This Election Year Vote Yes!

I noticed this week that at the same time I started thinking about which presidential candidate I will vote for in November, I also started getting upset and putting down the other presidential candidate in my mind.  So then I started thinking about how the wisdom people exhibit when they use toothpaste could be of use to us in an election year.  (If you have no idea how toothpaste relates to picking our candidate, I will expand.)

This is what I mean.  Think about the toothpaste a guy named Jake chooses to use each morning.  Jake already has the tube of toothpaste, so this means he has weighed the pros and cons of this toothpaste versus other brands of toothpaste and chosen to pick this one.

Each morning Jake simply says, “YES” to the toothpaste he has chosen.   As he brushes his teeth, he doesn’t spend time thinking about why he said “NO” to other the brands of toothpaste.  Jake doesn’t spend his morning getting frustrated and angry at the other brands of toothpaste for not being good toothpaste.  Rather, Jake simply brushes his teeth with the toothpaste he has chosen and then goes on with his day.

The brands of toothpaste that we CHOOSE NOT to buy won’t get our teeth clean.  Only the toothpaste we purchase and brush with will.

In the same way, once we’ve weighed the pros and cons and chosen our candidate, further thinking about the reasons we dislike the other candidate is like spending time each morning contemplating why we dislike the brands of toothpaste we are NOT using.  Such thoughts don’t help us feel good.

Further, such thoughts may even make it more difficult for us to be of support to our candidate.  Can you imagine if you asked someone why she liked her toothpaste and she spent the next hour telling you why she disliked another brand of toothpaste?  At the end of the hour, you might have literally forgotten which brand of toothpaste she actually liked.  You might even be inclined to go out and buy the brand she disliked because after listening for an hour you feel that you at least know something about that brand.

This election year, may you weigh the pros and cons, and then really choose to focus on casting a confident and positive YES vote for whichever presidential candidate you have chosen.

Game of the Day

How can the ideas in this blog be of use to you during this election year?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

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Choose Your Level of Participation With Your Cravings

So often when I’m in the midst of one of my cookie cravings, I have such a strong desire for that next bite that I feel powerless not to take that next bite.  For example, there are these monster cookies at a local bakery that I often (read ALMOST DAILY) have a strong craving for.  When I bite into these soft, perfectly sugary cookies, it’s as if CRAVING MOMENTUM has over-taken me.

At times, we feel that we have no other options than to give into our cravings.  This can be an overwhelming feeling because we feel trapped in acting a certain way, trapped in giving into CRAVING MOMENTUM.

I’m prone to eat two cookies really fast without much thought, losing sight of the fact that I’m CHOOSING to take THE NEXT BITE and then CHOOSING to take THE NEXT BITE and then CHOOSING to take THE NEXT BITE.

When I stop to think about it I realize that in fact I’M CHOOSING to take many consecutive bites.

NOW recognizing that I’m choosing to take the next bite of cookie doesn’t automatically mean that I will choose to stop taking bites of cookie.  I might still CHOOSE to take bite after bite of cookie.   But if before each bite, I discipline myself just enough to pause for a second to recognize that I CHOOSE to take that next bite, suddenly I have more control and power over what I’m doing.

We feel powerless around our cravings whereas our CHOICES give us freedom.  Once we realize our cravings are in fact a collection of many CHOICES, we can CHOOSE to engage in the activity we had called a craving or we can CHOOSE not to engage in this activity.  The CHOICE is suddenly up to us because WE HAVE GIVEN OURSELVES THE POWER to CHOOSE.

When we put ourselves in charge of our lives, we give ourselves the opportunity to make CHOICES  I’m not saying that giving yourself a CHOICE automatically makes it easy to quit a habit you have wanted to quit.

(In fact, I’m still CHOOSING to participate with my craving for those monster cookies.)

But realizing that you have a CHOICE suddenly puts you in the driver’s seat of your CRAVING MOMENTUM TRAIN. You put yourself in the position where you can realize that you have the freedom to make decisions about your level of participation with your craving.

This realization gives you the option of eventually CHOOSING to no longer participate in your craving.

My level of participation with my monster cookie craving is my CHOICE.  Your level of participation with your craving is your CHOICE.  We are THAT POWERFUL!

Game of the Day

How will you CHOOSE to use the ideas in this post?

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com. 

Plan Out Your Drama

I have been known from time to time to become fixated on minor circumstances that I don’t like.  I then have been known to use these circumstances as an excuse to create high drama for those around me and myself.  (High drama, as I’m using it here, involves worry, anxiety, possible arguments and general frustration.)

Can you relate?  If so, think of the last time you created high drama out of a minor circumstance.

Today as I was on the verge of creating high drama, I thought, “When we feel ourselves itching to create high drama, why not script it out like they do in the movies?”

