- Thoughts for inspired living

October 26, 2016

Avoid the Bait

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:48 am

DebateAs election day approaches, I found this tidbit from The Grasshopper from moons ago that seems just as relevant today.

“End The Debate Before Your Life Ends.”

The debate you’re involved in will still go on long after you’re no longer involved, in fact, forever.

Debates are never won, just endured.

Somewhere along the way, I found that debating is just another way to stay stuck. It’s just us arguing to be right and as The Grasshopper reminded us years ago: “Some people would rather be right than happy. And preferring to be right, they are left out.”

It seems we are left out of life more often when we are involved in debate. When you boil it down, we are debating the way it “should” be according to our conditioned beliefs, our bible. We don’t enter a debate to learn anything new, only to defend something old.

Reminds me of a story . . . Some years ago, a family member that I don’t see that often attempted to engage me in a political debate. I, like you, had a point of view and so did he. He began by making assertions about a candidate I casually mentioned that I liked. I felt the hooks of debate sinking in and had watched enough of the TV talk shows to issue a litany of talking points that would have countered what he just said. Thankfully, I got the gift of awareness that I was about to engage in a debate that was going to go nowhere and said this: “You know, I could go down to any local bar and have this discussion with any stranger in there. What do you say, instead, that you tell me something new going on with you? I’d much rather hear about that.”

We had the most pleasant conversation and you could feel the life in each of us flowing back and forth, rather than it shutting down to defend the castle.

Avoiding the hooks begins with noticing. When you notice that you are about to enter a circular debate, that’s the time to throw in the clutch and wonder what else you could do or say. It gives you the opportunity to save the day rather that looking for another dragon to slay.

Arguing is life draining and, for many, it’s a way of life. My sense is that we argue to let people know we exist. It’s as though we are saying, “Notice me! I’m more than a bag of bones covered in skin.” I submit there are more life enhancing ways to get noticed than arguing.

Let your point of view be judged by your actions rather than your words. Put your life force into advancing your cause, not debating its merits. I’m only guessing here but I’ll bet Mother Teresa never defended her work; she just did it. I’m sure someone along the way said, “Why go into diseased villages and risk your health for people who are probably going to die anyway?” I also think it’s a good guess that she didn’t stop and argue her position. She was too busy living her life and conducting her life’s mission.

Debate is death by another name. My suggestion: If you want to do more living, engage in debate less often.

All the best,


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October 24, 2016

Reflection Gives Direction

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:28 am

BathtubHere’s one from The Grasshopper’s “Golden Grooveyard”:

“Reflection Is Different Than Thinking Things Over.”

“Thinking things over” means you go over and over the same territory; reflection offers an exit strategy to a remedy.

Many people like to do the “pro & con” thing – a benefits analysis of their current situation that needs a solution. That would work fabulously well if our decisions were made intellectually. Most of them are emotional decisions that we rationalize with our intellect after the fact. The key to removing both the pros and cons and the emotion from our decision making is to reflect.

Reflecting is letting go of thinking. Your thinking will take you to the same place it took you before, because thinking is repetitive.

Reflecting is recognizing you have a situation and not attempting to “figure out” a solution. Once you’ve recognized your difficulty and you’ve noticed that your thinking is taking you the same place as before, it’s time to reflect.

Reflecting begins with acknowledging there’s a resourceful part of you that will come up with an answer once you set your thinking about the situation aside. Then it’s time to let that part of you go to work. It works best when you are doing something else. Did you ever notice how often your “good” ideas come to you when you are otherwise occupied? – Taking a shower or bath, sitting in your favorite chair, walking the dog, washing the dishes or car, or some other way of occupying your time.

One of my favorite ways of reflecting is dedicating a specific task to solving my problem. Let’s say that before I take a walk, I dedicate that walk to coming up with an answer. During that walk, I purposely think of other unrelated things or pay careful attention to the things I encounter on my walk. That frees up the creative part of me to fully use its resources to work on my dilemma. It doesn’t need my help, only my absence of thinking about the problem.

When you focus your conscious attention elsewhere, you unleash your internal resources to go into “Mission Mode.”

Once you figure out you’re not the smartest person in the room, you turn things over to the part of you that is. That’s reflecting.

