Egos in Public

She’s walking down the street on the way to work. She slept in, had to rush, hadn’t ironed and so she wasn’t feeling great. That morning she had looked in the mirror and thought, I look like crap. It’s a good thing you’re not seeing clients today. Why do you drink so much every time you’re with Steph? Stop it.

827 Relax and Succeed - If the whole world was blindAs Jennifer walks past the bookstore she sneaks a look at her outfit in the window. She lookes at her tinted, distorted and dirty reflection and sneers–judging herself unacceptable. Have you gone blind?! I knew I should have worn my other coat. This looks ridiculous.

Inside the store Gloria had just placed a novel in its proper order while thinking to herself when you act like you did on that date last night why would you ever hope to ever get married again? No wonder your husband left you and your fat ass. As she rises she turns to see Jennifer’s expression of dissatisfaction with her reflection in the glass, but thinking Jennifer was looking at her, Gloria thought-responds, yes bitch, I know it’s fat alright?

As Gloria rounds the corner she sees another display in the window for the Gloria Shields novel Larry’s Party. That leads her to recall that it’s her friend Tamara’s birthday the next day and she hasn’t gotten her a gift yet. She ducks into the bookstore just as one of the girls that works there notices that Gloria’s a bit teary-eyed. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”

827 Relax and Succeed - Only say it if it is true

Gloria nods toward Jennifer who is just entering the store. “Just some bitch mocking my fat ass.” Gloria shoots Jennifer a dirty look. Bitch. Gloria’s a touch on the lazy side and she wants to call her boyfriend, so when she sees Jennifer heading for the till with her book she turns back to her co-worker and asks, “I really don’t want to serve her. Would you mind taking that for me?”

The co-worker is helpful and agrees and heads over to check out Jennifer who was very impressed with quick excellent service she got here last time. She made a note of the woman’s name again. Indira. I’m gonna write to their head office when I get home and make sure Indira gets credit for helping me last time. Companies don’t respect how much difference those front line workers can make. To me, she was the face of the this company that day and she smiled when most clerks today just sneer and grab your money.

Jennifer arrives at the till and Gloria’s co-worker slides into the spot behind the till. She speaks very flatly (just barely politely). “Did you find everything you were looking for?”you judgmental hag. The clerk’s body language is rough and heavy, as though bitch-germs are all over the book. She wants to drop it in the bag as quickly as possible.

827 Relax and Succeed - Never judge someoneJennifer is knocked from her pleasant feeling by the clerk’s almost challenging tone and negative body language but she gives her the benefit of the doubt. She even goes so far as to try to cheer her up with a little joke: “I usually remember what I came for when I get home.” No smile, no recognition she said anything. Hmm. Okay. Well, I’m not normally a funny person. Still, I thought it was funny.

“Did you need a gift receipt?” So flat it could be judged as over the line by some.

Apparently Jennifer is on the other side of that line. Well don’t let me put you out honey. You get that I’m paying your wage by buying this right? Jennifer smile-sneers at the clerk. “No. No I’ll do without.” She can’t resist throwing in a final stab: “Thanks for your great service though.”

Ooo. Flat right back. The clerk doesn’t like this hag that attacked Gloria. And now she knew Gloria was telling her the truth about the woman because the co-worker herself was witnessing Jennifer being just as bitchy to her as she was to Gloria (remembering of course from our God-position that Jennifer never did actually see or judge Gloria).

The clerk completes the transaction and roughly tears off the receipt  and jams it into the bag with the book. With a fake smile and facetious tone: “Have a great day.”

827 Relax and Succeed - The only peopleJennifer looks back but it’s too early in the morning to be treated like this. “Yeah, thanks for the great service by the way. You know the woman upstairs managed to sound like she didn’t resent the people that pay her bills. You should try it sometime.”

“Pardon me?!” How dare she!!  “Yeah, well at least I don’t go around insulting perfect strangers in public places so maybe you should just take your stupid book and leave.”

