Life / Can Do

Helpful tips to living a better life

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Always Do What You Believe Is Right

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Whatever your goals are, I’m going to advise that you should do whatever it takes. However, this does not include doing things that are against the law or against your principles. Sometimes it appears that the only way to get ahead in life is to lie, cheat, steal and step on others. People who are willing to push aside ethics may have an advantage in terms of material success, but anyone who breaks the rules will ultimately be a failure regardless of how much money, power or luxury items they have.

We all know this is true. We’ve all seen examples of people who appear to have it all but yet we instinctively know them for the loser that they are. No amount of bling can cover a dark heart.

Throughout my life, I’ve been at a number of crossroads where I was given a choice between doing something I know is wrong to get a little further ahead or doing the right thing and deal with a setback. I always chose to do what I believe was the right thing. I don’t agonize over it and I don’t look back and regret it. They way I see it is that I don’t have a choice. I do what’s right no matter what the stakes are.

I’ve been accused of being self-righteous when I suggest that we always do the right thing. It’s not about “righteousness” – it’s about being able to appreciate and enjoy everything you’ve earned. If you don’t earn it the right way, you will always wonder if you could have achieved it without violating your principles.

Self doubt can be extremely difficult to deal with. We need every bit of evidence we can get to prove to ourselves that we are worthy of success. Every time you cheat your principles you are building a case against your self worth. You are providing evidence that you are a fake. On the other hand, if you take the high road and refuse to compromise on your principles, you can be proud of everything you have an earn.

I struggled for years with my principle based lifestyle. Some days, I would feel like a schmuck who was passing up on an opportunity while others did whatever they wanted to get ahead. Now that I’m older, I can look back and know I made the right choice. I appreciate all that I have and I’m proud of what I accomplished. I can raise my kids knowing that I am a worthwhile father. People who know me, respect and trust me.

Trust, respect and love are the greatest things in life. You only grow those aspect of your life by living within your principles. It take years to build trust and respect but you can lose all of it in a single day. Once you do something to violate that trust, people will question everything you’ve ever accomplished.

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

May 9, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Meditation Should Be Taught In Schools

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Just do a search on the term “benefits of meditation” and you find plenty of evidence that meditation is a good thing. Meditation is often associated with “hippies” and the new age movement. Personally, I wouldn’t care if it was part of the “My Little Pony” fan culture – if it makes my life better, I’m going to do it.

I try to fit time for meditation whenever I can but I sometimes go for weeks without meditating. I’m not perfect so when life gets busy, it’s easy to justify cutting out the activity that is basically just sitting around, doing nothing. However, I’ve found that if I don’t meditate a few days a week, things start to get a little crazy. I lose my center and stress starts to degrade my ability to think clearly. Once I get in a few days of meditation, things start to settle down and my ability to focus increases.

I came to the realization that most people are in a permanent state of high stress. This explained why it is so difficult to communicate with most people about topics requiring high levels of thought. They just don’t have the capacity to do anything outside of their routine. High stress may also be a major reason why so many people are overweight – they aren’t capable of making any significant changes in their lives.

Meditation has a marketing problem. It’s not even on the radar of the public conscience. Sure people have heard about it and will generally agree that it is a good thing, but most never make the connection that it is something that they should try. There’s not enough peer pressure to take it seriously. It’s not like diet and exercise where most people have at least tried to exercise and eat better. Most people have not even tried to meditate.

This is why I think it should be taught in schools from as early as the first grade. It would be really cheap and easy to implement and it would improve students ability to learn. I’m not saying they could get most kids to sit still quietly for more than 10 minutes but at least they would become aware of the practice so they could choose to make it part of their growth process.

However we do it, it would be a huge benefit to our society if we could make meditation an accepted part of our culture. I’m not suggesting we go overboard where we have family members and coworkers disappearing for a few weeks so they could attend a mediation retreat, but it would be great if the average Joe or Jane could be comfortable enjoying a twenty minute mediation after a tough day at work.

 

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

April 2, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Become Who You Were Meant To Be

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When getting assistance from a mentor or a coach, one may will take offense that they are being told to change who they are. But they are mistaken to feel that way.

Each of us is born with a blueprint of the person we are supposed to be. When we are young, it is obvious that we need to grow into that person. Children accept that learning and growth is part of their lives. But at some arbitrary age, society labels us as “adults”. We are considered matured and done with learning and  growing.

The truth is that we are is defined by the entirety of lives and the legacy we leave. We are not simply who we are when we reach a certain age. When we,  even as adults, continue to learn and grow, we are striving to become the person we were meant to be.

Even though I am over 40, I continue to find new ways to learn and grow. My behaviors and habits are not the same as they were twenty years ago or even just a year ago. However, I feel more at ease with who I am with the new behaviors and I’m excited to learn more about myself as I try new things.

When people reject opportunities to learn and grown, they are not defending who they are, but rather stopping themselves from being the person they were meant to be.

