GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


November 24, 2014

Unrecognized Pain

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:36 am

C726489 mHave you ever had such physical pain that you couldn’t focus on anything or anyone else? I think we can all come up with a “Yes” to that question.

Reminds me of a personal experience . . . About 20 years ago I was writhing in pain lying on a hospital gurney. All I could focus on was getting relief from the pain a kidney stone was causing. I couldn’t focus on anything but the pain. I remember saying to myself, “I don’t care if I die, I just want this pain to go away.”

I’m sure you can come up with your version of my story. Lucky for me, I was able to get powerful pain meds and eventually went on to pass the stone. It’s also fortunate that we, as humans, cannot remember the actual, physical pain.

Such is not the case with emotional pain. We can conjure it up at a moment’s notice. We can relive a past incident in our mind and all the attendant anguish and pain can flood our mind and body like it’s happening all over again. The incident is over but the pain lives on.

But there is another aspect to emotional pain – that it can be caused by something out of our awareness. Sometimes that hidden cause can cause us to act a certain way, a way we’ve grown accustomed to that may not serve our best interest.

Back to not being able to focus on anything or anybody, someone unknowingly steeped in emotional pain can easily gravitate to becoming a loner. They profess to not need what most other people crave – the company of others. They appear stoic on the surface, but smoldering beneath burns the fire to be included. The sad part of this story is that this person may believe the surface them “is just the way I am.”

Unnoticed emotional pain can cause us to act out in ways that just don’t make sense to those attempting to love us. Even though we’re unaware of the pain, we take actions to numb it. Some turn to abusing alcohol or drugs, others withdraw to isolation to suffer in silence. There are countless ways we attempt to numb what we don’t know about.

So how do we shine the light of day on hidden pain so we can acknowledge its existence – the first step to alleviating it?

Become aware that your repeated, unproductive actions have a cause. You don’t have to unearth the specific cause, just recognize that there is one. Just acknowledging that there is a cause puts that causitive part of you on alert that you’re paying attention. This attention, applied over time, causes what’s causing your pain to incrementally rise to the surface where you can more easily address it.

This process is the same as intuitively knowing there is an answer to a dilemma even though you don’t yet know the answer. Think Thomas Edison.

Withdrawing from life? Numbing yourself? There’s a cause even though you may not be able to put your finger on it. Recognizing that, puts you on a path towards pain alleviation, progressing you towards including again, and updating your actions so that numbness and isolation are not automatic choices.

All the best,

John



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November 21, 2014

By Nurture

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

Scrooge mcduckThe debate about nature or nurture will go on as long as people are debating. I would like to make a point or two about the less popular nurture.

How often have you heard the following phrases?:

“I’m competitive by nature.”

“I’m frugal by nature.”

“I’m cautious by nature.”

I’m sure you can add your often used “naturisms” to that list.

I’m as certain as I can be that you didn’t come out of the womb predestined to be Scrooge McDuck, yet many will debate that they were.

When you realize that many things you ascribe to nature actually belong to nurture, you discover that what is currently second nature to you was actually nurtured over time.

With this discovery comes freedom – freedom to stop alibiing your behavior by calling it your nature, and the ability to nurture new behaviors if you so choose.

Once your excuse is gone, there’s nothing to hide behind.

You can continue to argue for your conditioning for the rest of your life or you can start the reconditioning process by noticing how you have mislabeled nurture as nature.

“That’s just the way I am” most often translates to “That’s just the way I was conditioned.”

Once you know that, you’ll have the opportunity to stop the debate about your nurtured limitations and move closer to your true nature.

All the best,

John



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November 13, 2014

Who Do I Want to Know?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

C647504 mI was going to start a Facebook thread that went something like this: The person I don’t want to know does this: (fill in peeve).

That would have been a fun exercise in eliciting peoples’ differences but it wouldn’t answer the underlying, unspoken question: Who DO I want to know?

My preferences and prejudices already identify who I don’t want to know, but that doesn’t lead me in the direction of who I do want to know.

Here’s what I found out: I want to know YOU.

My hobby is photography. I would never want to do it as a profession but I do love taking pictures of people – mainly portraits. I took a photography seminar a couple of years ago with famed photographer, Peter Hurley. Aside from all the great information I learned from Peter, the one thing he does, like no other, is elicit YOU from behind your facade.

