GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


February 28, 2017

Pipe Dreams

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:47 am

In the cloudsA friend of mine posted this the other day: “Surround yourself with people who support your dream.”

My initial, unspoken addendum was this: “And with people brave enough to tell you your dream is a pipe dream.”

We all have dreams. The trick is to take appropriate action to give them a chance to come true.

I’m pollyanna enough that I still “wish upon a star.” I don’t mistake that ritual with the necessity of taking action to realize a dream.

There has to be something of substance in the pipeline besides a wing and a prayer, otherwise you only have a handful of air.

I think dreaming is a valuable and useful asset. Dreaming is fun. Dreams can get us past what we think is impossible, but they are not a standalone tool of change.

Dreams and action are a powerful partnership.

What couch potato do you know who’s not a dreamer? You’ll see more lime seeds in your lifetime than you’ll see these folks take action.

There’s an old expression about a person having both feet in the clouds. It pejoratively suggests that nothing will come from that practice. For me, there’s nothing wrong with having one foot in the clouds and one foot on the ground. it strikes me as a productive balance.

Final thought: If you’re not taking consistent action towards your dream, sorry to report, it’s only a pipe dream.

All the best,

John



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February 22, 2017

Truth to Power

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:45 am

HornetThere is a new media buzzphrase that has me reacting as though I’ve been stung by a wasp: “Truth to Power.”

My 1st reaction when I hear the term is “Buzz off!”

First of all, the people who use it wouldn’t recognize truth if it stung them in the ass.

Real truth has no opposite. What most people offer as the truth is “their truth.” That’s better known as an opinion. When someone offers opinion as truth, my internal beehive stops making honey and I want to send out the air force with stinger missiles.

To calm myself down, I automatically translate the phrase “Truth to Power” to “Facts to Power.” When someone is speaking “Facts to Power,” it removes opinion from the information being delivered.

I’m defining facts as does my dictionary: “A thing that is indisputably the case.”

Side note: There is nothing alternate about a fact. “The gun fired” is a fact that’s verifiable and undeniable and has no opposite.

“Your truth” only works for someone who is immune to the facts. I request that we all label our opinions as opinions and let the facts stand on their own. Then we will be more powerful and “truthful” worker bees rather than a hive of jive.

All the best,

John



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February 16, 2017

Polluted Environment

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:30 am

EnvironmentThe Grasshopper must sense Spring is in the wings because he was full of new insights yesterday, including this one:

“You are a product of your environment . . . until you notice.”

What specifically should we notice? The fact that most of our attitudes and beliefs are not ours to begin with, and that we are on automatic pilot.

We are stimulus-reaction machines until we notice that most of our reactions are inherited. We’ve been conditioned without our permission and think our reactions are our ideas. For the most part, they’re not.

Reminds me of a story . . . I know a man whose grandfather died many years before he was born. One of his parents often told an unflattering story about his grandfather. The story about the grandfather is one this fellow tells to this day. Here’s the point: it’s not his story. It’s one he inherited but prejudiciously tells it as though it’s his.

That’s being a product of your environment. We all are . . . until we notice.

Many of the things that are passed on to us are quite beneficial, others not so much. The question we want to ask ourselves more often is: “Is this attitude or belief working for me?”

If your answer is “No,” it’s time to take notice. First, notice that your idea is not really yours and then get curious about what other belief or attitude would work. Then work towards taking ownership of it. Then it will be your idea, your belief, your home-grown attitude.

We will consistently and robotically generate behaviors and display our world view in accordance with our beliefs, most of which aren’t really ours. The key to being your own person with your own ideas is to start noticing what’s not yours and what’s not working.

It’s easier to outgrow a belief that’s not working when we notice it’s not ours.

All the best,

John



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February 15, 2017

$$$ Envy

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:46 am

EnvyI’ve come across it too many times in my life not to consider it a widespread phenomenon – Money Envy.

Perhaps you are one of the people who disparage people of means. I know I used to be. Then I adopted a new attitude years ago when I heard someone say, “Don’t envy, emulate.”

