on your door to get attention. If you engage them, you allow them to take up room in your mind. If you simply notice them, without engagement, they go away.

You get to decide which thoughts hang around and which ones get to go away by the simple act of detached observation.

You have to decide what your thought inventory is worth and charge the appropriate rates, otherwise you’ll be stuck with the low paying thoughts you have and won’t progress.

Make a conscious decision to notice your thoughts. Each time you make the effort, you make space for something new and more rewarding to pop in.

Take a tip from my savvy old general manager – Raise your rates!

All the best,

John

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January 18, 2010

Battle of Quotes

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:31 am

I remember when radio stations had “Battle of the Bands” Weekends. They would play two songs and ask you to call in and vote for the one you liked most.

Then, after the voting, the winner would go up against a new song and the competition would begin all over again.

Battle of the bands did two things:

  1. It got the listeners involved and made them listen longer.
  2. It gave the stations a barometer as to which songs were peoples’ favorites.

I am proposing a “Battle of Quotes.”

Below are my two top favorite quotes of all time. I request you drop me an email and tell me which one should win the “Battle of Quotes.”

1. “Talk Doesn’t Cook Rice.” – Anonymous Chinese saying.

2. “The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.” – Werner Erhard

You can just indicate the number – 1 or 2 in your email and I will tally the votes and let you know which one won in a future post. Email your vote for your favorite quote now to:

john-morgan@cox.net

You can also send me your favorite quote of all time. I would love to hear your favorite.

All the best,

John

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January 15, 2010

Values

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:44 am

I did a “values assessment” the other day and came up with my top three.

I looked at a long list of suggested values and was instructed to write down the 10 most important ones to me. From the list of 10, I was to prioritize them and find my top three.

Here are my top 3 Values:

FAMILY
DEPENDABILITY
HONESTY

Your list will look different than mine, but it is useful to find your top values.

It gives you a glimpse of the base you operate from and it also shows the areas where you come in conflict with others.

When people don’t have your values on the same rung of the ladder, there will be friction. That doesn’t mean that your values are right and theirs wrong; it just means that you don’t value them the same.

It’s helpful to notice when your values get ruffled. Your conditioned response is often to go into conflict mode. That may not be conducive to interacting with another person who has different values.

If you notice, you can throw in the clutch and take care of your interaction so that you get the best possible outcome. If you don’t notice, you’ll go on automatic pilot and an undercurrent will be present in your dealings with others with different values.

This much I know for sure. A person with different values will never be in long-term harmony with you and vice-versa.

Do you have a family member that you absolutely love but friction ensues on a regular basis with them? Different values.

The tack we normally take is to make them wrong. They’re not wrong, just wrong for us. It’s the same with a spouse, a lover or a friend.

You can find common ground with just about anyone but finding common values is a rarer find.

Take the time to find your most important values and begin to notice what others value.

It will smooth out what could be a much bumpier ride.

 

All the best,

John

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January 14, 2010

I Tried That

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:49 am

I had my teeth cleaned last week. After the dental hygienist was done, she handed me a packet to take home. In there I found a new toothbrush, dental floss and some sample whitening strips to affix to your teeth.

The whitening strips got me curious about the phrase “I tried that.”

I wonder how many people tried the strips one time and were disappointed that they didn’t get a Hollywood smile. The instructions clearly say you have to repeat the application over a period of time to get results.

It amazes me the number of people who suspend logic and believe they took the action necessary by attempting something once, and then dismiss its effectiveness with the phrase “I tried that.”

How often have you heard this statement, “I joined a gym but that doesn’t work for me”? Do you realize how many people buy a gym membership and go only a couple of times. Yet in their mind, they believe they have no culpability for their lack of fitness because they say, “I tried that.”

It’s the ultimate responsibility shift from us to something else. How quickly we look for a scapegoat. I wrote the following blog a couple of years ago which points out how alive and well this shift is:

Some people abuse their power of discretion and it becomes a weapon that causes self inflicted wounds. This is a way of saying that many people dismiss something out of hand because they judge it in their head.

I agree that if someone told you that parrot saliva was the cure for arthritis, you probably would be justified to raise an eyebrow. But if there was a long, documented history of people getting results with this method, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t investigate further, especially if you have arthritis.

So let’s pretend that you saw an ad for a product in Parade Magazine and then hobbled down to GNC and bought the product called “Pollyspittle” because you were curious. You took it home and then you chose not to use it. It seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is lots of people do that. It’s the next piece of behavior that is mind boggling and counterproductive.

You hop on your computer and dash off a nasty-gram to the manufacturer saying, “This stuff couldn’t possibly work,” and add how disappointed you are. What’s wrong with this photograph? You judged it in your head.

No one’s claiming that you are not entitled to an opinion. We all have them. But when you put the onus on someone else because your untested belief won’t allow you to take the recommended action, whose problem is that?

This type of head judging has no bearing on IQ. You could be Mensa material or dumber than a stump and still be guilty of this practice.

How many of your New Year’s Resolutions have already failed? How many of those failures will you justify with “I tried that?”

It’s a mindset that is pervasive and it never works. It’s much more honest and effective to say, “I haven’t figured out how to do that yet.” It keeps the responsibility where it belongs – with you. AND it keeps the door open to the possibility of accomplishing that which you haven’t figured out yet.

“I tried that” has had a long and storied career. Let’s buy it a gold watch and send it off to play shuffleboard and bore the pants off of people telling them about the good old days when it was the most popular phrase on earth.

All the best,

John

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January 13, 2010

Seeking-Finding

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:18 am

It seems to me that the adventure is in the seeking and satisfaction is in the finding.

It’s a careful blend that even Starbucks hasn’t figured out.

There is a conundrum wrapped in an enigma about the proper mixture of the two.

Too much seeking leads to too little finding. It becomes a game unto itself. We become seekers. And just like the playground prattle of “finders keepers, losers weepers,” we get lost in the act of seeking and miss finding what was there all along.

You can find without seeking as well as seek without finding. There doesn’t seem to be any rules.

Adventure is what many are looking to experience all the time. They’re really not interested in finding because, if they do, their white water rafting life runs into a rock. Constant adventure seekers are running away from who they are. It scares them to be alone with themselves. They are deathly afraid of finding themselves.

That’s because they’ve confused who they are with who they think they are. Who they think they are is someone to be loathed, and they keep running away from that person in the direction of the numbing drug called adventure. Truth be told, that scary person doesn’t exist. It’s an imaginary collection of conditioning that keeps us on the run.

Finding happens when you cease seeking.

The “strive to arrive” is the biggest hindrance to finding peaceful satisfaction.

Once you recognize that the unlovable person you made up isn’t you, you find something worth staying home for – yourself.

Yes, it is responsible to own your actions, but even more noble to disown your illusion. In the process of dismantling your made up self, the real you comes shining through.

There is no adventure seeking that compares with finding yourself.

All the best,

John

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