WHAT!? “That sounds like a great idea. I think I’ll do that and come back later and talk to your manager.” Jennifer takes the bag with the book and receipt and she heads for the door a bit stunned, leaving the co-worker looking a touch concerned about how this might play out later.

In the end none of these women actually had a reason not to like each other. All of them had unpleasant experiences within their consciousness that they blamed on each other because when really what happened was that they all chose to make judgment calls about what they thought they experienced. Just remember: this scene is almost all of us, almost every day, almost all day. Be aware, have a quiet mind and save yourself from daily suffering.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #93

826 OP Relax and Succeed - A big part of lifeThe horns of a dilemma is a tough place to be. Sometimes there just isn’t a good choice, just a best choice–and what’s best is up to who you ask. If an individual feels secure then no one will make a better decision for them than they will. And there is no reason to self-hate ever, let alone because you were forced into some incredibly complex emotional situation. Hating yourself in a mirror is something a lot of innocent egos do because somehow they were accidentally taught that it’s possible to make it through life without having to make some very ugly decisions. There is no life like that. That’s what life is–a series of decisions. Some of them easy some of them hard. But regardless of which they are, they happen in the moment they are in and they are made by the person you are then. So just like other people’s views on that decision don’t matter much, neither do the opinions of later versions of you–because that person will have the benefit of the wisdom you gained from making the decision that later-you is commenting on. But you didn’t have that wisdom then so the criticism doesn’t even make sense. Every face you see has made decisions that involved pain and suffering and complication. Sometimes we will choose something painful. But that’s no reason to talk to yourself negatively. There would be zero happy people if everyone did that. If you want to live your life successfully you do not study and discuss or self-discuss your worst and darkest days. If you want a successful life you have to focus on your successes and build off those. And that’s nice, because it not only works better than beating yourself up, it feels better too. Now go have a great week.

Big hug. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

The Friday Dose #93

825 FD Relax and Succeed - You have to be oddWe’ll make this easy. First we’ll look at the lyrics for Pink Floyd’s prescient song, Time. Then you can ask some exciting questions about what you’ll do with the rest of your time, and then I’ll close off with a live version of the song for those that would like to see it as well as hear it.

We’ll start off with the lyrics of Time because that’s what you want to stay aware of when you watch the video that follows:

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

(Mason, Waters, Wright, Gilmour)

This video starts off with a good point: if you look back at your life and see missed opportunity then that means you didn’t lack opportunity, you simply didn’t act. You didn’t go grab your life. Lucky, happy people with rewarding lives weren’t born into those. They chose their way into them. What will you choose today?

And if you really want to see the song performed, here’s Roger Water’s group doing it in Buenos Aires:

Have a fantastic weekend everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.00 Relax and Succeed - Friday Dose Footer

Two Different Men

824 Relax and Succeed - You've gotta beThere are several forms my friend Simon comes in. His girlfriend can’t figure him out. Not because she doesn’t love him or get him, but because she’s looking at him as an ego, through the lens of her own ego. She wants him to be consistent and yet she doesn’t notice she’s not either. That innocent lack of awareness will make their “problems” unfixable until they clear their heads.

Here are some of the personas that I’ve seen Simon exhibit: There’s Business Simon. When he’s around his boss or underlings he sounds almost like a radio-announcer he’ll have so much authority in both his word choice and delivery. Sports Simon is so foul-mouthed and debauched that I can’t even begin to tell you what he sounds like. With His Parents Simon is teasing and helpful. Stoned Simon is philosophical and yet terrified his life has no meaning. But under these and all the other variations of Simon there exists two fundamental states of Simon.

Whether he’s Business, Sports, Man-Cave, Husband, Father or whatever other Simon he is–he’ll either be Wanting or he’ll be Appreciating. Different people will like different personas, but what most people see as our base personality is whether or not we are fundamentally optimists or a pessimists. Because birds of a feather often flock together.

