- Thoughts for inspired living

July 31, 2014

When No One’s Looking

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:05 am

C164823 mSeems to me that one of the marks of being an adult is to do the “right” thing when no one is looking.

By “right,” I mean the thing you would do if eyes were on you.

Reminds me of a story . . .

I was a road warrior for many years, traveling to many cities and having to eat at many different restaurants. I developed the skill to tell if the manager was on duty or not. It was immediately apparent to me often before being seated and handed the menus.

Something was off. The music wasn’t suited to the patrons seated at the tables, the wait staff was inattentive, empty tables weren’t cleared of used dishes, etc.

I would casually inquire if the manager was on duty and the answer was almost always, “No.”

It didn’t surprise me because having been a manager of people for many years, I got to see the “when the boss is away, the employees will play” dynamic at work.

But this isn’t about my lame superpower; it’s about growing up.

What is accomplished when you cheat at Solitaire? You cheat yourself out of your dignity, the same as you do when you don’t do what you agreed to do.

Growing up is keeping your agreements. I never took the EST training so popular in the 70s, but the founder of EST, Werner Erhard issued one of my favorite quotes: “The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.”

Growing up requires integrity. Every time you give yours a pass, you water it down to the point that you no longer have it.

Who can you count on? My guess is that person’s integrity is intact and is a card carrying adult. Who can’t you count on? That’s a person caught in adolescence who’s always checking to see who’s looking.

Both actions take effort. It’s a matter of where you put your attention. Is yours on avoiding your agreements or is it focused on your integrity?

Our lack of integrity is transparent but we act as though no one can can see it. The main person we cheat is ourselves when we don’t do what we say we’ll do.

Who ever stated, up front, that they’ll over-promise and under-deliver? But that’s exactly what you’ll do if you act differently when eyes aren’t on you.

For me, it’s really this simple: If you want a seat at the adult table, eat your vegetables when no one is looking.

All the best,


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July 22, 2014

Selective Memory

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 9:35 am

One of life’s blessings is not being able to feel physical pain that happened in the past. We can certainly remember the incident but cannot recreate the pain. Anyone who has had a child or kidney stone can relate.

Too bad that’s not the case with emotional pain. It seems we can’t have selective memory when it comes to emotional hurt.

We can attempt to color the past a certain way to recreate an airbrushed history but both the incident and the pain are contained in the memory.

The Grasshopper had this to say on the topic: “Sensing what used to be is always bittersweet.”

There will be enough memories that pop in to our awareness on their own without having to go digging for them. When you purposely dig, you will unearth a pile of unresourceful emotion along with the pictures of sunshine and rainbows.

Living in the past is not possible, but feeling its pain is.

Referencing the past can be useful to add perspective, but past that, it’s often a drama class that keeps you stuck in the first act.

Go to any bar late on a Tuesday night and just listen to the patrons’ stories. The “used to be” and “missed opportunities” soliloquies dominate the narrative. Ask any hairdresser about the stories he or she hears. They punctuate the past.

What is the purpose? My experience is that people believe that if they tell their story just “one more time,” it will relieve the pain. That never works.

Resist the temptation to visit the past on purpose. It can bring you an unadulterated warm fuzzy from time to time, but, by and large, you will inflict more pain than you will experience pixie dust.

I am reminded of the observation of my late teacher, Dr. Dave Dobson who said, “You don’t have to go to the dump to remember what garbage smells like.”

The past is not a springboard forward. That leap can only happen in the present.

Where do you want to go? If you answer “back into the past,” that fairy tale will end with the wolf eating you for lunch, again.

All the best,





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July 16, 2014

Tinted Windows

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:45 am

5388023911 a610cc27a6 zI used to think I was special in my ability to see through people. Then I realized everyone owns this skill. My “specialness” faded a bit when I realized I didn’t see that.

Have you ever just known something about someone you just encountered even before they took an action or spoke a word? My guess is you answered “Yes.” That means you own the skill.

If you know this about an other, the corollary must be accurate. They can see through you too. We act as though we have “tinted windows” when it comes to our “secrets,” but they’re on parade for anyone willing to trust their sensations.

That’s the key: Trust your sensations.

When you get a “vibe” or “gut reaction,” resist the temptation to go into debate mode in your mind and just sit with the feeling for a moment and trust its accuracy without having to stockpile evidence to validate your sensation.

Sensations are raw, unfiltered events that arrive well before any evidentiary thought. Adding thought to the sensation waters it down until you start to doubt your own calibrating mechanism.

If you’re getting fooled more often than not, you are ignoring your gut.

