is learning which rules to obey, which rules not to obey,
the wisdom to tell the difference between the two.
You're only here for a short visit.
Don't hurry, don't worry, and stop
to smell the flowers along the way.
matters in everything, love included. Learning to love is
doesn't just sit there, like a stone; it has to
bread; remade all the time, made new.
Allowed to Say "No"!
You've got more work than you can possibly handle. Not to
mention the time you're spending as an officer of your trade
association. . . and as coach of your child's soccer team.
Your phone rings and it's Sally, another officer of the trade
association. Sally tells you what a great job you're doing for
the Association and then asks if you'd be willing to chair the
Committee putting on a large event in three months.
You know this project will involve countless hours of work,
including weekends. You get a sinking feeling in the pit of your
stomach. Your heart tells you to say "no." Your spirit
tells you to say "no." But somehow, what comes out of
your mouth is "Yeah, I'll do it."
What happened here? How did "no" turn into
"yes"? Maybe you didn't want to let others down.
perhaps, you wanted to be liked. For whatever reason, you agreed
to do something that you didn't want to do. For most of my life,
I lived this way. Saying "yes" when I really wanted to
say "no." I'll bet you've done the same thing
This can happen at work when someone asks you to take on an
extra task, or to help out on the weekend. And in our leisure
time, we also have to make decisions when it comes to family,
community and other activities.
I know what some of you are thinking. If I say "no" to
some of these things, I'm going to look bad or hurt my chances
for a promotion. For example, if I decline a request from my
supervisor, I'll be viewed as someone who isn't loyal to the
team. If I say "no" to attending my cousin's wedding
(the cousin I haven't seen in 15 years), the rest of the family
will be talking about me.
Yes, there ARE consequences to saying "no." You might
not get the promotion. Your relatives might talk about you
behind your back. But let's not kid ourselves here. There are
also consequences to saying "yes" when you don't want
to say "yes." You become resentful and angry. You feel
that you're not in control of your own life. You're not living a
life that's consistent with your values and priorities.
I'm not encouraging you to become lazy and refuse to go the
extra mile at work and in your personal life. We all do
activities that we don't particularly enjoy, like working
through lunch on a key project or attending a wake after a long
day at work.
Furthermore, this isn't about being selfish and thinking only of
your own interests. But I'm here to say that YOU count, too! And
you block your own success when you feel resentful about doing
things you don't want to do. Unwanted activities are not only
time consuming; they drain your energy.
So, what can you do to help you say "no" instead of
"yes?" It's very helpful to set boundaries, because
that will help dictate your answer when someone asks you to do
something. Even better, let people know about these boundaries
beforehand so they won't be taken by surprise when you say
"no." For instance, if you resolve that you won't work
on weekends (except in certain limited, emergency situations),
when someone asks you to help out on Saturday, you can decline
and tell them you spend weekends with your family.
For me, my exercise time on Saturday and Sunday is sacred.
If I'm not doing a weekend presentation or traveling, it takes a
lot for me to cancel or re-schedule my exercise sessions. If
someone asks me to do something during those times, I will
politely say "no" because I value my health and well
being too much to let other things get in the way.
I also get numerous requests to speak at certain service clubs
and trade association meetings on weekday nights. I am honored
to be asked, but in most instances, I will politely decline. I
set some boundaries and decided that I will do a certain number
of these presentations each year, but that's it.
Otherwise, I won't be able to spend quiet time at home in the
evenings. If anyone thinks I'm being unreasonable, that's okay.
I feel better about the decision I've made because I'm being
true to what's important in my life. As a result, I've found
that my presentations are more authentic and effective.
You might think that you're indispensable ... that you have to
say "yes" because the world will fall apart if you
don't run to the rescue each time. What nonsense! In the end,
you let yourself down and wind up feeling hurt.
Here's the bottom line: You're allowed to say "no."
It's a small two letter word with the power to liberate you and
significantly improve the quality of your life.
* * * * *
Keller is the President of Attitude is Everything, Inc.
For more than 15 years, Jeff has delivered presentations on
attitude and motivation to businesses, groups and trade
associations throughout the United States and abroad. Jeff is
also the author of the highly acclaimed book, Attitude is
Everything. For more information, go to http://www.attitudeiseverything.com
people behind the words
Two - Year Three
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I wrote in my book "Embracing the Mystery" that
there was nothing as flattering or as rare as the
undivided attention of another. The fact is that
people just don't listen well. I think it was Mark Twain
who wrote that a bore is someone who wants to talk about
himself when I want to talk about myself. How many
times have you experienced someone asking you a question,
not out of a genuine concern for what you have to say, but
rather as an opportunity for them to flood you with their
thoughts and opinions on an issue?
