Social skills, do we compare ourselves to others and come up lacking?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

I consider social skills a bit like learning a language. I’ve been practicing it for so long over so many years I’ve almost lost my accent. Daniel Tammet

Yesterday was the perfect day for a birthday barbeque for my mother-in-law. It’s sometimes hard to keep in touch with extended family so celebrating birthdays is a good way to do it.

Everyone pitches in and it turns out to be a great afternoon and evening of fun and frivolity. My mother-in-law has always wanted to introduce my daughter to one of her friend’s granddaughters but because the granddaughter lives in Texas it has never happened. By serendipity and chance, the daughter and her mother are visiting from San Antonio, Texas and had a free afternoon to come by.  I think my mother-in-law is right her friend’s granddaughter fits right in.

We don’t click with everyone. Some people are more social and flit from one person to the next person. My husband says I take set on people. I find one person I’m comfortable with and talk and laugh the evening away. Flitting from group to group especially groups I haven’t met puts me out of my comfort zone.

I watched a friend do it at a birthday party we attended last year. She went to every table and introduced herself and made conversation, then onto the next table. Everywhere she goes everyone knows who she is.

She’s an only child. Her social skills are amazing. At social functions, we can feel like we are on the outside looking in. We click with certain people, it is easier to talk and laugh with them than to work a little harder to make conversation with those we don’t know yet.

I take the easy way out and talk with who is by themselves and I mostly leave the groups alone. It’s easy to see the people who are not part of a group and talk to them.

If there’s one secret of success it lies in the ability to get the other’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. Dale Carnegie

Being a social butterfly is flitting around every circle and finding commonalities with everyone. If we don’t flit from group to group we aren’t social butterflies we are social caterpillars.

Caterpillars turn into butterflies. Getting out of our comfort zone is part of growth. Are we social butterflies, or social caterpillars?

There are pros and cons to being a social butterfly.

Social butterflies are not afraid to go out of their way to approach new people.

They have the capability of starting and keeping a conversation going.

They don’t enjoy a lot of solitude.

Friends may feel they aren’t valued because we are so busy being social and trying to make other friends.

Can we be comfortable and accepting of ourselves? If we try to make other people feel comfortable and included, initiate conversation, offer to help out and be a good sport to make parties, barbeques, and karaoke evenings a success can we appreciate ourselves and our contribution to the event? Maybe we need to develop our innate social skills and appreciate other people’s social skills without thinking we have to be like them. If we can be the best we can be, extending ourselves, getting out of our comfort zone can we quit berating ourselves because we don’t act like someone else?

It is so easy to compare ourselves to others and come up lacking. Don’t we need to accept ourselves warts and all, make small steps toward areas we want to improve and not judge ourselves too harshly?

There are more social skills required to talk one-on-one than to an audience. You don’t have to be socially fluid to talk to two thousand people. Jerry Seinfeld

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People Paperback – Oct 1 1998

by Dale Carnegie (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 942 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #10 this week

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Habits and attitudes shape our lives. Isn’t it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes?

Isn't it good news if we can change our habits and attitudes? Habits and attitudes shape our lives.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Suppose you are wrong? How would you know? How would you test for that possibility? Thomas Sowell

Having a year of blogging behind me means I can look at a year ago and see what I was writing about. Last year I was writing about mother love is the greatest love of all. I don’t mean mother’s love their children more than father’s do, but in the wild no one says don’t get between a father and his cub.

Today I am reading that the facts don’t really matter if we repeat them often enough, we believe them. There is a glitch in the human psyche that equates repetition with truth.

“Repetition makes things seem more plausible,” says Lynn Hasher, a psychologist at the University of Toronto whose research team recognized this effect in the 1970s. Is this where the idea of affirmations came from? Telling ourselves, we are beautiful, powerful, successful, over and over again hoping one day to believe we are who we want to be. Or the reverse, telling ourselves, and being told by others we will never get a break, never be successful, no matter how hard we try, so maybe it’s better not to try at all?

We have to be careful about what we listen to, swallow, and believe. We have to be careful what we tell ourselves, and what we tell our children. My son was telling me last night about Thomas Sowell an American black economist who served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. He said Thomas Sowell was speaking somewhere and young black men came up to him saying they would love to be pilots but they wouldn’t be accepted if they tried to join the air force. He was dumbfounded by the ideas these young men had been brainwashed with, that they shouldn’t even try, shouldn’t even apply.

It seems hard to believe it is true people think they shouldn’t even try.  What happened to, “It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all?”

