Don’t dis the gruntled people that you meet…

October 29, 2019

In today’s post to his Jack’s Winning Word blog, Jack talked about the fact that “gruntled” is an actual word in its own right, even though we almost always use it in the negative sense (as in disgruntled) as a way to describe unhappy people.

The dictionary tells us –

grun·tled

/ˈɡrən(t)ld/

adjective

HUMOROUS

  1. pleased, satisfied, and contented.

I suppose that you could greet someone who approaches with a smile by saying, “You look particularly gruntled today.” They probably wouldn’t know how to react to that.

How do you react to gruntled people when you encounter them during your day? Is your reaction one of trying to bring them down – sort of what the heck are you so happy about? Or do you immediately share their gruntleness and smile back? After all, isn’t it more pleasant to be happy with them than to force them to join you in whatever state of disgruntlement that you were in?

Perhaps, if you keep the word “gruntled” in mind it will help you take the higher road. It is pretty hard to say in your mind, “you look very gruntled today” and not smile or chuckle to yourself. If nothing else, you can congratulate yourself for knowing a unique word to describe their happy state.

So, don’t dis the gruntled people that you meet today. Join them in their gruntled state and have a better day because of it.

Be happy…be gruntled.


Faith is the foundation that hope builds upon

October 28, 2019

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack used this little quote – “A life without faith in something is too narrow a space to live.”  (George Woodberry)

I have a feeling that I could have inverted the words in my headline for today by stating that hope is the foundation upon which faith builds, but I really believe that faith comes first. Out of faith grows the hope for a better life. Out of faith comes the courage to try. And, it is faith that give us the strength to try again in the face of failures.

Faith embraces the idea that there is something working in our lives that is bigger than us and stronger than us. Faith requires that we accept something that we cannot see or touch, yet it touches us in every aspect of our lives and “sees” everything that we do. Faith requires that we believe, rather than understand; that we accept what happens, rather than futilely fighting; that we trust, rather than demand; and, that we openly accept God in our lives, rather than stubbornly rejecting His help.

 Once the foundation of faith is laid down in your life, you can begin to hope with a sense of confidence that everything will turn out all right. You may get what you hoped for in ways that you never imagined. You may begin to see that underlying almost all hopes and dreams is the desire to be happy in life. Having a strong faith at your core may allow you to be happy with yourself and you may discover that little else matters. You might come to understand that you are living your dream already and that your hopes have been answered. Little in the material world matters much, once you have a firm faith as your foundation.

So don’t just hope for a better day, have faith that you will have a better day. .  In Hebrews 11:1 we are told, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

Have conviction, have faith, have hope and have a great week ahead.


Stay focused…

October 24, 2019

I seem to be stuck on the topic of finding a way to move on in life, but it is important enough to write about again.

A post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back used this quote – Fix the problem, not the blame – Unknown

As I scan the posts to various social media sites that I belong to, the advice in that little quote seems to go unheeded most of time. Perhaps it is just human nature to try to find out who, or what, to blame for whatever happens, especially things that happen to us. Obviously, it can’t be my fault, so I need to find someone else to blame for any misfortune that befalls me.

An unfortunate side effect of losing focus on the problem itself, in the search for someone or something to blame, is that we often don’t benefit from learning from the problem. Instead of increasing our wisdom and making sure that the same thing doesn’t happen again, we focus instead on finding a scapegoat upon which to heap the blame for our misfortune. This exonerates us from taking responsibility for placing ourselves in the situation that caused the problem and for the poor decisions that we may have made during the incident. The knee-jerk reaction that “It’s not my fault” almost always leads us to find someone else, or something else, to blame.

So stop yourself, the next time you go into reaction mode by asking “who did this to me” or “what caused this” and turn your focus instead to “what can I learn from this?” There is another saying that applies here –

You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you. – Brian Tracy

A big part of mastering the changes that occur in your life is keeping focus upon the problems and not on trying to fix the blame for things. Don’t waste your time on blame fixing, you’ve got enough to do to controlling how you react and working to fix the problem.

Besides eliminating wasted time, you may find that staying focused on the problem makes it much easier to just put things behind you and move on with life, when you don’t look for someone or something to blame. It happened, it’s done, it’s nobody’s fault, what can you learn from it? Then get on with life.

Have a wonderful and focused day!


