#95 Read the Bible

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#95

Read the Bible

If you are a Christian, you’ve probably already done this. If not, scholars around the globe have spoken about the rich value of the bible as literature and it may be a book you want to read. It is rich in history and parables. It is full of life advice and insight about the human condition.

For No Other Reason

Perhaps for no other reason, the objective of reading the bible is to understand the call and drive of the Christian community; a significant percentage of the world. Additionally, because of its contribution to the culture at large, it helps us to comprehend embedded nuances. The bible is filled with lots of practicality about life.  For example:

In the New Testament, James writes… “my dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.

At the end of the day, that’s just good advice – believer or not.

Sacred Text

The bible is the world’s most recognized sacred text. It’s a historical document. If you remove any emotion one may feel about it’s ‘religious’ attachment – there is great value in seeing it as a great antique; responsible for much of the governing history across time. It may help in understanding the development of other cultures. It is the foundation of Western Art.

Christians

Of course, if you are a Christian – then you may see the bible as a literal interpretation of the Word of God and for that reason, the bible is a textbook for living life as a Christian. Years ago, someone recommended that we may find value in reading the bible ourselves – from cover to cover and then… attend a bible study group to dive more deeply into various chapters and stories.

If you are seeking a new book – a historical account that covers thousands of years and proves to be a sociological overview of cultural development and idiosyncrasies, then there is only one option…

Read the Bible.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#96 Stop Comparing

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#96

Stop Comparing

One of the potentially troublesome elements of our humanness is the tendency for us to compare ourselves. Comparing what we look like, our incomes, our homes, our jobs, our families, or the like often allow for feelings of unworthiness, envy, and jealousy – none of which are healthy contributors to our emotional frame.

Apples and Oranges

When we compare, frequently we are attempting to measure ourselves against observations that are unfair. We equate the worst of our person or situation to our assumption about the other – generally a perspective that isn’t completely accurate. We may think that our friends marriage is perfect because when in public – the couple appears laughing and engaged yet they may simply be hiding great pain and shame of a poor relationship under that laughter. Others may have a large home, go on lavish vacations, and drive fancy cars – allowing for assumptions about their large incomes but in truth – are deeply in debt.

Individuality

The reality is that we are each unique and perfectly imperfect people who have a personal story unlike another’s. No matter how similar one may be to another, the likelihood that we can be the same or would really want to be the same… is farfetched. What would the world be if we were simply duplicates of one another?

Things Aren’t What They Seem

I’ve known people who had a lot of money but no family to share it with; they got so caught up in the pursuit of wealth that their family drifted away. I’ve known people who kept their house nice and clean yet friends rarely felt comfortable there due to its sterile feeling. People’s lives are often like icebergs… only the tip is exposed to the world and we don’t know what is happening below the surface. Measuring ourselves against only part of the whole, sets us up for false perceptions.

Antidote

When you find yourself comparing – the quickest antidote to any negative feelings that may occur is to express gratitude. When we take the time to be grateful for what we DO have – for who we ARE – and for what is REAL… we stop getting caught up in other people’s lives because we notice what matters in ours.

While the temptation to compare may not entirely evaporate from your life, remembering that you see only what people what you to see and not what is real may help. Add that to an expression of gratitude for everything that works in your world and you’ll quickly learn to …

Stop comparing.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#97 Mentor Someone

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#97

Mentor Someone

What do you do with all of your accumulated knowledge, experience, and wisdom? Is it just there? Untapped except for your own judgment?Why not make the effort to share it by mentoring someone?

A mentor is defined as someone who establishes a trusting relationship with a younger, less experienced individual and provides guidance, support, and encouragement.

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there is at least some accumulation of information that can be helpful to those younger or less experienced than yourself. Children in a homeless shelter, teens attending an after school support program, college students looking to enter the workforce, Twenty-somethings just starting out, new mothers, new fathers, first time home buyers, startup entrepreneurs, and the list goes on… can all benefit from the insight generated by someone who’s ‘been there… done that’.

Children

Children, in particular, benefit from mentoring. A child who’s been mentored is 53% more likely to go to college and 130% more likely to hold a leadership role of some kind. They are 81% more likely to engage in extracurricular activities such as sports and 46% less likely to use illegal drugs. One of the primary advantages of being mentored is the increase in self-esteem of the mentee. Emotional support and approval derived from mentoring relationships is responsible for increases of self-esteem in most cases.