Is it more important than ever to try to ferret out the truth of all the propaganda, misinformation, and fake news we hear? What are the questions we should be asking? What is fairness? What is equality? What is justice? What does equal opportunity look like?

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. Thomas Sowell

Do we want the truth, or do we want someone to tell us things we know can’t possibly be true?  If we don’t accept and embrace the truth then we will be fed lies, because lies are what we want to hear, and the person with the best lies is who we vote for.

Are we at a place in history where we need to look at things as they really are? Not how we wish they could be. If it is true that differences in habits and attitudes are the differences that result in the differences in economic outcomes, don’t we need to recognize this, and not pretend it isn’t true? If it is true, then everyone can change their habits and attitudes. Isn’t that good news?

The fact that so many successful politicians are such shameless liars is not only a reflection on them; it is also a reflection on us. When people want the impossible, only liars can satisfy. Thomas Sowell

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, truth, and love.

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Discrimination and Disparities Hardcover – Mar 20 2018

by Thomas Sowell (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews#1 Best Sellerin Distribution & Warehouse Management

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Self-care, how can we take care of anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves?

How can we take care of anyone if we don't take care of ourselves?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Treat yourself as someone you are responsible for helping.” Jordan Peterson

I haven’t seen a glorious sunrise since Monday. Not seeing one every day makes me more appreciative when I see one that takes my breath away.

Last night was another great night at Toastmasters. We had nine guests and that they came out on a beautiful summer’s eve says something. We had three speakers of which I was one. There is so much to learn from listening and watching others speak. We are all individuals with our own style, our own strengths, weaknesses, personality, and presentation styles.

How do we become effortlessly witty, sarcastic, funny and comfortable in front of the group? Some of us are entertaining, informative, and funny. Speaking in public is a skill that as we develop we create our own style. In the beginning, we may emulate someone but as we continue on our journey our style becomes our own.

I’ve said it before that developing as a public speaker does more for us than we can imagine. As one of our members said in her thought for the day, it is a form of self-care. We are doing something for ourselves that improves our lives, our communication, and when we improve our communication we can improve our relationships.

Often we don’t say everything we had prepared in our speech. Sometimes they flow better than what we practiced, sometimes they don’t. Usually, even though we may be aware of the mistakes we made, or thoughts we left out, our audience is not. Every speech is a chance to stretch ourselves. We stretch ourselves by finding a topic, we stretch ourselves by accepting the challenge, and we stretch ourselves by not feeling totally prepared but giving our speech anyway.

Sometimes we’ll find that feeling underprepared gives us a little edge, we are in the danger zone and that is where magic can happen. We don’t know our material so well that it is memorized, but we know it well enough to take it where it wants to go. There is something that happens when we are giving a speech that we can never prepare for. This is audience interaction. We can say something that resonates with the audience that encourages us to expand upon that thought, and at that moment our speech can transcend what it was when we wrote it.

Jordan Peterson questions for a good life:

What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly?

What should I be doing when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body?

What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful, so that I should shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences?

Some people are comfortable never knowing exactly what they will say. The more comfortable we get with the idea that if we know our material and general organization we will know what to say next. We will interact with the audience, they will interact with us. This is what can get us hooked on public speaking.

For whatever reason, I get emotional when I give my speeches. Even when I think I’ve got this, I often find emotion creeping into my speech. I was watching a Joe Rogan podcast on Youtube with Jordan Peterson. A seasoned speaker like Jordan Peterson was overcome with emotion as he talked about how we should try and be the strongest person at our father’s funeral. If it happens and we continue with our speech, it is what it is.

One of the things we should be okay with is giving a bad speech. The win is getting up and giving the speech at all. We learn more by taking the risk and giving a bad not quite prepared speech than if we wait for the perfect time to prepare. Boldness is rewarded; if we are willing to be a fool in public we can accomplish great things. Do it badly, but do it.

As we give speeches we have to look deep within ourselves to find things to say. We may face some of our shortcomings, fears, challenges, and unrealized dreams. C.S. Lewis says, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end, if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin and in the end, despair.

I’m sure there are some negative stories people have about Toastmasters. That is probably mostly about personalities and conflict within groups of people, not the growth that is required to be an active Toastmaster. We grow by getting out of our comfort zone, again, and again.

It isn’t how fast we progress, but that we progress that counts. We are all on a journey, if we work to make progress we will enjoy it more, and make more of a difference in our own and other’s lives.

Live properly as an individual. Because you’re more powerful than you think. Jordan Peterson

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, self-care, and love.

