- Thoughts for inspired living

August 30, 2013

Pat Answers

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:07 am

C450328 mIs there a question you have a pat answer for? If you’re the parent of a teenager, it’s usually “No.”

Pat answers are patterned answers. It’s an answer we’ve gotten in the habit of giving. Some of our pat answers are trite and cliched and others are downright limiting.

Some of the cliched ones still work regularly. Here’s one I use almost every time when a store employee says, “Have a nice day.” I respond, “I’m already working on it.” Frankly, I’m getting tired of saying it but it still works to break peoples’ patterns and gets them to pay attention and not just be robotic. I feel like the singer who is tired of singing his hit from 20 years ago, but it still works for the audience.

But pat answers, even the ones that work, limit our depth. Pat answers make us lazy and deprive us and the people we are interacting with from a fuller experience.

I don’t know how many conversations you’ve been in where you can predict what you and another person will say and when. That’s a stale conversation that doesn’t open either of you to anything new. What’s the sense of interacting if all the back and forth is predictable? You could just send the other person a script and skip the spoken portion.

People deserve your depth and so do you. If you’re just giving them cotton candy again, it won’t be satisfying for either of you. Reminds me of a story . . .

Back in my radio days, my job as program director included critiquing the air talent’s work. They would bring in a recording of one of their broadcasts and we would listen together. I heard this one broadcaster introduce a song the same way on three consecutive days. I suggested that they vary the introduction so that listeners get more than their pat introduction. This person didn’t take kindly to my suggestion and indignantly said, “There are only so many ways you can handle a 6 second introduction.” I responded that I could come up with twenty different introductions right on the spot. They challenged me to do so and I did. I wasn’t any more talented than this person, just more resourceful.

I’m suggesting that we avail ourselves to more of our resources rather than continually use the ones that sit top of mind. Using your resources broadens the conversation and opens up new areas to explore, instead of going down the same rabbit hole again.

Pat answers do work and there is a time and place for them. But if that’s all you’re using, your interactions will be superficial and unsatisfying.

How many responses are there for “Have a nice day”? Become resourceful and find out. In the process, you will discover more of your depth and your conversations will be more alive, rather than another recitation of the “Dead Sea Scrolls.”

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 27, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:26 am

C536710 mThe Grasshopper usually delivers “How to” vs. “How not to” messages, but over the weekend he departed from the practice and said this: “You know you’re not going to make it if you’re waiting for your ship to come in and you’re not even at the dock.”

Translation: You’re lost!

We all get lost in something and some of those things have a deleterious effect on our future. The obvious ones come to mind – drugs and alcohol. I haven’t met too many substance abusers who weren’t waiting for something to happen without participating in the process to make it happen.

When you’re lost, you have lost your vision of what’s possible and you hope against hope that someone will come find you and save you. Here’s a mega dose of reality: No one’s looking for you.

That doesn’t mean people aren’t willing to help. They just need a little sign that you’re willing to help yourself.

It’s easy to spot someone who is lost. They have “no purpose” written all over them. They have a list of pie-in-the-sky dreams but never take their feet out of the clouds and walk the path on earth that will take them to their goal.

They tend towards gluttonous behavior and it’s always the next new thing that’s going to propel them to their dream, only to quickly lose interest when another new shiny thing comes along. They have a lot of starts and rarely finish.

For anyone familiar with the Enneagram personality typing system, the above description would be the downside of an Enneagram 7.

So how do we get found? The process begins by finding out who we are past the labels we accepted about ourselves. Behavior gets labeled; your core essence has no label that sticks, but when you find it, a purpose starts to form and your stick-to-itiveness kicks in.

Finding yourself is an inside experience and not another outside adventure. Inside there are not multiple things clamoring for your attention, just a still pond to reflect on.

It’s hard to convince someone who is lost that it’s not out there because that’s their conditioned belief. Your mission, should you accept it, is not to judge them, but rather point out, unemotionally, how their current belief isn’t working for them. Then point them in a direction that shows them how to go inside and quiet their mind, so they can leave lost and the limiting labels behind.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 26, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:37 am

C409133 m“Create an environment” goes hand-in-hand with “Build a Life” in the “words to live by” department.

Living a life and building a life are two different things. If you are just living a life, you are a passenger, rather than a driver.

