- Thoughts for inspired living

November 30, 2016

Notice Your Reactions

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:53 am

ArguingOh, is it “Way Back Wednesday” already? Just so happens I have a Grasshopper quote from “back in the day” that is just as useful today.

“Notice Your Reactions And You’ll Notice Your Patterns.

We are all creatures of habit and no more is that so than when we are reacting.
The way to outgrow a reaction is to notice it just before it is about to happen or while it’s happening. That’s a choice point. You are noticing your patterned reaction about to kick in or you are noticing it in midstream. Either way, you have an opportunity to make an alternate choice – one not so predictable or limiting.

We have a patterned way of reacting. Just notice your answers to the “What would you do?” type questions. A friend in a predicament asks, “What would you do if you were me?” Notice that you give a patterned answer. It may or may not be a valuable answer, but you can bet that it’s a reactive one.

You draw on your patterned way of doing things. That pattern has gotten you a certain percentage of victories and defeats. The percentage will remain the same throughout your life if your patterns remain the same.

When you begin to notice your reactions to things, you give yourself an opportunity to notice your patterns and grow. What is your reaction to a person from the political party you don’t support when they espouse one of their tried, true and “tired” talking points? How about the commercial on TV glowingly advertising a product you know is “crap.” What is your reaction? I have just cited two of my reactions; there are hundreds, if not thousands, more that I own.

The real question is: Do I own them or do they own me? Sadly, they own me until . . . I notice.

Do you want to be defined by a reaction? You already are because your reactions own you.

Do you want to be the stimulus or do you want to be the reaction?

If you want to be the reaction, do nothing and nothing will change. If you want to be the stimulus, you have to notice that you are reacting and interrupt that reaction.

We have to employ a third element in order to outgrow our reactions. We currently only use two – Stimulus and Reaction. Our whole life is on a predictable track until we notice. Noticing is the third element. It’s the switch that can put us on a new track.

You can continue to defend your reactions or you can notice and interrupt them and find out, with more certainty, if they’re worth defending.

It could just as easily be said: Notice your prejudices and you’ll notice your patterns. A prejudice is nothing more than a conditioned reaction.

You either want to grow or you don’t. If you do, start noticing the reactions that cause you to stew. It’s the first step in cooking up something new.

All the best,


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November 25, 2016

Tick Tock Rot

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:40 am

TimeHere’s a Grasshopper musing worth revisiting:

Ripening Is A Reality; Time Is A Concept

We are all aging. You can take that to the bank. “Age is just a number” we’ve often heard said. Yet, too many have become focused on how many minutes they’ve been alive or how many they have left until they’re dead.

Aging happens; time is an illusion.

We didn’t make up aging but we did invent something to explain it – Time.

It takes so many sunrises and sunsets to determine how ripe an apple is. The time it takes has nothing to do with the apple ripening. Aging is a process that happens all on its own, independent of whether we have a measurement or not.

An apple will come into this world, grow and decay without a clock in the orchard.

Moments can’t be measured in minutes. “We had a moment” often means time had stopped. We stopped measuring our experiences for a moment and just lived them.

Time is a useful invention. Where it becomes counterproductive is when we treat it as real. That’s when we cheat ourselves out of moments. How long was that unforgettable embrace? When you start to measure it, you come out of the moment and back into time where you clock watch from birth ‘til death.

The way to miss a moment is to time it. It feels so much better to live it.

Take a moment to live your moments and watch time go away. You’ll begin to live your life rather than measuring it day to day.

All the best,


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November 23, 2016

Sorry, You Are Responsible

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:20 am

ResponsibleAs we head into Thanksgiving, it may be valuable to reflect on this old Grasshopper musing that brings responsibility back home for the holidays.

Life’s Biggest Cop Out: I’m Not Responsible For Me

The truth is: We’re always able to respond. We just keep picking the response that says we’re not responsible.

What you do is on you. It’s that simple.

If we focus on our actions vs. our reasons, we see clearly that the onus is on us.