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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Hardcover – Jan 23 2018

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author, Contributor) 4.7 out of 5 stars 1,157 customer reviewsAmazon Charts #2 this week

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Leaders and followers. Can leaders only lead when followers agree to follow? Is the actual power with the followers?

Leaders and Followers. Is the actual power with the followers? Can leaders only lead when followers agree to follow?

Comparison is the thief of joy. Theordore Roosevelt

Everyone has a story. Yesterday my daughter and her husband got home from a friend’s destination wedding. They are full of stories comparing the Dominican Republic wedding to their Jamaican wedding.

It is hard not to compare things, vacations, cars, homes, friends, bosses, jobs, children, lives, accomplishments, and ourselves.

We hear comparisons are odious, and I believe they are, but we do it or at least I do all the time. I compare my lovely Lulu who barks too much who is a submissive dog, to my late dominant dog. Having a dominant and a submissive dog puts a whole new spin on dominance and submission. They both want their own way, they just go about it differently. One way isn’t necessarily more effective than the other.

It reminds me of the joke in My Big Fat Greek Wedding the mother of the bride says “the husband is the head of the home, and the wife is the neck, and the neck can make the head do anything it wants.” She was submission in action.

My husband tells me women are not straight forward. I watch my Lulu basically give a bow by stretching out in front of you paws out, belly on the ground looking up. “I want what you want”, she seems to say. As she proceeds to do exactly what she wants. She is harder to train than our dominant dog was. This could also be because we took him and ourselves to puppy school, and we had the hubris to think we could train her without puppy school.

I’ve been reading about submission and marriage. I’m beginning to believe it isn’t what I thought. Good leaders lead because followers agree to their leadership.

I was listening to John Cleese yesterday on W5 and he was saying Democracy is overtaken by Dictators because Dictators in the short run get things done.

I was listening to some speeches on authoritarian leadership styles and the speakers seemed surprised that they came up as authoritarian. They were both very funny guys, with seemingly easy personalities, who in their own words have been put in challenging positions where they got things done. They bring energy; they motivate, inspire, and turn things around.

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams

The problem with authoritarian leadership over time is that it can seem the leader is no longer part of the team. The other members of the team or family may begin to fear the leader. A benevolent autocratic leader manages the needs of the team so it is better for all. This type of leadership allows information to go both up and down the chain of command.

Autocratic leaders are who we look to in a disaster, they take charge, they get things done, and they get us through the challenges.

I am reading a blog: Tim’s Blog – Just One Train Wreck after Another. He says there is a common way marriages work: In marriage, the husband and wife both have a say in family decisions but the one with the veto power is the husband.

He says marriage should not be a lopsided democracy. It should actually be “the two became one.” We shouldn’t be a leader and a follower. We should be a unit that works together and discusses, endlessly even, to arrive at a decision. When we talk and talk, and talk, and still cannot agree, maybe the decision isn’t ready to be made yet.

It’s easier to give one person veto power. Is it better?

The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails. John Maxwell

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Leading With Emotional Courage: How to Have Hard Conversations, Create Accountability, And Inspire Action On Your Most Important Work Hardcover – Jul 11 2018

by Peter Bregman (Author) 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Keeping all our balls in the air. Some balls are rubber and some are glass. Finding balance. Knowing the important from the urgent.

Finding balance. Knowing the important from the urgent. Keeping all our balls in the air. Some are rubber and some are glass.

Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Dolly Parton

Yesterday my computer hadn’t finished updating. When it did, it wouldn’t restart. My husband worked his magic and got it going. The night before at Toastmasters the topics were bucket lists, the dream of owning a home and the pursuit of happiness.

What is on my bucket list? Seeing Europe is on my list. One person said she’d like to see the seven wonders of the world.

The 7 natural wonders of the world.

The Grand Canyon (North America)

The Great Barrier Reef (Off the coast of Queensland in Northeast Australia)

Harbor of Rio de Janeiro (South America)

Mount Everest

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Paricutin Volcano (Mexico)

Victoria Falls (Africa) roughly three times the height of Niagara Falls

Seven wonders of the ancient world

The great pyramid of Giza

Hanging gardens of Babylon

Colossus of Rhodes

Lighthouse of Alexandria

Temple of Artemis

Statue of Zeus at Olympia

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

The seven wonders of the world

The great wall of China

Petra – Jordan

Christ the Redeemer statue – Brazil

Machu Picchu – Peru

Chicken Itza – Mexico

Colosseum – Italy

Taj Mahal – India

The seven wonders of the medieval world

Leaning Tower of Pisa – Italy

Hagia Sophia – Turkey

Porcelain Tower of Nanjing – China

The Great Wall of China

Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa – Egypt


Stonehenge – England

How do we get everything done, see the wonders of the world, work, raise our families, exercise, and read for fun and personal growth? Some people seem to be better at juggling all of their activities than others.