All the best,


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October 21, 2016

Remove the Quotation Marks

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:27 am

Here’s a “Flashback Friday” Grasshopper quote that cautions against serial quoting:

Orator“When You Only Cite, What You Are Saying Comes Across As Trite.”

I love a good quote and, like you, I have my favorites. Where a red flag goes up is when I experience someone who is forever telling me what someone else said. They may as well say, “My creativity is dead.”
Citing someone in your term paper or to punctuate a story you are telling is the spice that underscores the point. When your only point continually comes from someone else, it’s no longer your point; it’s theirs.

You could easily host a TV Show called “Shilling for Quotes.” You would have the polished facade of a game show host with the pearly smile and have nothing to say other than what you’re reading off a card.

My experience with someone who serially cites is that they are feeling hollow inside. There is no substance that they are drawing on, so they draw with someone else’s pencil.

Beneath this hollow surface is a treasure trove of unfiltered substance. It’s from there that authenticity springs.

I would rather experience someone’s depth than his or her depth of knowledge. I can’t Google their depth; I can only get it from them.

If you have nothing to say, say nothing. If you “think” you have nothing to offer, explore your depth and you’ll come up with something that’s originally you, not a collection of what everyone else has said that you put in a stew.

Your depth is further down than your pat answers. You have to dig past responses and rejoinders that you’ve offered a thousand times.

When you are offered a stimulus, wait for a response, one that’s deeper than the hollow ones you’ve been echoing. It’s then and there that you will discover you and find your own quote worth re-quoting.

All the best,


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October 12, 2016

Multi-Tasking is an Oxymoron

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:39 am

Rock climbing

Here’s a Grasshopper blast from the past on “Wayback Wednesday”:

“Whenever You Get Ahead Of Yourself, You’re Sure To Fall Behind.”

You can’t play the 18th hole of a golf course when you’re on the 16th
fairway. If you mentally start something else, while in the middle of what you’re currently doing, the present moment loses its biggest asset – Attention.

I can dream and daydream with the best of them, but when it comes down to getting results now, what’s right in front of me needs my full attention or I will slip up, and what I’m attempting to do will take so much longer.

If you are continually daydreaming just to escape, you’ll never escape the reality that’s right before you. It needs to be dealt with. The old expression “You can pay me now or you can pay me later” comes to mind. Escapism as recreation is fun. “What would I do if I won all that money in the lottery jackpot?”

If you are perpetually daydreaming that your gambling winnings will be your 401K, you have jumped the daydreaming shark and are at sea without a motor, sail or a rudder.

Getting ahead of yourself is ignoring what is staring you in the face. It’s still going to be there when the daydream comes to an end.

I just read a survey that found that 20% of young adults use their smartphones during sex. I guess I can state the obvious: “It’s not great sex if you text.”

Scattered attention is a pandemic and it’s getting worse. You can get a leg up on the rest of society by wrapping your arms around this: If you master your attention, you can master just about anything. You just have to be willing to give what you are doing your full attention.

When you notice your attention start to stray, stop what you are doing because there’s a good chance you are going to screw it up. Let your attention go wherever it wants to go and then when that escapade is over, bring it back to what you were doing. You will complete more things, more often when they have your full attention.

If you’ve bought into multi-tasking, you’ve purchased mediocrity and your results will bear that out. Yes, walk and chew gum at the same time, just don’t for a moment think that you can ever do two important things at once. One will always suffer at the hand of the other.

If you want to scatter focus and water down results, you already have the tried and true formula – attempt to do more than one thing at once.

If you’d rather have results, pay attention to attention – it’s the Holy Grail of what’s right here, not what’s beyond the pale.

All the best,


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October 10, 2016

Deep End of the Pool

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:34 am

Duck innertubeHere’s a Monday Memory from The Grasshopper:

“Reclaiming Our Depth Can’t Be Done In The Shallow End Of The Pool.”

It seems counter-intuitive but, in life, we move from depth to superficial. Getting back to our depth means giving up our “life preserver.”

The water wings of superficial will keep you floating on the top and you may never find your depth again until your floating device is punctured and you hit rock bottom.

We are born connected to our depth. We are conditioned out of it, and everything we pursue in life is an attempt to get that state of being back.

The problem is that depth is not found in the shallow end, and that’s where we spend the bulk of our life.

We long for that sense of completeness that’s always available but lives below the surface. We believe we can get to it by swimming towards yet another alluring horizon. That constant activity keeps us floating on the surface away from the treasures of the deep.

