Shake it off and step up

Shake it off and step up 

Below is one of my favorite stories with the simplest of messages. Thank you Joseph Sica for this elegant lesson…

Once upon a time there was a farmer who had an old mule. The mule fell into a deep dry well and began to cry loudly. Hearing his mule cry, the farmer came over and assessed the situation. The well was deep and the mule was heavy. He knew it would be difficult, if not impossible, to lift the animal out.

Because the mule was old and the well was dry, the farmer decided to bury the animal in the well. In this way he could solve two problems: put the old mule out of his misery and have his well filled.

He called upon his neighbors to help him and they agreed to help. To work they went. Shovel full of dirt after shovel full of dirt began to fall on the mule’s back. He became hysterical. Then all of a sudden an idea came to the mule. Each time they would throw a shovel full of dirt on his back he could shake it off and step up. Shovel full after shovel full, the mule would shake it off and step up. Now exhausted and dirty, but quite alive, the mule stepped over the top of the well and walked through the crowd.

A great attitude. A great way to approach life. Shake it off and step up. Too often we hold on to what has happened to us.

We hold on to it for a week, a month, even years. We cannot shake it loose from our memory. It eats away at us and steals our joy, happiness and peace of mind. The past hurt can create feelings of bitterness, resentment, anger and revenge.

We keep allowing these emotions to be thrown on our backs and if we do nothing, we will be buried deep in the well. Walls will be built in our relationships. We will avoid each other and the cold war begins.

 But, we have a choice: keep it inside and embrace the hurt or shake it off and step up. Give it a try. Shake it off and step up. Words that have been said or actions that have been done, shake it off and step up. Let it go. Whatever it is: a rude comment, a past mistake, being ignored, we can stew over it all week. It occupies us all the time.

Too often we nurse hurts, we keep them alive inside and go over them time and time again; not only stewing from them, but now chewing them over and over until it gets us sick. Too often we rehearse hurts, tell everyone what has happened to us.

The cure is to accept what has happened, try to make sense out of it, learn from it, then shake it off and step up. When you let it go you feel free and you are no longer buried in the well. Once you are on your feet again you can take some action. You decide where you want to grow in life, the direction you want your life to take. You decide whether you will allow the hurt to make you a bitter or a better person. Learn from it. Emerge stronger.

THAT’S LIFE! If we face our problems and respond to them positively, and refuse to give in to panic, bitterness, or self-pity…The adversities that come along to bury us usually have within them the potential to benefit and bless us.

Never say never

Never say never

Next time you doubt yourself, think about a few of these doomsday statements that turned out to be gloriously, wonderfully, wrong:

“This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” – Western Union internal memo, 1876.

“The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?” – David Sarnoff’s associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920’s.

“The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” – A Yale University management professor, in response to Fred Smith’s paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. Smith went on to found Federal Express Corporation.

“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” – H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

“I’m just clad it’ll be Clark Gable who’s falling on his face and not Gary Cooper.” – Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in “Gone With the Wind.”

“A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make.” – Response to Debbie Fields’ idea of starting Mrs. Fields’ Cookies.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.” – Decca Recording Company rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

“Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” – Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.

“If I had thought about it, I wouldn’t have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can’t do this.” – Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3-M “Post-It” Notepads.

“So we went to Atari and said, ‘Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, ‘No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, ‘Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.” – Apple Computer, Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and Hewlett-Packard interested in his and Steve Wozniak’s personal computer.

“Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools.” – 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard’s revolutionary rocket work.

“You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can’t be done. It’s just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training.” – Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the “unsolvable” problem by inventing Nautilus.

“Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You’re crazy.” – Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

“I think there’s a world market for about five computers.” – Thomas J. Watson, Chairman of the Board, IBM.

“The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives.” – Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project.

“This fellow, Charles Lindbergh, will never make it. He’s doomed.” – Harry Guggenheim, millionaire aviation enthusiast.

“Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau.” – Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

“Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.” – Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented.” – Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

“Man will never reach the moon regardless of all future scientific advances.” – Dr. Lee De Forest, inventor of the vacuum tube and father of television.

Thinking With Your Heart

Thinking With Your Heart

The sensory path to your brain has three steps, and the brain in your head doesn’t even process your experiences until they have been through the first two steps — from the gut to the heart, and yet another dimension of hidden intelligence.

Neurocardiologists, scientists in an emerging field, have discovered that the brain in the heart contains more than 40,000 nerve cells called baroreceptors. This heart brain is as large as many key areas of the brain in your head. It also has highly sophisticated computational abilities.

With every beat, a new thought or idea is communicated from your heart to the rest of your body. Like your intestinal intuition, this cardio-communication deeply influences how you perceive your world and how you react to it. The heart pumps out speech after speech and every other part of your body is in constant contact with the heart’s demands. These impulses race through the body many times faster than your blood, and it is up to your head brain to try to catch up to them and understand them. The heart also generates many neurochemicals that influence the way we act. One such chemical, atrial peptide, is a primary force in your motivation and commitment to your goals. As we discovered earlier, we need to believe in order to achieve. Well, the heart has more to do with our sense of believing than any other brain we have.

The Heart’s Sense

The brain in your heart also keeps searching for new opportunities to grow or learn, and cross references its interpretations of what those around you are feeling with its own inner state of values and passions. When people tell you to go for your dreams, no matter how far fetched those dreams may seem, people usually say something like, “Follow your heart.” There is now scientific evidence to support the idea that the heart has a dedicated sensory system perfectly calibrated to sniffing out innovative and creative opportunities.

But that’s not all: the heart’s electromagnetic field is by far the most powerful produced by the body. In fact, it is approximately 5,000 times more powerful than the field produced by the brain.

This is true of everyone to a certain degree. People ten feet away may sense exactly what you are feeling. They can even do it over the telephone, and it makes no difference what you are saying. Words are fodder for the brain in your head. Your heart will believe the feeling underneath the words. This means that those people who are most in touch with their own feelings, and the feelings of others, may be the most attuned to what’s really happening in life. It’s imperative that you focus your attention on what you can do, and what you can contribute, not what you can’t. This is one of the uncommon yet simple ways we can better draw upon the combined brilliance and potential of all three of our brains, not just one.

There is so much more to your gut and your heart than digestion and circulation. People are not machines, no matter how often personal or work relationships make us feel as though we are. It’s no wonder that when people don’t feel cared about and valued, it’s so hard to put their hearts into their life or work.