GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


May 31, 2010

“Mom”orial Day

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:38 am

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor the brave men and women who died while in military service.

It’s also my Mother’s birthday.

One of my earliest memories of Memorial Day was her stopping on a street corner and giving money to a man in uniform, and then putting an artificial red poppy with a wire attached to it through the buttonhole in my shirt. She said it was in honor of soldiers. I asked why we did that and she said, “It’s just something nice to do.”

I never went to the library to look up the reason why; I just took Mom’s word for it that it was something nice to do. As an adult, I became more curious about the red poppy and found a poem written by Moina Michael. It reads as follows:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Today I’m remembering my Mom and our fallen heroes too
by wearing a poppy because “it’s something nice to do.”

Happy Memorial Day!

John



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May 27, 2010

Naps

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:44 am

I’ve always been a big fan of naps, except when I was little and had to take them when I wasn’t tired.

I would have to say that I’m a world-class napper (A real resume eye-opener).

Napping isn’t considered an asset in the work-a-day world, but my experience tells me different.

Naps have a way of recharging me and allowing me to tap into creativity that wouldn’t come my way if I were perfunctorily pushing through.

Some people can naturally nap; others have more than cultural taboos keeping them from napping. For example, a number of people report being groggy after a short nap. My experience is that those folks don’t get enough sleep. They have been so conditioned to push through that they dismiss natural tiredness. When they nap, the nap isn’t long enough to take away their tiredness and they become fuzzy.

I haven’t done a scientific study on this but non-nappers are more prone to look for other outlets to deal with an energy lull – watch TV, do crossword puzzles, throw themselves into their work, or some other method to ignore their natural tiredness.

The body has rhythms which have been documented. You don’t need to read the studies to know that there is an energetic low point in your day. That’s usually when a stimulant is sought – another cup of coffee, a soda, something sugary or God forbid, Red Bull.

My mission isn’t to get you to come over to my way of thinking about naps because that may not be practical for you. It’s more of presenting a red flag to get you to notice how often you push through.

Pushing through has a low return on investment and a higher rate for making avoidable mistakes.

Not everyone has the opportunity to nap, but you do have the time to engage in some type of mind quieting activity. Even the busiest person can find 5 minutes to observe their breathing. That’s one of the oldest forms of meditation that is as effective today as it was thousands of years ago.

Begin to notice your penchant for pushing through and interrupt the pattern by calming down your mind.

I don’t expect to get you to accept what I’m saying right now. I just invite you to consider the merits, and then sleep on it.

All the best,

John

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May 26, 2010

Connection

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:37 am

How connected are you?

Most of the things we get in life come from other people, and it follows that if we’re disconnected, we miss a lot.

I’m not defining connection as how many Facebook friends you have, how social you are or how many organizations you belong to. Connection in this context is deeper than that.

When you have your façade interact with their façade, you have the most superficial of connections.

Deep connection can happen with a total stranger whom you may never see again.

So what is a deep connection?

As with many things, it hard to describe in words but you know it when you feel it.

My sense is that a deep connection happens when we set aside any pretense or agenda we have when interacting with another, and they do the same.

The chances of both parties doing it at the same time are slim, but if one person starts the process, the chances for opening the connection become greater. It takes two to tango, but one person has to ask the other to dance to begin the process.

If you’re waiting for the other to begin, it could be a long wait.

Deep connection begins with you. How willing are you to drop your disguise and let people view the unvarnished you?

It takes courage – the courage to stop pretending. Pretending is synonymous with lying.

When you stop the lies to protect your disguise, you open the door to deep connection. It’s really that basic.

Being authentic has nothing to do with careful preparation, cover stories or PR; it’s just dropping our act.

When we drop the pretense, we set the stage for deep connection. People get caught up in our authenticity and want some of that for them. It’s easier for them to follow suit when they have a model to follow.

You may think that this recommendation is for use with strangers or casual acquaintances, but that would cheat you out of a lot. How willing are you to open yourself up for inspection to those closest to you? The risk/reward is totally worth it. The close connection becomes even deeper.

Some will remain a stranger to those even closest to them until they discover the doorway to depth. It opens when you insert the key – which is the freedom to let them see the undecorated me.

All the best,

John

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May 25, 2010

Direction

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:04 am

Some people have a hard time warming up to direction. In the past, I would put myself at the top of that list, but for me, the wind has changed direction.

I am the father of three boys and am helping to raise my grandson. Most of the people I managed in the broadcast industry were men. From my experience, I can safely say that most men don’t take direction well. It’s a matter of pride.

Men figure they should already know that which they don’t. It causes lots of frustration.

