- Thoughts for inspired living

September 22, 2015


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

Gutter cleaningThe Grasshopper had a unique take on accomplishment: “Getting past what you don’t like.”

I’m sure even someone as sainted as Mother Teresa had people she didn’t like. That didn’t keep her from accomplishing things.

Too often we get stuck on what we don’t like and as a result accomplish a lot less.

I had the good fortune to be the manager of highly skilled radio performers for 12 years. I can assure you that there were some people I didn’t like and many more who didn’t like me. If we were to be successful, we had to get past our dislikes and focus on the common goal: Accomplishment.

When we did that, we accomplished a lot. When we didn’t, not so much.

Whether we’re working as part of a group or on our own towards accomplishment, we will be faced with people and things we don’t like. If we get sidetracked by the noise of contention, we miss the opportunity towards ascension.

I don’t like cleaning rain gutters, but if them being clogged is backing water under my roof shingles and threatening to ruin my ceilings with water damage, I’m on a ladder with a bucket scooping out some of the slimiest, bug infested crap you’ll ever encounter.

There will be plenty of things you don’t like in life. If you retreat from them all, your level of accomplishment will stall.

One school of thought on the road to accomplishment is to do the hardest task first. Do an assessment of what needs to be done in order to accomplish what you’re after and then take on the most disliked task first. The strategy is this: “If I can do that, what could possibly stop me now?”

I find this strategy works best for me. When I put off the hard stuff, it looms like a cloud over my mission and distracts me from performing well even on the easier pieces. Putting off what I don’t like also acts as constant energy drain.

Start small and work your way up. Most people have a pattern for emptying a dishwasher: plates, glasses and cups, silverware. Personally I find sorting the knives, forks and spoons to be the hardest for me. If I save that task for last, it cloud covers the whole experience. When I do it first, the entire task seems to go faster and I have a feeling of accomplishment at the end.

What you don’t like is not an impediment to success; it’s a building block that’s best used at the foundation. I wonder how soon you can accomplish getting past what you don’t like.

All the best,


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September 18, 2015

Problems – Solutions

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:57 am

Horse to water 2The Grasshopper had this to say yesterday: “If there are no problems, there are no solutions.”

It seemed a bit cryptic to me until I let it settle for a bit.
Here’s what I interpret it to mean: If I don’t think I have a problem, then no solution is necessary.

Here’s my experience: People with problems who don’t recognize them as problems will not seek a solution. It may be clear to anyone but them that there’s a problem, but until they recognize it, there is little hope a solution will ever be found.

How do we get them to notice and acknowledge there’s a problem? I wish I knew. It’s especially upsetting if the person is close to you.

I can tell you from experience that repeatedly telling them there’s a problem is ineffective. After a while, it just engages their polarity response to your assertion. So what can you do?

Again, I don’t have an answer but I know the answer that doesn’t work – “facting” them to death. They’re smart enough to take in the facts you’ve repeatedly offered. They’ve just chosen to discount, deny or ignore them.

I also know from experience that you’re not going to change anyone who doesn’t think they need to change. The change has to come from them. The reality mindset that we have to evolve to for our peace of mind in these situations is this: They will either change or they won’t.

You’ve led this horse to water too many times to count and they have yet to bathe in your pond of reflection. The only mindset that will work for you and me at this stage is to accept their rejection.

They will figure it out or they won’t. That’s the reality we refuse to face. It’s not giving up; it’s finally giving them the un-opinionated space to figure it out on their own, or not.

Helplessness is our most overwhelming fear. To outgrow that feeling it’s helpful for us to recognize that we will never change anyone who doesn’t want to be changed because it’s totally up to them to get their life rearranged.

All the best,


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September 17, 2015

Spidey Sense

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:46 am

Spider 1 2I took over three hours of my life to watch a presidential debate last night that seemed anything but presidential, and it really wasn’t the fault of the candidates.

The framework the network (CNN) set up was not to highlight what the candidates’ positions were, but more so an attempt to pit them against one another. Those differences will come out on their own during the natural course of a debate, but to set it up like an MMA event takes presidential politics deeper down a rabbit hole than need be, and leaves us more in the dark.

Even though the network was more concerned with making the debate more bombastic than informative by arranging a few guaranteed car wrecks to ogle, I didn’t get hooked.