People have a hunger to be listened to--to have someone
care enough to suspend their own agenda in the interest of
another's. Sadly, such unselfish, attentive people
I once had a man at a party come up to me and say that my
wife, Carol was a terrific conversationalist. On the way
home that same evening I told Carol what he had said and
asked her what she did to give him that impression. She
thought for a moment and said, "All I did was ask him
questions about his life and listen to his answers. From
his answers I asked more questions." Therein lies the
secret to good conversation: listening well.
From Carol's insight I have developed what I call the
listening ladder. Climb the listening ladder and you
will be on your way to improved social interaction.
The Listening Ladder
L. Look at the person speaking to you. This alone
sends out the message that you are focused and involved.
A. Ask additional questions flowing from answers given to
your original starting questions. Remember that you
learn what to say by listening to what has been said.
D. Don't interrupt. The only time an interruption is
acceptable is when you require clarification.
D. Don't change the subject. The speaker will
indicate when they are finished their story.
E. Empathize with the speaker. Short phrases such
as, "How interesting"; "How exciting";
"You must be so proud"; send the speaker the
message that you are an empathetic, caring listener.
R. Respond to what is said verbally and
non-verbally. A simple nod or leaning slightly
toward the speaker indicates interest and attention.
Add to this such phrases as, "I see";
"Really?"; "Is that right?" and you
enrich your response.
I want to make something clear. Conversation is a two-way
affair. Most conversations are monologues conducted
in the presence of an observer. If, after a
reasonable period of time, the one speaking isn't willing
to ask you a question and become a listener, then conclude
the interaction and move on. I usually give the one
speaking ten minutes. If, after that time, they
haven't asked me a question or my opinion, I say something
like, "It was nice chatting with you."
Conversation MUST be reciprocal.
I like the story of the self-possessed Hollywood star who
was heard saying to an admirer, "Enough about me
talking about me. I'd like to hear you talk about me
for awhile." There is a great deal of truth in
this little story.
Good luck climbing the Listening ladder. The view
from the top is fantastic.
Wallpaper! Just click below
the size your desktop is
right-click on the
picture that appears
in the new
window, and choose
"Set as background."
photo's from a spring
day in Kootenay National Park)
x 800 - 1440
years, the people of Canyon Bluff have shared the stories
of the Nogglz, their own version of the monsters in the
closet. "If you don't behave, the Nogglz will come
and get you and carry you down into the mines,"
they've told their children. Of course, they were just
stories. Nobody could have stayed alive in an old mine for
six decades. But when one of their own is brutally
murdered one cold November night, it may be time to come
to terms with the sins of their fathers and their own ties
to the town's dreadful past. And for the sheriff and his
deputy and the state troopers who are called to the town
to deal with the murder, an ordinary day becomes an
extraordinary battle for simple survival.
I write things just to tell a story, but I just can't help
mentioning some life lessons, even in a novel about
creatures running amok in an old mining town in the
Colorado mountains. Nogglz is available in
print by clicking
here, or as a Kindle e-book by using the link to the
left. Using the mining town as the setting is a
tribute to my mother, who grew up in a tiny mining town
herself, and who has never left there in her heart.
of love is variable. I am able to love without demanding
that my relationships assume the structures and forms I might choose
for them. My love is fluid, flexible, committed, creative. My
allows people and events to unfold as they need. My love is not
It does not dictate or demand. My love allows
I love the freedom to assume the forms most true to them.
I release all those I love from my preconceptions of their path.
I allow them the dignity of self-definition while I offer them
a constant love that is ever variable in shape.
I love challenging
myself. I like to set a goal that seems difficult or even
impossible and then do everything I can to reach that goal.
It's not always easy, and sometimes I don't reach the goal--heck,
sometimes I don't come anywhere close to reaching it--but it's
still something that I love to do. Sometimes the challenges
I take on are physical, such as running a very long distance, and
sometimes they're more mental, such as writing a book.
Sometimes they're very abstract, such as trying to deal with my
fear of heights or my uneasiness in crowds. But no matter
what kind they are, I feel fortunate that I'm able to identify
challenges and then take them on.
I actually meet many of them. I've run one hundred miles in
26 hours, I've written a few novels, and I've done some other
things that I didn't think I could do at first. Nowadays,
though, after taking on so many challenges, I never really feel
that something is impossible--I pretty much know that anything is
possible with the right attitude and enough effort. That's
not to say that nowadays I meet every challenge successfully,
because I don't. I just don't start out by thinking
that I can't do it.
And I've learned that my attitude towards a challenge is one of
the most important keys to meeting it. If I see a challenge
ahead and I've overwhelmed or intimidated, then the chances are
very good that I won't be successful in meeting it.