Young Adults

Graduate students who have defined mentor relationships as strong and successful demonstrate more satisfaction with their graduate programs and postgraduate well-being. Some research indicates that the stronger the reported mentoring relationship – the more professional success is earned by the mentee. Adults entering the corporate marketplace also report higher job satisfaction when mentored by seasoned workers.

Good For You

Mentoring has other benefits aside from doing a good thing and the satisfaction that comes from giving back. Often, the things we teach are things that we need to remind ourselves to do. It’s similar to picking through an old file and discovering something there you’d forgotten or are just happy to be reminded of. This is true for both industry knowledge and life skills in general.

Additionally, mentoring offers you the opportunity to gain perspective; to remember what it was like before you ‘knew it all’. It is a blatant reminder that the world goes around, and around again. As we gain experience, we understand more intently, how to prioritize and we learn to trust our intuition and decisions. Working with mentees can demonstrate how far we’ve come in our own journey – increasing our confidence.

This is a suggestion that is a win-win for all parties involved so take a look at your schedule and research some of the opportunities where you live where you can…

Mentor someone.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#98 Disengage a Toxic Relationship

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#98

Disengage a toxic relationship

Yesterday’s post recommended distancing yourself from negativity and sometimes, that can mean disengaging from a relationship – any relationship – that becomes detrimental to your overall health. Negativity is not the only way in which a relationship can be toxic however.

Toxic refers to any behavior that results in harm – either physical or emotional. We may think it goes without saying that physically abusive behavior is toxic and cannot be tolerated yet there are thousands of people in relationships – still – which, can be identified as physically abusive.  And so, I’ll say it too… if your relationship is – IN ANY WAY PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE – disengage, get out, leave… NOW. Your very life may be in jeopardy.

Emotional Abuse

Perhaps worse, because there are no apparent bruises, is emotional abuse. Emotional abuse also comes in a variety of forms and MUST NOT be tolerated. No one deserves to be the target of emotional abuse. Any form of communication (speech, text messages, email, letters) that is controlling, punishing, manipulative, degrading, or derogatory – is abuse. When people use the silent treatment to coerce, withhold love and support for specific outcomes, and use money to bribe or entice – that is abuse.

Subliminal Abuse

Other people use less apparent tactics to ‘abuse’. Gaslighting is one of the most common – providing false information so frequently and with so much conviction that you begin to doubt the truth; to distrust your own knowledge or instincts.

Isolating and ignoring someone can also be considered abusive – especially if it is a parent/child relationship. It doesn’t ‘look’ inappropriate yet when someone is dependent on our attention and care – to withhold it intentionally is and abuse of power.

Relationships

Relationships are toxic when we no longer can trust, feel safe with, or feel appreciative of – the person with whom we are relating. It can be a romantic relationship, a friendship, a sibling or other family member, a parent… When we continually feel powerless, humiliated, defensive, criticized, belittled, unloved, unappreciated, etc., and our efforts at communicating and resolving those feelings go cold – it is time to GET OUT.

Recognize Normal

Healthy relationships are reciprocal. They are not self-focused. They employ communication – even imperfect – to resolve differences. They are mostly light and easy (every relationship has some level of challenge). They are supportive and compassionate. There is a mutual respect and encouragement.

Disengaging

Disengaging means creating distance. The amount of distance may be determined by circumstances and/or the relationship. At the very least – learning how to set boundaries and demonstrate self-respect is imperative. No one – absolutely no one – deserves or causes abusive behavior. The ‘abuser’ has many, many options when it comes to choosing behavior – many of which are healthy. If they fail to make a healthy choice when they relate to you – make sure you demonstrate self-respect and make the healthy choice to…

Disengage from a toxic relationship.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#99 Step Back From Negativity

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#99

Step back from Negativity

Are there any ‘Debbie Downers’ in your life? Any Eeyore types? People who find the dark clouds in life and describe them in detail without ever looking at the liner? Have you ever noticed how you feel when you spend time in the company of these people?

