What Would You Do If You Knew You Wouldn’t Fail?

What Would You Do If You Knew You Wouldn't Fail?It’s “Might-As-Well” Monday.  At least, that’s what I’m calling it.  Since Mondays are typically non-Fundays, my new objective is to attempt to think about the question  “What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail,” come up with some  reasonable, not-completely-off-the-chart options, pair that up with it’s “might-as-well-Monday” and make a plan to do some things that I would do if I truly knew that I wouldn’t fail. Now, I’m not going to go to things like “If-I-Had-a-Million Dollars” or “World Peace” because again, I’m thinking “not-completely-off-the-chart,” and this is not the question and answer session of the Miss America pageant.

Okay, here’s my short list for now, and I’m going to start light and work my way up towards loftier goals.

1.  I would go the nearest retail clothing store and buy myself a pair of Skinny, size 8, hip-hugging jeans.  I mean, if you knew you wouldn’t fail…well, who wouldn’t? But, it’s “might-as-well-Monday,” and I haven’t seen size 8 since middle school (I actually think I went from size 6x to size 14, and skipped all the sizes in between), but since I didn’t make any new year’s resolutions, I’ll add this to my “might-as-well” category and work towards that objective.  Stranger things have happened…

2.  I would run a marathon.  Seriously.  Aside from the fact that I don’t even exercise on a daily (OK, rarely) basis, wouldn’t it be fantastic to run a marathon?  I used to run track when I was in middle school (maybe that’s why I was a size 8) and I enjoyed it a lot.  And, this wouldn’t be totally unachievable.  Of course, I’ll have to start exercising first to get in shape for that…

3.  I would write a book and have it published.  (Getting much loftier, now)  But, I think this is possible.  As far as the writing is concerned, my main restraint is my imagination.  I don’t have one.  If I do, I can’t find it.  It’s hard, at least for me, to come up with ideas about characters, and plots and all the twists and turns that keep a reader interested.  But, there are books on writing that can help with this, and that’s my next step.

What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? I think it’s time for some quotes, folks….

“Success if not final, failure is not fatal; it the courage to continue that counts.”  Winston Churchill

“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.”  Coco Chanel

 

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Expectations: What Did You Expect?

Expectations: What Did You Expect?

It’s Surfin’ Saturday…a little free time for me to surf the net and catch up everything wacky and wonderful in cyberville. What I found was a lesson on Expectations.  So…I’d heard a little buzz this past week about Subway, but I didn’t  know the full story.  Seems some guy measured a foot long sub, and the measurement came up short, and now all you-know-what has broke loose and lawyers are getting involved, blah blah blah. What I found amusing though was a quote from a Subway rep stating that they were “sorry the footlong fell short of expectations.”  I don’t know exactly why the statement made me chuckle, but I think it’s probably because  if I bought a foot long sub, I don’t know that I would exactly expect it to measure a foot long.  Guess I’m just gullible or a not-so-savvy consumer, but it made me wonder, “Do I just expect too little out of life?” I mean, should I be measuring my expectations, and playing closer attention if they fall short, and then reacting accordingly?  If life hands you lemons, do you make lemonade, or do you gripe about why your hands smell like Pledge?

Like everyone, I’ve had expectations, or things that I expected to happen a certain way, that didn’t go according to plan. I mean, shouldn’t that be expected?  But I’ve also discovered that setting expectations too high is like buying a summer pass to the water park, expecting to get your money’s worth.  Every now and then, you’re going to get rained-out, and you’re bound to be disappointed.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t have any expectations, like good service at a 5-star restaurant, or to be respected by your children.  I guess I’m referring more to very specific expectations, like an exactly-measured foot long sub, or sunshine every day on the vacation I planned for a year.  For me, I think I’ll stay on the same path I’ve followed so far, which is to expect good things, and to expect not-so-good things sometimes, too.   As a plus, I read that you should toss your expectations into the ocean, and let the waves carry them away (it’s supposed to be cleansing).  I figure that just gives me a good excuse to go to the beach.  In the meantime, I’ll keep making lemonade if I have some extra lemons.

As always, here’s a few quotes of inspiration, this time about Expectations.

“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”  Bruce Lee

“There were two ways to be happy: improve your reality, or lower your expectations” Jodi Picoult

“When you stop expecting people to be perfect, you can like them for who they are.” Donald Miller

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Happy is as Happy Does…Really?