Building a life needs the enlistment and cooperation of others and that’s where creating an environment comes in. If you want to entice others into the life that you’re building, you have to create an environment – one that makes them feel good about being part of this project.

Whether it’s asking another for their hand in marriage or asking someone to buy your widgets, you need to create an environment where it’s easy for them to say “Yes.”

How do you go about creating an environment? Yes, it helps to have a plan but that’s often not attractive enough. Getting them to the point that they can entertain saying “Yes” requires an environment that’s comfortable for them. How do you make someone feel comfortable? Give them your attention. Make your main focus tending to them rather than what you want them to buy into.

When you create an environment by sending your attention out, people will more easily be attracted to you and, by extension, whatever it is you are building or selling.

How do you give attention? Cease planning what you are going to say when another is speaking. The old railroad sign comes to mind – “Stop, Look & Listen.” Stop talking to yourself in your head when another is speaking, give them the benefit of your gaze and hear what they are actually saying.

Create that environment with the people you meet and you will have a crew at the ready when it comes to building a life.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 23, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:52 am

C442778 mCall me late to the party on the following distinction but it just dawned on me that there is a difference between being out of shape and being out of condition.

In regards to your body, being out of shape indicates that your shape has changed shape – meaning you have packed on pounds, not muscle. If you are out of condition, your appearance may be quite acceptable to you and others, but even though you look good, you can’t keep up with those who are highly conditioned. That means, to cite a sports reference, they are in “game shape.”

Is your conditioning in game shape? Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you are out of condition.

Most of the world is focused on shape – outer appearance; Changing your life has nothing to do with your shape and all to do with your conditioning. Focusing on shape can have you look the part but you can’t play the part.

Do you hate it when you run into a self made rich person who’s dumber than a doorknob? “How did that idiot manage to make all that money?” He/She ignored their appearance and got conditioned in the ways of making dough.

Shape and smarts are good for bragging rights but results depend on proper conditioning.

Is your lack of proper conditioning standing in your way? You bet.

What is proper conditioning? It’s recognizing that your conditioning is out of shape. That means to take notice that what you repeatedly are doing isn’t working. We seem to think that if we run at a closed door and bounce off, that all we have to do is hit it harder the next time. That will get you black and blue but won’t get you the blue ribbon.

Don’t escape to your dreams and aspirations as a remedy; look at your actions. We may be a thoroughbred in our thinking but a horse’s ass when it comes to our actions. That type of conditioning keeps us out of the winner’s circle.

If you aren’t getting results, you are out of condition. That means you have to adjust your actions, not your thinking. Adjusted actions lead to proper conditioning; Thinking about actions keeps you inactive, unable to compete.

Are you BS-ing yourself? Yes, if you talk a good game but don’t have the conditioning to back it up.

Want to shape up? Notice that your conditioning isn’t working and recondition yourself by taking action in a new direction. It’s how losers become winners and fantasies become reality.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 21, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:30 am

C133559 mIs it better to be inside looking out or, as the old love song goes, on the outside looking in? It depends.

It seems to me that what we’re looking in on is the past; what we’re looking out on is the future. Both views have their up and down sides.

Wanting what you had, when it’s no longer available, is the downside of looking in. The upside of looking in is discovering and adjusting patterns of behavior that got you on the outside in the first place.

Looking out on a brighter future is the hope that keeps you going. That’s the upside of looking out. The downside of looking out is that we spend so much time doing it rather than doing something to make it happen.

Looking back and looking forward are perspectives. Right now is where your past and future meet. It’s not a perspective; it’s a reality. The downside of reality is that you ignore it and, by doing so, will always pay a price. The upside of reality is discovering that, no matter what the situation, you have the ability to respond to it.

Responding is not reacting. Reacting is doing what you did in the past. Responding is not escaping the moment and wishing for a different future. That’s just another conditioned reaction. Responding is the gift life has given us to interact with the present.

What reality are you attempting to put perspective on? That has the same success rate of trying to put lipstick on a moose. Looking back on a better time or looking forward to a time that will be better are reactions that keep you from responding to what’s right here, right now.

