Road Blocks

Confusingly Convoluted Simplicity

Continuing with my rephrasing of our Five Simple Things, today we have #4, which was really hard to totally and completely change. In the process of rewriting it, I came up with a wonderfully, confusing and convoluted, long and involved rendering of : “Every time you use keys, visualize they are unlocking opportunities to get you closer to your dreams.”

Here’s what I came up with:

From this moment on,
When making use of a tool for easy access,
Picture in your mind’s eye
That you have just released and expanded
Favorable chances
To draw ever nearer to infinite possibilities
For health, happiness, prosperity,
Or what ever it is you wish to achieve.

Sometimes simple is just better… well, actually, simple usually is better, and the simplest way to say this is:

“When unlocking something, imagine you are unlocking your dreams.”

So, that was somewhat enlightening. I like the long, convoluted, complicated phrasing that really gets my mind running all over the place. But I think that’s because having my mind running all over the place is familiar and comfortable. It’s my preferred mode of avoiding difficult feelings and situations.

However, making it simple might be really useful as well.

Which makes me wonder, what if I kept it simple inside my brain, for at least a small part of the day… what would that look like? What if it looked like me actually being in the actual moment in my actual body… Wow! Imagine that! And what if everything I said, or did, was just simple. Maybe it would be easy and simple. Maybe it would be fun to be simple… I don’t know. Might be worth a try!

Changing Things Around

Yesterday I felt like I had hit a wall, but then late last night a thought bounced into my head. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” So, I said to myself… OK then. Tomorrow I am going to do things differently. Tomorrow I am going to do everything I do normally, and at the same time, I’m going to change it up, so that it’s different.

So, today I have been doing just that. Every time I think of it, I try to change my normal habits just a little bit. Instead of turning on the TV and trolling the news on my phone, I put in a CD. And instead of picking a CD to fit my mood, I closed my eyes and picked a random CD.

Instead of putting on the same pair of socks that I’ve been wearing for a week???!!! Seriously? Yes! I put on a clean new pair of socks, a pair that I haven’t worn in a really long time… Instead of getting on my computer right away, I did a load of laundry and cleaned off the counters.

And so it goes… It feels good. I’ve even actually been remembering our Five Simple Things! Every single one of them so far! Wow!

Unlocking Opportunities

Number four of our five simple things is as follows:

Every time you use keys, visualize they are unlocking opportunities to get you closer to your dreams.

This is an awesome idea. I really like it. Why can’t I remember to do it? I have not remembered it even one time. And the last time I unlocked something, I knew that keys and unlocking were part of this project, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what the heck I was supposed to do.

I even thought of a couple of different ways to approach the concept, like for example:

  • When opening a jar think about opening up to new ideas, experiences, and knowledge.
  • When opening a door, think about moving forward with my goals, ideas, and/or life.

I haven’t been successful at remembering those either. I guess I am feeling blocked on the idea of moving forward, unlocking, opening up, unblocking… any kind of movement forward. Or maybe I just need to put a note to myself on my key ring… LOL.

So what about you guys? Thoughts? Ideas? Experiences? Inspirations? Comments? Complaints? Observations? Opinions?


A Ganesh Road Opener Ritual

If you are seeking new opportunities and wish to break down any obstacles that stand in your way, a Ganesh Road Opener Ritual just may be your answer!

To perform a Ganesh Road Opener Ritual, print out a picture of Ganesh and place it on an altar. You will also need a yellow candle, candy, a simple plate, a bowl of fresh water and some fresh flowers. Begin by cutting the flowers and placing them in the bowl of fresh water. I prefer to cut the flowers down to simply the flower tops and allow them to float in the water.

You will also want to add a couple drops of Ganesh Oil into the water as you do this. On your plate, place any items that reflect what you wish to accomplish. For example, you can place your business cards, some new silver coins, a job application, a prayer, petition, photos or even an important business contract. Get your yellow candle and anoint it with Ganesh oil, drawing the oil up the candle towards the wick.

