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Seriousness is not the same as significance

“Seriousness is not the same as significance.” -Chalmers Brothers

It’s possible to be light-hearted and effective. It’s also possible to be really intense and inefficient.

Just because you’re serious, doesn’t mean you’re actually focused on what’s important. And just because something is important, doesn’t mean you have to be serious about it all or most of the time.

The true level of one’s commitment, effectiveness, and integrity is best measured by that person’s results, not by their apparent sobriety or sense of humor.

So, are you having a good time or are you getting down to business?

Sometimes you have to choose, but not always.

It’s possible to do both.

That’s today’s two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Don’t micromanage your emotions

Having a bad day?

Feeling like you’re in a bit of a funk and can’t figure out why?

Feeling bad may not be the problem. The real issue may be that you’re feeling bad about feeling bad.

What’s wrong with me?

We all deal with various emotions throughout the day, but the ones who seem to be happiest and healthiest are those who allow themselves to feel whatever they feel without negative judgement.

Being sad or frustrated is a passing inconvenience, but labeling yourself as lazy, immature, unlucky, unenlightened, or evil as a response to what you’re feeling, is a fast and easy way to turn temporary discomfort into long-term suffering.

“But aren’t we SUPPOSED to be happy?”

I believe that “happiness” (as long as we define that term precisely enough) is the goal of life, but sometimes the best way to reach a goal is to back up a bit and pursue it indirectly.

C.S. Lewis wrote,  “the man who tries to measure how quickly he’s falling asleep is likely to remain awake all night.”

Constantly checking up on our happiness quotient typically results in more stress and often ends in a self-perpetuating loop of negative reinforcement.

Too much direct effort can lead to emotional micro-management and “analysis paralysis.”

Rather than attempting to change the way you feel, try changing the context within which your feelings are processed.

Building healthy habits turns happiness into a habit

One of the most practical habits you can develop is setting a few clearly defined goals that require you to take small, but specific, action steps towards results that are personally important to you.

These goals should be creatively fulfilling and mildly challenging. It’s usually best to choose goals that are separate from your existing familial and professional obligations. Make it about you and something selfish you would like to be, do, or have.

Most importantly, these goal MUST be significant enough to you that, even on your worst day, you will still be able to recognize the “beyond the moment” benefits they’ll bring to you by remaining committed.

What does this have to do with happiness and having a bad day?

As it turns out, quite a bit.

A sense of purpose not only enriches our lives in ways that far exceed being comfortable or problem free, but it also provides a context for our feelings that literally transforms emotions into creative energy.

When you’re living life with intention, you don’t feel bad about feeling bad because you experience the energy behind your emotions differently from those who lack what Napoleon Hill called “definiteness of purpose.”

To the creator, feelings aren’t burdens to carry, they’re a valuable source of fuel that can help drive you towards your own decided destiny.

That’s my two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Optimism: Positive assumptions not required

Positive assumptions, although potentially empowering, often require the ones who make those assumptions to think or act as if positive experiences will occur whether they have evidence for such optimistic expectations or not.

For many people, this is a difficult, if not psychologically impossible, leap to make.

As an alternative, I propose the following:

Rather than demanding yourself to make positive assumptions, challenge yourself to question your negative assumptions.

For instance, let’s suppose that an unpleasant experience occurred in your life. Conventional optimism would suggest you turn your negative into a positive. However, that suggestion seems to assume, or at least imply, that there actually IS a negative condition in the first place. But what would happen if we questioned THAT assumption?

How do our so-called “negative” experiences present themselves when we’re no longer applying our usual labels, opinions, and judgements to those experiences?

What happens to our “need” to be positive when we’re not busy labeling events as “negative”?

This is NOT a suggestion that you make positive assumptions, but that you temporarily refrain from making ANY assumptions at all. It’s an invitation to simply be present with what is.

This is NOT a suggestion to pretend that everything is fine even when you’re sad or upset. It’s an opportunity to see what it’s like to experience the richness of emotion without having to form an opinion about the “goodness” or “badness” of what invoked those feelings.

