Autodidact means self-taught. Self-taught people have done a lot for the world.

Self-taught people have done a lot for the world. Autodidact means self-taught.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities. Ludwig von Mises

Have you ever done something and come back to it later and wondered how did I do that? It happened to me yesterday in Canva, a free program for making book covers, posters, etc. It’s a great tool you can upload your own photos, or you can use stock photos. The problem with beautiful stock photos is other people think they are beautiful too, and they may end up on someone else’s project, and not just yours.

When I watched a short tutorial they taught me for the second time what I’d learned the first. There are so many tools out there to help us create, videos to watch, techniques to learn. It is easier than ever to become an autodidact. Susanne Somers was called this and had to look up what it meant, it means self-taught. Autodidacts are people who have a passion for lifelong learning and question the limits of formal education. Common characteristics of an autodidact are having the drive to know more than what is on the surface, and having a need for unrefined knowledge. Autodidacts come to their own conclusions about topics and gain perspective by hearing from multiple sources on a matter.

Many people have risen to great heights being self-taught. Benjamin Franklin, Anthony Robbins, Vincent Van Gogh, Mark Twain, Leonardo Da Vinci, The Wright brothers, Abraham Lincoln the list goes on and on. Much of our education is credentialing. Education gives us the credentials to pursue what we want.

Some things we need credentials for and some things we don’t. All the credentials in the world won’t make us able to write a more compelling novel or paint like Vincent Van Gogh.

Who can be self-taught? We all are to some degree. Everyone who learned something new had to be self-taught because there was no one to teach them what they didn’t know. All progress comes from someone saying why not, what if? Is there a better way?

If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got. Unknown

One of the characteristics of a self-taught person is they apply the knowledge they’ve gained in real-life situations. Self-taught individuals can choose any subject they find fascinating and learn more about it. One of the key characteristics of a great life is to continue learning and challenging ourselves to do better.

We will have to develop the discipline to be self-taught. No one will ask us if we did our homework, how we did on an exam, did we pass the course? We will focus on the aspects that interest us or are important in reaching our goal. There may be holes in our learning that the classically trained don’t have, but we may make up for it in passion.

Some say one of the great things about being self-taught is there is no cost of failure, there is always a cost of failure, but there are benefits as well. We learn to fail bigger, fail better.

Being self-taught often means we give ourselves a chance to do what we want in our spare time. We aren’t dependent on our learning for our livelihood.

As a self-taught person, we are autonomous students. Thinking for ourselves is important. We may look at things one way and when we learn something more, we look at things differently. This is growth. Often we remain more open and flexible in our thinking because we don’t know the answers.

Julian Assange is a self-taught computer genius. He didn’t know where his interest in computers would lead him. Most people don’t know where their lives will lead them but traditional education puts us on a path, and we follow the yellow brick road to a job, career, or calling. Self-taught people are often people in the wilderness, they don’t know what they want to do, and they are often round pegs, in square holes.

Something catches their interest and they focus on becoming very good at it. Sometimes they are financially rewarded for it, sometimes not. It doesn’t really matter because when we do something or learn something because we are interested in it, money is secondary.

Are you, or would you like to be an autodidact? Is it ever too late to learn something?

Being self-taught is no disgrace, but being self-certified is another matter. Hugh Nibley

Many people who excel are self-taught. Herb Ritts

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. Jim Rohn

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Mastery Kindle Edition

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500th blog post. Tapping into something bigger than ourselves.

Tapping into something bigger than ourselves. 500th blog post.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. Guy Kawasaki

It is with a grateful heart I post this 500th post. Thank you to everyone that has read my blog, liked, shared, commented, subscribed or encouraged me to continue blogging.  I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started. I didn’t know how much I would love blogging, what a sense of accomplishment I would feel, and how seeing my blog read in all corners of the world would warm my heart.

Word press is a great platform. It is easy to use, reliable and gives me stats on how many views, visitors, and where those visitors come from.

Before starting the blog I never used FaceBook and it has allowed me to reconnect with people from long ago, and I’ve connected with family I’ve never met.

