- Thoughts for inspired living

April 28, 2016

Changing Your Past

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:16 am

SlappingThe Grasshopper offered this piece of wisdom about 4 years ago: “You can’t change your past, only update your response to it.” Here’s the back story:

What if you could touch up parts of your past and see them in a new light, wouldn’t that be helpful? It can be done even if you’re a lousy painter.

I learned a long time ago that we often respond not to “here and now” but to “there and then.”

How often have you had an inappropriate or over-the-top response to something trivial? Chances are it had nothing to do with here and now, but with the events of there and then.

I heard Dr. Robert Anthony back in 1975 say something that has stuck with me since: “You’re never upset for the reason you think.” “Never” may be too strong a word but the concept is accurate more often than not.

We respond to the conditioning that happened there and then even though our response has nothing to do with the current stimulus that’s happening here and now.

The key is to begin recognizing that your response often has nothing to do with the current stimulus you are reacting to.

Reminds me of a story that was all over the media a few years ago . . .
News anchor, Katie Couric, as the story goes, was slapping her news editor repeatedly on the arm for using a word she detested –”Sputum.” “I sort of slapped him around” Couric said to New York magazine. “I got mad at him and said, ‘You can’t do this to me. You have to tell me when you’re going to use a word like that.'” She went on to say, “I was aggravated, there’s no question about that.”

She didn’t come out of the womb with a reaction to the word “Sputum,” it was conditioned along the way. It was also highly reported on that she cared for her gravely ill husband until his death. One could easily hallucinate that her response to “Sputum” wasn’t about the story on tuberculosis she was about to report on, but rather episodes she had with her severely ill husband.

Whatever caused her conditioned response may remain a mystery, but it wasn’t the here and now story. Her response was about there and then.

What are you responding to as though it’s happening now, but is really about there and then? More stuff than you think.

So how do you retouch that old picture so it gets updated? Use a technique I learned from a dearly departed wizard of hypnosis Dr. Dave Dobson.

Find something from your past that you are still reacting to as though it’s happening now. Go back to that time in your mind, but go back as the person you are now. You have more insight now than you did then. It’s a more mature you going back to visit a scared, confused you.

The objective of this mild fantasy is to reassure the younger you that everything will be all right. Let them know you have survived that scary time and that you are going to help them forward. You are not painting over the picture; you are retouching their response to it by assuring your younger self that you are there for them every step of the way. Let them know they are not alone.

The result of this simple exercise is a more peaceful you, today. You can do the exercise a number of times and what you will find is that each time you do it, the “there and then” event releases its hold on you so you don’t respond as though it’s going on “here and now.”

You are not changing your past, just updating your response to it.

Retouching your life has a touching effect.

All the best,


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April 20, 2016

The Anemia of “Why”

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:28 am

Cotton candyThere may be a weaker, information seeking word than “Why” but, if so, I’m not aware of it.

“Why” is an anemic word and one that has been taught in Journalism 101 since the beginning of time. I believe it’s time to excise the word from the world of reality because it only works in the world of illusion.

Seems to me that the psychological counseling model is based on the premise of why. That’s probably “why” so few people get answers from that model. “Why” attempts to elicit rational answers for irrational behavior. That’s madness!

“Why” will always get you a “spun” answer. We will never run out of reasons to a “why” question. If you don’t think that’s an accurate statement, ask any teenager why they flunked a specific test. They can create excuses by the truckload, none of which will get you to an actionable answer.

If you’re seeking a lie, ask “why?”

“Why” will get you a story – one that has no information you can act upon.

If you like getting “cotton candy” answers, keep asking “why” questions because the answers you’ll receive will keep you on the circus grounds for a lifetime – where you’ll be treated to one side show after another, never getting to see the main event.

I hope I’ve sparked your curiosity as to why “why” is a waste of time and a giant delaying tactic towards taking action.

Paraphrasing poet Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Ours in not to reason why, ours is but to do or die.”

All the best,


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April 19, 2016

I Don’t Need The Practice

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:01 am

ViolinThere’s something I’m totally proficient at that I don’t need to practice anymore. I suspect you are too, yet we keep practicing.

If there was ever a more true assertion than “practice makes perfect,” I am not aware of it.

It’s hard for me to say I’m perfect at something without losing my false sense of humbleness, but here I am saying it and meaning it.

“Nobody’s perfect,” you say, but I say, “I am and so are you.”

“OK, Mr. Braggypants, what is it that you’re so perfect at and claim that I am too?”

Before I reveal the secret of perfection, let me remind you that you may keep practicing even after you discover that you don’t have to. We’re so conditioned to the practice that it’s hard to let it go.

One more thing: pretend you are a musical virtuoso. You are the world’s best at playing your instrument. You have practiced more diligently than most and the thought of giving up practicing is foreign to you, even though you now know it’s not in your best interest to do it any more. That’s how you may feel when I show you the ripe banana under the peel.