The limit jugglers can juggle seems to be 14 balls. For the rest of us who are juggling life and not balls, how many can we keep in the air?

We are being asked to juggle more, and we are also trying to juggle more on our own accord as we want to fit everything in, and live life to the max. We don’t just want to be fit enough, we want six pack abs. We don’t just want a job, we need to be rising in the organization. Even our children are over scheduled with activities as we shuttle them from martial arts, dance, piano, hockey, soccer, and many also have a tutor.

Create a life that feels good on the inside, not just one that looks good on the outside. Unknown

An executive coach Scott Eblin tells us we need to recognize what kind of balls we are juggling? Are they rubber, or glass? Some balls will bounce, and some will shatter. We need to know the difference so we can handle them accordingly.

What’s the long-term impact of this ball? Author Suzy Welch tells us to look at things like this – will this matter a week from now, a month from now, a year from now, ten years from now? We aren’t just looking at career balls but all our balls, including family, and our other interests.

Who else cares about this ball? It might not be a ball of particular interest to us, but it’s really important to someone else? Our decisions should not be solely driven by other people, but we should consider them.

What’s the upside of this ball?

If we dropped this ball, could we recover? Some setbacks in life are minor and we can bounce back, others are more significant. Most of our balls are rubber, and if this is a rubber ball, it can bounce. If it is a glass ball it will shatter. Marriages are glass balls. Health is a glass ball. Family is a glass ball and friends are a glass ball. Some of these glass balls we can put down and pick up. Some like marriage and health we need to keep in the air at all times. Children take a lot of time until they don’t. Friends are balls we can put down and pick up.

Should we even be juggling this ball? Maybe someone else should be juggling this ball, or no one needs to juggle it, maybe it shouldn’t be part of the mix at all, or maybe it is a ball we can pick up at a less busy time in our lives.

Are we battling between our “must do’s” and “should do’s”? Do we know the difference between important and urgent? Many things that take up our time seem important because they are urgent, but if we ignore them they didn’t impact our lives in any way.  Many urgent things won’t matter even in a week, let alone ten years.

Some of the important things don’t seem urgent. It doesn’t seem urgent to spend time with family. If we don’t spend enough time with family it can be hard to get back into what should be easy, fun, spontaneous. We could talk about anything, but if we don’t talk that ease goes away, and it can be hard to get back.

Work is a ball that masquerades as crystal when really it is the rubber ball we need to keep from taking over our lives and making the important things feel unimportant to us.

Volunteer activities are another ball that can take over our lives. Often everything seems urgent, can we just take on one more thing? We need to be careful our spouse and children don’t get sidelined by these rubber balls that seem to grow, morph, and take over our lives.

I’m in this situation now with Toastmasters. It is taking up another Saturday in the summer. Summer Saturdays are precious, and this is the third one. I enjoy it, but I have a husband who isn’t enjoying it nearly as much.

Marriage is the fragile, precious ball we need to put first. This is the ball that is fragile, and the ball upon which the rest of our life is based. If we can keep this ball healthy, we will have a good foundation for everything else. If we have a strong marriage we actually have four hands to help with our juggling instead of two.

It is easy to think we’ve been married for so many years; surely it isn’t so fragile anymore. This is probably a mistake. Taking our spouse for granted while we pursue other things may make our spouse feel they no longer are first in our lives. What if they pursue something and we are no longer first in their life? Where will this leave us?

We should each pursue things in our lives, while we are also making sure to keep our spouse our first priority. We need to take a good look at the balls we are juggling and figure out what is important, and not just urgent. We can juggle what is important and concentrate on the glass balls and let the rubber one bounce if they need to.

Is the biggest mistake we make confusing the rubber balls with the glass ones?

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things. Peter F. Drucker

A year of blogging. Still learning, developing, creating, and dreaming. What habits and rituals can be brought into our lives to create our best life?

What habits and rituals can be brought into our lives to create our best life? Still learning, developing, creating, and dreaming. A year of blogging.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

Today I celebrate one year of blogging. What has it meant? What have I learned? One of the things I’ve learned is there is so much to learn. There is so much to think about, ponder, read about, write about, explore, discover. I thought I would run out of topics. I thought I would be saying what will I write about? The more I write the more I seem to have to discover, and the more I discover the more I have to write about.

