Posts Tagged: choice


8
Oct 12

In a Funk or Funky?

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Wow… I must really be in a crappy mood.

Every time I started typing this blog entry it was negative or down.  How depressing is that?

I’m not panicking or anything (yet)… but I am starting to get weirded out a bit.  Its weirding me out because I’m typically a pretty lighthearted and upbeat person.

If you don’t believe me all you have to do is just ask my shrink, my five cats, or any of my internet friends on the Dancing With the Stars web blog.  Just kidding, just kidding… I have only four cats and a gerbil.

I guess I’m in a funk.

So I did what everyone does when they have a problem… I went to the World Wide Web to get life’s answers.

I found some amazing insights.  I thought I was full of crap.

The following were actual suggestions for getting out of a funk.  Frankly, after reading some of them I felt like I needed to remove all my knives from the house.  They would make a person feel more depressed.

If you find yourself in a funk you are to…

  • Connect with people
  • Commit to a new goal
  • Read an engrossing book or see an emotionally powerful movie
  • Wait patiently
  • Exercise

Huh?  These are the things that put me in a funk in the first place.

Now if suggestions above weren’t depressing enough the next two nearly put me over the edge

  • Come one with the spiritual world of nature
  • Use the powerful tool of self-love

There is one person that I found very intriguing.  Apparently I am in a funk because my “Vibration” is low.  Humm… vibration.

According to this one site, thinking negative thoughts are low vibration.  Therefore we are in a funk.  Of course the opposite is true.  Positive thoughts are high vibration and therefore we are happier.

You know, this person may have a point.  I’ve heard that most people set their vibrators on high.  Apparently it brings more happiness.  I don’t know from experience of course, just hear say.

The reality is we all get in bad moods.  Now if it lasts a few weeks that’s a different issue.

Check in on Thursday, hopefully I will be vibrating faster.


21
Sep 12

Character or character?

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Howdy… welcome back.

I’m sure that many of you had to look twice at the title and tried to figure out what it meant.

One is a noun and the other is an adjective.  Humm… I’ll make mine the noun.

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Side Note: If any of you knew me in High School you would be shocked that I even alluded to the parts of speech.  Let’s just say that English and dissecting sentences was not my forte.

My wife is probably laughing that I even attempted to use the term noun or adjective.

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I wasn’t planning to talk about the importance of Character until I saw on YouTube a clip from the movie The Bid Kahuna.

Yeah… I know… I didn’t see it either.

But after seeing the clip I definitely want to check it out.

Take a look and we’ll talk more.

YouTube Preview Image

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I can’t think of a much better compliment than for someone to say they trust me.

As you know, trust and character are so much more than just saying things that are factual.  It’s when a person trusts who you are, not just what you say.

There is such safety and comfort knowing that you are dealing with a person of Character.

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Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
- Abraham Lincoln
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This may sound odd but there is something sacred about Character.

A person of Character has a depth and a strength that need not be spoken.  It’s just there.  It is exhibited in consistent action not words.

Character is not something you are born with.

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Talent is a gift, character is a choice.

- Larry Brown (Basketball coach)

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It is a choice.  It is developed.

This topic begs questions of myself.

Who am I?  Would people say that I am a person of Character?  Can people trust who I am as a person?

Some of you reading this blog may be known for the adjective character  vs. the Character that is a noun.

But that need not be your identity.  If not careful we can lock ourselves into a lie about ourselves.

The reality is, we have all made mistakes.

There is no question that to rebuild Character takes time and consistency.

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Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
- Helen Keller

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As I said earlier, it takes time.  And people may not trust us for a while.  But it is important to remember; we change for us, not others.

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You can’t talk your way out of something you acted yourself into.

- Stephen Covey

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Thanks for checking in.

Ciao… see you Monday.


18
Sep 12

“Come on baby light my fire”

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I love that song.

Whether you prefer The Doors version or Jose Feliciano, they’re both great.

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Side Note: If you’re in the mood to listen to either one of the versions you will find them at the end of the blog.  I hope you check them out for a quick trip down memory lane.

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Even though I am referencing the song a lot, this blog entry is not about this song.  The song just sparks a bigger topic.

Light My Fire is a song whose lyrics are obviously sexual in nature.  But the premise is what I want to talk about – small things spark big things that happen.

