- Thoughts for inspired living

April 29, 2014

The Argument for Superiority

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

C575388 mWhat are we arguing for when we lay claim to being superior?

We are arguing for our conditioning. It’s really that simple.

We have been conditioned to believe that we are superior to another – a belief that reality can’t validate.

Yes, we may have a superior skill set at something (smarter, faster, more flexible) and, yes, facts will back us up. That’s not what’s under the microscope here. It’s the mindset of superior that I’m asking us to take a closer look at.

Are you superior to another race, ethnic group, gender, political party or religious group? If you even thought “yes” for a split second, you are a victim of your conditioning.

Your superiority is ingrained and self proclaimed and if you can get another like minded set of people to agree with you, you can all act out being superior together.

Have you ever been treated by a doctor who thought they were better than you? (They must teach superiority in medical school). Do all doctors act superior? No, they don’t, but there are enough of them practicing medicine to get you to answer “yes” to the question at the beginning of the paragraph.

My guess is that we take something we value and assign it a superior value. Let’s take intelligence as an example. Someone who has superior intelligence to us is a rung up on our evaluation ladder. We then extrapolate that skill to the whole person and treat them differently. I don’t know about you but I truly admire someone who has a superior skill that I don’t own. Anyone who can play a musical instrument instantly gets my admiration, simply because I can’t play. They play the piano better than me but, in reality, they aren’t better than me.

When we treat someone differently because they have a superior skill set, we affect both our and their beliefs. We both come to believe that they are better.

Just because we believe something doesn’t make it true. Our conditioning makes it a false reality. We have all been conditioned by someone – parents, peer groups and attitude shapers of all sorts. it’s that conditioning that feeds superiority.

One key to outgrowing superiority is to recognize the difference between our conditioning and reality. Conditioning has few, if any, facts to back it up. Reality is the sum total of all facts. You can’t win a debate with reality and the reality is this: no one is superior to another. It’s our conditioning that has us believe that we or they are.

Superiority is a limitation, one that we argue for every day. The telltale sign that we are acting superior is if we are looking down our nose at someone. It just doesn’t pass the smell test.

You can argue without the facts all day long. People do it all the time. But if you’re arguing for superiority, all you are doing is making a myth your priority.

All the best,


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April 24, 2014

Hope vs. Expectation

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:07 am

C413897 mI have to admit that I’m not a big fan of hope. It just doesn’t work that well for me.

I do have more affinity for expectation. It seems to have more facts to back it up.

I don’t know where I first heard it but I’ve used this question often: If you hope in one hand and spit in the other, which hand will fill up first?” I guess you could say that the expectation of expectoration works better than hope.

I’m not out to dash your hopes; I’m just laying the groundwork to consider expectations because they have a greater chance of happening.

I’ve noticed that I’ve began the last 5 paragraphs with some form of the pronoun “I.” That must mean that what I’m offering here is a personal opinion.

Evaluate my opinion for yourself. Look back on the times you hoped vs. expected and see which one came through for you more often. My guess is expectation is the hands down winner.

Hope seems to come out when the odds are low; expectation beats the odds more often. Management Theory expert, Fernando Flores puts it this way: “Hope is the raw material for losers.”

I haven’t completely given up on hope, I just have a different perspective on it. That perspective is this: Hope doesn’t contribute anything to the final outcome. It may make you feel better while you’re waiting, which highlights the real and only benefit of hope.

My hope is this: That you’ll try my perspective of hope on for size. If you do, you’ll expect more out of life by waiting less and doing more.

All the best,


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April 22, 2014

My Memoir

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:35 am

C166889 mIf I ever write a memoir, I know its title: “It Snowed on My Birthday.”

My birthday is in April and I have lived in the northeast most of my life. I have seen snow in April, but never before on my birthday, until this year.

This really isn’t about birthdays or snow, it’s about the downside and it’s proper place in our lives.

It seems to me that we spend a goodly portion of our lives attempting to escape or ignore the downside. That’s like wishing it won’t ever rain.

The downside is as much of a reality in life as the upside, and pretending it’s not there is theatre. Watch the amount of drama you create when you pretend that there’s no down.

Just take the perfunctory and patterned response you offer when someone casually asks, “How are you?” You outwardly say, “Just fine.” Inwardly, you countermand your pronouncement and have a emphatic conversation about the litany of things that aren’t “fine.”