824 Relax and Succeed - Complaints gratitudeWhat’s important about that is that there are two fundamental Yous. The one that wants things to be different and the one that is appreciating how things are. Get that choice right and the rest falls into place. Because who cares how many people approve of your persona if you’re often in a state of appreciation? Appreciation feels good. What other people have going on in their heads is what they feel. You feel what you do–so practice appreciating.

Practice? I know, it sounds weird but that’s what all of those monks meant when they talked about practicing Zen. It’s not an achievement. It’s an action. You actively seek things to appreciate until you get to the point where it’s your nature. After that you’re one of the “lucky” ones.

Yeah, I know Wanting Simon. That’s the depressing version his girlfriend struggles to be around. He points out the jobs he didn’t get, his parents shortcomings, various injustices, the cruel nature of the world and he does all of that because he wants to make the world and himself better. But the world is the world. What Simon needs is to see it through his appreciative eyes.

824 Relax and Succeed - Be aware that tomorrow's resentmentsWhen Simon first met his girlfriend he was crazy in love. All he talked to us about was how great she was. And she is great, but you know what? While he was looking at the world and expecting it to be great, he saw greatness all over the place. His dog got smarter, he realized his apartment had character whereas before it just looked old. His siblings were nicer people and his boss wasn’t so stupid. But then the initial high of meeting his still-excellent new girlfriend naturally wore off. And when it did he returned to seeing the world as ugly, himself as unfortunate, and the future as bleak.

Like all of us Simon always has the choice to want or appreciate. One will always hurt, one will always feel good. That isn’t to say the painful one doesn’t have some value. But you can also better yourself without a lot of suffering. The wise people aren’t in robes or speaking in Yoda-like language or capable of remarkable feats of self-abuse. Wise people are the ones enjoying their lives. Wasn’t that the point of gaining wisdom in the first place?

Don’t want a perfect history. Don’t want a perfect now or a perfect future. Just take what you have and appreciate that if what you want is a better day, week, month, year or lifetime. All you have to do is do it. Appreciate. You know you can.  You can start right now.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Bad Rap

823 Relax and Succeed - One of the best things you can doYou hear it all the time. People dissing humanity. We’ve screwed it all up! some angry person shouts. We polluted the Earth and got selfish and everyone’s on their phones and no one cares and there’s huge problems in the world–AHHHH! Yeah, I understand those concerns but still, you know what? I think humanity is just getting a bad rap.

I met a guy at a job I worked at a few years back. Other than the fact that we both primarily played the same musical instrument I didn’t see that we had a ton in common. But that never seems to matter. There’s just these times when we feel compelled to notice some people. It’s like we half-recognize them or something.

Since living this way I’m very patient with that feeling. I know it can take years to play out. Decades even. But those people you have that weird sense about–that your life and theirs have something to do with each other–those do unfold. Who knows, physicists can’t really explain why you can remember your past but not your future so maybe you really are recognizing them for another time rather than from another time. But we’ve all had the feeling. Our favourite version of it is when we meet a new friend.

823 Relax and Succeed - Be who you neededRecently that person posted on facebook that they were in the midst of one of life’s toughest challenges. It was a humble admission of both a problem and the current struggle to overcome it. I honestly don’t know all of the details involving the problem and I don’t really care. Those details are irrelevant. What matters is that he’s struggling. I have no interest in judging him, I just want to respond to his need with compassion. That’s what feels natural for anyone when you’re not seeing the world from an egocentric view.

Why do I say people don’t deserve the bad rap they get? Here’s some evidence: When this guy exposed his vulnerability and weakness the immediate response by friends and strangers alike was to offer him support and assistance. Far from judging him everyone noted feeling inspired by what he had done through his admission.

