GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


September 28, 2017

Shhh!

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:41 am

ShhhHere’s a Grasshopper “Throwback Thursday” offering from about 10 years ago:

Many people have asked me about The Secret which is a very successful book and DVD. It has captured peoples’ imagination around the world. My personal assessment is The Secret is a wonderful stepping stone towards the future. It’s one of the more attractive, decorated stones on the path. Rhonda Byrne is to be given high praise for compiling such a popular work.

The Secret’s message is one that’s been around for centuries: Thoughts become things.

The real question is: What kind of thoughts?

The regular garden variety thought isn’t going to cut it. That’s thinking, and thinking doesn’t make it so. If that were the case, there would have been a lot more ponies on Christmas morning.

The reality is that “thoughts become things” is a headline. The real story is many paragraphs deeper. When you investigate fully, the real secret is: Beliefs become things.

Beliefs are subprograms of the mind that run the whole show. No matter what we think, if we have a belief that opposes our thoughts, the belief will always rule the day. Thoughts are logical and beliefs are not. Beliefs run from serious to silly. Your beliefs on any of the talk show “hot button” topics (gun control, capital punishment, abortion, the war) are the “serious” ones. The “right” way to hang toilet paper is one of the sillier ones. Either way, your belief wins the day.

So if you desire to attract a new shiny, sleek, expensive automobile, you will have to do more than picture or imagine it showing up in your driveway. That’s a start but you will remain in the starting blocks if that’s all you do.

Your thinking will never change for more than a minute unless your controlling beliefs melt and fade away. Deep in the bowels of The Secret is the unvarnished truth. Quoting Rhonda Byrne,

“The law of attraction is reflecting back your innermost thoughts and feelings as your life.”

Those innermost thoughts and feelings are your beliefs and you will not think your way out of them no matter how vivid your imagination.

Another testament to “beliefs are things” comes from the author of Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping:

“Your life is a mirror of what exists in your subconscious mind.”

Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” We live our lives, mostly unaware, of many of the beliefs we hold, and the hold they have on us. Beliefs will take you to one destination – the same place every time. They are like trains that run on predetermined tracks and they always arrive at the same station – no matter that you desire to go elsewhere.”

In order for you to attract something different than what you have, your beliefs will have to get updated.

A great starting point is recognition. Recognition of a controlling belief will get you to the threshold of change quicker than the most vivid of imaginings. Your beliefs need to be interrupted by you before they have a prayer of changing. Before you can interrupt one, you have to recognize that you have it.

So get curious about what belief is keeping you from getting what you want. When that belief rears its head, interrupt it by noticing it. Just the practice of noticing it every time it presents itself will weaken its grasp.

I think that Wayne Dyer communicates the starting point for the law of attraction when he says, “Imagination is the force of creation.” Imagination is the catalyst. Think of it as the fuse that leads to the bomb. The difficulty most people experience is the personal explosion will always short circuit as long as the belief is in between the fuse and the bomb.

Here’s a reframe of an old saw that points the way to finding fruition:

“Curiosity killed the cat’s belief.”

All the best,

John



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September 25, 2017

The Magic of “To Me”

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

Best WorstOur language is filled with comparatives and superlatives like “Better” and “Best.”

These words are so ingrained that we’re probably never going to stop using them. That means that we’ll set ourselves up for arguments until the end of time.

When we state something is better or best, we believe we are stating a fact when, in fact, it’s only an opinion. Invariably, someone else will have a better “fact” and some level of sparks will fly.

As a person who could die a happy death without ever seeing another hockey game, I personally have no argument that Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player who ever lived, but someone will. “What about Lemieux, Orr, Howe or Lafleur?”

Better or Best start up a perpetual motion machine that’s constantly fueled by arguments and counterarguments. The same is true for the negative superlative “Worst.”

“The worst movies I’ve ever seen star Steven Seagal, except ‘Above the Law.'” I risk getting pummeled by his legion of fans with that statement.

One way to save yourself a beating (verbal or otherwise) and indicate it’s your opinion vs. a fact, is to use some form of the magic phrase “To Me.”

“To me, the best show on TV is ‘How I Met Your Great Aunt Sally.'” People will still disagree with you but it’s less likely to escalate when you label something as an opinion vs. a fact.

“To my way of thinking, there’s nothing better than ‘Dancing with the B-listers'” is more likely to lead to an exchange of opinions rather than a rhubarb.

Try it out for yourself. See how often you use comparatives and superlatives and then just add “To Me” to the mix. I would tell you it’s the best way to communicate but I know better.

All the best to you,

John



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September 22, 2017

Prejudiced

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:41 am

DiscomfortI hate to start out by violating the Meta Rule I learned in NLP training. It cautions against using the words “all, every and never.”