He is like a magician employing misdirection to get you off your game, so you lose your “game face” and give the camera YOU.

I don’t want to know peoples’ facades; I want to know them at the level where all our differences disappear. That takes some recognition and work to accomplish.

The recognition part is noticing your own prejudices at work when interacting with another human. If you notice them and choose to set them aside, for just a brief time, you’ll be able to connect with that person at a level where you are both the same. Let’s call it a “Kodak” moment.

Think back on a time when you had a “real” moment with someone. All judgements went out the window and all prejudices were suspended and there was nothing but connection.

To make those moments happen more often takes work. We have to become aware of our prejudices while they are happening in order to set them aside. If you are having a conversation in your head about someone while interacting with them, your attention is on your internal dialogue and not on them. Your chances of finding the real them are remote and the real you is blocked from surfacing.

The really fun part of this connection strategy is that you can silently practice it anywhere – in the deli line, on a bus, on the phone or with your friends and family members.

Here’s another perspective on the real you from another real world magician, Jerry Stocking. Jerry is writing a book about sex and enlightenment. One of the things he says in there is something we all know: At the moment of orgasm, all pretense goes out the window. You are the closest to YOU at that moment. Your facade falls away.

Channeling my inner Oprah, here’s what I know for sure: The real you is in there and if I want to know you, I have to first get ME out of the way.

All the best,

John



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November 11, 2014

Discipline

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:50 am

C274933 mHave you ever heard someone say, “I have no discipline”? Perhaps, it was you. That’s simply not true.

The Grasshopper weighed in on discipline this morning when he said, “Discipline is departmentalized.”

We all have it, but maybe not in the department we currently need it.

Even a confirmed couch potato is disciplined enough to record the TV shows he’ll be off the couch for.

So it seems that we don’t have discipline for the things we don’t want to do. The more we don’t want to do them, the less discipline we seem to muster.

“But I need to get these things done,” say you. What to do?

The first step is to redefine discipline. We currently have it filed as this mystical force that only shows up when we want something bad enough. Discipline, pure and simple, is becoming a disciple of a philosophy. My free ebook THE SUCCESS TRIANGLE dedicates a whole section to this notion.

Find someone who is successful in doing what you “need” to do and find out their recipe or playbook and follow it step by step. Don’t attempt to do everything they do all at once. Break down the steps and do them one at a time until they become more easily repeatable. Then move on to the next step. You are adopting their philosophy a step at a time. Before long, you are a performing student of their discipline. Reminds me of a couple of stories . . .

When I was in radio broadcasting, one of my roles was to coach DJs. One thing DJs know how to do is talk, but many of them talk too much. One way to combat that is to put them into a system (discipline) where they can only talk for a certain amount of seconds. If you know you have all day, you’ll take all day to say it. If you have to communicate it in 9 seconds, that’s going to take some pre-thought and some mental editing before you open your mouth. The system disciplines you.

There is a radio consultant who did the following: She would record a portion of your show, unbeknown to you, and then transcribe every word that you said. She would then edit your words down to a more succinct transcription. She would then schedule a meeting with you and have you record the edited script. Then she would play back both recordings – the one she initially taped and the one you just recorded. The clarity was undeniable in the edited version – blather went out the window.

She would then task you with doing the same thing – record a portion of your show, transcribe it, edit it for clarity, record the script and compare the two recordings on your own. The upshot of this discipline (way of doing things) was that you began to edit in your head before speaking on the air.

Discipline is not a force but a system of doing things. When you “big picture” a task, you will encounter resistance. When you break it down into its parts, it becomes more manageable. There is someone who is doing what you “need” to do better than you. They aren’t any smarter, just more choreographed in doing the steps.

The best piece of input I can give you to acquire the discipline you need is to dance over to their department.

All the best,

John



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November 7, 2014

Sense or Senses?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:16 am

C167252 mEverybody’s got a message. The question I pose is this: Does your message appeal to their sense or to their senses?

The answer is probably both, but it seems the messages that resonate more are the ones that lean in the direction of the senses.

If you are solely targeting someone’s intellect, you may totally miss the larger target – their senses.

