More Fun Than We Knew Was Possible

Steve Chandler

An interesting question was posted on the blog site "One Cosmos" by Robert Godwin: "What is spiritual growth? What is it that grows? What does it "feed" on, since a living thing can only maintain itself if it is an open system that takes in energy or information? And what is the medium into which it is expanding? In other words, as a biological object grows, it obviously expands into physical space. Where do we expand spiritually?"

One place we expand is into a group that gathers for just that purpose---the growth of its members. That group can be two people---one coaching the other. Or a mastermind group like the one I'm in currently....the one that has me leaving higher than a kite the second Saturday of every month.

Recently one of my favorite members of the group---business and executive coach extraordinaire Jim Manton ( asked me about a favorite TV program of mine, Foyle's War. I urged him to call up Netflix and order the show and watch the first episodes. Just as Kathy and I are (now on our second time through all the episodes) Jim and his wife are hooked. HOOKED! Because it's the best show TV has ever produced.

And what I love most about the show is that it has a true courageous hero in Detective Christopher Foyle, played by Michael Kitchen. In his riveting, understated way Foyle dominates the action, ethically, morally and intellectually. It's a masterful performance of a part beautifully written about a man who will not be moved from values and principles. A hero and role model for our age.

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"Every decision you make---every decision---is not a decision about what to do. It's a decision about Who You Are. When you see this, when you understand it, everything changes. You begin to see life in a new way. All events, occurrences, and situations turn into opportunities to do what you came here to do."
- Neale Donald Walsch

I had the opportunity to watch and hear Neale Donald Walsch speak a couple years ago, and his message inspired me as always. It's amazing who we can be if we are willing to drop the story of who we think we should be. In my coaching practice I have always marveled at the fact that people grow, evolve and move forward the minute they are willing to live without their stories about themselves (weaknesses) and others (threats.) My book The Story of You came out of those breakthroughs in coaching sessions.

So I'll finish this point with the words of the fiery and brilliant philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who said, "We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves to be like other people."

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I remember as a boy that one of my teachers would read to us every day from the wonderful Laura Ingalls Wilder books, like Little House on the Prairie. We were warmed and inspired by the stories of courage, adventure and self-reliance on the American frontier, where all challenges led to growth and strength.

So when a friend sent me this quote yesterday, it warmed me again and reminded me that our challenges in the grown up world are mostly about wanting other people to change. As futile as chasing a water mirage in the Arizona desert! Either we ourselves change, or no one changes.

Here's the quote from Miss Wilder: "Persons appear to us according to the light we throw upon them from our own minds."

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America's great philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it. . . . Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

Most people would rather not take that fresh, energetic approach to tomorrow. They would rather milk their victim stories awhile longer. They put more attention, precious time and energy into making other people wrong than they put into making a success of themselves.

The cure for this is to wake up. To throw fresh cold water on your face and come alive. And to heed Michael Landon's words. . . (he was the fine popular actor who learned he was dying of terminal cancer) when he said, "Somebody should tell us right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows."

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"Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever."
- Lance Armstrong

Society now offers more entertainments, new gadgets and distractions than we can possibly find time for. Add to that the multiple challenges we encounter in our profession and myriad opportunities pouring in through text messages, email, voicemail, snail mail, and excitable people poking their heads in saying, "Gotta minute?" The mind is boggled.

The cure is purpose. Pure purpose. If our purpose is weak, the distractions will always win. But if we choose an outcome we want, choose enough solitude and silence to renew it and focus it each day, and then DON'T QUIT, we have more fun than we knew was possible.

Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Category: Work-Life, Balance
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