- Thoughts for inspired living

July 14, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:28 am

It seems the only people who don’t complain are dead. It’s one of the things we humans do.

Some, though, have made it into an art form. Such was the case yesterday when my plumber arrived to fix the hot water heater.

The control mechanism on the front of the heater was malfunctioning and needed to be replaced. This entailed draining the heater of all water and removing some of the pipes. It was about an hour’s job. During that time, my plumber complained about everything – the local taxes, the stimulus plan, health care, his family members, our governor, our representatives, the water heater company, the Mexican factories, the Chinese workers, the neighborhood and the ice cream man.

I was mesmerized about the number of things he complained about and the passion he attached to each complaint. Somewhere along the way, I noticed a pack of cigarettes in his pocket. I asked him to imagine that President Obama was on TV addressing him personally and came up with a plan to put money into his pocket right away and improve his health. I asked if he would be interested in hearing that plan. He said “Yes.”

I said, “Here’s the plan: Stop smoking now!”

He briefly addressed his smoking habit and then quickly re-launched his barrage of complaints against everyone and anything. He is truly a serial complainer.

I brought his attention back to his cigarette habit and again he stayed on the topic for a few seconds before going off on another litany of complaints.

It then dawned on me. My plumber was teaching me the strategy of the complainer.

The complainer complains about things they can’t do anything about and doesn’t do anything about the things they can directly influence. That’s a strategy for being a perpetual victim.

Many years ago there was a book by Robert Ringer called “Looking Out For #1.” One of the things I took away from reading that book was this: Complain to the person that can help you. Complaining to the air or to no one in particular always has the same result – more unresolved complaints.

You could easily make a list of things to complain about and add to that list every day. It’s a matter of focus. What if you decided to make a list of complaints that you could do something about and sought out the people who could help you? That’s the beginning of a plan.

I could appreciate complaining more if it made the constant complainer feel better, but the evidence is to the contrary – they feel worse, and so do the people around them. They remain in the noose of negativity and attempt to choke everyone in their path.

It’s hard to remain in the company of a complainer unless you are one yourself. That scenario has you both throw up on each other ad nauseam without noticing, because you aren’t listening to them and they aren’t listening to you.

The way to get heard is to complain to someone who can help you. The way to begin resolving your complaints is to do something about the ones you can influence.

Ask yourself this: What’s my recurring complaint? When you get an answer, find out if it’s something you can influence by taking some action. If not, find out if it’s something that someone can help you with. If not, it’s time to let it go.

Constant complaining is drama of the most annoying order and it’s a surefire way to keep people away from you. People who always complain are, as my uncle used to say, “A pain in the drain.”

There is a plan to resolve our complaints. We just have to stop complaining long enough to act on it.

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

July 10, 2009

Magic Words

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:26 am

Gambling has gotten a bad name. Just like the word “discrimination” has come to mean racism; gambling has become synonymous with losing the family grocery money at the craps game.

Every fork in the road is a gamble. Like the old joke goes, “When you get to a fork in the road, take one.”

Gambling is part of life. It’s called risk.

What are the odds of winning without risk? – South of slim.

If you are gambling your money away in the hopes of winning your self-esteem, you are in deep smelly stuff and need intervention NOW!

Conversely, if you are refusing to risk, it’s a bad bet as well. We re-label this behavior as “playing it safe.”

There is no juice generated by the safe spot known as inertia. The jumpstart is risk. Reminds me of a story . . .

My mother was a waitress and I remember that each day she would head off to her job with just enough money in her purse for the subway ride to work. I remember asking, “Isn’t that a bit risky?” She just casually said, “Now, I have to make money.”

It was a combination of risk and trust.

It seems that’s the necessary combination for moving forward. There is a chance it could move you backward, but not as big as the silent risk you take by becoming stationary. That’s a guarantee that you will not grow. In fact, it’s a surefire formula for atrophy.

The next time you are out driving, take a look at the names on the commercial trucks and vans that pass you by. Each one of those businesses at one time took a risk.

If you think risk is for other people, you’ll spend your whole life attempting to drive the car from the passenger seat. You’ll have all the maps and GPS settings but no gas pedal.

Answer this question: What are you unwilling to risk? When you get that answer, you have found your roadblock.

It’s a good bet that the answer to your question is a mental image of yourself – one that you’re unwilling to risk.

