What do you choose with your thoughts?

Have you ever had moments in life where you sensed your thoughts sliding towards despair or fear/wonderment of what is next?

Maybe you heard bad news – you get let go from a job, your significant other breaks up with you, you didn’t get into the college you wanted, you didn’t get the job you wanted,

Maybe you are at a threshold in life – you are choosing to resign from a job to pursue your dreams, you are graduating college and wondering what to choose next, you are choosing the road less traveled, you are about to ask a girl out or perhaps propose.

I find these to be the most crucial of moments in my life.

At times, during these transitions or moments, my thoughts can seemingly run away with my sanity; my fear washing over me.

At other times, I choose to stand strong. I choose to let my courage overcome my fear. I let my insanity run wild (who wants to be sane, really?). I let my belief in the future provision outweigh my doubts that God will come through.

In those moments, what will you choose to do with your thoughts?

What’s the point of Risk?

What difference do you want your risk(s) to make?

In your life?

In the lives of others?

What movement will be ignited because you chose to risk?

What if you got hell bent on starting a revolution with one risk.

I’m not talking about becoming the next Steve Jobs (although that would be cool).

I’m talking about starting a movement where people in neighborhoods start all hanging out again because you simply brought everyone on your block some cookies or banana bread and invited them over for bbq featuring only organic, grass fed, cage free, fair trade, shade grown, gluten free, and sugar free vegetables from your garden.

Or start a movement that ends bullying because you stand up for kids in your school who are getting picked on.

Or start a movement caring about the janitors at your school or place of work by putting on an appreciation celebration for all that they do. Just make sure cake is involved. Or cupcakes from Sprinkles would be cool too.

What revolution will you commit to today?

Soccer balls and unexpected smiles

In Sudan in 2009, I stumbled upon the unexpected.

At the “hotel” where we stayed, there were guys who worked there performing various tasks.

In the first 5 days there, I never saw them smile.

Not even once.

But on the 6th day, I overheard them laughing.

When I went to Sudan, I brought as many soccer balls as possible.

SOCCER BALL + SUDAN = LAUGHTER

The guys had began playing “keep away” in a circle. One guy was in the middle trying to get the ball from the other guys passing the ball around the circle.

And they were roaring with laughter.

I never knew I had a dream of bringing laughter to men working at a hotel in Sudan.

What soccer balls are you bringing with you today?

I don’t feel like it

Quite often, when talking with people about why they didn’t to something that they knew they should have, I hear the response “I just didn’t feel like it.”

And I know that I have personally “felt” that way before as well.

The crazy thing is this: if we only do what we “feel” like or don’t “feel” like, well then, we will just give in to our feelings.

And our feelings don’t always take us in the direction of what we truly want in life.

So what can we rely on, then, if we can’t always go with our feelings?

What can we depend on to pull us towards the future we long for?

The only thing that I have found to be truly resourceful is to rely on the vision we have for the future. To know what that future is and constantly evaluate if we are getting to that vision. Ask others for feedback to see if are getting there.

If you don’t know your vision – where you are committed to being in the future, then you will have no idea if you are on the right path – and thus more likely to be swayed by your feelings.

If you are trusting your feelings, it indicates that your vision is not clear.

Slow the heck down.

I recently took a risk and organized a speaking event for myself so I get could get quality video and audio of me speaking.

I have this grand vision of being one of the most inspirational speakers to ever walk the earth.

If I don’t speak, it’s tough to accomplish this dream.

So I set up this event. And I learned a lot of stuff.

The primary thing I learned was also the most unexpected.

When watching my video back, I realized that I rushed through my talk. I didn’t have many “dramatic pauses” or moments when I let the audience and myself just think and process.

So, with some friends, I broke this down. I sought feedback. What is it that is causing me to rush through things rather than patiently walking through them?

And I came across this: I often find myself getting more caught up with performing, looking cool, or being awesome than with allowing a moment to make a difference for itself. And so I would rush, trying to get all of by AMAZING THINGS TO SAY out so everyone realized how brilliant I am!

I try to white knuckle it rather than letting it happen, seemingly naturally.

We all want to be “amazing,” right?

The crazy thing is this: the moment I let go of “being amazing” and instead simply create opportunities for “amazingness” to happen, that is the moment I find myself the most fulfilled.

Letting go of my need to be the hero for others allows them to be the heroes in their own lives.

And I have found that I can only do this if I pause and let everyone see the resource all around us.

What fight would you rather win?

Each day you can focus on and fight for what is possible.

Or you can fight for what is not possible.

Just depends on what fight you would rather win?

I was talking with a friend the other day and he was describing a conflict he was in.

I asked him if he were to rate himself on a scale from 1-10 in terms of curiosity regarding the conflict, what would he say.

He said a “3.” And then he began explaining why he wasn’t very curious.

I asked him if this was a battle he really wanted to win.

Because at the end of the day, he would have successfully defended his lack of curiosity. And subsequently the presence of a reality illusion (believing that the way I see reality is completely right).

And it hit him.

In order to win this battle, he would have to sacrifice a level of connection with others that he so deeply longed for.

Including a deep relationship with himself.

The Maps we Create for Others

I wonder how many more years until the people who are being born will have no knowledge whatsoever of what a map is. Or maybe we have already arrived there.

When I moved to LA in 2006, I purchased a Thomas Guide. I wonder if anyone even uses them anymore.

Yet, one lens to look at the world is through the maps that we form in our mind.

For example, when I meet someone new, I have a first impression. A map begins to form in my mind of what I think about that person.

Then, if I continue to talk to them, the map changes shape as our conversations explore new territory.

And so we have a map of that person. This map includes assessments, judgements, interpretations, etc. of that person as seen from our perspective.

This can be resourceful – providing a foundation for exploring further…

It can also be incredibly crippling.

I confess that at times I have created a map in my mind of people and then held them in that map, choosing not to explore new territories of who that person could be.

Instead of seeing them with fresh eyes each day and being excited about possibility, I have at times put people in boxes, with thoughts such as, “that person is weird, makes stupid choices, will never change, etc.”…

And then completely closed down the possibility of connecting with that person in a new way. Affecting both myself and the other person involved (and potentially the lives of everyone we ever interact with in the future. ever.)

And I am tired of doing this.

I am committing to exploring.

This does not mean scrapping the map. As mentioned, it is a foundation for exploring.

I am committing to look at the map with new eyes, and to expand the map and add detail through journeying into new conversations, interrupting my judgements, being curious, and connecting at new levels with people.

One approach keeps me in bondage.

The other, freedom.

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