How much of our life is spent attempting to explain away our actions? It’s a diversion from ownership that keeps us renting reasons that have the strength of wet cardboard.

Spend some time around prisoners, people who have been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt, and you will see how rampant this universal denial of responsibility is in the face of hard, cold facts.

There is freedom that comes with responsibility. When we begin to own our actions, we start taking action to become unshackled from our lies.

Telling the truth is a response that releases us from copping out.

Take ownership of your response and you become responsible — something in short supply in a world steeped in cover stories.

It’s almost certain that if you lean in the direction of taking responsibility, you’ll take one on the chin. It’s often the blow we need to loosen our denial and finally own this un-refuted truth: I’m responsible for me.

All the best,


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November 18, 2016

How Important is “Important”?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:57 am

ImportantOn “Flashback Friday” I found this “important” concept from The Grasshopper: “Importance Only Exists In Our Mind.”

How many things are important? I’m sure you have a list. But did you ever stop to consider that importance doesn’t exist. It’s something we made up.

Just sample the assertions below and start to get a feel for the nonexistence of importance.

“It’s important that we go to work on this.”
“We are doing important work.”
“This is the most important issue of our time.”

Says who?

And how many debates have you been in about the importance of something? You were debating something that doesn’t exist: Importance. It’s just a concept in our mind.

How many other concepts are we in endless debate about? “Essential?” “Imperative?” “Fair?” “Right?” The list goes on forever.

Concepts mean different things to different people but we treat them as though they are solid things set in concrete.

I’m not lobbying for the eradication of concepts, just for the noticing of them. Notice that they aren’t real things.

I also have a suggestion about a phrase to use when discussing concepts. This phrase will end the debate about the universal concreteness of the concept and shine a light on what you are truly attempting to communicate.

The phrase is: “To me.”

“It’s important to me that we have this done by Friday.” “It only seems fair to me that we pay them the full amount.” “That feels right to me.”

By adding “to me” to the concept, you have taken the debate away from an illusionary concept and shifted the focus to your desires. It takes the conversation to a more personal level. You are no longer debating about something “out there” but rather something “in here.”

It takes some noticing and some practice to make concepts less concrete and more personal, and the effort is “worth it” to me.

All the best,


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November 16, 2016

Everybody Lies

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:45 am

TruthHere’s an old Grasshopper Note I found Lying around:

“How Useful is Your Lie?”

What do you know for sure that you’re not so sure about? Is there something you spout as “Truth” that you may be unknowingly lying about? Perhaps it’s time to separate truth from usefulness.

Let’s face it; most of our beliefs are a bunch of half-truths. That’s another way of saying that just because we believe something doesn’t make it true. Reminds me of a story . . .

My mother used to call visible pollen floating through the air “Money feathers.” Her claim was that if you grab it out of the air and put it into your pocket, you would come into money.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I still do that. I will also admit that after decades of doing this, I haven’t come into any windfalls. I no longer believe I’m going to come into money with this practice, but it is useful. I get to remember my mother every time I do it.

The question becomes: How useful is your truth? Are you using it as a wall of separation between you and others who don’t believe what you do? That’s not very useful. For example, do you have the one “true” religion? That creates a wall of exclusion between you and others who have their own religious truth.

The message here isn’t about religion; it’s about usefulness. How useful is your truth if you are alienating people with it even though you can’t validate it?

It’s time to recognize that our truths are half-truths. As The Grasshopper reminded us in the past: “Truth has no opposite.” If someone has an opposing truth, neither one of you has the real thing.

How many times have you heard, “If you put your mind to it, anything is possible”? There is too much evidence on the other side of that assertion (truth) that makes it a lie. But what if you believe that lie and succeed? Then your truth is useful.

More often it would be useful to hear people say, “Here’s what worked for me.” They aren’t wrapping it in the cloak of truth; they are just relating their experience. They aren’t saying, “This is the truth”; they are communicating, “This is what I did” minus the lecture about it being the truth.