Everyone has their battles. Big and small. We all share that. We all know what it feels like to try something difficult. Something we’ve not done before. Something other versions of us tried to do but couldn’t. But we all know there’s a version of us that’s ready. And that version is sometimes very hard to find. So when you see another human being exhibiting it, compassion just naturally flows.

823 Relax and Succeed - If grass can growIt’s like I’ve written about in the past in relation to the strange thing that used to happen on the show Fear Factor when a competitor got in real trouble. If they needed the prize money for an important reason–like an operation for their sick mom or something–then you’d never see people able to maintain their goading. They couldn’t undermine those people and if it looked like they might fail their competitors would switch to cheering them on. Yes, their former trash-talking competitors. Because that’s our nature. Because unless we have been abused, that’s what humans do.

People can criticize the idea all they want but when we are most in alignment with things is when we are experiencing love and connection. When our connection is so pure that we don’t even sense the border between an us and them, then we know we are visiting our natural home. And it is not a failed life to wobble in and out of it. It is what a lifetime is. And we wouldn’t want it it any other way. Because when people are wobbling is precisely when they can inspire the people who aren’t.

Thanks to my friend for his inspiration. I sense very good things in his future. And I’m confident there’s many good things in store for yours as well. Now go create yourself an awesome day.

Much love. Big hugs. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

The Music of Your Life

Today could turn out to be a very good day for you. When you’ve been teaching this for a while it gets tough to come up with new metaphors and analogies to describe the very simple central truth that everyones seeking–the one that will bring them peace. But every now and then one of us stumbles into a new way of saying the oldest thing ever and this is one of those days.

822 Relax and Succeed - To play a wrong noteIt’s nice to see vinyl records making a comeback. I still remember walking into Mr. Sound and buying the entire Beatles collection of albums at once. I was a huge audiophile, reading Absolute Sound, buying handmade amplifiers by serial number because they were made by true genius electronics pioneers. They’re like the times you live in: they impact what your song sounds like in surprisingly dramatic ways.

I ran things like Linn Sondek turntables with an Infinity Widow arm holding a Grado Signature III. And at the end of that incredibly expensive cartridge was a tiny diamond. That diamond represents you. You’re so sure the way you are can’t be right. You must need to change. But maybe you’re just not relaxing into your own groove.

There are an infinite number of turntables. Our turntable is our world and its laws etc, and its spinning is time. The groove is your life–the people you meet, the experiences you have, your language, your schooling, where you live, how you were raised etc. Those things define the borders of your beliefs–the edges of the groove. And you bumping up against those things is what creates the music of your life.

The problem comes from your knowledge of other turntables, other records, other sounds. Your ego does this thing called comparison and you get the idea that your song can be wrong. The song can’t be wrong okay? No sounds are wrong. Just because your sound doesn’t mix well with someone else’s song doesn’t make yours or their songs wrong. They just don’t harmonize.

822 Relax and Succeed - When you playThe people playing hip hop will be friends, but that doesn’t mean that the people playing opera aren’t valid. There are people playing nature sounds and others playing documentaries. All are valid. The only problems come for us as individuals comes when we want out of our own groove and so we add resistance to our lives. We constantly lean against our groove in our attempt to force ourselves onto a different record, as though that was possible, when all it really does is make our own song sound unbalanced.

It is not the needle’s job to question the groove. The needle does not need to concern itself with what was previously played from the recording nor does it need to worry about or create expectations around the song further down the groove. Maybe the composer of the universe threw a weird bridge into the song. Just be in the moment you’re in and bounce through it naturally as you and it will all sound perfect. Perfectly you. That’s all we were ever looking for. Because that is the music of you.

