What Do You Get When You Combine…

the best of your childhood with the best of your adulthood?

Answer— You get the life you can live TODAY with no one telling you when to go to bed or to eat all the food on your plate.

Are you with me?  Now ask yourself these fun questions:

What did you enjoy most about being a kid?

What activities and games did you find the most fun?

(Luckily, toy stores don’t ID and refuse to sell Legos to anyone over 18.)

If you were anything like me as a kid, besides having a great time playing, you also dreamed of being big, being grown-up, being able to drive a car, being able to stay up late.

As kids, we dreamed of all the freedom we have today.

Now that we have all of this freedom, let’s remember what we loved about being kids and recombine it into our lives.

I’ve heard of research studies that have concluded that children laugh much more than adults.  My fellow adults, there’s nothing saying that we can’t catch-up and match our wonderful kids laugh for laugh.

We had a certain wisdom, and joy and wonder when we were kids, which means we can seek to recall it and employ it in our grown-up years.

Now we would do well to remember to maintain the best of our adulthood too, the freedom, the ability to be responsible, all of our grown-up wisdom and knowledge.

We could call this playful combination of the best of our childhood and the best of our adulthood, our CHOICEHOOD because we are free to choose to live it.

May we all live our CHOICEHOOD to the fullest and savor every minute of it.  Yay!

Game of the Day

How can you combine the best of your childhood with the best of your adulthood to have a truly fantastic CHOICEHOOD?

 

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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What’s Between Where You Are Now And Your Dreams?

I’ve noticed that questions like this can be very conceptual and sometimes difficult to make concrete.  So let’s play a game.  (Don’t worry this game will be much shorter than Monopoly.)

Let’s depict your present reality and your dreams.   First, hold out your left hand and point it towards the left. (Yes, if you are at the office or in some other public place, it is perfectly fine to do this subtly so that you don’t attract stares or your boss’ curiosity.)

Ok, close your eyes and for a minute really see your present situation.   Place your present situation in your left hand.  (If your boss is nearby, pretend that you are closing your eyes to come up with the next idea to make your company tens of millions of dollars.)

Once you have had a chance to appreciate your present situation, hold out your right hand and point it towards the right.  Close your eyes and see your dreams in the most vivid detail that you can.  Place your dreams in your right hand.

With your left hand extended out representing your present circumstances and your right hand extended out representing your incredible dreams, I have a question for you.

What is in between you and your dreams?

The person who is holding their arms out (and keeping their eyes peeled for the boss), that’s who!

We are the creative link between our present situation and our dreams.

In the old days, this type of illustration would have filled me with frustration.  I would have thought that it was too simple and not wanted the responsibility that it implied.

I used to hold responsibility as a heavy burden, as in, “If I screw up, I will be RESPONSIBLE.”

Now I see responsibility as the key to freedom.  I am in awe that I have the choice of being responsible for creating my dreams.

But even with this new understanding, if you are anything like me, this responsibility can seem more than a little daunting.  So now notice your outstretched hands.  (I assume that you are still holding the pose as you read this, right?)

Now what can your hands do?

They can hold the outstretched hands of two other people and those two people have an outstretched hand each to hold onto another’s hand.  So suddenly, not only are you the key to your dreams coming true but you are also connected to a group of people, all of whom are in the middle of creating their dreams.  (If your boss is around, do this exercise with him or her and start singing Kumbaya.)

Isn’t it cool that we are the link between our current situation and creating our dreams?  Isn’t it neat that we can form community with others committed to creating their dreams?

Game of the Day

How can you apply this exercise to your life and to realizing your dreams?

Your Ship Has Come In

So come on, get on board

for today you are living the once

barely reachable dream

of your ancestors.

And this moment is your turn

to create your heroic dream

for your life and generations to come.

Your future wants to dance

with you right now.  So arise,

play, laugh and dance.

Game of the Day

What does this post mean to you?

What is your next step?

How will you celebrate it?