Force Field

People often report feeling ‘drained’ after spending time with negative people. It’s not surprising. When we are exposed to negativity for any length of time, it can feel like an attack against our system. Our natural instinct is to defend against the negativity and so we spend subconscious energy blocking it. The longer we have to keep our shield up, the more exhausting it can become.

Negativity

Of course negative things happen and occasionally they are significant, rendering it almost impossible to distract our focus. It’s always important to be realistic and see things for what they are. Yet, the negativity being called out for the purpose of this post is generally finding and commenting on what’s wrong. It’s expecting the worse. It’s assumptive failure no matter the conditions. It’s a downright failure to seek the light.

Unhealthy

As it turns out – constant exposure to negativity is downright unhealthy. Negativity generally produces stress. Stress produces Cortisol. Elevated levels of Cortisol interfere with our immune function. Compromised immune systems are susceptible to disease, bacteria, and viruses. Negativity stunts creativity. Negativity exposure has also been demonstrated to decrease the power / effectiveness of the Hippocampus – the brain area responsible for reasoning and memory.

Limiting

It keeps us from taking risks necessary to invent, discover, and explore. It stifles our self confidence, our self esteem, and our perseverance. It is destructive to relationships. It destroys hope and encouragement. It’s almost impossible to feel happiness when covered in a shroud of negativity.

If you find yourself exposed to negativity that feels / seems unbalanced or overwhelming, set boundaries. Engage the tenets of self-care and create an exit strategy that allows you to …

Step back from negativity.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#100 Quit a Bad Habit

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#100

Quit a bad habit

It’s not quite the New Year when many of us will jump on the idea of eliminating the bad habits that hinder our best selves which, might just make it the best time to go ahead and quit now. Bad habits are those things that we do that we know aren’t helping us; the things that nag us more than our moms.

Obvious

These malicious behaviors are quite obvious and include doing anything in excess (drinking, eating, spending, etc.), smoking, nail biting, and snacking. They are the things we ‘know’ we need to stop doing for our health and overall welfare. These habits can literally put our life in danger. They impede our self image, our confidence, and esteem.

Subconscious

Some habits have developed underneath our awareness. Some of us twirl our hair incessantly or click a pen to the extent that our co-worker want to jump across their desk just to grab it away from us. Or how about that foot that shakes or the leg wiggle that indicates nervousness? Constantly smacking gum, or slurping coffee are common habits that go unnoticed by the habitour but are obnoxious irritations for those in the vicinity.

Verbal

Some of our bad habits are verbal… Saying the word “like…” far too often and contextually inappropriately; speaking too loudly for the environment; and using the sound “um…” in more than just an occasional sentence. While not directly verbal – many of us don’t make eye contact while speaking – a habit that is considered downright rude in many cultures.

Notice

As with anything, in order for it to be changed, you must be aware. Ask friends and family members for their observations to catch the things you aren’t aware of. Make a list of the items that you may want to work on and consider which ones are priorities – don’t try to make too many changes at once.

Twenty-one Days

In order to break a bad habit – replace it with a good one. If you are trying to stop smoking – chew gum instead. If you’re trying to break the habit of nail biting – find a way to keep your hands busy; crochet, knit, play with a fidget spinner or stress ball. If you can eliminate your bad habit for at least 21 days, the odds of beating it all together is greatly improved.

Don’t wait for the New Year and a resolution that will likely be broken quickly. Make the effort today so that you will go into the next year without that annoying behavior. Take a minute to pick one and then commit to …

Quit a bad habit.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#101 Get Inspired

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#101

Get Inspired

Understanding that inspiration is an internal energy that drives action is an important concept. Dr. Wayne Dyer described it like this…

“Inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.”

Inspiration, because it comes from the inside – is an authentic energy; one that we need to find and listen to. How do you find inspiration as you move from day to day? Are you in the habit of noticing when you are inspired?

People

There are people in your life that encourage you to ‘do’ – not what they want you to do – but those things that you talk about doing. Listen and notice when what they are saying connects to an inner part of you… that is inspiration. For example, when someone encourages you to do something and you experience an inner drive to go ‘do’ it… that’s inspiration. “She inspired me to run a 5K.”

Nature

Nature is full of inspirational energy because it is living and moving. We can be inspired by what we see, hear, feel, and smell as we move through nature. I remember standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and feeling quite insignificant against the backdrop of one of nature’s most compelling creations. That feeling tugged at my core in a way that inspired me to find a way to be more significant in the world… to give back.

