- Thoughts for inspired living

December 30, 2016

The Prison of Change

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:33 am

PrisonerAre you a prisoner of change? If so, carefully read the words of The Grasshopper from just a couple of years ago.

“People Are Who They Are, Not Who We Want Them to Be.”

How much time have you wasted wanting someone to be who they aren’t?

In the spirit of full disclosure, one expression that I bristle to almost every time is: “That’s just the way I am.” That’s just not accurate. That’s just the way you have been conditioned.

So the way people are is a result of their conditioning and wanting them to be different will take a whole lot of time and effort. It’s worth that investment if the people you’d like to recondition are your growing children, but once they become, as my mother used to say, “big and ugly,” the odds for success are diminished greatly.

In the case of changing adults, I’m reminded of an old joke. “You can lead a horse to water but keep in mind what a wet horse smells like.”

If you want to smell like barn animals all the time, keep trying to change people, especially the ones who don’t want to change.

How many heartfelt conversations have you had with the family drunk? Do you think the next one is going to work any better?

“I just can’t accept their behavior.” That’s fine, but you’ll have to accept this: You will not change them. The desire to change will have to come from them.

No one is going to change you but you. Someone or something may open your eyes to a new way but it’s you that has to do the work. I believe that every therapy session would work better if they all began like this: “After we do all our work together, it’s still your problem to solve.”

Prison doesn’t change a criminal; otherwise we wouldn’t have such a high recidivism rate. The changed prisoner is one who discovered that his way wasn’t working and decided to change his ways.

The underlying, crumbling foundation of our penchant to change others is this: “If they were more like me, they would be better off.” No, they’d just be more like you. To be more of who they can be will have to be something they decide on their own.

If you’re looking for a hobby that takes up all your free time and doesn’t deliver any rewards, try changing people. If, on the other hand, you’d like to have a lot more success, work on changing yourself.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 29, 2016

New Year, New Direction

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:21 am

BlabbermouthSome years ago The Grasshopper asked a probing question:

“What’s The One Thing That Changed Your Life For The Better?”

It’s out of character for “His Hopper-ness” to ask a question but this one is so worthy of reflection.

What is the one thing? Was it an event? Something you saw? Something someone said to you? Something you read? Or even a scene from a movie.

What is it that got you moving in a different direction than you were heading? You may have several examples but my request is to distill them down to one major turning point.

It’s not like you were searching for this answer but POW there it was in an instant and dead center in the bull’s-eye.

I have several that instantly opened my eyes to new directions, some from my career in radio and some from authors and workshop leaders. For example, I interviewed for a radio job in the late 70s and the program director, after listening to my audition tape, asked if I was attempting to imitate a popular broadcaster of the time. I replied, “Yes.” His words that changed my direction were short and to the point. He said, “As hard as you try, you’ll never be him. But as hard as he tries, he’ll never be you.” From that moment forward, I found and developed my own style.

But if I had to boil it down to the one thing that changed my life, it was a question from Jerry Stocking just a few years ago. I was attending a 5-day workshop he was conducting and I can’t remember what I said, but what he said back to me I’ll never forget. He asked, “What is your purpose in speaking?”

In an instant, it became apparent to me the amount of purposeless speaking that permeated my life. Up until that point, opening my mouth and letting words fall out without purpose was the norm rather than the exception for me. In a moment, it became crystal clear how much can be left unsaid, leaving what is said more purposeful.

I encourage you to find your own examples and your “one thing.” It’s valuable to reflect on it from time to time to remind yourself that there is always something or someone serendipitously waiting to assist you to move in a new direction. This reflection may just open your eyes and ears to the next “one thing.”

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 27, 2016

This is No Joke

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 12:23 am

ImprovThe Grasshopper dug into his old stand-up act and came up with this:

“Vibrant Life Requires Improv.”

Want to improve your life? Apply improv.

The common reaction that we have to real life (Reality) gets us the same thing we got before – a stale, stuck-in-the-mud existence.