This isn’t a suggestion to regale everyone you meet with a detailed list of what’s going on with you when they’re just being social; it’s more of a wake-up call to get you to notice how you attempt to cover over the downside.

There is no escaping pain. Ask anyone who’s gone through labor or passed a kidney stone. To pretend it’s not there is folly. The same is true for the downside.

I will always have a preference for the upside but I know it’s not a perpetual state. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reminded us: “Into each life some rain must fall.” As profound as that statement is, it’s one of his lesser known quotes that contains instructions on how to handle it: “The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”

You may have heard me say before that I believe all addictions point to emotional cowardice – not wanting to feel the underlying sensations that drive one’s addictions. Being addicted to the upside will cause the downside to be more potent and last longer simply because we won’t acknowledge it.

Up and down are twins. The sooner you stop dressing them alike and stop making one appear as the other, the sooner you will experience the differences they have to offer. Their gifts are complementary – one really can’t be truly appreciated without the presence of the other.

I’m not suggesting to celebrate the downside, just begin to acknowledge it when it arrives. It’s my experience that its stay will be shorter when you shovel the walk together.

All the best,


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April 21, 2014

Win, Lose, Be

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

C708447 mIt occurred to me that there are three possible positions in a moment: Win, Lose, Be.

Win and Lose are judgements and Be is just like Switzerland – Neutral.

Taking the time to consider whether you are winning or losing in a moment brings to mind the old Satchel Paige line: “Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”

When you get preoccupied with whether you are winning or losing, you miss out on where you really are – here and now or “Be” for short.

It is helpful to triangulate from time to time. It’s an assessment of where you are in relationship to where you want to be. But when that becomes your default mindset, you trade the moment you’re in for one that doesn’t exist. We miss a good portion of our lives by doing so.

Take a moment not to judge a moment and just see what happens. I’m not sure what will happen for you but when I do it, winning and losing go out of focus and what’s right in front of me becomes tack sharp.

Every moment has something to offer but we may miss receiving its gift if we’re off winning or losing in the past or future.

Rather than taking some “Me” time, try taking some “Be” time. You’ll spend less time thinking about, “Yay me” or “Woe is me” and more time experiencing what’s really happening.

It’s in these moments that we feel real. The minute you begin to judge a moment rather than live it, you lose the moment and all it has to offer. It becomes like an incredible dream whose richness fades when we reenter the world of win or lose.

Win and Lose will always be be there for the taking, but Be is only here now. Take advantage of its visit and find the real magic this neutral position has to offer.

All the best,


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April 10, 2014


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:29 pm

C207705 m“You don’t have to be religious to be a preacher.” So said The Grasshopper on a walk the other day.

All of us preach at one time or another, and all of us are guilty of not practicing what we sermonize. That’s just waxing philosophical while our personal shine remains dull.

When we’re not walking our talk and preaching to anyone within earshot, we may as well be saying, “if you only knew what I knew, you’d be as successful as I’m not.”

There’s a notable distinction between “preach” and “reach” – the former doesn’t get you to the latter.

I don’t know anyone who likes to get preached to and the upshot is this: rarely does preaching work.

Reaching people demands less preaching.

Preaching has a thick air of superiority surrounding it; reaching is cloud free.

Reaching people means that you have to care about them enough not to chew your cabbage again. In order for someone to digest what you are offering, they need to feel a sense of closeness and trust. Preaching connotes standoffishness.

Here’s a mental exercise worthy of your time: Stand in front of a mirror and deliver your message. Is it preachy? You may be totally on point but if they can see up your nose, it’s time to recompose.

I wish I could tell you a foolproof way to stop preaching, but I haven’t mastered it myself yet. Perhaps a start is to lower your soapbox a few inches at a time until you’re on an even keel with whomever you want to offer a message. It’s from this vantage point that we begin seeing eye-to-eye.

All the best,


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April 9, 2014

Memorable or Missed?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:50 am

C412695 mThe Grasshopper asked me a question yesterday: Are you going to be memorable or missed?

I had to let the question sit before I could offer a response. I’m not sure I can directly answer yet, but I can explore the topic and see what pops.

When I go through my memory banks, I recall many incidents of people declaring that they missed someone. In most cases, it was someone who had died and, more often than not, the person was their mother. That’s not surprising due to the unmistakable bond that many people carry throughout their lives with their mom. It just makes sense that they will be missed.