It has taken a chunk of time each day to blog, and other things were put on hold. We can’t do everything, we have to make choices. Starting and continuing my blog is one of the choices I am proudest of. At this point in my life with grown children, my husband and I have choices to make about how we want to spend the rest of our lives.

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was writing. Here I am, I can finally call myself a writer. Sometimes I reread posts and think, I wrote that? Where did that come from? We tap into something when we sit down and create. Is it something we understand? Do we need to understand it, or do we just need to put ourselves in the situation to let whatever comes through us materialize? Is it a muse, higher power, a connection to something bigger than ourselves? Whatever it is, I believe it exists. Can we all tap into it? We won’t know if we don’t try.

Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours per week. Lori Greiner

I’ve written about things I want to know more about, learn, figure out, and improve. Life is a journey of self-discovery. We will never be finished, we will never know everything. Even when we think we know something there is more to know, a deeper level to excavate.

We don’t understand how our memory works, how intuition works, how inspiration works, but it works and makes our lives better if we use it. We don’t know what we don’t know, we don’t know what we have to learn, we don’t know what experiences will be our best teachers. If we can accept life with an open heart, find the silver lining in the tough lessons, and live in gratitude and wonder – what a life!

What a time to be alive. It is the best of times; it is the worst of times depending on our view. We have challenges, opportunities, and changes we must embrace. Don’t we have people of every stripe calling us to get on their bandwagon? Telling us we must believe what they believe, we must think what they think, or we are out of the group.

Do we know what the best things to do to fix things are.? We do know some things and if we do them things will be better for many. We can concentrate on the small things we each can do. If we work in our sphere of influence, can we let others work in theirs? If we all do something, maybe everything will get done? Like Mother Theresa said, “If we all swept our own doorstep the whole world would be clean.”

We are so good at knowing what others should do. We are not so good at knowing what we should do. We can only change ourselves. It is the person we least want to change. When we quit trying to do for others what they should be doing for themselves do they mostly step up? They might not step up in the way we want, they might not become the people we want them to become because they are not us.

We need to teach people to fish. We have to watch helping too much, we helped Africa with clothes donations so much, we killed their garment industry. Where else have we been this kind of help?

Do we like having others depend on us instead of helping them become independent? Does it make us feel important? How do we help people is a big question? What does real help look like?

Can we live our own life with courage, integrity, honesty? Can we give other people room to live theirs?

This journey started with one post. I hope you’ll come along with me as the journey continues. If you sit down with a cup of tea and read, I hope it’s worth your time and attention.

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning. Gloria Steinem

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt Disney

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. Albert Schweitzer

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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Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort of Joy Hardcover – Sep 9 2009

by Sarah Ban Breathnach (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 657 ratings


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It takes courage to live a life of integrity. Is courage the greatest virtue?

Is courage the greatest virtue? It takes courage to live a life of integrity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Theodore Roosevelt

Most of us want to live lives of integrity, what keeps us from doing so? We react in ways that are beneath us, but what is it that makes us lose our integrity. The wisdom of the ages tells us that we lose our integrity when we are reacting to or feeling any of these things: impatience, disappointment, desperation, aggression, hurt, loyalty, and power.

Impatience makes us give up on our dreams. We sometimes focus on the short term instead of the long term gain. Many people panic when the stock market fluctuates and they sell and lock in their loss, only to have the market rebound. Amazon went from around $100.00 around 2000 to $5.00 those who sold locked in their loss, but those who bought are seeing around $1800.00 a share. The wise have always taught us patience is a virtue. Through practice and discipline, we can develop patience.

Disappointment happens all the time. We go on a diet and we don’t see the results as quickly as we want. We start a business and we aren’t the success we thought we would be as quickly as we want. Those who succeed in life generally have to persevere, and most roads to success in anything are longer and harder than we thought they would be. If we are not disappointed occasionally maybe we aren’t reaching high enough. Disappointment is not a failure, it is a chance to learn what did not work. Sometimes it is working but it is slow, but haven’t we also been told that slow and steady wins the race?

You can choose courage, or you can choose comfort. But you cannot choose both. Unknown

Desperate people will take desperate measures. Sometimes desperate people take a small setback, challenge, or disappointment and turn it into something they can’t recover from. In every great story, there is a dark moment of the soul, when it looks like all is lost. The difference between the villain and the hero is often how they handle these moments. Will we handle our desperation well, will be the hero?