I’m sure Jane Austen in her late 1700s work, Sense and Sensibility wrote more to the sensations than I’ll ever be capable of, but the title got me curious about the dichotomy.

As much as I have an aversion to the animal rescue, public service announcements on TV (awful B-list actors), I recognize their effectiveness. They don’t appeal to your sense; they tug at your heart strings so you’ll loosen your purse strings.

In personal interactions, it’s more effective to communicate how you feel rather than telling someone the ABCs of how it is.

Having done a radio talk show for a number of years, I can tell you the hot button topics are not filled with intellectual debate. They consist of raw emotion. The most successful talk shows are the ones that cater or pander (depending on your point of view) to your senses.

The original O.J. Simpson trial is a textbook example of sense vs. senses. The prosecution was convinced that their avalanche of facts was enough to win. The defense pandered to the jury’s life experiences and continually tugged on their emotions.

Sense or senses is a work in progress for me. I’m much better at the factual side but recognize that people respond more frequently to what appeals to their senses.

People can counter your facts but they can’t debate your feelings.

What’s more effective in the following scenario? Spouse arrives home late unnannounced. The partner says something like, “You are so disrespectful and selfish for not calling and letting me know you are going to be late.” Then an argument ensues about being selfish and disrespectful. Contrast that with, “When you don’t call and let me know you’ll be late, I get worried sick about you and feel you don’t care.”

My experience is that intellectual arguments contain too much air and not much emotional sustenance, kinda like mental cotton candy. Do the arithmetic: The average IQ in the United States is under 100. If your message needs a higher intellect to follow along, you won’t have many followers.

There’s a reason that the National Enquirer sells 780, 000 copies each week. If you think it’s for the factual content, you’re probably one of their readers. If you noticed my snarkiness in the last line, you’re probably not. But if you fail to recognize that snarky appeals too much to the intellect and not to the emotions, you’ll continue to make the same intellectual arguments that no one listens to.

Sense or Senses? My sense is this: To get people to feel, you can’t always talk about what’s real.

All the best,

John



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November 6, 2014

Accountability

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:05 am

C547846 mIt seems to me that “accountability” is an old concept that has become a new buzzword. It got me to break it apart into its pieces and gave me this question: Are you able to account?

Watch any old episode of Law & Order and you’ll hear a line like, “Are you able to account for your whereabouts on the night of the 15th?”

If you are given the responsibility of handling the petty cash at work, you have to be able to account for where it all went.

We all come up short in some area; that’s a given. What makes that shortfall longer than it needs to be is lack of accountability.

When we refuse or are unable to account, our credibility is disabled.

I find that credibility is something you can count on.

Credible people are able to account.

The trail away from credibility is to paint someone else as accountable for your area of responsibility. Again, if you are in charge of the petty cash and neglected to lock the box before leaving work, you may not think you’re accountable when you find the money missing the next morning.

I find it useful to account for our part in any miss hit we’re a part of. It enhances our credibility and, more importantly, going forward, it makes us pay more attention to what we’re responsible for.

Ask any marriage counselor or divorce attorney how often they hear that one or both spouses refuse to be accountable for the demise of the relationship. If you want a credible solution, you have to account for your part of the problem.

If you’re not able to account, you’re most likely not a person that people think they can count on.

Your credibility goes out the window when you assign all the blame out there. It’s an unmistakable sign of immaturity when you’re unable to account.

I’ll leave this where it began – with a reflective question. Are you able to account?

All the best,

John



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November 5, 2014

Creativity

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

C332678 mThe Grasshopper has offered a shortcut to creativity – “Make room in your mind.”

Long ago, someone smarter than us discovered that you can only hold onto roughly seven bits of awareness at any one moment in time. If your seven bits are occupied, there’s no room at the inn for anything else.

I discovered years ago what being bored was – being bored with your thoughts. The same thoughts running around in your mind for the umpteenth time lead to boredom, stagnation and being stuck.

We all own the experience of getting creativity from out of the blue. Perhaps you were taking a shower when it happened – just feeling the warmth of the water cascading over you body and your thoughts seemingly washing down the drain. Voila! In pops a creative idea into the vacancy in your mind.

