Tag Archives: knowledge

Week 19 – Live This Day As If It’s Your Last

SO many things have been coming together this week…

In our reading of The Greatest Salesman in the World, we read:

I will live this day as if it is my last.

There is so much power in that statement!

We are also reading obituaries, studying their photo, reading their story, and thinking about what they might be willing to trade for just one more day on this earth.

And there also happened to be a 60th birthday celebration for my dear friend, Brett Elliott, who was taken from this earth WAY too soon, on March 30, 2009.

StacyANDBrett
Brett Elliott and Stacy Ryan, circa 2008, at one of our many visits to La Vista, enjoying good friends, good wine, and warm brownies.

 

There are many pieces to the puzzle that is our life.

In re-reading Brett’s obituary, I read of his surviving family members, a select listing of professional accomplishments, and a small glimpse into his loves:

He loved music; from loud rock to punk to blues to jazz. His favorite pastime was attending concerts and music venues with his many friends, and then burning a CD of the playlist to present as a cherished gift.  Most of all he loved his family and good friends from all walks of life.

(I am a proud owner of some of these CDs, and they truly are cherished gifts.)

What the obituary doesn’t say, is that if you ever met Brett Elliott, you were immediately drawn in…he had the ability to make you feel like a long loved friend…even your best friend…even if you’d only known him for five minutes.  Brett was special in that way.

His memorial service was “SRO” (Standing Room Only…a fitting description of a service for someone who loved music and going to concerts.  (I have fond memories of seeing Jonny Lang, the Rolling Stones, and Sammy Hagar/David Lee Roth together…as well as some “private, unannounced concert appearances” that only someone “in the know” would know about…and he did)

Brett’s memorial service is also the only one I’ve been to that had an “after party” … complete with SWAG … hosted by the advertising agency where he worked.  The after party was a chance for us to celebrate Brett’s life and cherish his memories…and indulge in some of his favorite things.  Like Rodney Strong wine, chocolate covered pretzels (or “Brettzels” which were Christmas gifts of pretzels “lovingly hand dipped into the chocolate with chopsticks” which were given to friends.)

Brett loved life.
He loved music.
He loved his friends.
He was a world-class copywriter.
He enjoyed mentoring students.
He believed in giving back.
He never missed an opportunity to make you smile or laugh.

He lived every day as if it was his last.

He is an inspiration.

Brett Elliott in his "old man suit" at his 50th birthday party.
Brett Elliott in his “old man suit” at his 50th birthday party.

At his 60th birthday party, he continues to make me laugh, through stories shared by his family.  Apparently when Brett was a young boy he had a toy that shot smaller toys out of it.  While playing with the toy outside, one of the toys that he shot landed on the roof of the house.  Brett promptly marched into the house and announced “Houston, we have a problem!”

Even at an early age he knew just the right words for the situation.

He may be gone from our world, but his memory lives on…both in the hearts of those who knew him, and through student scholarships in his name.

What would Brett trade for one more day on earth?  A better question would be what all of us who knew and loved him would trade for one more day with him on earth.

Peace.  Love.  Wish You Were Here.

Week 18 – Choosing Happiness

If happiness is on the other side of success, your brain never gets there.  ~Shawn Achor

Yikes!

Once again the MKMMA lesson of the week hit me over the head like a ton of bricks.

I’m talking about Happiness and “Moving the Goal Post.”

I’ve always set goals.  And usually I achieved them.  But rather than be happy about the achievement, and celebrating my success, I set the next goal.

And then I’d be happy…when I achieved that.

I know what you’re thinking…“Yeah, right!”

And I agree.  Now I know that by continuously “moving the goal post” and setting new goals, without celebrating the achievements and successes, I was setting myself up to be UNhappy, and didn’t even know it.

Now, to be fair, I wasn’t exactly UNhappy.  I just wasn’t truly happy.

Nothing was ever good enough.  I was never satisfied.  I always wanted “more” or “something different.”

I’m hearing Charlie Brown exclaiming “Good grief!” in my head right now…

Though I’ve heard it said many times that “You have to BE before you DO and HAVE.”

I guess the words went in one ear and out the other, or perhaps I didn’t know what I didn’t know…

And that is that happiness comes from within, and it MUST come first.  You have to BE happy…FIRST.

I’ve become a MUCH happier person as a result of the MKMMA Experience.  And to take my happiness to a new level I decided I would create a list of 100 Things That Make Me Happy.  Not just things I’m grateful for…but things that make me happy.

The first 25 or so were easy…the next 25 were more difficult…and then it got harder.  I would have to put the list down and do something else, which would ultimately lead me to an “a-ha” moment that sent me running for a pen and my list.

When I completed the list of 100 Things That Make Me Happy I was stunned.  I stared at the list in disbelief.

There were things on the list that I had full control over, such as:

  • Spending time with a friend
  • Watching the Minions in the Despicable Me movies and wishing I had my own
  • Watching a funny movie I’ve seen 100s of times
  • Volunteering
  • Champagne (what’s NOT happy about champagne???)

What stunned me is that many of the things that made me happy are external, and beyond my control…but when they happen they make me happy:

  • Enjoying a cup of Butter-Nut hot chocolate and having the hot chocolate trigger fond childhood memories.  Of course, that requires being able to actually FIND the Butter-Nut hot chocolate!  (And no…other hot chocolates just don’t trigger the memories…)
  • A beautiful, colorful sunset…which requires a sunny day, the right clouds, and the right weather conditions.
  • Making a sale.  Hey!  I’ll admit it…it’s fun to make money.  Yet I’m only one party to the transaction…and it takes two (or more!) to tango!
  • Hearing my fiancé hum while he cleans or does the dishes…it always makes me smile!
  • Receiving a compliment.  (Yes, I could demand someone give me a compliment, but that would defeat the purpose now, wouldn’t it?)