I was talking to my son and said to him, “I wonder if I should scale back my posts, I’ve got quite a few and maybe people feel overwhelmed.”

He said. “if people like what you create, you can’t create too much. You don’t know where this will take you, but if you like doing it, continue to do it.”

I do love doing it. A habit or routine has developed around it. It starts my day off right. Like making my bed, at least at the end of the day I can say, I put my post out. I wrote today.

Hopefully, along the way, someone reads something and gets an “I’ve thought that too” moment. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone.  I am getting comfortable; it will be time to step out again. Small steps, consistently taken, lead somewhere.

All of you who have come on this journey with me, Thank you. Anyone who has read any of my posts, Thank you. The comments I’ve received I’m grateful for. The bots have taken over my comment section. I’m contemplating eliminating the comment section because most of my comments come by way of Facebook, or email. There is no shortcut to success; Bloggers want to fool people by using bots to manufacture an audience they do not have.

More bots have come to my blog via the comment section than real people reading my posts. Word Press keeps track of traffic and the bots don’t count as posts read, fortunately. Word Press analytics are pretty impressive. What country visitors come from, and how many posts each visitor reads are calculated. Which posts receive the most traffic and where referrals come from like Facebook, Google, Pinterest, etc.

Over time we will develop an audience or we will not. We can only put our art, writing, music, etc. out into the world, where it goes from there is not in our control. If we get enjoyment from creating it, and some people get enjoyment from reading, listening, seeing then we’ve done our part. If our only measurement is in how much money we make it will be a hollow victory, even if we get rich doing it. At least that is what the gurus tell us. I will admit to being open to riches. I’m not one of the people who decry commercial success.

Each choice starts a behavior that over time becomes a habit. Darren Hardy

Tony Robbins tells us it is not what we actually accomplish but continued progress that is important. He tells us it is the rituals we create that develop our life. Over and over we do things, and these things build our lives positively or negatively. We don’t have enough will power to will ourselves to change. We need to do it through rituals, and daily habits.

He tells us if we want to improve our lives in any area to write down how it really is. Ask ourselves what are the rituals that got us to where we are? Write down what we want to change, what we want to happen, and what we want to improve. Then we are to write down the rituals we can implement daily that will get us there.

When we look at our rituals, they either serve us or don’t serve us. We can choose to change them or not. We can ask ourselves, what is one thing we could add or get rid of that would make the biggest difference in our relationship, family life, health, fitness, finances, work, etc. How can we turn that into a ritual or habit?

Recently I turned walking my dog in the morning into a ritual. By changing my morning routine, walking my dog fits in just before I sit down to coffee and writing my blog. Before I changed my morning routine I was sure there was no way to fit dog walking in. I didn’t change my morning routine for dog walking that is a side benefit.

Before I started writing there was no way to fit writing in until I sat down after I put the kids to bed and wrote. I noted the time I started and the time I finished. The output was not important, the practice was. My husband had brought home an old laptop that when I first saw it, I thought, why did he buy that? That old laptop with floppy discs changed me into a writer. I could sit down at the kitchen table; I didn’t need to have a separate space. I couldn’t change my head space from work mode to writer mode if I tried to write in the office. This is one of the things with rituals and habits, our mind works for us in many ways but can also work against us. In the office, I am in work mode. In the den I use for writing I am in writer mode. In my art studio, I am in artist mode. At the gym, I am in workout mode.

Just like we wear the right shoes for what we want to do, we need the right head space for the activity we are going to do. We don’t wear high heels for jogging, we don’t go dancing in rain boots, and we don’t wear our sandals in the snow. Creating rituals around what we want to accomplish puts us in the right head space, and gives us time to accomplish things. We don’t have to prepare ourselves for working out if we change into work out gear. We are ready by the time we tie our shoes.

Are our habits and rituals working for us? Is there a new habit or ritual we could create that would make our relationship with our self or someone else better?

There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills. The Buddha

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. Tony Robbins

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, joy, and love.

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Unlimited Power: The New Science Of Personal Achievement Paperback – Dec 22 1997

by Tony Robbins (Author) 4.3 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews

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Finding the balance between planning and going with the flow.

Can we find the balance between planning and going with the flow?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead, you relax and float. Alan Watts

Yesterday I wrote my post and pressed publish and it looked like it published but it did not, nor did it save it to post. My time was over and so there was no post yesterday. There is a glitch in WordPress from what I am reading. Yesterday was the first time I encountered it. I went with the flow and today we’ll try again.