Reminds me of a story . . . Years ago, I was in Kentucky to do a seminar. The hotel where we were holding it had one meeting room which we were assigned. The trouble was that it was filled with tables, chairs, and dirty plates from a wedding reception that was held in there days before. The person at the front desk, the only staff person in the hotel, told me that the cleaning and setup of the meeting room was not staffed by the hotel but by an outside company and they didn’t work on Monday. I had a reality on my hands.

I told him that we had a meeting in there in about 4 hours and that it needed to be cleaned and set up as per our agreement. He said our agreement was not with the hotel but with the catering company and he repeated they didn’t work on Monday. I was frustrated and about to get into a long, heated debate with this fellow until I recognized that I was reacting. I was reacting to the way it should be rather then to the way that it was.

I looked directly at him and said, “You are the only person that can make this happen. I don’t know who to call to make this happen but you do. Make that call now and make this happen.”

A half hour later two people were on site to clean and set up the room. I could have eloquently argued for hours about how things should be or how they were in the past but that would not have gotten me a functional meeting room.

Putting perspective on reality is ignoring reality. Responding to what’s right in front of you is always an action plan, not a reaction plan.

Gaining perspective may make you smarter but when it comes to reality, it’s a non-starter.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 20, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:27 am

C265679 mMy computer dictionary describes “Remarkable” as worthy of attention; striking: a remarkable coincidence.

I have a more literal definition that I would like to explore.

Remarkable: To re-mark.

It’s not a recommendation to say it again, but to mark it again. It’s very much like Santa’s list – checking it twice.

How often have we read or said something profound which offered us a clear direction to true north and then just let it pass by without moving in that direction?

We may have marked it in our journal or memory but we didn’t re-mark it in our lives.

You can’t live on profound quotes, only the actions they suggest.

Taking action is re-marking in my book.

The refrigerator strategy doesn’t work. That’s when you put pithy sayings on your “ice box” that never thaw. We think if we post it, it will come. To quote my sainted mother, “Don’t hold your hand on your ass waiting.”

Here’s a suggestion: Cull through your meaningful sayings collection and pick your top 3 favorites. Then select one of them for action. Take some small, repeated action on that saying every day for a month. That’s re-marking.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, the well read person can only talk about the things they’ve read; the remarkable person can cite the things they’ve done.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 16, 2013

Unjustified Resistance

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:20 am

C631869 m“Resistance justifies you from making the change you desire. So said The Grasshopper on a hot Friday in July.

A surefire way to keep things around that you don’t want is to resist the methods of change. Are you resisting making a change in your life? The resistance won’t attract the change, only magnetize the things that keep you from changing.

There is a ton of justification in resistance. Just look at what you justify and you will find what you resist. Making excuses for yourself or others is resistance on parade.

Don’t beat yourself up for resisting; we all do it. Just begin to start noticing what you’re resisting and then stop offering justifications for your resistant behavior. Noticing and stopping is a one-two punch that, when delivered consistently, puts resistance flat on its back.

Side note: Hesitancy is not resistance. It’s a prudent look at the options before you. Or as Davy Crockett reminded us, “First make sure you’re right, then go ahead.” Resistance is a plan to stay in place.

Some want to explore “why” they are so resistant. That’s just another avenue that leads toward justification. It’s a delaying tactic. Having a historic reference for why you resist makes for interesting conversation but it’s just another way to delay doing.

Building a bridge from where you are to where you want to go is always the most direct route. Harkening back to why you never went will keep you in “Never-Never” land.

You know what resistance feels like for you. Notice that sensation when it arrises and then “resist” the temptation to justify it. This is a way to notice the fire without fueling it. It will burn itself out as long as you don’t keep adding justification to it.

Noticing and stopping will accomplish two things:

1. You’ll personally discover a secret that’s been kept from you – the causal relationship between justification and resistance and how it holds you back.

2. You’ll be too busy moving forward to look back on what was dragging you down.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 14, 2013

Being You

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:16 am

C515681 mThe Grasshopper was on vacation for a few days but came back all tanned and refreshed yesterday and offered this: “You’re the best at being you.”

It seemed more than the quote I remember from Dr. Robert Anthony: “You always do the best you can do in accordance with your present level of awareness.” That is a reminder that our frame of mind contributes highly to executing our best behavior.

“Being you” seems deeper.

