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On asking for opinions

If you ask for an opinion, you’re probably going to get one.

So before you ask, make sure…

1) An opinion is what you actually want,

2) You’re capable of tolerating feedback you may dislike or disagree with,

3) The person you’re asking is someone whose experience and expertise you sincerely respect,

and

4) You’re willing to endure the opinion-giver’s style of delivery,

That’s today’s two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Blog Post #365: Are you entitled?

I’ve had people ask me, “Do you think I’m entitled?”

This question is usually voiced in response to the insecurities one feels about some desire or expectation they have.

It’s another way of asking, “is it irrational, unrealistic, inconsiderate, unfair, insane, immature, or inappropriate for me to want what I want?”

Here’s my two cents:

You’re entitled to want whatever you want and you’re equally entitled to not want whatever you don’t want.

You’re entitled to pursue whatever you would like to pursue and you’re equally entitled to not pursue whatever you do not wish to pursue.

You’re entitled to define your life in whatever way you’d like to define it.

BUT…

Entitlement, alone, doesn’t really get you very far.

Your life is not the by-product of what you or anyone else thinks you’re entitled to.

Many people have created massive results that they were not “entitled to”, while others have watched the life they WERE “entitled to” pass them by because they were hoping someone else would make it happen FOR them.

Either you want something or you don’t.

Either you’re willing to take responsibility for creating what you want or you’re not.

So, the real question of import is not “Am I entitled?”, but “Am I committed?”

How you answer THAT question is what really counts.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

May the force be with you

This is my 364th blog post.

Tomorrow, I will achieve my goal of blogging every single day for 365 consecutive days.

Some days I have felt inspired to write. Other days have felt dry.

Some days I have felt very proud about what I wrote. On other days, the quality of my writing made me feel embarrassed about having to hit the “publish” button.

But one thing has been consistent throughout this past year: Every day, no matter what, I have showed up.

Here’s what I’ve learned about showing up:

The lack of inspiration we often feel towards practicing and pursuing the things we love, is usually just a matter of momentum.

In physics, the principle of inertia states that “an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion tends to stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force.”

I’ve observed this principle every single day in the past year. Simply by nudging myself past the initial resistance and pushing myself to get the ball rolling in some small way, I have been able to will myself into a state of inspiration and self-empowerment.

I had many days, in the beginning, when I would wake up and feel stressed, sad, or nervous about various matters. Then, once I started writing affirmations or philosophizing about happiness, I would feel the momentum shift in a positive direction.

Somewhere around the 250th blog post or so, my mind locked itself into a powerful state of focus and I went from being kind of positive to feeling happy and confident over 99% of the time.

My habits of negative thinking have ceased. The amount of time I spend arguing or being in conflict with others has dropped to nearly zero. I feel absolutely no resentment, bitterness, or unforgiveness towards anyone on the planet. My daily habits have become more and more oriented around creating the results that matter most to me. Day to day stress over whatever kinds of things I used to be stressed about is gone. And while I still have many creative goals I would like to fulfill, my present psychological condition is equivalent to that of an emotional billionaire. Like loyal employees, my thoughts are working FOR me FULL-TIME.

I showed up everyday and, while my back was turned, momentum took over my personality and transformed me into a tough-minded optimist.

Here’s today’s two cents:

Never underestimate the power of momentum. You can create whatever changes you wish to create. All you have to do, is get the ball rolling down the path you want to head in and stick with it long enough until the momentum starts to carry you.

Life is the object.

The direction in which life moves, or whether it moves at all, is determined by inertia.

Your will to change or remain the same is the force that decides what result inertia produces in your life.

The Force is yours to use as you will.

I hope you use it to create a thrilling life.

Cheers,

TK

A lesson from the waitress that I didn’t tip

I remember going to a late night family diner with a friend at the age of 18.

After we ate, we paid our bill and left.

