GrasshopperNotes.com - Thoughts for inspired living


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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February 11, 2020

Surface and Depth

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 10:09 am

Screenshot 2020 02 11 10 04 11Who are you on the surface – your public persona? The answer we come up with to that question is how most of us describe ourselves: butcher, baker, candlestick maker, AARP member.

We invest so much time in attempting to describe who we are, and just as much time justifying who we are, that we ignore over 90% of our makeup.

When you ignore your depth, you stay on the surface. Translation: you remain superficial.

My friend Peter Hurley, who is a world-class photographer, has to work with every client who steps in front of his camera to dig past the surface to get a photograph of their authentic self: their depth. He recognizes that if he settles for a photo of their surface self, it would lack depth and wouldn’t connect.

When you truly connect with people, you are connecting with their depth. If you stay on the surface, you only get cotton candy, which is puffed up emptiness.

Going deeper with yourself and others is first recognizing when you’re staying on the surface. You do that by staying attached to a steady diet of smarm, small talk, and first-world “problems.” Don’t get me wrong, surface interactions can be fun but remember: you can’t live your life at the amusement park.

Once you recognize that you’re not connecting, you are one step closer to your depth. Just noticing that you’re on the surface is enough of a catalyst to dig deeper.

Connection is a feeling that can’t be felt when we stay on the surface.

I’ll end with a story I’ve told before. It illustrates leaving the surface to find more depth.

A couple of years ago I was at a golf driving range where I ran into an old acquaintance. After the hellos and handshake we went into our song and dance act we had started years before. It was for lack of a better description – “Top this!”

To the casual observer this may have appeared to be conversation but make no mistake, it was war. Who was going to have the last, potent “Ka-Pow”?

In the middle of this little sideshow, I got the gift of awareness. It dawned on me that this “conversation” was going nowhere and would end up like all the ones we had in the past – a ramping up of egos with absolutely nothing being communicated.

I stopped counter-punching and started asking questions. It turned into the most pleasant conversation I ever had with this fellow.

All the best,

John



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February 7, 2020

The Biggest Mistake

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:25 am

My BadThe Grasshopper offered this yesterday: “The biggest mistake is not learning from a mistake.

I think it’s safe to say that we have all made lots of mistakes. What we all haven’t done is:

A. Acknowledge them.

B. Learn from them.

If you continue to make the same mistake over and over, it’s a pretty clear that you haven’t learned from it, and even more than likely, you haven’t acknowledged it.

Acknowledging opens the door to learning. I’m reminded of the classic HAPPY DAYS episode where Fonzie can’t formulate the words “I was wrong.” It was laughable, but also instructive.

Admitting a mistake shines a light on the activity being admitted to. That illumination shows us the moving parts that need to be rearranged so we don’t move in that direction again.

“My Bad” needs to be taken off life support and put back in our vocabulary. Once we utter those words, we’re more likely to learn our lesson.

All the best,

John



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February 6, 2020

Your Movie

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:58 am

Screenshot 2020 02 06 07 52 20Yesterday, I saw a piece of video featuring Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx®. She became a self-made billionaire with her creation of undergarments for women.

In the video, Blakely was recalling that early in her work life she was going door-to-door selling FAX machines. After countless rejections, she had this thought: “I’m in the wrong movie.” That single revelation propelled her into a new, more rewarding role.

Hearing her story, this thought popped in: We’re in the right movie, just in the wrong role.

I think life is our movie. We only get one, but our role can vary.

We can be the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker or any other role we choose, but we have to choose it, or be relegated to the one we have evolved into.

What role do you want to play? If you don’t know that, you will stay stuck with your current character. Creating a role for yourself begins with imagining the role that will bring you the most satisfaction, joy, and a boatload of warm fuzzies. Remember, it’s your imagination. You can do anything you want in there.

You can call it silly daydreaming if you like; I think of it more as role reversal. Crafting your new role in your mind sets the stage for the delivery of a blueprint to follow. You will get instructions from your silent director; you just have to follow them when they surface.

Trust that there is a part of you that knows how to deliver an Academy Award winning script. It just needs you to tell it what role you want to play. Remember: you have to have a target to shoot at before any bullseye is possible.

There are some actors that can play only one type of role (think Steven Seagal). They lack imagination. But the the late, renowned author Wayne Dyer left us this revelation: “Imagination is the force of creation.”

You have an imagination; you just have to use it more than you do to create the role that’s perfect for you. I’m already imagining reading your 5-Star Revue.

All the best,

John



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February 5, 2020

Has An Accident Become Your Way Of Life?

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:06 am

AccidentIt’s an accepted fact of life that we are creatures of habit. The question is: What is a habit?

A habit is an automatic pattern of thinking or behavior that we weren’t born with but were conditioned into.

Most of that conditioning happened without our permission. I used to ask this question in seminars to illustrate the early learning of patterns: “How many have the same religion as your parents?” When people would respond that they did, my next question was, “Did they ask your permission?”

The point is you learned many of your beliefs (which are patterns) by osmosis and by accident.

If your patterns and beliefs are working for you, consider it a “happy accident.” If they are not, you’re probably crashing into your share of difficulties.

