What’s Old Is New – Words of Wisdom

new, adventure, perspective, artist, creative

new, adventure, perspective, artist, creative

Trying new things is essential to keeping your creativity active and strong.  Creatives’ view of the world is bright and colorful and lively.  We keep it fresh by introducing interesting things.  You savor moments, smell roses, sip your coffee.

Of course, then things get stagnant sometimes and you start to feel blocked.  You need something to shake up the routine and inspire.  A new experience.  A new place.  A new thought.

New opportunities aren’t always readily available.  It’s not always possible to jump in the car and head to a craft fair or museum or beach.  Not everyone can jump on a plane and go sample another culture or fly over mountain ranges.

However, there are lots of ways to shake up your routine and give your brain some exercise.

Here are 10 suggestions:

  • Write a letter or journal entry with your non-dominant hand.
  • Brush your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
  • Shower in the dark.
  • Close your eyes while you get dressed.
  • Read a book up-side down.
  • Count by sevens in your head.
  • Try 2 new foods in one meal.
  • Pick an emotion and try to think of 5 words or more that describe it.
  • Try to list all the items under your kitchen sink without looking.
  • Sniff vanilla extract when you wake up in the morning.

I’m not sure about the science behind trying new things, (or old things in new ways) but I know that it will cause your senses to become more alert.  Trust me, showering in the dark takes skill.

You don’t have to eat squid or visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art to freshen your perspective.  Try something new right at home and hone your senses.

What are you going to try that’s new or different?  Comment here.

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Leave Your Mark – Words of Wisdom

purpose, change, art, Torres, immortal

purpose, change, art, Torres, immortal

Creation: the act of bringing something into being that would not naturally occur or that isn’t made by an ordinary process.

The mind is infinite.

There is no end to what you can think, imagine, and dream.  There is also no way to capture an idea unless you put it in solid form.  When you create something, no matter the medium, you are taking the abstracts in your mind and making them very tangible.

The most important part of your life happens inside your mind.  Your feelings of love, purpose, hope, excitement, and adventure are internal.  Your emotions are the reason why you do something, continue to do something, or step away from something.

The interactions you have with people, your family, your friends, your not-so-friends, all leave you with impressions that you react to.  How people and events make you feel guide the direction of your life.

What tokens will there be from you that leave a lasting impression and show who you really were?

The people closest to you will know how you made them feel.  If you were kind, encouraging, empathetic.  But the thing about the feelings you leave behind, they die in a generation or two.  As soon as there is a generation in which you haven’t had contact with, your legacy is lost.

You want to be remembered.  We all do.  That’s why you search for a purpose.  A niche.  A meaning.  That’s why you create.  So there will be some physical reflection of who you were.

Creation makes the unknown known.  It makes the mortal immortal.

Your art, writings, music, and designs are all unique to you.  They are as much you as your fingerprint.  It’s your identity.  Something that can never be original again no matter how many times it’s copied.  Your creativity can live on forever and continue to make a difference in how people feel long after your gone.

Why do you create?  What impressions do you want to make on people?  Share your comments here.

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Live Your Life Backwards – Words of Wisdom

live, backwards, too late, purpose, george elliot, fear,

live, backwards, too late, purpose, george elliot, fear, Author Robert Fulghum sits on his grave site every year.  Author Austin Kleon reads the obituaries regularly.  Morrie, from Tuesdays with Morrie, and Randy Pausch, from The Last Lecture, looked death in the face.  Nothing puts things in perspective like a brush with death.

The truth is, no one gets out alive.  We only have a limited amount of days to do stuff that matters.  And we aren’t told when the deadline is.  There’s no circled date on the calendar.

We’ve all heard stories of end-of-life regrets.  No one does everything they wanted to do.  Hindsight is 20/20.

But if that’s true, and everyone gets to the end of life with regrets, why don’t we start talking to that older version of ourselves?  The one laying on her death bed and thinking back on her life.  Wondering if she really made a difference.

Ask your dying self, What do I wish I had done?  What didn’t I do because I let fear stand in my way?  How could I have moved the needle if I had just tried?