What are our lives capable of becoming when we release ourselves from the burden of having an opinion, including positive ones, about everything?

What are our lives capable of becoming if we spend less energy trying to make ourselves believe the things we think we ought to believe, and more energy allowing ourselves to simply not know the “right” answer or “correct” judgement?

What happens when we explore the possibilities that exists in the space between our judgments, opinions, and beliefs?

Here’s Today’s Two Cents:

Instead of forcing yourself to believe that you’re an amazing person, try questioning the assumption that something is wrong with you.

Instead of forcing yourself to believe that life is great, try questioning the assumption that life is screwed up.

Instead of forcing yourself to believe that your plans are going to work, try questioning the assumption that they will fail. And try questioning the assumption that IF they do fail, you will regret it and end up in a worse position than before.

Instead of forcing yourself to believe that everything is going to be okay, try questioning the assumption that there are challenges you won’t be able to handle.

Instead of forcing yourself to believe “this too shall pass”, try questioning the assumption that your present unhappiness is permanent.

Instead of forcing yourself to believe in new possibilities, try questioning the assumption that you’ve already heard and seen everything there is to know.

You may be pleasantly surprised by what awaits you on the other side of your questions.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

You don’t need more opportunities. You need fewer assumptions.

What happens to the creative ideas we already have when we make fewer assumptions about how things will go wrong?

What happens to our sense of personal power when we make fewer assumptions about how disadvantaged or weak we are?

What happens to our quality of life when we make fewer assumptions about how tough the world is?

What happens to our intelligence when we make fewer assumptions about our inability to learn new things?

What happens to our relationships, when we make fewer assumptions about others?

The greatest threat to our dreams is neither a malevolent outside force nor an absence of creative ideas, but rather the self-negating effect that our own disempowering assumptions have on us.

We don’t need anything as much as we need the following: to question the assumptions that stand in the way of our already existing opportunities.

The fewer assumptions you make about what can and can’t happen, the more open to possibility you’ll be. The more open to possibility you are, the more likely it is that you’ll make interesting discoveries. The more interesting discoveries you make, the more options you’ll have.

At least that’s my two cents.

Cheers,

T.K. Coleman

Follow your passion, NOT your resistance

Passion has two components:

1) The pleasure you feel WHILE contemplating, creating, or consuming what you love.

and

2) The pleasure you feel AS A RESULT of being committed to what you love even when it’s not convenient.

The first component is characterized by the idea of immediate gratification. It’s the instant payoff we get from participating in fun activities.

The second component is characterized by the idea of fulfillment. It’s the pride, relief, and self-respect we get from flowing energy at our goals in the presence of seemingly unsupportive conditions.

The key to following your passion is not limiting your definition of “passion” to the first component.

There’s more to pursuing your passion than only engaging in overtly fun activities and there’s more to feeling good than experiencing immediate gratification. Feeling good and having fun are states that a successful creator must learn to synthesize for himself rather than depending on conditions of ease to supply him with a daily dose of inspiration.

Every passionately sought goal has moments in which one does not feel the initial excitement that catalyzed the pursuit.

“Following your passion” does not mean you should stop going after what you want every time you encounter difficulty and discomfort. People who do this are actually following their resistance.

Here’s an example:

Let’s suppose you’re chasing after a rabbit and the rabbit runs through a pile of crap. If you decide to stop chasing the rabbit because of some crap that’s on the path, then what would you be following? Well, you definitely wouldn’t be following the rabbit. The rabbit would still be on the move and you’d either be standing there disgusted by the crap or heading off elsewhere in pursuit of more convenient experiences. You’d be following the crap because that’s where you’d be getting your cues from. If you were following the rabbit, you would have gone around, through, or over the crap.

When your decisions are based on reactions to resistance, then you’re following your resistance because that’s the element that’s dictating your agenda.

If you want to follow your passion, you have to be willing to run around, through, or over the crap that gets in the way.

Follow your passion, NOT your resistance

That’s my two cents,

T.K. Coleman

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