Patterns are purposeful. That means they were formed for a purpose. You may have since outgrown that purpose, but the pattern never got updated. Think of an older adult, perhaps you, who still wears the faddy clothes or hairdo that was popular in high school. Maybe your purpose for adopting those fads back then was to be “one of the cool kids.” Now you no longer find it important to keep up with the Joneses but your tonsorial or fashion patterns got stuck in the past.

We may have other patterns that are more limiting than hanging on to our youthful, sometimes laughable, choices. These other counter-productive patterns are getting in our way, so how do we get out of our own way?

The first step in updating a limiting pattern is to recognize you have one. But recognition is not enough. To outgrow it, we have to interrupt it every time we recognize it running. Interrupting a pattern, while it is running, is putting a wedge between stimulus and reaction. It’s in that space between those two that new patterns emerge. Creating that space causes growth and new learning to happen.

The application of interruption has to be consistent, and the results of these efforts will be lasting. Updating patterns won’t happen by accident. It will take recognition and interruption and by doing so, you will be living your life on purpose.

All the best,

John



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January 30, 2020

S.P.I.N.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 6:42 am

Arrogant 1Below something I wrote a year ago that seems appropriate to post again in light of what’s all over the TV screen these past few days.

The word “Spin” popped into my mind this morning. It arrived as an acronym: S.P.I.N.

“Spin” for me is presenting “what is” as “what isn’t.”

There is a positive side of spin. The NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) folks call it “reframing.” The reframe most are familiar with is the Helen Keller quote: “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.”

The technique takes the whole painting and reduces it to a corner that acts a springboard to a change of attitude.

Others use spin differently. It seems to be a pattern that can be reduced to four steps.


S. Sidestep

P. Prevaricate

I. Insist

N. Negate

The first step is the favored strategy of the politician. Don’t answer the question asked.

The next step is to lie. The bigger the lie the more convincing it seems to be. (I believe it appeals to the conspiracy theorist that’s in all of us).

Next, insist emphatically that people believe you because you are on the side of the angels.

The last step is to negate the counter argument by not acknowledging it. This involves continually moving the goal posts which takes us full circle back to step one: Sidestep.

On and on it goes, around and around with endless rebound.

I recently heard the following quote to stop the merry-go-round. It came from TV talk show host Don Lemon: “Don’t play me, play lotto. Your odds are better.”

I used to have the following strategy to decide who to vote for. I asked myself if I would follow that person up a hill. If the answer was “no,” they didn’t get my vote.

I now have added another criterion: The politician who spins the least gets my support to procure their seat.

All the best,

John



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January 29, 2020

Bye, Bye, Law

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:30 pm

Bye Bye LawOPINION: We are no longer a “rule of law” country. We are a “rule of opinion” nation. I feel sorry for a young person pursuing a career as an attorney. They study long and hard in law school and all they get is a degree in history. The law is nothing like they learned – it’s extremely twistable based on the prejudice of the prosecution, the defense, and/or the judge, and on the plaintiff’s or defendant’s ability to pay.

I’ve heard arguments about the constitution being a hard and fast document or being a breathable document subject to the norms of the times. It’s like the argument about the Bible being literally translated or subject to interpretation. I’m sure the answer is somewhere in the middle on both accounts, but the legal system, for the most part, avoids that middle ground.

I’m reminded of the story of the drunk leaning on a lamppost. Question: Is he using it for support or enlightenment? He was a hedge fund manager who was charged with public drunkenness. There is a police record of him with a blood alcohol level of 2.8, and video evidence of him staggering like a wounded deer, and physically threatening people in his zig-zag path. It was argued that all he was doing was seeking light to read a note in his pocket to find a local address. Juries, judges, and military tribunals have acquitted people like this in too many cases to count.

It seems the poorer you are, the more strictly the law is applied. The wealthier you are, the more likely it will bend in your favor. Should the outcome of your trial be dependent on your ability to pay for a lawyer who has sway? I get that attorneys want to vigorously represent their clients. That’s the American way. What I don’t get is ignoring the law and attempting to rewrite it during a trial.

I’m embarrassed watching the rule of law sway in the breeze in the current nationally televised trial. The law doesn’t matter anymore. We are witnessing it being thrown out the door.

Occupational advice: Become a plumber or a doctor because the law is at death’s door.

All the best,

John



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January 27, 2020

New Favorite Quote

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:08 am

Jaco pretorius n9OqSW ROS4 unsplashI was watching a Sunday morning talk show and one of the presidential candidates was on. She said something in her closing remarks that grabbed me. It was a version of a quote from the late writer, humorist, and editor Jane Lotter. Lotter wrote the following:

“And may you always remember that obstacles in the path are not obstacles, they ARE the path.”

What a crystal clear hunk of reality.

How many of us get lost in the fantasy of “This isn’t happening”? We forget about another famous quote: “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal.”

What is happening NOW is the only thing happening, and now is the time to address it, not ignore it.

Indulge me with an overused sports analogy. When a basketball team is down by 25 points, every coach says, “one basket at a time.” Take care of what’s right in front of you, not the mountain in the distance but the molehill that’s under your feet. It’s the only path that leads you forward.

All the best,

John



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