Thursday, April 25, 2013

Everything is Not Always as it Seems

I remember when I would blog about Lance Armstrong being a cheater YEARS before he was forced to come out and admit that he was a cheater. For years, I took a beating from heated debates on facebook, social media, and email. Whenever I brought it up, people were instantly defensive about his innocence. It was like I was attacking them, and not Lance Armstrong.

But in a way, to them, I was. Let me explain...

When I am convinced I am right about something, there is very little that can change my mind. I become stubborn in my opinion and if someone questions it, I will defend it like it's my belief system on the line; Because I don't want to be wrong. If I'm wrong, I will feel stupid. If I'm stupid, I'll look bad, and no one will listen to a word I say. -And that very well could be my worst fear in life. So I will defend my opinion or belief because it's my identity of who I am, and what I believe is on the line.

Yet, I'm clear that I don't know everything, and even more importantly, I don't HAVE to know everything. I've learned that it's ok to say, "I don't know" without feeling stupid, ignorant or dumb. Yet, I rarely ever did that. I always looked at it as a sign of weakness from myself. I used to say, "Fake it till ya make it!" and try and strong suit my way through the conversation.

So now take for example the Boston Marathon Bombings. I don't know what the hell is going on. I'm just not in the know of being able to intelligently talk about the circumstances. In fact, whatever information I receive, already has a view placed on it from the person whom I heard it from, and what their view is on it. Seeing that when something happens, we all have a different view on the SAME exact happening. Every person will have a different spin on what they thought they saw. So who is right?

So can I really rely on credible news that tells me just after something has happened that this is the absolute truth? How the hell do I know if these 2 brothers were the only ones involved. They took in Lee Harvey Oswald and to this day, he is historically recorded with assassinating JFK. Yet, we all know that he didn't act alone, despite what the US Government would have you believe.

My opinion is that I don't believe that these 2 brothers acted alone. There are just too many things that don't add up in my hearing of the story, and just like that intuition of Lance Armstrong, I can't prove it, yet I have that same feeling that something stinks.

And who knows, we may never know who did this. Just the same way that we are waiting 4 more years until the JFK files are de-classified so as to make sure that everyone from that era is dead before the "real" truth comes out and alters history again.

So for now, it just works for me to not believe the reporters about 9/11, the Kennedy assassination, The Boston Marathon Bombings just as I didn't believe that Lance Armstrong was clean despite never failing a single drug test in decades of competition. In short, I will wait and not post things like "We got him!" Not until this man has his day in court, and due process gets completed to get a bigger scope of something we know nothing about, yet want to believe.

Just like people wanted to believe that Lance Armstrong was innocent.

And why? Just like John Travolta said in the movie "Swordfish", sometimes, everything is not always as it seems.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Entitlement vs. Gratitude; How it Affects our Youth

Have you ever come across someone who you called "High Maintenance," "Spoiled," "Entitled," or sometimes just plain old "Rude"?

Sounds like the person that you were talking or relating with, has a visible or non-visible entitlement issue. You know the kind I'm talking about? These people just expect it to be about them, nothing is ever good enough, they always expect more, and when there is no "more" to give, they complain about it, or are never satisfied with it. Either way, it's exhausting to be that way, and it's especially exhausting to be around anyone that way.

And yet, I feel that society seems to breed these people. It seems to me that we are living in the most entitled age because everything seems to come so easy. There is high speed Internet, smart phones, GPS, drugs, and information to just about anything is literally at your fingertips and you don't have to wait very long to get what you are searching for. It's not like you have to walk into a library anymore on the hours that it's open, go to the card catalogue, find the section of what book you are looking for and then read them. Yet, if you were born before 1980, that's probably how you grew up.

That's just so outdated now that most people today wouldn't know what a "card catalogue" is, or what the Dewey Decimal system was.

So to me it seems that with all the modern technology, we, our society, and certainly our youth have become entitled.

Let me tell you why I think that entitlement is cancerous. Entitlement actually tears away from being thankful or having gratitude. In fact, I would almost call them opposites. When you are feeling entitled, you expect certain things, and when you don't get what it is that you want, you feel that you are being denied the basics of what your belief system tells you.

On the other hand when you have gratitude, you actually are more present in the moment about how appreciative you are for the things you DO have. This takes you away the loss, resentment, or frustration from the feeling that you are being denied of what you think you are entitled to. You are instead left with a feeling of gratitude for whatever it is you chose to be grateful for.