Money Envy is a conditioned attitude that takes many forms and they all seem to have one thing in common – diminishment of the person with money.

“Oh yeah, I could look fit too if I had the money to hire a personal chef.” May I remind you that Oprah had a personal chef. We all know she has money and we all know she’s been obese better than 90% of her adult life. The assertion would be wrong on both counts when considering Oprah’s wealth and results.

The limiting belief seems to be that people with money don’t have problems and it’s a result of them having money. One thought that occurred to me recently is that rich people just have more expensive problems.

It’s my experience that this mindset of Money Envy will keep you from having money. I’ve noticed that people with this attitude are forever struggling with finances.

Putting down people who have $$$ won’t lift you to their level; it will only keep you stuck on the financial rung of the ladder you’re on.

Emulating people of “means” means that you find out what their attitude about money is and adopt that attitude.

My observation about that attitude is this: Most of the wealthy people I’ve known have a greater respect for money than their struggling counterparts. Just look at the ever-present stories of lottery winners, singers, actors and sports figures who blow through their fortune and wind up back where they were. They didn’t respect money; they just wasted it.

Rich people don’t waste money.

This isn’t a money making course. There are plenty of them out there to follow if you choose. This is a reminder to pay some mind to your attitude about money and the people who have it. Just a slight adjustment in your angle of view will open your mind to more $$$ options for you.

Final thought: When you emulate, you adopt a new approach and a new vocabulary. You then start rhyming with a more abundant attitude. Notice that envy doesn’t rhyme with anything.

All the best,

John



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February 13, 2017

Invisible Signals

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:15 am

Emperor Has No ClothesWe are sending out invisible signals all the time to anyone and everyone. The term used in the game of poker gives us more insight. That term is “Tells.”

We are telling all who are willing to pay attention what we think is known only to us.

Tells can be seen, heard and felt and, to a lesser degree, tasted and smelled.

Everyone is telling. It’s up to us to pay closer attention to gain some awareness as to what’s below the surface.

Remember: We are telling as well. People can glean that which we believe is unseen with a bit of attention.

Dr. Dave Dobson taught something called “Other Than Conscious Communication.” It wasn’t as airy as the title may imply. It was a practical set of observations that demonstrated that we all communicate on two planes: conscious & other than conscious. When we say one thing but our “tells” communicate something else, we are being incongruent in our communication. When we encounter that red flag of incongruity, it’s a signal for us to pay more attention.

The simplest application is the “yes or no” response. Some people when saying “yes” are shaking their head “no.” If we only pay attention to what they say, we can easily be led astray.

I’m particularly attuned to auditory incongruity. I can hear it at a thousand paces whether in person or over the phone. Others are tuned into visual cues, and some just get a “feeling.”

Here’s a bit of wisdom from Dr. Dave: “When you are given two signals, conscious and other than conscious, pay more attention to the one that’s outside the person’s awareness. It will get you closer to what they’re really communicating.”

This isn’t intended to be a lesson on how to tell someone is telling; it’s more of an invitation to pay more attention when interacting with another. Your increased attention will make the invisible visible, and you will get to see more of the heavily clad emperor.

All the best,

John



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February 3, 2017

Entitled?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:14 am

EntitledHere’s a “Flashback Friday” Golden Oldie from The Grasshopper:

“Expectation vs. Entitlement”

It occurred to me recently that expectation and entitlement are intertwined but with a huge difference.

Entitlement contains expectation but expectation doesn’t necessarily contain entitlement.

An entitled person expects a certain level of whatever they think they’re entitled to without having to do anything to get it.

A person expecting something is expecting something in return for an action they’ve taken.

Expectation has some quid pro quo (something for something) attached to it whereas entitlement epitomizes something for nothing.

“I expect respect” is something both an expectant and entitled person may utter but one has done something to earn it; the other is looking for a handout.

How do you tell if you’re entitled? It’s pretty simple. If you expect something for “just being you,” the only thing you’re entitled to, and will receive, is a long wait.

A person with a realistic expectation has done something besides “being them” that’s worth consideration.