But my experience and belief is that we are all prejudiced . . . to one degree or another.

The most prejudiced people I know don’t think they’re prejudiced. They just think they’re right.

The most racist people I know don’t think they’re racists. They just think they’re superior.

We prejudge based on our conditioning and/or our experience. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when prejudging falls into the category of discernment. Then it can serve a purpose – perhaps keeping us from going down a dead end trail we’ve been down before.

So how do you know you’re prejudiced vs. discerning? I factually don’t know, but like the judge who was asked to describe what pornography was, said this: “I’ll know it when I see it.”

I’ll know it when I feel it. Discernment doesn’t seem to contain an emotional response within me; prejudice does.

If I give lip service to the politically correct thing but have an internal, emotional response to my own answer, then it’s prejudice.

If your desire is to be less prejudiced, noticing has to start happening. Start noticing when your words and feelings don’t agree. The lie you tell makes your prejudice swell – to the point of discomfort.

Notice that discomfort. It’s a signal that what you outwardly lied about only served to trigger your past conditioning.

When you notice that discomfort and trace it back to your conditioning, your prejudice begins to lose a lot of its steam. A Byron Katie type question to ask yourself in this moment of reflection is: “Who would I be without this prejudice?”

Noticing and questioning open you up to a broader view and make you more discerning when judging who’s who.

All the best,

John



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September 21, 2017

Grin and Bear It

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:53 am

Mount Rushmore“I can’t bear this” is a phrase most of us have used and all of us have heard. What I don’t think we heard is that it’s a cry for help.

I believe the complete phrase, though often unstated, is “I can’t bear this alone.”

Many of us have been conditioned to “soldier on.” But it’s quite difficult if you’re attempting to do that by yourself.

It’s my experience that people want to tell their story. I believe that story telling is really an effort to get another to recognize how painful something is for you. It’s a way that we indirectly ask for help, not wanting to outright ask.

If your life is a monument to bearing stuff alone, you have burdened yourself under Mount Rushmore.

Asking for help is not a weakness; it’s a way of strengthening your chance to get out from under.

English writer John Heywood left us with this timeless proverb: “Many hands make light work.”

Want to lighten your burden? Just slightly change your tone and let people know you can’t bear this alone.

All the best,

John



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September 19, 2017

Weathering the Storm

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:43 am

Weathering the StormThe Grasshopper had an interesting observation the other day: “Describing your entire life by how you feel at the moment is like describing your life by one weather pattern.”

We’ve all had moments when drama has taken over our life. “Woe is me, the propane tank on the grill is empty.” If we let that incident linger too long, it kidnaps our thinking and colors our entire outlook.

“Into each life some rain must fall” is a line from a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem. It was meant to be an observation on life, not a lifetime sentence.

Getting sucked into the drama is easy; getting out takes some recognition and practice.

Since I’m heavy on quotes today, “this too shall pass” is a mindset worth developing.

The key is to recognize you’ve slipped into drama. If you’re around other people, just notice their expressions when they look at you. “Is he/she for real?” is what you’ll interpret.

If you’re alone, just observe your circular thinking. You’re smart enough to recognize the thought the first time it comes around. But if it’s on its 33rd pass through your mind, you’re deep into drama and consumed by the storm.

What to do? Start the practice of observing your thoughts. Observe as a bystander and not as a participant. Noticing your mind at work from an outside vantage point removes you from the drama and gives you wider perspective as to where to head next. Before observation, you were trapped in an endless loop, which makes you “loopy.”

Recognizing your own drama is a catalyst towards peace of mind and the shelter necessary to weather the storm.

All the best,

John



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September 15, 2017

Achilles Heel

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:20 am

Achilles HeelHere’s an excerpt from a Grasshopper Note from a decade ago on “Flashback Friday.” “Your strongest asset is your Achilles Heel.”

This seems like backwards logic. It is! Sometimes you have to look at something from a different vantage point to get a deeper meaning.

Imagine for a moment that you are one of the kindest people in the world. If you chart your kindness on a straight line on a scale from zero to one hundred, you are to the far right side of the middle. Expect to get shot in the foot if you identify with that position because your greatest strength will become your weakness.

Kindness is a wonderful trait and, like all traits, it has its limitations. How effective is it to be kind to someone who’s about to take your life? Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I was reading the book JAWS 2. You know I had to be bored. The author tells a story of a young man being forced down to the ocean late at night at gunpoint. The gunman is set on murder. The hostage is thinking to himself that if I turn around real quickly, I’ll be able to knock the gun out of his hand and save my life. He never acted on that impulse. He also didn’t leave any heirs.

Suppose that you own the skill of identifying someone’s weakness or shortcoming the moment you meet them. Many would consider that to be an asset. After all, it would protect you from entering an agreement with someone who is unscrupulous. Hooray! That time it worked for you.