 

 

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

March 23, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Snow is Nature’s Workout

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Here in Northern Massachusetts, we just got another 10 inches of snow. I spent the better part of the day shoveling the driveway, walkways and steps. With all the snow we’ve been getting the snowbanks are 5 feet high so I had to lift and throw the snow over them.

Years ago, I would have been totally exhausted and sore all over. Now I feel like I still have energy to burn. Shoveling that much snow was a tough workout but thanks to my regular fitness routine I handled it easily.

Life will push you to your limits so its best to become familiar with that territory. If you routinely push yourself, when life hits you hard its not as disruptive – it’s business as usual.

I can only imagine what my neighbors must think. After spending several hours shoveling, I still managed to play for an hour in the snow with my kid.

On my street, I have the only driveway that is down to pavement. It appears everyone else did the bare minimum needed to get their cars out.

Sometimes I feel like a stranger in a strange land surrounded by people who avoid physical exertion at all cost. The path to a better life is so obvious but so few walk that path.

Working out and avoiding unhealthy foods can be painful but not nearly as painful as living a life of quiet desperation.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 18, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Fitness, Life, Thoughts

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The Value of Natural, Unprocessed Writing

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I enjoy reading blogs. There is something profound in getting a glimpse into the thoughts and ideas of people with different backgrounds, cultures and vocations. The content is very different from what you get from professionally edited and packaged articles written by professional writers. It’s like tapping into the collective stream of consciousness.

I still appreciate published writing by professional or even aspiring writers. But a meticulously crafted floral arrangement, is no better or worse than a daisy found blooming on the side of a dirt path in the middle of a forest. That beauty that you find in the wild, unkempt wilderness of thoughts and ideas is what the trained artist is trying to condense, cultivate and arrange for you. An artist is trying to share with you the essence of what they see so  the work is processed and packaged to help you see what they see.

Often you have to trudge through miles of content to find that thought or idea that moves you. When you do find something special, take a moment to appreciate it and let the writer know what you think. It may just be a daisy on the side of a path, but you may be the first and only person who gets to experience that wild beauty in its natural setting.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 2, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Posted in Art, Life, Thoughts

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Things Are Not Always as They Seem

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Have you ever had a strong belief that you had to give up based on new information or growth of character?

I have.

Knowing that I have had to change my beliefs in the past makes me question that beliefs I hold now.  The truth is that you can’t be certain of anything.

So, knowing that our beliefs can be faulty, should we temper our commitment to our beliefs? Should we hesitate to commit towards fighting for our beliefs? For me, the answer is no.

It is not immoral to defend a false belief. If you believe in something, then you would not be true to yourself if you didn’t stand up for your beliefs. What is immoral is continuing to defend a belief when you know it is not true.

There’s this temptation to reject any information that contradicts something you’ve believed for so long, especially when you’ve internalized that belief and made it part of your identity. Giving up on it may mean that you are no longer the person you once were. It is terrifying to give up on long held beliefs and try to figure out who you are now they are no longer part of you. Until your figure out who you are without the belief, it can feel as if you have no identity.

It is better to struggle for years trying to rebuild your identity, than it is to take the default, false identity that came with your initials beliefs.

Too many people take the beliefs of their parents without question. This may be why we still struggle with racism, homophobia and misogyny despite the many enlightened leaders who have been giving evidence to the world that these are false beliefs and have no place in today’s society. Our culture as a whole has moved on from these outdated ideas, but there are still individuals or even sections of our society that refuse to give up on those beliefs that their parents and grandparents defended as the world changed.

I’m not asking anyone to replace their beliefs with mine. All I’m saying is that a person who wants to be true and whole, must question their beliefs. One way to start the questioning process if to ask if a belief is based on the truth as you know it or on the truth as it was told to you by those who want or demand that you believe what they do.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 2, 2014 at 1:55 am

Perfect is the Enemy of The Good

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lifecandopic-218

We all want to achieve great things. This passion for excellence is what drives us forward but this same passion, when taken to extremes, can also hold us back. In attempting to achieve perfection, we risk never getting started.

To do great work, we must first do work that is just plain good. To do good work, we must first do work that is just plain bad – and lots of it. Even if 90% of what you do is mediocre, more often than not, you will be judged on that 10% that is excellent. While others are singing our praises about the excellence we’ve achieved, we need to accept it and not let our average be how we measure ourselves.

Consider the great inventors of the past. The Wright Brother’s first flight at Kitty Hawk was an amazing achievement but, by today’s standard of flight, the Wright Glider doesn’t even compare. They knew that to achieve the goal of powered flight as a means of transportation, they would first need to accept good enough as a first step.

First Flight

Then consider great Thomas Edison who gave us the light bulb. That was arguably his greatest invention but it is also a product with a 100% failure rate – all light bulbs blow out eventually. Now we find that we are replacing the wonderful light bulb with a more efficient alternative. If Edison had waited for perfection, someone else would have come along and invented it and we would be praising their ingenuity.