You are a unique expression of life. No one else can be you, not your twin, not your understudy – no one. It seems obvious to say that only you can be you, but I don’t believe we’ve fully explored how purposeful that being you is to living our life.

No one else can live your life for you – only you. You don’t get a stand-in and as the old axiom goes: Life is not a dress rehearsal.

Have you ever asked yourself what it means to be you? No one else can have that realization, only you.

No one but you can express like you. The question then becomes: “What am I expressing?” and then, “What can I express?” When you answer those two questions, I submit that you begin to find your purpose – what you are here to do.

No one can express your purpose as well as you. “What am I expressing?” helps you find your patterns – your conditioned way of doing things. “What can I express?” leads you away from your limiting patterns towards purpose.

Your purpose may not be grandiose or on the order of world peace but something only you can do the best. Perhaps it’s being the best parent for your children. No one can parent like you and when that notion is infused with purpose, you are the best at being you.

Being you is not someone else’s idea of who you should be; it’s a self discovery of the purposeful you.

Don’t mistake being you with the old show tune, “I’ve Gotta Be Me.” “Me” is just a collection of patterns that we defend, many of which lead us astray.

Being you is richly imbued with guidance and will only head you towards true north.

Final thought: No one can do what you can do when you are being you.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 13, 2013


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:41 am

C77086 mAre you part of the “special rules” club? I know that, at one time, I was a card carrying member. Here’s one of the things I learned: I’m not exempt.

There are hard and fast rules that apply to all of us for our entire lifetime, but a part of our conditioning is that they don’t apply to us. When we believe that, we suffer.

For example, if you eat more calories than you can metabolize, the excess will find its way to fatten you up. There is no special exemption. That’s a fact. There are many ways to make sure that excess fat doesn’t happen and they all take work, work that many of us are unwilling to do because we delude ourselves that the rules don’t apply to us.

Whatever behavior you want to outgrow takes some work. You cannot wish it or pray it away or think that you are entitled to a special dispensation. It doesn’t matter how “special” you or someone else has convinced you that you are, the rules apply to you too.

I have a people helping friend who is miserable. He offers all the appropriate advice to the people he’s helping but doesn’t believe those things apply to him; therefore he suffers.

My hypnosis mentor Dr. Dave Dobson described people looking for an exemption as “jumping from one hot tub to another.” It was a reference to looking for the latest “cure.” The cure in this case was a way around the rules.

The real shortcut is to recognize that most shortcuts are diversions – diversions away from the doing what’s necessary.

If you want your cake to taste just like the the one you bought at the bakery,you have to follow the recipe. If you don’t think you have to add that much sugar or flour or that you’ll use a substitute, your cake will never taste like theirs.

“It doesn’t apply to me” is a prescription for suffering, no matter how dressed up your exemption appears to be.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

August 6, 2013

Let Go of Know

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

C162195 mThe biggest lesson I am in the process of learning is letting go of “know.” The text book has yet to be written but the opening chapter is quite revealing.

I cannot think of something more put offish than someone displaying that they know. This is not displaying your knowledge; it’s displaying an attitude of “I know and you don’t.”

“Smug” would be too kind to describe knowing, yet I can’t come up with a better word.

It’s OK that you know; it’s just obnoxious when you crow.

The attitude of superiority that accompanies knowing is a deterrent to getting closer to people. They mentally walk away from you long before they’re physically able to.

This doesn’t mean to hide your knowledge under a rock; it’s just a reminder that people want to throw rocks at you when they’re looking up at your nose.

A dead give away that “you know” is when a sneer appears. Just try this on for size right now. Pretend that you know something that someone you’re interacting with doesn’t know. Add a dash of superiority for knowing something they don’t, and feel the sneer spread across your face. That facial expression is on every person who “knows” and it doesn’t look good on anyone (kinda’ like Spandex).

To let go of know, notice that you’re knowing. Just catching yourself being smug is often enough to keep you from going more in that direction. I find that when my smug filter kicks in, that’s the time for me to start asking questions of another with genuine curiosity. This practice helps me to really find out rather than pretending I know.

Like any process of change, it begins with recognizing your unwanted behavior while you’re doing it. It’s the first step in “letting go of know” and will put you on a more pristine path not littered with smug.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!