But let’s say you use that same skill to unflatteringly label someone. Next, you may get caught up in all the drama of what that label means to you. You would dismiss that person out of hand and never take the opportunity to go deeper with them.

Your strongest suit became your weakest because you never really explored the person. You got trapped in your labeling system. Your new best friend could be standing right in front of you and you wouldn’t recognize them because of how adept you are at spotting imperfections.

We are proficient at many things. The minute that you set your expertise in concrete, you will eventually sink to the bottom of the ocean. The secret is to recognize and honor your skill and then mentally let it go. This means not to call this skill you. It’s a part of you. Just like a hammer is part of your tool box. Who trims their prized petunias with a mallet?

Use your tool wisely and only for the job it’s suitable for. Search for the appropriate tool for each project and you become a craftsman.

Reminds me of a guy I used to work with in radio. He was a Top 40 DJ. He spoke fast and at the top of his voice. He was LOUD! He only had one delivery in his tool kit. It worked great when he did Rock & Roll concert commercials. You would laugh out loud if you heard the one he recorded for a retirement community.

If you prize your prettiness, someday it will leave you. If you identify with your possessions, you are a target.

The ancient Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tzu put it this way: “By not prizing goods hard to get, you will cause the people from robbing and stealing.”

Enjoy your skills and use them to your best advantage. Just don’t get married to them because you are destined for divorce.

Discover that you are deeper than your abilities, preferences and prejudices and you get to take a bigger, juicier bite out of the apple of life.

All the best,

John



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September 14, 2017

The Learning Zone

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:46 am

Comfort ZoneWe’re all familiar with the concept of “Comfort Zone.” That’s a valuable piece of recognition because when we’re not in it, we’re in the “Learning Zone” – if we pay attention.

When you get out of your comfort zone, the initial response is to get back into it. That tactic will produce no new learning.

To learn something new, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Learning is done out at the edge. Notice when you’re out on the edge, you pay more attention to things you would normally overlook or be oblivious to. If you’re at the edge of a cliff, notice how much more attention you give to your footing.

You learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before if you pay attention when you’re uncomfortable.

Your attention is keener at the edge and keener attention produces new learning.

Crawling back to your cave just keeps you in the dark.

I remember my hypnosis teacher Dr. Dave Dobson urging us to get closer to people we felt uncomfortable around. It pays two dividends.

1. You learn more about the other person.

2. You learn more about yourself.

If you’re done learning, stay in your comfort zone. But if you want to continue learning, spend some more time near the edge. It will keep you razor sharp for all of your days.

All the best,

John



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September 8, 2017

Ignoring the Tingle Will Cost You Jingle

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

SharkI think one of the costliest sins we commit is not following our own advice and our own instincts. Such was the case with me yesterday and it cost me $3000. I won’t bore you with the details of my stupidity; just offer you what I wrote 10 years ago. I called it “Signs.”

Are you asking for a sign? My experience tells me that’s like a fish asking where the water cooler is.

Did you ever notice that you set up the framework for the sign you are asking for? You may say something like, “if this or that happens, then that will be a sign.” Again, I can only judge from my experience, but the success ratio of that strategy seems less than casino odds.

I do have experience with seeing signs – mostly after the event happens. The signs are always there; many of us just don’t see them.

The collapsed bridge usually had fissures in its framework that were discovered after the tractor trailer fell into the river. They were there before the event. My friend, Jim was a long time member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He says that you always bring something into a crime scene and leave with something from a crime scene. Clues are always present.

So the question becomes how do we spot ever present signs? Your body will tell you.

Your body is a sign Geiger counter. We just don’t pay too much attention to our bodies. We rely mainly on our thoughts. That means we stay in our head and rarely visit with our body.

Animals are in tune with their bodies. They don’t take the time to think. The 2004 deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean had prior clues. Humans missed them; wild animals headed for high ground. They were in tune with their bodies.

How did your mother know you were lying? She sensed it in her body. There was no conversation in her head needed. She had subconsciously catalogued many experiences with you over the years and stowed away the clues. Then when a similar experience came up again, she received a certain feeling in her body that produced the word “fib” in her mind.

Culturally, we have gotten away from trusting our bodies. That’s because so much attention is given to the intellect. Our whole educational system is based on facts and figures. We have given short shrift to such an important part of our learning.

When you start paying more attention to your body, you see more signs. You don’t have to ask for them.

The two step process of seeing more is feeling more.

1. Start noticing that you have a body complete with sensations.

2. Pay attention when your “spider sense” starts to tingle and you’ll start seeing signs beforehand.

I wish I had paid attention to my own advice.