It’s because I have a different way of responding to candidates than most people I talk to. I really am not initially evaluating them on their positions, their appearance, their command of the King’s English or their facts. I simply get a feel for the person. Their positions and politics come much later for me.

A person will communicate everything you need to know about them when you pay attention to the sensations you get in your body when you see them. A great way to do this experiment is to record any unscripted event on TV, where you don’t know any of the participants, and watch with the sound turned down. You could be watching a session of the British Parliament on C-SPAN or an episode of Judge Judy. It really doesn’t matter. What matters are the sensations you get. I call it our “Spidey Sense.”

Then, re-watch the the recorded show with the sound turned up and see how spot on your impressions were.

This Spidey Sense method is not judging a book by its cover; it uncovers what people are communicating at an other-than-conscious level which will always be more trustworthy than any opinion you form about their spoken delivery.

Networks know you will get sidetracked by the sideshows. That’s why they arrange for them to happen. It’s great for ratings. Basically they set it up so that the event panders to your prejudice and gives you little chance to get any substance or appreciation for a candidate you may not be rooting for.

I invite you to pay more attention to your unfiltered sensations than you do to your prejudices and you’ll discover your inner Peter Parker.

All the best,


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September 16, 2015

Informing Your Position

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:50 am

Know it allI had a phrase pop into my head the other day: “Informing your position.”

Upon reflection, it initially seemed to be about an issue of time management but then morphed into “defending our limitations.”

The time management issue boiled down to this question: How much time do we spend looking for evidence for a position we’ve taken? “A lot” was the answer I came up with.

Oftentimes we take a position on something that we know very little about and then go looking for evidence so that we can defend our limited knowledge.

We only search in one area – the area that will support our position. That’s a limitation.

A successful coach in sports or in life is going to help you improve your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. If you are only looking to build up your strengths, you will eventually be taken down by your shortcomings.

“Informing your position” is a weakness. Finding out where you are weak and improving upon it will move you further forward than working on what you already claim to know.

Is a drunk leaning on a lamppost for illumination or support? Are you leaning on a position that will expose your limitations? My guess is “Yes,” especially if you’re not willing to find out where your weak link is.

Informing your position has you go to only one well. That’s not only limiting, it’s a guarantee to remain uninformed.

The best negotiators know all the positions before they even begin to dicker. They spend more time investigating your position than they do their own. Their position is second nature to them; yours is a puzzle that needs to be solved, in advance.

Defending our limitations has become a national and global pastime. My thought is this: It’s well past time to stop informing our position and start making the effort to become more informed.

All the best,


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September 15, 2015

The Dream of Self-Doubt

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:46 am

NightmareIt occurred to me in a daydream that self-doubt is a dream. So is self-confidence and “self” anything else.

All the “selfs” are mind based dreams – meaning they’re a collection of made-up thoughts, nothing more.

I hate to call on the tried and true again, but old Abe Lincoln was pretty spot on when he said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their mind to be.”

Most of us dream up self-doubt after a couple of failures. Imagine if we did the same thing when we first started to walk or talk.

I’ll be the first to admit that no matter how much confidence we dream up, there are certain things we just can’t do – like me beating Tiger Woods at golf. If he had the flu and a broken arm, he’d still win. I have legitimate self-doubt concerning that match.

But how much of our self-doubt is just something we dreamed up without a lot of evidence? We’ve replayed our fantasy so many times to ourselves, that we believe it must be real.

Reminds me of a story I’ve told before . . . Our family used to take a vacation to the beach every summer. It was something we could afford according to my calculations. But we had never gone to Disney World. That according to my dreamed up calculations was way too expensive. I was doubting without evidence.

I guess I got curious enough to poke past my doubt and visited a travel agent. As it turned out, we could take the family to Disney for the same money we spent going to the beach. I woke up from my dream about self-doubt.

The question you may want to explore is: “What have I dreamed up, without much evidence, that keeps me doubting?”

Once you isolate an answer, you can take on that endeavor with your eyes wide open this time, rather than walking around in your self-doubt, sleep walking trance.

If you dreamed up self-doubt (and you did), you can dream up something new that won’t get in the way of what you want to do.

Yes, there will be work involved to do what you desire but the major step that has to come first is to wake-up from the dream of self-doubt.

And finally, about this there can be no doubt: Self-doubt is a nightmare that isn’t real.