Believe it, accept it, forget it, and move on with life…

October 21, 2019

In a recent post, Jack used this little quote in his blog – Jack’s Winning Words.

“Not the power to remember, but it’s the very opposite; the power to forget is a necessary condition for our existence.”  (Sholem Asch) 

I’m not sure that most people really forget things that were significant in their lives, especially bad things; and, I suspect that forgiving the things that others do to us is even harder for many. However, the ability to put things behind us and move on with life is a trait that most should try to adopt.

I’ve posted here a few times about forgiving others and ourselves. One post comes to mind –  https://normsmilfordblog.com/2019/04/24/use-your-powers-today/ , but there are others.

I’ve also posted about putting things into better perspective, especially things that you might be down on yourself about. The key to that is focusing upon the good things that are happening and not just on the bad – see https://normsmilfordblog.com/2019/08/29/look-for-good-and-focus-upon-it/

So, perhaps the advice that is in the quote from Jack’s blog is really telling us that we need to stop wasting our time agonizing over things that are passed and let go of them. We can’t go through life saying to ourselves, “I can’t believe this has happened” or “I can’t accept that this has happened”. It happened. Believe it. Accept it. Put it behind you. That will allow us to move forward with life.

The immediate reaction to those statements may be “That’s easy for you to say, it didn’t happen to you.” The fact is that similar things happen all the time to lots of people. People die. People get divorced. Relationship[s end. People leave home. People disappoint us. Things happen. You’re still here, so what are you going to do? Curling up into a fetal position and whimpering about it won’t help. Getting mad at the world won’t help. Wallowing in regrets won’t help. Getting mad at God for letting this happen to you won’t help; but perhaps turning to God for help will.

Perhaps some advice from people wiser than me will help –

“Even though you may want to move forward in your life, you may have one foot on the brakes. In order to be free, we must learn how to let go. Release the hurt. Release the fear. Refuse to entertain your old pain. The energy it takes to hang onto the past is holding you back from a new life. What is it you would let go of today?” – Mary Manin Morrissey

And

“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” – Steve Maraboli

A common theme in all of the quotes that I found on this topic was the need to move on, in order to achieve future happiness. So, give some thought to the question that Mary Morrissey asked – “What is it that you would let go of today?” If you need to have that cry, do it and move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your happiness tomorrow.

Find those things that are holding you back and let go of them today. Tomorrow will be a better day if you do that today. Heck, the rest of today will even be better. Time to let go and move on.


What will you do with your opportunities today?

October 16, 2019

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come s this tidbit of wisdom – “The world is full of abundance and opportunity.  Too many come with a teaspoon instead of a steam shovel.”  (Ben Sweetland) 

This refers to the preverbal “toe in the water” approach to life and the opportunities that we encounter. Far too many allow their fear of failure prevent them from even trying, when opportunity knocks at their door.  Others may be held back by prejudices or misunderstanding, especially in opportunities that require that we interact with someone who is “different.”

The opportunities to know someone else are abundant for most. Just think about the number of people that you encounter during a normal day. Do you come with a teaspoon to those opportunities or do you embrace them whole-heartedly with a steam shovel, open-arms approach? What are your first thoughts when encountering someone new? Are they questions about who they are, where they come from and what fascinating things you might learn from them? Perhaps they are thoughts of fear or distrust and perhaps even hate, because of how they look? Do you go in the offensive to welcome and greet them or put up your defenses to avoid or put them off?

Each encounter with someone new should be viewed as an opportunity, not a threat. These are people who bring with them memories and knowledge about things that you have not encountered. They have back-stories that can be fascinating. They have opinions and points of view that you may never have considered. They allow you to add their perspective to your view of things. They expand your realm of human experience by sharing theirs. You can’t achieve that with an object, a non-human thing. No matter how fascinating it might seem initially, it cannot share with you. Even a beloved pet provides only a one-sided relationship, as much as we try to give voice to them. Only a relationship with another human is one that may be truly enrich our lives through its sharing.

Can you put aside your fears and prejudices long enough to allow yourself a real opportunity for a relationship with someone new and perhaps different? Opportunities often hold out the chance for rewards, if you take advantage of them. The rewards of friendship, companionship and perhaps even love are there for the taking in your encounters with new people. How you chose to share those opportunities for relationships is up to you. Will you use a teaspoon or bring your steam shovel into the relationship? Are you willing to give the relationship as much as you get from it? A lot depends upon how you approach it. The opportunities are all around you. I suggest that you get out your steam shovel and dig in.

