- Thoughts for inspired living

July 31, 2017

Fair or Foul?

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:44 am

Fairy TaleJust about 10 years ago I began offering insights I received out of the blue in a weekly message I call Grasshopper Notes. The Grasshopper is the part of us that generates something that doesn’t come from our reservoir of pat answers. The following is one of the first unvarnished ideas that popped in that I wrote about.

“Fair is a Fairy Tale.”

Did you ever notice that Reality doesn’t ask your opinion before taking action? Reality does what it does and we have a reaction. We may be elated if Reality has us win the Grasshopper High Jump Sweepstakes or deflated if we have the losing ticket.

When we experience deflation, our reaction may be, “this isn’t fair.”

Fair is a judgement word. We begin judging reality and we have been conditioned to think that our critical dissertation will have an effect on the circumstances that have already happened. That’s as impractical as trying to get the water back into the hose once you’ve sprayed your car.

This is the type of Fun House Mirror Logic that we use anytime we buy into the concept of fair. Fair is a distortion. It doesn’t exist (except in baseball).

Fair is always an interpretation of reality and a knee-jerk reaction.

Responding to reality is always the answer. The difference between a reaction and a response is like the disparity between a da Vinci painting and a Velvet Elvis. A response will come from a calmer place where the emotion of the moment won’t rule the day.

When the Grasshopper spoke through the great teacher Jerry Stocking, he said, “A reaction is your first response to a stimulus.” Jerry invites you to explore the inexhaustible list of additional responses that are lined up behind your first response. Each time you take a moment to consider a response that isn’t so top of mind, like your first response, you go to a deeper place.

This practice has two additional benefits:

1.You interrupt your patterned way of doing things which may not be getting you the results you want.

2.You become the stimulus vs. being the response – the initiator vs. the reactor.

This way of responding will also dissolve our distorted concept of fair and leave it in Grimm’s book where it belongs. Fair enough?

All the best,


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July 27, 2017

Selective Resistance

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 6:43 am

ResistanceDo you have some resistance as to whom you’ll learn from? In the past, I know I did. I conflated people I didn’t like with any information they had to offer. As a result, I missed a lot.

The Grasshopper chimed in with this yesterday: “You can learn even from somebody you don’t like.”

As a personal illustration of this, there is someone who is very skilled that I am Facebook friends with that I just can’t warm up to. Almost everything he posts accentuates the things about him that I don’t like. I have a visceral response to this person. That said, I have learned quite a bit from his expertise.

He is quite accomplished and very knowledgeable. I would have missed out on many of his pearls of wisdom if I globally painted him with my prejudicial brush.

We can learn from everyone we meet. What stands in the way of our learning is a wall of resistance that doesn’t separate the wheat from the chaff. (Gluten free folks, please substitute a different metaphor).

This is just a reminder that we hinder our own learning when we decide that there are certain people we can’t learn from.

Want to learn more? Resist less.

All the best,


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July 25, 2017

Can You Hear Me Now?

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

DisappointThe Grasshopper hopped in with this little tidbit the other day:

“Telling people what you think they want to hear, almost always, leads to disappointment.”

This is not about “white lies.” We all tell those from time to time.

This is about disappointment and how to insure that it happens. If you want to eventually disappoint someone, tell them what you think they want to hear.

I see this practice as a stalling tactic or just plain lying.

We stall the truth and therefore delay the disappointment.

If the outcome is disappointment, disappoint up front. You’ll garner more respect for you and your word.

Telling people what you think they want to hear puts you in a symphony of sycophants. You make used car salesmen look like altar boys.

Some people are so steeped in this practice that they’ve convinced themselves that they’re not lying. They justify the lie by claiming that they had every intention of doing what they said they were going to do, knowing, full well, that isn’t true.

Want more respect? Stop selling what, even you, aren’t buying.

You may find it disappointing that people have categorized you as someone who serially disappoints. The remedy is straightforward: Tell them what you’re truly going to do.

All the best,


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July 21, 2017

Lying Limits Living

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:33 am

Lying noseHere’s a Grasshopper reflection from not too long ago:

“Lying Is A Protective Measure.”