As I often write, we all change numerous times in our lifetime. Don’t worry if you’re currently experiencing the bounces of a broken-hearted ballad. Time will ensure that a new song will arrive to you naturally. There is nothing you need to fix or do. Simply live and life will uncoil. Never fear. No matter which path you take, you’re always in your groove.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #92

821 OP Relax and Succeed - It's not abotu forcing happinessPeople talk as though their psychology is separate from themselves. Like it’s another person they have to deal with. They resign themselves to the fact that they have this or that identity and then absolutely everything gets reflected off that. So if they think they have reasons to be sad then they’ll list the reasons and the listing of it will make them sad. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sure, being sad can be a long term habit that lasts a lifetime. But each and every time those are are still just judgment calls. Your friends wouldn’t agree with those assessments of you. But until we choose to stop seeing the world as though our judgments about it are actually facts, we will always be captive to them. You can enjoy life any time you choose to appreciate anything genuinely and that goes for any person whether they are happy or depressed. Happiness does not need to be forced it’s a natural state.  And sadness can’t “win.” Sadness is something you do. Sometimes it is perfectly appropriate. Maturing is knowing when to allow it and when to shift it. Don’t be in a hurry. As long as you’re aware of it, over time you’ll figure out when you should change it and when you should leave it alone. When in doubt, be appreciative. And have a great week.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

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The Friday Dose #92

820 FD Relax and Succeed - Good people bring out the goodGood day to all of you. In today’s Friday Dose we look into the latest research on how healthy your phone is for your brain and your relationships, we’ll see where all languages began, evolved and spread, and we’ll end on a video that introduces you to a super-inspiring guy who is quite literally saving the world by building the coolest jobs ever for scientists and engineers.

Let’s start with the phone and your brain and your life. Because this is seriously getting to be one of the biggest psychological experiences of your life and yet most people are trying to ignore it because they sense what they’ll find if they look. I wrote about it previously in Smart Phone Disconnections, but here’s a streamable/downloadable radio interview on what the research demonstrates you are doing versus the hidden prices you pay.

Sherry Turkle on Smartphones and Relationships

I used to date a linguist and a job like that breeds intelligence. If your brain can read and write 10 or so languages (including those in considerably different groups, like Chinese, Arabic and Hungarian), then you end up with a pretty good grip on how these other languages organize the world. The Spanish don’t assign blame, the Japanese don’t have the concept of an individual identity, and a bunch of languages can’t decide if bridges and boats are male or female. This cool map that quickly animates the slow evolution of these languages and the subtle ideas that underpin them:

And we’ll end on this wonderful video from the organization Billions in Change that features the inspiring work of Manoj Bhargava. If you don’t think the world is getting a lot better you’re paying too much attention to the news and not enough to what’s going on in the world (and no, they’re not synonymous):

The world is a cool place. Get out into it and meet it. If you’re serious you’ll see things that will amaze and inspire you. We all look forward to your contributions. Much love.

peace, s

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Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Your Internal Guidance System

You implore the universe to help you. You beg it, beseech it and are left bereft when it does not. But maybe it answered before you were even asking. Maybe it knew what you would need and it made sure you had it. Maybe the thing you thought was making you sick is the same thing that can make you healthy…..

819 Relax and Succeed - Everybody is youI’ve written about it before and it’s important enough that it gets its own section in my latest book. You have to stop seeing your life as this event that is happening to you personally and you have to start seeing the signals you’re getting as being human. Those were put within you because the universe knew you would need them.

Like the Dalai Lama recently said about the world, “We cannot solve this problem through only prayers. I am a Buddhist and I believe in praying. But humans have created this problem, and now we are asking God to solve it. It is illogical. God would say, solve it yourself because you created it in the first place.” Indeed. Wanting is an ego-based activity. Action is the nature of the universe. But we keep mistaking its guidance for its results.

The universe will be bountiful and generous but you must go out and meet it in all its forms. Nature, other people, art, culture etc. will not come to you–you must be active in the creation of your more positive, emotionally successful life. You must recognize the signs that God or the universe provides you and you must use them to your advantage. Not so that you can undermine other aspects of nature or the universe, but so that you can become alive within your own life.