The Play of Miracles

What a miracle it is that we have the power to play at creating our dreams.  Yet it is tempting to wait on the sidelines for miracles to happen to us.

 Miracles probably have always required that the recipient participate.  I don’t imagine that Jesus forced Lazarus to rise from the dead. Lazarus was probably free to choose to stay dead if he had so wanted.

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines a miracle as “1. An extraordinary event manifesting divine intention in human affairs. 2. An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing or accomplishment.”

 When I read these definitions, they sound amazingly out of reach, like something that happened in ancient times or something I would read about in Reader’s Digest or see on TV if I owned a TV.

 What do you think about when you read these definitions?

 When we think something will never happen in our lives, it’s tempting to stop playing, to step off the field and sit down on the sidelines.  But there is another way.

 For most of my life, I imagined that because of my birth trauma I would never feel athletic. I imagined that I would always feel extremely uncoordinated, inflexible and lack self-confidence.

 What things frustrate you about your life that you assume will never change?

 Based on these imaginings, I avoided all sorts of activities that might remind me and reveal to other people that I was uncoordinated and inflexible.

 I disabled myself when I chose not to fully participate in my life.

 Are there areas of life where you have chosen not to participate?

 I discovered one of my biggest abilities when I learned to participate in the miracles that were offered to me.

 The miracle of coordination, flexibility and self-confidence was offered to me in the form of yoga.  But to realize this miracle I had to participate in it class after class, month after month.  Yoga would have been just a funny word and signs I saw on the street if I never tried it.

 Have you participated in a miracle and, if so, what did it feel like?

Yoga wasn’t a one class, do a few downward dogs and few forward folds and I’m healed miracle for me. My faith in the value of yoga and my dedication to my yoga routine became a miracle.  This dedication may have been manifestations of divine intention in my life, because before yoga I was never much for consistently practicing something with joy.

 Game of the Day

 What miracle is being offered to you now and asking for your faith and participation?

Turn Practice Into Play

What are places in your life where you yearn to play but instead have chosen to be a spectator?

For many years I lived the life of a spectator, watching other people do activities I loved. I chose to be a spectator because I hated the idea of not looking perfect when I tried a new activity, but instead having to practice to get good at an activity.  It just did not seem fair.

In junior high, I would spend hours watching my friends play video games. Then in high school, I went All-Pro at watching other people play contact sports.  Whether it was live or on TV, I was sitting in the stands.  If medals were given out for being a spectator, I would have won the gold.

A key to living a creative and athletic life is finding what you love and practicing what you love.  I’ve found that there is excitement and joy in watching other people play.   But there is a whole different level of excitement and joy and responsibility in playing ourselves.

Practice gives us the skills and confidence to move from being spectators to being joyful participants in the areas of our lives that mean the most to us.  The act of playing builds skills and confidence that leads to greater abilities the next time you play.

It is ironic that I would be writing a blog post about the value and joy of practicing because as a kid I loathed the idea practicing as if it was a serious threat to my fundamental liberties as a child.

Practice was drudgery as a kid because I thought of it as a misery instead of approaching it with an attitude of play.  To any new activity, I brought impatience and a stubbornness that assumed I should understand how to do it on the first try and become a master at it after five tries.  I also conveniently assumed that I was somehow exempt from needing to follow directions as I practiced a new activity.

This charming kid, now thirty-six years old, luckily grew up and changed his attitude and now goes to yoga many times a week and sometimes even twice a day.

I changed from hating the very thought of practice to regarding practice as an integral part my life.

Here are some of the ideas I found over the years that can help transform practice from misery into play:

  1. Be gentle and loving with yourself- being playful is fun, while demanding perfection of oneself often creates misery.
  2. Smile as you play.
  3. Give yourself freedom; remember no one is forcing you to practice your chosen activity.
  4. Doing the activity the way it is designed is part of the game called practice.  The rules are not meant to take away your freedom, but to make the game exciting.
  5.  As opportunities arise, be creative and laugh during your practice time.
  6. Practice activities you enjoy and enjoy doing consistently.  As kids, when searching through the toy box we pulled out toys we liked.  As kids doing things we loved built character.  As adults doing things we love still builds character.