The Arts

Dance, music, sculpture, paint, theater… all of the arts are filled with opportunities to discover inspiration. It may be color or form… posture or voice that moves you from the inside out. Even if the arts don’t inspire you to create art – they may tug at your heart in a way that moves you to support the arts or participate locally in a way that benefits others.

Words

Literature, poetry, and lyrics offer, perhaps the most common, form of inspiration. Quotes from these bodies of work are daily inspirations for thousands of people around the world today and there is no shortage of places to find them.

No matter the source, make it a habit to listen to your ‘heart’, the sensation that is activated when inspiration is triggered from your core. These internal vibrations are signals that your most authentic self has recognized something on which to focus your attention. It is the voice that allows you to…

Get Inspired.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#102 Create a Personal Space

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#102

Create a personal space

I grew up knowing that the back room in my Grandparents house was “Grandaddy’s Room”. It was the part of the house where he could sit on the couch in dirty farm clothes, leave his boots where he took them off, and keep the newspaper open – if he chose. My Grandmother even had a room dedicated as an ‘office’ way before it was chic to have that space even though she didn’t work from home. Today, the terms ‘Man Cave’ and ‘She Shed’ are common terms often woven into real estate descriptions to entice buyers with the idea of dedicated personal space.

Regroup Space

Our ability to establish personal spaces like the ones described above means we have a place to go to ‘regroup’ when necessary. It can be a place for us to collect our thoughts, calm down, and gain perspective.

Refuel Space

Dedicated space can be a ‘pit stop’ for us… a refueling space where we can go for quiet time, reflection, meditation, prayer, or exercise. It’s a way for us to shut out the outside world temporarily.

Creative Space

Creative expression is an important element in many of our lives and it can get loud, messy, or downright dirty! Having a dedicated space to participate in a beloved activity can not only ‘refuel’ us but also save the sanity of our other family members by not exposing them to the mess or noise. It can act as an adult ‘play space’.

Personal Expression

A personal space offers people the opportunity to have a dedicated area that is completely representative of their own personality. A home is often an integration of what she likes and what he prefers. She may not paint the bedroom walls pink out of consideration of the fact that he sleeps there too. Likewise, his vast collection of baseball paraphernalia may not be a mutually desirable choice for family room decor.

Happiness

When we have personal space in which to regroup, refuel, express our creativity and express specific parts of our personality, we are likely to feel happier in general. When we are happier, our relationships benefit, our health benefits, and our productivity increases. Indeed, the list of advantages is long.

If you haven’t done so already, take a look around your living quarters and think of how you might…

Create some personal space.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#103 Learn to Trust

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#103

Learn to Trust

Our ability to trust others may be one of the most primary elements that makes life good. Counting on people, trusting them to be where they say, do what they say, and get things done when they say… that is definitely a component of a good life. It feels reliable, consistent, and dependable. It speaks to our need for some level of security.

Broken trust

And then we find out that not everyone is ‘trustworthy’. It’s disappointing for sure, and we become skeptical of trusting again. Sadly for some, trust isn’t easy to rekindle. It may depend on the situation or circumstances to some degree but even for simple or superficial infractions – trust can be difficult to reestablish.

Most People

I’ve found that most healthy people are indeed – trustworthy. Notice, I said healthy. People who betray us, people who lie, people who steal, people who trick and coerce us -generally, they are unhealthy. Healthy people – most people – don’t do those things. And so if you’ve crossed paths with an unhealthy person who has proved to be untrustworthy… put it into context and realize that they are not like ‘most people’.

Benefits

When we allow ourselves to feel trusting as a general rule with people there are plenty of emotional benefits. Perhaps first and most importantly, we are able to have more meaningful relationships. When we trust people and they demonstrate trustworthiness – our confidence increases. Our stress level is lower when we know that someone has our back and we have peace of mind.

This suggestion is “learn to trust” because it’s a necessary component regardless of how many times people in our environment have been untrustworthy. It’s about allowing each person that you cross path with to establish trustworthiness on their own – not based on other people. Essentially, no matter what has happened in the past…

Learn to trust.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.