We get hurt all the time. We hear about people who are attacked because they made someone feel small and of no consequence. We have seen men get out of their vehicles at intersections to fight over what each said to the other. Some people deliberately say things to hurt someone to pick a fight. If we hit back they won, that is exactly what they wanted.  Sometimes we are hurt by people we love the most, will we make that the defining moment of our relationship or can we overlook, forgive, and heal the breach?

Loyalty sounds good until the test of loyalty is to do something wrong, illegal, or immoral. When loyalty is chosen over truth, corruption is always near. Sometimes the only way to live in truth is to confess to small transgression so someone can’t hold them over our head to make us commit bigger ones. We must be able to tell the truth, even when a lie would be more convenient, or get us into less trouble. What if the truth gets our loved ones in trouble? Are we still wrong if we say nothing?

The temptation of power. We’ve all heard the saying “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We sometimes believe that everyone who gets power has lied, cheated, and stepped on others. Do we say this to justify doing it if we ever get the chance to have power? Is it true that we become more of who we are with power, the evil become more evil, the good more good, the generous more generous, the loving more loving?

We will have opportunities in our lives to be the best or the worst? We will probably not always make the right decision. Can we get through life and look ourselves in the mirror and know most of the time we made the best choice for the greatest amount of people? We lived with courage, discipline, integrity, wisdom, and treated people with kindness, respect, and love? Do we have the courage to live a life of integrity?

A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. Douglas McArthur

You will never do anything in this world without courage; it is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor. Unknown

I do not care so much what I am to others as I care what I am to myself. Unknown

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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The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power Hardcover – Oct 28 2014

by Brendon Burchard (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 884 ratings


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Living a life of integrity. Wisdom is knowing what to do, and virtue is doing it.

Wisdom is knowing what to do, and virtue is doing it. Living a life of integrity.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Integrity is choosing your thoughts and actions based on values rather than personal gain. Unknown

Today I am reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard, The Six Practices of Integrity. He tells us wisdom is knowing who to be and what to do in a given situation, virtue is acting on that wisdom.

Don’t we all know we should be thoughtful, kind, loving, and happy people, but do we choose to be all those things every day? Is this difference between knowing and doing what causes most of our problems in life? When we don’t stand for our virtue and values do we lose a slice of ourselves? When we do stand up for our virtues and values do we add to the character we are building?

If we are going to stand up for virtue and values we will have to choose our practices wisely. The first practice of integrity is to think before we act. If we are to ponder and think about every decision, and every action before we do it, will we get anything done? If we create good habits that support our values and virtues can we spend our decisions on other important areas?

The second practice of integrity is to never commit to something when we lack passion. Life may be meant to be a passionate love affair with our work, our faith, and those we are blessed to know, care for, and serve. But, can we be passionate about everything we need to do? Or does he mean in the bigger sense? We were passionate when we agreed to get married and now are not so passionate about all the mundane things that entail, but passion led us down the path we are on. Most of us were passionate when we decided to become parents, and we spend our lives being the best parents we can be, most of the time.

The third practice is to keep our word. We must do what we said we would do. This practice is one of the most important if we are to be true, noble, and trustworthy.

Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. Roy T.  Bennett

The fourth practice is to always treat others with respect. Almost all suffering in personal relationships comes from a lack of respect. Do we understand what respecting others means? Respect does not mean we necessarily approve of what someone else thinks, but we respect their right to think and speak. Respect means we see others as doing the best they can with the hand that was dealt them, and we believe when they know better they will do better. When we see the divinity in others we never invite disrespect into our lives by projecting disrespect onto theirs.

The fifth practice is telling the truth. How many problems are caused by lying? To lie to oneself or to others is to wound ourselves. We must not chip away at our integrity one small lie at a time.

The sixth practice is to always favor action. We must do the thing we think we cannot do. The less we act, the less integrity we have within ourselves. The less we trust ourselves, know ourselves, and love ourselves. To have integrity we must take action that supports our desires and values.

It is through these practices we will build our life, and it is in the day to day failure of maintaining them that cause most of our suffering. The better practices we have in our life, the better our life will be.