(Please cue the drumroll) The thing that I’m perfect at and so are you, the thing that we’re so practiced at that we no longer need to do, and the thing we’ll have a hard time saying, “fond adieu” to is this:

Railing Against Reality

Congratulations! You have perfected this skill and you’re world-class at it. Now the challenge for all of us is to stop practicing, so our skills will erode.

I never thought I would drink a toast to the erosion of skills but, hey, even old dogs learn new tricks.

Here’s the promise: If you give up practicing this practice, you’ll stop giving up your peace.

You give away a piece of your serenity every time you fuss and fume about what is.

Start small and, as an example, stop railing against the reality that dishes in the sink need to be washed. Do you really want to give away your peace because you have to use a tiny bit of elbow grease?

It gets easier from there and, as a result, you become less perfect.

So the remedy to railing against reality is to practice being less perfect at it. It not only calms the mind, it relieves the pressure from the the daily grind.

All the best,


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April 13, 2016

Unwanted Help

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:47 am

Help copyThe Grasshopper offered this helpful tidbit yesterday: “Most people with major problems need the help they don’t want.”

It’s easy to go to the world of abuses to see the wisdom of this observation: drugs, alcohol, overconsumption, etc. What’s not as readily apparent is the addiction to the idea, in other problem areas of our life, that we don’t need help.

Denial is the biggest demon I’ve encountered in this lifetime – personally and professionally. From my vantage point, denial that we aren’t in need of help is a global pandemic.

Sound solutions are available for most of our problems, but if we don’t acknowledge or recognize them, we don’t want help because, frankly, in our mind, we don’t need it.

One of the things I’ve developed over the years is a keen eye and ear for broadcast talent. I’m currently like the high school student of finance who picks an inordinate amount of winners and identifies a truckload of losers when doing mock stock picks. I know who is going to win and lose in broadcasting. I have a sense for up and coming stars as well as who will flame out. On one TV network alone, I predicted seven people who would go bust and three that would make it. This in a period of a year and a half.

This sense I get comes from the perceived attitude of these performers which suggests that they don’t need help. Most of the ones who were fired had an air of “I’ve arrived” about them but were in serious need of help to keep their new jobs. I can’t imagine I’m the only person who suggested they needed help. They, more than likely, heard it countless times but repeatedly ignored the counsel.

Having coached broadcast talent for a living, I can tell you there is a category of performer who thinks they are God’s gift to broadcasting who have very few gifts. They believed they didn’t need help to improve because they didn’t need improvement.

I was reminded the other day of an old piece of wisdom from writer Saxon White Kessinger called “The Indispensable Man.” She wrote:

Sometime when you’re feeling important;
Sometime when your ego’s in bloom
Sometime when you take it for granted
You’re the best qualified in the room,

Sometime when you feel that your going
Would leave an unfillable hole,
Just follow these simple instructions
And see how they humble your soul;

Take a bucket and fill it with water,
Put your hand in it up to the wrist,
Pull it out and the hole that’s remaining
Is a measure of how you’ll be missed.

You can splash all you wish when you enter,
You may stir up the water galore,
But stop and you’ll find that in no time
It looks quite the same as before.

The moral of this quaint example
Is do just the best that you can,
Be proud of yourself but remember,
There’s no indispensable man.

My version of her poem was more succinct and less tactful. I would offer these indispensable talents this: “If they can forget about Johnny Carson, they can forget about you.”

If you’ve heard it from a number of sources that you’re “that way,” and they’re suggesting that it’s getting in your way, may I suggest taking one of those helping hands before your denial, again, has you pay.

All the best,


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April 12, 2016

Wrong Place – Right Time

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:26 am

SafeI have never heard anyone say, “I was at the wrong place at the right time.” It got me to wondering if this location scenario exists. I believe it does.

Suppose you were at a 7-11 when it was being robbed. Luckily you were not hurt, but you did manage to purchase a winning lottery ticket while there. Seems that would qualify as “Wrong Place – Right Time.”

What about in life? What “wrong” place have you been in that produced a “right” time?

I don’t think there is a shortage of wrong places to be. We’ve all been in them on many occasions.

My realization is this: We’re always in the right place whether we label it “wrong” or not. Think about it. Where you are right now is the only place you can be. Yes, there are other places you could have been had you made different choices, but the choices you made brought you this place. It’s the only place you can be right now. And reality shows us that the only time there is, is “right now.” So now is always the right time.

Wrong doesn’t exist in reality – only in the man made rules of math.

You can only be where you are right now. You can lament that it’s the wrong place to be and you can cite all the wrong choices you made or the wrong set of circumstances that got you here, but that’s only useful when writing the story of your life after the fact.

Your job right now is to get yourself right regardless of the place you find yourself. You know what needs to be done. You’ve known it for a long time. This may be your last chance.

Getting right is your only chance of getting out of a wrong place.