This idea sounded fun!  Check it out- we could script out our highly dramatic part, and other people’s parts as they responded to our drama.  We could even add in emotional cues.  This would be our DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.

Then for comparison, we could write a script that was absent of the high drama that we are contemplating creating.   This would be our DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Finally, we could compare the scripts and decide which we preferred.

As an example, I’ll give you a brief background of the high drama I was contemplating creating yesterday, followed by a few lines of my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.  Then, I will share a few lines from my DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT.

Ok, here it goes.  Drum roll please!!!  (It’s good to be dramatic when you are about to create a DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT).

Background:

On a dark and stormy Saturday night in a Mexican Restaurant at about 9:05 and 10 seconds, I noticed an unexplained black spot about the circumference of a pen cap on my left thumb.  Now common sense told me that there was a 99.99% chance that this mysterious spot was no big deal.  However, my sometimes-hypochondriac imagination darkly entertained me with different ideas.

A few lines from my DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (with a super concerned look on his face asks everyone he meets):  “What do you think this spot on my thumb could possibly mean?  Should I go to a dermatologist?  Should I go to the emergency room?  Why me?  Why poor me?”

First person Jason meets (sensing Jason’s distress and wanting to comfort him):  “Oh Jason, it’s nothing.”

Second person Jason meets (wanting to be on the safe side):  “Jason you should definitely make an appointment to see a dermatologist.”

Third person Jason meets (annoyed by Jason’s over-dramatic nature):   “Jason get a life!”

A few lines of my DRAMA FREE SCRIPT:

Jason Freeman (Our proud hero takes courage, believes the black spot on his thumb is a tiny blood blister and boldly asks everyone he meets):  “What has been amazing about your day?”

Person 1:  Says something cool.

Person 2:  Says something cool.

Person 3:  Says something cool.

Conclusion of this episode:

The mysterious black spot did end up being a tiny blood blister, which popped while our dashing hero, Jason Freeman, was washing dishes.

And Everyone Lived Happily Ever After.

The key to writing your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT is to have fun and to go a little overboard on the drama.  And have a great time writing your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT too.  Then after composing your two scripts, you will be able to make a more informed choice as to whether you want to create high drama or not.

Game of the Day

The next time you feel yourself working up to creating high drama out of a minor (or major) circumstance, follow these four simple steps as soon as possible:

  1. Create your DRAMA-RICH SCRIPT.
  2. Create your DRAMA-FREE SCRIPT
  3. Read both scripts and decide which one you like better.
  4. Act out the script you like the best.

Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, or to book him to present to your organization, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.

Freedom Is It

I used to minimize the fact that I was addicted to drinking Coca-Cola.  I would tell myself things like “I drink two to four real Cokes a day, but it’s not like being addicted to cocaine, cigarettes or alcohol.”

To me, my Cokes were a sweet addiction.  Pardon the pun.  Coca-Cola signs were red and white, strong colors and two of the three colors in the American flag. (If you consider white a color, but that is another discussion.)

Drinking Coke was just an indulgence not an addiction for me, I reasoned.  I thought that imbibing Coke was sophisticated.  It seemed so much more adult to go into a restaurant and proudly order a Coke rather than water, orange juice or, most embarrassing, an apple juice.  And I thought, for some reason that I can’t now quite fathom, that drinking Coke would impress woman.  (I was sorely mistaken, as a rule it doesn’t.)

I would get email forwards about the disconcerting concept that Coke removes rust from nails.  And concerned friends and family would advise me to quit.  But I would think, “I’m an adult.  I’m free to choose to drink Coke.”  Over the years, the advice to cease drinking my favorite beverage became stronger, and still I said, “I’m free to drink my two to three to four Cokes a day.”

Recognizing that I was free to continue to choose to drink Coca-Cola I feel actually played an important role in helping me put an end to my Coke addiction.  While my soda addiction limited my freedom, I would have limited my freedom further by pretending that other people where forcing me to give up my habit.

So for a while longer, I focused my power of choice on continuing my addiction.  Things changed when I finally decided to listen to all the good advice I was getting and focus my power of choice on creating a way to quit my habit.

This was an exciting point in my journey.  I discovered that once we freely decide we want to quit whatever we are addicted to; we have the freedom to create a way to quit.

Effective quitting looks different for different people. Some people just decide enough is enough and go cold turkey.  Some times two or more friends decide to quit an addiction at the same time and support each other through the process.   Some people read books or seek counseling to support their resolve to quit.  Some people join twelve steps programs and the list goes on.

When we decide we want to quit our addiction, we try different things and hopefully find an effective way to move past our addiction.

I was surprised to note that the benefits of successfully quitting my Coke addiction went beyond nutrition.  In finally choosing to give-up Coke and following through with that choice, I was able turn my wishes for a healthier lifestyle into effective action.

