Tuesday, March 23, 2010

State Your Purpose, Please

I once read, “99% of all people never reach their dreams and sadly, the reason is, because only 1% ever try.” A large survey, conducted by William Marsteen, a prominent psychologist, supported this statement. When the members of the survey were asked, “What do you have to live for,” 94% said they had no definite purpose. Many people wait and hope that someday their purpose will magically appear so they can experience the true joy of aliveness. I love how Jim Collins puts it in his book, Good to Great, “Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.” In other words, “good is the enemy of great.” Life is just too darn short to watch, wonder and wait and “good” is just not good enough. The process of identifying your purpose will provide you a sense of peace and a new-found vitality in your life!

Discover your purpose by learning and becoming aware of what ignites your spirit and is in harmony with your natural strengths and desires. Being passionate and being guided and motivated by your passions work in unison toward living your purpose. Without passion life is reduced to mere existence, mechanical living and indifference.

Listen to the “loud” voices in your head. I refer to them as loud because once you do begin to pay a great deal of attention to the “whisperings of the conscience,” which remember, cannot be accessed from any other place, they become loud and clear. Recognize and value these inspirations that come to you and only you as they will help you visualize and organize your intricate plan.

Take action! Make a commitment to say good-bye to a blasé way of life. The purposeful direction of your mental, emotional and physical energy should be used toward following through with specific goals that will help you grow and live in your purpose. You are an important person and you have the capacity to make a difference in your world…accept this responsibility!

Balance and lasting happiness come from living in full awareness of your purpose. You will be pushed and pulled by competing demands and will be required to make adjustments along the way but “stating your purpose” will make you realize you are a stronger, more talented and capable person than you ever dreamed. Additionally, you will be inspired, comforted and guided on your journey through the best use of your great life.

Stayed tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You're HIRED

A second grade teacher once asked me, “How do I apply the information and techniques you’ve given me to my second graders? I can already see patterns of behavior developing in some of my students that may lead to an imbalance overtime or worse, cause serious problems.” I loved that question because as the Dalai Lama states in the book, The Art of Happiness, “The most important use of education is (*should be) to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is (*should be) to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.” (*Unfortunately our society does not emphasize this.)

Because of the structure and functioning of our brains we CAN make a complete transformation of our mental state by mobilizing our thoughts and practicing new ways of thinking; deliberately selecting and focusing on being positive. The scientific name for this “learning and training” or the brains inherent capacity to change is called, “plasticity.” We’re lucky! We already have the equipment we need to achieve happiness; our “mind” and our “heart.” When it comes right down to it, happiness has very little to do with our conditions or how we perceive “the reasons” yet it has everything to do with how we perceive our situation. Below are various techniques we can teach our students, our children and ourselves, to help transform our outlook and the way we think.

First of all, build up determination and then begin each morning by thinking about positive things. Tell yourself “this day is a gift” and then utilize it in a more positive way. Replace previous negative conditioning with new positive conditioning. Repeating this process, day after day, will strengthen the positive aspects of the mind.

Second, make a special effort to be aware and reflect on your mental states. Address the negative mental traits so you can counter act each one as well as the positive traits so you can seek causes that create them.

Third, focus on remaining calm when disturbing events happen. When even the smallest amounts of anger are harbored other people will also appear hostile and then a chain reaction will occur. We’ll experience fear, a greater inhibition and sense of insecurity. Give up on the things that you recognize are harmful to you. Self-worth stems from developing the VALUE of human warmth and affection. When we maintain a feeling of compassion, loving kindness and appreciation of what we have our inner door will open and automatically create an inner calmness. Fear, self doubt and insecurity will go away.

Your awesome future is in your hands. Hire yourself to pave the way! Through training and constant familiarity of living positively, moment by moment, we can transform ourselves, which is the REAL “secret to happiness.”

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Day with Maria Shriver - To Sum it Up...

Yesterday, I had the great fortune of “hanging out” with Maria Shriver. Okay, so now that I have your attention, the truth is, I did spend much of the day “with” her but it was because she was leading groups of people through the CA Museum for History Women and the Arts and I was lucky enough to be “up-close and personal.” I was able to meet Maria and thank her for all she has accomplished as First Lady of California. She is brilliant, witty and filled with vibrancy and determination!

The best part of the day was attending the conference, “I Did it My Way,” featuring Erin Brockovich, Sally Ride, Lisa Ling, Rita Moreno and Maria Shriver. I felt honored to be in such a small, intimate setting with these five inspiring and successful women. They shared their personal journeys, which included their struggles, their passions and what they felt most contributed to their overall success. I took four pages of notes and will attempt to deliver what I felt was both thought provoking and just great advice from each of the panel members.