All the best,


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September 14, 2015

No Surprises

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:51 am

The GrasshoppJaw droper offered this over the weekend: “There are no surprises, only reality.”

I had to mull that one over a bit before I could garner any insight.

“I’ve been surprised, so there are surprises in my world” was my first thought. Then it hit me that “surprises” are just interpretations of reality. Just like “good news” or “bad news” are interpretations of reality.

Every moment is made up of reality and reality contains every interpretation – including surprises.

It should come as no surprise that reality will visit every moment and many of those moments will contain what we call surprises. But we tend to deny that reality when we make declarations that defy reality.

“I’m never going to cut myself again.” “I’ve had my last mosquito bite.” “I can eat just one Lays potato chip.”

Then we act surprised when we’re looking for a band-aid to nurse our new wound.

Here’s a reality that may seem surprising to some: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” There are no surprises in that scenario, only predictable realities.

Don’t act surprised when you are faced with a predictable reality; it will just show your stupidity.

Denial of reality is the biggest cause of surprises.

What is real that you’re in denial about? It’s a sure bet that if you don’t take time to “get real,” you’ll suffer an unsurprising bite in the ass and claim you didn’t know it was coming.

Maybe it’s time to throw yourself a “Reality Party” and surprise yourself that you can have a different effect on your future.

All the best,


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September 11, 2015


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:31 am

FireplaceWhere do you find comfort? What a great question to explore.

I watched Stephen Colbert interview Vice President Joe Biden and it was crystal clear to me or anyone paying attention that the Vice President, who has seen more than his share of personal tragedy, draws a lot of comfort from his faith.

For some people, faith leaves them cold. They find comfort elsewhere.

The where isn’t important; the finding is.

We all need to be comforted. Even the most stoic among us, need a shoulder to dampen or a safe haven to go to when storms are swirling.

Here’s what I have learned from experience: If you are forever lobbying for your method of comfort to anyone who will listen, you really haven’t found comfort; you just talk about it.

I have yet to encounter anyone who has knocked on my door proselytizing who was coming from a place of comfort. My sense is that they are still seeking it and peddling something they don’t own.

I find the people I’m most comfortable around are the ones who are comfortable within their own skin. Their comfort has a way of generating comfort within another.

Here’s a suggestion: If you are seeking comfort, hang around people who are comfortable. It will begin to rub off. If they’re famous and inaccessible, read their works; watch their videos – the effect is the same.

13 years ago I had the following experience that I’ve written about before which addresses one way of offering comfort:

“I was attending a 7 day workshop where there were two days off in the middle to process the teachings. One of the off days was to be a day of silence. You were asked not to speak for an entire day. You had to interact with the world and your classmates without speaking for a 24 hour period. One of the women came to our cabin to visit on one of the off days and it was my day for silence. She had her day of silence the day before and was able to speak. She began to chat on about this and that and then began to offer up a painful situation in her life. I listened with curiosity at first and then shifted into a state of presence where I had no internal chatter of my own – just full attention to her and the moment. The results were extraordinary. She had a bout of tears and an emotional release and then came over and gave me a big hug. She said she hadn’t felt this good in 10 years. What did I do? I offered no sage advice. I just provided a space she could rest in.”

Just to be clear, comfort isn’t anything like numbing yourself; that just delays your discomfort and has it come back stronger.

Finding your place of comfort is really finding yourself – the you beneath all the window dressing. Once you discover that, you’ll find comfort wherever you are.

All the best,


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September 9, 2015

Drained by Complain

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:13 am

ComplaintsRan into a neighbor on my morning dog walk yesterday. Her greeting was as follows: “It’s not so bad in the shade.” I replied, “It’s not so bad in the sun either.” That started her on a mini rant about how she didn’t like the hot weather.

I have no issue with hearing peoples’ weather preferences; I am a bit taken aback when someone’s opening salutation is a complaint. To quote my sainted mother: “Not a hi, hello, kiss my ass or anything.”

I have as many complaints as the next person but also have enough awareness that offering them up to you in a casual setting isn’t going to discharge the angst associated with them.

I avoid complainers like the plague. They sap my energy.

Allow me to define “complainers” as those who complain in just about every encounter.

“You have to have something more worthwhile to talk about than this drivel you’re spouting” is my complaint inside my head. I just don’t let that complaint out there for public consumption too often.