As we approached the car, the young waitress who served us came running out of the restaurant and, with a completely exasperated look on her face, asked “was my service THAT bad? Come on, guys. You left me NO TIP. Really?”

I was shocked and embarrassed. Although there was a part of me that felt a bit defensive, I was more moved by the fact that she looked like she wanted to cry. This poor girl was having a horrible day and I was probably the cause of it.

Feeling like a complete jerk, I pulled a $10 bill out of my wallet and handed it to her. I apologized and we left.

Here’s the real clincher:

I, honestly, didn’t know any better. Yes, you read that correctly. That was the first time in my life that I tipped a server because prior to that moment I didn’t know you tipped servers. Seriously? Seriously. At age 18? At age 18.

I should have known better, but I didn’t.

Here’s today’s two cents:

One of the most common causes of relationship conflicts, is our refusal to take solution-creating action steps because of our beliefs regarding how someone else SHOULD have handled a situation.

We refuse to tell others how we feel because we think they should already know.

We refuse to confront a problem because we believe the problem should not be a problem in the first place.

We refuse to give people a second chance because we believe they should have known better.

All too often, what we think other people should know is nothing more than a set of culturally relative values that are obvious to us only because of our unique background experiences.

People with different background experiences have an entirely different set of practices that are obvious to them.

Our insistence on judging people according to our ideas of how they SHOULD be, makes it difficult for us to communicate with them in a manner that changes the way things ACTUALLY are.

Don’t expect everyone to think like you think, even if you think your way of thinking is the right way to think.

Deal with the people in your life as they actually are instead of dismissing them because they don’t behave as you feel they should.

That waitress changed my life for the better AND she got what she wanted simply because she honestly expressed how she felt.

Ever since that moment, I have learned to always second guess myself when I feel tempted to take things personally or judge someone for “being a jerk.” I choose to remember how much hurt I caused simply by not knowing what others thought I should’ve known. That one experience taught me to be open to the possibility that the “obvious” standards of judgement I’m using, may be completely foreign to the person I’m judging.

If you have something to say, just say it. If there’s a result you want, just go for it. But don’t make assumptions about what other people should know.

Well, I guess you’re free to make those kinds of assumptions if you wish. But hopefully my story will make you think twice.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Don’t try to figure them out (all the time)

You don’t need to understand the inner psychological workings of every single person who frustrates you.

In many cases, the pursuit of such knowledge is just a distraction from the real issue;

Frustration is what results when you feel like you’re not in control of the process of ensuring that your core needs are being met.

When you learn how to assert yourself, you automatically spend less time analyzing other people’s motives and more time figuring out how to get what you need out of your experiences with them.

For instance, if someone you depend on is late on a regular basis, you don’t need to have a conversation with them or anyone else about “why some people just don’t know how to be punctual.” What you need is…

1) that person to be on time

or

2) another more reliable person who can meet the same needs

or

3) a new way of seeing the situation that allows you to let it go and stop feeling bothered.

In the above instance, any information that you seek about people who are chronically late, should be limited to what is practically useful in helping you get what you need.

If you attempt to do more than that, you can very easily think yourself into a frenzy.

If you happen to be the type of person who actually enjoys pyscho-analyzing people, then you should follow your bliss and keep doing what excites you.

If, on the other hand, you frequently find yourself getting angrier and angrier at your repeatedly failed attempts to make sense out of questions like, “Why does she always talk to me that way?”; “Why hasn’t he paid me back?”; or “Why hasn’t she returned my phone call?”, then it might be time to shift your focus towards asking questions like, “What are my core needs?”; “How can I improve on my ability to articulate my needs?”; and “How can I become better at placing myself in situations where my needs are honored?”

Understanding others can be a highly useful exercise in problem-solving. But if your efforts are not geared towards obtaining insights that increase your capacity to meet your needs, then you’ll probably just end up being one of those really “smart”, but lonely and bitter people, who always whines and wonders about all the “idiots” who never seem to get it right.

Is that the person you want to be?

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