Albert Einstein on Success

On success

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“If A is a success in life, then A equals X plus Y plus Z.  Work is X; Y is play, and Z is keeping your mouth shut.”

Work.  Play.  Listen.  Einstein’s formula for experiencing a new version of life called A.

The questions that sometimes emerge in my journaling are about how to combine work and play so that they are seamlessly one.  How can I enjoy my work so much that it feels like play?  And how can I incorporate more play into my work, while still feeling like I am creating something that serves another?

Perhaps my answer lies in Z.   Maybe I am not listening.   At least not enough.  My mouth is open and expressing thoughts, feelings, and even complaints.  If I paused to meditate, breathe, pause, and listen, it is possible that I might feel more simpatico with life’s meaning, purpose, objective — or whatever it is that drives us and compels us to discover and contribute and, ultimately, feel more successful.

Work.  Play.  Keep my mouth shut.   Listen.  Pay attention to the promptings and follow through.  Play more music.  Take longer walks.  Look around.  Be still.   Follow.   Experience a success in life.

 

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A Snapshot of I Can’t Remember

celebrating or regrouping

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I came across this picture the other day and am trying to remember why the heck I took it.  I didn’t take it with my phone but with my heavy, bulky, big-girl Canon . . . which further tells me that this was a special moment that I wanted to record with my “good camera.”

Weird.  I’m not sure but I think that I was celebrating, having just moved into a fantastic temporary beachfront rental for what turned out to be four exquisite months.  This transition was one of those ideas that had been on my Wish List for years: Live on the beach during the stormy winter months to write.  This recent move Continue reading

What’s in your complaint box?

834px-complaint_department_grenadeWhat’s in your complaint box?  Any chance of turning those complaints around and thinking of them as blessings?

I’ve been doing an experiment.  Every day I write down as many things that I can think of from the day under the heading: Good Things That Happened Today.  It isn’t hard to think of things.  As with anything in life — when you pause to take an inventory — there is much more going on than that which skims the surface.

After I finish my Good Things list, I then write as many things that I can think of under the heading: My Takeaways on Life in the Current Moment.  When I pause to think of My Takeaways, all sorts of good things start to burble forth — things that hitherto felt like an obstacle or a challenge or a frustration.  It’s like magic.  The weird stuff suddenly starts to transform into a better place.

For example, imagine that you are making an offer to purchase what you perceive to be your Dream Home.  And we’re talking Dream Home, people.  You are convinced that this house is It.  It is exactly what you want to buy and to live in for the rest of your life — or at the very least the next decade.  In your Good Things list, you write: I made an offer on my Dream Home today!!!!!

But then life intervenes.  Another offer comes in on the same day as yours, but $10,000 higher than your offer.  And to make matters worse for you, their financing is in perfect order.  Guess whose offer gets accepted?  You feel bummed!  That was your house!  Not theirs!  

The days pass and you search for things to put down on your Good Things list.  You might even write under Takeaways: I learned that it is best to remove such high emotion from a business deal.  Something like this.  But then.  Something really crazy happens.  You read about an opportunity to go to Ireland and serve as an intern at this amazing art school.  It’s your dream!!  You apply.  You get accepted.  Guess what?  You’re going to Ireland for a full year!  Woot!

This adventure gets listed under Good Things.  In addition to recording this adventure to Ireland on your list, you write, I‘m so glad that that house deal fell through!  Thank you!!! on the line directly below your entry about the Ireland opportunity.  You see the correlation so clearly.  In fact — even better yet — you feel the correlation and you experience an understanding that calms your soul and quells your frustrations about the house deal falling through.  All is right with the world and you marvel at how things just work out!

You get the idea.  The seemingly bad breaks that occur in life have all the potential to set us up for something even better.  You just have to be looking.  Be aware.  Be open to seeing the “bad stuff” as “potential good stuff.”  That there are Takeaways, if you only look.  Life events aren’t always easy to dissect into lists, but I find that if I really stretch and embrace both the Good Things and the Takeaways . . . I learn a lot about me and how I can be happy in the flow of the present moment.

How about you?  Do you want to join me in my Good Things/Takeaway challenge?  If you want a PDF to download to get you started, just submit your email address and I’ll send it to you.  It’s fun to turn things around to a place that allows you to embrace that which seemed like such a bummer.

As for me?  Well, I thought that it was going to be smooth and perfect sailing as I prepared to go forth to Ireland . . . but the art internship fell through — something about something occurred, which meant I wasn’t going away to Ireland for a year.

Now, this unwelcome news certainly wasn’t expected, but I am learning as a result of my daily lists.  Instead of listing the loss of my Ireland trip in my Takeaway list, I recorded it immediately in my Good Things list.  After all, I am learning about this life stuff in a new way that is changing my mind and my heart.  I know that something good is happening right now . . . and I am trimming the unexpected starboard list of the boat that I thought was set to sail for Ireland.  It’s a good thing that there were life rafts on that boat!