Direction reminds them of what they don’t know but think they should.

The gap between where you are and where you think you should be causes internal friction. The director acts as a catalyst.

Directors need a tough hide and the knowledge that many whom they are offering direction to, don’t think they need any.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I was working in Kansas City at a radio station and told a joke on the air that was mildly offensive. I didn’t think so at the time. The program director got some phone calls of complaint. He could have come into the studio and flat out told me not to do anything like that again. That would have been met with lots of resistance. He knew better because he was a savvy director.

Here’s what he did say, “I’ve just received a number of calls about the remark you made. I can tell the calls are orchestrated because they all use the precise same wording in their complaint. I’m not going to tell you not to do it again, but if you do, I’m giving them your home phone number.” He then walked out of the studio. Now that’s direction.

He offered me a different choice besides “My way or the highway” which is necessary at times, but, by and large, is the least effective form of direction.

Men and women both share this in common about direction: If they don’t like who it’s coming from, it’s a lot harder to carry it out.

“Enter adulthood” is the answer to the direction dilemma. I’ve mentioned this story before but it bears repeating here. My hypnosis mentor, Dr. Dave Dobson had us do an exercise where we would imagine being told to do something by someone in authority whom we didn’t like. The minute we reached that feeling of discomfort, we were to look down at our hands and laugh aloud.

The purpose of the exercise was to let us know that there will always be people telling us what to do no matter who we are. He said whether we were the President of the United States or Bill Gates we would have people telling us what to do. The exercise was to learn to laugh at the reality instead of getting caught up in the frustration. The exercise interrupted our patterned way of poorly responding to direction no matter what direction it was coming from.

It would be wonderful if we could like everybody, but that’s not happening anytime soon. The adult response is to separate the wheat from the chaff, or said another way, “Don’t confuse the message with the messenger.”

Which direction is your life headed? Is it going to be more of the same – railing against reality OR is it time to change direction?

Walking into the wind can be refreshing at times but if you do it as a matter of course, it’s no longer special and it’s counter-productive.

Direction is only a suggestion no matter how forcefully it’s stated. You have a choice. You already know where the old path leads. The only question left is: Do you have the savvy to head in a new direction?

All the best,

John

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May 19, 2010

Certainty

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:54 am

How certain are you?

Notice that I didn’t ask “how sure” you were, I asked “How certain are you?”

There seems to be a difference, at least for me.

Surety seems to need some factual data to back it up; certainty is, as the great old song says, “More Than A Feeling.”

When you are sure, there seems to be a counterpart called “unsure” that pops in for debate.

Certainty is self contained and all encompassing. It has no opposite.

Bullheadedness, stubbornness, or being a braggart or true believer do not constitute being certain. Certainty is a quiet confidence that needs no cheerleading or committee to agree.

Certainty does not know what’s on the path ahead. That’s not its job.

Certainty is more of a knowing that whatever is on the horizon, we will be able to fashion a response to it in that moment.

Certainty is knowing that we have all that we need to respond to life.

Worry is not knowing we have the ability to respond. Worry is a conditioned reaction to an unknown future. Certainty responds to the conditions it meets.

Again, how certain are you?

How certain are you that you have the ability to respond? Certainty is not planned in advance like Davy Crockett‘s admonition “Be always sure you are right, then go ahead.” That’s a prescription for sound planning.

Certainty is what is there when the plan fails.

It pays to discover your ability to be certain. It’s part of the human being software package. Look through your manual and activate this incredible feature.

The greatest power we have as human beings is the ability to respond. Of this I am certain.

All the best,

John

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May 18, 2010

Commonly Uncommon

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:36 am

Here is one of life’s signposts: When what was in common becomes uncommon, a fork in the road forms.

It’s here that you either find new common ground or walk unaccompanied along a new path.

It happens to us all but we don’t recognize it’s happening, and then we wonder how it happened.

Think of someone you used to be dear friends with in junior high or high school. Now the only time you see them is at the class reunion. You may live in the same city, have kids that attend the same school, but there’s no connection. There was no major rift, just a gentle drifting apart.

No one noticed it was happening, but now it’s an unmistakable fact. You have little in common. You walked different paths without noticing.

Marriage is where we seem to notice least.

How can a joyous union with “’til death do us part” vows turn into a major row?

In common became uncommon and no one noticed.

There may be other specific issues that cause us to walk another path, but for the most part the cause is “commonly uncommon.”

A values shift has occurred. Either one or both people had their common values shift rungs on the ladder.

When common values become uncommon, a split is in the making.

It’s easy to get into the “who’s right” argument here, but that’s just dust covering what’s really at issue – a shift in common values.