Now that you know how it happens by happenstance, it’s time to see if you can create that vacancy on purpose. How? Make room in your mind.

There are lots of ways to go about this. One way is to set an intention of coming up with a solution for a dilemma and then go and do something that occupies your attention. A severe example would be rock climbing. It would be foolhardy to be thinking about anything but your next move when you’re 100 feet off the ground. Simpler versions could be washing the car, doing a workout, having sex or a host of other things that need your attention.

Reminds me of a story . . . back in the 80s, I remember reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about a successful stockbroker who picked his stocks right after having sex with his wife. He didn’t know how it worked, he only knew his stock picking skill increased directly after sex. I’m tempted to use a “two birds with one stone” reference here.

Another way is to write down what you need a solution to and put that intention on your nightstand and look at it before you turn off the lights and go off to sleep. If you make this a regular practice, you will begin to notice more creativity showing up. Don’t believe me, just sleep on it and prove it to yourself.

There are a zillion meditation methods to choose from and, when practiced, they make room in your mind.

Creativity shows up when your mind calms down. It’s that simple.

You won’t think yourself to a creative solution. Minds need room to create, not more debate.

Bottom Line: Making room in your mind increases your chances for creating a way out of a bind.

All the best,

John



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November 4, 2014

Outgrowing

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:23 am

1085519 peter pan 782 superThe Grasshopper offered this “for adult eyes only” tip: “Outgrowing is growing up.”

Many years ago I was taught a phrase by the man who taught me the seminar business. He would say, “Outgrow the old way and grow into a new way.”

I took that to mean that severe, monastic changes are less likely to stay in place. Change is a growth process that takes place over time.

Apply that notion to bringing up children. It seems our job is to get them from a complete stage of dependency to independence in X amount of years. It doesn’t always happen on our timetable.

For me, I didn’t grow up until I was in my 30s. I was married and had a family and tons of responsibilities that I tended to, but part of me was still a “I don’t see the big picture,” resistant teen. I hadn’t outgrown the patterns that kept me immature.

It’s my experience that you have to notice the patterns you want to outgrow before growing up can begin. People can point them out to you, but that’s not as successful of a strategy as noticing them on your own.

Sometimes it takes a seminal event to get you to notice. For me, it was the death of my father-in-law. I didn’t realize it until he died that I owned the pattern that he would be there to take care of my wife and our children if I fell on my face and couldn’t provide for them. He was my safety net.

I noticed my pattern that sad day and began the process of outgrowing the old way and growing into a new way, long before I even heard that phrase.

Here’s what I discovered on my path to growing up: Resistance is a telltale sign of immaturity that will keep your patterns in place. What is it that you’re resisting? That’s what needs to be outgrown in order to grow up.

Reflect on the question and you will discover, in due course, what it is you need to outgrow.

Asking “What am I resisting?” will open your eyes to a growth plan that, if followed, will get you a seat at the adult table.

All the best,

John



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November 3, 2014

Advancing Hate

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:29 am

C718004 mThere are so many ways to get your message out there with the advance of social media.

My question is: What are you advancing?

You may answer, “A point of view.”

The real question is: What ingredients are contained in that point of view?

Too often, I see that one of those ingredients is hate. If you are espousing hate in your point of view, it not only reflects on you, it poisons you.

What you may be unaware of is that putting hate out there doesn’t rid you of it; it just amplifies it in you. Advancing hate is not cathartic. It’s like rabbits and coat hangers; it just multiplies.

Not only do you announce your viewpoint to every one of your followers, you also give them a look into your soul that’s tortured with hate.

You can have a position or preference for or against something without being hateful. It just takes some noticing.

Notice, first, that your anger doesn’t dissipate when you post or repost a hateful message. It just becomes more entrenched. Second, become aware of the anger in you. Don’t judge it; just notice it. Just noticing feelings without justifying or castigating them has a way of getting them to metabolize. Finally, retire your poison pen. It will be much easier after noticing because you’ll have much less hate to spread around.

I don’t have statistics to back this up but it’s my experience that people who advance hate are more ill and die sooner than those who don’t. I’m sure there are exceptions, but too few to count.

Don’t stop advancing hate because it’s the “right” thing to do. Do it because it’s good for you.

All the best,

John



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