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Jack London

Imagine the happiest, most fulfilled and humble version of your 90 year-old self.  What were the steps that she took to get to that place of fulfillment?

What was she doing at 80? At 70? In her 60’s.  What about her 50’s?  What was her focus in her 40’s?  Start living your life backwards by talking to those older versions of you.

You want to live a life that matters.  And not just a life that works for you, but a life that works for the people around you.  You want to make a difference.  Move the needle.  Do stuff that matters.

You’re a giving and loving human being, teeming with talent and desire and strength.

Don’t forget it.  Don’t hide it.  Don’t delay it so long that you forget to pick it back up again and get to the end of life with regrets.

Talk to your 90 year-old self. What is she telling you to go do?

GO DO IT!

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The Shortest History Lesson Ever – Words of Wisdom

opportunity, pessimist, optimist, difficulty

opportunity, pessimist, optimist, difficulty

Are you ready for it?

Here it is.

THE SHORTEST HISTORY LESSON EVER!

Opportunity mixed with difficulty.

That’s it.

Throughout history, every opportunity for progress, whether political, intellectual, or moral, has been met with fierce adversity.  Emancipation, women’s rights, national independence.  Telecommunications, space flight, railroads.

The list goes on.

Anything that’s worth having is worth fighting for.  Expect to meet opposition.  There will be conflict.  The naysayers will come out of the woodwork.  Someone will be jealous.  Someone will hope you don’t succeed.  It’s still an opportunity.  An opportunity for the brave.

Pessimists give up without a fight.  They see fear as defeat and relinquish their right to try to achieve something new.  In the process they abort the limitless opportunities that would have followed had they taken the chance and given it a try.

An optimist sees adversity as something to overcome.  They see fear as a personal battle and surrender is not an option.  They see the possibilities beyond the difficulties and know that it’s worth the effort.  The only casualty would be not trying.

Whatever you’re trying to accomplish in your life, don’t let fear stop you.  Fear is an indicator that you’re about to do something awesome.  It’s a natural psychological and physiological response to feel fear when facing the unknown.  The body instinctively goes into survival mode.  Your heart races, your hands sweat, you feel the need to hide.  But the body doesn’t reason.  You can only do that with your mind.

When an opportunity arises, make a habit of looking at all the possibilities before you look at the difficulties.  The why will motivate you to find the way.  You are capable of achieving something great.  There are things that you can do that will make a difference in the lives of people around as well as promote your own personal growth.

You’ll have to fight through the mediocre to reach excellence.  You’ll have to fight through complacency to reach progress.  You’ll have to overcome fear to take advantage of your opportunities.

You can do it.  Be an optimist.  See the possibilities and the opportunities.  Conquer the difficulties.

What examples of pessimism and optimism have you witnessed?  How have you tried to be more optimistic in your own life?  Leave a comment here.

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The Reality of Success – Words of Wisdom

success, unknown, journey, achieve, Georgia O'Keeffe

 

success, unknown, journey, achieve, Georgia O'KeeffeSuccess is relevant.  It looks different to all of us.  You have define exactly what success will look like for you. If you don’t, how will you know when you’ve arrived?  Do you want to get a Grammy, an Oscar or hit the New York Times Best Seller list?  Maybe you want a certain amount of income per month.

If you don’t know what your success will look like, you should take some time to think about it.  Because success can only be a goal after it’s been defined.  But sometimes we get so focused on the end result that we forget there’s so much to be learned in the process.  The striving, reaching, growing, learning that changes us bit by bit.

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says,

The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.

Success really shouldn’t be your focus.  Becoming stronger, better and wiser should be your focus.  Because that’s what it takes to survive and succeed in life.  It’s the skills you learn along the journey.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the most important key to becoming successful is connecting with people.  You’re audience is not going to connect with your goal.  Your goal is important only to you.  People are going to connect with your journey.  The struggles, the epiphanies, the victories and the disappointments.  It’s your story they want.  Not your success.

It’s hard to let our struggles show.  Especially in a world of social media where you only show the best side of life.  What will people think if they were to know about your struggles?

I’ll tell you.  They’ll be relieved.

