Archive for Lessons For Life

Inspired

silhouette-1082129_960_720“The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.”  ~ Bertrand Russell ~

You have heard it said that, ”It’s not what you know, but who you know.” I disagree.  It is what you know, who you know and what you do with both of them.  Knowledge is only valuable if it is applied. Personal relationships are only valuable if there is an emotional or inspirational connection.

The fact that someone knows who you are can be either positive or negative.  It may even be that their impression of you is not based in reality. What they think of you may not even be from your own input.  This is true even more today in the age of Facebook and Twitter, where you do not have control of all interactions. You may not even know the interaction exists or who is seeing it.

Inspired connections are the key.  Making a positive first impression is important. Then it is key to reinforce the connection occasionally to keep it fresh and show that you care about the relationship. People want to feel your passion.  They won’t unless you let it show.  Let people know who you are and what you care about.  Share your roles and goals.  It is best to do that personally and directly.

Put commitment into your knowledge, perspiration into your efforts, love into your friendships and inspiration into your attitude.  If you are inspired and an inspiration, the world will want to know you and be involved in what you do.  Your inspiration will be rewarding and may even be profitable.

Mike Ferrier

Intention

road-363265_640“Mindfulness has helped me succeed in almost every dimension of my life. By stopping regularly to look inward and become aware of my mental state, I stay connected to the source of my actions and thoughts and can guide them with considerably more intention.” ~ Dustin Moskovitz ~

Intention is an inclination to accomplish a goal and satisfy that desire.  Life is full of intention, but our success lies in what drives the intention.  Desire drives a lot of intention.  I’m sure you can fill in the examples here.  What separates us from animals is the ability to separate intention from instinct.

Instinct is a subconscious mental force.  It is inherited.  Think of it like the effect of gravity on water.  If there is the ability for water to move down, it will.  Once it starts moving it develops its own force of momentum and there is little that can stand in its way.  Some of the greatest engineering feats ever have been to channel and control this force.  Your instinct is the same. It is a powerful force.

Our human success is determined by our ability to overcome instinct and apply our intention in a constructive way to a higher goal.  The “mindfulness” in the quote above is what takes us past instinct. It is deciding our path and using our powerful minds toward productive paths based on moral or constructive intentions. Mindfulness is creation and review of the conscious mind. According to FORBES, Dustin Moskovitz became the youngest self-made billionaire in history at age 28.

Goal directedness, concentration, meditation, affirmations and prayer are all tools to take mindfulness past the consciousness barrier and to move our intentions into our subconscious mind or give them to God.  They tame the instinctive power of the mind and channel it to flow where we want.  Like water that is controlled, we are able to channel our power into fields of productive endeavor.

Your question for this lesson is, what do you want to grow or accomplish and do you have your mind focused on that intention?  There will always be intention.  Yours should be designed rather than inherited.

Mike Ferrier

Curiosity

dog-584503_640“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ~ Walt Disney ~

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but also got man to the moon, helped build devices to look back in time to the beginning of the universe and caused me to ask my wife on our first date.  Curiosity has an element of risk and with it the related exhilaration.  It does not always bring us what we expect, but if it did the dedicated would never be elevated above the normal.

Curiosity is a question. How far can I go?  How high can I climb?  What will happen? Who is the best? What is the cure?  Is there other life out there?  What is the meaning of life? These are the kind of questions that drive us as individuals, groups and nations to explore the edges of the known and into the realm of possibilities and to test the concept of the impossible.  You will never know unless you try.

What are the questions that drive you forward?  If you do not know the question, the curiosity, you will never know when you have found the answer.  The question takes us from what we do know to what we will know and hopefully to the next question.

If we were not curious we would never explore.  My encouragement to you is to be an explorer.  Find the edges of your ability and see what is past them.  Look for new areas of knowledge to expand your mind. You will also never know how strong you are physically or emotionally until you test the boundaries.  They both need to be exercised to improve and you need to realize the improvement to push you to the next level.

Finally, the only way to love and be loved is to take the risk of giving the best of yourself.  Yes, curiosity and commitment help develop the best relationships of your life. Love is a continual exploration of your own depth and hopefully the most fulfilling journey you ever take.

Mike Ferrier

Sunset

sunset“Feelings aroused by the touch of someone’s hand, the sound of music, the smell of a flower, a beautiful sunset, a work of art, love, laughter, hope and faith – all work on both the unconscious and the conscious aspects of the self, and they have physiological consequences as well.”  ~ Bernie Siegel ~

I was at my office late one day last week helping a couple at the end of their working lives.  We were creating the picture of their future lives.  They left as the sun was going over the western mountains and I stood outside and watched the sky come alive as a beautiful sunset.  If you go to my Facebook page you will see what I am talking about.  It is quite a picture.