I’m not claiming it’s the only tool you own, it’s just the most useful; yet we let it go unused and sit at the bottom of of toolbox.

Gut reactions are not only useful in dealing with others, they’re also a barometer to use for where to head next. I just saw a TED talk from Mangus Walker, an unassuming man who followed his gut to heights he may have never attained had he paid attention to the overabundant logic that would spray water on the fire in his belly.

If you judged Mangus’ book by its logical cover, you may come away with the judgement that you’re dealing with a “long haired, bearded, hippy loser” rather than a highly successful entrepreneur who followed his gut.

We can all learn a lesson from Mangus Walker.

Discover that you own a gut and pay more attention to it than you do now. It will head you in directions that limiting logic can’t see and add to your ability to notice transparency.

All the best,


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July 14, 2014

Planning to Be Upset

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:24 am

Island GreenI can think of no bigger waste of energy than planning to be upset, yet we all do it.

“If so and so doesn’t give me the answer I’m looking for, I’ll be upset.”

“if my team doesn’t win the big game, I’ll be upset.”

“If he does what I’m expecting he’ll do, I’ll be upset.”

Notice that the focus is on upset in a time that doesn’t yet exist. That’s the lunacy of planning to be upset.

Not only does it become a self fulfilling prophesy, it upsets us now when there are no actual conditions present.

When you rob yourself of the present, you can’t help but rob yourself in the future. It becomes a patterned way of doing things.

It’s helpful to notice that you’re planning to be upset. It can actually be very comical when you consider the absurdity of it. My step-mother had an expression she used that sums up this upsetting practice: “You holler before you’re hurt.”

Planning on how you’re going to feel at a future date contaminates and limits the actual choices you’ll have in the future.

Look no further than professional golf. These are the best players in the world but watch what happens to them when they are presented with a water hazard. Their accuracy percentage goes way down. Let’s say it’s a 130 yard shot over water to hit the green. If you compare all their 130 yard shots without water present to the ones where it is, you will find them missing the water shot more often.

What happened? They were planning to be upset. That water hole will be there every round. What would happen if they just played the hole when they got there rather than having it be the focus of attention well beforehand? Ask any golfer, professional or weekend hacker, who has played a course where there is an island green, when they started thinking about that hole.

You lose life enriching spontaneity when you plan to be upset. Be upset when you’re upset, just don’t throw an engagement party for it.

There will be enough upsets in our lives without planning them. Just begin to notice how often you engage in this practice. Just noticing the pattern, while it is happening, is often enough of a wedge to keep you from going in the water.

All the best,


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July 10, 2014

Peace Out

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:46 am

C734733 mThe Grasshopper must have been watching the United Nations on CSPAN just before he offered this: “There won’t be peace out there until there’s peace in here.”

I’m sure we can all agree that world peace is a noble goal, but the probability is that it’s unreachable.

That’s not being a “Negative Nellie”; it’s just an educated projection based on world history.

Does that mean we stop making attempts? No, because the actual pursuit of something delivers more results than attainment. That’s because we spend more time pursuing than we do attaining and if our pursuit is peace, we experience it every step of the way rather than once as a result.

The question then becomes where do we pursue peace – in here or out there?

“Out there” seems to be trying to convince others to do something “our” way. Peace is an internal process first. You can’t tell others about your peace; you have to show it to them before you can offer it to them.

Would you want to go to couples counseling with a therapist that’s in a contentious relationship? Yes, they have lots of counseling experience and will probably say all the right words, but they’re more likely to project their angst rather than show you their peace.

Internal peace is more transferrable. That’s why pursuing peace “in here” is a more productive choice.

You will make more connections when you bring peace with you. It’s more powerful than any debatable logic.

Here’s a little experiment to practice: Go into an every day interaction you have with someone holding a place of peace for them inside of you. Pretend that you have a little space inside of you that’s just filled with peace and is dedicated exclusively to them. Then just go and have your interaction.

My experience is that they will sense your peace. It’s the same sense a person gets when they know an approaching dog is friendly.

Pursue your peace daily and reap the rewards. The added benefit is this: You’ll have a much better chance of turning the world inside out.

All the best,


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July 9, 2014

The Lesson of the Ant

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:48 am

Ant LessonWas reminded of an old lesson by an ant yesterday.

I was sitting outside on my front steps having a snack as an ant was making its way towards me. I put my middle finger and thumb together and then just flicked it away. The ant landed one step below and continued on its trek from where it landed.

The Lesson of the Ant is simply to pick up from where you land.

How often do we get flicked by reality and ignore the Lesson of the Ant?