The people we admire are people who embodied virtue and wisdom. We can have good practices and be virtuous and wise. We can be strong, proud, and respectable, all we have to do is make living a life of integrity our lifelong practice. This does not mean we have to be perfect; perfection is the enemy of the good.

Life is for learning, and as we learn better can we do better?

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. Confucius

Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do. Don Galer

No matter how educated, talented, rich, or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all. Integrity is everything. Unknown

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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The Motivation Manifesto: 9 Declarations to Claim Your Personal Power Hardcover – Oct 28 2014

by Brendon Burchard (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 882 ratings


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Fasting for physical and spiritual health. Is this the best practice we could take up for the new decade?

Fasting for spiritual and physical health. Is this the best practice we could take up for the new decade?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

The best of all medicine is resting and fasting. Benjamin Franklin

This morning I woke up knowing I could have breakfast. Yesterday was a 24-hour fast day. It was my first fast day of the New Year. I started out with bone-broth fasts in August. My weight went up when I fasted with bone broth. I tried it a couple more times and every time my weight went up. Is this something others have experienced?

Now I do a 24 hour fast from 6:00 pm in the evening to 6:00 pm the next evening with black coffee, herbal tea, and water. Monday is my preferred fast day, and Thursday if I want to do two in a week. Monday is also a gym night so after eating dinner to break the fast I went to the gym. Working out was no harder than usual.

This is an experiment and I will experiment with one and two days fasting. People have been fasting forever and they must have seen benefits from doing it or they wouldn’t have continued the practice.

There is a side effect, and one does have to watch interacting with people as our tempter can become very short, and we fly off the handle over little things. I think this is why I gave up the practice years ago. When my boyfriend, now husband, said, “You need to eat something.”

Fasting is the first principle of medicine; fast and see the strength of the spirit reveal itself. Rumi

Fasting has many benefits and Dr. Gundry of The Longevity Paradox promotes it as one of the tools we have that can add life to our years, and years to our life.

8 Health Benefits of Fasting Backed by Science.

Taken from the Healthline blog written by Rachael Link MS, RD

Fasting promotes blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance.

Fasting promotes better health by fighting inflammation.

Fasting may enhance heart health by improving blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

Fasting may boost brain function and prevent neurodegenerative disorders. A study in mice showed intermittent fasting for 11 months improved both brain function and brain structure.

Fasting aids weight loss by limiting calorie intake and boosting metabolism. Fasting was found to be more effective than calorie restriction at increasing fat loss while simultaneously preserving muscle tissue.

Fasting increases growth hormone secretion, which is vital for growth, metabolism, weight loss and muscle strength.

Fasting could delay aging and extend longevity. In one study where rats fasted every other day they experienced a delayed rate of aging and lived 83% longer than rats that didn’t fast.

Fasting may aid in cancer prevention and increase the effectiveness of chemotherapy.

For me longevity is good, but adding life to our years, not just years is the goal. One of my gurus is Suzanne Somers I first started her way of eating about twenty years ago. It is from her that I learned starches and fat are what puts on weight. We can eat all the starch we want without fat and we won’t gain weight. We can eat all the fat and protein we want without the starch and we won’t gain weight.

Some of our favorite foods are bombs made of fat and starch. She was just on the Dr. Oz show looking fabulous. Her husband is 83 and looks healthy and fit, and enjoying life. He says many of his friends are not as healthy as he is.

Are we what we eat? Do we need to find out what works for us? Can we be our own control board? If we experiment can we find out how to be healthy and fit? There isn’t one size that fits all, or maybe there is but we don’t want to be that restricted all of the time.

My goal is to find practices that work for me so I can be fit and healthy, with some indulgences here and there.

Is fasting something we should all practice?

Fasting is a cleansing agent for the body and the soul. Muslim quote

I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency. Plato

Fasting cures diseases, dries up bodily humors, puts demons to flight, gets rid of impure thoughts, makes the mind clearer and the heart purer, the body sanctified, and raises man to the throne of God. Athenaeus

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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A New Way to Age: The Most Cutting-Edge Advances in Antiaging Hardcover – Jan 7 2020

by Suzanne Somers (Author) #1 Best Seller in Gerontology


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Listening to our intuition. Can listening to our intuition guide us to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life?

