- Thoughts for inspired living

April 30, 2015

Unfolding Drama

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:17 am

Angry GolferThe Grasshopper must prefer being heard during dog walks because he delivered this one yesterday during the daily pooch prance: “Life’s drama unfolds when we argue about the way it should be versus the way it is.”

I remember Jerry Stocking saying years ago that elongating your initial reaction turns into drama. That seems to be the case.

The reaction is this: “It shouldn’t be this way” and the longer we hold on to that reaction, the more drama we will produce.

We can’t help reacting to certain things; the reaction is there instantly without our permission. But the time frame the reaction stays with us is completely up to us.

So the real question is: How much less drama do you want in your life?

The remedy comes from a phrase I learned in a management seminar over 20 years ago: “Shorten the Storm.”

Shorten the storm in this case means to recognize that you are elongating your reaction and to choose a different response.

Imagine that someone cuts you off in traffic. Your initial, unplanned reaction is a tirade against the driver. Once you utter every curse word you can send their way, you are at a choice point. Do I let this continue or do I let it end. If you choose continue, you have chosen drama.

Seriously, how many go rounds do you have to have in your head about this incident to conclude that this person is an asshole? My guess is not more than one. Continuing on with the diatribe in your head, ad nauseam, will cause you to regurgitate drama.

Drama is produced by attempting to take something that is and pretend that going on and on about it will turn it into the way it should be. That never happens. Drama is always ineffective and never accomplishes changing “is” into “isn’t.”

We can all fold up our drama rather quickly by learning a lesson from my golfing buddy, Chris. When Chris hits a bad shot, he has his initial reaction which lasts under 10 seconds and then he’s on to the next shot. It’s one of the reasons I love playing golf with him – No Drama.

I’ll leave you with the message I once saw printed on a t-shirt that actress Uma Thurman was wearing: “Save Your Drama for your Mama.”

All the best,


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April 27, 2015

Philosophy vs. Ideology

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:49 am

PhilosopherI was wondering aloud if there was a difference between philosophy and ideology and, for me, there is.

It may be a small distinction but one worth our curiosity.

For me philosophy is our thoughts about “the way it is” and ideology seems to be about “the way it should be.”

Both positions can’t be substantiated with any degree of certainty but that doesn’t prevent us from having a philosophy or an ideology.

It feels to me as though ideology is more concrete and philosophy is a bit more porous. I also feel that one’s philosophy can be changed more quickly than our ideology.

I sense that philosophy has a set of premises at its base and ideology has a foundation of rules.

One seems more malleable than the other. Changing your philosophy is changing your own mind. Changing your ideology means changing the rules and that takes a committee.

My sense is that having an ideology boxes you in and a philosophy gives you a way out.

Of course, what I have offered you here is a philosophy – a way out of an ideology.

All the best,


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April 22, 2015

In The Moment

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:08 am

StopwatchWhat a giant rock we must live under if we haven’t yet heard about living “in the moment” or what author Eckhart Tolle calls “living in the Now.”

I have no quibble with the recommendation; it’s just wonderful counsel from my vantage point. The question that has been confusing to me is: What is a moment?

I know a minute is a precise measurement of time but a moment isn’t as easily defined.

“We had a moment” is a line we’ve heard many times from TV or movies or from a friend or family member. It attempts to describe an experience someone had within a very non-specific time frame. Again, what is a moment?

I’m certain there are multiple answers to the question but here’s one I’ve recently come up with that answers the question for me.

A moment is the time your attention is on something.

The minute your attention goes to something else, you are in a new moment.

So “living in the moment” is a matter of where your attention is and for how long it stays there. The moment is comprised of attention. If you give your full attention to something, you’re “in the moment.”

If your attention is scattered, you’re in and out of many moments in an eye blink and can’t fully appreciate being in the moment for any appreciable amount of time.

So living in the moment is giving your attention to what’s going on now.

We are so conditioned to skipping over now to go to the past or the future that it seems foreign at first to stay focused on right now. It takes vigilant noticing of where our attention is. At first, it takes discipline to get us to stay in the moment. With practice, it starts to become a habit – one worth cultivating.

Life only happens inside of a moment. If you’re not giving it your attention, life is passing you by. Without living in the moment, you can only talk about life rather than live it.