It’s just an image that you made up and you can just as easily make up another with a bit of trust. Eventually you’re going to have to trust someone in order to risk; maybe that someone should be you.

Some people need to get into the water a toe at a time while others take the plunge. Both methods will get you the same result. Risking is what gets you to the water’s edge. Trust is what gets you to learn how to swim which reminds me of another story . . .

Many years ago when my youngest son was learning to swim, his instructor said to him, “Remember the magic words – reach and pull.”

The magic words to move forward in life are “risk and trust.”

I’m betting on you!

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

July 9, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:51 am

It may seem like I’m stating the obvious here, but those who can’t seem to grasp the concept of gratitude are negative people.

It got me to wondering.

Some folks just approach life from the angle of negativity. It’s conditioning, but we think it’s who they are. No, it’s who they made up and got comfortable with.

Gratitude is an antidote for negativity but it’s a hard sell to someone on the minus side of the ledger.

There are so many things to be grateful for that we can fill up journals with them. If we take time to just meditate on one of the ideas, it’s enough to bring us peace.

But negativity doesn’t look in the direction of gratitude.

I believe there is a way to help. It’s a bridge building strategy to gratitude for any negative Nelly or Ned.

Let’s call it “Negative Gratitude.”

Here’s the concept: You become grateful for the things you don’t have. “I’m grateful I’m not Michael Jackson’s doctor.””I’m grateful I don’t have my in-law’s living with me.” I’m grateful that my feet aren’t as big as Shaquille O’Neal‘s, especially if I get athlete’s foot.” You get the idea.

The list could go on and on and it would resonate with the negative energy generated by these folks. The idea is to introduce them to the feelings that go along with gratitude. Once they have a taste of these feelings, it’s an easier transition to express gratitude for the things they DO have and have the layers of negativity peel away.

It’s the strategy that Colin Tipping uses for people who cannot accept things. Part of his Radical Forgiveness model is acceptance. When someone states to him that they can’t accept something, he asks them if they can accept that they can’t accept it. He’s introducing them to acceptance from the back door.

I can assure you that “Be Positive” is a message that will never reach a negative person simply because there is no strategy offered with the suggestion. They don’t know how, and your suggestion doesn’t contain requisite instructions.

Gratitude will get you more positive but someone negative needs more than “Be grateful for what you have” to find gratitude.

Negative Gratitude may just be the introduction these people need to enjoy the healing properties that embracing gratitude delivers.

If you’re having trouble finding something to be grateful for, make the effort to find some gratitude for something you don’t have. You may get two gifts for the price of one – Gratitude and Empathy.

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

July 7, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:18 am

The Grasshopper seems to come out to play when he’s on an airplane. Such was the case when he served as flight attendant and gave me this:

“A calcified heart has no room for forgiveness.”

Hardening of the arteries is something that science is working on but hardening of the heart is not on its radar screen. Such an oversight!

Whether it’s an elongated grudge, feud, war or spat, the result is always the same – the heart hardens.

The downside is the hardening happens for all parties engaged in conflict. It’s the silent killer of forgiveness.

As stated on numerous occasions, I don’t believe that you have the power to forgive anyone. Forgiveness, like the concept of grace, arrives when it arrives. It’s a gift, not a commodity that you keep on the shelf to parcel out when you deem it necessary.

You have to be open for forgiveness to flow. You can preach forgiveness from atop Mount Everest and no one receives the message, including you, if you’re hanging on to bitterness.

There has to be an opening in order for forgiveness to work its softening miracle.

How do we open up to forgiveness? It’s simpler than it seems. We just have to be open to the idea.

Let’s face it, what is your grudge other than an idea that you’re open to? What if you decided to be open to forgiveness?

In the past, the concept never even got to the negotiating table and the hardening got worse. What if it now becomes an agenda item? The chances for it happening have just increased. There is no chance if it’s not allowed in the meeting room.

Here’s a crazy notion: Open yourself up to the idea of forgiveness and see what happens.

You may just find a soft spot in your heart for this idea.

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

July 3, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:07 am

I’ve never found a four leaf clover

I’ve never had a hole in one

I am a work in progress

With many things to be done

Happy Fourth of July!


PS I encourage you to read last year’s blog on Fireworks. I think you’ll find it implosive.


Be Sociable, Share!

