Becoming

This started out as a facebook post but then edited it and put it here.

I’m contemplating this morning why so many people are so unhappy and their lives are so unproductive. Only as children are we victims of circumstances. I believe however with age, we have the choice and responsibility to put on our adult panties and take complete responsibility for who we become. Some will…some won’t. Some do so while young, for others it is a long tough life long struggle. Image result for lethargy

What I have read, and now believe is that one becomes what you focus on, think about, etc. Everything we expose ourselves to and participate in shapes us. Hang out with lowlifes, guess what. We begin to act like and even look like the people we hang out with. Hang out with haters, bullies, cheaters and con artists, that’s what one learns.

Hang out with creators, makers, movers and shakers, and you learn, and often get asked to ride along. It is more challenging. It is more risky. It requires some vulnerability, a willingness to fail. But it is oh so worth it.

I started reading and researching happiness when I was pretty miserable back in my 20’s. I learned “if it is to be, then it is up to me”. Read books. Listened to audio tapes…cassette tapes that is. Changed my beliefs. Changed my thoughts. Changed my habits of thinking and doing. Changed who I hung out with. As scary at times as it was, I tried new things, made new friends, some of which I am still friends with 40 years later. Tried lots of different jobs, some lasted a day or two, others for a few years. Moved from Cleveland to Kent, OH. Along the way, also visited and lived in multiple places like DC, Pittsburgh, Vermont, Maine. Eventually, moved to NC. Now TN.

To a certain degree, my choices were the safer ones. The life on the edge never appealed to me. I skipped the drugs, heavy partying, and risky behavior. A few disappointments along the way of course. Stayed in school. Then dropped out, then back when I knew what I wanted to study.

Back in the day, it was Zig Zigler, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Wayne Dyer, Steven Covey. All very very successful and seemingly happy. It wasn’t spiritual, but more formulaic. Formulas were safe. For the spiritual stuff, I turned to psychic and mystical authors, e.g., Ruth Montgomery, Jane Roberts, and others. I tried traditional religion and upon closer inspection, it couldn’t answer the logical questions and didn’t meet my spiritual needs.

Finally, about 10 years ago, someone recommended Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly”. Her research brought together everything I knew from before and provided the basic most fundamental ingredient for finding the joy, joy, joy down in my heart, and the peace that passes understanding, and the strength to carry on, to do the scary stuff. Here it is. Self worth. My lack of it hindered me along the way. To the degree that I have understood it and embraced it, my life has flourished.

In retrospect, it certainly has been an adventure. Three colleges. Two college degrees. Taught in 12 different schools over the course of 27 years. Tried selling cars. Failed. Tried selling insurance. Failed. Tried working in a factory. Hated it. Tried selling satellite dishes, nutritional supplements, and air purifiers. Mostly failed. Waiting on tables and teaching seemed to be the best fit. Excellent waiter. Pretty good teacher. Teaching is a moving target and hard to know how effective one is. I did the best I could.

One can make excuses or one can get on with it. There is no shortage of information, i.e, suggestions on how to grow, excel and make a life. Information is more readily available than ever. It isn’t fast. It isn’t easy. It is a long slow forward moving journey. Good friends make it easier. Good luck. You are worth it.

My friend Stuart sent this to me as a comment on Facebook..thus, making it public and free to the world.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Emotion Hacks for Healthy Eating

My sister share an article the other day that relates to changing ones’ habits to increase health and well being (aka “diet”).  A little rough to follow but here is what I got out of it.

He says “Instead of putting our noses ever closer to the grindstone, he advocates relying on so-called social emotions—gratitude, compassion, and pride—to get things done. These emotions, he says, naturally encourage self-control and patience.” Willpower will fail by itself, and your rational thinking.  Mental fatigue kicks in, and the desire to feel good in the present throws the future out the window.

I’m all about understanding the emotions that contribute to unhealthy addictions.  I think there are so many principles from AA that come into play, and for us serious overeaters, it is an addiction, based in our emotions. For me, childhood emotions that used food to sooth the isolation and hopelessness. And when I feel a isolated now, I head for the cookie jar. One day at a time. Easy does it. Maybe you can suggest some more?

Consider this.  Maybe your beliefs and emotions are different than his cookie cutter approach.  But what if you could identify what really matters for you, and what your emotional strengths are, and then use those for changing your health habits.  TA DAA!!!  Here it is.  the VIA Survey of Character Strengths. helps you identify your greatest strengths.  If you can find a way to use your greatest strengths at the task at hand, i seems you will enjoy it more and be more successful.

My results show:

My Top Strengths:

  • Spirituality, sense of purpose, and faith.
  • Humor and playfulness
  • Fairness, equity, and justice
  • Gratitude
  • Forgiveness and mercy
  • Curiosity and interest in the world
  • Creativity, ingenuity, and originality

My emotional hack?  Focus on how this health regimen journey has multiple purposes, physical, practical and spiritual.  Make it fun, practice gratitude for small accomplishments, go easy on myself, seek out new ways to go forward, and explore ways to make it work for me.

Finally, I’ve used this other personality test to identify strengths AND weakness (aka areas needing improvement) to understand what and how to do things to be more effective and enjoy it more too.  I’ll spare you my details but give it a shot.  Reading it is like having a friend tell you all the wonderful things about you…and those areas of needed improvement.

 

All for now.  Feedback is welcomed.