Michelle D’Avella wrote an excellent post titled “10 Ways We Hide from the World & Why We Need to Be Seen”.
The days are getting longer… we're moving from Darkness to Light. Even though for many of us the coldest days of winter ahead, the presence of more sunlight warms our hearts with hope and anticipation of what lies ahead.
Now is the time for thoughtfulness and daydreams. A time for deep thoughts… enjoy one of the greatest gifts of all… the gift of being present.
I really enjoy spending time thinking.
One of the things I most enjoy thinking about is thinking itself. I'm talking about the process of thinking about my thoughts and how my beliefs, values and experiences affect my thought process.
Recently I have spending many hours thinking about something called Cognitive Dissonance. Cognitive (which means thinking or understanding) Dissonance (which means disharmony or conflict). We experience Cognitive Dissonance when what we think conflicts or is not in harmony with something we are seeing or hearing or experiencing.
Here's what interesting and why I'm paying so much attentions to this… when we experience Cognitive Dissonance we tend to lie to ourselves. We conjure things up to make the facts fit our beliefs, or worse yet, our minds close, and we simply disregard or dismiss conflicting thoughts without testing or even allowing for the possibility of their validity.
Here's tired but poignant example…
If you are in a place where it is safe to do so close your eyes and imagine with me for a minute.
Imagine your arm is slightly bent at the elbow and your palm is up and I gently place a bowling ball in your hand. In your left hand imagine you have a golf ball. Image feeling the weight of each ball. Now, if you can, imagine straightening your elbow. How long could you hold each ball out in front of you with your arms straight… the bowling ball maybe a few seconds, the golf perhaps many minutes.
Now, imagine if you were to drop both balls from the Golden Gate bridge which would make the biggest splash? The bowling ball. It's bigger and heavier. Which would hit the water first? Hmmm… The golf ball and bowling ball would hit the water at the same time.
Watch this video and see how we rationalize our wrong thinking…
Doesn't it seem SO LOGICAL that the big, heavy, bowling ball would hit the water first?
Of course. But the fact is it doesn't. The balls both hit the ground at the same time. Google it if you want to know why.
Why would people say the first answer? Remember that essentially all ideas are based on something. Even if they are wrong, they should make some sort of sense otherwise we would just be crazy, right? The idea that a heavy object falls faster does seem to agree with our everyday observations.
This is also the reason so many of us persist in believing things that are just not true. Logical… but not true.
One of the things I most value is my capacity to make rational informed decisions, my autonomy.
One of my beliefs is that people, especially marketers and advertisers, but also well meaning family and friends, songs, books, movies and our own interpretation of events ALL have an effect on our thinking.
Here are a few examples…
Love means never… having to say you're sorry (of course that's bunk but it influenced the thinking of many).
How about this from the Who in the early 70's
When I want to go home I'm going mobile…
I hitched hiked North America in 1973… not because of this song… but looking back I think that song and others like Truckin' and Me, You and a Dog named Boo, affected my thinking.
I'm pretty sure the TV commercials got me using Irish Spring soap back on the '70's or '80's…
Our thinking and our decisions are affected by all kinds of things…
Some as potentially innocent as a song and others as pointed as a TV commercial… the Marlboro Man also comes to mind.
For me thinking about my thinking and questioning why I do what I do allows me to feel that I am deliberately keeping my life on course and living true to my Higher Self.
Does what I'm saying here resonate with you? Do you take time daily, or very regularly, to think about your thing and why you do what you do?
I would love to hear your thoughts and what you do to make sure you stay on your divine path.
All the best to you and your loved ones.
Do you have personal code of conduct? A way you have consciously decided to be in the world.
I don't mean your long term goals of retiring with financial security, or getting a certain car or losing a certain amount of pounds. I mean do you have certain feelings or emotions that you want to experience everyday while on your way to your bigger long term goals.
Here are 7 elements that guide my thoughts and actions each day:
1. Love. I live from a place of love. Love is my essence.
2. Appreciation. I am grateful for everything in my life.
3. Curiosity. Google is my friend.
4. Excitement. I do what I want to do every day. If I'm doing it, it is my choice and I chose to do it with excitement.
5. Flexibility. I have decided to embrace change and spontaneity.
6. Confidence. I choose confidence over fear.
7. Cheerfulness. Being cheerful makes people around me happy and that adds to my happiness.
How about you? What do you want to experience every day? What thoughts, beliefs, language would you have to adopt to make that your reality?
Just a little food for thought.