Here are some quotes to make my point.

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“A mighty flame followeth a tiny spark.”

- Dante

“You can’t start a fire without a spark.”

- Bruce Springsteen

“There must be a spark of search for meaning.”

- Viktor Frankl


The reality is, we will never move, go or do without some impetus to do so.  Something needs to spark action.

The most challenging part of getting to where you want to go is starting.

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You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.

- Zig Ziglar

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It seems I have been talking quite a bit over the past few months about starting… move… do something.  It must be for someone… maybe for me.

In June I had the blog titled Get Off Your Ass.  It was a pretty good blog entry but I particularly liked the picture.  It is a keeper.

But I digress.

All I know is this, unless a sparks ignites the flame nothing happens.

The potential the flame has is meaningless.  There can be huge reservoirs of fuel capable of a massive fireball but it never happens without the catalyst.

Your potential is worthless.

It doesn’t matter what you have or what you think you are capable of.  Unless something lights your fire you will never burn.

I tend to think there are two types of sparks.

There are sparks that inspire you to move and then there are sparks that grab you by the neck and slam you against the wall.

The spark is something that either invites or challenges.

I could be all syrupy and encouraging.  If that is what you need today I am sorry to say that you’ve come to the wrong place.

I’m not in that kind of mood.  I do inspire and encourage but I’m not in that kind of head or heart space.

You can probably guess pretty easily what kind of spark I am offering today… yes, you guessed it… it’s a grab you by the neck and slam you against the wall spark.

I don’t know what you need to do.  But DO SOMETHING.

See you Thursday.

Ciao.

Here’s the videos.

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

3
Sep 12

A different look at shoes

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The blog today may seem a bit morbid… but it is not.  Not at all.

A friend of mine has only a few weeks to live and is in Hospice care.

When the topic of death surfaces most people avoid it because it’s unpleasant.  We have a natural self protection instinct that keeps our minds from going in that direction.

Somehow we believe that if we don’t think about death it might delay the inevitable.  Fanciful thinking.

Although my friend is facing death we had an extraordinary talk about life.

It is life that I wish to talk about.  There were several things that struck me about life during our conversation.  It is these insights I would like to share.

Our view of life is from the context of life.  Life is all we know.

We look forward and charge the hill of life.  We identify our goals and mission and advance forward the best we can.

A person who is dying views life from the perspective of death.

Unless a person has had a serious encounter with death we cannot fully understand life.  We the living may think we understand… but we don’t.

But I did get a taste of it while visiting my friend.

Relationships and conversations with people who are nearing death are on a different level.

Our time talking together was simple and unguarded.  We laughed, swapped stories, talked about life and death, and ordinary things from an extraordinary perspective.

This is the kind of communication that I believe God intended originally in the Garden of Eden.

Simple, unguarded, open, powerful.

What struck me too was the beauty of the details we the living miss.

As we visited my friend talked about the things that bring him joy.  Interestingly, the things that brought the most joy from a death perspective of life were things he never thought of while going through life.

I asked him to give me an example.  He said the animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes.

Huh?  Animals on the bottom of kid’s shoes?  Please repeat that.

As he shared the details I knew exactly what he was talking about.

When his oldest adult daughter was about two he would transport her everywhere on his shoulders.

She would run to him, jump in his arms and then with the father’s strength that two year olds only know he would throw her on to his shoulders.

After she was safely on his shoulders he remembers grabbing one of her feet hanging next to his chest and lifting it up and look on the bottom to see which animal she was wearing for the day.

This is something he never really thought of at the time.  But this is a view of life from a death perspective.

The joy of life is the small stuff.

His mind did not race back to the career advancements, the deal made or the new car he drove.  Joy was found in a little girl’s shoe.

As we go through life we easily get caught up in career, bills, decision… life stuff.  At times things become so looming that it is overwhelming.

Added to the cacophony of life stuff there seems to be a constant unseen weight.  These are things beyond our control that adds to the already weighty pressures of life.

We worry about the economy, the state of the world and safety for our children.

All I know is that as my friend drifts closer to death, the things that we see as big issues of life have become unimportant.

It is the details of life that are bringing joy… tiny, seemingly insignificant details.  Details that he had not thought of for years.