Hi, my name’s Norm and I’m glad to meet you.


Don’t look for perfection…look instead for the wonderful.

October 15, 2019

In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote from Annette Funicello – “Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful.”  I suspect that many don’t remember Annette Funicello, the movie actress and ex-Mousketeer. Annette died from complications of multiple sclerosis after a long battel with the disease. Certainly, her later life was not perfect, but she made the best of it. Many find themselves in situations that are far from perfect. Those who do best in those situations are those who can still find the wonder in life.

I have a feeling that, if life were without problems all of the time it would become boring and much less wonderful. Another of Jack’s recent quotes comes to mind – “Just because a path is difficult doesn’t mean that it’s not rewarding.”  (Danielle Thralow)

In fact, it is in overcoming difficulties and challenges that most people find the most satisfying feelings of being alive. There may be some real, physical reward at the end of a struggle, but just the feeling of accomplishment and victory over the problem is the best reward. For most in their “prime” years, life is too intense to be boring. They work heads-down to make the living that allows them to play hard in their few moments of off time. The demands of job and family life fill each day and seldom give boredom a chance to creep in.

When they retire, it is the dramatic reduction in the daily challenges at work that leave many feeling bored and less useful. Some actually channel the energy that they used to use at work into their retirement hobbies. Many just go back to work, perhaps in some other field than the one that they retired from, or in volunteer work. They crave the challenges and feelings of reward for a job well done. I personally find the thought of sitting around with nothing to do to be completely alien. Therefore, I work at two jobs part-time and do quite a bit of volunteer work.  

Whatever stage in life you are in, it is important to look for the wonderful in life, instead of hanging on the imperfect things. Looking for and finding the wonderful things in your life isn’t that hard, but it does require that you stop for a few moments to stop and look up from your daily routine (some use the word grind) and think about all of the things in your life that you love. Stop and think for a moment about your family, maybe about your home, possibly about your job and certainly about all of the things that God has given you. It may not all be perfect, but it certainly is wonderful, when you really think about it.

Sometimes just taking that pause to wonder at all that you have allows you to stop worrying about things that you don’t have or to let go of things that are not perfect. Ignore the imperfect and look instead upon the wonderful in your life.


Seeing love in your mind’s eye…

October 9, 2019

In a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog, Jack told a wonderful little story that used this quote as it’s headline – “Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind.”  (Shakespeare) Go read Jack’s post.

There is a little phrase that people often use – “in my mind’s eye”. They use it to describe the ability to “see” things in our minds. Athletes use this ability to visualize a shot or a play ahead of it actually happening. Most of us use it to give form to our imaginations and conjure up images of the good or bad things to come. It is interesting that vision is the primary sense that we imagine in our minds and not touch or smell or sounds (although most dreams, which also take place in the mind, involve sounds as well as things that we see).

So, how does one see love in the minds eye? I would submit that is less visual than it sounds and involves the “mental” sensations of various of our senses all at the same time. One does not so much “see” love and they sense it, they experience it. You can watch love (or experience it yourself) as a child (or adult) plays with a new puppy. There is unconditional love coming from the puppy and the new owner is returning that love. You also see it many times with young couples interacting when they think no one is watching (or they don’t care if anyone is watching).

Trying to put the experience of love into words gets complicated. It is a feeling of warmth and safety and surrender and reciprocation and comfort and appreciation that washes over you all at the same time. There are alliterative phrases that have been used by authors, poets and song writers trying to describe this feeling, like “melting into his arms” or “a warm embrace” or “swimming in the pools of her eyes”. Whatever words one chooses to use to describe the feeling of love usually end up describing a very satisfying experience or state of mind.

How do you “see” love in your mind’s eye? What words come to your mind when you think of someone (or something) that you love? Doesn’t that make you feel better?

Imagine how great you would feel is you could love everyone that you meet. That is what Jesus asked us to do in Luke, Mark and Matthew when he stated the Second Great Commandment – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” What a great place to live this world would be if instead of meeting people with judgement or fear or prejudice or hate, we met them with love in our minds. The next time you meet a stranger, trying seeing them with love in your mind’s eye.

Have a great and loving day. I’ll be seeing you.