- Thoughts for inspired living

August 20, 2019

No Guts, No Glory

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:55 pm

Ash goldsbrough 2qBInlIcCTk unsplash“It doesn’t take smarts to notice a gut feeling.” So said The Grasshopper last night.

Even the stupidest among us make brilliant decisions when we pay attention to the sensations our body is sending us.

There is science behind a gut feeling. Your brain doesn’t get the signal first; your body does. Your brain then puts words to the the sensation. It may offer something like, “This doesn’t feel right.”

Long discussions about what the sensation means are unnecessary and most often counterproductive. You can boil down a sensation to two labels: “OK” and “Not OK.”

Learn to calibrate your body’s signals. Learn what Not OK feels like in your body. Do the same calibration for OK. You may get a knot in your stomach, or a lump in your throat, or a flushness on your face, or a gurgling of the bowels. Your signals will be unique to you, so find out where they register in your body and pay more attention to them when they arrive.

Your body has intelligence separate and apart from your intellect. Your body is a sensor; your intellect is a labeler. The only labels you need are OK and Not OK. They will pay dividends when heeded. You, too often, will pay the price when they go unnoticed or are ignored.

This is a “gut check” for all of us. Start noticing OK and Not OK. It’s the smart thing to do.

All the best,


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August 16, 2019

The Focus of HAVE

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

Patrick untersee gujUSnIY63g unsplashI don’t know about you but I‘ve spent a lot of my life focusing on what’s missing in my life. I don’t think I’m alone. Let’s call it “The Focus of HAVE NOT.”

I haven’t found that to be a productive strategy for attaining what’s “missing.”

Truth be told, there’s nothing missing; it’s just not in view. That view is occluded by the mental real estate taken up by “Have Not.”

A more realistic focus is zeroing in on what you have. That’s fact based, not fancy. I’m not a biblical scholar but I do believe the parable of the loaves and fishes illustrates this strategy. The 5 loaves and 2 small fish were said to have fed 5000. By focusing on what was in hand, the supply multiplied.

My experience is that when you focus on what you have, your mental noise decreases, your vision increases, and more options appear. That’s “The Focus of HAVE.”

More choices lead to more possibilities.

I could have made this all up, so prove it to yourself that “The Focus of HAVE” is more than a “fish story.”

Focusing on what’s not there leads to despair. Focusing on what’s here makes your vision more clear.

Final thought: HAVE AT IT!

All the best,


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August 12, 2019

Pursuing with Passion

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 11:40 am

Darren deloach 53rqKx28ITw unsplashI’m sure I’m not the first person struck with this idea, but I think it’s worthy of conversation: changing marriage from “’til death do us part” to a 3-year lease.

It could be the modern day “prenup.”

As with car leasing, at the end of 3 years, you could either buy the car or turn it in and possibly lease another.

Of course, there are pitfalls. Suppose children are conceived during the lease. You would be partly responsible for their well being, along with the other lessee. Just like with car leasing, if you dent the car, you have to pay the repair bill at the end of the agreement.

The upside is the divorce rate would go down and the amount spent on lawyers would disappear. It seems like a win-win.

I sincerely don’t believe in the above idea. It has “planning to fail” as one of its major tenets. That’s never a good focus. Yes, 50% of marriages do wind up in divorce but 50-50 is about the same odds for most things that we go after in life. That fact doesn’t keep us from our pursuit, nor should it.

Yes, explore the pitfalls before you leap, but don’t let them rob you from the aliveness of pursuit. Did you ever notice that when you’re pursuing something with passion, you feel most alive?

If there is a lake filled with alligators, I don’t recommend that you take a swim. But if it’s just a mushy bottom lake that keeps you land bound with the deadwood, your odds for aliveness are diminished by not jumping in.

You can own rather than lease passion by the act of pursuit. Even if you do fail, you won’t be deprived of the feeling of being alive.

All the best,


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August 5, 2019

Fad or Trend?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:01 am

Screenshot 2019 08 05 07 52 50What’s the difference between a fad and a trend? The answer I come up with is that one is a sparkler and the other is a solar panel.

Fads fade and trends continue. They both have a shelf life but trends last a lot longer and spark new trends. Digging back into my radio daze, fads are “one hit wonders” whereas trends produce a lot of hits.

The passion for trends is a lot deeper than the unsustained zeal for a fad.

When a fad begins to die, there aren’t support groups to keep it alive. That’s not the case with a trend. When a trend senses death, it digs in its heels and fights ’til its last breath.

In the northeast United States, we have wasps known as “yellowjackets” in the summer months. They do their share of stinging. But, in late summer, when the feel of fall is in the air, they go on a stinging spree. They sense they will die soon, and strike out in an effort to show they’re still alive.

There is high resistance when a trend is dying. I think of the Danny DeVito speech to the stockholders of a wire and cable company that’s on its last legs in the movie OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

“Ya know, at one time there must have been a dozen companies making buggy whips. And I’ll bet the last company around was the one that made the best, god damned, buggy whip you ever saw. Now how would you’ve liked to have been a stockholder in that company? You invested in a business and this business is dead. Let’s have the intelligence, let’s have the decency to sign the death certificate, collect the insurance, and invest in something with a future.”

In my opinion, the long-term trend of prejudice is dying. It’s becoming watered down with each generation, but we’re holding on to our modern day buggy whips and lashing out in a last ditch effort to keep it alive.

It’s my experience that almost no one thinks they’re prejudiced. If you believe you fall into that group, have the courage to check with your kids and grandkids and discover that your point of view is circling the drain.

It may be time for us to join the new trend, otherwise we’ll wind up buried in the landfill with mood rings and 8-Track tapes.

All the best,


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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,


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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,


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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,


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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,


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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,


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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,


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