- Thoughts for inspired living

December 22, 2014


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:54 am

C635538 mIt’s my experience that external comparisons are just not that productive. By external comparisons, I mean comparing yourself to others. I find it much more useful to compare you to you – an internal comparison.

I was swimming laps yesterday and there was a man about my age in another lane being assisted by an instructor helping him complete his water aerobics routine. My routine is to swim 20 lengths of the pool and then take about a minute break before doing another 20 lengths. I then take another minute break and swim another 20 lengths. The swim totals about a mile.

During one of my breaks, the man commented to me that he was doing nothing compared to what I was doing. My response was that he was doing more than 80% of the population who were probably doing nothing. He laughed and then said, “I don’t think I’ll ever get to the level you’re at.”

I told him that I used to swim quite regularly years ago but had gotten out of the habit, until recently. I went on to say that 3 months ago, when I started up again, I could barely swim two lengths before being totally winded. I worked up to my current routine over time.

I vividly remember the first day back. I was beating myself up for not measuring up. I was watching other people swim and noticed they were doing a lot more than me and was fretting that I couldn’t do what they could. I was using an external comparison. That, for me, is not motivational.

What I found motivational is comparing what I did today to what I did yesterday. That’s a manageable, personal measuring stick. You’re not comparing yourself to the elite, only to your own accomplishments.

In our haste to accomplish whatever, we put up roadblocks by comparing ourselves with others. It’s much easier to progress when you compare your
results to your own recent benchmarks.

Patience is your friend on your road to accomplishment; external comparison is not.

The realization that I’ll never throw the football like Tom Brady shouldn’t keep me from playing catch in the front yard. I deprive myself of pleasure and accomplishment when I compare my efforts to another’s, especially one who is many rungs above me on the ladder.

It’s too cliche to say, “one step at a time,” so I’ll just say this: If you pay more attention to what you’re doing, you’ll do more, and then you can declare that you’re beyond compare.

All the best,


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December 18, 2014

Point of View

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:18 am

C762756 mThe Grasshopper must be doing some pre-Christmas gifting because he offered me a gem yesterday: “Your point of view is not you.”

“Point of view” seems like a fancy term for “opinion,” but it’s more than that. The ancient Egyptians determined there are 360 degrees in a circle – each degree being a point on the circle. That would mean there are at least 360 degrees from which to view a situation, but we often pick just one.

Not only that, we claim that point as our identity. We stake our claim that our point of view is us. “I’m a proud Lutheran.” “I’m a lapsed Catholic,” I’m a meat eating Hindu” are just a few points of view that limit who we are.

Once you buy into one point, you negate the other 359. That doesn’t mean to abandon your spot on the circle, just recognize that it’s not you, only one view about you.

Mathematically speaking, the whole you is every point on the circle, but we only claim one and often make a passionate case that it’s the ONLY point. I call that “arguing for our limitations.”

Even though this post isn’t about religion, let me offer this: There’s more than one way to get to heaven. If we fail to recognize this, we become exclusionary and dogmatic and become blinded to our wholeness.

Who are you? Only you can answer that question. If you find that your answer cements you onto one point on the circle, you have confused you with your opinion about you.

You’re broader than your opinions, but to find that out, you have to explore your circle instead of “staying on point.”

Make it a point to get curious about additional points of view. It’s not only eye-opening but it also allows you to let more people into your circle of friends who will show you different points of you.

All the best,


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December 17, 2014

Alive Gratitude

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:27 am

C286618 mThe Grasshopper keeps odd hours. I woke up in the middle of the night with this phrase in my head: “You may never know you’ve lived until you die.”

I had no clue what it meant, so I wrote it down and went back to sleep. When I woke up, there it was on my nightstand and I got to wondering.

My sense is that it’s more a message for the living than the dead. It seems more akin to the notion I have about knowing love. In romantic relationships, I don’t believe you can ever know love until you’ve had your heart broken. I don’t claim that my notion is true, but it feels that way.

I think you have to die a time or two to appreciate life. Again, not physical death, but parts of you dying. The old adage comes to mind that you can’t appreciate youth until you’re old.

When a part of us dies, it reminds us of what used to fill that void – something that we may not have truly appreciated when it was part of us.

This is not an exercise to lament what we’re missing; that will go on without our help. This is more about taking stock of what you’re truly grateful for in your life right now. You may not know.

What you may not know is what contributes to you feeling alive, until you do an inventory. It’s a simple, private process of taking a few, uninterrupted moments and writing down all the things you are grateful for. They will come in big and small packages and your list will be different than anyone else’s.

The purpose of doing this exercise is to discover the things that contribute to your aliveness and to feel appreciation for them while they are here, instead of regretting that you didn’t appreciate them should they move on.