Perhaps it’s time to inspect your truths and find the ones that are useful and retire the ones that only cause conflict. Here’s a hint that your truth is a lie: Anytime you hear you or someone else start a sentence with, “I’m a firm believer that such and such is the truth,” it’s a pretty sure bet that you are only hearing their version of the truth, not the truth itself.

From my vantage point, the only thing I can claim as truth is reality. Reality has no opposite. Learning to respond to reality rather than create alternate ones in our mind is one of the most useful things we can do, even though I can’t claim that what I just said is true.

All the best,


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November 15, 2016

A Reality Waiting To Happen

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:32 am

FreudI just read a story about a 4-year old who “accidentally” shot herself and her mother with a loaded handgun that was in a bedside drawer. I sense that even ardent gun rights people will say that it was a careless adult who set up a situation where an accident was waiting to happen.

This isn’t a treatise on proper use of firearms or the rights of people to own them. Please debate that somewhere else. The quibble I have is with the word “accident.”

Let me backtrack to my radio broadcasting days for a moment. It was around 20 years ago that traffic reporters stopped using the word “accident” and replaced it with “crash.” “There is a 4 car accident on Route 95 north” became “There is a 4 car crash on Route 95 north.”

It was more descriptive of the incident and took the fluffy word “accident” out of the conversation.

“Oh, Billy had an accident in his pants.” No, Billy took a dump in his underwear is a more accurate description.

The word accident has come to mean it’s no one’s fault.

The word “reality” is not fluffy. Reality communicates that it either happened or it didn’t, and it doesn’t ascribe or absolve blame.

In my view, keeping a loaded handgun in the nightstand in a house with children is a reality waiting to happen. It’s not an accident. No one is absolved from creating this reality.

Again, my intention is to get you curious about the word “accident” and how it has become an excuse word in our culture. I encourage you to monitor your use of it and notice how often your intention is to shift blame and not to confront reality.

I’m not a big fan of Sigmund Freud and his philosophy but he did say something worth repeating: “There are no accidents.”

You’ll start to get a firmer grip on reality and personal responsibility when you hear this announcement on the supermarket loudspeaker: “Clean up on aisle 4,” and know it wasn’t an accident.

All the best,


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November 9, 2016

Post Election Musing

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:43 am

Chocolate  VanillaThe following Grasshopper observation was just as relevant after the election of George Washington as it is today:

“Pick One: Be Right or Be Happy”

Lots of us have an investment in being right. I just wonder if we ever did the arithmetic on how much happiness it costs us.

There is an old axiom in product sales: Price/Quality/Speed. You can only have two.

– If you want price and speed, quality will be sacrificed.

– If you choose price and quality, it will take a bit longer.

– If you want quality and speed, you will pay a hefty price.

My experience is we pay a hefty price for being right. I’m certain there are times when we are both right and happy, but I’m just as certain those times are as rare as “Steak Tartare.”

So, basically, if you want one, you have to give up the other. So what do you want? Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy? You can’t have both.

It may surprise you that many people cling to being right even when faced with the reality that they can’t have both. Somehow, they think they are special and that reality will give them a pass and allow them to have both. They suffer.

“But I’m right,” you argue. That argument will continue for a lifetime with little happiness in between.

Some years ago The Grasshopper reminded me, “Some people would rather be right than happy. And preferring to be right, they are left out.” It remains truer now than ever before. There is a lot of heel digging going on and happiness has turned on its heel and left town.

The price of happiness is giving up being right. I, like you, have numerous Facebook friends who post the “right” thing constantly. Sadly, they aren’t very happy people. Some of my most unhappy times had me being right more often than not.

I’m not suggesting that you give up your point of view; I’m suggesting that you needn’t be so right about it. How many arguments have you had about being right? Years later, you may forget the content of the argument but you won’t forget how right you were.

Right is a repellent. My mother used a great phrase when she was at odds with someone and knew that it wasn’t going anywhere. She would end being right by saying, “I guess that’s why they make chocolate and vanilla.”

Are you willing to sacrifice being right to become happier? There is no right or wrong answer, only consequences.