Ask any therapist how many times they’ve heard the sibling story – “My mother loved my brother/sister more.” When the therapist digs a bit deeper, they often find their aggrieved client owns the title of entitlement in their family.

Here’s the hard reality: We’re entitled to nothing. The push-pull universe doesn’t respond to entitlement because it’s not a real thing. It’s something we made up.

The sooner we make up our mind to leave entitlement in our past, the sooner we can expect to see some return on our actions.

All the best,

John



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February 2, 2017

Ignorance is No Excuse

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:06 am

FeatherI don’t usually get pejorative whispers from The Grasshopper, but yesterday was an exception. Here’s what popped in:

“If you choose to remain ignorant, you’ll stay stupid.”

Years ago, I remember hearing this:

People use statistics as a drunk uses a lamppost: for support rather than illumination.

There’s a lot of choosing to not pursue the facts going on. That’s just pure lazy.

How many of your Facebook friends or Twitter people have reposted something on their feed that dovetailed nicely into their point of view, but were empty calories devoid of facts?

If you only get your information from one source, you’ll have a one-track mind, soon to go off the rails because you choose not to check the facts.

When you pass on something “spectacular” without checking, you’re guilty of what I learned from my 6th Grade Nun. She said, “If you spread rumors, it’s like opening up a feather pillow in a windstorm. When you find out they’re not true, you’ll hardly get any of the feathers back.”

And let me just offer my personal opinion: If you pass on something “major” without checking, you’re plain stupid.

Have all the opinions you want and share them with whomever you choose. But when you label your opinion as fact, that’s ignorance of the facts.

My request is to look past the headline and listen past the sound bite before you pass on false feathers that’ll take flight.

All the best,

John

P.S. I saw this Tweet from Neil deGrasse Tyson after I wrote this blog post. He wrote, “A great challenge in life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know you are wrong.”



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February 1, 2017

Not Guilty

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:37 am

Not GuiltyHere’s a past verdict from The Grasshopper:

“Guilt Isn’t A Thing; It’s A Pattern Of Thinking.”

How guilty can you feel? You didn’t have to be brought up by a Jewish mother or raised Catholic to answer. We all feel guilt. And although it’s a noun, it’s not a thing.

The frame of mind known as guilt is often used as a motivator to get us to do something we think we should, yet don’t want to do. Here’s a little secret: Motivation produced by guilt produces more guilt, not more motivation.

Guilt is also produced by judging a past action by a present level of awareness. You think about something you did that, if you had to do it over again, you would now do it differently. That is something we all do that can act as self-correcting reflection OR it can be a pathway to unproductive guilt.

My favorite example is this one: You come home from work after a “trying” day and you encounter your children at play. They’re just being the kids they normally are, doing the things they normally do, but on this night their behavior is annoying to you.

You shout out, “quiet down!” and the children quietly slink off.

Fifteen minutes later you are much calmer and realize that you overreacted. The kids were just being kids. You start to feel guilty about your behavior and the guilt starts to feed a narrative of how lousy a parent you are, and you are on your way to feeling worse than when you walked through the door – guilt producing more guilt.

We talk about guilt as though it were a solid entity – a thing. It’s only a frame of mind that, if left unchecked, multiplies into a blob of bad feelings.

To stop your guilty feelings in their tracks takes some noticing and some action. Notice the narrative in your head that’s beginning to cause guilty feelings. Just noticing that you’re “thinking guilty” is often enough to stop its progression. But taking action regarding your past actions insures that guilt goes away.

One of the most productive guilt removal actions we rarely use is an apology. In the case of yelling at the kids, you might say, “Hey guys, I’m sorry I yelled at you when I came home. You didn’t do anything to deserve that and I’m sorry.” It’s truly amazing to me how heartfelt, unqualified apologies make guilt disappear.

You can also apologize to yourself. Let’s pretend that you’re beating yourself up for not doing what you think you ‘should’ do. If you play that scenario out to its natural conclusion, you’d be in a constant state of guilt. What if you begin to notice that your guilty thoughts are creeping up on you, and then you apologize to yourself for measuring yourself against a standard that cannot be achieved – perfection – for example, being the perfect husband, wife, father, mother, daughter, son, etc.