Summer holidays are here. I said to my husband, “wouldn’t it be nice to have two months off?” For some of us, this is a dream that has become a reality, for others it remains only a dream. Is it only a dream for some because a wish, and a hope, don’t become a plan and without a plan, it is hard to get from here to there?

Is it better to be a planner or go with the flow? If we only plan our lives where will the excitement come from? If we only go with the flow where will the progress come from?

We’ve probably all tried to bend things to our will, but people and circumstances don’t cooperate. Somehow we need to find the balance of putting our self in circumstances where we can go with the flow.

This blog is an example of that. I never know what I will write. I sit down in the morning without having planned my topic. Something may have happened, a holiday, news, something I read, something I heard that is the beginning, and then it goes from there. Is this the best way to do it? I don’t know, this is the only blog I’ve ever written.

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. Lao Tzu

If I sat down with my calendar and tried to plan what I would write for the month I think the whole thing would fall flat.  If I didn’t organize my life so I sat down at the computer every morning at the same time it also wouldn’t work.

Having goals is important. My goal is to write a blog post almost every day, and the days I don’t post are days I decided creating a post wouldn’t fit into my day. When I’ve tried to write posts to have on hand for those kinds of days, they are the hardest posts to write.

The same goes for my art, I never know where it will go, until at some point I quit. There are many ways for people to create whatever their soul calls to create, if we listen to the still small voice within and go with the flow we may be surprised where it leads.

When we ride the waves of inspiration, we don’t know where they will take us. If we had to know beforehand maybe we wouldn’t go on the adventure. Most of the things we do in life are riding a wave. We get married and we don’t know where that will take us. We have children and we don’t know what we will face. We start a business or get a job, buy a home, go on a trip. We can plan for some of these things in small and big ways but much of it we have to let unfold how it will.

Do we need to live our lives in such a way that we can take advantage of the opportunities that come our way without expecting to have total control? If we can expect the best, prepare for the worst, and go with the flow will our life become more than we ever thought possible?

Are we riding the wave of inspiration and going with the flow while we plan and manage the things that make a great life?

Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings. Arthur Rubinstein

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Finding Flow: The Psychology Of Engagement With Everyday Life Paperback – Apr 5 1998

by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Our habits build our life. Build good new habits; keep our good old habits. Continuous progress continuously gets us where we want to be.

Continuous progress continuously gets us where we want to be. Our habits build our life. Build good new habits; keep our good old habits.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Samuel Jackson

Discipline is what we all think we need more of. We fail to realize we need more good habits which automate our life. As we create each habit using discipline, once it becomes a habit we can use that discipline for something else.

It will be difficult to start a new routine and keep at it until it becomes a habit, about sixty-six days. Then we can move onto the next thing we want to do to improve our life?

Where can the new habit fit into our life? What is the thing we do now, that our new habit could follow, so the thing we already do, becomes the trigger for what we want to add to our life?

It does take discipline and perseverance to build new habits. The good news is once they become a habit we can use that discipline and perseverance somewhere else. It might be hard to get up and exercise but it won’t always be hard, once it has become a habit it is a routine we just do.

All the people we think have discipline have used discipline to build good habits but their life is not one big exercise in discipline. They automate and they built those habits over time, and so can we.

The truth won’t set us free – until we develop the skills and the habit and the talent and the moral courage to use it. Margaret Heffernan

We need to focus on what we want to achieve, and break it down into small habits we can develop and automate.

Have you heard of the book The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach? The premise is we automate what we need to do. Investing money is what we need to do in the case of becoming an automatic millionaire. The author knows if we have to think about the money every month it might go towards something else, but if we automatically have that money go into an account, we don’t have to think about it. There are tables to decide what amount must be invested each month to reach the goal, depending on the time allocated to reach it and the expected return.

We often make life hard for ourselves, we talk ourselves out of doing things that are totally doable. We can accomplish so much, but we need to choose what we want to accomplish. If we want to fit things into our lives we can find a way to create habits and automate our goals. Then we need to move onto the next goal. If we keep this up throughout our life, what we accomplish will astound us.

We all have untapped potential. We all have things we’d like to do we haven’t gotten around to doing yet. What are we waiting for? If not now, when?

Until you have cultivated the habit of saying some kind word to those whom you do not admire, you will be neither successful nor happy. Napoleon Hill

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude, good habits, and love.

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The Automatic Millionaire: Canadian Edition: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by [Bach, David]
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The Automatic Millionaire: Canadian Edition: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich Kindle Edition

by David Bach (Author)

4.2 out of 5 stars    29 customer reviews

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Is it true early to bed and early to rise makes us healthy, wealthy, and wise? Do we need to do what we can, to build the life we want, and quit trying to be perfect?

