GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


August 31, 2011

Back to . . .

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:02 am

Due to the recent hurricane, we were without power for a few days. Our routines changed. I can’t remember the last time I played “500 Rummy,” but I know I never played by candlelight.

We went to bed earlier and there were no TVs or computers, but ample batteries for the flashlights so we could read. We were inconvenienced but thankfully not ravaged like many others in the storm’s path.

The power came on 2 days later and things quickly got back to . . . “normal.”

It got me to wondering how many times we return to our routines after having a brush with a challenging situation in our life. If we just go back to the way it was, did we really learn anything from the experience?

The logical thing to do is to assess what we did to get ourselves in that precarious position and then take preparatory steps to avoid arriving at the same place again. Here’s the sad news: Logic doesn’t rule our lives – our routines do.

We do go back to the way it was more often than not and painful lessons are not our teachers but, rather, ghosts of our future.

Just like our power had to be interrupted for us to execute new behaviors, we have to interrupt our personal routines that take us to the same destination so we can arrive somewhere better.

Interruption is an agent of change but it must be applied regularly in order for it to have long term results. Interrupting a behavior once is not long-term effective; doing it repeatedly is a proven program for change.

I can’t tell you the precise number of interruptions of behavior that allows change to take place; I only know that the method works. It’s sort of like spit shining shoes in the military. In basic training you are given a pair of leather boots with porous grain and you have to get the toe of the boot to shine like patent leather. It requires a process of filling the holes in the leather with polish and then dipping your polish cloth in water and rubbing in circles where you just placed the polish. Then you repeat the process again and again and again – more polish, more water. You keep rubbing in circles and it seems like the shoe will never shine, until that one moment when you see a portion of the toe begin to look like a black mirror. Yahoo!

Interruption of behavior is the tried and true method for change; we just have to work at it. It may feel like you are going in circles, but at a certain point a light shines through and there is no going back to the “normal” you.

 

All the best,

John

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August 30, 2011

Sarcasm

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:55 am

Here’s today’s question: If sarcasm died, how many mourners would there be?

Sarcasm is defined in the dictionary as a “biting remark” which stems from the Greek word, “Sarkazein” which literally means “to tear flesh.”

Here is another question: What if you used sarcasm and no one got it? Reminds me of a story . . .

I grew up on the east coast of the U.S. where sarcasm is a staple of life. Perhaps it’s a way of protection in such a concentrated population area, but I’ll leave that question for the philosophers and anthropologists to sort out. When I was in my mid 20’s, I moved to the Midwest and it was there that I made this discovery: “These folks don’t get me.” What I said sailed right over their heads. It wasn’t an immediate discovery but after a time of getting blank stares and people looking away in avoidance, it became apparent that they either didn’t like or appreciate sarcasm.

What I learned was that sarcasm is hurtful to many people and not “funny” as I intended it to be.

I wish I could report that my Midwest experience was a lesson fully learned, but it wasn’t; it was more of an observation on my part rather than an overcoming.

What I have learned over time is that sarcasm is not a great tool for communication. It has its spot in the tool box, but should be used sparingly. Comedians may profit from it, but my sense is that it pays negligible dividends in our everyday lives.

I’m not going to march in a parade protesting sarcasm but I will offer you this challenge: Notice how often you use it but, more importantly, notice how often it doesn’t work. It may make you the center of attention, but is it the quality of attention you are looking for?

My personal discovery is this: The less often I use sarcasm, the more people I get through to.

If you’re looking to exact a pound of flesh, sarcasm will certainly work, but If your goal is to reach another human being, keep sarcasm out of reach.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
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August 26, 2011

Vulnerability

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:14 am

What does our culture not value that is highly rewarding? – Vulnerability.

For many, to be vulnerable is to appear weak – a fate worse than death.

Vulnerability has gotten a bad rap and I don’t believe it’s been explored fully enough to see and, more importantly, feel the benefits it delivers.

I recently attended a workshop with ten people – 9 men and 1 woman. The purpose of the workshop was to wake up. What I discovered is that an essential step towards awakening is allowing yourself to open. That means dropping your guard and allowing yourself and others to discover what’s really there. It was highly scary, at least for me.