Vibrant life requires learning a lesson from the theatrical practice called improv.

The basic premise of improv is that you take what is offered to you and run with it. Improv takes you in a new direction – one that may never be arrived at if you dig in and rail against the offering. The vibrancy of life comes to a screeching halt when you refuse what it offered to you.

“A Rabbi and a Priest walk into a bar” is what the improvisational comedian is offered. He/She doesn’t respond, “No, they shouldn’t go into a bar”; they offer the next sequence of events – something that advances the story forward. Vibrancy requires forward movement.

The minute you refuse what life has offered you, you are stuck in a stale routine. Notice I didn’t say that you have to like what reality has offered, but for vibrant life to return, it’s necessary to take what reality has dropped in your lap and offer a forward response.

It seems obvious to say that moving backwards delays any forward movement, but that’s exactly the direction we head when we violate the rules of improv.

We have become experts in justifying our staleness. That practice won’t deliver any laughs, only the sad reality that the joke’s on us if we refuse to move forward.

This observation is not meant to trivialize or deny what has happened to you; it’s to shine a light on the only way forward – Improv.

You will stay right where you are, perhaps drowning your sorrows with the Rabbi and Priest, until you find life’s vibrant salvation – Improv.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 21, 2016

Dear Santa

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:24 am

Mr and mrs claus
Dear Santa,

It’s me again, Little Johnny (LJ).

I’m not too sure what to ask for this year, so surprise me.

Some of my items seem to be too much for you to fulfill, so if you want to farm them out, I understand.

Can you call the NFL TV stations and beg their announcers to stop pronouncing “Route” as “Rout”?

While you’re at it could you train all TV broadcasters to pronounce the word “Forward” correctly? Too many of them say “Foe-ward” and hearing that is worse than getting coal in my stocking.

Finally, as you know, I live in Rhode Island (Little Rhody). I’m imploring you to put something in the water that has local people stop calling road tar “Ash-fault.”

Again, I’m not sure these requests are in your area of purview, but any assistance would be most appreciated.

All the best to you and the Missus,


P.S. Low fat milk and gluten free cookies are the rage this year. Hope you enjoy them.

Be Sociable, Share!

December 20, 2016

Sugarplums Gone Sour

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 3:21 am

ConsequenceHere’s a Grasshopper reminder from Christmas past:

“Unintended Consequences Are Still Consequences.”

“I didn’t mean for that to happen” doesn’t remove the consequence. It may mitigate it in our mind but it won’t make it disappear.

Our actions don’t give us a free pass. We will have to pay the piper sooner or later; no one escapes. I’m reminded of the lyrics of an old Smokey Robinson song called “Everybody’s Got to Pay Some Dues.”

“I’ve got to pay, he’s got to pay, you’ve got to pay it, she’s got to pay. No matter what you do or say, there is gonna’ come a day when you’re gonna’ have to pay. Can’t nobody get away from dues . . .”

Have you ever offered someone an apology or asked for forgiveness? They may accept your apology or find their way to forgiveness but consequences will still be looking for a payment, kinda’ like a loan shark on steroids.

“I shouldn’t have to pay” is a fairy tale we have all bought into at some level, but this one doesn’t have a sugarplum ending.

What actions are you pretending you won’t have to pay for? It’s worth a moment of reflection.

Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago my mother was sharing a hospital room with a woman who was scheduled for surgery the next morning. This was a time when smoking was still permitted in hospitals. This woman was puffing away in the next bed and justifying it by saying things like, “We all gotta’ go sometime.” I was there the next morning as they came for her. She was crying and holding on to her rosary beads with a death grip. Her prayers may have calmed her mind but they didn’t save her lung.

It’s not like we haven’t been issued warnings for our actions. We just tend to ignore them when we’re under the delusion that we can get away without paying.

A focusing question like this often opens the door to taking new actions: If you continue on your current path, will things get better or worse?