What gets you excited, I mean totally juiced? What charges you with the energy to wake-up early and stay-up late so you can charge forward in the direction of your dream? Maybe the word I'm looking for is passion.
3 words come to mind for me… Massive Positive Impact.
For many years I have had sought to live my life in ways that would allow the work I do to have a significant positive impact. Having a massive positive impact ignites my passion and it has for decades.
For many years an Internet marketing consultant I felt that I was having a positive impact and as I became a professional speaker I felt that my impact was multiplied. Rather than impacting 30 or 40 or 50 businesses per year as a consultant I was impacting 1,000, 2,000 or even 4 or 5,000 people. I loved that.
I'm now on a mission to bring smiles and happiness and keep the Spirit of Christmas alive ALL year long.
What lights your fire?
Do you ever feel energetically fragmented? I have found the singing bowl helps me center my energy.
There's a part of me that wants to just shout from the roof tops and say this is me, the whole me, the warts and ugliness and the unpleasant consequences brought about by irresponsible decisions and overly optimistic expectations.
But it's hard. What will people think?
What would YOU think if you knew the WHOLE me? How would I feel? Will I be embarrassed? Will I lose respect or esteem? Will I lose business? Should I care about any of these things?
Or will no one even notice or care? Would that be better or worse?
FYI- This article does a very good job of revealing what I'm dealing with- http://www.inc.com/magazine/201309/jessica-bruder/psychological-price-of-entrepreneurship.html
So week 1 of this sabbatical has been interesting. (Do I even have a right to call this a sabbatical? Or is this just another way for me to avoid facing the harsh reality of my current situation?)
Here's what I know is true for me, and I suspect it's true for many others, though perhaps not as deliberately cultivated. When I'm honest with myself about where I am and the causes that got me here and once I accept responsibility, and take note of lessons learned, then what should I do next? Mope? Feel sorry for myself? Lay blame?
I have found that when I frame the negative events of my life, the most difficult learning experiences, in the most positive, life affirming, way I possibly can I like myself better. I don't do this out of denial and it's not Pollyannaism.
I'm simply happier when I consciously choose optimism over pessimism. I love what Helen Keller said on this subject… "…since I consider it a duty to myself and to others to be happy, I escape a misery worse than any physical deprivation."
I too consider it a DUTY to myself, to you, and others, to be happy. Regardless of my circumstances I choose to believe that it's my DUTY to choose to be happy.
What are your beliefs around happiness? Do you consider it a duty?
Are you using all of tools available to you to maximize your happiness? A little food for thought. I'm looking forward to taking with you soon.
I live most of the year in Ashland, Oregon, a small town of about 25,000 people. It’s a terrific, beautiful, slow paced place. I also spend 3 to 4 months a year in the megatropolis of some 15 MILLION people and I just recently realized something, something that sort of woke me up to a different way of seeing So Cal.
First, I grew up in So Cal. I had a great childhood, very Ozzie & Harriett middle class. My mom was a stay at home mom. I had a brother, a sister, a paper route. I walked to school and rode my bike to the beach. Life was by all accounts good.
Here’s what I realized- today things are better… the air is cleaner, the water is cleaner, both in the rivers and the ocean, the streets are cleaner, even the crime rates are lower. The streets and freeways are more efficient, there are many more businesses serving many more wants and needs of the residents, the suburbs are more ethnically diverse and it seems to me that people are even friendlier.
This recognition that nearly everything is better in So Cal today than when I grew up here 50 years ago kind of floored me. I was driving 65 miles per hours on the 405 freeway, looking past the buildings and homes at the San Gabriel Mountains on the other side of the basin. I was wowed!
When I stopped to consider that the population in LA and Orange County has grown by at least 30% adding at least 3 million more people it only makes it that much more impressive.
We humans are amazing! They ways we find to serve one another is staggering. The ways we have managed our resources, and conflict, and growth, are all incredibly impressive.
In the day to days of our lives it’s very easy to lose sight of just how amazing we really are. We adapt. We respond. We help. We thrive.
So in the macro view So Cal is getting better. What about us individually, the micro view? How are we doing… if we are truthful and objective with ourselves? How is our lifestyle? Our car? Our TV? Phone? Computer? Healthcare? Has our lifestyle as individuals become better over time? How about our relationships? Our psychology? Have we become happier and more content as individuals?
My answer to these things is yes. The car I’m driving now puts out less pollutants driving 65 miles per hour than my old Datsun truck did parked! It leaked oil.