July 2, 2009


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:40 am

I met an aspiring poet yesterday. Her name is Emily.

It’s not often that you get to witness someone’s dreams oozing out over just an hour’s lunch, but there it was in full view for anyone willing to observe and inquire about.

Emily is a college student/waitress who travels with pastel pencils, pens and a note book. She’s artistic but calls herself a poet/writer. She wears the uniform of the budding artist but she doesn’t know it’s a uniform yet.

These folks are easy to spot and easy to dismiss, but you do so at the expense of your own enrichment.

Ask anyone about their hopes, aspirations and dreams and you will make a new friend. More importantly, you help keep the conduit open between them and their creative self. Be careful though, some of that oozing passion just may awaken some of that desire that you’ve hidden away causing you to dream again.

Emily is discovering her creativity and is not sure how to apply it yet. That doesn’t make her any different than most people of her age. In fact, it doesn’t make her any different than people of any age. The difficulty I see, at one point, is burying your creative self with expectations that impede its progress.

These expectations serve as steel walls that creativity cannot fully scale. The sheer force of creativity will allow some of it to permeate these walls – enough to let us know that something more powerful than our expectations is present.

Expectation leads to self doubt which leads to atrophy which leads to lethargy. This progression contains a lot of starts and stops until we just shut down.

The self doubt that is felt is a result of the condemnation of not reaching expectations. It all boils down to this: “I am not enough.”

Depending on which “I” you are talking about, that can be a pretty accurate statement. The “I” that expectation comes from is never enough. It’s a self imposed pressure to measure up to an airbrushed ideal. It’s tough to compete with an enhanced expectation.

The way to give expectation the heave-ho and let creativity in is to just stop acting.

Even the greatest actors of our time cannot recreate the realness of an episode of “Cops.”

Acting out our expectation keeps creativity bottled up and bobbing with the secret message never getting read.

When you drop your act, you automatically let go of expectations and discover the eye of creativity. You begin to see things in a different light and your creations come out unexpectedly.

The expectation to be anybody other than who you are is self imposed. When you release the pressure of expectation, you unleash your creative self.

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

July 1, 2009

The Agreement Zone

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:06 am

“What makes me different?” is a question that popped up this morning.

As I began to answer it, I got a host of answers that people can agree on and argue about. Then I got one worth talking about.

I began the answering the question by listing things that most people like that I don’t. For example, I am not a fan of fireworks. I don’t yet appreciate David Letterman or Jay Leno. Monty Python and The Simpsons make me yawn. You can see where these stated preferences are out of the mainstream and could fire up the talk show “back and forth” any day of the week.

You are normal if you took the bait and began to disagree with me. Those are difference. Differences can divide until we find the place where we can all unite.

Believe it or not, there is a place where our opinion doesn’t matter. We rarely go there. Let’s call it “The Agreement Zone.”

There are no talk shows there. There are no soapboxes, pulpits, perches or podia from which to announce your position. In fact, talking is not allowed. The minute you speak, you are automatically ejected. The good news is you are welcomed back anytime you commit to the silence that’s necessary.

There are no personal opinions allowed in The Agreement Zone and you are required to check your intellect and cleverness at the door. “What a dull place” may be your response. That’s where I’ll gently differ with you.

You can proffer what honey tastes like until you burst a blood vessel, but if you’ve never tasted it, you need to take a spoonful before you speak.

Why does everyone agree in The Agreement Zone? Because there is nothing in there on which to disagree. That’s the key; there is nothing there, just endless space where you’ll never bump into an opinion to disagree with, not even your own.

Many never enter The Agreement Zone because they either don’t know of its existence or they’re too busy formulating an argument about untasted honey.

It’s going to be a noisy weekend for most even if you don’t celebrate the 4th of July.

Here’s a suggestion. Devote a portion of your curiosity to finding The Agreement Zone. Then go through the admission process of checking your opinions, positions, truths, and prejudices at the door and commit to the necessary silence required to enter.

If you can’t find this place on your own, look for a guide, someone who can help you get there. It will be the most peaceful vacation you’ve ever taken. The best news is even the most disagreeable come back with a greater sense of peace.

I’m not sure if The Agreement Zone is listed in the Conde Nast publications but I’ll lobby for it to be added. In fact, I just have.

All the best,



Be Sociable, Share!

« Previous Page