GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


March 31, 2020

Way of Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 5:13 am

Darren lawrence zW7MjBFE9zk unsplashDo you want something you’re responsible for to change? Change your way of life. It’s the only way that works.

Many people don’t believe they had a hand in getting to where they are. They’ve divorced themselves from responsibility. Their silent mantra is “Why me Lord?” This is “fun house mirror” logic on steroids.

Your current way of life is the patterned way you do things. Take eating as an example. You have a patterned way of consuming. If you’re too heavy for your liking, you may go on a diet. Chances are you will lose weight, but the odds are even greater that you’ll gain it all back. Why? Because you thought that a temporary change was going to be a permanent fix.

You would need to redefine the word “diet” to mean “way of life,” and follow it for life to get lifelong results.

We have too many patterns to list, so let’s go after just one and watch changes in others happen automatically. My friend Jerry Stocking years ago said, “The way you do one thing is the way you do everything.” So just change one unproductive pattern and watch the dominos fall on many others.

You can begin small and change one little thing you regularly do that’s not working for you. When that way of life is outgrown, other like patterns will follow in lockstep. Think of it as “Birds of a feather.”

If you want to go BIG, go to work on your patterned way of thinking. To change your thinking, start observing your thinking at work. Your mind has a mind of its own and its thoughts will own you until you recognize that the thoughts in your head are not you. They are a collection of patterns that take up space in your mind. Take a few minutes a day and just sit and observe your mind at play. You’ll soon discover that there is the thinker and the observer. When you become the observer, your thinking begins to change. Your mind gets quieter as your observational skills increase.

Make observing your thinking a way of life and watch your life automatically change without you having to seek out one temporary fix after another.

In closing, here is a “way of life” suggestion from the ancient Chinese Sage Lao Tzu who introduced us to the “tao,” which means “the way”: “Stop thinking and end your problems.”

All the best,

John



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March 24, 2020

Know-It-All

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 5:27 am

PompousI’ve heard it said that no one likes a “Know-It-All.” I don’t know if that’s a universally accepted maxim but I suspect the following Grasshopper observation is: “No one can help anyone who knows everything.”

The telltale phrases you will hear from KIAs (Know-it-alls) are: “I’ve tried that” or “That will never work.”

Let’s look closer at each phrase.

“I tried that” has failure written all over it because it almost always translates to I didn’t finish what I started. Dieters fall into this category. They think diets are temporary fixes, not ways of life and try diet after diet. This results in no long-term results.

Imagine hearing this comment (I have) . . . “Gyms don’t work.” That’s actually a very accurate statement. Gyms and health clubs don’t work. Funny thing is, people who use them do get results.

In the “That will never work category,” is this hypothetical I wrote about many years ago.

Some people abuse their power of discretion and it becomes a weapon that causes self-inflicted wounds. This is a way of saying that many people dismiss something out of hand because they judge it in their head.

I agree that if someone told you that parrot saliva was the cure for arthritis, you probably would be justified to raise an eyebrow. But if there was a long, documented history of people getting results with this method, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t investigate further, especially if you have arthritis.

So let’s pretend that you saw an ad for a product in Parade Magazine and then hobbled down to GNC and bought the product called “Pollyspittle” because you were curious. You took it home and then you chose not to use it. It seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is lots of people do that. It’s the next piece of behavior that is mind boggling and counterproductive.

You hop on your computer and dash off a nasty-gram to the manufacturer saying, “This stuff couldn’t possibly work,” and add how disappointed you are. What’s wrong with this photograph? You judged it in your head.

No one’s claiming that you are not entitled to an opinion. We all have them. But when you put the onus on someone else because your untested belief won’t allow you to take the recommended action, whose problem is that?

This type of head judging has no bearing on IQ. You could be Mensa material or dumber than a stump and still be guilty of this practice.

Know-it-alls are goalpost movers. Once you disprove their objection with factual data, they move on to another objection without acknowledging the one you just countered. This is a never ending game that leads nowhere – especially to any results.

If you like arguing, engage a Know-it-all. If you’re attempting to help them, refer them to someone else because they are incapable of learning anything new from you.