The question calls for a reality based assessment. Common sense comes out from hiding when we consider the question. We literally put ourselves at a choice point.

You can then clearly see the accident everyone else knows will happen if you continue on your current path.

Taking action or not is greatly influenced by how strongly you have bought into the myth that you can skip out on the check.

Will things get better or worse? It depends on whether you choose to heed or ignore the age-old question: Truth or Consequences?

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 19, 2016

I Don’t Want . . .

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:07 am

FocusFrom the archives, here’s a quick reminder from The Grasshopper:

“‘Don’t Want’ is a difficult target to hit.”

If you pay careful attention to your language when expressing your desires, you’re likely to notice that you too often give voice to what you don’t want rather than what you do want. That’s a fuzzy target.

Just a slight shift in your approach puts you on a clearer path toward your aspirations. Shift in the direction of declaring what you “Do want.”

There is no guarantee that you’ll get what you do want by making this shift but the odds shift in your favor when you do.

Your odds increase because your mind works better when it has one target to shoot for rather than several to avoid. “Do want” is an exercise in focus and a focused person gets more hits than misses.

Begin to notice how unfocused you are when you use “Don’t want” language. You’re meandering all over the map rather than planting your flag.

“Do want” is a clear statement or vision of what you want. There is no room for wiggle room in a do want declaration. Train yourself to focus on what you do want and notice how clear the goal becomes.

Final thought: You improve your chances to get what you do want when you let what you don’t want go out of focus.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 15, 2016

The Need for Heed

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

HeedOn Throwback Thursday, here’s a Grasshopper observation from a few years ago:

“Heeding Heads You Home.”

What’s the one piece of advice you need to heed? You may have heard it all your life but actually putting it to use fulfills the promise.

When I was in broadcasting the ubiquitous piece of advice handed out was “Be yourself.” Most broadcasters manufacture a persona and wind up being poor imitations of those whom they’re attempting to emulate. The same is true for the rest of us as well.

“Be yourself” is a piece of advice worth heeding. The trick is to discover who this “self” is.

I can tell you for sure that it’s not the person you made up and pretend to be. That’s the façade you present to the whole world.

The real you is homespun wholeness, not a reflection in a mirror that only shows what’s on the outside.

Nothing needs to be added to the real you. You only need to subtract the layers of pretending to arrive home where everything is taken care of. The real you lives at home, not travelling with the carnival.

Arriving home is a journey. It begins with noticing that your travels away are not getting you the peace you seek. The next step is subtracting the bumper stickers of culture that you’ve accumulated over the years – the things that you “must” have or do that haven’t done it for you.

Once you begin the subtractive process, you automatically feel lighter and intuitively know you are on a path to home.

If you’re still waiting for the “one thing” that’s going to do it for you, you’ll be waiting forever. Perhaps it’s time to heed the advice of “Be yourself” and start your journey home.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 14, 2016

Holiday Agreement

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:28 am

Holiday AgreementAs we head into the holidays, here’s a useful reminder from The Grasshopper:

“The Need To Be Right Keeps Us Disagreeable.”

As far as I can tell, being right is the biggest impediment to arriving at agreement.

We all have opinions and the fun thing about them is they don’t have to be backed up by facts. When opinions get in the way is when we claim they are true. That’s when we declare we’re right and agreement gets left out.

I just Googled the number of organized religions in the world; there are over 4000. I’m sure a number of them are worshipping the “one true God.” Religious wars weren’t relegated to the 16th Century; they’re going on all over the world in 2016.

Agreement will remain absent in the world of being right, whether in religion or politics or any other area where we conflate opinion with truth.

I’m not on a pilgrimage for World Peace; I’m just attempting to water down right a bit so it can flow into agreement.

The first step is to separate right from true. True can only be one way. Real truth has no opposite. That’s why it’s so rare. If what you are right about has an opposite, it can’t be true. The next step is to separate right from opinion. The reason we do both of these things is so we can get to agreement.