Do we need to do what we can, to build the life we want, and quit trying to be perfect?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order. Anne Wilson Schaef

One of my Toastmaster buddies mentioned a book she was reading and practicing its recommendations. The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma.

According to Christopher Randler, a biology professor at the University of Education in Heidelburg, Germany, “When it comes to business success, morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research shows that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them. They’re proactive. Many studies have linked this trait, productivity, with better job performance, greater career success, and higher wages.”

“Though evening people do have some advantages – other studies reveal they tend to be smarter and more creative than morning types, have a better sense of humor, and are more outgoing – they’re out of sync with the typical corporate schedule.”

A good night’s sleep can make us more productive since it assists with improving our memory, concentration, and complex problem-solving.

Morning people tend to be more persistent, cooperative, agreeable, conscientious, and proactive.

Getting enough sleep strengthens our immune system. We also wake up energized and this may make it so we can get a workout in before the rest of the day takes all our energy.

They say the first hour of the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day. By getting up at 5:00 I can exercise, write in my journal, read, and walk my dog before I sit down to write my blog. By the time I reach my desk at 9:00 I’ve already had a pretty productive morning. When I used to try and write at the end of the day, it was harder,

It was writing at the end of the day after I put the kids to bed that created the habit of writing other than in my journal which enabled me to actually write a novel. If someone had told me I had to get up early and write early in the morning the novel would still not be written. In time I moved my writing habit to the morning.

We need to start where we are; regardless of what it is, we want to bring into our life. If it is exercise, eating better, creativity, taking up a hobby, developing a skill or talent, we need to find the time, anytime that works for us so we can develop a habit.

After we do whatever, then we do this new thing we are fitting into our life. It becomes automatic, the more we automate the good habits in our life the easier it is. We don’t sit and think will I go to the gym, do art, write, etc. If we’ve established a routine we automatically finish dinner, go to the gym, then write, or practice whatever creative endeavor we are working on, all without really thinking about it. We only need to think when we deviate from our routine.

Occasionally my blog does not fit into my day. I’ve made peace with that. If we go to bed late, I give myself the day off, and I don’t beat myself up about it. I try not to do it two days in a row. One of the reasons I try to go to the gym every Monday is it starts the week off right. Even if the rest of the week is too busy to go, by going Monday I’ve kept up the habit of going to the gym.

A beautiful thing is never perfect. Egyptian Proverb

One of the things we have to override is our attitude that says, well I’ve blown it, what does it matter. It is that perfectionism that makes it so we ditch our healthy eating, exercise program, creative projects, or whatever good things we have going in our life that we can’t commit to perfectly. Our life needs a degree of flexibility so everything can fit into it.

Do we really want to be the “party pooper” who has to go to bed at 10:00 even when there are important functions to attend? Do we really want to be so inflexible with our eating that our husband can’t plan a special dinner? We can’t be invited to a potluck or barbecue? Life is short, we need to fit everything in, but everything does not need to be perfect. We can eat right most of the time, exercise most of the time, write our blog most of the time, practice our creativity most of the time or some of the time, whatever fits with our life. Where we make mistakes is when we think if we can’t do it just the way we think we should, then we won’t bother to do it at all.

So they tell us if we sit down and write every day we will write a novel in a year. So it takes us twelve years, are we a failure? I don’t think so. If we exercise some, eat better, make time for what feeds our soul, have time for laughter and socializing, enjoy time with our partner and children, do the work that keeps body and soul together, and make time for whatever other pursuits call to us. Isn’t that a great life? A messy, full, juggled, individual life, that fits us, that makes us who we want to be, feeds our soul, enriches our life, and the lives of our family.

Isn’t a vibrant, joyful life what we are after? Not what someone tells us would be perfect, and doable. What we can do, what we can fit in, what is most important to us. At different stages in our life, different things will be most important.

One of the things with the experts is they make us feel inadequate, how are they doing all that? We have many people who do great in one area of their life, but not so great in others. Comparisons are odious. We are individuals with individual lives, challenges, and aspirations. We need to make our life fit us; we need to make our dreams and aspirations come true. We need to find a way that works for us. It will not be like anyone else’s life.

We don’t see other people’s challenges most of the time. Don’t we compare the worst of ourselves to the best of someone else and find ourselves wanting.? We should quit doing this; don’t we need to be okay with good enough?  If we are good enough in enough areas we will have lives we are proud of. If we don’t have that life yet we have things to work on, but we will never have a perfect life.

