How to read effectively

I have a plan to write eight blogs on my eight keys to happiness. I choose eight keys to happiness because I like the number eight and I like lists. I do believe from the bottom of my heart that if you follow the eight keys to happiness you will live a happy life. I would love to start now, however I have to complete three blogs before I am able to begin since these three blogs are needed to set up the eight keys. The first one was last week’s post on taking responsibility for your life. This one is about taking responsibility for your reading.

Krishna and Arjun on the chariot, Mahabharata,...

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The coincidental part of the blog that I am writing is that I got the inspiration from this blog by reading a book that spelled it out. The book Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment by Jed McKenna has a section about people who are studying the Bhagavad Gita. In his book, Jed McKenna is a spiritual enlightened teacher who happens to also be a loving jerk. The people who were studying the Bhagavad Gita were trying to figure out what the writers’ purpose was when they were writing the book. They wanted to know the motivations of the people in the story. Jed McKenna points out something very important, “It’s not about the people IN the story, it’s about the person READING the story.”

This reminded me of a discussion that I overheard at one of the gatherings that I attend. Two women were talking about A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. They both talked about how they were trying to read the book and were having a hard time. They were both going line by line trying to figure out what Eckhart Tolle meant when he was writing what he was writing. This is not an

better than in-flight magazine

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effective way to get something out of a book. It is not about what Eckhart wrote in his books; it is what he wrote that inspires the people who are reading them. Trying to get into the mind of Tolle only leads to frustration. It is impossible to know exactly what he meant when he was writing his books. It is just not possible to read someone’s mind and get the perfect meaning. Sometimes it is even hard to get into your own mind. I know I am not the only person who has written something in a journal and looked back thinking, “What in the hell was on my mind THAT day?!?”

Trying to get into the mind of the person who wrote the book and the meaning of the book disconnects you from getting true meaning from the book. Reading the book and finding what jumps out at you and what it means to you is how to read a book. What feelings does it stir inside of you? What thoughts are spawned from your reading? What lessons can change your life? The actions that you take to integrate these lessons into your life is important and a way that this book can change you.

There is a saying that states, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” This is also true with books. Reading sayings and beating your head over their meanings will make you miss parts of the book that mean something to you now. Reading it and noticing parts that jump out at you will give you the most benefits. Reading this way allows you to reread the same book and get more and more out of it each time. Going back can open up other ideas that you didn’t notice before.

This can also work for movies as shown by my last post on how Kingpin changed my life. In any story there is potential for growth when you look within and ask, “How can this improve my life?”

Trust yourself to remember what you are reading as well. Be open to the lines of the book that do not speak to you now. They will appear when you are ready. One day you will realize exactly what it means to you.

My Services

Working with me is not only about achieving your goals in the easiest most joyful way possible. It is about growing and becoming a person that you are proud to be. Together we will work to integrate the knowledge that you have learned. As Morpheus said to Neo in the Matrix, “Sooner or later you’re going to realize just as I did that there’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.”

Let’s walk that path together.

Homework of the Week

The homework for the week is simple; never read the same way again. 🙂

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The greatest day of my life – The day I took responsibility

This is the most personal blog that I have ever written. It is a story that I call the “Greatest Day of My Life.” The greatest day of my life has similarities to the 1958 NFL Championship game, which is known as the Greatest Game Ever Played. Since then I have had better days, this is just the first day that got me on my current path.

I am not going to go into the specifics of the parties involved in this story. Growing up I was very afraid and trapped in a prison of fear. In high school, I never had a girlfriend or close relationship with a female. I never felt like I was close to anyone. I felt all alone in a crowd. To deal with the actions that happened in my past, I created a huge wall and became emotionless. I judged whether or not I loved someone by if they could hurt me. I felt only two could. There was no chance I was going to let anyone in.

The worst part about the problems I had was that there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I had no idea how to fix them and did not believe they were fixable. They were someone else’s fault. It was other people’s actions that made it so I never became close to anyone. I spent my time blaming someone else for my problems.

Cover of

Cover of Kingpin

One day in college, I watched a movie that changed my life. That movie is Kingpin. Made by the Farrelly brothers, Kingpin is about a pro bowler played by Woody Harrelson who gets screwed by another pro bowler played by Bill Murray. After wasting his life away, Woody Harrelson’s character finds an Amish prodigy played by Randy Quaid to take to the bowling championships to win $500,000. This is not exactly the movie that normally changes a person’s life. It wasn’t the first time I saw this movie. The first time I saw it, I thought it was funny. A few days later, I was talking to one of my best friends about how awesome the movie is and he mentioned the fact that the movie was very uplifting. This confused me. Then he explained how Woody’s character took responsibility for his life at the end of the movie. This stuck with me. A few months later, I bought the movie on VHS and I watched it with this in mind. I was shocked; he was right. Then I looked within. The next thing I remember clearly is being on my hands and knees. I was rocked to my core. It almost felt like I was calling out to something and there was an explosion in my brain.

I later learned this is called a satori. It was a flash of sudden awareness. In one moment everything was clear to me. It was my fault. The prison that I was trapped in was my own creation. The choices I made as a child made me the way I was at the time. It was not what anyone did to me. I did not have direct control over certain events in my life. I had direct control over how I reacted to them. In one moment, I went from depression to hopefulness.

What this means to me now

Tony Robbins

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Taking complete responsibility for my life made it so I could change it. If the problem is someone else’s, then I would have to fix that person to be able to move on in my life. Worse, I would have to go back to the past and change it. With it being impossible to travel back in time I would be stuck with my fears. As I learned from Tony Robbins, taking responsibility for my life gave me response ability.Having the ability to respond to my fears and areas where I was stuck, gives me an ability to change them and grow beyond them. I could never move forward if I stayed in a place of blame. Taking responsibility for my state of happiness is the basis for all my personal growth. With taking responsibility for who I am, I would not be in the position that I am today.