This exercise is not designed to bring back the dead; it’s to recognize and appreciate what’s alive in your life and to celebrate it while it’s here.

There are tons of things to be grateful for, but if you don’t appreciate them until they die, you haven’t fully lived.

All the best,


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December 16, 2014

Christmas Intonations

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:55 am

C698791 mDid you ever notice how words or phrases can have different meanings depending on how they’re said?

I’ve been musing about some words we hear at this time of year and the different meaning they connote depending on their usage and delivery.

Let’s try these on for size:





“Good” and “Bad” are childhood words we were weaned on. “Good girl,” Bad boy” or vice-versa are familiar to most of us.

You can imagine how they change meaning depending on the situation. Let’s pretend that you have given your boss three pieces of unwelcome business news and then moments later you hit him with a fourth. His response is “Oh, good.”

How about “naughty” and “nice”?

“Naughty” and “Nice” have different meanings in the homeroom than they do on the honeymoon. No one needs to spell that out for you.

So what’s the larger point? Watch your language! Watch your delivery!

Good and bad are really words that have lots of emotional baggage attached to them and you would be better served using synonyms you learned in high school as substitutes – Productive/counterproductive and useful/not useful come to mind. Dr. Dave Dobson taught us that “good” and “bad” are words we were toilet trained with, and even though we use and perceive those words in different contexts as adults, there is still a part of us that harkens back to that “trying” period when we hear those words.

Dave called it a “transderivational search.” Our mind is looking for all the references we have for any word when we hear it. It happens at mind numbing speed but all contexts are considered. The “adult” words we learned later in life have less references attached and are more precisely tied to a meaning.

Just compute these two sentences:

“That’s ‘good’ information.”

“That’s ‘productive’ information.”

On the surface they may appear as the same thing; below decks, there’s a lot more going on. And the one with more references is more ambiguous in it’s meaning than the other.

Regarding delivery, sarcasm is like a spice. It can accent a meal or ruin it. If sarcasm is your “go to” delivery, you will wear on people quicker than the brownie plate disappears on the set of “The Biggest Loser.”

Here’s a yuletide tip: Put away your sarcasm for the holidays and you won’t have to heat your house with coal.

Check your language twice. We can all be more precise and less biting with our words; it just takes a bit of noticing. And remember, Santa is watching.

All the best,


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December 11, 2014


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:54 am

C669310 mHave you ever heard the phrase “resting on your laurels”? My crass interpretation was always, “sitting on your ass.”

I had another thought this morning when reading a photography book – “Sitting on your successes.”

We’ve all enjoyed success at something. The problem, as I see it, is keeping success in the past tense. Those successes certainly make for great stories, but do little to spur new successes.

What are you doing to be successful now? That’s a question that will engage your curiosity as to what’s your next success.

The fun thing about this is that it doesn’t have to be a big or monumental thing that you explore – just something that garners you success at something new.

Making new successes is making new memories, with new stories to tell, and a side benefit of rekindling of your vibrance.

Get “curious” about your next success; It’s the magic elixir that will get you off your laurels.

All the best,


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December 8, 2014

What Are You Ignoring?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:13 am

C167922 mI was food shopping over the weekend and was witness to a scene I’ve seen countless times, but this time it posed a question: What are you ignoring?

I saw a man in his 50s wheeling around oxygen containers behind him with an air hose in his nose. I have no idea what brought him to that point, but I had an educated guess – he smoked the elasticity out of his lungs and couldn’t breathe on his own.

It got me curious about his back story. How did he arrive at this point and how often did he ignore what caring and concerned people were telling him?

I wasn’t going to ask because, frankly, it was none of my business. But it got me in the business of asking myself: What am I ignoring?

Whose concerned counsel am I pooh-pooh-ing? What piece of wisdom am I too “above it all” to come down to earth and take a hard look at?

I got some answers and so will you.

One of those answers was: They all can’t be wrong.

What piece of wisdom have people, too many to count, been offering to you?

I’m highly suggesting that we take that collective counsel to heart and recognize the time is NOW to make a new start.

It’s no mystery what people have been telling you; you have all the clues. Now it’s time to get one.

Today may be your last chance to heed their advice before you become a victim of your own vice.

Here’s my holiday wish for us all: Wrap up all that wisdom you’ve received and give it to yourself. It will be the gift of a lifetime.

All the best,


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December 5, 2014

What’s Happening?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:11 am

Tub4Here are three “happening” questions to ponder:

1. What do you want to happen?

2. What’s actually happening?

3. What’s likely to happen?

The first question is the easiest to answer. We all seem to know what we’re wishing for.

The second question seems like it has an easy answer but our brand of filtering reality often gets in the way of getting usable data.