My addiction to Coke limited my ability to see what life had to offer.  While I was strongly focused on finding restaurants that served Coke, I was missing out on other aspects of life, same as if I walked around Rome looking at the sidewalks I would miss much of what the city had to offer.  When my focus was not on finding my next fountain Coke each day, I began to notice other details and activities like yoga, Laughter Yoga and eventually San Diego.   When I freed myself from choosing Coke each day, I started to free myself to live a life I deeply love.

Game Of The Day 

What thoughts come up as you read this post?

Small Decisions

We can go through much of our lives following the credo, “No Pain, No Gain.”  Or we can choose to create joy in our lives whenever possible.  The difference between experiencing joy and experiencing pain can sometimes rest on the small decisions we make.  For example, I know that a small decision of mine greatly affected my experience walking a labyrinth.

About a year ago, I was walking an outdoor labyrinth in New Mexico with two friends.  The labyrinth was a series of circular pathways marked by stones on each side that led to a center.

Our purpose in walking the labyrinth was to enjoy a tranquil meditation, and to focus on the good we wanted to invite into our lives.

A labyrinth is not a maze, there is no way to get lost, but yet I did.  You see the friend who had walked this labyrinth before was leading and took her sandals off before she entered the labyrinth.

So being a good follower, I took my shoes off.  I realized within my first few steps that I was not walking on a soft surface like an ocean beach.  Instead it felt more like I was walking on sharp gravel with tacks mixed in.  This all amounted to a strong sense that I was treading on hot coals.

I noticed my friend who was leading walked a few steps into the labyrinth and then circled back and put on her sandals.  But I was determined to walk the labyrinth the way I thought I was supposed to walk it.

Wayne Dyer says in his forward to The Joy Factor by Susan Jones that, “When we fight anything, we become weaker, for in so doing we are violating the very principle of harmony and cooperation that holds the universe together.”

My goal in walking the labyrinth was to further open up to all the surprises life had in store for me.  Instead of obtaining this goal, I was suffering because I made the choice not to wear shoes to prove I was walking the labyrinth the right way.

I was thinking about this experience because I was out at Joshua Tree on a yoga retreat this weekend.  There was another labyrinth and our group walked it.  I kind of cringed when I saw it.  But this time as I walked, I left my Nikes securely laced and enjoyed a very pleasurable and meditative experience.

Wayne Dyer also observes in the forward to The Joy Factor that, “Everything we experience is a choice.  Our personalities are the result of the choices we make.”

Let us all make choices that bring us joy and leave our feet and our bodies happy.

Game of the Day

What is the next small decision you can make to bring more comfort, quality and joy into your life?

The Heroism of Saying YES!

The ability to say “YES” is a powerful tool for bringing fun, excitement and joy into lives.

To illustrate what I mean, let’s say we are at Disney Land.  We could walk around all day saying “NO” to going on every single ride, “NO” to stopping in every shop, and “no” to eating at each snack stand.  At the end of the day, how would we feel?  We would be hot, sweaty, tired, cranky and out the price of admission.

If on the hand, we say “YES” to the rides, “YES” to going into the shops and “YES” to eating lunch and snacks, we would leave Disney Land full of feelings of fun, excitement and joy.  In fact, we want to come back tomorrow, the next day, and the next.

In the Disney example, it is easy to see the power and thrill of saying, “YES.”  Yet when it comes to achieving the Beyond-Our-Comfort-Zone Extraordinary Results we want in life, I have found it is often tempting to say “NO!”

Why would we say “NO!” to the excitement and wonder of what we can create?

In a quote that gives me goose bumps every time I read it, Marianne Williamson gives us profound insight into this question.   She states, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous…”

So sometimes we say “NO” to our dreams and what we truly want to achieve.  For example, I’ve wanted to write a blog for years, but kept saying “NO.”

Our “YES’s” move us beyond the fear Williamson is talking about, beyond our comfort zones.

Later on in her quote, Williamson declares, “We are all meant to shine, as children do…” We have the capacity to find the activities we can say “YES” to.

Williamson ends her quote with “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Every time “we let our own light shine,” we are engaged in a heroic act!

Let us all inspire each other to tend to our light.  Let’s do this by each day seizing the opportunities and engaging in the activities we can give a Heroic YES! to.

Game of the Day

 What can you say a Heroic YES! to today?

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Jason Freeman is a professional writer, and a one-of-a-kind public speaker.  He is the founder and CEO of Heroic Yes! Productions. Jason has an MFA in Poetry from the University of Nebraska.  He knows the pain of perceiving one’s life through a lens of limitation and also the thrill of moving beyond that mindset.  For more information on Jason’s powerful message, go to www.HeroicYesProductions.com.