Can listening to our intuition guide us to a healthier, happier, more fulfilling life? Listening to our intuition.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Trust your hunches. They’re usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level. Joyce Brothers

Do we use our intuition? Do we all have intuition, is it a real thing? We get a gut feeling and if we follow it, we may meet someone important in our life. I know a woman, who said she didn’t want to go to a party, but she did and she met her husband. Dating and marriage are some of the areas we use intuition the most.

Steve Jobs said intuition was more powerful than intellect. Sophy Burnham author of The Art of Intuition tells us intuition is different from thinking, it’s different from logic or analysis…It’s knowing without knowing.

Ariana Huffington wrote in her book Thrive:                                                                       

Even when we’re not at a fork in the road, wondering what to do and trying to hear that inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way. But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life.

People who listen to their intuition do these. things:

They listen to that inner voice rather than ignore it. How many of us have heard the inner voice and dismissed it? Sophy Burnham says she has yet to meet a successful business person that didn’t say. “I don’t know why I did that, it was just a hunch.”

They take time for solitude. Taking time to be alone can lead to greater creativity and it can also help us to connect to our intuition and deepest inner wisdom. We won’t recognize our intuition in the midst of craziness; we will have to have a quiet moment to hear the still, small voice.

They take time to create. Creativity does its best work when it functions intuitively. Carla Woolf says, “Many creative people are highly intuitive. Creativity may boost our intuition.”

Being mindful helps us tune into our intuition. “Mindfulness can help you filter out mental chatter, weigh your options objectively, tune into your intuition and ultimately make a decision that you can stand behind completely.” Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute.

Intuitive people listen to their bodies, their gut feeling. Research suggests that emotion and intuition are rooted in our “second brain” our gut.

They connect deeply with others. Mind reading is called empathic accuracy, a psychology term that means, “A seemingly magical ability to map someone’s mental terrain from their words, emotions, and body language.”

Intuitive people pay attention to their dreams. Our dreams can tell us things about our lives. When we listen we end up living a better life.

Intuitive people take time to relax. Nothing stifles intuition like multitasking, being connected to our devices, and being stressed and burnt-out.

Intuitive people pay attention to what is going on around them.

They let go of negative emotions. We feel not ourselves and out of sorts when we are upset or negative emotions take over our lives. When we are depressed, intuition falls, and when we are angry or in a heightened emotional state our intuition may fail us completely.

Do we all have intuition? How do we tap into it? How do we know we are listening to intuition or fear?

How To Tell Fear From Intuition from Emotional Freedom Judith Orlof, M.D.

Signs of a Reliable Intuition

·  Conveys information neutrally, unemotionally

·  Feels right in your gut

·  Has a compassionate, affirming tone

·  Gives crisp, clear impressions that are “seen” first, then felt

·  Conveys a detached sensation like you’re in a theater watching a movie

Signs of an Irrational Fear

·  Is highly emotionally charged

·  Has cruel, demeaning, or delusional content

·  Conveys no gut-centered confirmation or on-target feeling

·  Reflects past psychological wounds

·  Diminishes centeredness and perspective

Some people are so empathic they pick up on other people’s feelings and fears as if they are their own. One way to determine if we are feeling our own fear or intuition is to move at least twenty feet away from people, if the feeling goes away we were picking up on their fears.

Is intuition part of our life, should it be, can we rely on it? How do we develop it?

I believe in intuitions and inspirations. I sometimes feel that I am right. I do not know that I am. Albert Einstein

Never apologize for trusting your intuition – your brain can play tricks, your heart can blind, but your gut is always right. Unknown

Follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Steve Jobs

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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Practical Intuition: How to Harness the Power of Your Instinct and Make It Work for You Paperback – Sep 29 1997

by Laura Day (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 70 ratings


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The power of focus. We get what we focus on, are we focusing on what we want?

We get what we focus on, are we focusing on what we want? The power of focus.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you go to work on your goals, your goals will go to work on you. Jack Canfield

Yesterday was an all-day Toastmasters event preparing us for contest season and club visits. A lot of work is put into making these events a success. There is a lot of work put into making anything a success.