Know-it-alls say “NO” to it all. Their thinking is more solid than concrete and the only thing that changes their mind is an explosion of their belief system. It often takes a tragedy to gain their attention and that’s very sad.

“Yes” is a prescription for “No” but getting someone to take it for the prescribed time is a timeless challenge. If you recognize that you say “No” more than “Yes,” there is hope for you if you act on that recognition. Just begin to adopt the belief that to learn more, you have to know less.

All the best,

John



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March 20, 2020

Answers

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:47 am

Nariman mesharrafa DvuXquZ134w unsplashDo you like short or long answers? I like both depending on the content.

To the question, “Do you want to go to that new Thai restaurant?”, I prefer “yes” or “no,” not a soliloquy as to why or why not.

Yet, I prefer giving and getting longer answers when shorter answers shut the door to what is possible.

Men, particularly, have been conditioned to give instant answers, but those answers often lack substance and depth. We have been taught that we have to know, and know now! But we don’t often know, but speak anyway.

I have come to find that more substantial answers come from an evolving, solving process. By that I mean, there is some meandering down unexpected trails that is necessary for a more fulsome answer to emerge.

Please don’t confuse this with I call “Old Lady Talk.” That’s when you are a poster child for disjointed blather. “Well, we went to lunch at the mall. Oh, and I remember when malls were the place to go on dates. Which reminds me, I once dated an acrobat who had long nails . . .” and on and on it goes down endless, dead end trails. Men are just as capable as women for dishing out this cornucopia of word salad.

I find that fuller answers are a result of evolvement. It’s an exploration of possibilities that goes down many trails, each contributing to a more impactful answer. It’s my experience that an impatient person, to their detriment, will not participate in this process and answers will remain elusive for them.

You’re probably not going to get a short answer from me when your question is more than superficial. And I don’t want an answer from you that doesn’t explore your depth. Instant answers can be Googled; Substantive ones need to be fleshed out.

If you’ve ever written an essay with a specific goal in mind but in the writing of it you ended up someplace else, you have an idea of what I’m referring to as an evolved answer.

If you’re looking for instant answers to complex questions, you’ll have a grocery bag full of pithy quotes but have nothing in there to nourish your soul.

The long and short of it is this: Explore your depth more often, especially if you want real world answers.

All the best,

John



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March 16, 2020

Creatures of Habit

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:04 pm

Eri panci N AbqawK 9E unsplashThe human race is made up of creatures and our habits.

Habits are patterns of thinking or behavior. To me, the words “habit” and “pattern” are interchangeable. I refer to these structures as “habit patterns.”

Many have bought into the concept of “breaking” a habit. You would make more money investing in snake oil. Habit patterns are self contained and are isolationists. The answer to changing them or outgrowing them is outside of their border – somewhere where they never travel.

Breaking a habit just makes the habit more multi-faceted and it remains contained in the same space with no room for learning or growth.

Outgrowing a habit pattern cannot be done while staying inside the patterned structure. To achieve new learning, we have to follow the advice from a pretty smart fellow: Albert Einstein. “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

So how do we get outside the box?

First, recognize that you’re in one. The amount of justifying that we do about what we do has to cease in order for us to recognize that we are hemmed in.

Once we recognize that we are locked in by our own doing and stop making excuses for it, we are at the threshold of change.

Next, in order to step through to the other side, we have to interrupt, not break, our pattern of thinking or behavior while it’s happening. Every time we interrupt a pattern, we go to a different level of consciousness where options become more visible. When we stay inside of a pattern, there are no doors or windows and the answer to our problem is just outside the walls but we can’t see it.

Patterns are blinders as to what’s possible. They narrow our vision and we miss seeing countless opportunities.

I remember reading years ago that actor Tommy Lee Jones said he worked at being optimistic. He specifically said, “I’m convinced that optimism creates possibilities.”

Be optimistic that an answer is on the other side of your pattern. You don’t have to break it, just interrupt it. That interruptive action creates osmosis, allowing you to seep through the walls of containment and enter the world of creativity where possibilities are endless.

