Put Your Tongue down for a Second and Listen

Children can often be the best listeners, we don’t give them enough credit. Often when our children act out, we are often too quick to react and exert our parental dominance over their child-strong will. Listening gets tossed aside for noise, and nothing gets learned.

Recently my 10-year-old son and I had a rather deep conversation about an over-reaction that he had concerning his use of an iPod when he takes showers. We can hear the thing belting out YouTube videos while he is taking 1/2 hour long showers. Sick of wasting copious amounts of hot water, we banned our son from taking his iPod into the shower. There is just no need to have it in there.

His reaction to the news was not ideal. His tone was deep, and his defiance was sharp as he proclaimed that he was taking his iPod in the shower regardless of our wishes.

Well then.

Our parental reaction to his defiance was not ideal, and while we had the right ideal to leave things to simmer down after our meltdown to his proclamation, nothing really got solved.

“Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” – Frank Tyger

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About an hour later, I decided to try to reason with him from a different angle. I wanted to listen and hear him out without any judgement or interjection of my parental ego.

After hearing him out, I learned that he didn’t really know or understand why he acted out so angrily. He was confused as to why he was so defiant towards us. We dug around a little more, and I also learned that he needed to have the iPod in the shower because he was scared of a quiet bathroom when he takes his showers. He was fearful that someone would sneak into the bathroom but by having the iPod on, he didn’t have that fear.

This was my chance. I listened to him, and now I have his attention.

It was then I suggested that perhaps he is a little bit addicted to his iPod. That his inside brain was telling him lies (the fear of someone entering the bathroom while he showered) so that it could listen to Youtube. I explained to him that his inside brain doesn’t have arms and legs to do the things that it wants to do, it needs him to do the work for it; by creating fear, it makes him move.

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After about a half hour of talking back and forth, I could tell he understood what it meant to have a conscience. To have an inner voice. And that knowing when to listen to that inner voice and knowing when not to listen to it is the key to having balance.

A lot came from that little interaction. All of it likely would have never happened if I did not use my ears instead of my inner brain to do all of the hearing. I went into the conversation seeing a defiant and spoiled little kid and came out learning that he is just as confused and afraid as the rest of us when we allow our inner brain to do all of the talking.


Who created this quote?

Brooklyn-born, Frank Tyger spent most of his career at the Trenton (NJ) Times (known today as the Times of Trenton).  At the paper Frank wore many hats including editorial cartoonist, humorist, columnist and Promotion Manager, earning him the nickname of “Mr. Times” amongst his colleagues and the Trenton community.

 

It Is Just Not Enough to Be the Change

We all want the world to change. While our lives may be running relatively smooth as compared to our neighbour, the world around us is spinning out of control. We feel powerless in our attempts to change the world, even if we have successfully changed ourselves to be a better person.

Why is nobody noticing?

They are.

And they are trying to change too.

You are not listening. You are not watching. You are not celebrating.

A year and a half ago I was afforded a tremendous opportunity to be a trainer at a local fitness centre and I took it. While I do get paid to motivate classes and help others achieve their fitness goals, I saw it as a different opportunity above a paycheck: to help move the needle.

In my world, I see a younger generation who may have shorter lifespans than the one before it. Sedentary lifestyles and the overconsumption of “plastic” foods are leading many young people to become over-weight before they reach middle school. Cardiovascular diseases and cancer are the leading causes of premature deaths, and most of these cases are preventable, very preventable.

In my world, I also see so many people with some form of mental illness. Early onset dementia, elevated levels of anxiety and depression, not to mention the hyperactive disorders and unwarranted stress. So many bright and young brains are breaking down at alarming rates.

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Yes, my world is spinning out of control.

To change my life, I have adopted a healthier lifestyle in recent years as I have gravitated towards fitness as my way of fixing and maintaining my health. It didn’t take me long to prioritize healthy eating to supplement my fitness and ultimately my overall health. While I was working hard on taking better care of myself, why wasn’t the rest of the world taking notice? Why was nobody else jumping on this lifestyle bandwagon to a long and healthy life? Was I the crazy one?

No.

I was the ignorant one.

With my trainer role at 3rd Degree Training, I get to celebrate those who are trying. Trying to better their health and be better people one class at a time. I get front row seats to witnessing people grow strong and bright! What better job could I possibly have?

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One of the greatest life lessons that I have learned is that if we want to see more change in our world, it is not just enough to be that change. While the world may take notice of our individual progress, people will not act until we are willing to celebrate our change together.

What do you want to see more of?

 


WHO CREATED THIS QUOTE?

Thomas J. Peters – is an American writer on business management practices, best known for In Search of Excellence (co-authored with Robert H. Waterman Jr).

Retirement Is Not the End Game

Are you prepared for retirement?

No? Is saving for -or lack thereof- stressing you out?

