GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


August 2, 2019

Listen Without Comment

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 11:39 am

Mimi thian lp1AKIUV3yo unsplashOne of the best things you can do for your communication skills is to listen without comment.

That means not to comment externally or internally, at least not right away. Just let the words flow over you and watch communication flow through you.

Steer clear of formulating responses when someone is addressing you. Let them have their say without your thoughts or judgements getting in the way.

Men will have a harder time with this than women because of conditioning. Men have been conditioned to have to know and know right now. This causes us to respond before a response is ready and offer some stale advice.

Practice listening to a cable TV talk show without formulating an instant opinion and watch your response options increase.

It’s a simple concept but it’s not easy. It takes some practice, especially if you have a history of snap judgements.

Listening without comment will increase your commentary skills. It just takes remaining still instead of imposing your will.

All the best,

John



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July 2, 2019

Snowflakes in July

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 2:09 pm

Darius cotoi d8cKjamtQH4 unsplashYesterday, as the result of a storm, there was ice in my driveway. It was summer hail. As it was hitting my house and car, it sounded like I was under attack. It got me to thinking about the different forms of frozen precipitation and how they mirror our approach to life.

Let’s look at three:

1. Hail

2. Sleet

3. Snow

Hail is hard, unrelenting and physically harmful. Sleet is more moderate because it’s a less severe form of hail. Snow is the least harmful to our physical being.

Hail is hard and fast like many of the outdated rules that we live by. Sleet keeps us icy and less approachable. Snow is made up of flakes, each one with a different configuration that takes the shape of the surface on which it lands.

Snow is the most flexible and as the Grasshopper reminded us many seasons ago, the person with the most flexibility wins more often.

If you’re getting perpetually pelted in life, it may be time to take a look at your approach. If you most often rail (rhymes with hail), that is what you will get in return: a torrent, because actions get similar reactions.

One of life’s lessons that I’m still learning is that I contribute a lot to my personal storms. It’s too easy to assign the cause to someone or something else, but that only keeps a light shined on the problem rather than illuminating a solution.

Paraphrasing and bastardizing Longfellow, “Into each life some hail must fall,” so be flexible, y’all.

All the best,

John



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June 11, 2019

Manufactured Chit-Chat

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:58 am

Camille couvez 424691 unsplashI’m not a big fan of small talk, but I’m even less of an aficionado for “manufactured chit-chat.”

It’s bad enough that businesses answer the phones with, “It’s a great day at Bill’s House of Widgets, your home for the most diversified and affordable widgets on earth. This is Stephanie. How may I direct your call?”

That’s just employees being told what to do by people who haven’t a clue.

Another thing employers direct their employees to do is ask questions they’re not invested it. “Oh, I see you’re from Rhode island. How was your winter up there? Was there more snow than usual or was it mild?” This person has no interest in my winter experience; he’s just manufacturing chit-chat because his boss told him this is what you do to ingratiate yourself with the caller.

It’s maddening not to have a real conversation. It feels as though I’m talking to a robot with a plethora of pat phrases.

My experience is that most salesmen are bad at their jobs simply because they use phrases they think the client will like. The great salesmen are organic with their conversation, paying attention to the person across from them or on the other end of the phone line and responding to what’s offered, not offering up some stale smarm.

Monitor your chit-chat. Is it filled with patterned pablum? If so, you’re not communicating; you’re parroting. Take the time to listen to the other person and have the decency to offer them an authentic you. It will not only create more connection, but you’ll have some more interesting fat to chew.

Bottom Line: Offer Polly more than a cracker.

All the best,

John



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June 3, 2019

Shakespeare Was Half Right

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 5:33 pm

Screenshot 2019 06 03 18 29 00William Shakespeare wrote in the comedy AS YOU LIKE IT that “All the world is a stage.” I believe he left out the next phrase: “Until your act gets old.”

If you don’t know your act is getting old, you’ll continue to play a bit part in life. Discovering that you aren’t who you think you are is self-discovery. No acting is necessary.

Do you adopt different personalities for different groups of people? If so, you are acting, badly.

I believe there’s a stage in life when it’s time to get off stage. The result of this action is feeling entirely comfortable in your own skin.

Acting is pretending and pretending isn’t real. If you’re pretending to be someone you’re not, no one is taking you seriously.

Getting off stage means giving up the things you’ve added to your persona that amount to glitter. The process of subtracting these things leads to the discovery of gold, your unvarnished self.

The authentic you is the final act, the one you arrive at when the makeup comes off, the flood lights go out, and the stage is empty.

Break a leg!

All the best,

John



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May 30, 2019

Collective Moron

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 3:55 am

Cartoon 1300661 1280Ask anyone in radio or TV broadcasting who they think their audience is and they will answer with some form of “unwashed.”

The general managers of these stations want to believe that their audience is made up of successful stockbrokers and other affluent people. This narrative helps them to sell ads.

But ask any copywriter worth their ink the average grade level they write for. The best selling copy is targeted to the grade school level.

Politicians know their voters fall into the same low grade category. That’s why attack ads work and sophisticated ones are just a waste of money.

Radio and TV talk show audiences are pandered to by their hosts. They tell them what they want to hear. They know their general audience is not upscale or informed. So they can treat them like the morons the hosts believe they are.

The general population is not informed on issues because the only issue that means something to them is day to day survival. And when they want to know who’s to blame for their lot in life, their “friend” on the radio, TV, or social media, will tell them who the enemy is and it’s accepted without question.