For many, it takes a dark night of the soul to reconnect to their depth. They find that superficial, no matter how much air has been pumped into it, has a gaping hole in the side. It becomes too hard to stay on the surface and depth patiently waits.

Sadly, depth may not be experienced again for many until they are facing physical death. Ask any hospice worker what people are reflecting about. Here’s a hint: It’s not about swimming with the sharks.

Depth will outwait superficial. You’ll eventually get there but may need to be politely nudged that it’s in your best interest to get there sooner. This much is for sure: Superficial has more sizzle than depth, but sizzle can’t satisfy.

Coming full circle back to depth completes you. It’s up to you whether you want a long or short swim to get there.

All the best,


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October 6, 2016

Believe it or Not

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:43 pm

See sawHere’s something to consider believing in from the files of The Grasshopper:

“Is or Isn’t are the Only Choices”

Something either exists or it doesn’t. If it does, it doesn’t need our belief in it to sustain its existence.

We all believe in stuff we can’t prove. Beliefs are conditioned mental patterns
that don’t pay attention to the reality of “is or isn’t.”

There may be a host of things we believe in still waiting to be proved. Think of poor Galileo who spent the last days of his life in prison because he claimed the Earth rotated around the sun. Beliefs, even when they are correct, can imprison you.

A worthy endeavor to do, just for fun, is to put your sacred cows to the “is or
isn’t” test. List a few of your fervent and casual beliefs and put a checkmark
next to it only if it can be proven to be “is.”

Gravity comes to mind. I believe in it and it is in the “is” category, so it gets a check. No sane person is arguing against gravity. Conversely, I don’t believe people are born “rude”; I believe they are conditioned that way. I’m certain there are knowlegable people somewhere who will cite studies that “rudeness” is in the DNA. As much as I would like to, I can’t put that belief of mine in the”is” column.

As stated in previous writings, reality has no opposite. It either is or isn’t. Is something real, or only real to you? That’s the test for is or isn’t. It doesn’t matter if you can line up friends and experts to make your case. If there are friends and experts with opposing views, you are arguing about beliefs or arguing “facts in a vacuum.”

What you will find is that most of your beliefs can’t pass the “is” test. That’s a clue for you to stop arguing for your beliefs. You can certainly offer them, but if you become argumentative, you have just joined in the ongoing conversation that goes nowhere.

It’s silly of me to think that people will stop arguing about things like politics and religion; it’s been going on for thousands of years. But what if my goal is not to reach all people but only you and me?

What would happen in our lives if we stopped arguing for what we can’t prove? My guess is we would make a space for connectivity and get a lot more accomplished. But I can’t prove that. You’ll have to test it yourself to find out if it “is or isn’t.”

All the best,


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October 4, 2016

Making Hope Possible

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:58 am

PossibleHere’s an entry from The Grasshopper’s Book of Definitions:

“HOPE: Expanding The Frame Of Possibility.”

When you offer someone hope, you are not handing them something tangible; you are expanding the frame through which they view their situation.
I have not been a big fan of hope in the past. The question I would ask “hopers” was: “If you spit in one hand and hope in the other, which hand will fill up first?” I will still ask that question, but only of people who are expecting someone else to do the work that they need to do.

The people who would not benefit from my question are the folks whose limited vision is causing them palpable distress. These are the people who can only see one outcome – usually the worst. They are the people who will benefit most by hope.

Many people who don’t have hope have lost the ability to do arithmetic. If there is a 3 in 10 chance of something happening, they either focus on a different equation – the 7 chances of it not happening, or they equate 3 in 10 with zero.

If you want them to have the solace of hope, you have to focus them on what’s possible.

Your job is not to change the ultimate outcome; that’s above your pay grade. Your job is to get them to see the whole frame rather than the dark corner they are laser focused on. This job entails getting your opinion out of the way as well. Your opinion of the outcome will taint your ability to provide hope. Just deliver the facts and deliver them with love.

Hope is a bridge from a desolate island to a land of possibility. Help someone build that bridge and you have given someone the intangible that can make life more livable.

Don’t ever offer false hope; it serves no one and can be smelled a mile away. But when there is a chance, make every effort to expand possibilities. The trip from hopeless to hopeful is paved with possibilities.

All the best,


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