Intent

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise” (F. Scott Fitzgerald). Hope sees what is not yet actualized, and makes it so. Be the captain of your own ship and manage yourself well. Decide the attitudes, values, principles, and life philosophies you will abide by prior to venturing into any endeavor, starting the day, emailing a person or calling someone on the telephone. Decipher end results for calling someone before making the call. Do you desire to acquire knowledge, give a boost of encouragement, or cause trouble? Knowing our outcome can help us focus on staying the course and not wasting our time or anyone else’s invaluable time.

Blossoming

“There are flowers everywhere, for those who bother to look” (Henri Matisse). Remaining optimistic versus pessimistic is very beneficial toward achieving a rewarding state of mind. Make it a habit to tell yourself something positive about yourself every time you enter or exit a room. Look for good in people, things, events, and circumstances, becoming an alchemist by creating a silver lining or producing good from bad.

Additionally, keep your head up—not down, and shoulders back with chest out. Remain cognizant about upright posture at all times. Doing this consistently can generate self-confidence. Nearly any surrounding pasture can be green when we adopt positive mental attitudes, perspectives and practices. Starting intrinsically allows external environmental conditions to become blossoming blessings.

Active Listening

Why do so many couples have a challenging time discussing money, sex, and parenting? Becoming reactive and arguing instead of truly listening and understanding with empathy, regarding where the other person is coming from is crucial toward progressive, constructive problem-solving. People yearn to be heard, appreciated, accepted and loved, without judgement or condemnation, allowing them to just be themselves. Listening allows individuals the opportunity to process their thoughts, subsequently finding solutions to their own dilemmas. Why do we feel it necessary to be right instead of happy?

Active listening suspends judgement and ego, focusing completely on the other person, without thinking about our own agenda and responses. Forget about paraphrasing and say nothing instead, only listen more intently. Alternatively, in addition to listening, ask questions to help people discover themselves more fully. Just be in the moment, in another’s emotional shoes and he or she will love you for it. Allow a person to express feelings freely and openly, loving and accepting the wholeness of an individual. Preemptively, agree to disagree internally, yet being okay about any views, feelings, or statements of another, while remaining open-minded toward understanding another’s opinions, beliefs, values, emotions, boundaries, principles, and priorities. Magic happens through sincere active listening without emotional reactivity.

While another is talking, are you thinking about what you desire to say next, interrupting conversions, finishing sentences, or autobiographically speaking about your own experiences, taking the focus off the speaker and on to you? Active listening is an incredibly helpful skill to master if only we practice doing it, day by day, moment by moment, one beautiful person at a time. Now, we can converse optimally, saying virtually nothing, yet gaining much understanding, control over ourselves, and meeting both our and another’s needs and desires more efficiently and effectively. Self-respect encompasses mastering thyself through becoming your best self. Invest in loving yourself and others, today. What do you think?

Improvement

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness” (James Thurber). Each thought and action we create generates chemical reactions, thrusting us forward or pulling us backwards. The choices are ours to make, therefore let’s make great decisions consistently and persistently. We are able to look for and put solutions into massive action through maintaining an open lucid mind, while humbly acknowledging when something can be improved upon. Progress and potential start from within. Ask yourself, “What areas in my life can I improve and become better at?” Optimistically find as many reasons as possible why you desire to improve, write your answers down on paper, and get busy becoming better this very moment.

Self-discipline

Prove others and your past self, wrong, by proving your new self, right. Antagonistically, do what you think you cannot do, despite fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Do what motivates, inspires, ignites, and drives you toward achieving your goals. Ask yourself, “Is what I am doing each day the best way I can live my life? Am I truly giving my best efforts to live fully and on purpose right now? How can I use and develop my gifts, talents, skills, and abilities to further serve and help others eradicate bad habits, live abundantly, choose wisely, and accomplish dreams?” Completely accept yourself right where you are, while progressing toward further lifelong growth and development.

Furthermore, self-discipline is key toward achieving dreams come true. Self-discipline is saying yes when you want to say no, and saying no when you want to say yes. Pay now or pay later. Don’t forget this—paying the price of self-discipline now leads to an easy life later. Health, relationships, and money all compound graciously when we live accordingly, doing the right thing, day by day, habitually self-disciplined in our principles, values, and priorities. Know them well.

Extraordinary Lives

“It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is” (George F. Will). We all possess opportunity and potential to be extraordinarily boundless and free. Let’s create opportunity by harnessing the privilege toward becoming the best version of ourselves. With freedom comes responsibility, producing high probabilities for a wonderful life, given you choose to be free. What is your attitude toward personal development, freedom, responsibility, and growth?