Yes? Are you coasting to it?

countdown_to_retirementSo many of my peers are in a different state of retirement plans. Some, have no means to save for retirement and are dreading working their same jobs for the rest of their life. Other friends of mine are comfortably waiting out the years until they can “hang them up” for good and retire.

What is the point of retirement?

“Don’t simply retire from something; have something to retire to.” – Harry Emerson Fosdick

While I do save some money for retirement, I know I am not saving nearly enough. Does that stress me out? It did once upon a time. I was also stressed out when I saw my savings take a big hit when the markets decided to correct themselves a few years ago. This constant state of anxiety proved to me that retirement is just not for me. I will continue to save something for the future, I am going to put more emphasis on the present.

That isn’t very mature of me!?

But it is.

I have no plans to retire, at least not in the typical sense. My ideal retirement will be working full time somewhere that I align myself with, doing work that fulfills me, being present. The thought of staring at the four walls in my house and waiting for my impending doom just doesn’t appeal to me. Even the idea of having downtime at home and resting between vacations doesn’t rev my engine.

I just want to be present, and the only way I believe in doing that is to contribute to something. I will work until I am dead. That may sound dreaded, but my definition of work is not shared by most. I love to work, I always have. That being said, I understand my body will age and my productivity level may go down, so I must buy myself time by taking care of my body.

work retirementSo, what is my retirement plan? I sock away a few bucks so I can take a few more vacations when I get a little older or buy a nice car. My most significant investment is in my body. I currently invest a lot of my time and money into working out and eating well so that my greatest resource when I become retirement age will be me. What good is retirement if you have all the cash in the world, but a deteriorating body that won’t let you spend it?

I won’t work myself to death, I will simply work until death. There is a difference.

What are you retiring to?


Who created this quote?

Harry Emerson Fosdick was an American pastor. Fosdick became a central figure in the “Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy” within American Protestantism in the 1920s and 1930s and was one of the most prominent liberal ministers of the early 20th century. Although a Baptist, he was called to serve as pastor, in New York City, at First Presbyterian Church in Manhattan’s West Village, and then at the historic, inter-denominational Riverside Church in Morningside Heights, Manhattan.

Don’t Look Back Too Much,You Aren’t There Anymore

Our ability to retrieve memories from our past and relive them in our minds is impressive. While we all have bad memories that may haunt us from time to time, we do have some great memories that seem to last forever.

What makes those memories so profound?

Every year around the Labour Day weekend I reminisce of my time moving away to a different city to attend college. I was 17 and moving to a whole new world 1.5 hours away from the only town I grew up in. It was so exciting yet frightening all in one. I can still remember the sights, the sounds and the smells of my first apartment. I vividly remember the feeling of my first day at college and the reality that I was becoming an adult. But did I feel that way then?

Why did that time of my life seem so great? Was it as great then as I believe it to be now?

“I can’t go back to yesterday – because I was a different person then.” – Lewis Carroll

vhs_0The whole deal with memories is that when we recall them, we are looking back using the wisdom of our life. Like watching a classic movie remastered for modern technology, our memories always seem so much more vivid than the time we lived them. Often, we wish we were there again, back into the space of our mind, feeling comforted by the enjoyment we had thought at the time.

If we only knew then what we know now.

But we can’t go back.

MemoryLane-300x201.jpgDepending on how long ago your memory resides, we are not the same people we once were back then. Our experiences change our perception of what we once were and time fades the unpleasantries along the way. Our memories become massaged, and our wisdom creates a masterpiece of the images that we behold. We can even soften the sharpness of bad memories if our life experiences since then have improved.

We are all different today than we were yesterday, our memories will either get better or worse depending on what difference you have made in your life. It is why from time to time; we check up on our memory and wonder: How far have I come?


Who created this quote?

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, was an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon, and photographer.

His most famous writings are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, which includes the poem “Jabberwocky”, and the poem The Hunting of the Snark – all examples of the genre of literary nonsense.

Life Is like a Game of Snakes and Ladders

Ever have that empty feeling of starting from scratch? Maybe it was from bad luck, bad karma or bad timing? Perhaps it was from a past failure? Maybe it was from past success?

Whatever it is, doesn’t it feel so empty and lonely starting all over again? Like the time you played snakes and ladders as a kid, and just as you were about to win the game, you hit a snake that slid you right back to the start.

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You just feel like giving up.

It took me 3 1/2 years to build up my last blog “The Roaming Mind.” I was getting good traction, people were reading it. I had a decent sized following. Then I gave it up. It was time for a change, I needed to do it.

Here we are, “Life, Quote Unquote” a brand new blog and I am starting it all over again. Not many people are reading, search engines don’t know I exist. I don’t have many followers. I have just begun. I’m a baby again. It’s hard to hang on, it’s not easy avoiding going back to the safety of my old blog, it’s really tough to work at ground zero.