 I’ve found from years of personal experience that sitting on the bleachers for too long can bleach life out of us.  We yearn to practice at learning new skills.  Let’s play!

Game of the Day

What are places in your life where you yearn to play but instead have chosen to be a spectator?

What are activities that you can do practice playing in these areas?

Let’s Play!

One of my wonderful yoga teachers, Rachel, made a comment during class that I think is profound.  She said, “A big part of freedom is having fun, so let’s play!”

Yet it is very human to deprive ourselves of this freedom when we label ourselves as too boring, too shy, too loud, too out-of-shape, too poor, too this, too that… and the list goes on and on.  And on and on.  And on!

Probably around fourth grade, I labeled myself as having a disability and promptly forgot I had done the labeling.  When I spoke, I heard a disabled person.  Every time I looked in the mirror, I saw someone who was disabled.  My declaration of disability was much like metaphorically sticking my foot in wet cement and waiting for it to harden.  With my foot stuck in cement, I did not have to take full responsibility for playing and having fun in life.  I could just tell myself and other people, “I can’t move.  I’m helpless.”

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.  I was telling the father of one of my good friends, who immigrated from Denmark as a young man, the story of my speech impediment and how I let it limit me in the past.  He couldn’t believe it saying, “You just speak with an accent like me.”

Being who I am now, I totally see his point.  I speak with a unique accent and am fortunate that people now understand me the vast majority of the time.

I also feel for the kid I once was who labeled himself as having a disability and forgot he had done the labeling.

If I had a time machine, I would love to go back and gently tell the kid I once was to relax his hold on the label of disability.  I would tell him to listen to his family, friends and teachers who had confidence in him. I would also tell him to get a jump-start on activities like yoga and Laughter Yoga that would show him that he was not the huge limitations he created for himself in his mind.   Lastly, I would remind that kid to play and have fun instead of being so serious much of the time.

That kid was very stubborn in his views however.  I would have my work cut out for me!

Game For The Day

Think about a limiting label you placed on yourself in the past that over time you found was not accurate.  What people and activities helped you to disprove this label?

Bonus Activity

 Think of a limiting label you currently place on yourself.  What are some alternate, more uplifting ways to view yourself?  Have friends and family been trying to tell you this label is not accurate?  What activities could help you disprove this label for yourself?

 

The Secret to Achieving Extraordinary Results on a Daily Basis

No matter who we are, how much money we have or don’t have, how many times we’ve been or not been to Disney Land, we all have the ability to achieve extraordinary results.

I now define an extraordinary result as any result we achieve that is outside of our comfort zone. I’ve found that achieving Beyond-Your-Comfort-Zone Extraordinary Results is a very effective step towards creating the productive and joyful life that you want.

I spent many years comparing my results to the results of friends, family, and famous people.  I never felt I added up. I would spend lots of time feeling bad about not adding up.  This was a good recipe for many Jason Freeman pity parties, but did not leave me with much energy to feel motivated, joyful and productive.

At last I came up with a new system.

The secret to achieving an extraordinary result is simple.  First you find something beyond your comfort zone, something you want to do that you haven’t done before or done as well before, or done as consistently before or done having as much fun before.  Then you create a way to do it.  And finally you play as you do it.

PLAY is the keyword.  Many times you will succeed at creating your extraordinary result.  Sometimes, you won’t, which will be an invitation to PLAY again.

For example, right now I’m typing on my laptop, which is well in my comfort zone because I’ve been a writer since high school.

And I’m also producing an extraordinary result- I’m writing my first blog entry.  I’ve never been a blogger before.  This is outside my comfort zone and thus an extraordinary result.

 The Game for Today:

Create an extraordinary result outside your comfort zone that you can PLAY at achieving TODAY.

Then Play.  See what happens.  See how your world expands.