Sometimes when we need to focus on something, other also important things pop up to demand our attention. Often other opportunities show up that if we take them will derail us from completing what we are committed to finishing.

I am at the point where I have to say no to distractions that sound interesting, and would be a great opportunity or what I am focusing on won’t get completed.

Last night I went down to my art studio instead of editing my novel. I haven’t been down there in quite a while, and my brain couldn’t handle editing after being at a conference all day. Playing with color was a nice outlet.

For this next little while, I’m going to have to guard my time so I don’t commit to things that take the focus off editing. We often fantasize that we would get more done if we could focus only on the one thing we want to do. Then we get that opportunity and other things, fun things, social things, take up that time.

The results of your bad habits usually don’t show up until much later in life. Jack Canfield

A couple of hours a day of focus will get more done than a week of free time with no focus on what we need to do. They often say if you want something done, give it to a busy person. We have to be careful we don’t say yes to do things for other people and not get done what we are doing for ourselves.

Ten tips to help us focus:

Think about what we want “vividly.” We have to name it, to claim it.

Be grateful in advance. By becoming grateful in advance we train ourselves to look for the good in every situation.

Learn to be ruthless with our time. We need to eliminate as much as we can the time spent on tasks that don’t meet our goals (and still live our lives being and doing for those we love).

Create layers of focus. Do the hard stuff and reward ourselves with easy, fun stuff.

Pay attention to how we are eating. We need to be healthy to achieve our goals.

Devise a bedtime routine. We need to get out sleep to be healthy and have the energy to focus on our goals.

Clear our clutter. When we clear the clutter from our homes, offices, we also clear it from our mind and our life and it is easier to focus on what is important.

Reward yourselves. We need to not be a hard taskmaster. Can we enjoy life, enjoy our family, and our friends while we reach our goals? If we give our self a reward when we reach a mini-goal, will this help us stay on track and keep focused on our end goal?

Focus on our spouse if we are lucky enough to have one. Make sure they feel loved, appreciated, respected, and desired. What if we get to our goal but we lose the love of our life in the process? What if we can reach our goals and improve our relationships at the same time?

Focus on our posture. We can focus on our posture when we are standing, pull in our stomach, straighten our shoulders, keep our spine straight, and put a smile on our face.

We will get out of life what we focus on. The choice we get to make is what that focus will be. If we get what we are focusing on will we be happy? Is there something better we should be focusing on?

A goal that is not measured is just wishful thinking. Jack Canfield

Life doesn’t just happen to you. It’s all about choices and how you respond to every situation. Jack Canfield

Expect the unexpected. Focus on what you can control and acknowledge what is out of your control. Jack Canfield

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The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Confidence and Certainty Paperback – Jun 3 2013

by Mark Victor Canfield, Jack,Hansen (Author) 4.2 out of 5 stars 19 ratings


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Could focusing on one word this year change our lives? What word would you choose?

What word would you choose? Could focusing on one word this year change our lives?

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still. Chinese Proverb

Last night at Toastmasters we didn’t have any speakers. We did two sessions of impromptu speaking. Our fearless leader of Table Topics (impromptu speaking for one to two minutes) gave us the topic. It’s December 31st of our current year. She asked about what happened this year, she asked questions we were to respond to as if the year was already over.

What if instead of resolutions this is what we should do. Write out what we want to happen as if it has already happened. A prophecy, blueprint for how to spend our time to make what we see as the highlight of the year become reality.

One woman a guest reflected on last night and joining Toastmasters as life-changing for her. It made me think about what I want to accomplish this year.

There are other concepts for deciding on changes we want to make and one is to choose a word, just one word that will change our life.

To find our word we are to ask ourselves three vital questions.

What do I need? (Not want, but need.)

What’s in my way?

What has to go?

We may think first about what we want (a few million dollars, a perfect body, or world acclaim for an accomplishment).

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. Robin Williams

I’m looking at a blog by Minda Zetlin A Single Word Can Change Your Life in 2018. Here’s How. She started using one word in 2016 and she chose “connect” because she and her husband had moved across the country and they were feeling lonely and isolated.