Aaron Sorkin writes incredible political screenplays but they’re not targeted to the average voter. They’re for the already informed. The dialogue is too “snappy” and not relatable to the general populace. To reach them, you have to reach down.

It sounds snobby to quote Winston Churchill, but he goes right to the heart of the matter when he says, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

The message here is this: The people you watch, listen to, and read believe you fall into the category of “Collective Moron.” I’m not making this up. Ask any one of them privately who they think their general audience is and their disdain will astound you.

And if you don’t feel you fall into that low grade category, ask yourself the last time you reposted something scathing on social media that you didn’t vet, and you’ll know why they consider you all wet.

All the best,

John



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May 29, 2019

Old Saws

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 11:28 am

Saw 2Today’s question: Can an old saw still cut it?

Old saws are expressions that have been around longer than most of us can remember, but many of them remain memorable and apt.

Please feel free to add to the list but here are a few that come to mind that don’t nibble around the edges; they cut right in.

My all time favorite is an anonymous Chinese saying: “Talk doesn’t cook rice.”

Here’s one that will stand the test of time through time immemorial: “A stitch in time saves nine.”

And now a couple more.

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”

“A shoddy workman always blames his tools.”

I could go on and on with additional adages, proverbs and bon mots, but the real value is living them, not citing them.

Living them lets you cut through, citing them keeps you on a see saw.

It’s like Ralph Waldo Emerson reminded us, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

All the best,

John



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May 22, 2019

Counter Thoughts

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:11 am

Charles 451762 unsplashThe Grasshopper woke me up with this: “A counter thought is still thinking.”

He seems to be offering a prescription for not arguing with yourself.

First off, you have never won an argument with yourself, so there’s that. But secondly, the act of thinking keeps you from creating.

We are conditioned to believe that if we weigh the pros and cons in our head that we will come up with a creative solution. When has that ever happened?

Counter thoughts are just more thoughts. And if your mind is filled with thoughts, there’s no room for creativity.

Ah-ha moments don’t come from internal debates. Don’t take my word for it, just let the words of a great “thinker” sink in. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

The next time you catch yourself gearing up for a debate, just notice the counter thoughts arising without engaging with them. Just the unemotional observation of these thoughts will dilute them, making space in your mind for something new to come through.

Let me leave you with this: The only “counter thought” that will serve you well is what kind of pie to order.

All the best,

John



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May 21, 2019

Casting No Shadows

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:32 am

Matthew ansley 254316 unsplash“Beyond the shadow of doubt” indicates in crystal clear terms that which is being asserted, is not a mere shadow of the truth.

Such is the case when we discover that we aren’t who we “think” we are. I’m of the opinion that if we distance ourselves from our thoughts about ourselves, most of our perceived problems will fade into the shadows.

Coming to the realization that we aren’t who we “made up and got comfortable with” is the passageway to becoming more authentic.

There isn’t a person among us who wouldn’t benefit by getting out from the shadows of our false self.

The process starts by un-labeling yourself. “I’m a mother, father, doctor, lawyer, Indian chief, or pole dancer” are assertions that need to be peeled away.

Once you stop describing yourself with nouns, you come closer to the you that can’t be named, yet is deeply felt.

Digging deep into the Tao te Ching – a 2500 year old Chinese philosophy – we find this:


The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name

The unnamable is the eternally real

Naming is the origin
of all particular things

I guess in modern terms this philosophy can be reduced to this: Don’t take yourself so seriously, otherwise you’ll become a shadow of yourself.

All the best,

John



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May 20, 2019

Footprints in the Snow

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

Alberto restifo 4510 unsplashJust like footwear makes imprints in the snow, past events make imprints in our lives. Yet, trying to find those footprints after a new snowfall is as close to impossible as it gets.

Going back looking for what imprinted us is, at best, a history lesson. Looking for the cause, causes us to use the wrong pair of shoes. We don’t need ones that sink us deeper in the drifts, we need snowshoes – ones that facilitate walking forward, not descending into submersion.

I know some people who are in perpetual counseling. I wonder if they ever reflected on how going back over their cause keeps them mired in “because.”

“I’m this way because” is an abdication phrase that keeps us in a haze.

It may very well be true that past events cause you to react in a certain way now . . . until you notice. In the past, you’ve let your history handle you. It’s time now to handle your history. That means to notice it when it comes up as an excuse. And to quote The Grasshopper, “Excuses are like bad checks; they can’t be cashed.”

Start noticing your excuses for “why you are the way you are.” The more you notice them, the quicker they’ll go away, making way for sunnier days.

All the best,

John



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May 2, 2019

Survive Or Thrive?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:20 am

Samuel foster 380827 unsplashMany people come to a choice point in life: whether to survive or thrive.

Surviving a crisis is one thing, but surviving as a way of life is soul sucking.

Thriving is a 2-step process:

1. Start

2. Continue

Starting is often easy. Think about how many diets you have started or projects that remain undone. The most important step is next: continuing.

Nothing starts without the first step, but it’s the second step that’s crucial to your success.

Inertia is the enemy of “second steppers.” Nike would probably insert “Just Do It” here, but it takes more than willpower. It takes passion.

As The Grasshopper reminded us moons ago, “You can’t be a rock star with part-time passion.”

Quiz yourself about what you’re passionate about. You may come up with a short or long list, but if there is nothing on your list, you are destined to remain a survivor.

Step in the direction of passion and discover that continuing is easier than ever before.

Survive or Thrive? It’s passion that gives your second step drive.

All the best,

John



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