All indications are that everything is going to be OK… in fact; I believe that the societal and individual evolution coupled with our current Spiritual Renaissance is going to enter us into a period of transcendent interconnectedness that is coupled with complete acceptance of personal responsibility for our personal life experience and deep compassion and social responsibility that comes from recognized connectedness. Exciting!!!
We are arriving!
If you follow me on Facebook you know I post a lot (some say too much). I post about what I’m doing, the auditions, TV shows and commercials I’m on and pretty much everything else I do. I have fun doing it and from the comments I get I believe a lot of people enjoy reading my posts and seeing my photos. While I’m certainly aware that I can’t please all of the people all of the time, and I’m very accepting of that. One of my Facebook friends, a Santa, interpreted my Facebook posts in a way that is completely opposite of what I intended. Here’s what he wrote:
FROM: Raymond XXXXX
ED Taylor SIR: No disrespect, I am a 74 year old man; I have been Santa Claus since I was a Boy Scout. When I read Remarks such as yours I ask myself, why in the hell have I suffered and give. I paid $140.00 the best 3/4 of my whole being trying to be someone who helps anyone? Just for a Chain for my car (HE HAS A FUN HOME MADE RED CAR THAT USES A CHAIN) so I could make others happy. I used to give even my families survival money when people needed help. But Sir; when I read your stuff, you make me feel so disgraceful. I am sorry; I just wonder sometimes what some of the awesome things you have done to be able to claim such a higher position than any other trying to bring happiness to others. Do you get paid for any of your services? I have never been paid I pay myself even many times for the Gifts I deliver. When I read your site I feel so worthless. This year has been the most disappointing year of my life. It seems as though I am a nothing. I am almost ashamed to post anything anymore.
Thank you for your message. I’m SORRY. I'm not sure what I possibly could have said that would have you think I have claimed a higher position than anyone. I certainly do not feel that way. I’m simply a 59 year old man who is enthusiastic about his life. Like you, I have spent many years reaching out to those I can serve. I try live my life as I see Santa Claus in today’s society.
Every time I’m in public I do my best to live true to my interpretation of Santa. I bring joy and smiles to those who greet me in stores, restaurants or wave to me while I’m driving. In every public appearance I make, both live and on TV, I strive to bring joy and happiness and to remind people of the true Spirit of Santa Claus.
As to your question about being paid- Yes, I always get paid emotionally and I believe spiritually. I also frequently get paid financially (I also make many appearances each year for which I am not paid financially). But I do not do any of these things, or most anything else in my life, ‘for the money’; I do what I do in order to live into the full expression of who I am. To live true to my beliefs and values… and, I hope, to have a positive impact on the lives I touch, including yours.
If there is anything I can do to help you please let me know. If there is anything I can do to help those you serve please do not hesitate to ask.
I wish you all the best and thank you for being a point of light to all of the lives you have touched over the years. You are a blessing.
All the Best,
Santa Ed Taylor
I would LOVE TO HEAR your thoughts or comments?
To start the day I shot my first TV commercial. It was for the city of Palm Springs and will air in the LA area during the holidays.
Next I was on an terrific call with Will Wilkinson and Jody Colvard, two of my collaborators on the Wake Up and Be Happy project that I am very deeply involved with.
Then off to a meeting with my partners in Say Hello Santa, an exciting new App that provides video chats with Santa Claus.
Then, during the meeting I mentioned above, my agent called and congratulated me for landing the MTV show I auditioned for on Monday.
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Sounds like an amazing day, yes?
And it was, but…
Yesterday also included:
- Getting up at 5:00AM
- Being 800 miles away from my wife for the 17th day in a row.
- 2 hours of stop & go LA morning traffic
- 1 hour of waiting for a producer who was late to the set
- Another 45 minutes in bumper to bumper traffic
- Leaving my Santa bag at the studio (I’ll retrieve it today)
- Another 1 hour in traffic
- Another 2 hours (from 8:30 to 10:30PM) following up with my marking clients and responding to emails.
All said and done- 17.5 hours… and YES, it truly WAS an AMAZING DAY.
Yes, the day included both positive and negative elements, ALL days do, but I get to setup MY own mental algorithm. I get to CHOOSE how much weight I give to each of the events in my life. For me positive events carry a lot of weight and negative events carry very little. I do not deny the negatives; I simply don’t give them much power, attention, or thought. The result- AMAZING DAYS!
Oh and doing, the getting up early, paying the price of bumper to bumper traffic (or whatever) and staying up late to meet your commitments, all while doing what you are truly PASSIONATE about plays a big part too. 🙂
How have you set your mental algorithm? Are giving negative events too much power? If so, why?
All the best,