Many couples renew their vows on special anniversaries. My sense is they would do better to review their values.

We don’t keep up with the times. We just assume that the way it was is the way it is. It rarely is.

Human beings are dynamic creatures. Not noticing that and failing to adjust will leave you at the crossroads.

The time to notice is always now. It seems we are all experts in noticing in hindsight. It would be useful to take that skill and bring it into the present.

Nothing is granted, and when we take that viewpoint, common ground gets shaky.

Not valuing what’s valuable to another is a lack of appreciation for their individuality. A friend, a spouse, a lover, a family member cannot be cast into a static mold. When you regularly take the time to find what’s important to them, you have an opportunity to adjust. If that adjustment is something you just can’t make, you then have choices.

Failure to recognize and take stock is cheating yourself out of choice; it will be made for you.

We live in uncommon times simply because we fail to notice.

Find out what’s important to the important people in your life and explore what you have in common. It’s just common sense.

All the best,

John

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May 17, 2010

Unrefined

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:44 am

The Grasshopper left this for me to chew on: Unrefined = Undefined.

There are many parts of us that we have defined – our roles, our moods, our personalities, our likes and dislikes.

Yet, most of who we are is unrefined, therefore undefined.

There is an old axiom that if you label it, you limit it. That means when we affix the label in our mind, we close the door to other interpretations. That’s a defining moment.

Definitions help us to communicate in a common language, but if we get locked into them, we miss all other possible refinements.

Once we get out of our heads, we tap into our unrefined reservoir. It’s there we find our raw selves, not yet shaped into the patterns of conditioning and labeling.

This reservoir is one of peace and creativity. The mind gets quiet and the labels stop bumping into each other and causing friction.

It here that we find that we aren’t our labels. Here we are undefined and free to discover and create new refinements – ones that have yet to be labeled.

If you haven’t yet discovered a mind quieting technique, times a wastin’.

There is no better way than another, so don’t get confused by the labels. They all work. You just have to pick one and work at it.

Mind quieting, at first, is sort of like home teeth whitening. It seems like it’s never going to happen. Then, low and behold, there is a brightness that appears. It just takes regular application to get results.

If you’ve become locked in by labels, it’s time to get unrefined. By doing so, you get to broaden how you define yourself.

All the best,

John

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May 14, 2010

Do – Don’t

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:31 am

Here’s a distinction with a difference: I do want/I don’t want.

What’s the distinction?

Do is a more direct route.

I’m an expert on what I don’t want. I’m not as skilled on what I do want. I don’t think I’m alone.

When your focus is mainly on what you don’t want, there’s less of it available for what you do want.

With “I don’t want,” there seems to be the need to express an opinion, a rationale to justify keeping what you don’t want in focus. What I do want is an expression of our desires which contain more passion and less justification. There is a measurable difference.

If you need to be heard, chances are you’ll be fixated on what you don’t want. That means that everyone within earshot will be treated to the rationale of what you don’t want and not have a clue as to what you do want. They’ll be as confused about your desires as you are.

That means that no one really knows what to deliver to you because you’re murky on it yourself. It’s a hit and miss proposition.

Shifting focus to what you do want gives you lots of room to operate because you’ve cleared away the distractions of what you don’t want.

“Do” suggests forward; “Don’t” suggests retreat.

It’s hard to get where you are going if you are traveling backwards.

But have you noticed that sometimes, even when we express what we do want, we are quick to point out all the “don’t want” conditions?

“I do want a new car but I don’t want the hassle of going to the dealership and playing the negotiation game, and I don’t want to have to park away from everyone so I don’t get dings, and I don’t want to pay more premiums to those ungodly insurance companies.”

The “Don’t’s” take the steam out of the “Do’s.”

Yes, do consider the consequences before making a major decision, but don’t get focused on the glue. It will keep you stuck as to what to do.

Do this experiment. List a few things that you do want and notice how quickly the litany of don’t wants start to crowd your mind. It’s a pattern of thinking that keeps our focus scattered – keeping us from taking action on what we do want.

You can interrupt the stream of don’t wants by just noticing them when they do show up. Don’t engage them in debate, just notice their presence. Once they are acknowledged, they do quiet down.

Then it’s time to give do and don’t their separate, proper due.

Set aside time to give consideration to all the things you don’t want. Have a private meeting and give the “Don’t’s” all the recognition they deserve.

Then set up the same ground rules for the “Do’s.” This is a time exclusively set up for what you do want.

You are reconditioning your mind to allow separate times for Do’s and Don’t’s.

The result is the meetings are shorter, leaving more time for action.