  • Here’s a recipe if you want to make it for yourself: Ganesh Road Opener Oil Blend
  • Calamint or Hibiscus essential oils, hydrosols, or fragrances can be substituted for an oil blend.
  • Sesame oil can also be used as a substitute.

Place the candle in an appropriate candle holder and then put it on the plate with your items. When you are ready, light the candle and say a prayer. When the candle has completely burned down, take all the remains and bury it in a flower pot.

Here is the easiest and most effective way to ask Ganesh for help:

  • First study a picture of Ganesh, so that you may have a firm understanding of what he looks like and can recreate that image in your mind.
  • Take a few deep breaths, close your eyes and bring that image of Ganesh to your mind. Try and see him in as much detail as possible. See his beautiful elephant-head, with welcoming eyes, large ears, long trunk and big, pot-belly. See him as clearly as you can.
  • Now, simply speak to him, speak all of your concerns, worries, needs, etc. Know that as you speak he is hearing you and that you are making a connection with him.

That’s it! It’s that easy. When you have done this once, it is said that you will then have a permanent and ongoing relationship and connection with Ganesh. Speak to Him anytime you wish, as many times as you wish. It does not have to be a formal meditation. Take a moment in your day, if you feel the need, close your eyes and speak to him using the above method.

Invoking Ganesh With A Mantra

Another way that you can invoke the power of Ganesh is by repeating one of his mantras. In the simplest sense, mantras are ancient Sanskrit words of power. Each syllable of a mantra resonates a certain vibration. Mantras are used in meditation, to focus the mind, but they are also used to invoke the blessing of a Deity.

  • A variety of Ganesh Mantras can be found here.

What is happening when you repeat a mantra over and over, is that you are matching your own vibrational frequency to that of the mantra and its purpose (wealth, health, success, knowledge, etc.). Each of the Hindu Deities has their own mantra or mantras, which invoke the type of energy that the Deity represents.

Collected from various sources

When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

This post is something I found, but never posted when we were working on our The Little Engine That Could project,  so it’s not exactly a morning routine, but it occurs to me that once I do have the “perfect” morning routine in place, I might find myself at odds with it. Suppose I wake up in the morning and I really don’t feel like doing any of it… then what? So, here we have an article on how to get shit done even when you’re totally unmotivated.

How to Get Shit Done Even When You Really Don’t Feel Like It

When I first started my business, I was surprised that getting clients and making a decent income — the things I feared most — weren’t all that difficult. Instead, the thing that plagued me was actually pretty simple: finding the motivation to actually do the work I’d been given. It might sound ridiculous, but after chatting with enough freelancers, I can tell you this: it’s a common problem. Nowadays, I’m able to get A LOT more done (even when I totally don’t feel like it!). Today’s tips are lessons I learned over the past year (the hard way), which have drastically increased my productivity, motivation, and will to get shit done. Leh do dis.

  • Figure out what you’re afraid of

When I first started out, I had a subconscious fear that my work was going to take a looooong time to finish. Someone wants a new blog design? BRB, see you in a year! I’d built up unreasonable fears about how long the work would take to do and in turn, pushed it off over and over again.

My solution? I wrote out how long I thought each item on my to-do list would take and then I timed myself! I was shocked (shocked!) when my estimates were often 2-3 times longer than the task actually took. It was incredibly motivating to see how quickly I was able to work. This simple activity helped me prioritize my days ever since. What’s really holding you back from doing your work? Fear of how long it will take? Too much pride about not being able to deliver something spectacular enough? The answer might reveal a whole lot!

  • Use the 20 second rule

Want to get shit done? Make it 20 seconds easier to do. In The Happiness Advantage, author Shawn Achor describes a simple strategy for developing better habits and doing things even when we don’t feel motivated. Achor says, “Lower the activation energy for habits you want to adopt, and raise it for habits you want to avoid. The more we can lower or even eliminate the activation energy for our desired actions, the more we enhance our ability to jump-start positive change.” So the next time you decide to skip the gym? Try laying out your workout gear the night before.