All the best,

John



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August 31, 2017

Reason for Concern

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:52 am

Lion TamerThrowback Thursday has given me a reason to repost a blog I wrote 10 years ago.

‘Tis the season to use reasons . . .

This blog has nothing to do with Christmas. This is about a misperception we humans have. Reasons have a year round and life-long season. Reminds me of a story . . .

When I conduct weight loss seminars, it is shocking to see the belief that a large number of intelligent people carry around in their mind that has no basis in reality. Someone will say, “I want to change this fat into muscle.” When I probe further, they really think that fat becomes muscle. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle. One never becomes the other one. When one dissipates, the other is more visible.

Then one day The Grasshopper spoke and said,

“Reasons have nothing to do with behavior.”

That got me curious as to how often we justify behavior after the fact with a reason. It’s a basic software package that comes with the human mind. “The reason I’m flunking algebra is because the teacher doesn’t like me . . . is the toughest teacher in the city . . . all the kids are failing . . . blah, etc.” The unreasoned answer to “Why are you flunking algebra?” is “because I’m flunking algebra.” The mind will never run out of reasons. It’s a reasoning machine.

The answer to “why” is always “because.” Perhaps this fact alone will get you to form the habit of stop asking “why” questions. “Why” always gets a reason. Behavior is behavior and reasons are reasons and when one dissipates, the other is more visible.

I’ll admit it’s fun to muse as to the reason why someone did something but the answers can never be trusted. No matter how talented a lion tamer you are, never turn your back on Leo.

We act and we justify. Notice how often that people don’t agree with your reasoning for your behavior. Then they come up with their reasons and the debate goes on forever as to who has the right reason. Reasons are like pregnant cats – they are the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s a little secret I’ve discovered. When you acknowledge your behavior without issuing a host of reasons, the other person stops reasoning as well and the pointless debate ceases.

How many public figures – politicians, actors, athletes – would end the debate and soften their fate if they stopped issuing reasons for their actions. Flip Wilson was a funny man and his popular phrase, “The devil made me do it,” is the battle cry of the reasoning process. Reasons always throw kerosene onto an already blazing fire.

Today’s blog is a message for all of us to be more mindful about our penchant to reason away reality.

All the best,

John



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August 30, 2017

Simplify Before You Die

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

SimplifyHere’s a post from exactly one year ago today that warrants a second look:

As we used to say in the radio biz, “Here’s a blast from the past”: “Life Gets Simpler When You Simplify.” – Grasshopper

I believe we take too many steps to get where we want to go; we rarely take the most direct route. That may be because of a lack of knowledge, bullheadedness or something else, but each of those pathways is a detour away from a simpler life.

You won’t get your knowledge from an advertisement. They’re mainly designed to show you where you are lacking and how their product or service will fill your void.

Knowledge will come from someone who already has what you want. Find the person who has a simplified life and notice that their happiness quotient is higher than yours. Find out what they’re doing and do your version of it. That’s putting knowledge to use. That’s simplification.

Figuring it out on your own may take a lifetime and that’s just pure bullheadedness (translation, stupid). Again, there are people who have already blazed the trail. Follow in their footsteps. It’s the simplest way to simplify, and the smartest.

There is a principle of parsimony known as “Occam’s Razor” which states, “that among competing hypotheses, the one that makes the fewest assumptions should be selected.” Simplifying your life means to ignore the assumption that’s being sold to you and get sold on one that’s already working.

The simple life is not filled with conditions that need to be present for you to feel happy or peaceful. The simple life is celebrating victories wherever you find them vs. planning and scheming to have countless notches on your belt – a game of “who dies with the most?”

Simplifying means taking stock of what you’re stocking up on and finding out if the effort is worth it. My experience is that the happiest people are respectful and thankful for everyday things that the striver takes for granted and doesn’t think are enough.

There is a questioning technique that continually asks, “What will that get you?” For example, if you say, “I want a big house with acres of land,” you are asked, “What will that get you?” You may answer, “The house I’ve wanted all my life.” Again, you’ll be asked, “What will that get you?” This back and forth can go on for a while until you drill down for a deeper answer that addresses what you really want. It’s usually some form of peace of mind or a feeling of happiness.

The goal isn’t really the house; it’s the feeling you believe you’ll have if you get your desire. Simplifying just has you go directly for the feeling without the conditions. We’ve assumed that “this, that and the other” has to be in place for us to be happy or feel at peace, and that’s complicated. It’s simpler than that. The peace and happiness of a simpler life are fewer assumptions away.

Certainly go after what you want, just don’t buy into someone else’s idea of what you should have to be more peaceful and happy.

If you find yourself continually striving and not arriving, it may be a signal to take the shortcut to the simpler life – appreciating what you have. It’s a lot more peaceful with a lot less strife.

All the best,

John



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