GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


August 27, 2015

The Long & Short of It

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:46 am

Feet in cloudsIf you’re like me, when you hear, “to make a long story short,” you immediately know it’s going to be longer than it has to be.

And I’ve often quoted a piece of wisdom I got many years ago at a management conference: “Shorten the storm.”

But “short and long” in the context of this post refers to the short view and the long view: small picture/big picture.

I love big picture folks. Their bubbles tickle. They are sometimes visionaries but often just dreamers. Their enthusiasm is what sells their vision, not necessarily the content of their dream.

The small picture folks too often get caught up in the minutiae that doesn’t allow them to get past the first step. This keeps the dream tethered to the ground.

There are pluses and minuses for both views but when push comes to shove, you have to do the work that short demands to get to the big picture promised land.

The long story has to get shortened to its parts so that assignments of effort can be given to each. Shortening the storm in this case is withdrawing from the grandiose long enough so you can see the components and the effort necessary to build to the long view.

The short view has to be infused with what’s going on now so that you can address it now. You can’t address now in the future. That’s the lesson of the short view. The long view often ignores what’s happening now and has its pipe dreamer owing the piper in the end.

Too much investment in either view (long or short) will take you to the same place – well short of the mark.

Here’s the long and short of it: Whatever your dream is, you have to bring at least one foot out of the clouds to walk the path to make it happen.

Just about all big dreams take you to a point where you’re going to have to take a gamble to make it happen. The odds are long that you’ll succeed if you give short shrift to short.

All the best,

John



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August 25, 2015

Talking Over

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:22 am

ShoutingHave you ever had someone attempt to “talk over” you? That’s when another lives by the premise that “the loudest one wins” and just wants to drown you out. They not only want the last word but the only word.

That’s what we do when we want to deny our feelings. We “talk over” our feelings. We start to justify them or philosophize about them instead of feeling them. Our penchant of “talking over” them is our attempt to make them go away.

The strategy has never worked for longer than a minute. I’m reminded of Dr. Dave Dobson’s analogy of trying to hold a beachball under water. It takes all your effort and you eventually lose the battle.

Your feelings are not going away until you let them have their “say.”

Whatever sensations we attempt to “shout down” will hang around until we notice them and fully feel them. They are immune to our bombast.

I wrote about angry people a couple of weeks ago. Many of them attempt to bury their anger. That never works. Just remember Dr. Dave’s beachball. The result of burying or “talking over” their anger, insures that it will eventually come out in a torrent.

The recommendation is not to “let it out” and spew on everyone in sight, but more so to “let in in” and feel it rather than fight it.

Whatever sensations you have going on, notice them first. Take stock of your feelings and notice that you have anger or unhappiness or whatever you are feeling inside of you. Once you recognize them and give them credence, it’s time to feel them and let them have their say.

For many, feeling our feelings is a fate worse than death. Feelings puncture the myth we have created about ourselves in our head – the image we are attempting to sell – that we’re strong and unaffected by our feelings. That is eternal hogwash.

Feelings can’t be shooed away with a soliloquy; they need to be felt in order to metabolize.

Noticing and sitting with your feelings is the remedy for letting the air out of the beachball.

Talking over will eventually take you under. Start to monitor rather than ignore your sensations and feel what your body is urging you to feel. It works a lot better than lips that aren’t sealed.

All the best,

John



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August 19, 2015

The Job at Hand

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:45 am

ResultsWorking hard and doing your best will certainly earn you respect but to get a paycheck you have to do the job at hand.

I have been following the story of the NFL football player who had his two, young sons return their trophies for just participating in an event. His claim was they did nothing to earn them but show up. His belief is that’s not enough to claim a reward. That may seem harsh but it is the reality they will eventually face.

My experience is we all want to be paid for working hard but when we hire someone, we only want to pay them for results. That is the way of the world.

Working hard and getting results are not the same and each will have a different employment level. If you’ve ever worked in a factory or waited tables for long hours or did some kind of construction labor, you know you worked hard. The rub is you weren’t paid for hard work; you were paid to get a job done. If you were incapable of doing the job, no matter how hard you worked, you were eventually out of a job.

Results often follow hard work but not always. Some people are working hard at the wrong aspect of their job – the aspect that doesn’t get them paid.

One of the nicest people I ever worked with worked harder than anyone else. But most of his work went into the minutiae and not the job at hand. As nice as he was and as hard as he worked, it didn’t get him the rewards I’m sure he thought he truly deserved, just an invitation to pack up his things and move on.

The job at hand is getting results, not producing sweat.

People who have bought into the hard work myth generally fall into the category of what I refer to as “thinking like an employee.” But regardless of how you think, the thing you’re going to get paid for is getting results, unless you’re a member of congress.

A question that will gain you focus is: “What is the job at hand for me?”

This question applies to all aspects of life, not just what you do for a living. Zero in on doing the job at hand and notice how much you increase your results, which often results in you getting more zeros after the comma in your yearly income.

All the best,

John



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August 18, 2015

You Will Re-Act

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:49 am

ArgumentWe all react. Even a non-reaction is a reaction. So the question I pose is: “Are we slaves to our reactions?” The answer is “Yes” and “No.”

Yes, because we will have automatic, lightning quick, conditioned behavior fire off when we are met with a certain stimulus. No, we’re not slaves to behavior if we begin to notice it. That’s our only chance to outgrow it.

When I have a reaction, I have a choice if I notice I’m having a reaction. As mentioned, a reaction is a programmed way of responding to a stimulus. If every time someone says, “You’re an @%#&%,” your retort is, “You’re an @%#&%,” you have re-acted with some programmed behavior.

