Tag Archives: life lessons

12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration
Whether you are starting a novel, a blog, a new business, or anything else, there will be times when it is hard to stay motivated. There will be difficult times, as with any life lesson, but these 12 motivational quotes and inspirational texts will help keep you going. #LifeLesson #LifeHack #Quote #Motivation #Inspiration

It’s often not easy. Most of the time it is very difficult. There will be obstacles, but the final success will make you forget them. It’s a life lesson you need to learn. Sometimes a motivational quote is just the push you need. Here we will discuss 12.

Learning life lessons is essential if you are to grow as a person. In a continuation of my I’ve Learned Series, today’s post offers motivation for you to keep pursuing your dreams.

life lessons

 

Some life lessons will help you cope with tragedy and discouragement. Many will help you live peaceably while being more empathic and compassionate. Still others, the ones you will read about today, will give you the push you need to get started and keep going.

Whether you are dreaming of being a published author, a renowned stage actor or just a few pounds lighter, these quotes will help get you moving.

life lessons

 Start Here

Motivational Quote: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” – Arthur Ashe

It is easy to put off a dream or goal because we are not where we think we should be. Have you ever said any of these things?

·         I will do it when I get a little older and have more time.

·         I will start when my kids are grown.

·         I will start exercising on January 1st.

·         I will start when the weather gets warmer.

·         I will start when I’m in a better position financially.

There are lots of reasons to put off your dreams. The truth is, there will never be the perfect time or circumstances. Start here. Start now.

Success never happens overnight. Start today in the direction you want to go. Tomorrow, you will wake up one step closer to your goal.

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon Services, LLC. Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post also contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission or referral fee, at no extra cost for you.


 life lessons

Set Goals

Motivational Quote: “Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins

A leader with motivational quotes, Tony Robbins gives one of the keys to success.

You already have your dream. The final prize is clearly in your mind. Setting goals is about more than just setting the ultimate destination. Success is achieved through reaching many smaller goals. These small goals serve as footholds and milestones that are an important part of your journey.

Even small goals are important.

Suppose your ultimate goal is to write a novel. Most novels are in the range of 80,000-100,000 words. Very few people could pump out that many words in a day. Most can’t even do it in a week.

That’s why you start with smaller goals.

If you want to write a 100,000-word novel in a year, that means you need to write 275 words per day. Writing 275 words isn’t nearly as daunting as 100,000. Up to this point in this post you have already read 350 words. It’s not that much to commit to writing each day. It’s a realistic and achievable goal.

The same is true for every goal. Use this life lesson and break your goal down into its smallest parts. Then set each of those parts as a goal that you can knock off one by one.

 life lessons

Look for Opportunity

Motivational Quote: “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now.” – Napoleon Hill

A few lucky people are born into wealth and privilege. Due to their family legacy, they have all the tools they need to work towards virtually any goal. Or at least the means to buy the tools.

The rest of us usually like to wait for opportunity to find us. Stop waiting and start actively looking for opportunities. That truth makes this one of the most popular motivational quotes.

I got started in the financial services field completely by chance. One day, while visiting one of my neighbors at his office, I noticed an abundance of files scattered around in piles on the floor.

Often not the most tactful person, I made a comment about them and how unprofessional they looked.

My friend explained that he desperately needed a new filing system, but his entire staff was so busy that no one had time to work on it. I had some free time in my schedule, so I offered to spend a few hours a week putting things in order.

That simple act led to a twenty-year career in financial services.

The point here is that opportunity is all around us. Rarely does it come and knock on our door, but if we keep our eyes and minds open, we will see opportunity all around us.

Look around your life for the opportunities you need that will help you achieve your dreams.


 life lessons

Forget Your Age

Motivational Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” – Les Brown

A lie that people like to tell themselves, especially as they get older, is that they aren’t the right age to pursue their dream. That lie is complete garbage.

In my life I have had the pleasure of watching friends achieve their goals, even starting late in life. One friend started taking piano lessons when she was nearly 60. She is a very accomplished pianist today. Another friend about the same age started taking art classes. His paintings now garner more attention than those from painters with decades of experience.

Browse the internet and you will find stories of many octogenarians that have started running marathons, taken up sky diving or gone back to school. They learned the life lesson and apply it in their lives.

You are not too young or too old to start a new goal. Get that thought out of your head.

Walt Disney was famous for saying, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Forget your age. It’s only a number. Keep this message with you favorite motivational quotes.

 life lessons

Leave the Past in the Past

Motivational Quote: “The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power.” – Unknown

Another obstacle people put in the way of their dreams is the past. Maybe you tried to lose weight before but then gained it all back. Perhaps you started a business and it didn’t succeed. You might have started writing a book that you never finished.

All those things are okay. There is nothing you can do to change them. Stop letting them halt your future progress.

Tomorrow is a blank page. Nothing from yesterday needs to color it. Choose for tomorrow to be the day that gets you closer to your goal.

life lessons 

Take Action

Motivational Quote: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Now that the past is behind you, and you have your goal broken down into more manageable parts, it’s time for action.