So the question becomes “What is the definition of being happy within, or being happy first?”

Do I need to have control over these things that make me happy?  Or is the fact that I appreciate things, and the process of appreciation is the happiness within?  Or both?

All I know, and all that matters, is that I’m happy.

Happiness is a CHOICE, and I CHOOSE happiness.

And speaking of Happy…

I gotta end this with the Minions.  Because no matter WHAT mood I’m in, they always make me HAPPY!

Week 12 – The Powerful Trio of Knowledge, Courage, & Faith

As a child I would drag books to my mother and ask her to read to me.  She would ultimately read each book to me so many times that I could “read” these book myself, because I knew what was said on each page.

That kicked off a lifelong obsession for learning.  I enjoyed school.  I enjoyed learning.  (Until I got to subjects like calculus…YUCK!)

To this day, I still enjoy learning new things, whether it’s learning a new skill, a new hobby, or something about myself.   Among the more unusual subject I’ve studied are salsa dancing, cooking, bartending, jewelry making, handwriting analysis, tarot card reading, reading body language, handgun safety & shooting, home organization…well, you get the picture.  It’s all over the board.

And that’s just the “fun” stuff.  Then there’s the skills and business development studies, as well as the personal development programs.

A big in-your-face lesson lesson for me this week is that I have been accumulating a vast array of KNOWLEDGE, yet over the past few years, I haven’t had the COURAGE to dare, much less the FAITH to do.

Knowledge-Courage-Faith

What’s wrong with that?

KNOWLEDGE DOES NOT APPLY ITSELF.

I have all the knowledge I need to succeed…if I would just apply it.

So why haven’t I had the courage to do it?

I never felt like an “expert” compared to the so-called “experts” out there…so I kept learning until my knowledge was “perfect.”

This habit of obtaining knowledge and seeking perfectionism has not served me well.  I have been on the sidelines while others have advanced.  So I am dismissing it.

So how do I summon the courage?
By taking a leap of faith.

Throughout the MKMMA course we’ve been told to “have faith in the process.”

That’s not always easy for me…especially when the process involves something that’s out of my comfort zone.

But I’ve kept the faith and trusted the process throughout the course, including this week’s task of creating two sets of “flash cards,” each with an affirmation or an achievement (big or small) on each card.

I kept a set of these “flash cards” with me at all times, and read through them several times a day.

And you know what?

It triggered something within me.

All the constant reminders of the successes I’ve had in the PAST have created a burning desire within me for successes in my PRESENT and my FUTURE.

And what does a burning desire plus the affirmation “Do It Now!” do?

It creates action.  Now.

I’ve done more this week — and more efficiently — than I have in a long time.

I’ve learned.  I’ve implemented.  I’ve made PROGRESS toward my goals.

Because I Have KNOWLEDGE of My Power,
The COURAGE to Dare,
And the FAITH to Do.
And that makes me UNSTOPPABLE!

Week 8 – Do What You Do

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.  ~Albert Einstein

This has long been one of my favorite quotes, and since we were really challenged to use our imagination this week, it was at the forefront of my mind.

Our challenge:  To take an object in our imagination — specifically, a battleship — and deconstruct it to its humble beginnings.  It makes you stop to think about the enormity of the project:  how many people were involved in the building, the design, the procuring of materials…

It’s overwhelming!

My problem:  I didn’t feel all that creative this week, since I was busy packing up a house I’ve lived in for the past 15 years.

That’s where I was wrong.

Have you ever moved?

That involves a BOATLOAD of imagination and creativity!

The coordination of people and activities…cancelling services, starting services, transferring services, hiring movers, enlisting friends and family to assist with supervising the move…and, of course…

PACKING!!!

{UGH}…OUT, OUT, NEGATIVE THOUGHT!

The packing is easy at first…you get to choose what to pack first, and how it goes into the box.  You declutter.  You carefully designate what goes to the new home, what gets donated, and what is trash.

Some items bring back memories of where you bought it, who you were with, and how it’s been used in your home.  Then, using our exercise to take that item back in time, you can think about every involved in the process of creating that item.

Can’t linger too long on those memories…there’s too much packing to do!

The whole process is a well oiled machine…for the first 30 boxes or so.  Then you get to a point where every room in the house is partially packed, and navigating the household is done with precise movements to avoid the “land mines” of boxes neatly stacked throughout the house.

Now it’s time to get creative!

You’re getting creative with your meals so you can “eat down the refrigerator.”

You’re using boxes as “tables” to hold packing paper and roll glassware.

You’re using a pizza screen with a paper towel on it as a “plate” so you can pack your dishes.

There are items you want to pack, and yet you can’t find a box that’s the right size.

Or you have the box, and nothing else to go in the box that’s the right size, shape, or weight.

And then, in some cases, you are able to carefully — and even artfully — arrange items in a box to maximize space and efficiency, while simultaneously (hopefully!) minimizing breakage.

{NOTE:  Nearly every box in my house says “FRAGILE!” on it.  I LITERALLY live in a glass house!  Nearly everything in my house is metal and glass.  I’ve decided that when I finish unpacking I’m going to have a FIELD DAY rolling around on all the bubble wrap!  It’s THERAPY!!!}

But I digress…

It gets to the point — for me, 2 days before move-out day — where I just don’t care anymore.  Dump it into a box and just say FUHGETTABOUTIT!!!  (Or, sometimes, a more colorful term.)

So I’ve been thinking about the Einstein quote above, and came across this video that brought tears to my eyes.  The video is just shy of 9 minutes long, and well worth watching.  See the MKMMA teachings.  See the passion.  See the imagination.  See the INSPIRATION!

Now go be inspired to DO WHAT YOU DO!

(And do it NOW!)