So if you want to remain a bystanding reporter on your life, keep jumping out of the moment. If you want to actually participate in your life, give your attention to what’s happening now and actually experience life.

Here’s our homework assignment: We can create more fulling moments in our life, in a moment’s notice, just by shifting our attention to what is happening now.

All the best,


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April 15, 2015

Question & Answer

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:36 am

C559975 mThe Grasshopper offered this nugget last night: “Life happens between the question and answer.”

If you ask a question you don’t know the answer to, before the answer comes, you are in the “life zone” – meaning anything can come your way.

Asking questions garners more life.

Want to feel more alive? Ask more questions.

Sometimes we don’t ask questions because we don’t want to know the answers. That keeps us dead in the water and unable to move forward – an anti-life strategy.

This isn’t a recommendation to butt in to peoples’ private business, just an invitation to start asking more questions.

Here’s an acronym to recall the well known biblical recommendations that remind us to ASK:

A. – Ask and you shall receive.

S. – Seek and you shall find.

K. – Knock and the door shall be open.

By asking, you’ll find that “Life” is more than an old magazine or the cereal that Mikey likes; it’s the “real” estate between question and answer.

All the best,


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April 9, 2015


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

P628549 mThe Grasshopper stepped out of his metro-sexual guise and delivered this: “You know you’ve turned the corner when it’s more about comfort than it is about style.”

Turning the corner in this context is what I refer to as “subtraction” or “the trip home.”

Subtracting is taking away the things you thought you needed but didn’t. It generally happens in the second half of life. Subtraction leads to a comfort level within your skin of being who you are without makeup.

This isn’t about giving up worldly goods or wearing sack cloth; it’s finding out that your definition of yourself needs some undressing.

Did you ever noticed that it’s hard to live up to how you define yourself? That’s because you’ve added so much to that persona that it weighs you down – forever trying to hold up the image you are desperately attempting to portray.

Turning the corner is recognizing the comfort below the image. The more you notice, the more comfortable you get. The more comfortable you get leads to the shedding of that image, and there you are in your metaphorical jeans and tee shirt.

Give some reflection on how you think you need to appear and then notice how uncomfortable that is. Then start subtracting piece by piece and begin to experience your peace.

The mission is simple: Make comfort your new style.

All the best,


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April 8, 2015

Peevish People

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:54 am

C475183 mRather than list a bunch of pet peeves, I decided to go one step further and list the people who perform these acts as “people I don’t want to know.”

This isn’t an exhaustive list but could easily serve as the Top 10 of PEOPLE I DON’T WANT TO KNOW.

I don’t want to know you if . . .

1. You leave your grocery cart in the parking lot right next to your car and then pull away. What I pray is that someone else who does the same thing leaves their carriage near your car on a windy day.

2. You yell at your spouse/lover/significant other in public.

3. You list all the medications you are taking and want to talk about them.

4. You go door-to-door pedaling your religion.

5. You invented the Robocall.

6. You don’t flush toilets.

7. Your favorite movie is Rocky V.

8. You constantly argue for your limitations.

9. You drive in the passing lane at the speed limit.

10. You tell me you know how I feel.

I’m sure I missed a few, so don’t be shy and add some of yours to the list.

I’m guessing this listing says more about me and my prejudices than it does about the people who perform these acts. Either way, If you’re one of these folks, please don’t ask me to come out and play.

All the best,


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April 7, 2015

One Sentence

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:16 am

C785853 mI was watching a video yesterday about the future of photography. In there this person says that in the context of your work, you can be reduced to one sentence: Oh, he’s the guy that does (blah, blah).”

It occurred to me that this reductionism happens in life as well. “Oh, she’s the one who always complains.” “Oh, he’s the one with permanent rose colored contact lenses.” The descriptions can be as creative as you like but most of us can be reduced to a sentence – some positive, some negative.

The one sentence description is about the surface us – the persona we’ve adopted to interact with the world. What a limiting description.

Our depth cannot be described in a sentence; in fact, it can’t be described at all because it’s a feeling. I don’t know about you but I have yet to discover the collection of words that can describe a feeling.