All the best,


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November 8, 2016

Believe It or Not

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:55 am

ElectionThe following classic Grasshopper Note has nothing to do with election day . . . or does it?

Beliefs Get Results

Before you go and put The Grasshopper’s words on a bumper sticker, let me caution you that you may not like the results.

Most of us have heard that we act in accordance with our beliefs. Best as I can tell, that’s pretty close to the truth. What we may not be aware of are the results our beliefs deliver.

If you pretty much find yourself in the same hole over and over again, you can bet it’s the result of a belief you have. The converse is also accurate: If you find yourself in a place of peace over and over again, it’s the result of a belief.

Ask any person you consider to be serially “lucky” and you will find a belief in luck. They filter their experience for luck. The same is true for “the glass is half empty” person. They will continually find life to be half empty. It’s the result of a belief.

If beliefs get results, the question you want to be asking is: “Are my beliefs getting me the results that I want?”

Warning: We steadfastly hold dearly to our beliefs in spite of overwhelming evidence they aren’t getting us the results we want. It’s like trying to keep from drowning by holding onto an anvil.

Socrates left us with an assertion worth pondering: “The unexamined life is not worth living.” It could easily be extrapolated that his saying equally applies to our beliefs.

What results are you consistently getting that you can tie back to a belief? Our belief about money is one that’s most apparent to me in our culture. Reminds me of a story . . .

I used to work for a man who had an uncanny knack for making money. Some would call him “Lucky” but his good fortune went deeper than random luck. What I found after having numerous conversations with him on the topic was that he had a belief that he deserved to make a lot of money. I remember jokingly saying to him that he could parachute nude into an unfriendly country with a derogatory saying about that country’s leader tattooed on his chest and, within a week, he would own a business there.

Beliefs get results.

What results are you getting? Are you willing to examine your beliefs?

I know people who get what they pray for and I know just as many who don’t. What’s the difference between the two? The successful ones are the people who examine their beliefs and bravely let go of the ones that are taking them down.

You have to be willing to entertain that you’re wrong about something, even if you’ve shouted its merits from the rooftops your entire life. Willingness opens the door to inspection. From there, it’s pure deduction. Either your belief is working for you or it’s not.

True or False? Your life is pre-destined. It is if you believe it is; it’s not if you believe it’s not.

Are you willing to do what’s necessary to get the results you want? It’s a matter of belief.

All the best,


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November 1, 2016

The Addiction to Superficiality

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 11:36 pm

RootsI came across a quote from the Persian Poet Rumi that gives insight to why superficiality never satisfies.

“Maybe you are searching among the branches, for what only appears in the roots.”

It seems to me that during the first half of life, what I affectionately refer to as the “trip out,” we branch out and scour the earth for things to add to ourselves. We add beliefs, labels, titles, partners, possessions and a whole host of shiny objects that are supposed to complete us. But most of them never can.

Once we turn the corner and start the “trip home,” we begin to drop off some ideas and things that once seemed so meaningful and recognize these subtractions for what they were: superficial. In the process we begin to discover our roots and leave our addiction behind.

It’s a hard turn going from out to in because the artifacts of out, because of our conditioning, seem so necessary. The whole notion of “keeping up with the Joneses” is on a snapping branch that falls to earth where we get closer to our roots.

Our addiction to the notion of what’s “out there” as being the answer to our problems is so embedded in our conditioning that we rarely question its validity. We are addicted to addition. We become so top heavy with superficiality until we can’t bear the weight any longer and fall to the ground where our trip out grinds to a halt.

We have to lighten our load in order to start the trip back – back to who we are without all our labels and possessions. The trip home is the road to recovery where we find ourselves in the roots.

Your longings aren’t for the next new things to add; they’re for the feeling that’s only possible in the rich soil of the roots.

The way home begins with subtraction. Drop off superficial additions one-by-one and notice how you begin to feel more warmth from the sun.

Going home is going back to our roots where we find what we’ve been looking for all along – our depth.

All the best,


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