Although death does take the body it need not kill our spirit or rob our joy.

We may not have much choice over the former but we have full control over the latter.

One of the greatest blessings I have learned in my life is that out of the ugliest of situations there are wonderful joys to be discovered.

Joy comes in the strangest forms.  Even the bottom of a little girl’s shoe.

See you Thursday.


28
Aug 12

The Good & Bad of Different

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Hi… thanks for checking in with me.

The photograph above is another beautiful shot of ballerina Aesha Ash.

Like the picture in the last blog, the stark contrast of a poised ballerina on the streets of New York enhances her beauty not distracts.

Being different from your surroundings forces attention in your direction.  Some people thrive on the attention of being different.

The weird thing is that many people try to be different only to end up looking like everyone one else in their crowd.  They look different… just like everyone else.

But there is more to the being different story than meets the eye.

Yes, being different can enhance your positives, but it also magnifies your negatives.

As I said earlier… different screams attention.

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Photos like this are visually striking.  Two contrasting worlds collide and makes for a great picture.

But in real life different can be a blessing, or a curse.

Being different always brings pressure.  The surroundings always try to force us into conformity.

I have several friends and have heard numerous stories where good performance in a job was frowned upon because it made all the other workers around them look bad.  They became the subject of ridicule and pressured to conform.

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Another interesting dynamic about being different is that pressure is created.  The majority always seems to press for conformity.  It doesn’t have to be intentional… difference feels pressure to conform.

Take for example the media barrage of societal expectations.  The pressure is not direct for conformity but the sheer volume of messages will beat the crap out of your self image.

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All I know is that there is good different and bad different.

I struggle just like the rest of you.

I like being different but I’m not weird… well… maybe sort of… but not much.

Well, I think I have rambled enough.

Ciao.


24
Aug 12

The Beauty of Different

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Isn’t this a great picture?

My wife took this shot during a trip to Poland a few years ago.  The picture is of a sculpture in the main market plaza in Krakow, Poland.

I really like things that catch you by surprise.

What grabs my attention most are the things that feel foreign to the surroundings, such as this picture for example.  Here you have two young ladies having lunch with this huge head in the background… very cool.

I must be getting salty or weird as I age.  I used to like nice predictable pictures that were both beautiful and inspiring.

I guess I still like them but I have really gotten into the quirky things that cause you pause when seen.

Take for example this picture of dancer Aesha Ash.

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I love it.

Here you have a ballerina in tutu bowing gracefully in pose on the street next to a street musician.

The stark contrast of the subjects in the picture brings out the exquisiteness not lessens it.

The same ballerina pose on stage surrounded by other dancers would not reveal the same level or dimension of beauty.

The elegant beauty is enhanced by the rawness of the street.

I guess it strikes me so much because we as humans tend to gravitate to sameness.

Side Note: I can hear 99% of you reading this blog saying that in no way you want to be the same as anyone else.

Yep… you’re different just like everyone else.  Stick with me I think you will agree.

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Yes, there is variety in the world with a lot of different people and groups.

But look at your world.  The reality is, we are attracted to likeminded people.

What really amuses me when I see someone who wants to rebel against the conventional establishment and become alternative or Goth or something.

It makes me laugh when they end up looking and being just like the rest of their world.  People get smug because they think they are different.

They are just like the people they associate with.

Even the artsy fartsy elite that has distain, for quote, “average America” all look the same.

That’s why I am enamored by contrast.

You are never different if you are only around people who are the same.

Side Note: Yes, I know.  The last sentence was a B.G.O.

A Blinding Glimpse of the Obvious

A person that is Goth has no distinction with other Goths.

A middle America church goer looks no different than middle America church goers.

The snobby artistic elite are the same with the other artistic elite.

But place any of these in the other person’s world… wow.  That’s when you see the real difference.

I think I will talk about these real differences on Monday.

Ciao.


10
Aug 12

Good Bad Decisions and Bad Bad Decisions

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Yes, the picture is disturbing.   And yes, I agree with what it says.

I also find myself asking the question, “Why did she have to make it so LARGE?”

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Consider every mistake you do make as an asset.
- Paul J. Meyer
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Hummmmm… I don’t think so.  Not in this case.