Your best chance for staying wronged is to stand on a soapbox and argue that you shouldn’t be there. That will just attract a group of wrong minded people who will agree with you and vote for you. Your prize? You become the lifetime mayor of “Wrongedville.”

Getting right is your ship out of town. Right now is the only time to get on board and your passage requires leaving your wrongs behind.

Citing past circumstances will always take you back to harboring wrong. Getting right is noticing where you actually are now and setting sail in another direction.

Hanging on to wrong will always produce a noose. The way to loosen its hold is to right your ship and leave wrong in your wake, and discover that now is always the right time to leave a wrong place.

All the best,


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April 4, 2016

Transitioning to Reality

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:42 am

TransitionI tripped over an old Grasshopper Note that reminded me that it’s often quite useful to make the transition from one definition of a concept to another to get the broader perspective and benefit the new description delivers.

Accepting Reality Is An Oxymoron – Grasshopper

It’s right up there with accepting “A little pregnant,” “Acute dullness” and “Boneless ribs.”

Reality, pure and simple, is what happens. It’s an undisputed fact – The vase broke, the building burned down, my husband cheated.

We have bought into the notion that there is an action separate and apart from reality called “Acceptance of Reality” that’s necessary for reality to be validated. It would be like saying “I accept that all living human beings breathe” as a condition of breathing.

Reality doesn’t need acceptance; it needs recognition.

I recognize the vase broke is all that’s necessary.

We have built a false choice when we claim that we can or cannot accept reality. There is no choice. Reality happens.

You may or may not recognize that reality has happened, but that’s fixable with a few training aids – chards from the broken vase, ashes from the burned building, a detective’s pictures of your husband’s canoodling.

The notion that we have to talk ourselves into a position of acceptance is pure theater and keeps too many ineffective therapists employed.

Acceptance is a feeling about a fact. That has nothing to do with reality.

Acceptance is not for sale. It’s like the Christian concept of Grace; it will come, if and when it comes, on its own accord. No donation, stipend or cheerful chit-chat about acceptance acts as a catalyst.

I’m not lobbying for the term acceptance to go away; I’m attempting to have you mentally morph it into recognition.

Recognize, for example, that Self-Acceptance is really Self-Recognition.
One fact that keeps us in our own way is not recognizing that we’re in our own way. We keep looking away from the direction of reality.

Before you can get to a feeling of acceptance, you will have to begin to recognize, not judge, reality.

Many of my CDs, for marketing purposes, are advertised under the concept of Self-Acceptance, but they’re really about Self-Recognition, which leads us to the doorstep of acceptance.

One of the things I have you do on one of my CDs is to notice yourself, warts and all, without judging. There is power in recognition without recrimination. This is a practice of noticing reality which doesn’t require acceptance. The feeling of acceptance comes as a byproduct of recognizing reality.

Accepting reality is a difficult path to walk; recognizing reality is much easier and it’s the quickest avenue towards the feeling of acceptance.

Here’s the reality that will make you more accepting: Notice rather than attempting to accept.

All the best,


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April 1, 2016

Seeking Passion

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

CrowdIt seems to me that passion is like speed in football, either you have it or you don’t; it’s not something you can learn.

You can certainly discover passion but there is no step-by-step guide for learning it.

To me, passion is also like the Christian concept of grace. It’s not for sale and it comes when it comes, or not.

I’ve accomplished many things in my life with and without passion. I can say from experience that the accomplishments without passion have been the most exhausting endeavors I have ever undertaken. They sapped my energy. The things I’ve accomplished with passion were more easily attained and added to my energy level.

You certainly have had the experience of doing something where time disappeared and you forgot to eat. Whatever that was, it had passion behind it. You’ve also had the opposite experience where the hands of the clock seemed like they were glued in place. For me, that was school.

It seems that passion is tied to another elusive “P” word: Purpose.

By all accounts, it seems that when you find your purpose, passion naturally follows. So the shortcut to passion is to find your purpose.

Purpose can shift many times in a lifetime. For example, unless you’re an Irish family with children 25 years apart, raising children is a purpose that has past for most. Something else has to surface in the purpose department or your passion will wane and wash down the drain.

My guess is that one more “P” concept has to be put in place for you to discover purpose: Putting yourself out there.

Purpose doesn’t come-a-knocking on your cave’s door. It’s more likely to show up when you get out and explore.

You can certainly read about how the other half lives on the internet or in magazines or books, but that exposure deprives you of the thing that will lead to purpose – actual experience. Purpose has to be experienced, not dreamt about.

Exposure is the key to finding purpose. There’s infinite opportunity to find purpose but it can’t be found in the stale air of isolation.

I’m reminded of the old joke: “No man is an island but Eugene is a city.”

We have to get off our deserted island and find a more populated place to have a chance of discovering purpose. I can tell you from experience that you won’t find it by pulling the covers over your head again.

Put yourself out there and explore and stop waiting for purpose to knock on your door. Exposure leads to purpose which is something you can get passionate about.

All the best,


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