I have the general sense that dads will fall into the memorable category. That may not seem “fair” if you’re a dad and want to be missed, but it does seem to be a reality, at least the way I see it.

Here’s the rub: It also seems to me, when considering one’s legacy, that the person who will be missed wants to be memorable and the memorable person wants to be missed. What to do?

It’s probably more complicated than this but it seems the missed person listened more and the memorable person talked more. So, if there is any validity in this observation, one key to shifting your legacy in the direction of the other column is to do more of what the person whose legacy you want does.

It’s the shifting of your efforts that will get you more points in the other column. Perhaps your efforts will even get you the best of both worlds – being both missed and memorable.

After reflection on The Grasshopper’s question, I don’t think I’ll live long enough to be totally missed but there’s still time to move in that direction.

How do you answer the question? Is there a direction in which you want to move? Do you need to listen more or do you need to be listened to more? Only you know for sure.

Here’s something I suspect for sure: most of the memorable candidates won’t listen long enough and will miss the point.

All the best,


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April 8, 2014

Below Conditioning

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

C543151 mTo reach someone, you often have to get below their level of conditioning. It’s not an easy task.

Observe any adult argument about opposing beliefs and, if you look closely, you will see one’s conditioning fighting with another’s. The chances of them reaching one another are highly improbable.

The reason the military prefers young recruits for enlisted positions is because they are not yet fully conditioned. They are more easily conditioned than someone just a few years older – easier to get through to with the regimented, military method of doing things.

So how do you get past people’s conditioning? You can try and reason with them or you can “fact them” to death, but those strategies have long odds for success.

To reach someone, you have to reach their emotions, not their intellect.

Ask any successful copywriter, screen writer, or gifted teacher how they get through and the answer is not with an assault of facts. They’ll give the conditioned intellect enough to keep it occupied but most of their success happens below conditioning.

Your emotions fuel your beliefs. If you can adjust the emotions, the beliefs will follow in lockstep.

Look at any public service announcement on TV for mistreated dogs or starving children. Do they regale you with the facts and the reasons for these happenings? No, they present, emotional, visible evidence that bypasses your intellect and causes you to feel. They get below your conditioning of “not to give” and then issue a call to action to call now and give.

So, what if you are not a trained persuader, how do you get through? Your chances get better when you present from your emotions, not your reasoning. Warning: Don’t make a false, emotional argument; they’re transparent. Be real. When you become real, you have a better chance of making another feel.

Your facts can be argued all day when you reason. When you talk to another about your feelings, they can’t be disputed by them because they belong to you. If you need a formula, try the one I learned from Jerry Stocking: “When you do X, I feel Y.” “When you don’t call me when you’re on the road, I feel you don’t care about me.” That’s a far cry from the argument starting, “You never call me from the road and never think about me when you’re away.”

Your facts and figures will always be there when you need them, so set them aside when you want to get through. Unless you want to stay farther apart, speak from your heart.

All the best,


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April 7, 2014

Hiding from Hurt

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:59 am

C573265 mThere’s a game many of us play and it’s not much fun. I call it “Hiding from Hurt.”

You play when you pretend that something doesn’t affect you. The best overt examples I can think of come from football and boxing. When a football player or a boxer takes a vicious hit, they oftentimes smile and shake their head at the perpetrator as if to say, “that was nothing.” They are hiding from hurt.

Hurt is cumulative if you let it go unacknowledged. It multiplies rather than abates when you keep it locked away behind “private” gates.

Hurt is an anchor that keeps your forward progress to a minimum. You can only go so far carrying that weight.

There’s a song from the late 60s whose lyrics suggest a strategy to come out from hiding. It’s a strategy of admission. The song is “I’ve Been Hurt” by Bill Deal and the Rhondels. The opening lyrics don’t mince any words:

“I’ve been hurt (hurt)
Hurt (hurt) hurt (hurt)
Yes, I’ve been hurt

I’ve been hurt like
I’ve never been hurt before.”

What keeps us from admitting? One answer is the perception of appearing weak or vulnerable. You can almost appreciate the response of the football player or boxer, not wanting to look weak. They want the opponent to think they’ve taken their best shot and they’re still standing.

That strategy outside the ring is far afield from a solution.

Acknowledging hurt is the first step in “shaking it off.”