TV doctor Gregory House told us “everybody lies.” What he didn’t tell us was the rest of the story.

We lie to protect ourselves. It serves a grand purpose when a big, muscular man asks us if we were the person who sprayed his dog with a garden hose. “Not me” is the prudent and protective answer.

“Honey, does this dress make me look fat?” The proper and prophylactic lie is always to say “No.”

Whether we’re protecting our own person or the feelings of another, we lie. That seems totally acceptable to me.

Where lying deceives us is when we do it to preserve our image. “I would never do such a thing.” Lie!

The result of telling the truth is losing the lie we made up about ourselves – a fate worse than death for many of us.

We will go to great lengths to protect this image – one that is made of wet cardboard.

Lying props up this image, but all the lying takes its toll on our mental well-being. We always have to remember all the lies we’ve told about ourselves before we respond. That takes a lot of computing power, which drains us.

The moment of freedom is the day we stop pretending we’re the image that we attempt to portray every day. The weight of the lie is lifted and we no longer have to be whom we want others to see. We can just be.

We no longer have to protect a false image. When we let it fall by the wayside, we tap into who we are without our image. Who we really are is absent of explanation and it says so much without uttering a word.

Who you are cannot be named. It’s like the ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu reminded us in the opening verse of the Tao Te Ching: “The Tao that can be explained with words is not the Tao.” The verse goes on to say, “We desire to understand the world by giving names to the things we see, but these things are the effects of something subtle. When we see beyond the desire to use names, we can sense the nameless cause of these effects.”

I’m reminded of the famous interview Richard Nixon gave to David Frost 3 years after he resigned as President of the United States. There was nothing he could admit to in that interview that would have caused him personal jeopardy because he had an ironclad presidential pardon from President Gerald Ford. But he continued to lie. For what reason? To preserve an image he had of himself that didn’t match up with the abundant facts to the contrary.

You can lie to your grave by living your lie. But I submit you’ll have a much more peaceful life when you let your image die.

All the best,


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July 17, 2017

The Grip

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:45 am

BaggageThere was a phrase used when I was a child to describe a physical ailment that many people experienced from time to time. It was called “The Grip.”

The grip was just another name for the flu.

Even older than the grip is the penchant to hold on to all the baggage that we’ve accumulated along the way. That’s what I refer to as the modern day grip.

It seems to me that the natural process is to let some of our past burdens go with each decade we live.

That’s not the case with a number of people I encounter seemingly gripped by their past.

If you’re carrying much of your baggage into succeeding decades, you’re a victim of the grip – a self imposed condition.

The soliloquy from these folks is long and detailed but it can be boiled down to one justification: “That’s why I am the way that I am.”

They define themselves by their baggage. Side note: Don’t you find it oddly amusing that handles on luggage are called grips?

Would you define yourself by footprints you left on a carpet? They are no more you than is the luggage you’re lugging around.

We define and justify our current mindset and behavior by our current collection of luggage.

What justification do you need to let go of in order to leave excess baggage behind? It’s a question worth pursuing and acting upon.

What you’ll discover is that you’re less gripped by the heaviness that you’ve carried about and lighter in your approach to life.

Your bout with the grip can be over if you choose, just stop justifying the luggage that you once used.

All the best,


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July 12, 2017

Comfortable Blues

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

HeartburnI was struck with a new definition for “Stuck.” My old one was, “STUCK: When your thoughts tell you the projectionist has gone home, but your heart remains in the theatre.” It’s still apropos but the following one has caught my ear:

“STUCK: When you’re too comfortable with comfort.”

Our comfort zone can become a prison, one that we’re too comfortable to break out of.

If you’re stuck in a ditch in your car, you make some sort of effort to get out. That doesn’t seem to be the case when we’re in a behavioral ditch of our own digging.

Once again, quoting The Grasshopper from years ago: “Change your behavior or stay in your hole.”