Like I said, we all have complaints but when you consistently lead with yours, I’m headed off in another direction. If I’m in a situation where I can’t leave, I’ve learned to politely nod and do Sudoku puzzles in my head.

If the irony hasn’t hit you yet, I’m complaining about complainers. I promise that I won’t blog about it every time.

All the best,


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September 7, 2015

Competing with the Past

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

SeeDrunkms to me that competing with the past is not a clear cut or winning strategy.

It’s not clear cut because our vision of the past is opaque – clouded by forgetfulness of what really happened combined with the rose colored glasses we choose to remember it through.

Attempting to create something better than an airbrushed past will leave us with an unsatisfying present and a future filled with past mistakes.

We are attempting to compete with a fantasy that our current skills can never match. We can never match or top our memory of the way it was because it was never really that way to begin with.

Good old days remembrances are quite fun for a class reunion, just like dressing up on Halloween as someone who you’re not is fun for a night. After that, it’s pure drama that won’t stand up to the scrutiny of the morning light.

“I want to be better than I used to be” is a noble goal. But you’re apt to make more progress if you change your mission to: “I want to be better than I am now.”

Now doesn’t suffer from distorted memories; it only has the data present that’s here now. I’m reminded of the words of NFL, Hall of Fame, football coach Bill Parcells who responded to the following statement with his legendary present day reminder.

Player who just lost a football game: “We’re a better team than this.”

Parcells: “You are what your record says you are.”

“Where am I now?” is the best assessment we can make to move us forward. Going back has us competing with a mythical legend that we have muddied memories of. That strategy keeps us mired in the muck – translation: Stuck.

“Here’s where I am and here’s where I want to go” is an attitude that will get you there quicker – more so than the game plan of a person at a bar, late on a Tuesday night, remembering how great they were through the filter of liquor.

All the best,


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September 1, 2015

Hearts or Minds

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:03 am

HeartThe Grasshopper had an interesting question this morning: “Would you rather change minds or hearts?”

It seems to me that changing minds is an ego trip; changing hearts takes someone to a deeper place.

If I want you to change your mind about something, it usually becomes a battle of wills. That’s usually a standoff. We both win some, we lose some, and after protracted battles, no ground is gained. It’s really a fight about who’s right.

Notice that often when someone else is proven “right” and you’re “wrong,” you still mentally stick to your guns, regardless of the evidence. Look no further than the parent/teacher conference. “My son would never do such a thing.”

So you’re not going to change too many minds in this lifetime, so your efforts are better served going after the heart of the matter.

How do we go about changing hearts? I wish I knew.

I’m not sure how to do it but my sense is that it’s the pursuit of hearts that will get you closer to more hearts. How does one pursue hearts? I’m not sure past setting the intention.

One idea that came to mind is to lead by example. If you’re preaching something, make sure your life is an example of it. Your example will change more hearts than any manufactured rhetoric you can come up with to change minds.

“Do as I say, not as I do” is an attitude that won’t send any hearts aflutter, it will just cause you to politely nod and under your breath to mutter.

One of the reasons most people fail miserably at sales is because they don’t believe in the product. They are attempting to change minds about something which their heart is not in. That attitude cannot be disguised by any slick pitch.

A quick story may be helpful . . .

In the past, I have not been a fan of popular golfer, Phil Mickelson. He’s a fan favorite but something about him had always rubbed me the wrong way until . . .

He won the tournament known as The Masters in 2010. I had seen him win this prestigious tournament once before, but his stellar play and comments after that round did not win me over.

Upon winning The Masters in 2010, his wife and little daughters were there to give him hugs and kisses. I should note that his wife was going through breast cancer treatment at the time and was bedridden all week. I’m sure it took a lot of effort for her to travel from California to Georgia to be there for the final round. Then he grabbed my heart. As I wrote back in 2010:

“After Phil put in the final putt and sealed the victory, he briefly exalted, hugged his caddy, shook hands with his playing partner and headed off the course to sign his score card. It’s there that he saw his wife and leaned down and hugged and kissed her. It was one of those embraces where neither one wanted to let go. It was a powerful, emotional moment caught on camera.

He had just won one of the most prestigious tournaments in golf but he spent his glory moment demonstrating what was important (to him).”

Phil won my heart through example. I wonder how soon we can all be better examples and win more hearts than minds.

All the best,


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