If you don’t want your “Don’t’s” getting in the way of your “Do’s,” do recognize the worth of both and then go pursue.

All the best,

John

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May 13, 2010

You Are What You . . .

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:57 am

If you’ve never heard the expression “You are what you eat,” you have led a sheltered life.

Here’s an expression you’ve probably never heard, “You are what’s eating you.”

I had never heard it either until The Grasshopper hopped up on my computer keyboard and banged it out.

Have you ever noticed that your attention is drawn like a moth to a searchlight to something that’s bothering you?

There are a whole host of things going on in your life but the one thing getting the lion’s share of your attention is that which is gnawing at you.

Oftentimes we treat that thing like a rattle in the car. We believe that if we ignore it, it will go away. It won’t.

Something that’s eating you won’t stop until there is nothing left to chew on. You get eaten alive by that which you ignore.

I am a bit amused by the circus surrounding the Tiger Woods saga. Tiger is not playing golf well and each one of the golf analysts has a take on what he’s technically doing wrong. No one has stated the obvious, “Tiger is being consumed by what’s eating him.” He now has neck pain that has surfaced over the last month or so and has gotten to the point that he had to withdraw from competition last week. The sports physiologists and orthopedists of all stripes were getting their moment in the spotlight detailing the injury and potential remedies.

I have no doubt he is physically hurting, but this is a guy who played on a broken leg and won the U.S. Open. It’s not the physical pain that’s been plaguing his game. The lyrics to a 60s song come to mind. “When something’s wrong with my baby, there’s something wrong with me.”

“You are what’s eating you” is another way of saying, “You are what has your attention.”

That thing that’s troubling you can’t be pushed into a corner and ignored because it will come out swinging. It needs to be addressed.

There are many schools of thought on how to address issues, but my experience has taught me that the most effective way is head on. It’s the fastest way to a solution. All the finessing, dancing and nibbling around the cookie just adds days, months and years of avoidable pain.

The reality check is this: Until you address what’s eating you, that’s who you will remain. You are what’s eating you.

This is not an invitation to go throw up on someone and give them a piece of your mind. That’s a one-way strategy that rarely works. Yes, you may have something to address with someone and withholding it is not helpful to you or them. That is not the most effective first step.

The first step is to address your own behavior. No one is making you feel the way you do but you. Assailing another is just a convenient diversion to ignore your own behavior.

What can you do about what’s eating you? No one else can solve the problem for you, but I can point you in a direction – Address it.

The strategy of ignore and be blissful leads to a lifetime of pain, but you already know that.

It takes courage to address yourself, but once addressed, you are no longer on the menu.

All the best,

John

LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
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May 12, 2010

Names

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:42 am

Who can’t remember this schoolyard ditty: “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me”?

You can find factual data in just about any saying that’s stood the test of time. Let’s look at this one.

The assertion that sticks and stones can break bones is accurate. “Names can never hurt me” is more of a personal declaration and is short on facts that everyone can agree on.

How can names hurt? Two ways come to mind – conditioning and believing.

If we are told often enough (conditioned) that a word is offensive, there’s a high probability we will be offended when we hear that word. Notice that we’re not offended if someone says that word to us in a foreign language that we don’t understand.

What words are offensive to you? We all seem to have a list.

Believing you are the word is the most hurtful of all.

If you haven’t been in a name calling match, you aren’t human. It’s one way we choose to inflict pain on someone who has caused us pain.

If you believe you are what the name implies, you will have an escalated emotional reaction.

We already know the person who is calling us a name is attempting to hurt us, so let’s set that aside for a moment.

Explore for a moment the aspect that you believe it’s accurate.

This is a choice point. You can go into argument and denial mode and claim that it’s not true. This is the route chosen most often. Or, you can entertain the facts behind their assertion and choose to address them.

If someone calls you a name that you know is not accurate, you may be offended and defend yourself with the facts. But if someone “lays you out in lavender” with a name you believe, chances are you are going to give them some high decibel, vitriolic vomit in return. Most often, your response is a frontal assault on them, never addressing what has been claimed about you.

Labels can lock us in or become the key to let us out.

If someone is calling you a name you’ve been calling yourself, it may be time to excuse their bad manners for a moment and address the behavior that makes you believe the label. The temptation is to circle the wagons again and deny it’s there. That’s a sure bet that you will have this battle again and again.

Addressing what’s been repeatedly said about you from all corners is the mark of growing up.

Yes, name calling is boorish behavior, but name recognition can be the catalyst for transformation.

It may be time to leave the battlefield of the schoolyard, and enter adulthood by extracting some learning from the school of hard knocks.

All the best,

John

LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
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I LOVE MY BODY
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