Because someone was willing to tell the truth.  That life is messy and the journey is hard.  And, guess what?  They’ll be on your side.  They’ll be eager to support you on your journey while you support theirs.  That’s what real connection is.  That’s where your success will come from.

So, show up everyday.  Keep it real.  Keep it raw.  Because we’re all just normal people trying to make it through each day and hoping to make a difference.  The shiny glitter of success is hard to relate to.  But we’ll get in the trenches with you any day of the week.

Here are some things to remember on the journey to success.

What are some lessons you’ve learned on your journey so far?  Share some of the difficulties you’ve run into in the comments

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Own Your Story – Words of Wisdom

Own, story, worthy, hustle, walk

Own, story, worthy, hustle, walk

Sometimes we want to hide from our past.  Put it behind us for good and never look at it again.  Often we want to keep it hidden so no one else knows the truth about where we’ve been or what we’ve come out of.

It’s important that you don’t dwell on the past.  You’ve lived it.  It’s over.  Good or bad, hopefully you learned from it.  And now you’re wiser and have moved on to better things.

The problem with ignoring your past or hiding it from others, is you miss out on the greatest tool you have to make a difference in the world.  Not only that, but you spend your energy trying to recreate your life and who you are so others will think better of you.

When my family was going through the pain of foreclosure, we felt isolated, embarrassed and ashamed.  Other people knew what was going on in our lives but no one was comfortable enough to talk about it.  We came through it, but mostly on our own.

Because I remember so vividly the fear and depression that accompanied that trial, I have a keen sympathy for others who are facing foreclosure.  We have been able to advise people who are facing the possibility of foreclosure and walk with some who have gone through it.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of gratitude that comes from a hurting individual simply because you understand what it’s like.

Am I proud that we couldn’t pay our house payment and were foreclosed on?  No.  For a while, I wanted to hide it.  We didn’t discuss it with anyone.  But when someone else was facing the same battle, I couldn’t let them feel like we did.  Alone.


Our past experiences, no matter what they are, have helped to shape our personalities and driven us to change.  When you talk to people who are truly passionate about a cause, most often you’ll find it’s because they have gone through a trial in a similar situation.  They’ve felt the pain, faced the adversity, struggled through the fear, and come through it with new insights.

The things you are hiding about yourself are the very things that will connect you to your purpose.  Other people who are going through the same hardship will be drawn to your story.  You will be able to feel compassion and empathize with people who are hurting in the same way you did.

Own your story.  Walk in it.  Then you can help someone else walk through their story.

What’s one part of your story that has sparked a passion or been a help to someone else?  Comment here.

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15 Years – Words of Wisdom

anniversary, marriage, giving, understand, emotion, support, enjoy, dream, communicate, adversity

Today is my 15th wedding anniversary.  15 years.  It’s gone by so fast.

Our marriage is just as exciting now as it was when my husband and I first got married.  But it’s definitely more comfortable 15 years later.  The years together have allowed us to know and appreciate each other so much more than our time of dating and engagement.

I have someone I can joke with, cry on, open up to, share my life and even sit in silence with.  I’m so glad that my husband is a support, an advocate and a friend.  It’s weird, I know, but I’ve thanked my husband for not being a bum or a jerk.  I hope he takes it as the biggest compliment in the world because it means so much to me.  I’ve seen the effects of selfish, narcissistic, lazy people on their spouses.  Just by being himself, my husband has protected me from all those negative feelings of hurt and regret.

We happen to have two great kids, but our husband-wife relationship is our number one priority.  I hope the first lesson my children learn from their parents is how to be loving and kind and supportive towards their spouse someday.  I want them to see us holding hands, going on dates and publicly showing affection to each other.

A huge part of having a happy marriage is simply enjoying your spouse’s company.  And, even if you have disagreements, ultimately being thankful that you have one another.  My husband and I have had our ups and downs, mountains and valleys, but all those times were opportunities to get to know each other better and dream together.  I’m still excited about our future.

Happy anniversary, my love.  Thank you for 15 awesome years.

Do you have any great words of wisdom on marriage?  Leave me a comment.  Tell me how long you’ve been married and what you’ve learned. 

 

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