In 2017 she and her husband were grieving the loss of a close friend so she chose “now”. She says she was going to choose “joy” but just as the authors promised a word came to her she didn’t expect and that was “now”. For her living in the now, was a reminder that life is short and we aren’t promised tomorrow. We need to quit putting things off.

In 2018 for awhile she thought she would choose “yes” but “open” is the word that hit her like a wrecking ball. She had to stay open to the process of life.

What is the word that I would choose if I was to concentrate on one word for the year? The word that comes to mind is “gratitude,” to be grateful for everything in my life.

Words are powerful, and choosing one word to focus on seems like an elegant idea. We may choose a symbol to remind us of our word. When I look outside at the sunrise it makes me think of how grateful I am for another day with all those I love.  The gratitude I feel for health, abundance, peace, love, security, family, friends, opportunity, and everything in my life.

As each year goes by we will have a string of words we have brought into our lives that will change us for the better. What a beautiful concept. What will your word for this year be?

The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. Albert Einstein

Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

When words are both true and kind, they can change the world. Budha

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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One Word That Will Change Your Life, Expanded Edition Hardcover – Oct 28 2013

by Jon Gordon (Author), Dan Britton (Author), Jimmy Page (Author) 4.5 out of 5 stars 242 ratings


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Create good habits. Good habits are an investment in ourselves.

Good habits are an investment in ourselves. Create good habits.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

If you believe you can change – if you make it a habit – the change becomes real. Charles Duhigg

Every morning I sit down to my blog and wonder what do I have to say today? What question is whirling around my mind, what conundrum do I need to solve? As I near my 500th post how much I’ve had to say has surprised me.

For everyone that has read my posts thank you. I’ve received some feedback and I appreciate it. If I’ve made anyone think then I’ve accomplished my purpose. Last night my son was telling my daughter and her study partner not to be afraid to invest in themselves.

This is excellent advice. What does investing in ourselves look like? Isn’t investing in ourselves just another way of saying – create good habits?

We invest in ourselves when we read good books and educate ourselves.

We invest in ourselves when we manage our money well.

We invest in ourselves when we eat good nourishing food.

We invest in ourselves when we exercise and keep ourselves fit.

We invest in ourselves when we learn new things, and accomplish new things.

We invest in ourselves when we look after our health and wellness.

We invest in ourselves when we invest for retirement.

We invest in ourselves when we pay for services that help us.

Investing and nurturing ourselves falls into four categories. Creating good habits in these areas will pay dividends throughout our lives.

Habits stay with you even when you don’t have the motivation. Neeraj Agnihotri

Developing our skills

This may be getting the credentials we need. It may also mean learning how to do things we want to do through books, classes, online tutorials. Reading, finding a mentor and becoming a mentor may change our lives in ways we can’t imagine.

Joining a group like Toastmasters or any other self-development group may be life-changing.

Finding a group of likeminded people may help us meet our goals. There are many to choose from.

Exploring our creative side

Are we tapping into our creativity, is it feeding our soul? We may think we don’t have time to be creative but cooking is creative and we have to eat. Decorating our home is creative and we have to live somewhere. Maybe our creativity could be turned into a business?

Nurturing our mind and body

We are what we eat. If we don’t use it we lose it, so we need to eat right and move.

We need to take care of ourselves. We feel better when we look better. We need to gild our lily.

Managing our resources.

If we don’t keep some of what we earn to invest we will never have anything. There are many books, videos, programs, etc. to help us manage our money.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds nought and six, result misery. Charles Dickens

It doesn’t matter how much money we make, it matters what the difference is between what we spend, and what we make.

One of the biggest problems self-employed people have is they no longer have a steady paycheck, it fluctuates and this makes managing money harder. What also makes it harder is our income tax isn’t deducted at source – but it is still owed.

We need to be our own control board as we go through life. A good life is built on good habits. Do we lament we don’t have enough discipline, but isn’t the problem we haven’t created good habits that automate our life in a good way?

Developing good habits looks after most of our life. Do we use discipline to brush our teeth in the morning? No, it’s a habit, and we wouldn’t feel right if we didn’t do it. This is the power of habit. Isn’t the best thing we can do is to develop good habits in all areas of our life, to improve all areas of our life?

