FOR EVERY LEVEL, THERE’S ANOTHER DEVIL

I recall a few years ago having a discussion with my friend Travis. At the time we both wondered why it seemed that people who are trying to good end up with some of the worst things happening to them. It is a question that millions have pondered since the beginning of time. Why do bad things happen to good people? While pondering this I was struck with a line of inspiration, as if I was receiving an answer to that very question. It is that very answer I am excited to bring to all of you. This single answer, which Travis and I discussed at length, has changed my life and helped me survive what has been a very rough year. I hope by hearing the answer I was given, it may do the same for you and the ones you share it with. Here is what came to me after years of asking this question –

The devil doesn’t bother with you unless you are a threat

Now I am not telling you what to believe, mere how the answer was conveyed to me. Feel free to call it negative source energy, the universe whatever allows you to digest the point here. For years I looked around and saw some of the hardest working people I know faced with economic challenges. I have seen some of the most enlightened and compassionate people I know faced with illness, sickness, death of loved ones, job loss and every other imaginable obstacle you can think of. To be honest, it frustrated me. Ok,, it actually did more than that, it pissed me off. How unfair was it that all of these people who were trying to make the world a better place by either helping others, or just being a great person themselves face such tough times? Meanwhile, those who seemed not even to value the life they were given, not to mention others seemed to catch breaks? Reading that you can catch a glimpse as to the spirited conversation my friend and I were having.

Let us get back to the answer to this question. Think of politics. The parties usually argue and put down only those they feel stand a chance at costing them the election. Sports teams put the most effort into developing a plan to beat the teams that will prevent them from winning a championship. The same is true when you are trying to make the world a better, more positive and rewarding place, whether that is by directly helping others, or leading by working to be a positive example yourself. Let us think of what the world would be like if we had more kind, compassionate and enlightened leaders in the world. There are certain people who would not be very happy with that.

Sometimes it has to do with profit, sometimes it has to do with jealousy. When people succeed in anything be it financial or even inner peace and joy, it shines a light on the fact others have not succeeded in that same field. Instead of asking or working to find a solution as to how they did it and use their success for inspiration, a lot of people find it easier to tear them down as it somehow helps them feel better about their own position. Sound a bit harsh? Check out the tabloids in the grocery store. Do they ever tell you the story about the soon to be world-famous author who went out and partied and ended up wearing his girlfriends glittery top? No, his life may be no better, or even worse than yours. Achieve any kind of success and people start looking for you to fail.

This is why, when you meet a positive person understand they may have had to overcome some of the greatest struggles you have ever heard of. It is easy to be cynical or negative. It takes no courage, no persistence, no faith. Remember the title of this post, for every level, there is another devil As we make our way through life working to grow and better ourselves we will be faced with an ever increasingly difficult ‘devil’. It is there to test our resolve, to help us grow our resolve. It would be easy to just throw in the towel and resort to being negative. That is the easy way out, and that is what some are just waiting for you to do. The more you wish to do, the more you are going to have to face. It may seem like a sign to give up, but it is actually a sign that you are getting ever closer to your goal. DO NOT GIVE UP

WILL YOU LET IT SURVIVE?

This is one of this quotes I read and immediately had to step back take a breath and say “damn, this is a good one!” (This actually really happened)

Have you ever thought about this? Fear is an inside job. When you are young you are afraid of the dark. This usually passes unless you are some politicians, in which case it becomes being afraid of the light.

Why did this change? Something inside of you decided the dark was not that scary. Sure, you had influences from your parents and others assuring you that there was nothing to worry about, but ultimately you have to make that call.

Does this only hold true for children? Not at all. In fact, as a rule children are better at overcoming their fears than adults. Some of are afraid of dying, some public speaking still others are afraid of not being loved. Others say “when my time comes I’ll be ready. ” Some people can talk to anyone. I have heard people say, “If people don’t love me that is their loss.”

The difference is the meaning and inner conversation people have with themselves. In order for fear to continue to exist, we must continue to feed it. We do so by finding examples that back up our fears (in my case John Wayne Gacy was a clown) or continue to play mental movies in our head of worse case scenarios.

What it boils down to is that without our active participation, our fears simply could not exist.

A GREAT READ!!

This is a book my lady bought for me for my birthday. It was written in 1938, but not published until 2011. Why? The author’s family thought it be too controversial to publish.

Why would that be? This book questions a lot of what we think about education, religion, and thinking in general. Which I feel is healthy. No matter what you believe spiritually, this book speaks to the inner devils we all fight with.

It gives us practical advice to fight the evils of fear, doubt, and anger. I highly recommend reading this.

LIFE LESSONS FROM AN EPIC PICTURE

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. This is a pretty cool picture right? What do you see? What race are the people in the picture? What are they up to? What does all of this matter anyway?

Let me share a few facts with you about the above photo and how we can put them to good use. The picture was taken by Margie, my amazing lady. It is of my friend Travis and myself. So it is a picture of two friends. Travis is African-American, I am Native American. In this picture you cannot tell that. The point this makes is that when it comes to friendship race should not matter. When I look at my friends this is a very accurate version of what I see, no attention to color.

What are we up to? This was taken backstage before what was to be my very first seminar. If you see the look of contemplation it is because we were both about to speak and were a little nervous and going through what we were about to do in our heads. What this makes me think of is that when we are along in the darkness of our own minds focusing on what we have to do, quite often we have the company and support of our friends. I recall the moments before and after this picture was taken you could hear a pin drop. Totally silent. Still, in that moment a bond was being formed and strengthened for what was to happen next.