Question 3 gets more accurate answers when question 2’s answer is pointing towards true north.

To find out if what you want is likely to happen, you will need to have laser focus on what’s actually happening. You can’t build a stable structure with inferior building blocks. (Think sand castle).
If what you think is actually happening, isn’t, you’re unlikely to get what you want to happen.

One of the most helpful tools I’ve been taught for finding out what’s actually happening involves the use of subtraction. Subtraction means taking away the “Fluff.”

Fluff is usually in the form of a non-descriptive adjective. Here’s an example of fluff: “It has a ‘good’ chance of happening.” That statement gives you no usable information on which to base a conclusion. “It has a 60/40 chance of happening” gives us more reliable data.

Imagine this back and forth:

Wedding planner: “What would you like served at the rehearsal dinner?”

Bride and Groom: “Oh, we want it to be a lovely meal.”

As absurd as the above example sounds, that’s the level of communication that monopolizes interactions around the world every day.

I’ve stated before that one of my favorite quotes is from Werner Erhard who said, “The reason life doesn’t work is because people don’t keep their agreements.” I’d like to add something to his observation that will aid subtraction: Without excising the fluff, we are confused as to what we agreed to, making it less likely to happen.

Start monitoring the fluff in your own communication and begin to subtract it from your interactions. And gently challenge the fluff being offered to you by others. “And by lovely meal, do you mean you want a choice of chicken or fish as the main entree?”

The next time someone asks you, “What’s happening?”, you’ll actually know if you give fluff the heave-ho.

All the best,


P.S. For a more detailed explanation of fluff, read Chapter 1 of my free e-book, THE SUCCESS TRIANGLE.

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December 3, 2014

Game Plan

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:38 am

C164884 mHere’s the problem with sports’ analogies: Even though football is the most popular American sport, not everyone likes football, and those who don’t, understand it even less.

With that caveat out of the way, I will still kick off this post with this: To score without a game plan has worse odds than being successful on “3rd and 20.”

Like losing football teams, many of us have only one game plan – the same one we execute day after day even though it’s not working.

Here are two things I’ve come to realize over the years:

1. A game plan cannot be in cement.

2. We need more than one.

The less flexible your plan, the more often you’ll lose. When you get married to one way of doing things, you divorce your options.

I’m all for sticking with a plan that’s working. If you’ll indulge me another football reference, I will run over right tackle until they stop me. But if you continue to run that play after being stopped time after time, it’s like playing football without a helmet – you’ll be dazed and confused and you will lose.

The most successful skill to develop in game planning is to recognize that the one you have in place isn’t working. It’s not that we can’t see our plan’s lack of results; it’s more an issue of pride of ownership that gets in our way.

One way to counter our pride is just a simple shift in language. Refer to your plan as “THE Plan,” rather than “MY Plan.” I’m amazed, ’til this day, with people who claim ownership of things not working.

Here’s an excerpt from my free ebook, The Success Triangle that sheds more light on this misuse of language:

. . . Suppose you say you are “Shy,” “Not artistic,” “Clumsy,” or “Not very smart.” These are expressions that hold you in place. I am not suggesting that you say an affirmation like “I am artistic.” I believe part of your mind knows that is not accurate. If you believe you are not artistic and want to change your belief, a place to start is “In the past.”

“In the past” is a phrase that works its own magic when continuously applied. If it is your habit to say, “I’m not very artistic,” say something like this instead. “In the past, I haven’t been very artistic.” The consistent referencing of the observation as “In the past,” is a pattern interrupt. The pattern interrupt, “In the past,” sets the stage for your mind to come up with additional options that will move you forward and have your talent gush out.

Many people hold their state of health in place with words. The most destructive label is the word “My.” “My arthritis” won’t allow me to play tennis anymore. “My diabetes” leaves me with little energy. Two things that will give you more power immediately are:

1. Drop the word “My” from any disease process.

2. Apply “In the past” to any limitation you ascribe to the disease.

For example: “In the past, arthritis has kept me from playing tennis.” “In the past, diabetes has caused me to feel less energetic.”
“My” is a word, to which we’ve been conditioned, that means ownership. Who wants to own arthritis? I’m not suggesting this shift in language will make arthritis or diabetes disappear. What I’m suggesting is, if you refer to it “In the past” and remove the ownership, you may find your situation more palatable. Better yet, if there is a way your mind can help you ease or put this disease behind you, this new language will facilitate the process.

Your goal in life may never change but to have a better chance of reaching it, your game plan has to – perhaps, multiple times, and often in mid stream.

I don’t know where I first heard it but it has stuck with me ever since: “The most flexible person wins.”

Be open to more flexibility when planning the game of life and you’ll be able to show off your “Touchdown Dance” more often.

All the best,


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