These two different views are so different that it seems that we live in different worlds. The world of entitlement means that you are always let down, exhausted, frustrated, pouty, resentful, angry or upset.

Conversely, the world of gratitude is one of inner peace, of being present to the good things in life, happiness and abundance and most of all, peace of mind.

Yet when I fly on an airplane, or sit in a line at a bank, or watch a movie in a movie theatre with disruptive people, I see the entitlement all around me. Hell, I see it in myself most of all! I have to catch myself all the time to remind myself of why I am feeling entitled and notice that it comes from me, and not my environment. Catching this insight has given me a new outlook and a much more manageable view because I have enrolled myself in peace of mind instead of pissing into the wind and then wondering why I always get pissed on.

When I see our youth not able to see and appreciate the convenience that we have these days because they have known nothing different, I am reminded when my parents or grandparents used to tell me of slide rules, before the calculator, and how easy I have it now compared to when they grew up. No doubt they looked at me and thought I was spoiled because they had it much harder than I did growing up. I guess that it a fair view, and I see every generation growing and advancing that way.

But for once, it would be nice to see our youth grow up being present to what great things the world has offered them, and how appreciative they should be because of it.

Adding gratitude to your life will make it more manageable and you will have more peace of mind in any situation if you chose to.

Otherwise, you are welcome to remain in the world of entitlement with all the needy, high maintenance, whiny, self-absorbed people.

It's always your choice...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Seeing the Beauty in You Before You See it in Yourself

I saw a really bad movie the other day called, "The Matador." It was really awful, but there was a great monologue in it that really moved me because I think a lot of us have a person in our lives that comes along at the perfect time when we least expected it and believed in us, even when we didn't believe in ourselves.

Here's the quote:

"When I was first in high school, I told you they made fun of me? They called me 'Hippo Hips' and 'Plate of Beans', the works. And even though I did basketball and chorus, and I had a few friends and acted strong... I never was. -Because I believed them always, every last cruel word. And I always thought I would believe them.

Until I met you.

You arrived and you told me that I was pretty. You told me I was sexy and for the first time, I believed it..."

Thank God for people like this in our lives, that love us and see greatness in us, before we can even recognize it in ourselves.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Where Have Our Great Leaders Gone?

Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth on this day in history in 1865, a mere 5 days after Confederate General Robert E Lee surrendered Southern forces at the Appomattox Court House in Richmond, Virginia, ending the United States Civil War.

On April 15, 1865 Lincoln succumbed to his wound and died early in the morning, and Secretary of State Edwin Stanton said, "Now he belongs to the ages."

Lincoln is one, if not the most beloved President and leader in the history of the United States. For many reasons I feel that his story is the most amazing and remarkable, so I look to the example of Abraham Lincoln as the model in which we look at our leadership in present day.

I feel that our leadership has fallen desperately short of any greatness in the past 40 years, and I'm not hesitant to say so. We seem to lack the ability to create greatness in men and women who are capable of leading us to the promised land that we all seek. Our leadership is dividing a country, and not uniting it as great leaders do. Great leadership starts with character and example, and then follows through with declarations and actions. Courage and confidence enable this to unite the country together and move forward to a common cause.

Still, I have seen very few examples on the world stage over the years that would dictate this. Surely there were great leaders in our history, yet there haven't been enough of them when it mattered most. The great leaders who did step up and took control were great in the moment, yet we seemed to have not continued their legacy, and it slowly died off waiting for the next "great" leader to resume control.

Charisma is something that oozes out of every great leader. You may not like their message or point of view, or agree with what they believe in, yet you cannot deny that they are great leaders. Great leaders inspire by getting ordinary people to do extraordinary things. They lift us up and give us hope and confidence, even if we don't always agree with what they are saying. We develop faith in what they say or do because they actually say what they do, and they DO what they say.

Yet, there seems to be a lack of leadership at our highest levels that can lead like this. Every election, I feel like I am voting for the lesser of 2 evils. I'm not sold on either leader, and I can't believe that my country has made it possible that it has not presented THE ABSOLUTE 2 or 3 BEST CANDIDATES we have to offer.

It is my guess that there are great leaders, but they are the CEO's of giant corporations, and making millions of dollars. The call to service, and the stresses and burdens it brings are not attractive enough to have them step up for the love of country. For whatever reason, while I feel that there should be an overload of great leaders, there is not. This is evident in the apathatic reaction to our leaders because we just don't seem to care enough in a united stance.