I’m reminded of the acid indigestion commercial where the guy has to take a couple of antacid pills so he can have his pizza. That’s stuck! Heaven forbid that he should go to work on the cause of the internal distress. We instead mask it and stay stuck in our comfort zone.

Just about everyone I know knows where they’re stuck. They just won’t admit it out loud and they cover over their condition with the dirt from the rut they’ve dug.

To get lasting comfort, you have to get uncomfortable.

Outgrowing stuck behavior is not comfortable, but it results in a lot more comfort than you had before.

Getting unstuck is a two step process:

1. Recognizing and admitting you’re stuck. That may entail being wrong about something you forever preached being right about.

2. Taking a step in the direction of discomfort.

The discomfort will eventually pass when you start putting one foot in front of the other (Baby Steps). It’s productive to conquer the molehill before you take on the mountain.

Here’s the Sticky Wicket: Getting past the denial that you’re stuck. That’s why Step 1 (above) is so crucial to your progress.

Attempt admitting to yourself that you’re stuck. After you get comfortable with that, admit it to others. Admission is what gets the ball rolling, and stepping towards discomfort completes the circuit.

Want real comfort? Get uncomfortable.

All the best,


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July 11, 2017

Testing 1 2 3

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 4:06 am

I’m sure youTest’ve said or heard someone else say something like this: “God or the universe is testing me.”

I’d like to offer some perspective on that. The universe is always expanding, going forward, never backward and doesn’t stop its progression.

If it were testing you, it would have to stop and see how you did. It doesn’t stop.

Reality, the byproduct of the universe’s expansion, doesn’t stop either. It’s like the old radio saying goes: “The hits just keep on comin’.

Reality isn’t planned. It just happens. If you’re attempting to find out ‘why” something happened to you, it’s an exhausting exercise that takes tons of imagination, churning out countless answers, none of which are satisfying.

So the one-size-fits-all answer we come up with is: God is testing me.

What hubris it takes to think that you’re being offered a test by something that’s too busy creating to stop and give you an exam. The only test question is one you ask yourself: How do I find a solution when reality happens to me?

Then you’ll be tapping into your creativity and thus be more godlike.

You aren’t being tested. You’re encountering reality – something that has no rhyme, reason or agenda.

You’ll do much better in life by responding to your realities rather than sharpening up your number 2 pencil to take a non-existent test.

All the best,


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July 10, 2017

Pardon Me

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 1:34 am

ExcuseFound this “Blast from the Past” that deserves another spin:

When I was a young boy my proper Swedish Grandmother corrected me when I said, “Excuse me” when I wanted to be pardoned.

Her lesson was you say, “Excuse me” when you want to leave the room and “Pardon me” when you want to be pardoned for offensive behavior, like belching loudly as young boys do.

So, fast forward to our teen and adult years . . . we begin using an excuse as a way to get pardoned. It rarely works.

Don’t most of us have the word “Excuse” filed in the non-desirable category? We have to qualify it with the word “legitimate” in order to make it acceptable.

Excuses, by and large, don’t get us pardons but that doesn’t keep us from dropping them like confetti.

I wonder what would happen if we spent the same amount of time that we dedicate to crafting excuses to doing the thing we want to be pardoned for not doing. Novel idea!

Find your excuse and you find your problem.

Are you making excuses for someone else? That’s even deeper do-do!

What do we make excuses for? – Behavior.

Behavior is a measurable action. Excuses ask us not to take a measurement.

“Don’t judge me on my behavior, judge me on my intention” seems to be the plea of the “Excusee.”

The first cousin of an excuse is a justification – another pardon seeker.

If you can envision excuses as roadblocks, you have a general idea why we can’t move forward with them in place.

Here’s our collective assignment for today. Let’s find a long standing excuse that we issue over and over and commit to never using it again.

That doesn’t mean the behavior won’t show up again; it just means that we won’t prop it up with the inaction of an excuse.

When we stop making excuses, we become more focused on the behavior. It’s much easier to go to work on a behavior when it isn’t surrounded by an entourage of excuses.

I hope you’ll pardon me if I’ve offended you with this rather loud belch. I’m now excusing myself from the room.

All the best,


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