Thankfully most of our bad decisions don’t involve being permanently inked for public display.

But my guess is that you have done something and immediately wondered… what the hell was I thinking!!!?

I guess we all have.

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Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
- Franklin P. Jones
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The natural follow-up question is, do you have a tendency to repeat the idiocy?

Most of us could probably say yes to this also.  Wow… the ignorance of youth.

But let’s be real for a moment.  There are mistakes, and there are MISTAKES.

Failure and mistakes are a part of living that provides learning and context to life.

These are life experiences that bring dimension and perspective.  We really are better off by the mistake made.  These mistakes shape us.

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The greatest mistake you can make in life is continually fearing that you’ll make one.
- Elbert Hubbard
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But unfortunately there are mistakes that trap us.  Instead of being a positive the negative mistake becomes our identity.

There is no question that we make mistakes and there are consequences for our decision.  But having consequences does not mean that the mistake becomes who we are and the trajectory of our lives is permanently altered.

The kind of mistake that traps us must be put in its place.

Whatever you have done, no matter how bad, it is NOT your identity.  You do not have to live under the shadow of the failure.

I hope and pray that over the next couple of days you have a keener sense of how you see your identity.

I think we will unpack that a bit more.

Ciao… See you Monday.


6
Aug 12

Giving up freedom sets you free

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I wasn’t planning on expanding on the last blog entry but I was reminded of a powerful and important truth that relates to what I had written.

In the last entry I talked about the counter intuitive notion that proper restriction or resistance allows us to soar.  Without restriction we would never reach our designed potential.

If the last sentence made no sense then I recommend that you check out the last blog entry.

The paradoxical truth that I want to talk about is that true ultimate freedom requires giving up freedom.

Now before you get the yips, this is not a political or military policy statement.  There may be some application but it is definitely not the point of this entry.

Nor is this an entry about the Spiritual or religious implications, which there are many.

I ran across something I wrote over two years ago that illustrates what I am talking about.  I would like to share a few paragraphs (italics).

I have music in me… lots of music.  There are times when I sit at a piano, placed my fingers on the keys, closed my eyes and believed the music inside would explode into melody.

But the wellspring of music within remains trapped… frustrated by its inability to find release and purpose.  There was no avenue for escape because I had not provided a path of freedom.

When younger I could have taken piano lessons.  I could have given up the freedom to do the things I wanted to do and channeled that time into a forced discipline of training my mind and fingers.  But my freedom in the moment was more important for me than ultimate freedom later.

It is said that you can tell who the professionals are because they make it look so easy.  All you have to do is look at the picture of Gabby Douglas.

I marvel at the ability of some dancers or athletes.  The freedom they have to release their body in different ways is literally amazing.  This level of freedom only comes through forced discipline.  It is the relinquishing of the freedom of the moment for the freedom of the ultimate.

Take a look at this quick video.  It illustrates the amazing beauty, ease, and elegance of a body that is free.

YouTube Preview Image

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Freedom… that’s what this life journey is all about.

It is through giving up immediate freedom you gain ultimate freedom.  This is true in virtually every aspect of life.

We relinquish our freedom to spend money on something we want now for more financial freedom later.

Humm… freedom… what treasures are trapped in you that are fighting to be released.

Don’t get discouraged.  Keep at it.

I ran across a great quote that encourages me.  William Stafford, (1914-1993) was a prolific and highly respected American poet.  When asked by a reporter how he began his career as a poet he said,

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“I just kept on doing what everyone starts out doing. The real question is, why did other people stop?”

Don’t stop.

Thanks for hanging in there with me.

See you Thursday.


16
Jul 12

Which are you?

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Howdy, I’m glad you decided to hang out with me.

I’m not sure why this topic popped into my head but it did and so I’m going with it.  I will probably be sorry I did by the time finish the blog.

The topic is about people who tend to think negatively.

Now if you start gripping about the topic in your head and find yourself slightly irritated then guess what, this blog entry may be for you.  Yes… YOU!!!

Frankly, I don’t understand negative people.  Seriously.

Some people in the world have the disease I call optic recitus.  Or in layman’s terms it means a crappy outlook on life.

Have you ever known anyone like that?

There are some people who can find something negative about anything regardless of how good it is.

