Category: Self improvement

“We all live in prisons made of what we believe to be true but is not.” – Unknown

The thought expressed by these words is provocative and rings true. When I heard these words I was listening to a radio program about reaching your potential and how our beliefs can keep us from our potential. Beliefs about our world and ourselves that are not true are probably the most common beliefs, and likely hold our world back from what it could be. Knowing the truth will set us free thank God, and to get to it we even have to get beyond ourselves. The words make me think of what I believe to be true and why. What does freedom mean to me, and how do my beliefs create my understanding? What questions does the quote bring to your mind?

Balance and Situational Awareness

I have observed that when we are under stress our situational awareness and ability to think critically decline. It is important to stay in your higher brain (neocortex) and away from the reptilian (fight or flee) part for good decision making. To stay in the neocortex you need to think beyond yourself in the moment or detach to look at the situation and possible outcomes of choices. Another way to think of detaching is the term delayed gratification or sacrificing immediate pleasure for long-term success. Everyone deals with temptation and choices in the moment where your ego or desire tells you to do something that will expedite satisfaction, but many times leads to undesired outcomes in the long term. If we can get our mental state to a place where we are feeling positive about our ability to create what we want, we can work to achieve a better future and likely to make good decisions. You can call this belief in our power to meet unmet needs self-confidence, and our mental ability to detach, recognize, and overcome our own strengths and weaknesses balance.

The Power of Ownership

As a fan of Jocko Willink, his podcast (Jocko Podcast), and his first book (Extreme Ownership written with Leif Babbin) I refer to his principals to help me with perspective. Jocko constantly talks about playing the long game when dealing with other people at work, within a family, or almost any circumstance. Jocko often speaks of the importance of being able to detach and control your ego in situations so that you can arrive at good decisions and solutions. He says that you know that your ego is taking control when you get emotional or are focusing on your personal interests instead of the team. The driver for taking the longer view (as I understand it) is being able to claim ownership for what is happening in your life and surroundings rather than making excuses or seeking to place blame elsewhere. To own it you have to think about all of the ways that you could make things better for yourself and those around you. I highly recommend the Jocko Podcast and the book Extreme Ownership. The book is about leadership, but the first person you have to lead is yourself.

Black History Month

February is Black History month. It is a time to remember the many people who risked their lives to push for greater freedom to a group of people targeted for harassment and marginalization by the larger society. I think of heroes from Fanny Lou Hamer to Crispus Attucks who not only dreamed of a better day for African Americans but bravely risked everything to make it happen. The courage of heroes is necessary to overcome the strength of evil ideas that gain acceptance because they are expedient to the larger society. Everyone wants to feel special and advantaged in life but the question is who are you willing to handicap to get that feeling? Minorities around the world have been victimized by the answer to this question. Human beings have grown in their ability to see those who are not like them as people deserving of dignity, but we live in a time of increasing insecurity and tribalism. What will the future look like for human dignity? The answer to the question seems bleak right now, but I remain hopeful that there are many more heroes among us who will lead humanity toward the light.

The case against Trump

The impeachment managers for the House of Representatives have presented a strong case that the current president deserves to be removed from office for his failure to carry out his duties, and undermining our republic. Trump has done everything he can to keep the truth from coming out, and then he states that the Democrats have no witnesses. Citizens will likely be the final deciders on Trump in the elections to come in 2020. The United States may have to survive the humiliation of a major political party (the Republicans) participating in a coverup by not calling any witnesses for Trump’s impeachment. I hope our country emerges stronger than ever and more committed to democracy after this nightmare is over.

King Holiday words to ponder

Dr. Martin Luther King said that “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” As I look at today’s challenges this quote resonates as loudly as it ever has. We poison our planet with carbon and plastic while a few thousand billionaires have more wealth than over four billion people. In the United States and other countries tribalism is on the rise and threatens to destroy any effort at global collaboration to save, or improve life on our planet. Many Americans say they would rather have a dictator who thinks like they do rather than have a constitutional republic. Fools and foolish thinking is at high tide right now, but we can change that in 2020… it may be our last chance in more ways than one.

The Plot to Destroy Democracy by Malcolm Nance

If you are trying to make sense of all the crazy events involving the 45th president you may need to read “The Plot to Destroy Democracy” by Malcolm Nance. Mr. Nance is a career military and intelligence official with a great deal of background and he uses it to make sense of a wide range of trends and events that lead to our current circumstance. If we have any chance of building a better world we have to understand how the bad actors are trying to take us all in a different direction. Malcolm Nance connects the dots on everything from; Putin’s takeover of Russia, the rise of right-wing parties in Europe, Brexit, the oligarch system spreading from Russia, to American conservatives falling in love with Vladimir Putin. The lies that we see coming from entire political parties are not being told for just for fun; there is much more to the story. If you want to know the facts then get the book.

The Big new identity theft

Today we have world leaders and regular citizens who believe that they can speak lies into truth and change people as well as reality. A hard working American diplomat who fights corruption becomes a bad person according to her own president. Everyday citizens routinely trash each other on the internet and behind each other’s backs to change the identities of those they do not agree with, or like. As our civilization deals with existential threats that will require every ounce of science and teamwork we can master it is a horrific time for the worst of human nature to be edified by social media and selfishness. Push for the truth in your life and with your friends. Get your information from more than one source. Act like your life depended on knowing and acting on truth because it does.

Debt snowball power

Dave Ramsey talks about the debt snowball on his programs all the time. It is easy in the course of life to think that you are somehow different or special in your circumstance and I have done this. But I have learned that using the debt snowball strategy of targeting bills from smallest to largest works. When you focus your resources and look your financial issues square in the face you can make headway and win with money as Dave says. I use two spreadsheets including Ramsey Solutions Every Dollar app and my own Excel spreadsheet and they have helped me focus my money on my goals. I recommend two things to help you develop a financial game plan. 1. Listen to the Dave Ramsey Show on podcast or the radio when you can for motivation. 2. Take some time to study and plan your budget regularly with a tool or two.