But I have to.

My effort will win me this game. While my last blog was centred around my life with emotional pain, this one is centred around my life without. It is a rebirth, and just like all rebirths: we have to grow up from nothing.

Continuous effort -not strength or intelligence- is the key to unlocking our potential

So many times we restart in our lives, new jobs, new houses, new spouses, new friends and new lifestyles. The beauty of a restart is that we get to carry over our learned experiences that we didn’t have the last time we began.

With continuous effort, combined with our wisdom and sincere desire to succeed, we will get back on top in no time.

Our greatest potential lies in our effort to keep rolling the dice to find the ladder that will get us back to the top.

Stay patient with me my blogging journey friends, I’ll find my writing legs again, I am still rolling the dice until I see my ladder.


Who created this quote?

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP).

The 5 Truths About Why We Give Up

The greatest weakness we have as humans is that we know we can give up. Giving up too soon, or too late; our survival is directly tied to knowing the balance. Seeing things through until there is nothing left to see and understanding our true self enough to know what that is, is the key ingredient to success. Those who find that “sweet spot” are those who make a real difference to our society.

While we all have many reasons why we give up something or someone, here are some of the most common ones

We would rather give up than change

When we are faced with the uncertainty of change, giving up feels much more comfortable. Our comfort zones protect us from harm. Why would we risk being in pain when we have the option to just give up?

We care too much about what others think

There are so many times in our lives that we fail to launch on thoughts we have just because of what others might think of us. Judgement from others is one of our biggest fears as judgement removes us from the norm and places us in jeopardy of being ostracized. We want to belong, so we believe that by giving up our disruption, we will stay safe within the herd.

We become distracted by others

So many times in our lives we forget that we are running our own race. As we are running along in our lives, we become distracted by what others are doing.  We are always comparing ourselves to others and give up with the feeling of despair. Instead of believing in our ability enough to do better, we convince ourselves that what our neighbour is doing is the best and we can not improve on that. Nothing has augmented this more than the advent of social media.

We lack the discipline to see it through

Change is tough. We don’t want to die. When we are under stress from a change in our lives, we want a reprieve, a break to comfort us. We revert to old habits that feel good and soon enough, we fall off the wagon and give up. Believing that the comfort of our former selves is greater than the benefit of our new self.

We just want the result without the need of having to learn

In the instant gratification world we live, we have fallen into the trap of fantasizing about the end without realizing there is a middle. It is that middle part where we learn to become great and not the end result. But we believe the end result is where our greatness is and don’t care about what it takes to get there. If what it takes to get there becomes too complicated, we give up on the result and move to another that we perceive is more attainable.

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up.” Thomas Edison

The principle of success is quite simple: work hard, pivot, celebrate and repeat. We give up too soon whenever any of those steps become uncomfortable to bear. Even when we achieve our highest accolade, the thought of repeating can become daunting, and then we fade.

To become our better selves, we have to realize that with all change, it is challenging at first, painfully dirty in the middle and amazing at the end. Oh! And then we have to change again!


Who created this quote?

Thomas Alva Edison – was an American inventor and businessman, who has been described as America’s greatest inventor. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. Dubbed “The Wizard of Menlo Park,” he was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production and large-scale teamwork to the process of invention, and is often credited with the creation of the first industrial research laboratory.

Reading Gives Us a Chance at Wisdom

Up until the last few years, I have never been much of a reader. While I had always made the excuse that I didn’t have time, I didn’t make any time for reading either. Now, I can’t see myself without a book to read.

I am a biography nut. There is something about a biography that gives me inspiration and energy. When I read about our most celebrated entertainers, politicians or triumphant warriors who faced a significant challenge and overcame it, I get moved. As much as we may not believe it, we are fascinated by our fellow human. Whether or not we choose to learn from each other is the difference between living a happy life or one of constant drama. There are lessons all around us, teaching us the secrets of happiness, most often, they are hidden in a great book.

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” – Mark Twain

Books are a fantastic gift to us. Books have been given to us by our past, and while we seek a reason as to why things happened the way they did, books offer us the clues. If we all read stories from our past, we would see that our realities we face today are not any worse than they were yesterday. Reading gives us a chance at wisdom.

I am a big fan of reading the physical copy of a book. There is something about holding a book in my hand that gives me tangible proof that the words are real. I know I felt it when I held the book I wrote for the first time. I finally had something in my hands that gave me proof that my story happened. It was a surreal feeling.

If you are not a reader, pick up a book! Give it a second try! If you don’t know what you want to read, I encourage you to read my book, I couldn’t resist the plug!


Who created this quote?

Mark Twain was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer. Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1875) and its sequel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885), the latter often called “The Great American Novel”.