Hurt is a feeling that needs to be acknowledged and fully felt before it can even begin to make an exit. You may always remember the experience but the pain will start to subside when you don’t let it hide.

It takes some bravery to come out from hiding but the reward is a lightness that can’t be weighed.

All the best,


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April 4, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 8:03 am

C409703 mI would like to pay tribute to willpower. It’s the greatest starter human kind has ever known. That ends my tribute.

Willpower may get you to start but it doesn’t have the stamina to get you to finish. Even if it did, your accomplishment would fall apart soon after. Just look at the success rate of Oprah’s diets over the past 30 years, or your own.

This isn’t about dieting; it’s about the ingredient necessary for any long-term change.

That ingredient is awareness.

Most of us are not aware even though awareness is in abundant supply. Awareness gets crowded out by thinking. When we are thinking, we are unaware. Thinking may lead us to willpower and that gets us to start. That’s a good thing. But when we stay in thinking mode, we miss out on the awareness required to finish.

Awareness is noticing and sensing without thinking. It’s separate and apart from thinking. Awareness can cause you to think new things, but thinking will not lead you to awareness. It will take you in the opposite direction.

Animals are aware. Take the elephants that head to higher ground when they sense (become aware) of a tsunami well before it’s picked up by the well thought out measuring instruments made by man.

Animals also don’t have willpower. You won’t see a dog just start to chase a rabbit. He’ll go until he can’t go anymore or comes back with bunny on his breath.

Becoming more aware will get you to finish more often.

One thing to become more aware of are your gut feelings. They arrive without thought. Feeling those sensation doesn’t require thinking. In fact, thinking waters down the raw sensation. We do back and forth assessments in our head about what the feeling means. That conversation may lead you to start something but if it continues, you’ll never finish. You’ll be caught up in thinking.

Awareness will lead you to more AH-HAs; thinking will make you more unaware.

Become more aware of your body and what it’s sensing. Begin to pay more attention to your “here and now” sensing apparatus know as your body. It dances circles around your thinking and will lead you to more “common sense” starts that don’t rely on willpower to finish.

All the best,


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April 3, 2014


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:01 am

C165501 mWhat stops you? Asking myself that question the other day, I came up with this answer: Attitude is a governor.

I found out about governors when I was a teenager. Cars back then had a valve in them that, when adjusted, could limit the top end speed of a car. It was called a governor. Now it’s a computer chip.

So what stops you from going faster? Do you roll along and then, all of a sudden, find yourself slowing down? You set out to do something but then your governor kicks in and you can’t get to the requisite speed to complete the trip on time, or at all.

Our governor is an attitude – a conditioned mindset that we may not even be consciously aware of.

Years ago, I can remember scoffing at the notion of “the fear of success.” I labeled it an old wives’ tale. Who wouldn’t want to be successful? I arrived at the conclusion that people weren’t willing to work hard enough to be successful. That mental balloon received the prick of reality when I was working harder than I knew how but wasn’t garnering success – at least my version of it.

My fear of success kicked in when I was getting close. I discovered it was an attitude I owned about people who were financially better off than I was. I remember driving the 18 miles to work and seeing the homes get bigger and more expensive along the route. I said to myself, “What do these people do, sell drugs?”

I wanted what they had, and because I didn’t have it, I made it their fault. It was shortly thereafter that I found one of the secrets to success: Emulate, don’t envy. Find out how they do what they do, rather than piss and moan about them.

I also discovered that my attitude about them had to change, otherwise I would only go so far with emulation. My conditioning was that “rich” people were somehow evil. Once I examined that attitude in the light of day, I found that rain fell on the rich and the poor, meaning the proportion of “evil” was the same in all financial classes.

Attitude is something that needs consistent work to get to the point of actually changing. It’s not a one-time observation. Every time you notice that old attitude rear its head, interrupt it. Don’t make a counter argument, just interrupt by noticing it. The interruption could be as easy as saying to yourself, “My attitude about ‘X’ is making a statement.” Just that noticing is enough to interrupt the attitude.

Each time you notice, the attitude gets weaker and then, at some point down the road, you find that it has changed. It doesn’t change because you’ve created a mantra about change or took a class about change; it changes when it consistently gets interrupted by noticing.

Noticing is something worth cultivating and if your attitude is anything like mine was, noticing will also increase your net worth.

All the best,


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