Our conditioning is this: When we claim to be right, the person with another opinion is wrong. Remember the awful feeling of being made wrong. We do that to another every time we claim to be right. Reminds me of a story . . .

Years ago, my business partner was having a difference of opinion with his boss. We’ve all been there. After exchanging viewpoints, my partner said, “Well, that’s my opinion.” His boss replied in his outside voice, “Your opinion is wrong!”

If you’re having trouble getting to agreement, you’re on the wrong track. We arrive at wrong by being right.

The formula for agreement is subtraction. Start by subtracting the truth and then take away right. Once these roadblocks are removed, “Agreement Avenue” is within sight.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 12, 2016

Comfortable Ruts

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 2:06 am

RiskLet’s call it “Memory Monday” and revisit a Grasshopper musing from many Mondays ago.

“Success Lies Outside Your Comfort Zone.”

It’s my experience that marginal results come from staying inside our zone of comfort. If you claim you want success, you can’t refrain from moving towards the edge.

Many years ago, my hypnosis teacher, Dr. Dave Dobson use to say, “The luscious, ripe fruit is out on the skinny branches.” That picture he painted stays with me ’til this day and serves as a reminder that risk is a necessary part of reward.

The sales profession comes to mind. I’m sure there are some people who are very successful selling merchandise at parties out of their home – Tupperware, jewelry, makeup, etc. I’m also certain the successful ones are the exception rather than the rule. The bulk of the unsuccessful ones think they are professional sales people. They’re not. They are presenters and order takers. The successful sellers know the “dog and pony” show is only part of the skill set. They also know that future business isn’t going to come to them; they are going to have to seek it out.

That requires getting out of your comfort zone and making requests of “strangers.”

The life insurance industry knows they are going to have a large washout rate with beginning insurance sales people. They provide them training and then send them out to sell. Once these people pitch all their relatives and the neighbors they are “comfortable” with, their sales come to a standstill.

They all have a product to sell but most can’t sell it because they refuse to move out of their comfort zone. Here’s the ever-present excuse for failure to sell: “Oh, I’m just not a sales person.” Sorry, everyone is a sales person. The reason they’re not successful is because they won’t do what’s necessary – move out of their comfort zone.

We’re always selling something to somebody; it’s the give and take of life. That’s sales. To get better at sales, we need to make more requests. It’s really that simple. The first step to making a sale is making a request.

Want to get more sales in life? Make more requests. “But I’m not comfortable asking people for things,” you say. Then get used to not having what you want. I, again, for the zillionth time quote my 4th grade teacher, Miss Wagner: “You can either have what you want or your reasons why not.” Comfort is the reason you’re not successful.

You can either stay in your comfort zone (rut) or you can ask for what you want. Those are the plain and simple choices.

If you’re not in the habit of making requests, start. You can begin small and work your way up. But start now. When you branch out of your comfort zone, you start gathering in the fruits of you labor.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

December 7, 2016

How Right is Wrong?

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

WrongThe Grasshopper was up early this morning and delivered this nugget:

“If you’re looking for something wrong, you’ll find something wrong.”

I remember when my wife from another life used to manage a bank branch and had FDIC inspectors coming in. I recall her saying, “No matter how well we run our branch they’ll find something wrong. It’s their job and their job security depends on it.”

How often do we discolor what we discover by filtering it through a “wrong” filter?

Have you ever seen a newspaper cartoon with the heading: “What’s right with this picture?”

I’m not suggesting rose colored glasses that make us look for only what’s right. It’s more of a nudge to experience life rather than prejudge it.

“I heard this movie is going to suck.” What do you think you’ll be filtering for when you watch the film?

Preconditions take away options – viable options that may never surface in their presence.

We limit ourselves when we filter our options. “What do you want? Chinese or Mexican?” There is a whole menu of options being ignored with that limiting filter.

Options lead to discoveries and it’s hard for me to find something wrong with that.

All the best,


Be Sociable, Share!

Next Page »