What habit, if we started it today, would change our life for the better?

A man who can’t bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them. Stephen King

We become what we repeatedly do. Sean Covey

Sow a thought, and you reap an act. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit, and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny. Samuel Smiles

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change Paperback – Special Edition, Nov 19 2013

by Stephen R. Covey (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 6,835 ratingsAmazon Charts #6 this week


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Meaning and purpose may give us happiness. If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose. What if we only have happiness and we lose it?

If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose. What if we only have happiness and we lose it? Meaning and purpose may give us happiness.

Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas

Purpose is what gives life a meaning. Charles H. Perkhurst

Yesterday we were listening to a young woman talking about meaning and happiness. She was referencing Jordan Peterson’s book 12 Rules for Life. She has come away with the idea that we should pursue meaning instead of happiness. When we pursue meaning and purpose we often get happiness, but if we pursue happiness we won’t necessarily get meaning and purpose. If we lose happiness we will still have meaning and purpose, but if all we pursue is hedonistic happiness and we lose it, what are we left with? Happiness is fleeting if it is not tied to meaning and purpose.

Having a life filled with meaning and purpose with great moments of joy and happiness is my idea of a great life. This is what parents get. They don’t have happier lives in the hedonistic sense, but they have meaning and purpose knowing they brought life into the world, nurtured it and helped it grow. They stand on the sidelines and watch their child perform and are filled with joy, happiness, meaning, and purpose even if it is only moments before crying or fighting starts. Are parents more satisfied with their life than non-parents? I would say yes.

The first half of our life is the time to devote to finding meaning and purpose. The first half of our life is when we get ready to create the livelihood we will use to raise our family. It is when we will meet our partner and we will start our family. These are the most important choices we will make; they will provide most of our meaning and purpose, and maybe most of our happiness.

Higher levels of stress and anxiety are linked to meaning and purpose but not happiness. Meaning comes from what we give to other people; happiness may often come from what they give to us.

Surprisingly we seek health, wealth, and ease which are important to happiness but not to meaning and purpose. Happiness focuses on the present where meaning and purpose focus on the past, present, and future. We reap the benefit of the rewards from the first half of our life in the second half. If we made great career choices the second half may benefit. We may love being a grandparent more than being a parent.

A meaningful life is not about being rich, being popular, being highly educated, or being perfect. It’s about being real, being humble, being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. Unknown

If we find a way to bring creativity and self-expression into our life this may lead to meaning and purpose more than happiness.

I was reading an article about a woman, whose grandmother was well educated, got married and had children late, her mother did the same, and the woman who wrote the article did the same. Her daughter says she is not following the same pattern. She wants to have her children young so they can know their grandparents as much as possible and she can enjoy her grandchildren as much as possible.

Last night my son was telling me he’s figured out why we women are so miserable. I’m not so sure we are so miserable but let’s go with his premise. We women are born with all of our potential and purpose – we can’t achieve more than our biological destiny which is to bring new life into the world. We don’t raise our value by outside accomplishments, because what is more important than bringing new life into the world?

Men, on the other hand, have to prove their worth to be chosen to procreate, and the more they accomplish in life the more women they have to choose from. Whereas women have more choice of better men the younger and more beautiful they are, not how accomplished they are.

This only seems to be true if women want to get married really young, where they would choose older accomplished men to marry. Most men don’t seem to want to get married really young, many women don’t want to get married really young either. Getting married in their mid to late twenties appears to work for both sexes, giving them time to have children and build a life.

There may be some truth to what my son says, but not as much as he wants to believe. We, women, do need to make children our priority in our youth, and choosing a good man to partner up with is good. Is it really true that women trade beauty and youth for materially successful men or do we mostly marry someone we are compatible with and build a life?

When we have a choice, and we make good choices, we will mostly live a good life. If we prioritize meaning and purpose over hedonistic pleasure will we be more satisfied with our lot in life over the years?

Are we pursuing hedonistic pleasure, or meaningfulness and purpose, which will often give us happiness?

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away. David Viscott

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Brene Brown

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

by Jordan B. Peterson (Author) 4.6 out of 5 stars 7,819 ratingsAmazon Charts #5 this week


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