Still, I hopefully await the leaders that we will adore, and that we can refer to as a person who now "belongs to the ages."

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mighty Mouse in My House

I recently have noticed that I have traces of mice in my house. Well, this is just a pain in the ass.

So you do your due-deligence in trying to rid yourself of the little scamps, and buy some traps. Not exactly a nice way to play, but these rodents don't respect the rules of the house which are, "Anything with more hands and legs than me, or crawling on all fours are not welcome."

So Day 1, I set the trap using peanut butter. Sticky, sweet and usually attractive to mice. I set the trap with such a hairtrigger that I almost snap off my fingers twice laying it down.

I check the trap the following morning, and the mouse has licked the trap dry of the peanut butter and it hasn't gone off.

The score: Mouse 1, Chuck 0 at the end of the first period of play.

Day 2, I use cheese. I figured this is the catcher for sure. I smeared that cheese on good and tight on the trap, set it and waited for the poor bastard to eat it.

I check the trap the following morning and the mouse has again licked the trap dry of the cheese and it hasn't gone off.

The score: Mouse 2, Chuck 0 at the end of the second period.

I'm amazed at this point to tell you the truth. I check the trap to see how come it's not going off and I almost take my finger off yet again! I get distracted and forget to reload the trap and put it back where it was.

I wake up the next morning and remembered that I didn't bait the trap so I go to look at it, and the mouse has left a litter of his own shit surrounding the trap INCLUDING shitting ON the trap

Final Score: Mouse 3, Chuck 0

What a cheeky little bastard! Still, the sassy little thing has Moxsy!

I don't know whether to kill him now, or have a drink with him...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Causing Happiness In Your Children

I was talking with a friend the other day about having "Daddy Issues." It seems to me that many more people have "Daddy Issues", both men and women, than we have "Mommy Issues."

I wonder why that is?

In listening to hundreds, if not thousands of people over the past few years, it seems to me that we all want and fight for our father's approval than we do for our mother's. Maybe this is because a mother's love is generally more unconditional than a father's love is. Men are generally "problem solvers." We listen in order to "fix" or "solve" issues and conditions. We do this with our view, or belief in how things work in our own lives. Yet, the way that works for us rarely works for everyone else. Yet because we think that our view is workable in our life, we tend to think that it should work for everyone; and we all know that this just isn't the case.

So my message today is this. As a parent, we only have one purpose for our kids.

That THEY are happy.

The way that our children are going to do things is going to be different than our way. They are going to make mistakes, just like we did in growing up, and its important to not prevent them from learning these lessons. We tend to have the view that we "don't want our kids to have to grow up like we did" yet each generation has different issues, and it always has its own process on how to get there.

Yet, if we allow our kids to be who they are, and not try to control HOW they are, it gives them the world of freedom to develop their own life path and their own process which works for them. Instead of having to use the outdated belief system that we use, and arrogantly think should work for them and everyone else, we give them the ability to trust themselves and gain their own workability which gives them our unconditional support, education, experience, and life lessons.

Too many times in our lives, we have looked to our parents and chastised them for not being what we wanted them to be. Too controlling, too smothering, too loving, too vacant, and the story goes on. Our parents raised us in the way that worked for them based on how their parents raised them, and tried to do a better job focusing on their own view of how they would have like to have been raised.

But their view wasn't our view. And our view isn't our kid's view.

So why not let our children have their own view, and give up the controlling aspects that we as parents do? I really don't care how my daughter does things in her life, as long as she does them in a way that work for her. I know that someday, she will learn and move forward with confidence in her own beliefs and abilities that will work for her, and this will make her a happier person. I also know that my daughter using my belief system and wanting to impress me, will not give her her own voice which she needs to be the best she can be. I will be impressed on her finding the way that best works for her, even if it doesn't, or wouldn't work for me. In other words, I don't need her to do things MY WAY in order to be impressed, I want her to do it her way because it works better for her.

That's really what we want as parents for our kids, right? I want my daughter to be happy. When we are happy in life, things work better for us. Life won't be perfect, yet when we are feeling happy, we can adapt better than if we aren't happy.

Ah, giving up control is such a liberating feeling. Who would have thought that only by giving up control, does it make life more manageable?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Finding a Belief System Which Works For You

I think that every single person has made a decision in their lives which they chose because of someone else. Maybe they created it based on what they thought their parents wanted them to do, or a spouse, or their kids, or a boss. Yet, in that moment they did it for someone else, and not because they wanted to themselves.

