Mindfulness

Paying attention focused on the present moment in a non-judgmental way is the essence of mindfulness.

I attended a mindfulness seminar once and didn’t last 30 minutes before I raised my hand and admitted I have tried it and I cannot do it.

Surprisingly, many others then chimed in and admitted the same thing.

Mindfulness does not have to mean meditation if you cannot or do want to meditate.

This was empowering and here’s what I have discovered since that seminar two years ago.

  • Being mindful can be as simple as leaning forward and looking another person in the eye while they talk and you listen.
  • Or turning off digital devices and rejoining the world.  You may blame Millennials for losing themselves in their digital devices but, really, everyone does it today.  A conscious decision on when to go digital and when to go analog (so to speak) aids practical mindfulness.
  • Not having an opinion right away encourages mindfulness.  Full confession: this one is going to kill me.  But, I have seen progress.  I have begun to learn how to delay judgmental responses long enough to actually be able to repeat in my mind what the other person is saying.  Previously, I jumped in, interrupted or laid in wait to give my take.

What I learned from the seminar was just trying to be mindful in ways like I have discovered above, is mindfulness that actually works and everyone can do it.

Subscribe to these Day Starters for free here.

Share them with friends and family by forwarding this email or posting to social media.

Don’t want to get these emails anymore?  Choose the link below to unsubscribe.

+ Comment on this post

Confronting the Fear of Failure

I love to speak to audiences and rarely if ever do I lack the confidence to get up before a crowd.

But once in addressing a music industry conference, I was suddenly surprised to be struck with fear.

It wasn’t the size of the group that was estimated to be 800 – it was the speaker who preceded me.

He was one of the best I have ever heard and he had the audience in the palm of his hands.  I was so rattled, I stepped out from backstage to the auditorium to view his expert talk the way the audience was obviously enjoying it.

What I learned that day not only saved the day for me.  I made it one of the tenants that I now hold dear to confront the fear of failure.

Would you like to know what I told myself?

“Jerry, you have earned the right to be here.  Only you could talk about this topic.  The group doesn’t want to hear one good talk, they want to hear two”.

And with that I returned backstage to await my introduction, but before I said a word, I stood at the podium in silence for a few seconds looking left, right and center as if to gather my listeners in while saying to myself “you have earned the right to be speaking”.

Fear of failure is useless.

It is 100% always self-inflicted.

Fear of failure can be cured by thinking of yourself as bringing a special gift to the audience and you will never let them down.

By the way, this approach works in presentations, one-on-one meetings and even in the privacy of your own mind when unwanted negativity creeps in.

Subscribe to these Day Starters for free here.

Share them with friends and family by forwarding this email or posting to social media.

Don’t want to get these emails anymore?  Choose the link below to unsubscribe.

+ Comment on this post

A PowerPoint Presentation That Will Change Your Life

 My music industry students at USC used to beg me not to use PowerPoint which I define as the only thing that can put a student with two lattes in them right to sleep.

I always heeded their advice instead putting my notes online to those who actually attended each class.

I have toyed with PowerPoint at my media conferences and have concluded, they hate them too.

But I promised you the PowerPoint presentation that will change your life.

And it is the one I make vividly in my own mind many times a day when I review “slides” of things I want to do and want to accomplish.

  • Why am I working today? I slap a slide up in my peripheral vision that has no words only a picture of say – a vacation in Vermont’s mountains. Warning: a dollar sign will not motivate you no matter how badly you need money.
  • Who do I want to be? My father was one of the most honest people I have ever met. A straight arrow. Guess what flashing a picture of my dad in his military uniform in the memory of my mind does to me?
  • What’s my biggest gift? No, not to crow about it but to use it. So if you are good with people, why not use that gift, for example, to help them break the ice?
  • What’s my biggest challenge? I have a few personal ones I hope to share with you one day soon but I can tell you now that dissolving to a slide with an image that represents that challenge helps bolster me for it.
  • And what do I fear the most? I could probably do 50 slides on this one but just to focus on the one that comes to mind first as I write this – the fear of not being relevant. Once I see the slide, it opens my mind, motivates me to pay a price and directs me to a place where I can attain my goal. The next time, another fear will rise to the surface and I will give it the same treatment.
  • Add a few of your own slides here. Try it if you like. Seeing the life you have, the life you fear and yes, the life you want in a daily slideshow of the mind is so powerful I’ll bet you share it with someone you care about.

Subscribe to these Day Starters for free here.

Share them with friends and family by forwarding this email or posting to social media.

Don’t want to get these emails anymore? Choose the link below to unsubscribe.

+ Comment on this post

Thing Problems vs. People Problems

Thing problems:

Your car broke down, you lost your job, you have to have an operation, someone broke into your house and robbed you and the worst possible scenario – your phone fell in the toilet.

People problems:

A divorce, visiting children on the weekend, having someone stab you in the back, not getting the raise and/or promotion or being shamed or bullied.

Thing problems – as bad or inconvenient as they are – are better than people problems.

People problems are the worst because there is never a tangible solution and often emotions come into play to foul up or complicate matters.

But both people problems and thing problems are solved the same way.

  1. Get the facts.
  2. Weight the facts.
  3. Do not avoid the problem, dive in and solve it.
  4. Identify your goal and pursue it.

So that broken phone, won’t work.  You’ve tested it.  And now you try to recall whether you have AppleCare or not.  You decide when you’re going to make a trip to the Apple Store to get them to fix it or replace it.  Eventually, you’re back on Instagram again.

But if you’re being bullied or fat-shamed, emotions make it harder to use the formula above that always works.

But persist.

You will channel your hurt and anger into power.  Push back against bully-shamers and commit to not avoiding this as painful as it may be but confronting it.  You identify your goal as stopping the personal abuse and reinforcing the good feelings you have about yourself.

My best friend use to say to me, “JD, thank God that’s a thing problem” at which point I learned to love flat tires or missed flights.

But people problems deserve the same well thought out plan to solve them even though they are usually complicated by emotions. 

Subscribe to these Day Starters for free here.

Share them with friends and family by forwarding this email or posting to social media.

Don’t want to get these emails anymore?  Choose the link below to unsubscribe.

+ Comment on this post

Suffering

Suffering hurts.

No one wants to suffer.

We hate to see our loved ones suffer.

Yet suffering is transformational.

It brings us from pain to pleasure.

From bad to good.

From despair to hope.

I’m not about to sign a list that makes me available to further suffering but when painful issues affect our lives, it helps to keep in mind that suffering transforms us to someone better.

Viktor Frankl, the psychologist who was incarcerated in a World War II concentration camp and documented his journey in Man’s Search for Meaning said:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Subscribe to these Day Starters for free here.

Share them with friends and family by forwarding this email or posting to social media.

Don’t want to get these emails anymore?  Choose the link below to unsubscribe.

+ Comment on this post