Getting to your depth means getting past your labels. Your label is like the sticker on a box pretending to be the content of the box. You are not your label.

Perhaps you have a one sentence description of yourself. I submit that when you find it, you have found your limitation. Labels are limiting and take you in another direction besides depth.

Start noticing your descriptions of yourself. “Oh, I’m a person who . . .” Notice that your one sentence is a limitation and begin the process of not labeling yourself. Catch yourself in mid sentence and change course.

One phrase that will help you change course is one I learned about 25 years ago. It’s called, “In the past.” “In the past, I was a person who . . .” Once you notice you’re giving a limiting description of yourself, interrupt yourself and say, “in the past.” “I’m a person who’s always late” becomes “I’m a person who’s always (pause); In the past, I was a person who was always late.”

This interruption opens you up to options and the more options you discover, the more depth you’ll experience.

So if you’re hellbent on describing yourself, here’s a recommendation for a one sentence description that will lead you to more depth: “I’m a person who seeks more options.”

All the best,


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April 3, 2015

Paying for Mistakes

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:26 am

Pied piper jpgThe Grasshopper was channeling Captain Obvious the other night when he said, “Not paying for a mistake makes it more likely to happen again.”

If you haven’t yet paid a price for a mistake, you will get several more opportunities because the inevitable repetitions will set off an alarm at the piper’s house. (Cue the overused cliché: “Karma is a Bitch”).

If you have skated by, unscathed, up to this point, don’t be doing, as my mother used to say, “a fan dance” because the music will run out and there won’t be a chair for you.

The ideal remedy for avoiding future mistakes is to notice them before they happen again. That rarely happens. We usually aren’t aware until the mistake has happened again. The key is to notice the mistake while it’s happening, so you can correct it in midstream and have a better chance of not drowning in your own do-do.

“Paying” in this context is paying attention.

We all know what our mistakes have been and we’ve all knowingly repeated them. If you would like to get out from under a specific mistake start paying attention. That means you have to get off of auto pilot.

How many times have you had the same argument with someone? It goes the same place each time. You can avoid the mistake of arguing with them again by avoiding them but, that’s just not practical.

The next time the argument scenario comes up (yes, it will come up again), pay attention to how you are about to automatically react and just wait until that reaction passes by and select a different response. There are other responses waiting in line but we, in the past, have automatically selected our first one which causes us to respond in kind, which is anything but.

Start paying attention to how you respond. You have no say in what another person will say or do but you have the ability to notice what’s about to come out of you. Just noticing yourself about to go into reaction mode is often enough of a wedge to keep you from making a familiar mistake.

Noticing will trigger a bevy of other responses just waiting for their chance to come out and play, keeping the piper and his collection purse looking elsewhere for mistakes that pay.

All the best,


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April 2, 2015

Out of Focus

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

Untitled 1I was talking about photography on the phone yesterday when the Grasshopper snapped in and said, “You can’t focus on what you can’t see.” My chat partner said, “Wow, what a metaphor.”

When you’re in the dark about something, it’s truly hard to focus. Someone may offer you their most sage piece of advice but it won’t click if you remain in the darkroom.

What keeps us from seeing? Blinders, of course.

Blinders are learned attitudes and beliefs that haven’t seen the light of day.

I just watched the HBO documentary on Scientology. If you want to view some beliefs that become exposed when light is shined upon them, then you’ll benefit from watching.

We all have as many unsubstantiated and obtuse beliefs as the documentary shows about Scientology, but we rarely bring them out of the dark for inspection.

We certainly believe in things we can’t see, like the wind or gravity, but we can verify their results. That’s not the case with most of our beliefs.

Light is the tool of verification. Have the chutzpah to bring something you believe into the light and focus on it sharply. Then you’ll be able to see details that were missing while they stayed in the dark.

Don’t defend your beliefs if you can’t verify them. You can certainly hold on to them but defending them just makes you look silly. I’ve quoted my sage, hypnosis teacher Dave Dobson on this before but it bears repeating. Dr. Dave said, “Theory is bullshit and defending your theory is bullshit squared.” Just substitute “belief” for “theory” and you’ll get the same result.

Muster the courage to expose your beliefs to the light of day where you can focus on them, and you’re likely to see something new develop.

All the best,


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