I have found that it’s best for me if I keep my reactions on a leash, otherwise they may run amok like a spirited dog. That means if I have a reaction that’s going to take me down a path that goes deep into the woods, I notice it and pull back.

If my reaction has been let out of the bag, I have a brief opportunity to mitigate it by reeling it back in. As an example, imagine this back and forth between a couple. Add to the scenario that one member of this duo has had a “trying” day.

“Would you like to go see the new Meryl Streep movie tonight?”

“No, I don’t want to go to a crowded theatre and sit with the great unwashed.” (Now noticing the reaction) “But ya’ know, that movie has gotten some great reviews, can we go see it tomorrow night because I’ve just had a day and wouldn’t be the best company tonight?”

Staying with your initial reaction will get you what it got you last time. You’re like a scripted actor in a predictable scene. Noticing your reaction and interrupting it before it becomes drama is your only chance for growth.

Start noticing your reactions and notice that they take you to the same place each time. If you’re looking for new vistas, start saying “hasta la vista” to your programmed reactions by noticing them and you’ll find yourself acting in fresh, unscripted scenes.

All the best,

John



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August 13, 2015

Managing the Moment

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:49 am

Balancing actThe Grasshopper asked an interesting question yesterday: “Are you living in the moment or attempting to manage it?”

It immediately occurred to me that attempting to manage a moment takes you out of the moment and into a mind based scenario where you are trying to “get one over” on the moment.

Perhaps a parallel discussion about self hypnosis will illustrate the point. Most people think, including most hypnotists, that you get yourself into a hypnotic frame of mind and then give yourself some suggestions. The problem with that belief is the minute that you began to give yourself the suggestions, you would come out of the hypnotic frame of mind because a hypnotic frame of mind contains no thinking, just space between your thoughts.

It’s best to start your self hypnosis session with the goal you have in mind and then do your progressive relaxation. In other words, you set your intention before you go into your relaxed frame of mind, not after you’re there.

Back to the moment. The minute that you think something has to be managed in the moment, you’re no longer in it. Perhaps an example would be helpful.

Let’s pretend that you are having a conversation with someone. If you begin to think about what you’re going to say in response to what they just said, you have come out of the connection and retreated inside your head. You have come out of the moment and the communication will suffer.

To be in the conversation, you can’t come out of it. That means that your attention has to be given fully to what’s happening in the moment for you to stay in it. The minute you retreat, you are no longer in that moment.

Retreating from the moment is what I’m calling “managing the moment.”

Moments don’t need to be managed; they serve you best when they are experienced.

Being in the moment means to be with what’s right there, not with what’s on the horizon.

Being in the moment takes trust that you’ll know how to respond to whatever the moment has to offer, rather than coming out of the moment to search for a crafted response.

Staying in the moment takes practice because we have been highly conditioned to manage moments – meaning we are trying to control reality which is always a losing strategy.

Quoting my friend Jerry Stocking: “If we can’t be present to what we don’t want, then we aren’t likely to be present at all. Fair weather presence isn’t really presence at all, it is a dash of happiness on an absent canvas.”

All the best,

John



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August 6, 2015

Angry People

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:46 am

AngryI have a confession to make: I am uncomfortable around angry people.

I’m not referring to someone who gets angry; that happens to all of us. I’m referring to the person who displays anger as their natural state of existence. These folks often don’t notice that they are angry.

Their anger sits below the surface but I notice it smoldering and start to feel uncomfortable in their presence.

I guess you could say, “that’s your issue, learn to deal with it.”

My programmed response is to want to help them to release the hold anger has on them by:

1. Noticing the anger.

2. Feeling it, rather than ignoring it, so it metabolizes.

That would be a heady mission to attempt to help all the angry people I come in contact with. Quite frankly, that’s unwelcomed and impossible.

Seems I have some options. I can just avoid their company (which is my current response) or I can attempt to help them (which I would need to ask their permission to do) or I could seek out ways to get more comfortable in their presence.

The last option has had me “managing people.” That means I would work at steering the conversation away from their angst. But like the Billy Joel Song says, “I don’t want clever conversation. I never want to work that hard.”

I have this anticipated fear that at any moment their torrent of anger will be released which would just add to my discomfort.

My experience with that scenario in the past has been to confront them about their behavior which generally leads to escalation rather than resolution. I add to the fire rather than douse it.

I guess my best option is to take my own advice (who ever does that?) and notice my discomfort and feel it fully so that it dissipates.

I’ll let you know how I make out. If you ever see me at an anti-government rally, you’ll know I’m working on my issue.

All the best,

John



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August 5, 2015

Lip Service

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:24 am

Hostess ho hos“Lip service is the hallmark of inaction.” That’s what The Grasshopper offered in response to an email I got from a concerned parent regarding his son’s drug abuse.

Admitting you have a problem is part of all formal drug counseling. The rub is that many abusers use admission as evidence that they’re doing something about it. Announcing on Facebook that you have a problem is a far cry from actually addressing the issue.

Announcing that you have a problem with “Hostess Ho Hos” is a canard many abusers use to divert peoples’ attention away from the fact that they’re still devouring them in large quantities. It’s a stalling tactic.

Admission has to be followed by action. If it’s not, you have lip service.

Pay attention to what people do more than what they say and you’ll have a better barometer on what will happen at the end of the day.

Don’t debate peoples’ words; challenge their inaction. It will get one to focus on the core of the matter much quicker.

Lip service is like dog shit; it’s everywhere. It’s up to you whether you’ll announce that you’ve stepped in it again or take some action and clear it from your path.

All the best,

John



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