819 Relax and Succeed - loneliness is a requestYou can actively choose to move away from suffering and toward something better. And that’s important because getting to that place is not nearly as important as the personal effort to get there. That’s where you derive your satisfaction from living–from your movement. You are an aspect of the universe. Where you are dormant the universe is dormant.

Look at how brilliant you are: Loneliness is a request for connection. Anger is a request for safety. Frustration is a request for assistance. Sadness is a request for fun and Love is a request for more love. Nothing happens if you look at the emotion and say, Look what God brought me! God didn’t bring that.

God or the universe created everything. Including all of the smart cells that make you up. Including the ones that produce the chemistry for your brain. All you need to do is stop seeing your emotions as the end result and instead see them as the universe speaking to you. You’re not a spectator. You’re a participant.

819 Relax and Succeed - Everything you do is based on the choices you makeYour emotions are not meant to be destroyed they’re meant to be employed. Don’t add to them by complaining about them. They are requests for action. You can’t sit in your home every night alone and then complain that your life is bad. It’s not bad. You’re not living it. Every day you get delivered tons of information about what would help you but you keep waiting for life to arrive rather than understanding that it is an action.

Start listening to your emotions. Use them to motivate your life. Use them to move you towards love and away from indifference. There is nothing greater that you could do for the universe than simply manifesting your greatest self. Ready? Of course you are. You were born ready.

Let’s go! s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Angry Words

You’ll see how quickly people are ready to believe bad versus good: someone can date someone for months, they can meet their parents, get to know their friends–but then there’s that day when you see the angry for the first time. The person snaps. Sharp words come out loudly.

818 Relax and Succeed - We build too many wallsThe fears and insecurities drive the brain chemistry that in turn drives everything from the volume of the speaker to the choice of words. And yet despite the fact that the anger is an indication that there is fear, people will tend to say phrases like, I finally saw the real him/her, or when she/he was angry I saw their true personality come out. True personality?

First off, personalities are something we perform, not something we are. So there is no real or hidden us–we are simply one thing for a while and then another thing for another while. You’re this person in this context and this person in another context and that’s what people know as you. But none of those is us. They are things we do and say.

So why then do worried souls concern themselves with waiting until the secret’s out when the same behaviour could easily be seen as she’s usually really nice, I’m not what sure what’s going on right now. In the latter we’re just noting a new or rare behaviour. But how do we make the leap to it’s a secret identity?

Why would we see someone function for maybe 6 months, over 4300 hours, and yet out of those 4300 we see 2 that are unpleasant and we conclude we’ve discovered the person’s secret identity? No. You haven’t found a secret. You’ve just seen how they get mad.

818 Relax and Succeed - The enemy is fearEveryone’s mad looks different. Some people scare you with their look or silence. Others scream and protest. Some hurt themselves and some hurt others. But the vast majority of people just act mean and say terrible things because they feel the need to equalize.

If two people’s vibrations as beings are too far apart then will naturally want to harmonize. This is connected to the reason that women who live together will start seeing the biological alignment of their cycles. It’s why if you see people laughing you’ll eventually laugh, and if you see people concerned you also feel concerned.

The trick comes when one person is vibrating at a healthy rate and the other person has been removed from a context that feels comfortable, and so they are vibrating in a scattered and uneven way. To get the two people into alignment, the scared, angry person will deliberately cause damage not because their secret’s out, but because they will feel safer with that alignment.

Obviously if someone is hitting you or verbally abusing you on a regular basis then that is not healthy for either party and you should make careful plans to escape. But if you just saw your 6 month relationship lose it and you think you’ve exposed some secret personality then you’re paranoid, not keeping yourself safe. Because everyone does this. This only question is how.

Do not see other people’s anger and frustrations as being about you. They are admittedly ugly, aggressive and even scary requests for love. But they are not windows into how the person really is. They’re just really scared. Act accordingly. You’ll both be much better off if you both seek peace rather than trying to calculate whose behaviour was better.

peace, s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.