And I am ready for the next adventure.

Who knows what’s next?  I don’t.  Be it a Good Thing or a Takeaway, I am learning that what works best is for me to be open.  To understand that I don’t have a bird’s-eye view of every little piece that has been set in motion.  To be me and to be happy and to have a light heart.  To stop complaining and to start paying better attention.

Secret Passages

a-writers-life-passage

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A writer’s life is spent entering secret passages and opening doors.  If the passages are too dark or dim, I might take the time to turn around and go back to look for a light.  And if re-tracing my steps feels like it is too long ago, I might simply feel my way with my senses in the darkness.  After all, I might trip over a flashlight and kick it into life or develop human sonar or spy a flicker of light down one of the corridors or develop a seventh sense.  Anything could happen in these secret passages.  After all, I am the author.

If doors are locked tight, I may start to hunt for a  key.  Or not.  If looking for a key feels too time-consuming or futile, I might resort to one of those battering rams that you see in movies that involve crooks and the FBI.  Boom.  Open sesame.  It’s up to me.  I am the author.

[pas·sage (ˈpasij/) noun: the act or process of moving through, under, over, or past something on the way from one place to another.]

There are just so many remarkable words in this sparse definition.  Act.  Process.  Moving through, under, over, or past something.  On the way from one place to another.  Sometimes I forget  or take for granted or don’t pay attention to the ponderous weight that each word in our lexicon — any language’s lexicon — bears.  These varied words that writers place on the page bear a nuanced message that goes far beyond the symbols and morphology that transcribes experience into imagination.

Writing.  Socrates believed that writing was detrimental to the mind — that by writing something down, we have essentially dulled the mind’s ability to remember what is important.  Being a writer, I look at the written word differently.  Writing allows me to see my soul reflected back to me in a way that other experiences and relationships can’t.  It is a solitary journey perfect for the exploration of secret passages.  And my muse seems to like the secret passages the best.

 

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You’ve got this!

flip-your-optimism-on

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When some positivity is just what you need, flip your optimism to ON.

  • When things don’t feel like they are going quite right and discouragement is hovering and waiting to swoop into your heart, it’s time to flip your optimism to ON.
  • Replace those voices (the voices that tell you that there isn’t any hope or that you have already tried and tried but to no avail) with inner shouts of joy that say, You’ve got this!   
  • Let your little light shine and eradicate those dark  thoughts that try to convince you that success is for those other people who, of course, were bound to be successful anyway, right?  (Wrong!)
  • Your light?  Let it shine and shine some more.
  • Believe.  Trust.  Know.  You’ve got this.  You truly do.

When you think you can’t.

You’ve got this.  I used to go to the gym each night after work, the kind of gym that offered those maniac spinning classes.  I used to look in to the classroom and watch those spinning pedals and sweating bodies and think, “That looks way above and beyond my physical abilities.”  I wanted my body and my mind to perform like the spinners in that class, but it looked so exclusive — like it was for people who were in far better shape than I was, both physically and mentally — and kind of technical really, what with having to adjust your bike just so.

Well, I met the instructor, Scott, one day when he was coming out of one of the classes.  Scott asked me if I would ever be interested in trying a class.  He told me that spinning is for everyone, and that he thought that I would love it.

I decided to just try.

I decided to try it.  I went to that first class and Scott was there, ready to help me adjust my bicycle so my ride would be comfortable, write down the adjustments so I could do it on my own for my next class, and make sure that I had a full water bottle.

It didn’t take long into that first class and I was hooked.  Scott wasn’t one of those class instructors who shouted and berated exercisers to push beyond their perceived abilities.  His mantra throughout class was always positive: “You’ve got this!”  Scott understood that optimism and encouragement were what helped people to grow and to be excited about new challenges.  The class was not only fun but spiritual, too.  The hard workout put my head into a new place that out-rode (pun intended) the thoughts from the day that were still chasing me.

While we pedaled like crazy, added resistance, stood up, sat down, and stretched to cool down, Scott told everyone how great they were doing.  He adjusted all of his instruction accordingly:  for those who were struggling with a particular ride, he offered alternatives so that everyone’s workout would be rewarding . . . and he ramped things up for those who had been coming to the class for a while and wanted even more challenge.

Success is a good fit for everyone. 

It was one of those very rare classes that fitted everyone.  We all added some visible muscle during those classes, and we all grew a good measure of inner strength as well.  We learned that we could do our best and feel good about it — no matter what we each had accomplished in class.

I don’t know if I fell in love with spinning or if I simply so appreciated Scott’s much-needed encouragement.  Maybe both.  In the ways of time and change, Scott moved to Portland, and I moved to an island.  I live where there are zero spinning classes and the mountain behind my house serves as my combination elliptical trainer, spin bicycle, and treadmill.