Growth

Live according to the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference” (Reinhold Niebuhr). Similar to muscles growing with weights, some tension is required to grow spiritually, physically, socially, emotionally, and relationally too. Be grateful for opportunities to become better in each realm of life. Look toward tension as an opportunity to become a better version of yourself. When there is tension in life, know this depicts we are alive, able to feel and grow. Furthermore, we are responsible for controlling the controllable aspects of hormones and neurotransmitters that generate positive responses and disregarding anything outside our control. Don’t focus on perfection, only diligent effort toward aspiring to be extraordinary by doing and giving your best. Ask yourself, “Am I giving myself and others the best of me? What can I do to love myself and others better, today, and each day forward?”

 

Giving Free Gifts of Love

“A man who denies to other men equality of rights is hardly worthy of freedom; but I would give even to him all the rights which I claim for myself” (Abraham Lincoln). Only allow love and good wishes for greatness unleashed within to go out toward each and every beautiful God-created person. We all are human with ebbs and flows of ups and downs. Let’s maximize our ups and minimize the down times. Living with aliveness, excitement, adventure, and vigor is fully attainable for each of us, today, tomorrow, and always.

Smoking Cessation

“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic” (Joseph Stalin). Grace and forgiveness are like oxygen to the mind, body, spirit, and soul. We cannot live fully without harmonious synergy between each realm of our being, while damage ensues when any of them are neglected. Oxygen is life. Remember that our hemoglobin molecule on the red blood cell carries oxygen to every cell in our body. Nicotine has an affinity for hemoglobin, which takes approximately 50% of the oxygen away from our cells when consuming nicotine. Results of any disease-killing process is the cessation of oxygen in the end. Pollutants from smoke cause hepatic injury, leading to elevated low density lipoprotein (LDL aka bad cholesterol), thus creating plaque and narrowing of arteries. Averting heart attacks, stroke, peripheral vascular and arterial disease, among myriads of other unwanted ailments is within our control. Nicotine weakens the esophageal sphincter, causing gastroesophageal reflux. Please stop smoking or using any nicotine-releasing substance if you do not want suffering and misery in later years, as well as becoming a statistic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in the United States. Nearly 40 million US adults still smoke cigarettes, and about 4.7 million middle and high school students use at least one tobacco product, including e-cigarettes. Every day, more than 3,800 youth younger than 18 years smoke their first cigarette. Each year, nearly half a million Americans die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke. Another 16 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Each year, the United States spends nearly $170 billion on medical care to treat smoking-related disease in adults.”³

Don’t leave your one and only beautiful unique life to chance or try fatally reasoning with fate. Create your own present and future well-being by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle. Struggling for each single breath of air that we may currently take for granted, or dying precipitously from cancer or another awful avoidable disease is within our control. Govern the controllable factors and forget about the rest. Remove I can’t from your vocabulary. Saying or believing, “I can’t,” only associates stronger connections uniting undesirable behaviors and self-limiting beliefs linked to your identity. Saying, “I can’t,” may be a character flaw, when indeed you can. Stop lying to your beautiful self, creating a deleterious mental movie. If someone threatened to harm your loved ones if you did not terminate smoking permanently, you could stop. Muster up enough faith, courage, and powerful reasons to end smoking forever and you will. You can do it!

Most of us want to be around to see our sons and daughters get married, spend time enjoying grandchildren, or relish in the splendors of true living. Living and aliveness have their own relative connotations. Each of us has to decide how we want to live, therefore let’s help each other, while casting no judgement upon anyone.

Forgiveness and Growth

Choose to live in divine grace and forgiveness, regardless of past wrongs. Don’t shake up ashes only to reignite a spark. Why listen to bitter, resentful, hurtful remarks from the past, about anyone, opening up and contaminating healed wounds? Fall forward into learning, growth, persistent progress, and successful magnificent living. Let’s decide to enjoy our wonderful thoughts, imagination, dreams, mind, body, spirit, soul, relationships, sensations of life, and the awe-struck miraculous creation gifted for us to marvel in. The essence of genius at each person’s core awaits quests to humbly ask, seek, and find simplicity, which is free for all to have, hold, and cherish within, not without. We all already possess fruit-filled abundance if we only heed principles of truth. Potential for prolific greatness comes from our moment-to-moment choices we continually make.