  • Cut yourself off from social media

It’s no wonder we can’t get things done when we spend hours of everyday staring mindlessly at a screen that magically sends us funny pictures and updates from our friends. (If given the choice between work and text from dog, one will always choose text from dog). Make it easier on yourself and tune out of social media. Turn off notifications on your phone. Set specific times that you’re allowed to check social media sites (and ONLY check at these times). I think you’ll find that when you hush the chatter of the online world, you’re able to get back into the groove of that pesky to-do list that’s been giving you side eyes since last week.

  • Recognize when you’re at the top of your game

Dudes. I am pretty useless in the late afternoon. Awhile back, I used to start my day with emails, social media, and small, mindless tasks, which meant that I was doing The Big Stuff in the afternoon…when I was tired and not functioning at my best. Figure out when you feel and work your best and then do all of the things that take the most brain power during those times. Twitter can wait. Promise.

  • Create rewards

I’ll be honest, rewards never worked for me, but I do know they work for other people. Tell yourself that once you finish X, you can have/do Y. Another alternative is to reward yourself with something (like a small piece of candy) whenever you knock an item off your to-do list.

  • Organize that hot mess of yours

There is nothing less motivating to me than a completely messy desk. Luckily, this is a simple fix! Spend 15 minutes organizing your work area and cleaning up all that shiz of yours. When your work space is clear, your mind is clear.

  • Give up

I thought we’d end on an inspirational note. ? But seriously, some days you’re just not going to feel it and pushing yourself to work when you absolutely CAN’T will probably only result in mediocre results and even more overwhelm. Play hooky for the day or a few hours. Relax. Take a freakin’ break. Try a few things from this list. I promise you’ll feel a whole lot better tomorrow, you little hustler you.

By Melyssa Griffin

But I Don’t Want To…

When I was writing this post, it occurred to me that the morning routine of my boarding school experience mirrors, in many ways, what happens every morning now….

It went something like this… Finally, I am asleep. Feeling warm and comfortable… safe even… and possibly loved. And then clanging and banging, doors open and slam shut… bells ringing in my ears…. and here I am, alone with people who don’t know me, who don’t like me, who want to kill my spirit… and I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to be good. I don’t want to be happy. I don’t want to be a part of it all. I don’t want to fit in. I don’t want it… any of it.  They reject me – I reject them. I wake up and I think “fuck you!” Well… not actually those words, but that same feeling of rage and resistance…

And, I have to say, that it served me well. I didn’t turn into a little robot kid, I stayed a squarish peg and never ever fit into a round hole. I maintained my sense of self. My barriers held. My life is my own. And yet, I find that still… all these years later. I wake up all too often in a state of resistance, and a feeling of dread.

“No! I don’t want to … ” is normally my first thought. I have that sinking feeling as the alarm goes off. Yes, it’s not nearly as intense as boarding school, and not nearly as miserable or as lonely and isolating, but it’s there… like a wash of gray where there could be color.

Interestingly, this seems to be true for me no matter what day it is… even when I’m on a camping trip and having fun… I wake up… a feeling of dread… “I don’t want to get out of the warm sleeping bag… I don’t want to hike down to the bathrooms… I don’t want to …”  it sets the tone for the day. Everything that happens after is an uphill climb, a downward spiral, or a dead stop.

Clearly, this survival mechanism has succeeded far too well. Yes, some days I need it, but every day? No.

And what about you? Are you stuck in a morning mode that has outlived its purpose? If you examine the morning routines that you find yourself falling into year after year, do you find that they mirror childhood experiences? And if so, how do they serve you now? What would you keep? and what would you change?

Random Thoughts on Obstacles

So, the first time I saw this I thought, “OK, that’s a fail.” However, today, I realized something interesting and important about this little gif. It stops too soon. That little guy just needs to get back up, reach over that rock, pick up his skateboard, and keep on keeping on. Voila! Obstacle Overcome!

This is also true. Sometimes you need an earth shaking maybe even life shattering event to propel you out of a situation in which you feel irretrievably stuck. Of course, something like that is scary and must be approached with ultimate caution. Notice the mouse is hiding “safely” behind a wall before he triggers the event.