The elevation gain up the mountain is a gentle master and is much less challenging than the spin classes.  When I am out walking, I think about the other challenges in my life that have nothing to do with breaking a sweat or making another loop before heading home.

 

Encouragement is key.

We all need someone or something in our lives that motivates us to reach for that light switch — that extension of ourselves that pushes us to exceed our own expectations.  I used to hear from Scott from time to time, but it’s been a while.  When I do hear from him, he always has encouraging words to say.   Scott is one of those people who helps others keep their optimism flipped to On.  Thanks, Scott.  I’ve got this!

How about you? 

  • What have you been wanting to try?  To explore?  To do just for the fun of it?
  • Think about what it is and imagine yourself doing it, sensing it, being it.
  • Take the first step — it can be a Baby Step or a Giant Step — but take the first step.
  • What have you got to lose? [Nothing, right?]
  • What do you have to gain?  [Exactly!  Everything!]
  • Find a Scott in your life to help you stay focused.  Ask for encouragement and for accountability.
  • Remind yourself: You’ve got this!  Tape this message up throughout your home, in your vehicle, at work.
  • Be a Scott to someone else.  When you give encouragement to others, it makes such a huge difference and, like any kindness, will be returned to you many times over.
  • Keep the cycle going.  Thank the Scotts in your life.  It will make their day and it will encourage them to give even more to others.

 

Author bio: Kennedy Farr’s passion for writing first caught light at the age of four when she learned how to write her dog’s name P-e-p-p-y on a sheet of lined tablet paper.  Kennedy is a daily writer and blogger, a lifelong learner, and a true believer that something wonderful is happening right now in this very moment.  Kennedy lives view-high on the mountainside of an emerald-green island in the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

The Things I Thought I Wanted: a diary with a lock and key . . . and the thing about secrets

diary-1449287_960_720Oh, how I wanted a diary when I was a girl.  You know the kind . . . a beautiful girly girl’s diary with a lock and key.  And I was simply ecstatic the Christmas when I was ten years old and I received one.  Mine had a navy blue cover with gold embossing and “1 Year Diary” gold-stamped into the cover.  I simply loved it!  I can still remember the sound that the gilt-edged pages made when I opened it for the first time . . . It felt like that crinkly sound was opening its pristine, glued-together pages to the secrets I was about to share with it.

Well, that’s the thing about secrets.  No matter how much we try to preserve them or hide them from the prying eyes and inquiring minds that intersect our life, they are [sometimes] doomed to be discovered . . . paraded . . . maybe even disrespected.  We feel violated when our secrets have been made public without our permission.

It takes a lot of risk and guts to commit a secret to the page . . . a lesson that I was quick to learn at this young age.  My hopes of finding my true self via those gilt-edged pages were temporarily dashed when my big sister read my diary entries aloud — pages that detailed my first big crush [Dean W.], in front of said crush, who was my big brother’s best buddy.

maple-leaf-638022_960_720I learned a lot that day about secrets and sisters and writing and locks and keys.  I learned that just because something has a lock on it, doesn’t mean that it can’t be jimmied open.  I learned that secrets can be made un-secret when they fall into the wrong hands.  That, although it can be risky, it’s okay to be honest with my thoughts.  That what someone else chooses to do doesn’t define who I am.  That although I might feel a wee bit discouraged, I am going to keep writing.

It took some time to view things from my sister’s perspective.  I learned that people do things that they don’t really intend to be hurtful in long-lasting ways.  That what might seem funny at the time, never really was in the first place. And that sisters somehow stick together, even when they do things that aren’t very nice.

french-1040839_960_720I am happy to have survived the awkwardness, and — now all the stronger — I have maintained my love and discipline of writing.   And in the ways of true forgiveness, I have since pardoned my diary-reading, secret-disclosing sister.  We are still the best of friends.

But you know how writing is.  It liberates us, even when life sort of sucks.  Writing asks us to pay attention to the details, even when it hurts.  Little does this sister know that she is the muse for an extremely unattractive, glowering villainess who gets her payback comeuppance in one of my current short stories.

But this is the way of writing.  You can change what is now by writing it into a different room or even onto a different planet.  Does reality change?  I don’t know how to answer this.  I only know how to live it.  And write it.  And tell my sister that I love her dearly, because I do.  And keep my journal hidden when she comes to visit.

Are you an InstaGoogler?

passionately curious. einsteinAgain . . . Albert Einstein leads us by the hand and takes us to what it is about our own selves that makes us who we are.  What a remarkable person he was.

Question: What are you passionately curious about?  What is One Thing you enjoy learning about?  What is One Thing that you would like to spend some time exploring?  

