Are my words wise?
Personally, I think some of them are. But I might be biased, right?! I've gotten feedback from some others that they also think some of what I say is wise.
But a few wise words (these I learned from a few others) is that everyone must decide and think for themselves. And, when it comes to considering "wise" words that you may be using to guide your life, I would recommend you vet those words carefully, whoever they come from. But you'll even have to decide whether or not the prior statement was wise also...but only if you've already decided that it was a good idea to do that already.
Whoops! We stumbled into one of those logical paradoxes!
From my forthcoming book
The following twenty-five quotes (ideas) are extracted from the 585 quotes in my forthcoming book Quote-a-Coach: Ideas that Make the Difference - Quotes that Open a Thousand Doors.
Take everyone as your teacher and no one as your idol
Find inspiration in everyone, even from those who upset you.
But be wary of idolizing anyone or considering another to be your hero.
Instead find that idol and hero in yourself.
The wisdom of knowing that you’re powerless
My Chinese friend was torn apart because of her parent's bickering and bad-mouthing each other.
For years she has tried to support her parents in treating each other more civilly. With no effect.
She felt so upset about this.
I said to her, “Your parents will always fight. You have no power to do anything about that. You are powerless. It's not your business, anyway… it's their business. They're like two dogs fighting, with each thinking the other dog is the "bad dog." Enjoy watching the fight, like a soap opera. Or, if you don't want to watch the soap opera, create and maintain some boundaries to take care of yourself. Stay in your own business, not theirs. And remember that you're powerless to change them.”
She replied, "Oh, my God, you're right. It's so easy. It's not my business."
I’m never trying to improve myself
But I notice that I am always improving.
Trying to improve yourself is the hard way to improve.
Young children are always improving, but they're never trying to improve themselves.
If you're trying to improve yourself, it's likely that you think you need improving. And no matter how much you improve, it will never be enough.
Relax. Life is your playground. There's nothing that you need to improve or prove. Just play.
How scary would the world be if…
...you couldn't blame yourself (no guilt or regret).
...you couldn't blame your kids.
...you couldn't blame your parents.
...you couldn't blame your boss.
...you couldn't blame your employees or reports.
...you couldn't blame your wife or husband.
...you couldn't blame your girlfriend or boyfriend.
...you couldn't blame your ex.
...you couldn't blame the atheists, agnostics, Christians, Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists.
...you couldn't blame the economy.
...you couldn't blame the Republicans.
...you couldn't blame the Democrats.
...you couldn't blame the Libertarians.
...you couldn't blame the president.
...you couldn't blame the Deep State.
...you couldn't blame Big Pharma.
But you could make assessments.
And you could take actions to take care of yourself.
And you could make requests.
And you could set boundaries.
And you could say "no."
How scary would the world seem if you let go of blame, both toward yourself and others?
And do you think the world would be a safer or more dangerous place (for you) if you let go of blame?
You are a victim of yourself
Whenever you think others should be different than the way they are, you are fighting with reality.
When you fight with reality, you lose.
And you become a victim of your own thinking that others should be different than the way they are.
You are never a victim of others (only of yourself).
PS. Don’t blame yourself.
Just a starting point
The cultures that we are born into (whether they be family, religious, or societal) are only the STARTING points for creating a great life. Be wary of your culture using you instead of you using your culture.
Most people's reasons for becoming parents are unexamined and flawed
"Other people expect me to have children." Now you will live other people's life for 20+ years...
"I want to feel needed." What a burden to put on your children.
"My children will take care of me in my old age." Another possible burden for your children...and, if you just invested the money you saved by not having children, you could afford to pay somebody to take care of you ten times over (and you can fire them if they are not doing a good job).
The only good reason to become a parent is that you are very clear that you have more to learn from them than they have to learn from you (in terms of spirit, life enthusiasm, and curiosity) and that you are sure that you will enjoy being with and showing respect to your children day-in-and-day-out for 20+ years.
How to know if you’ve already got the lifestyle you really want?
I don't think it's necessary to wait (at least not very long) to have the lifestyle you really want.
Here's a way to test whether or not your current lifestyle is your dream lifestyle: ask yourself, "If somehow I came into $50 million dollars tomorrow, would that change my lifestyle very much?" If the answer is "yes," then you're not yet living your dream lifestyle.
I think that, with the right way of thinking about your life, you can have the lifestyle that you want NOW...you don't have to wait. If you want to know "how," send me an email at and I'll let you know.
When someone criticizes you…
...do you get defensive or think it means something about you?
If so, it means that you are not fully your own best friend yet.
Another's words or actions can only sting if some of your beliefs about yourself are "self-criticism waiting to happen."