Happy Is As Happy Does...Really?As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I’m a big fan of inspirational quotes.  I’m your average Pinterest-crawling, Facebook-stalking, Internet-searching soul, looking for inspiration through happy, go-get-em’ quotes and sayings. If I find something that really strikes a chord with me, I save it to my desktop or phone to look at later or pass along.

For some reason this week, the term “Happy is as Happy Does” kept coming to my mind.  Of course, it had to fight it’s way through, past all the other mumbo-jumbo, and I don’t know why it came to me, (no, I hadn’t just watched Forrest Gump) but regardless it sent me crawling through the social networks looking for happy quotes, and made me start thinking about what makes people happy, and how those people that you see with a smile on their face all the time maintain that state of mind.  Happy is as Happy does…but is that really the case?  And if it is, how do you “do” happy? Well, let’s look at some quotes:

1.  “People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  This is attributed to Abraham Lincoln.  Frankly, I have to disagree with Abe on this one.  I’m all about positive thinking and I do believe in the willful mind, but I don’t believe you can will yourself to be happy.  But, no need to stop there…let’s go on.

2.  “Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” Well, this seems pretty sound to me, and who am I to disagree with Dalai Lama?  But, seriously…I do firmly believe that your own actions dictate a great deal towards how your life is treating you.  And, I’m not talking about Karma here (that’s just too deep to tackle).  I’m strictly referring to day-to-day actions, as in the decisions we make regarding how we choose to treat others.

3.  “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.” Ernest Hemingway said this.  OK, we all know he was obviously very intelligent,  but also obviously not very happy.  Still doesn’t make me want to lose any brain cells, although…I’ve always heard “ignorance is bliss.”  Hmmm…food for thought.

4. “Don’t worry…be happy.”  Okay, so a lot of people attribute this saying to Bob Marley, and understandably so (’nuff said..), but it actually came from Meher Baba, an Indian mystic and a very spiritual being who coincidentally (I think not) maintained silence, communicating only through gestures, for over 40 years.  Perhaps this goes along with the saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and takes us back again to how our actions affect others, but, who knows what the ancient mystic said with hand gestures…

5.  “Happiness is a warm puppy.” Well, this came from the lips of Charles Schulz, who created the Peanuts comic strip.  I love a puppy as much as the next gal, but…can you say marketing?

6. “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust.  Well, this is just really nice.  I am grateful to the people who make me happy and as a plus, I love flowers…

7.   “Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination.”  Mark Twain said this, and I can totally identify. So, does this lead to being “insanely happy?”

8.  “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”  Aristotle said this, and I think it’s a grand statement.  It’s wonderful to strive to make others happy, but in the end, our own happiness is ultimately our own responsibility.

9.  “One of the keys to happiness is a bad memory.”  Rita Mae Brown.  I’m relating to this more and more all the time.

10.  “Maybe the truth is, there’s a little bit of loser in all of us. Being happy isn’t having everything in your life be perfect. Maybe it’s about stringing together all the little things.”  Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.  And, I have to say, I love this quote.  Who among us doesn’t have some extra string laying around?

There are literally thousands of quotes, just like these, scattered in books and across the web. In all, they are remarkable and spark our eagerness for morsels of enlightenment. But, we own our happiness.  It’s how we use it that matters.  Still, here’s one more for good measure.

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”  ~ Denis Waitley

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Find Your Passion and Take a Leap of Faith

Find Your Passion and Take a Leap of FaithSo you might be asking…what is my passion? Well, you know that nagging feeling that you have when you leave the grocery store and you know that there was something you were supposed to get, or something that you were supposed to do, but you just can’t quite put your finger (or for that matter, your mind) on it?  OK, well that might actually be a loaf of bread or your husband’s aftershave…but that feeling…that nagging feeling that there’s something you’re supposed to be doing – that is your passion.  It might be a passion to pursue a career that you’ve always felt that you were destined to pursue, or a passion to travel to far and exotic places.  It might be a passion to be a parent, or a passion to have the same body you had in your early twenties (hey, we can all dream), or a passion to climb Mt. Everest.  You get the gist.  Everyone has a passion.  The hurdle is taking that first step towards making your passion a reality.  I have listed some helpful tips that I hope will help you take that first leap of faith.