It seems we want to pick up from where we were, not where we are. That’s a strategy that will keep our destination forever on the horizon.

Reminds me of a conversation I was having with someone the other day. This person peppered our exchange with the phrase “I’m working really hard.” The intent was to let me know that their lack of reaching their destination wasn’t due to a lack of “hard” work.

Hard work is not an insurance policy to get what you want. You can be working hard on the wrong thing and falsely expect that it will deliver you to your destination.

At the core, this person wanted to begin from where they weren’t and no amount of hard work was going to make that happen.

That reminds me of another story I’ve told countless times. Years ago, I was out of work and looking for another job in broadcasting. I finally got an offer but my concern was the pay was less than I was making at my previous job. I was lamenting this fact to my friend Paul who succinctly delivered the Lesson of the Ant when he said, “It’s more than you’re making now.”

The illusion is that we can begin from where we were; the reality is we can only pick up from where we are.

Where have you landed? That’s has to be your starting point otherwise you’ll have a never ending series of frustrating fits and starts.

I’m grateful the ant showed up at my front porch picnic. His geography lesson was a refresher course that will get us back on course after a rough landing.

All the best,


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July 8, 2014

Living is Responding

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

C641342 mThe Grasshopper offered this post 4th of July firecracker this morning: “If you want to live more, respond more.”

Are you getting caught up in your life story? That’s what most of us do and that’s not living; that’s existing.

The difference between existence and living is the same difference that’s between reacting and responding.

A reaction is just that – a re-action. We’ve offered it so many times before that we already know the stale state of affairs it delivers. There’s nothing new in a reaction. It takes on a predictable life of its own. That’s existing.

Responding delivers something new and that’s living.

Responding to life is a way of life that’s worth cultivating. It delivers a fresh crop of living each time we remember to dig deeper than a reaction.

Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl said it this way: “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose a response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

Want to remain in a miserable existence? It’s easy, keep offering the same reaction to a given stimulus.

But if you’re looking for more living, there’s nothing more lively than a response.

You have the ability to choose how to respond; you just have to recognize that you own that ability, and then take the next step and use it.

The space that Frankl refers to comes about when you pause and let your reaction just pass by. Right behind it are a bevy of, heretofore, unseen choices that haven’t been considered. Choose one of them and offer it up and feel life come back into your daily existence.

Living more life is choosing a response; reacting robs you of that opportunity.

All the best,


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July 3, 2014

The Evolution of Belief

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:25 am

C668736 mThere is a school of thought out there that if you believe in something fervently enough, you can make it happen. My experience with that notion is that it has the win ratio of a lottery ticket.

My experience with believing is that the following conviction is more accurate: Not believing something is possible keeps it from happening.

Sounds like a Lose-Lose proposition: Believing won’t get you what you want and not believing also lessens your odds.

It’s not my intention to set up a debate, only to look at results.

What have you been believing in that isn’t delivering results? Multiply that belief by the number of years you’ve been believing it and you have your own personal scorecard. When you subtract your belief from the equation, you will notice that the raw data reveals that your belief isn’t working. You now have the personal proof that you need a new belief.

Let’s look at the other side of belief. You notice that something is possible for lots of other people, but you don’t believe it’s possible for you. There is really nothing standing in the way of you getting that something too, other than the belief that you can’t have it. Often, this “I can’t have” belief is below the level of consciousness – a conditioned mindset that acts like a governor on our actions.

Again, it’s helpful to look at the data. On paper, there is nothing blocking you from getting what you want but, in fact, you’re not getting it. That should immediately suggest to you that you have a belief standing in the way. The biggest example of this I know of is people and money.

Others with the same education (oftentimes less), same opportunities, same background have found a way to make more money than you. You wonder about that. What is it that has them succeed in that area that you are lagging way behind in? You will immediately look to circumstances as the culprit but upon inspection, that doesn’t hold up. You can illustrate to these folks, in no uncertain terms, that it’s their mindset towards money that keeps them behind, but they dig in their heels and look for more circumstantial evidence.

Until they pull apart their belief, piece by piece, they will remain a slave to it. Are rich people really more evil? Is buying something top-notch really extravagant? Is buying that kind of car really showy? The list of prejudices goes on and on and contributes to your ongoing lack of money.

Evolution of beliefs is a two step process:

1. Inspect your long held belief that’s not working and adopt a new belief.

2. Find the ones that are working, but not so well, and pull them apart.

You won’t have to look far for either.

Changing beliefs is rarely instantaneous; it’s a process. it takes inspection and dissection before you get to the point of inflection.

In order for your beliefs to evolve, you have to do more than believe.

All the best,


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