All the best,

John



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March 10, 2020

Problematic Situation

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:38 am

Debby hudson o UnUppPdIk unsplashHere’s a nugget of observation from The Grasshopper: “A situation becomes problematic when we add meaning to it.”

A situation is raw reality; it’s what happens. An apple falling from a tree is a raw reality. “It fell on me, so I could appreciate gravity” is an interpretation of the event.

It’s the interpretation that causes problems. When we “omen-ize” reality, we add meaning, and that creates problems.

To illustrate The Grasshopper’s observation, let me give one of my favorite examples from the music world. It’s a few lyrics from singer/songwriter Van Morrison in his song DOMINO.

There’s no need for argument

There’s no argument at all

And if you never hear from him

That just means he didn’t call

The word “problem” could be substituted for “argument” and the message wouldn’t change. The word “means” in this context translates to “outcome,” not a sign from above.

A similar definition of “meaning,” is contained in a teaching from NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming): “The meaning of the communication is the response that you get.”

This is a long way of saying that we create more problems than we solve when we add meaning.

Pulling petals from a flower and saying, “She love me, she loves me not” may be a way of interpreting reality, but the outcome is a problem: another “blooming” idiot who pulls apart a naturally occurring situation looking for meaning.

All the best,

John



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March 6, 2020

The BIG Con

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:37 am

Metin ozer oek14gIKdRI unsplashThe BIG con works best on those who can be “played.”

I’m pretty sure we all know what a con job is, but we may not be aware on whom it is the most effective. We hear about scams targeting senior citizens, or televangelists extravagantly spending their donor’s money on themselves. Those are the cons that make the headlines.

But under the radar is the BIG con. It’s played on people who are too stupid to think they’re too smart to be played.

It’s our hubris the players are playing on.

Back in my radio broadcasting days, we had a sarcastic remark we made to other broadcasters about the content of some of the questionable ads our management chose to run: “It must be true; I heard it on the radio.”

People trusted in the things their “friends” on the radio said. But that trust eroded over time because the advertising, over-the-top claims became the norm rather than the exception.

So we began to think that we could tell “shit from Shinola.” That ability lasted until the explosion of social media.

We have bought into the concept that we now can’t be played, but the new, aggressive, purveyors of propaganda play on that pride. Look for headlines and ads that begin something like this: “Are you stupid enough to believe that . . .?” Or “You know the real truth about . . .” When you see statements like this, or hundreds like them, prepare for the wooly eye covers they present next.

You’re stupid enough to be conned when you believe fervently that you can’t be.

Cons are the norm rather than the exception on social media. Be on the lookout for anything that ties too neatly into your prejudice or point of view. Calibrate your BS detector so someone doesn’t put one over on you.

If you just said to yourself, “I’m too smart to be conned,” it will be easier for them to convince you to buy their magic wand.

Buyer beware!

All the best,

John



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February 28, 2020

Options

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:15 am

Drahomir posteby mach Hw50q04FI unsplashWhat is the role of a salesperson, therapist, physician, home builder, friend, clergyman, or any other person you go to for assistance?

The answer I come up with is to present options: courses of action either unknown to the seeker or not considered important enough for them to act on in the past.

“What are my options?” is a productive question to have in our “go bag” when things aren’t going our way.

Exploring options, either on your own or with the help of others, takes a hard peppercorn and grinds it down to countless flakes. The more options you create, the more angles of view will present themselves to you.

We tend to look at options as a binary choice: either it’s “this” or “that.” I remember asking someone how I could go from A to B. His answer was eye-opening. He said, “the better question is, ‘how do I go from A to infinity?'”

Flexibility is the trait that opens you up to more options. Standing pat with “tried and true” keeps your stick in the mud and your head in a dark place. I’m reminded of a Grasshopper quote from years ago: When your head is up your ass and you finally open your eyes, you’re still in the dark.”

There aren’t a lot of options in dimly lit situations. Becoming more flexible keeps the light switch in reach, illuminating a wider range of possibilities.

Here’s an exercise to become more flexible: say, “Yes” more often than you do now and reserve “No” for situations where “No” means “No.”