For some people, obstacles are a great motivation for creative thought. Movers and shakers love obstacles because overcoming them is what they do best. There’s a lot to be said for this quality. To welcome problems… see the challenge and get excited about resolving it. A life that is too easy is usually pretty boring and possibly meaningless. On the other hand.. too many problems for breakfast can be like too much bacon – which we all know is not good.

Some obstacles aren’t really obstacles at all. We imagine them to be limitations and impossibilities. We create an obstruction in our imagination and think it’s real, and allow ourselves to come to a dead stop as a result.

I love this picture so much.
Making the best of a bad situation.

And then there’s always the “keep on keeping on” method of overcoming impossible situations. Maybe you just need a little bit of help and a whole lot of “I shall not fail” determination. You’ve got to admit, these two ladies (climbing the Grand Canyon) are pretty impressive!

Some goals, no matter how interesting, how elaborate, or how cool are simply impossible. This little engine for example… I love it! It’s a lovely steampunk fantasy and it’s not going anywhere. Well… it might roll along for about 6 inches or so before it derails…

And then there’s this… the occasional disaster! All that work, that energy and enthusiasm, the I think I can’s, the motivational speeches, how to’s, and road maps to success… all of it lost in a moment. Maybe it was poor planning, lack of support, or a simple mistake, something happens and the whole thing goes up in flames. It happens, and lucky for us, our little “Engines That Could” are not real trains!

Giving up is always an option, but are you sure you really want to do that?

Isn’t there always a little spark of hope?
A light at the end of the tunnel?
I like to think so.

Parkinson’s Law

 Work expands to fill the time allotted.

This proverb was coined by the twentieth-century British scholar C. Northcote Parkinson, known as Parkinson’s Law, it points out that people usually take all the time allotted (and frequently more) to accomplish any task.

The total effort that would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety, and toil.

Originally, Parkinson’s law was a reference to the self-satisfying uncontrolled growth of the bureaucratic apparatus in an organization. Nowadays Parkinson’s law is usually condensed to saying work expands to the time allowed and is applied to individuals as well as a burgeoning bureaucracies. Parkinson discusses this interpretation in his opening paragraph but then limits his attention to organizations.

This adage, written in 1955, captured a feeling both modern and timeless and came to be known as Parkinson’s Law. It spawned a best-selling 1958 book and has for decades inspired life-hackers and self-help gurus aiming to vanquish the human tendency toward anxiety-producing, productivity-squelching procrastination.

Variations on the theme:

  • If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.
  • In ten hours a day you have time to fall twice as far behind your commitments as in five hours a day.
  • A task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.
  • The amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.

Interestingly, the reverse is not true.

The solution? Set urgent deadlines, program your stopwatches, and stick to the program. No dillydallying, and no toiling over inconsequential details. Mustering mental discipline is, of course, challenging, especially now that smartphones and e-mail make it easy to second-guess, edit, and retouch work from anywhere at any hour.


The Law of Delay

“Delay is the deadliest form of denial.”
~ C. Northcote Parkinson

From: The Times (London), 15 September 1966,
“Parkinson’s Law of Delay” by C. Northcote Parkinson

There is nothing static in our changing world and recent research has tended to show that the Abominable No-man is being replaced by the Prohibitive Procrastinator. Instead of saying “No” the Prohibitive Procrastinator says “In due course,” foreshadowing Negation by Delay.

The theory of Negation by Delay depends upon establishing a rough idea of what amount of delay will equal negation. If we suppose that a drowning man calls for help, evoking the reply “In due course,” a judicious pause of five minutes may constitute for all practical purposes, a negative response. Why? Because the delay is greater than the non swimmer’s expectation of life.

The same principle holds good in a case at law. Delays are thus deliberately designed as a form of denial and are extended to cover the life expectation of the person whose proposal is being pigeon-holed. Where the urgent matter requires remedial legislation, delay takes on a new dimension. The judicious pause will correspond, nevertheless, to the life expectation of the man from whom the proposal originates. DELAY IS THE DEADLIEST FORM OF DENIAL.’

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