One of the great things may be that there will always be some area of our life we can work on. We will have one more goal to reach, and one more mountain to climb.

Can we continue where we are? Can we live a life of few regrets? If not now, when?

Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves; the part that tells us that nothing we do will ever be good enough – that we should try harder. Julia Cameron

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The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life. Hardcover – Dec 4 2018

by Robin Sharma (Author) 4.0 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Becoming our self. It takes perseverance to build a great life, to become who we are to be.

It takes perseverance to build a great life, to become who we are to be. Becoming our self.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again. Abraham Maslow

Perseverance is what we need to develop if we are to succeed at anything. It is so easy to want to quit when the going gets hard. As I walked my dog this morning I wondered how many people have uttered, “I want a divorce.” Wishing they could take it back. How many of them have been able to take it back?

How many of us gave up interests, jobs, relationships we wish we’d pursued. How many of us looking back now realize life isn’t easy, and thinking it should be made us give up on pursuits and people.

Not every relationship should be continued, nor should we stay with every job or career. How do we know when we should stay and when we should go, when we should hold, and when we should fold? This is where discernment comes in. Sometimes we can’t get better while we stay where we are, and we can’t achieve greatness where we are by leaving.

Vince Lombardi said, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” Is clinging to an impossible dream wise? Haven’t many lives been wasted this way, or have they been well lived even if they didn’t attain what they wanted in the end? Isn’t the journey what is important?

Seth Godin says we should differentiate between two kinds of challenges. We all experience moments of doubt, when throwing in the towel is attractive. We need to discern are we in a dip or a cul de sac. This sounds like a good analogy, a dip would indicate going higher once we get through this tough part. A cul de sac would be going round and round but getting nowhere.

We need to ask ourselves hard questions when we are faced with hard decisions like ending marriages and businesses. Quitting a job seems like part of how we climb up the ladder so unless we are getting out of a field getting a new job may propel us toward our goals.

Do we need to ask ourselves some hard questions? What do we want out of life? Do we just want easier, is quitting likely to get us that? We may feel we are married to the most difficult person on the planet, but it is unlikely to be true. Time is the secret to long marriages, and getting through the dips is how they become long. Is making them happy our day to day challenge?

We need to calculate the cost of reaching our goal. If we continue on the road we are on, we are not on other roads. Would we rather be on other roads? Would success on this road not be as fulfilling as the journey on another road?

What is “that thing” that if we could fulfill our dreams it would be the one thing we have to do. How can we incorporate it into our lives? If we love to sing, but becoming a recording artist doesn’t seem in the cards, or isn’t even our dream, how can we make singing part of our life?

We could join a church choir, or a community choir, or both? Could we join a local band? We can sing lullabies to our children, and serenade our spouse. We could create a family ensemble even if we only sing at home. Could we put our songs on YouTube?

The most fortunate are those who have a wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder and even ecstasy. Abraham Maslow

We sometimes think it is only worthwhile doing something if it makes money. I laugh when people ask me if I make money from my blog. Not yet, but it isn’t only worth it if I get money. It might even be less worth it if a price was put on it. When we do things for the love of doing them, while we do other things that keep body and soul together we may have the best of both worlds.

Life should not be only about work, and money. If we create balance in our life with pursuits that pay us with money and pursuits that feed our soul. We may end up with the best lives.

Maybe we don’t need a goal for our singing if we can just find time to sing. Do we need a goal if we find time to write, paint, quilt, garden, walk, jog, mountain climb, swim, make wood carvings, etc?

Money is important, but only for what it can do for us. More money may be a little like getting more pets. The first pet filled an empty hole in our life. We keep trying to fill other empty holes with more pets or more money but it doesn’t work that way. We need to find what is missing in our life to fill the empty spaces.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Physiological needs  

These are biological requirements for survival, food, water, shelter, clothing, warmth, sex, sleep.

Safety needs

These are protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

Love and belonging

These are social and belonging needs, friendship, intimacy, trust, acceptance, receiving and giving affection and love, and being part of a group.

Esteem needs

Esteem for oneself, dignity, achievement, mastery, independence, respect, reputation, status, prestige.

Self-actualization needs

We desire to realize our personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences. It is our desire to become all that we are capable of becoming.

The more of these needs we can meet in our life, the happier and more fulfilled we will be according to Maslow.

A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be. Abraham Maslow

Thank you for reading this post. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope you will come back and read some more. Have a blessed day filled with gratitude and love.

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Becoming Hardcover – Nov 13 2018

by Michelle Obama (Author) 4.7 out of 5 stars 632 customer reviewsAmazon Charts#1 this week

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