“Yes” not only makes you more flexible, it puts more options on the table.

All the best,

John



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February 25, 2020

I’m Scared

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 10:23 am

Melanie wasser j8a TEakg78 unsplashHave you ever noticed that you’re often most afraid when you are alone with your thoughts?

You can have scary thoughts about anything: lack of money, health, dying, your children’s welfare, etc. The list is a mile long.

We all have dreadful thoughts pop in from time: usually after dark and when we’re alone. I have discovered a mantra that neutralizes those thoughts. It’s a two word phrase: I’m Scared.

“I’m scared” interrupts the pattern of scary thoughts by acknowledging what it is that your thought machine has you feeling. You take away the thought’s energy by acknowledgement.

Perhaps a story will illustrate the tactic. In the movie A CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER, Harrison Ford plays a CIA analyst and is in a meeting with the President of the United States and some of his closest advisors. The President has a friend who has been murdered and it’s been exposed that he was associated with a big-time drug cartel. The topic of the meeting is how to address it to the media. It’s suggest by one advisor to downplay the incident. The President notices that Ford is uncomfortable with that answer. He encourages him to speak his mind and Ford’s character says, If a reporter asks if you and Harden were friends, I’d say no, we were good friends. If they ask are you good friends, I would say, no, no, we’re lifelong friends. I would give them no place to go, nothing to report.”

When you acknowledge that you’re scared, you give your mind no place to go because you’ve gone to the place it intended.

Saying, “I’m scared” interrupts the thought pattern and gives your mind no further ammunition. Anytime you interrupt any thought, you create a space for peace of mind to enter.

Say “I’m scared” to yourself or aloud when you get a scary thought. You may have to say it a few times to get the ball rolling but with some practice, you’ll become adept at scaring away scared.

All the best,

John



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February 13, 2020

New Facebook Category

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:23 am

Curled bumber sticker 2

I’m lobbying Facebook to add a new category: (Name) has subtracted from their story.

Adding to our story has already been done – in spades. We have collected roles and labels and the stories to support them our entire lives. The question that needs to be asked is one posed by author Byron Katie: Who are you without your story?

You find your raw essence, your untainted spirit, by subtraction. Start subtracting your labels and their accompanying stories one-by-one and your justifications will be disinfected by the light of the sun.

What is it we see when we look past someone’s additions? We see and experience their spirit – something we all have in common. What do we get when we subtract our stories? – access to this animating and creative spirit.

Stories are roadblocks. They justify staying just the way we are by defending the bumper stickers we add to our human car. Getting down to the engine of spirit requires opening the hood and discovering that our raw essence is more than a shiny exterior.

As I have written before, “Subtraction is a plus.”

Start subtracting from your story and remove the labels that keep you from discovering your inborn glory.

All the best,

John



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February 12, 2020

Hardest People To Help

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

Matthew waring MJAoiige14E unsplashIt’s been my experience that the hardest people to help are the ones who argue for their limitations. They’re like the drowning man who doesn’t like the color of the life preserver.

Also note that the words “limitations” and “justifications” rhyme.

When we attempt to justify our behavior, we limit ourselves in the process.

Have you ever heard or said this dodge: “If you had the kind of day I’ve had, you would (fill in the limiting behavior) too”?

That’s the kind of logic that cements you in place. You could have the best coach, teacher, therapist. or clergy member offering you their expert assistance and you would still fail because your justifications will keep you in jail.

If you are justifying your limitations, the help you need is self-awareness. Stop looking outside your skin for a scapegoat. Your resident behavior is the obstacle in your path, not someone or something on the outside whom you cite as the cause of your wrath.

The telltale word that keeps you locked in to your limitations is “because.”

“I’m this way because . . . ”

“The reason I’m so (blank) is because . . . ”

When you eliminate “because,” you zero in on the cause – arguing for your limitations.

You’ll be easier to help when you recognize that “justify” and “deny” also rhyme.

Help starts at home. Take steps to recognize you are the cause and throw away the limitation known as “because.”

All the best,

John



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