Erin Brockovich – “Believe in you! The perception we have of ourselves is not what works for everyone else. Look in the mirror and say, ‘I’m -----, the winner!’ We share a gift way down inside that burns in all of us…don’t let anyone deter or stray you away from that. Follow your gut, it never lets you down. Utilize your power of choice.” Erin told the audience her mother use to put post-it-notes all over the house that read, “Stick Tuitiveness.” She said, “Be willing to fail because you always come out better on the other side.” Erin believes the greatest gifts we have are, the love of our families, good health and clean water! Her final words, as she turned her head and looked into the eyes of the audience, were, “It’s time to change the message. It’s time to change the perception of how you see yourself and your neighbor. Challenge yourself and push forward to see how great life can be for you!”

Sally Ride – “By age 6 it was clear I loved math and science. It wasn’t until high school that I realized my interests were “weird” because I had support from my parents and a strong family environment. Success requires motivation and that motivation needs to come from within. The key to success is hard work.” When she first went to work for NASA’s Johnson Space Center she was one of only four women out of 4,000 men. (Lisa Ling thought that sounded like fun…) Sally’s parting words were, “You will doubt yourself from time to time but something within you will propel you to move forward when you want it badly enough! Don’t do something because you think it is expected of you. Listen, search, explore and experiment to find your calling.”

Rita Moreno – “Never think that what you want is unattainable…I chose to swim. Hang out with people that encourage you and are constantly reinforcing that you can achieve. People who have a dream have a focus, a special energy. Don’t let anyone spoil that for you. It’s not power that helps you attain what you want, it’s perseverance… ‘You are not going to stop me.”’ At 78, Rita is beautiful, well-spoken and hilarious. Her last words to the audience were, “It’s a good thing to be a mature woman!”

Lisa Ling – (Lisa’s boss is Oprah Winfrey) “Put yourself out there! Travel, expose yourself to other cultures. If you can’t travel, take advantage of things in your own community…expand your horizon…never stop learning. Be aggressive and go beyond your comfort zone. Books cannot teach these things. If you want your dreams to come true, do what it takes ALL hours of the day. Risk it…it makes you feel alive! Do what you love and then be utterly relentless pursuing what you’re passionate about.” Lisa added, “I feel fortunate and I think we need to spend more time being grateful and concentrate on what we do have.” Maria asked Lisa, “How are you going to use your voice in 2010?” She answered with this statement, “I hope that through my work people will have a ‘journey’ to experience other things and cultures and acquire a stronger sense of humanity.”

Although I can only speak for myself, I think I can safely assume the audience members were more than moved and inspired by these women’s wisdom, knowledge and encouragement. I appreciated their time in offering their heart-felt messages to help myself and others maximize their potential for lasting happiness. As Lisa Ling stated, “Take advantage of things in your own community,” because you never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll learn or how it will impact how you “use your voice in 2010.”

Stay tuned,

The Midnight Motivator

Monday, March 1, 2010

What Color Are Your Glasses?

First of all, I want to thank my “followers,” on blogspot or through my personal emails, for taking the time to comment on my articles. I love to know what you’re thinking! I’m intrigued by your questions, your honesty and even your skepticism.

After reading my article titled, Healthy Energy=Healthy Body, emphasizing the great impact our thoughts have on our physical and mental health, one of my “followers” told me her mother-in-law always seemed to view things and live her life through “rose-colored glasses.” As I read on, I realized she didn’t necessarily agree that her mother-in-law’s way was the best way. However, as I continued reading, I learned her mother-in-law, who passed away in her nineties, was a very happy, well respected, intelligent and compassionate woman. Can her long life and well-being be attributed to viewing life through her “rose-colored glasses?”

At this very moment, our minds are fully equipped to begin the process of achieving complete happiness. Identifying our mental state or consciousness, each our thousands of different thoughts, is the foundation for that accomplishment. We have to build an awareness of the negative emotions that are harmful to us and learn how to reduce or eliminate them. Equal in importance is recognizing the helpful and positive thought/emotion and learning how to nourish it! Once we learn how to identify our negative thinking that all too often turns into “patterns,” and realize how harmful it is to us personally, and to society as a whole, we can then make slight movements toward new, intentional choices that make us feel better and contribute to the well-being of others.

A balanced life is a conscious choice and requires the willingness to “let go” of what continuously doesn’t work, i.e. old habits and old beliefs. The fact is everyone is faced with problems, within their personal lives, societies and issues worldwide. But every human problem has many different angles. The severity of the problem depends on the angle from which it is viewed, from whom it’s viewed and the "color" of his/her glasses. People who view inevitable challenges of life through "rose-colored glasses" and seem to glide through tough times do so because they’ve chosen to react positively to predicaments.

We can’t control all of our problems but we can always control our reactions to them which ultimately control the effect they have on us, which is the bottom line! We simply need to ask ourselves, “What will I allow this problem to do to me?” Controlling our reaction doesn’t mean underestimating the problem, it means disciplining our minds to manage it positively and creatively. It’s true, problems can be opportunities; it just depends on the color of your glasses.

Stayed tuned,

The Midnight Motivator