This must surely happen to everyone at one time or another, right?

Yet what would it be like if you actually lived in the belief system of someone else, and not one that actually “belonged” to you? What if you were actually living your life as if it belonged to someone else or what they wanted you to be?

I can’t think of anything more unworkable than this. You would begin to question yourself on everything that you needed to make a decision on, and it would be tormenting to say the least!

A belief system is such an amazing tool. It really starts with a thought. The thought is then given power when it is combined with confirmation that it is your “truth.” When it is finally declared in language it becomes your belief system, unique to only you in the entire Universe.

So you would think that we should really own and recognize our OWN belief system, and not one that belongs to anyone else, right?

If I thought about why I now believe the things that I believe, it would come from a combination of my upbringing, my parents, education, religious beliefs ect.

Somewhere along the way I decided things that I agreed with and things I didn’t agree with, and this became my own “reality.”

My reality is completely different from anyone else’s reality because I listen, hear, talk and see things through my own personal filtering system, just like you do the same with yours.

Where my belief system works for me is when I can actually be passionate about something that I love rather than be doing something because “I have to.”

If I “have to” do something, I may end up doing it, but I will never do it passionately, as if I really wanted to do it because it was my choice.

So if you were to look into your life to see where you were doing things for other people, and not for yourself, you would see areas of your life that weren’t as fun as you would like them to be. This would suggest that you are living your life with someone else’s belief system and not your own.

One thing I know about doing things in my own life. I know that my way of doing things doesn’t work for everybody else. More importantly, I know that other people’s way of doing things doesn’t work for me. And I am the person who needs to get it done, right?

So if I were to choose to do it my way, I would always have the ability to feel comfortable in making my own results. I’m clear that I will make mistakes, yet I can handle making mistakes and learning if they are my beliefs and not someone else’s. Only then I can take responsibility for them and learn from them and it becomes another belief that works for me, and not against me.

So the real question is, where in your life could you be living someone else’s life, and when are you going to chose to live your own; the one that will work for you and not against you?

It’s always about you getting what works better for you. I’m really clear that a world of “Chuck’s” would be a terribly unbalanced place to live in. Yet, I believe that if every one was passionate about what they believed in, and operated with a belief system that enabled them to do extraordinary things, the world would be an amazing place.

So it starts with you. Find out the areas which aren’t working for you and look at your belief system and find out what DOES work.

When you discover that, you’ll be amazing at whatever it is you want to do!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Are you "The Giver"?

Are you the type of person who is always trying to please people? If you are the person who always puts other people in front of yourself and your own interests, only to feel unappreciated and undervalued, then this blog is for you…

The Giver…

You are the type of person who always is giving to others without regard for yourself. You think of helping people 24/7 and it usually comes back to bite you in the ass. Despite all the love and effort you give, people just take and take, leaving you feeling unappreciated and taken advantage of.

Sound like you?

Well, people don’t give for nothing. -Not even you. But let me explain that.

Most people give to get something in return, yet the givers give so that they may feel good about themselves and the contribution they make. Usually this isn’t always seen in a tangible way because when you make a contribution towards another, you never fully see the ripple effect of how it gets passed on. You never fully see the impact of how your gift affects someone else, and then how they take your positive energy and pass it on into the world.

Yet it happens just the same.

This is especially true for you mothers, and even more so, you single mothers out there. You rarely see the impact that you create because it takes such a long time to see the results. It’s really not like making a sale and then getting paid for it right away. Yet, there is no doubt that the contribution you give is measured exponentially higher than that.

So know that you make a difference when you give of yourself. Your reward is the knowledge that you are making a difference, even if it’s not acknowledged as such.

And just so you know, I know it. And I want to acknowledge you for it right now. We all live on a starvation diet of acknowledgement, don’t we? It’s never there when we need it, and yet when we get it, the first thing we do is to dismiss it, instead of letting it sink in.

“That’s a nice outfit you have on!”

Answer, “This old thing?”

See how that went? Sound like you?

So acknowledge yourself, and all the wonderful things that you are to this world and understand that you DO make a difference just by being who you are. That goes double for when you think nobody notices. If you arm yourself with the belief system that you make a difference, then you will keep on being great, and the results will come your way.

Give it some time, and give yourself a break. -Because you really DO deserve it…