When you use the “perfect” measuring stick, guilt will always ensue. When you apologize to yourself for expecting perfection, your guilty feelings begin to melt and fade away.

If you stop treating guilt as a thing and notice it to be a pattern of thinking instead, you’ll make the necessary apologies and clear the guilt out of your head.

All the best,

John



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January 26, 2017

I Hate Fate

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

DestinyHere’s an old Grasshopper quote that will change your fate:

“Destiny Is A Dodge.”

The dodge referred to is not a mid size sedan but an excuse to explain our current lot in life.

Destiny is another word for fate – another fairy tale.

“She was destined for greatness.” “He was destined for failure.” Horse feathers!

A more accurate statement for each would be: “She was conditioned for greatness.” “He was conditioned for failure.”

Did you ever stop and wonder why the least educated people are the poorest? They weren’t destined to be poor. They may have been born into poverty but they are conditioned to remain poor.

The minute you start to believe in destiny, you have given up the reins on your future and that horse will lead you back to where you came from.

“It was God’s plan” is another dodge. Blaming God for your lot in life is the height of abdicating personal responsibility for your life.

Life is a series of moments and each moment contains the raw material to blow the myth of destiny to smithereens. The key is to use that moment to fashion a way forward rather than wasting it on the folly of fate.

The more you entrench yourself in destiny, the less your chances of avoiding a self-fulfilling prophecy.

You can instantly tell if you’re a fan of fate if your vocabulary is filled with derivatives of the phrase “woe is me” or the ancient word “alas.”

Wondering, “Why do these things always happen to me?” is a sign that you are locked into the myth of destiny.

Here’s the key to the lock: There is no lock. It’s a figment of your conditioning.

Recognizing that destiny doesn’t exist is the first step towards changing your “destiny.” Noticing your conditioning allows you to begin the process of reconditioning. It is a process. The key is to notice every time when you start to give credence to fate. Interrupt that thought on the spot and watch the myth unravel.

With destiny out of the way, you’ll have a new lease on life every day.

I’ll leave you with the words of a famous donkey breeder: “If you believe in destiny, you can kismet my ass.”

All the best,

John



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January 24, 2017

Respect

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:18 am

RespectThe Grasshopper was on his soapbox this morning when he said, “People deserve our respect until they become disrespectful.”

“Respect your elders,” “Always be respectful,” “Show a sign of respect” are some of the lessons we’ve been taught in life and it’s hard to argue with their logic . . . until people become disrespectful.

This is not a directive to fight fire with fire but more of a notice to change tactics when encountering disrespect.

I believe it’s productive to begin with respect when interacting with another. It’s when your respect is not returned that you may have to resort to disrespect. Disrespect in this context means that your respect for their actions is no longer a viable strategy to move forward and you have to shift gears.

Reminds me of a story I may have told before . . . I was attending a workshop some 30 years ago when the workshop leader was having a back and forth with a less than respectful attendee (think heckler at a comedy show). The attendee had taken issue with something the teacher had offered to the class. The teacher patiently attempted to explain what was meant by the teaching but kept getting interrupted by this person with obtuse logic that had no relevance to what the teacher was saying. Finally the teacher said, “Either you don’t understand what I’m saying or you’re too stupid to get it. Which one is it?”

On the surface, the teacher’s response was disrespectful, and it worked. The attendee calmed down and listened to the explanation without further interruption.

There are many steps that can be taken before resorting to disrespect but there does come a time when disrespect becomes a tool of change. I don’t think it’s the first tool you want to pull out of the toolbox, but know it’s there if you need it.

The objective of disrespect is not to match the disrespectfulness of another. That never works. That’s just name calling one-upmanship. The objective is to get their attention, not to find out who has the bigger vocabulary.

Once you have someone’s attention, it’s much easier to make your point.

Respect is an admirable quality and also a great song by Aretha Franklin. Just know if the CD starts skipping, you may have to resort to disrespect.

All the best,

John



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