Beauty comes into our lives frequently and it is up to us to stop and allow it to become part of us.  If you don’t it will fleetingly pass you by or more truly, you will pass it by.  The beauty is there even if you do not see it.

For those that get this well, they make their own beauty in the form that pleases them the most or where they can best express their talent.  They hone those skills over years of practice.  For me, it is the basis of these pages in helping others be as good as they can be.

Secondarily, for me, it is in musical performance.  Performance music is as fleeting as a sunset. Live music is experiencing, in real time, the effort of entertaining yourself or others. It can never be perfectly captured by camera or recording because the environment helps to build the sound.  That sound will be different for another person even a few feet away, because it is seen and heard from that person’s frame of reference and with their ears that hear things differently.  We appreciate things differently.  What moves you may be boring or even hideous to someone else.  I perform music as a gift to the audience.  Hopefully they will experience the beauty I am trying to put into the piece.

Do not let the beauty pass you by.  Cherish and seek out the joy that is given to you.  If you can, paint the sunset of your own medium of expression.

Mike Ferrier

Muscles

judge-300556_640“The brain is like a muscle. When it is in use we feel very good. Understanding is joyous.”

~ Carl Sagan ~

We are all endowed with our own set of genetic attributes.  Then those attributes are molded and refined through our youth like the clay in a pot to form the special person we are.  Unlike a pot though, we are never finished, glazed or fired to hardness.  We are in a perpetual state of building, polishing, wearing down, breaking and reforming.  All of this process and our success or demise is dictated by our attitude and effort. We can allow things to happen to us or we can create what we want through the strength of our body and mind.

Every part of us is in a constant process of change whether we are 11 or 111.  Our task is to make the most of what we have either through exercise, thought, preparation or neglect.  It is important to use our strengths to compensate for our weaknesses.  It is also important not to give in to our weakness because doing so also takes part of our strength.  Not being able to run a fast 10k should not keep you from taking extra steps to make you stronger.  Do what you can do with the thought of improvement rather than surrender. Only you know what you tell yourself.  Life is not easy.  If you pretend it is, you will not get what you want, but will have to be satisfied with what is in easy reach.

Each time you stretch for a goal you are exercising your body, spirit and mind, preparing it for the next stretch.  Each time you can reach a little farther.  As Carl Sagan wrote above; you need to exercise your brain as well as your muscles.  You develop problem solving skills by taking on problems.  You develop knowledge by feeding yourself information.  You develop character by exercising proper judgement and learning when your judgement is off.

Try not to develop a single part of your being to the detriment of others.  What good does it do you to have the best body if you have poor judgement or morals?  What good is it to know everything if you give up a functional body.  The best You has to include all of you.

Mike Ferrier

Sunshine

heart-583895_640“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.”  ~ Helen Keller ~

Think of this quote and the person who wrote it.  She never saw the sunshine or the shadow with her eyes. She never saw a smile or a frown. She never heard a happy song or a lament. She only had three senses. Everything had to be perceived through her skin, nose or mouth and yet she is telling us about a purely visual concept in a way few others have been able to so succinctly.

We have abilities Helen Keller did not have. As I have mentioned many times before, I am a bicycle rider and average about 1500 miles a year on a bike.  It has been 27 years since I have crashed on the road.  I wish the same could be said for off-road.  The road is predictable most of the time.  The biggest challenge is what are the car drivers going to do and can they see me and respect that I deserve to be there?

Most of the time a bike rider is looking forward at where they are going and what is there to hinder them so they can steer past it.  At the same time, they need to be looking at what is overtaking them so many of us wear a mirror on our glasses or helmet.  Those that don’t wear a mirror get very good at looking over their shoulder.  Bike racers are not allowed to wear mirrors and are very practiced at this.

Those of us who do substantial road miles like to put a light on the back of our helmet or bike so cars overtaking us can see us better.  Mine has five bright LEDs flashing from the back of my seat post.  Before that, I wore a light on the back of my left shoe so it moved up and down as I peddled.

My point here is to look at the sunshine, where you are going, but keep an eye on what is coming at you from where you cannot see, the shadows. Send your own light into the shadows and help those that dwell there. See the world around you, there is nothing obstructing the view of a bike rider, but concentrate your efforts on your goal, get that bicycle safely down the road.  There is beauty, adventure and fitness in the ride of life, but only if you are not blind and deaf to it.  If Helen Keller can see the light, so can you.

Mike Ferrier