Yes, I have wisdom…Yes, I have power…
...and within the wisdom and power, I am vastly aware of my ignorance and my powerlessness.
A good life is about priorities
Yes, many things are valuable to have...but, if you have your priorities reversed (as many of us do), then life will be hard.
For example: we want our future to be good, but if we sacrifice enjoying the process of getting there, life will be hard. If we prioritize enjoying the processes of life (yes, the results are still important), then life will be easy.
Another example: if we want to help others and for others to be happy with us, but we sacrifice taking care of ourselves for others, then our life will be hard. If we prioritize taking care of ourselves (yes, taking care of others is still important), then life will be easy.
How to make a gentle request
Often, we're hesitant about making a request because the way it may be heard will damage the relationship.
With a little finesse, the chances of this happening can be much smaller. Try this approach:
"I'd like to ask your help on something. But I want to be certain you will say 'no' to me if you aren't sure you can be happy in saying 'yes.' Can I rely on you to do that?"
By contextualizing your request this way, you're showing respect to the value of your relationship with them.
How to say “no” gently
Try out, “A part of me would like to say ‘yes’ to your request. But I don’t know how to do that and still take care of myself.”
Why don’t more people go country shopping?
Given all the amazing options that exist in the world for choosing the best country and city to live in, why don't more of us "shop" for the best place to live in the world? Several factors come to mind:
1) It doesn't even occur to us. We know it is important to consider which car to buy, which house to buy, which person to marry, maybe even in which city to live within the country we already reside. But our culture doesn't teach us (maybe it even discourages us) from considering which would be the best country to live in. I didn't seriously think about living in another country until I was 51 years old.
2) Our desire/tolerance for adventure is low and we like to stay with what we're used to and to avoid the anxiety that might arise by trying to live in a new country and culture (especially one that doesn't share our native language).
3) Physical proximity (and maybe obligations) to friends and family is very important to us.
4) We're not sure how we could earn a living in another country.
5) Most countries put up barriers (sometimes insurmountable) to immigrants, especially to those potential immigrants from poorer countries. Currently, the USA is a prime example of implementing this "we don't want you here" policy.
Despite all these reasons for staying in your current country or country of birth, amazing advantages may be available to you as an expat. Having become one myself, I know that many countries of the world are better for me to live in than the USA (China being the best choice for now).
A starting strategy for creating Now-Next integrity
Your Now is the you that just wants to be comfortable and enjoy now.
Your Next is the you that wants the future to be good, wants you to be happy in your future.
The most fundamental issue for each one of us is how to get these two parts of ourselves on the same page, working together rather than fighting each other. When they work together, you have Now-Next integrity.
Here's one strategy that creates a clear starting point for your Now and your Next to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement in a given situation:
Often your Now will not clearly say/know what it wants because it's already hedging its bets on whether or not your Next would agree.
Similarly, your Next will hedge its bets because that part of you “already knows” what your Now could or could not accept.
A lot more power and clarity can be gained by the following exercise.
Your Now imagines that, somehow, your Next could be okay with whatever your Now might want. Inside of this supposition, in the current circumstances, what would your Now want (for example, pig out in front of the TV)? Get clear about that. Make some notes.
Then reverse the roles. Your Next imagines that, somehow, your Now could support whatever your Next might want (for example, do a vigorous 20-minute workout on your treadmill). Get clear about that and make some notes.
This provides an honest and open powerful starting point for your Now and Next to come to a more powerful and satisfactory arrangement than when either or both of them are pulling their punches by not saying clearly what each of them really wants.
Could we do without “The Big Lie”?
"The Big Lie" is the culturally supported idea that when you achieve your dream it's going to be so much better than the way things are now...then you will be happy.
…when you graduate.
…when you get that great job.
…when you get married.
…when you have a child.
…when you buy your dream home.
…when you get to your ideal weight.
…when you become independently wealthy.
…when you become famous.
…when you make a huge difference for humanity.
It's all a lie. Yes, achieving/having these things can be nice. But they won't make you happier (at least not for very long). They won't remove the fact that you'll then have other problems to deal with that you think, if you solve, will make you happier.
The lie is that happiness is at the end of the rainbow. The truth is that our real chance for happiness is now and in the process, in the dance of the journey.
Yes, it can be fun to play the game of setting and achieving goals. That can even be part of enjoying now more. But 99% of happiness lives in the process, not in the results.
Can you live without "The Big Lie"?
I know many people who are lonely
Yet these people have many "friends" and colleagues and family members around them.
They are lonely because they hide themselves (to make sure they are looking good) from these people in their life.
They have not chosen the courage to remove at least some of their mask.
And they complain about being lonely.
Fear is good: you’re just scared of the wrong things
You're scared that you might not look good to others.