The world does not want to wait for you to perfect what you have to offer. We want the best you have to offer right now. You can continue refining it but let us see what you have now. Finish that novel, display your art, perform that speech – whatever it is that you are afraid to complete or even start, put it out there.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

Posted in Business, Life, Thoughts

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Communication Skills Wins Over Intelligence

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We often mistakenly assume that others are smarter, more talented or more skilled than we are. This is especially the case when others are more vocal and firm about their opinions and ideas. They sound so sure of themselves while you still question what you think.

What I’ve found is that a person’s ability to communicate their opinion is not an accurate indication of whether they are right or not. Some people can be excellent communicators but yet have a below average intelligence. Quite often, people of low intelligence can get far in life on charisma alone. We often judge people as smart just because they sound smart.

The real winners are those excellent communication skills and high intelligence. These are the people we want to follow immediately and still continue to follow as they prove their worth by the decisions and actions they take. People like that are an extremely rare. It is highly unlikely someone with that combination would not succeed in whatever they do.

Some of the most intelligent people I know sound like idiots in everyday conversation. They have focused all their time and energy on building their intelligence and have not developed their social skills. They don’t get subtle jokes and they don’t know how to engage their listeners. It’s a shame and a loss to the world.

Business would do well to hire good communicator over the more talented. Talent is cheap and easily found, but charisma is a rare commodity.

With good communication skills you can be the enabler of people smarter than you. In truth, communication skills is just another form of intelligence. I’d be remiss not to mention the study of Emotional Intelligence, but we’ll cover than in more detail in future articles.

If you have the opportunity to work in a sales position I highly recommended it as a powerful career starter. In your current position take the opportunity to host meetings and give presentations as often as you can. It will cut into your other work but in the long run that will be skill that moves you forward in your career.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Business, Life, People, Thoughts

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Rocky Balboa Quote About Self Respect

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I watched “Rocky Balboa” again today. I’ve been a fan of the Rocky movies since I saw the first on TV as a kid. There’s something about the story that really hits home and can touch a person deep inside. We’ve all had our underdog moments just as we’ve all had our moments of achieving greatness against all odds. You can criticize the Rocky movies as adolescent and macho or you can see them for what they truly are – a poignant story about rising to challenges.

Since I had seen “Rocky Balbo” a few times already, I meant to just scan through. I don’t have time to watch a lot of movies so occasionally I’ll just skip ahead to those scenes that I like. With this movie it was all great. I had to take my time and appreciate every line and nuance.

I came to a scene where the current heavyweight, Mason Dixon was asking for advice from his old trainer, Martin. What Martin has to say can apply to anyone.

Martin: You got everything money can buy, except what it can’t. Its Pride. Pride is what got your [explicit] out here, and losing is what brought ya back. But people like you, they need to be tested. They need a challenge.

Mason ‘The Line’ Dixon: But you know that ain’t never gunna happen, there ain’t anybody out there Martin.

Martin: Theres always somebody out there. Always. And when that time comes and you find something standing in front of you, something that ain’t running and ain’t backin up and is hittin on you and your too damn tired to breathe. You find that situation on you, that’s good, cuz that’s baptizim under fire! Oh you get thru that and you find the only kind of respect that matters in this world, Self respect.

That’s some heavy stuff. This is the kind of advice we should be giving our kids. This is the kind of advice we need to help us get through our challenges.

when that time comes and you find something standing in front of you, something that ain’t running and ain’t backin up … You find that situation on you, that’s good, cuz that’s baptizm under fire… You find the only kind of respect that matters in this world, Self respect.

Success is not about the money, it is not about status or fame. Success is about living up to our own image of who we want to be. Anybody with millions of dollars can buy a fancy car.

It takes someone special to live a principled life and to never give up trying to be who they want to be.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Posted in Life, People, Thoughts

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Treasure Different Viewpoints

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I maintain a list of blogs that I read on a regular basis. On that list are some blogs that I don’t enjoy or agree with (Don’t worry it is not yours). I make it an effort to read these counter blogs as often as I can. I do this so that I am not viewing the world through the I-agree-with-everything-you-say goggles.

It takes great courage to think outside of your beliefs. There is a fear that if you consider other opinions that you may lose hold of your beliefs. Don’t let that stop you. If you have a belief that can’t stand scrutiny than that is not a belief, it is an illusion. You want to examine those illusions and eliminate them.

For example, some believe that most people are evil and/or stupid. They will have blogs where they rant on about the ills of society and people in general. Nowhere in their minds are they ready to consider that they are an example of what they most despise.

I believe everyone is basically good and that only 50% of the population is below average in intelligence. This belief that I have is somewhat of a blind spot that may make me miss the evil intentions of others. By reading counter blogs I get to see things from a different perspective and maybe gain insight that I would not have on my own or by reading other blogs with positive outlooks.

I’m not just talking about different opinions, I’m also referring to different tastes. I don’t care for fashion or sports but I’ll occasionally read article related to those topics. (I have yet to find a blog devoted to both fashion and sports but I’m still looking).

To grow you have to step outside of your comfort zone. If someone thinks different from you, that is a goldmine of varying perspectives. Don’t pass it by.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

February 5, 2012 at 6:07 pm

Posted in Learning, Life, People, Thoughts

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