When you take responsibility for your life you can do anything you want. No one can make you feel anything. You make the choices. Just like a baby who learns how to move their arms and legs, you can learn how to choose what to feel about any given situation. Taking responsibility in your life makes it so you are no longer trapped in the illusion that this person has to change for you to feel better. No one will ever change for you.

The freedom you will feel from taking responsibility for your life will be outstanding. It is like letting go of a big weight. Then you can do something about the beliefs that are keeping you stuck, if you choose. You will have hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Where there is hope, there is the possibility for joy.

My Services

Hiring a life coach is a way of taking responsibility for your success. Working with me will keep you on task and reach your goals faster than you can on your own. Together we will work on getting you out of the blame game and moving to a life of joy and living the life you want to live. You will wake up in the morning being happy to be alive.

Homework of the Week

Just imagine that you are responsible for how you feel. The events in your life do not have any hold on you. Imagine the freedom of letting go of all of the stories that keep you from where you want to be. Just imagine what it would be like if you didn’t even know the meaning of the word victim. You are the creator of your own reality. Do this for a few minutes every night before you go to sleep.

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Worry is opposite of caring

“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”

Since I jumped on the “worry is bad” bandwagon, I have been met with resistance when discussing it. Many people are very attached to their desire to worry. One of the resistances that I get from this conversation is that they simply cannot “not care”. This argument is stating that there are two states that a person can be in during any situation. The truth is there are many states between worry and not worry. They are mistaken in believing that worry is tied to caring. In fact worry is the exact opposite of caring.

In any given situation, worrying about people actually makes the situation worse. This is especially true if the person is a chronic worrier. Not only does the person worry enough about their own situation and lives, they are now given a burden of another person who feels bad about their situation. As I’ve written previously, a person cannot feel bad enough to make someone else feel better. That is not how it works. Worrying about a bad situation just adds to the whole problem. If the person going through the bad situation is also a person who worries, a huge worry ball that will just destroy everyone involved is created. Tempers will flair, emotional crying outbursts will explode, more feelings will be hurt, and a myriad of other emotional disasters may result from too much worrying.

I am not trying to pile on a lot of blame on the worriers out there. In fact, they are probably worrying about me picking on them right now. The intentions of the worriers are generally good. The chronic worrier feels they are doing what they need to do to show that they care. The chronic worrier’s help may be misplaced, however, they are doing the best that they can with their skill set.

If you are one who is prone to worry with the idea that you worry because you care, ask yourself a question, “Is it caring to make the situation worse?” When you notice that the person is sick of you asking if they are OK is that really caring? To me, caring isn’t about showing that I care. It is me doing actions that make the situation better. Not worrying about the situation constantly, and instead thinking the best of the situation and dealing with it with a smile does not mean that the person is not caring about it. This practice takes me out of the equation of feeling bad. No sane person enjoys making another person feel bad, even when the situation is something they have no control over. Let’s use cancer as an example. I have seen situations where the person who is in total pain has to put on a brave face and make jokes for the benefit of the person helping them. How is it caring when the situation calls for the person in pain to go into the caregiver roll for their own caregiver?

Worrying is not caring. Caring is caring. Having concern for someone in pain does not have to be tied to worry. Worrying is making the situation in your mind worse than the reality of what is actually happening. Worrying is constantly thinking about the pain instead of thinking of the healing. Thinking the best about a person does not mean if they fall down, you will not go over and help them. Look back in your life and notice the times when you were not worried about a given situation and the situation happened. Did you react with concern and caring? Did you think, “I was not worried about my friend breaking their ankle, so I will just let them lay there crying in pain.” I am guessing that you helped the person with as much caring as you have in your being. Taking the worry out of the equation is not putting your burden onto those you are trying to help. It is about love; it is not about worry.

The action of feeling love is on the opposite spectrum of the feeling of worry. Love is an emotion that feels good. Worrying is not an emotion. It is an action where a person takes emotions that feel bad and constantly spins them. People who worry make pictures of the worst thing happening. They tell themselves that bad things are going to happen or feel that the worst is going to happen. It is actually impossible to love someone and worry about someone at the same time. Worry either leads to no action with the person feeling bad and worrying themselves to death or worrying too much action such as the constantly asking if someone is doing fine. Neither of those actions make the person that they are worrying about feel loved. Imagine yourself saying to someone, “I love you.” Notice how that feels good and imagine the person’s reaction. Generally reactions to those three words are good. There are situations where it might be bad for people, however this is not a blog about dating. Now imagine yourself looking into your loved one’s eyes. As you are holding their hand, with all the caring you have say, “I worry about you.” Notice how that does not feel as good. Does it feel like caring to you? Does the person you tell this too feel better about themselves? Have you ever heard anyone apologize for making someone feel love for you? Have you ever heard someone say, “I am sorry I worried you?” Love is never having to say, “I’m sorry.” Worry is about being in a constant state of sorrow.

My Services

Together we will work to see how worry is affecting your life. With this awareness, we will find techniques to get you off the worry train. You will be able to react to situations with love in your heart instead of fear and remove the blocks that keep your life from being joyous.

Homework of the week

Reread the first blog about worry.

Examine the thoughts in your head about situations. Notice if they are helping or hurting the situation. If they are hurting the situation and making the person feel worse say to yourself, “I am open to happier thoughts that help the situation for the person I care about.”

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