If, on the other hand, I see a challenge and immediately start
thinking of different ways that I might be able to meet it, the
chances are good that I shall meet it successfully.
a challenge and find joy
in the capacity to meet it.
words resonate very strongly with me--find joy in
the capacity to meet challenges. We all have
amazing capacities to do amazing things, and there
is joy to be found in those capabilities. When
I meet a challenge, I learn something important
about myself: that I'm a person who is
completely capable of meeting such a
challenge. That's a fact to be
celebrated. It's also a fact to be celebrated
that I have the capability of considering the idea
of facing the challenges that come up. When a
challenge comes up I can say that I didn't back away
in fear, but I stood strong and met the challenge,
even if I was afraid while I did so.
There will be fear when we decide to face
challenges. We will feel intimidated and
frightened. That's okay. Feeling fear
doesn't say anything about us; allowing the fear to
control us, though, says much about us. One of
our goals in life must be to overcome fear, for the
life that is controlled by fear is not a full life
by any stretch of the imagination.
As we rise
to meet the challenges
are a natural part of living,
to our many
undiscovered gifts, to
power and our purpose.
Susan's words here. Meeting challenges helps
us to get to know the positive sides of ourselves
much more deeply and intimately. When we rise
to try to meet a challenge, we are saying that we
are worthy, loving individuals who want to make the
most of our lives. As she says, challenges
are, indeed, a natural part of life and living, and
rising to meet them is as natural as the sun rising
in the morning and setting in the evening.
When we do meet those challenges, we do notice and
recognize strengths that we might not have noticed
before. And they don't need to be physical or
measurable strengths--they can be the ability to
listen, the ability to distinguish between two
options and their possible outcomes, the ability to
empathize with others and show compassion.
You will meet challenges, but why not search them
out? Why not take on things that you know will
make you stronger, no matter whether you completely
accomplish them or not? Why not look for the
things that are difficult for you and make them
things that are no longer difficult for you because
you took on the challenge of learning how to deal
with them? I know quite a few things in my
life that used to be challenging to me that are no
longer any big deal at all. I never, ever
thought that there would come a day when I would
refer to a run as "only fifty miles," but
since I did the 100-mile runs, my perspective has
For someone else, it may be that talking to one new
person a day is no big deal when they used to be
afraid of talking to one new person a week. It
could be that an algebra course is nothing when
someone used to be intimidated by regular math
classes. As you take on more challenges, you
perspective on what they are will change--it's
Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you;
they're supposed to help you discover who you are.
Take on your
challenges. Seek out challenges. Heck,
make up some of your own. When you meet them
head-on, you will grow, and you will have a stronger
base than you had before, a place to come from that
wasn't there before. And as that new part of
you grows, others will see the change and want to
know more about it. And then you can tell them
how extremely simple and incredibly difficult it was
at the same time.
of the most important elements
of living life fully is
awareness-- awareness of our surroundings, of other people
and their motives and fears and desires, of the things that
affect us most in our lives, both positively and negatively.
In the twelve years of livinglifefully.com's existence, this
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to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement
and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and
hidden heart of it, because
in the last analysis all moments
are key moments, and life itself is grace.
Robert Paul Gilles
"let go" does not mean to stop caring.
It means I can't do it for someone else.
"let go" is not to cut myself off.
It's the realization that I can't control another.
"let go" is to admit powerlessness,
which means the
outcome is not in my hands.
"let go" is not to try to change or blame another.
It's to make the most of myself.
"let go" is not to care for, but to care about.
"let go" is not to fix, but to be supportive.
"let go" is not to judge, but to allow another to be a
"let go" is not to be in the middle, arranging all the
but to allow others to affect their own destinies.
"let go" is not to deny, but to accept.
"let go" is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead
to search out my own shortcomings and correct them.
"let go" is not to adjust everything to my desires,
but to take each day as it comes and cherish myself in it.
"let go" is not to regret the past, but to grow and live
for the future.
"let go" is to fear less and to love more.
(from his book Thoughts of the dreampoet : vol. 1.)
is when I am concerned with your relationship
with your own
life, rather than with your relationship
to mine. . . . There must be a
commitment to each
Most people who say they
a commitment don’t; they have an attachment. Commitment
means, “I am going to stick with you
and support your experience
of well-being.” Attachment means, “I am stuck without you.”
a year of one-sentence reminders
of ways that we can
make the most of our lives each day that we live.
New expanded edition!
Book - Kindle
novel of life and learning; Walker's fascinating journey
will remind you of all that is good in this world.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One
David agrees to
give 70-year-old Hector
a ride west, he can't imagine the lessons he'll learn
about his life.
Book - Kindle
Read Chapter One
and spending, we lay waste our powers," wrote
Wordsworth over 150 years ago. And we're still doing
Book - Kindle