I saw others open like flowers and wanted the same for me. What were they doing that I was missing? They became vulnerable. My experience in the past was that when you are in a group with 8 other men, it’s not the cultural norm to display your underbelly, but one-by-one I got to witness just that.

It became glaringly apparent that to get what this workshop offered I had to become vulnerable. The good news is I didn’t have to will it to happen; I only had to be willing to let it happen, and it did. I became vulnerable and the reward was an openness I had never before experienced.

Our culture idolizes strength and abhors weakness which is our Achilles heel. That mindset delivers far more defeats than victories yet we continue to employ it even though we’re losing the battle.

I highly recommend you get curious about vulnerability. You may have to dismantle lots of conditioning to get there but I can attest that the reward exponentially outweighs the risk.

The insight I got was this: If you are attempting to hold your shit together, just notice what you’re holding on to.

 

All the best,

John

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August 24, 2011

None of Your Business

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:01 am

Have you ever witnessed an accident waiting to happen and done nothing about it? If you’re human and you’ve been conditioned to mind your own business, you’ve bitten your tongue countless times.

The upside seems to be that you can say “I told you so,” but that’s not as satisfying as it’s cracked up to be, at least not for me.

I have spoken when it’s none of my business if I noticed the outcome would be far worse than the upset my observations would produce. Have I been wrong? Yes, many times. But this isn’t about me; it’s about us.

How do we discern when to speak up or clam up?

Through much trial and error, I’ve found that the successful speak up signals I receive come from my gut and the less than successful signals come from my head. If it seems so logical that it has to be shared, it’s probably time to zip you lip. But if your gut is leading the way, it’s probably time to open your mouth and say what you say.

Jerry Stocking offers another rule of thumb that can be applied here: Paraphrasing: “Speak when you normally don’t and don’t when you normally do.”

If you have a rule to speak up no matter what, your counsel will be ignored more often than not. If your rule is to always mind your business, you will witness a lot of avoidable pain.

Minding our own business may have been taught to us as good manners but may stand in the way of us offering a helping hand.

There is risk in speaking up or clamming up, so risk is no longer the issue. The issue is: Can I be helpful or not? The operative words in that question are “or not.”

Our ego will always think our advice is helpful; deeper parts of us may not agree. “Look before you leap” has been with us for centuries but an up to date version might be: “Check in before you speak out.”

It’s a way of getting your mind out of “Mind your own business.”

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
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August 22, 2011

What If You Could?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:03 am

I often ask people who say “I can’t,” what would happen if you could?

It usually gets one of two responses.

  1. They reiterate that they can’t.
  2. They get a quizzical look on their face.

If I get “I can’t” again, I usually say something like, “Pretend for a moment that you could.” What I’m going for is that quizzical look which suggests they are searching for what’s possible.

I’m not looking for a manufactured “Yes I can.” That has the staying power of a pep rally. My goal is to get them on a search that goes past “I can’t.”

Yes, “I can’t” is sometimes masquerading as “I won’t,” but for the most part I find that “I can’t” is just a mental block on what’s possible.

When we focus on what can’t be done, we literally put blinders on our imagination and a governor on our creativity.

Creativity often comes when we juxtapose disparate things and come up with a connection, or as 18th Century Theologian, Sir William Palmer said, “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.”

“I can’t” stops such a search right in its tracks. It’s like the person who throws a wet blanket on a brainstorming meeting by interjecting why each suggestion can’t be done. It stops the search every time. No search, no possibility.

I’d never ask you to stop saying “I can’t,” only to notice how often you say it.

Just by noticing your frequency, you begin to get an idea how often you cut off your creativity. This recognition, alone, is enough to get you curious about what’s possible, which is the goal.

Start noticing how often “I can’t” shows up. It’s the first step to opening the door to possibility and creativity.

The only proper use of “I can’t” seems to be: “I can’t help but noticing.”

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
RELAX IN 2 MINUTES
FEEL FOREVER YOUNG
VIRTUAL MASSAGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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August 18, 2011

Things I Haven’t Done

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:37 am

You’ve heard of a “Bucket List,” yes?

Well the “Things I Haven’t Done List” is similar but serves a different purpose.