Steps:

1.  Define your passion. Write it down so that it becomes real to you.  I’ve been aware of my passion to write since high school, but actually sitting down and putting it on paper made it tangible and palpable.

2.  Again with the writing…but it really does help.  Write out the steps that you need to take to accomplish your goals, or realize your passion.  In my case, my passion is to write a novel someday.  I’m not quite ready for that, and that’s okay.  I’m taking steps, and my first was this blog.  Your first step, big or small, will be determined by the goals that you set.

3.  Keep your eye on the prize.  I have a friend who has a picture of herself, taken many years ago, in a bikini that she boldly displays on her refrigerator.  Now, for obvious reasons, this picture serves to remind her that 1. she doesn’t really want that Death by Chocolate ice cream in the freezer, and 2. what she hopes to accomplish by continuing to work towards her goal.  Visual motivations are huge, so put something up to remind you of your passion…stick a photo on a wall or add a picture to the wallpaper screen of your phone.  Whatever it takes.

4.  Share your passion with others, and seek their encouragement.  Anyone that knows me well is aware of my passion for writing, and they give me a lot of support towards achieving my goals.  Share your goals with others and ask for support, if necessary.  More often than not, they will, in turn, share their passion and goals with you, and before you know it, you’ve got a little support-group-thingy going on.  Encouraging words from others, and to others, works wonders for the soul.

5.  Most importantly, don’t give up.  Even small strides towards your passion has tremendous benefits.  You’re making progress, and that’s what counts.  And, because I’m big on motivational quotes, I’ll leave you with one of my favorites:

It is never too late to be what you might have  been.  ~George Eliot

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Making Strides Towards Goals

iStock_000006147663_SmallGoal #1:  Establish A Blog:  Okay…so this is a work in progress.  My reason for wanting to establish a blog stems from advice I’ve obtained from Creative Writing classes, and that is if you want to be a writer, you have do just that….write, and then write some more.  It’s a difficult task, though, unless you have a reason to write.  So, here I am…

Goal #2:  Try to find freelance writing jobs:  Bazinga!!  Yep…I can cross that one off, too.  This week, I landed my first freelance writing gig.  Can’t wait to see where that takes me.  Hopefully, it will open up more opportunities for me.

Goal #3:  Enroll in a fiction-writing course.  Although all of the creative writing courses I’ve taken have been focused on fiction-writing/poetry, I want to take a course geared strictly towards developing plots and characters.  I like the workshop atmosphere, and the feedback I get from other writers.

Must…keep…going…

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Setting Goals and Achieving Dreams

iStock_000016745994_SmallI remember when I was 16 or so, I would love to sit for hours and listen to my Grandfather tell me stories about his life.  He was a fascinating man and had led a fascinating life.  He was a retired teacher, and a retired nurse; a very educated man. He had a sense of humor, and knowing my love of writing, would indulge my curiosity and encourage me to put all that he was telling me on paper.  Along the way, he would also give me quotes of inspiration, nudging me in a not-so-subtle way to achieve all that I was capable of achieving.  I’ve never forgotten his words, although I never put them on paper as he suggested.

As a parent of two (a son in college and a daughter fresh out of nursing school), I’m often looking for words to inspire my children in much the same way.  But, times have changed.  We live life at a faster pace, and I don’t often get hours to sit with my children and share life stories and quotes of inspiration. I’ve succumbed to modern technology, and texting as a tool to send snippets of motivation and encouragement.  After sending my second quote of the week to my son the other day – you know, the ones about setting goals and not giving up until they’ve been achieved, or about how one person can make a difference in this big ol’ world (The Starfish is a favorite story of mine) – it occurred to me that I needed to heed my own advice.

And so, on the cusp of my 50th birthday, I’ve decided it’s time to practice what I preach, and what my grandfather preached to me.  My goals are pretty simple, even though I haven’t worked very hard at attaining them.  I love to write and have always wanted to see what I could accomplish with writing.  This blog will be my first step, but there are others.  I’d like to share my journey with you.  I’m not suggesting that you merely follow my quest.  I’m asking you to join me.  Together, we’ll tackle our goals and inspire one another.  I’ve taken my first step.  What’s yours?

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