What is the first answer that pops into your head?  Got it?  Next, download a [FREE] journal worksheet that will take you just a little bit further into and  farther down your Road of Curiosity.

I sometimes think that we have simply been so inundated with so much information.  

I love having Google at my very fingertips . . . but still.  Anything you want to know is just a Siri-command away.  Who wrote Stand by Me?  What is the Mariners – Angels score?  What are the health benefits of turmeric?

Are you an InstaGoogler?

Are you one of those Instant Googlers that reaches for your phone when you or someone else wonders something aloud?  Does having Instant Information at our fingertips or voice command rob us of deepening our curiosity?  Do we learn an answer and then dismiss it and maybe even forget it until the next Wonder enters the room?

I wonder.  Does having this wonderful advantage of instant information simply stuff us full of trivia and rob us of our passionate curiosity at the same time?  There is a difference — a chasm — between Knowing and Wanting to Know . . . a gap between Knowing An Answer and Wanting to Know more about stuff.  At least this is what occurs to me.  It seems that I know more and more about less and less than I used to . . . which is all good.  But still.  Don’t we truly want to know more, possess more knowledge, feel that depth-scraping satisfaction that only deep learning  provides?

Make curiosity a rewarding habit.  Explore your Curiosity with this free journaling download.

To download a free (and empowering) journaling worksheet that will help you explore and enjoy your Passionately Curious Thing, fill out the contact information below.  [This will not add you to any mailing list for future journal worksheets — unless you specify that you would like to receive them.]  This journal exercise is a journey into your curiosity, your passions, and your area of interest that defines who you are.  It’s good stuff!

Life is simply so interesting and there is soooooo much to be passionately curious about.  Live life large and expand your curiosity’s range of motion.  Think like Albert and less like a Googler.  Be you.  Be interesting.  Expand who you are.

Life, Love, & Happiness . . . all is a Chancey Poker Hand

deck of cardsI knew an old timer who thought of life as a poker game.  His theory was that we are dealt only so many cards in life . . . that we have to discard the old for the new if we hope to improve the hand that we are currently holding.  He believed that life was all just a gambling game of chance, predicated on our willingness to release something for something else.  In other words: if you don’t like the cards you are holding, you might just as well go ahead and discard.  The new cards that are dealt back to you might make for a better hand.  And if that isn’t the case?  Well, you discard again until you like the hand you are holding.  I should probably add that this older fellow led a very uncomplicated life.

Whether you look at life as Poker, Bridge, Backgammon, or Go Fish . . . there is some truth to what this old guy had to say.  And before I break out in my karaoke version of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler,”  I just want to say that there is certainly an element of chance in every single moment of my life.  Like a deck of cards sitting before me on the poker table, I can actually feel the opportunities that are stacked up in front of me, beckoning and simply asking me to release my tight grip on my current reality and be brave enough to discard.

Paul_Cézanne,_1892-95,_Les_joueurs_de_carte_(The_Card_Players),_60_x_73_cm,_oil_on_canvas,_Courtauld_Institute_of_Art,_LondonThat’s the best part of taking a chance.  Any chance.  There is that little thrill that courses through our humanness right in that very second before we know that we have been dealt a bad hand or a good hand.  Research has shown that this “thrill” is actually what compulsive gamblers are addicted to.  It isn’t Winning that they are hooked on, otherwise they would walk away from the table when they have a nice high stack of chips sitting in front of them . . . it’s actually that feeling of not knowing whether they have won or lost that brings them back to the table.

I guess I have to give it to Kenny Rogers . . . or to whomever wrote the lyrics to that song about knowing when to hold them or when to fold them.   It is true.  You do have to know when to walk away.  Know when to run.  There is that expression that nature abhors a vacuum.  Experience tells us that this is true: when we create a hole or a gap in our lives, it is likely to fill up with something or someone else — perhaps with alarming similarities, but different nonetheless.

There are those pivotal times in life when we concede to discarding.  And receiving. When we [finally!] acknowledge that it’s okay to take a chance.  And if there are rules that define winning the game, it’s probably time to have a chat with Mr. Hoyle about writing in some exceptions.

All that life really requires of us is that we go forth and live it.  There is not a lot of thinking or haggling involved with it.  Or is there?   [Shifting back into OverThink drive now . . .]  But it sometimes seems that if  you overthink or strategize life, you are doomed to passivity.  Passivity, like counting cards, has its place but it has no depth, no growth, no change, no underbelly.  It just exists with predictable outcomes.

Jokers and trump cards.  The King of Hearts and the Queen of Spades.  Existence and living.  Risk and chance.  I don’t know exactly how this all spells out into my strategy for poker playing — not being very artful at this game — but I am thinking it’s time to look at what I have chosen to hold and maybe do a little discard here or there.  Change is bound to be good because, if we believe Kenny, every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser.  [My apologies if this song gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day! :)]