It’s a goofy idea that showed up yesterday prompted by the thought that I had not ever tasted hummus until last week. It got me curious about things I had not done yet that I haven’t thought about. By contrast, the bucket list is about things you have thought about and desire.

For example I haven’t done the following:

  • Fried an egg on the sidewalk.
  • Said the words “Hear Ye, Hear Ye” in a public forum.
  • Passed gas in a crowded elevator.

The list could go on and on and I think it’s a valuable exercise in stretching. Many things on the bucket list are out of our reach. Most all of the things on the “Things I Haven’t Done List” are doable.

So what’s the purpose? It’s certainly not a challenge to do a bunch of absurd things; it’s more of an inspection of possibilities we haven’t considered.

Watch what shows up on your list. These are things that will stretch you past your patterned way of doing things, which is a way of becoming more aware. Just the creation of such a list will stretch you, before you run out into your patterned world. Acting on some things on the list earns you extra credit and extra awareness.

It seems silly on first blush and when you actually do it, it makes you more aware of what’s possible for you.

Take 10 minutes out of your day today and make a list of things you haven’t done. Have fun with it. Measure your feeling of what’s possible for you before and after the exercise and see if you notice a difference.

If you broaden your awareness, you broaden your possibilities. It just may get you to set your bucket list aside and do more living now.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
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August 16, 2011

Normal

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:59 am

What’s normal? I don’t know and I suspect I never will.

A few years ago, my friend, Hali opened my eyes when I said, “It’s the normal way of doing things.” She responded, “It’s the common way of doing things.”

There is a huge difference between normal and common.

Can you see that normal is a judgement and common is a verifiable fact?

When I say “not normal,” what I’m really saying is “not like me.”

Normal is a wedge word. It’s a wedge between you and anyone you perceive different than you. “I’m normal; they’re not” is the statement made by us in our heads. It keeps us separate from them making connection a lot more difficult.

How do people get to be not like you? It’s called experience.

They’ve had different life shaping experiences than us and it’s those differences that make them different.

I find that the more we have in common, the more we connect. The less we have in common with someone makes them not normal.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago when I went to the dry cleaners, I encountered an irascible woman behind the counter on each visit. It was hard to be around her. She was angry, oppositional and many other things I didn’t want to deal with but they were the best cleaners in town. Every experience there led me to respond angrily in my head and it didn’t contribute to my day. This woman wasn’t normal – not like me.

One day I received a gift from out of the blue. This gift said, “Ask her a question about her.”

I asked, “Is there anything that’s upsetting you because it looks like you are having a tough day?” She then told me her experience. Her brother, whom she was very close to, was at death’s doorstep. She told me the tale of them growing up and their special bond throughout the years and now it was coming to an end. All of a sudden, she wasn’t different to me any longer. We had bonded.

Each time thereafter, when I visited the store, our exchanges were warm, cordial and connected. She was no longer “not normal” to me.

You can avoid people not like you for an entire lifetime and play in a smaller world; it’s the common way of doing things. But if you want to make more connections and broaden you experience, may I personally recommend exploring others that aren’t normal. It’s a way of forming a common bond.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
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August 9, 2011

Rude

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

Is it OK to be rude to rude people?

I don’t have “THEE” answer but I have AN answer – it depends.

Some people are unconsciously rude. Those folks get a pass. It’s those who are rude on purpose that I take to task.

The sales person or religious missionary who rings your phone or knocks on your door and sucks all the oxygen out of the air by talking non-stop and not allowing you to breathe is on my hit list.

Such was the case yesterday when a person pitching Verizon’s high speed broadband service came a calling. My grandson answered the door and this person launched into his presentation not allowing for any sort of dialogue as he began verbally throwing up on my grandson. I came down the steps with the dog to bear witness to this onslaught.

I was about to interrupt this person but thought I would let him continue so my grandson would own this experience rather than hear a story about it from me.

People who have a one-way agenda are not only rude but stupid. Let’s address the stupidity first. It would be obvious to anyone with a modicum of sales experience that my grandson was not the decision maker. Even after I arrived on the scene, he never included me in his pitch. If I ever needed to hire someone to talk a dog off a meat wagon, this would be the guy. If I needed a sales person, he couldn’t even get on the bottom of my list.