  • The watermelon has too many seeds
  • The roses have thorns
  • It’s too crowded at a great show
  • Insert your own

Like I said… I just don’t understand.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to tarnish the good thing with something negative.  Why lower the good by focusing on the bad?

Here’s the really weird part.  It seems like negative people have to make sure those around them are aware of the negative too.

It seems that they are bothered that we don’t seem to see the severity of the problem.   That if we were truly aware that we too would be appropriately troubled.

Just so you know, I’m not the type of person who flits around in life floating in the happy clouds with We Are The World dancing in my head.

I’m pretty good at seeing life and the issues of life realistically.

I see negative things like anyone else.  I see the dirty spots people have missed, I have to spit out the seeds of the watermelon, I have to wait in line to get out of the crowded parking lot after the show and I can see how stupid some people act.  I’m not blind.

Not me!  I choose to not let the negative be my focus.  I don’t want to let the negative to corrupt the good.

This is the sad reality.  Whatever you focus on becomes dominant while the area not focused on is lessened.

I don’t know about you but I want good to be dominant… not the negative.

Yes, there are negative things that need to be addressed in life.  And yes there are some people who live at the other end of the continuum who have rose glasses and live on pixie dust who are not willing to look at and address the hard issues.

Let’s be real world for a minute.  I tend to believe that human’s natural default trends toward the negative.

But the negative is not the default I choose.

I want good to dominate, not the negative.

Ciao… see you Thursday.

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Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here we might as well dance.

- Unknown


13
Jul 12

The Big Lie

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Hi… Welcome back.

I know that I have talked about this topic several times over the past two and a half years but it is something that is both important and frankly, it keeps resurfacing.

So I am compelled to write what I feel I am to write.  Who knows, maybe it is specifically for you.  Or it could be for me.  I don’t know yet because I don’t know what I am about to write.

Basically the topic is about the way we think… what we believe.

I cannot overstate the power our beliefs have in our lives.  Our lives and the actions in our lives reflect what we believe.

That’s why it’s always important to be willing to test our beliefs and assumptions.  The problem is we tend to only test the beliefs we have some question about.

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This is how humans are: we question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question.

– Orson Scott Card
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To be able to test and eventually change our beliefs we have to be open.  Open to information, facts and ideas.

I’m not talking about a frenzied and morbid introspection where you are questioning every detail of your life… not at all.

I am talking about just being willing to be open to facts and situations that cause us to ask questions about what we believe.

If you look at what you believe now compared to when you were young you can probably list quite a few things that you know to be different than what you were taught or once believed.

As you think about the beliefs you had when you were younger you can clearly see how behaviors reflected those beliefs.

You will also find that there are some beliefs that have remained the same… they stood the test of scrutiny.

Here’s something else to think about as you explore your beliefs and determine what you think needs testing.

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If you don’t change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?

– Dr. Robert Anthony
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Is your life where you want it to be?  Most of us would answer this by saying that there are lots of things I love about my life and there are some things I want or need to change.

The things you know you need changing are a result of some type of faulty belief.  Yep… faulty belief.

There are two important truths about beliefs that we need to keep in mind.

First, actions follow beliefs.

We act out what we believe.  If you believe you are a failure… you will act it out.

If you believe you are not as talented as your co-workers your actions will reflect it by being too tentative, or too defensive, or being too hard headed.  But your actions (generally the destructive behaviors) are a result of your beliefs.

Once again, a good way to determine what you really believe is to look at what you do.

The second truth is that we look for evidence to validate our beliefs.  We constantly look for evidence to prove our beliefs.

We will look for anything to prove we are right in what we believe.  If you have a favorite celebrity that is caught in a scandal you will look for the things that disprove the evidence.

Conversely, if there is a celebrity that you loath you will read into anything you hear or read to validate what you believe about them.

Yes… we are all twisted that way.  But the important thing is to understand that we do it.

Another really important learning here is that these truths apply to the good things about us as well as the bad.

The good things we believe are also reflected in our behaviors.

So the question may be, why focus primarily on the negative.

The reason we tend to focus on the negative beliefs is that negative things create the greatest drag or obstacles on our moving forward.  So in reality we are focusing on the areas that if addressed will have the greatest impact.

Well, I’ve written enough.

See you Monday.

Ciao.