You should be more scared of not living a life true to yourself.
You're scared of making that request for a new job, for a raise, for a date.
You should be more scared of not making those requests.
You're scared of saying "no" to someone who might get upset with you because they’ll think you’re just thinking of your own self-interests.
You should be more scared of not keeping true to the fact that your #1 responsibility in life is to take care of yourself.
You're scared of not reaching your dreams or achieving your goals.
You should be more scared of not enjoying the process and the dance of the journey.
Let's make sure we get our fears in the right priority!
Who started the fight first?
It doesn't matter.
If you're continuing with the fight, it's as if you started it.
It always takes two people to fight. All you have to do is for you to stop fighting (or to not start fighting).
Can you guess the #1 fear in the world?
"What are you (others) thinking of me?"
"Looking good" (and not looking bad) is almost everyone's #1 concern.
"Am I good enough?"
"Am I smart enough?"
"Am I likable? Am I lovable?"
"Are you going to get upset with me?"
"Do you think I'm strange or weird?"
"Are you going to reject me or exclude me?"
"Are you going to take me seriously?"
"Do you think I am successful (not a loser)?"
"Do you think I have fulfilled my obligations and duty?"
“Do you think I am responsible?”
"Have I fulfilled your expectations of me?"
"Do I belong?"
All these concerns are variations on "What are you thinking of me?"
Have you been playing with this fear? Have you been having fun with this fear? Have you tapped into the energy and power of this fear to enliven you and give you confidence?
Are you aware that almost everyone else is also dominated by this fear?
Are you aware that almost everyone else is frightened of what YOU are thinking of them?
What is the worst choice, the biggest risk, the costliest mistake, and biggest shortcoming?
...the worst choice is making no choice at all.
...the biggest risk is trying to avoid all risk.
...the costliest mistake is trying to avoid making mistakes.
...and your biggest shortcoming is trying to be perfect.
I both save and destroy marriages
As a life coach, I have worked with many couples/individuals who were married but were having significant difficulties in their marriage.
For some marriages, we decided together that the best outcome would be to go for creating a great new marriage and partnership. For these marriages, you could say that I "helped save the marriage."
For other marriages, we decided together that the best outcome would be to go for creating a great divorce and separation for all sides. For these marriages, you could say that I "helped to destroy the marriage."
Interesting way to think about it, right?!
Blaming is everywhere
We don't have to look very far or wait very long to notice someone blaming someone else (or themselves).
We can notice others doing it (Trump, or Biden, and their detractors are easy examples to observe).
Or look closer to home. Is anyone you know blaming either themselves (feeling guilty), another, or even you? Are you blaming yourself or any other person that you know? Hint: if you feel defensive, that's a sign that you're blaming the person who stimulated your defensiveness.
Blaming ourselves and others is a deeply ingrained habit for many of us. And it must have some benefits (although all the benefits are short-term). But let's look at the costs by asking two simple questions.
"Is the blame of this person (even if this person is yourself) likely to change their behavior in the way that you would like?"
"What costs are likely to be incurred if this person feels blamed. Will they get defensive? Will they blame back? Will they become more entrenched in their behavior?"
Blame is one of the least effective (and most costly) ways to effect change (in either ourselves or others), especially permanent change. On top of that, it comes with a lot of costs that often far outweigh any benefits that we may have gotten.
Is enough sleep your first priority?
"Scientists have discovered a revolutionary new treatment that makes you live longer. It enhances your memory and makes you more creative. It makes you look more attractive. It keeps you slim and lowers food cravings. It protects you from cancer and dementia. It wards off colds and flu. It lowers your risk of heart attacks and stroke, not to mention diabetes. You'll feel happier, less depressed, and less anxious. Are you interested?"
Heavens, yes! What is this treatment?
Sleep (and enough of it).
(The above quote is taken from "Why We Sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams")
As Shakespeare said, "Sleep is the chief nourisher in life's feast."
To create danger, defend yourself
Defense will occur as an offense to the person you are defending yourself from, stimulating them to defend themselves more, which will occur as an offense to you, where you will try to defend yourself more.
We're all familiar with this road.
Defending yourself creates danger to your relationship and makes it less likely that you will get what you want.
Instead of defense, try curiosity. Become curious about their upset or action. See if you can make them feel listened to and understood.
This doesn't mean you have to say "yes" to what they want. This doesn't mean that you don't maintain good boundaries with them. This doesn't even mean you agree with them.
It just means being curious (and maybe even empathetic) about how you and their circumstances are occurring for them.
Almost always, this is the safest approach. Defense is the more dangerous approach. Or, as Byron Katie said, “Defense is the first act of war.”
When my forthcoming book is published, you'll hear about it here!