What did happen next could not have been predicted by any of the three people there. The lady in charge of the venue had a complete meltdown and threw all of our stuff on the street. This happened even as people were beginning to show up for the seminar. It was a very stressful time. Not only did I have to focus on delivering the contents of my seminar for the very first time, but suddenly I had to find a new venue and convince and inform all of the people attending to do the same.

What happened less was nothing short of a miracle! One of the gentleman attending, Mark, owned an office building that although was a good distance away was available that very moment. He allowed us to use it, thus cementing a feeling of gratitude I still carry to this day. Both Travis and Margie pitched in to not only keep me calm, but to move everything to the new location. The folks who I was able to contact and who did attend were able to see an example of the very principles I teach in action. Something they would not have been able to see without the challenges we faced. It also was a perfect storm for my very first seminar and has allowed me to know if I made it through that the rest would be far easier.

Did I really get all of that from this one picture? Oh yes, and much more. There were funny moments of people falling of chairs and a million other memories. The point being is this one picture can motivate me so much. Is there a picture that might do the same for you? Print it out, hang in somewhere you will see everyday.

DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF

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This is one of my favorite quotes. Here is why, it is something that I used to be victim to quite often. As someone who takes great pride in his knowledge and always strives to learn new things, there is one thing I really dislike. The one thing that I try my best to avoid is looking foolish. I suppose on the surface that may not really be a bad thing. After all who wants to look foolish right? This is true to a point. My fear of looking foolish stemmed from doubting myself. What happened then?

Here is what the fear of looking foolish, and doubting myself did for me. Often times it kept me from trying something new. Everything we learn to do we go through a period where we are not yet skilled. Think of the job you work at right now. Recall your first day there, did you know everything you know now? Of course not. Even things like finding your way around, or knowing where the bathroom is. One cannot expect to start something new and know it all. Intellectually I knew this, yet emotionally that is what I did to myself. If what I was thinking of trying included a period of looking foolish before you got it right I would do one of two things. Either I would wait to try it until few or nobody was around, or worse yet I would skip trying it at all. Some of you may feel that same way.

So how does one face this fear and more importantly overcome it? Begin to look at things in two ways. One, think of all you will miss by not doing what you fear and two, think of all you will gain by doing it. It also wouldn’t hurt to consider other things in your life you might have overcome the new/learning period to become capable or even quite good at. One of my favorite examples is snorkeling. I love the tropics and love the ocean. I also happen to enjoy rum. So while on vacation I always saw snorkeling available. All my mind focused on was not knowing a thing about it from what equipment is good, to how to not drown while learning. That kept me from ever trying it. That is until one day when a nice young man by the name of captain Morgan whispered in my ear that I should give it a try. The first trip out took some getting used to, but by the end of that trip I learned how to dive under water with a snorkel, how best to swim and a million other things. Now when I go to the tropics about 8 hours of my day is spent in the ocean, a lot of that with a snorkel on. I could kick myself for all the fun I missed before all because I was afraid to try.

So think about your doubts, what are they keeping you from trying? You may discover a new passion, some new friends or a new skill you never knew you had. Now if you will excuse me I am going to put on my snorkel, get in the bathtub and dream of Jamaica.

STOP! STOP RUNNING!

This is a line I hear in the beginning of the show Ghost Adventures which I must confess came to mind as I read my daily inspirational calendar. It simply said “Sit with it” like many bits of inspiration this one can be interpreted in many different ways. Here is the way I chose to take it. Many of us spend our entire lives running from things we find unpleasant. Are you guilty of this at all in your life? I know I am. A lot of us run from our fears. Run from our disappointments, run from our crazy family members. Ok, sometimes that last one might not be a bad idea. The point is if we run from things we often miss the lessons they may be trying to teach us or may continue to give them control over us. Fear for example, as long as we run from it we cannot be at peace with ourselves. It is out there. It is lurking it is scary. When we sit down with our fears for a cup of tea or in my case a rum and coke, and say look you scare the hell out of me, why is that? Why are clowns so terribly frightening? They are just circus performers in costumes right? Ok well I’m still working on that one. The point is here when we stop running we take back control of our lives, the future seems a lot more certain and we often gain a very valuable lesson. So ask yourself, “What am I always running from?” Are you going to let it continue to control you? Are you going to continue to miss the lesson it is trying to teach you? Instead of running from it, try what my calendar suggests and “Sit with it”. Now if you’ll excuse me I must pour a rum and coke for the clown and I.

A BETTER QUESTION….

Don’t ask what if I fail. You will. A better question is when I fail, then what? This may not seem to positive at first glance, telling you that you are going to fail and all. Still, failure is only absolute if we learn nothing from it. Believe me when I tell you I was as guilty as anyone of being afraid of failure. I was especially afraid to try new things for the fear I may fail. Then I realized that by being a slave to my fear I was failing to try. Plus, what is the worst thing about failing? People laughing at you? Well first of all that seldom happens, we all have failed and know what it is like. Feeling like a failure? This is something that happens internally. We must understand failure is a lesson. Instead of becoming depressed we must learn to become curious. Why did I not succeed? What can I learn from this experience? These questions actually give us power when we do fall short and give us valuable lessons to move us forward. In fact failure is one of the best teachers. So when you fail realize you just became smarter. Like a lot of other things in life, the secret is learning to use failure, not letting failure use you. So this weekend when things do not go your way, get excited! Ask yourself what you can learn to make your future brighter and to limit or eliminate this sort of challenge from occurring again.