The rudeness is not allowing another to participate in your pitch. You ignore their humanity as you selfishly concentrate on you and what you have to say. The other person becomes an object and not a human. That’s rude, dude!

When you only pay attention to you and what you have to say, you are truly talking to yourself and that’s rude.

The pitch finally came to an end with the “buy now before the offer goes away” closing. Then he asked my grandson to buy. My grandson looked at me and I said to this guy, “You only talk and don’t listen which is why you are losing in life,” and I walked away with our dog. That statement from me was also rude, only quicker.

I saw him continue his pitching throughout the neighborhood and mused to myself that he could be a world-class underwater swimmer to be able to get that many words out in one breath.

Is it OK to be rude?

If someone was stealing your household goods, you wouldn’t be considered rude in finding a way to stop them; you would be prudent. If someone is stealing your time showing no concern for you or acknowledging you as a person, I recommend rude just about every time.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
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SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
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I LOVE MY BODY
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August 8, 2011

Own It

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:45 am

We’ve all been in shops where we’ve see this sign: “Break it and you own it.” It’s a reminder to handle things more carefully (especially if you have children in tow) or there is a price to pay.

The Grasshopper came up with his own version of that sign. He said, “Say it and you own it.”

We pay a price when we say things we don’t want to own.

The news that escapes us too often is that saying something is a deliberate action. We actually have some say in what comes out of our mouths. We may not have anything to say about a thought that pops into our head, but we have total editing capacity over what leaves our lips or our keyboards or pens.

There are consequences attached to whatever we say. Reminds me of a story . . .

I was associated for a short time with a fellow who said a lot and didn’t commit. He lied as easily as most of us breathe. It wasn’t shades of truth he was telling; they were outright lies. This practice lead to him owning a suspect reputation – one that I wanted no part of.

The solution to his and our problem is simple but not necessarily easy: Don’t say anything you don’t want to own.

There is a choice point before you say something. Notice it and take advantage of it and you won’t over commit.

We’ve all said things we don’t want to own, but the fact that we said it makes it our property. The key to going forward is to notice, in advance, that there is cement that mixes with our saliva when we say something.

Often, no response is the best response. Reminds me of another story . . .

I don’t respond to emails that contain anything I don’t want my name next to. They may come from dear friends or family members but I won’t respond if it has something offensive to someone in it, whether it’s a joke, story or cartoon that someone has sent my way. I have a choice to respond or not and I exercise the choice not to respond. I don’t want to own what they’re sending by resending or responding.

Remember: You do have a choice in what you say. It may be the closest thing to control that we have as human beings.

Start to notice that you have options before opening your mouth; you’ll own less and be richer for it.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
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August 4, 2011

Feel Good Advice

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:47 am

The world is full of feel good advice. Even though most of it is ineffective, it does serve a purpose.

Advice that makes you feel good gets you over a hump. It’s usually the advice you get from a friend or someone close to you that wants to see your pain go away, even if it’s only temporary.

Often the most effective advice is that which is hard to swallow; it’s the medicine most of us avoid.

The people who parcel out feel good advice are well meaning and quite popular, but in the end their offerings keep you right where you are – Stuck.

The key is to recognize that what you are gravitating to – feel good advice – results in pulling you back into the mud.

It’s wonderful to have someone to go to that can make you feel good; just don’t mistake what they’re propping you up with as the lifeline you need to climb out.

The path of least resistance is the most walked path; the problem is it doesn’t go anywhere. Feel good advice will have you walk that path again and again.

I’m thankful there are people who can make me feel good; I’m equally appreciative of people who can light a way forward. They are usually not the same people.

When you begin to recognize feel good advice as the addictive drug it is, that’s the first step towards seeking out solutions that may not be wrapped in cotton candy.

The most effective advice may not make you feel good, at least not now. It’s the advice that leads you forward.

If you’re not making progress, chances are you are going back for another hit from Dr. Feelgood. Perhaps it’s time to seek out an alternate approach.

 

All the best,

John

ACCOMPLISH ANYTHING
LOSE WEIGHT & KEEP IT OFF
STOP SMOKING FOREVER
SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT EVERY NIGHT
IMPROVE YOUR SELF CONFIDENCE
I LOVE MY BODY
RELAX IN 2 MINUTES
FEEL FOREVER YOUNG
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