Do at least one thing every day to move you forward. It doesn’t have to be a huge task. But do something every day.

Sometimes it might be just making a decision.

For instance, if you are starting a blog, one of the things most bloggers struggle with is picking a domain name. Your goal for today could be to make a list of possible names. If you already have a list, today’s assignment could be to pick one and sign up with a hosting company.

Reaching a goal isn’t about making big strides every day. Doing so might get you there faster, but any forward movement is just that – forward movement.

Do one thing today that moves you forward and count today as a win.

 life lessons

Leave Fear Behind

Motivational Quote: “Success often comes to those who dare and act; it seldom goes to the timid who are ever afraid of the consequences.” – Jawaharlal Nehru

It’s a crazy truth, but many people never achieve their dreams because they are afraid of success. Singer song-writers may fear that fame will change their lives in negative ways. Actors may fear that they won’t be able to keep the momentum after one big success. Authors fear that they might not have another good book in them.

Fear also rears its ugly head from the other direction. An author might fear publishing a book that no one reads or likes. I venture that every author feels that way, at least with their very first book.

An artist may fear that no one will understand or like their art. A musician might fear that no one will connect with their songs.

Don’t let fear stop you. Most things we fear will never happen. Learn and believe that life lesson.

There are more than 7-billion people on the planet. 7 billion! Many of them are going to like what you do no matter how good or bad it is.

Think of some of the worst films you have ever seen. Probably they all have some sort of cult following that love the film.

And if you don’t succeed? That’s not even an option. If you reach your goal, whatever that goal is, you have already succeeded. That success will change everything else in a good way.


 life lessons

Keep Moving

Motivational Quote: “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Imagine that your dream is to build a boat and sail across the ocean. You work hard for months or years in crafting an excellent vessel. If you never put that boat in the water and actually set sail, your dream will never reach its true fulfillment.

Many writers do this with books. They write books, sometimes dozens of them, but then they never pursue publication. One writer share on Twitter recently that she has a whole wall of books she wrote and never pursued.

Most likely fear comes back into play here, but I cannot say that for sure. I myself have written at least five books, but only one is published. Getting that one published with a struggle that I stopped many time. You can read my experience here.

Reaching a milestone is not the place to stop. Keep your goal in front of you always. Then keep moving forward.

Life lesson? If you already have the boat finished, now is the time to get in the water.

 life lessons

Expect Failure as Part of the Life Lesson

Motivational Quote: “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brene Brown

The brutal truth is that failure is an integral part of success. But failure never has to be the end. Just because something doesn’t succeed the first time, or even the second or hundredth time, doesn’t mean that it never will.

Nearly all the biggest achievements in the world arrived with a past littered with numerous failures. Thomas Edison is a famous example. For each of his world-changing successes were thousands of ideas that had not worked.

To read more about Thomas Edison and perseverance, read my post 7 Reasons to Never Give Up.

What’s necessary is to change your mindset. Expect you will have at least some failures during your journey. Then, when they happen, meditate on what you can learn from the failure and move on.

Your dream is still achievable.

life lessons

Stop Procrastinating

Motivational Quote: “Procrastination is the bad habit of patting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” – Napoleon Hill

Perhaps the biggest barrier to success is procrastination. Continually putting off the steps that need to be completed to reach your goal keeps your prize forever out of arm’s reach.

The good news is procrastination is another thing that is in your control. There is a great post about how to beat procrastination. 4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs  is another life lesson that gives you four easy things you can do to change your procrastinating habit .

Resolve that you will keep moving forward. Set deadlines for yourself and do everything in your power to achieve them.

 

It’s Up to You

Motivational Quote: “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” – Carol Burnett

Only you can do what needs to be done. No matter how many online courses you pay for, how many classes your take or how many personal trainers you see, at the end of the day you are the only one that can do what needs to be done. You are the one that needs to write, exercise or eat better.

You have the ability to reach your goal. Remind yourself of that daily. Hourly if you have to. It is possible. You can do it.

life lessons

 

Keep Going

Motivational Quote: “Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill

No matter what happens along the pathway to achieving your dream, don’t give up. There will be bad days. There might be bad weeks and months. I’ve even had bad years. But don’t let anything stop you from moving forward.

Even if circumstances cause your project to stall for a while, as soon as possible, get moving again.

Remember that the small things count. That’s another life lesson.

If your goal was to fill a bucket with rocks, big rocks would get the job done quicker. But even the smallest rocks tossed into the bucket add to the whole.

Acknowledge the small successes as well as the big ones. Each one is moving you toward reaching your dream.

You got this.

 

Life Lesson Learned

This post contains just a few of the quotes that have helped to reaffirm this life lesson in my mind. Are there quotes that keep you motivated? Please share them in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with friends and on social media.

Need a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #QuotesNeed a little motivation? Here are 12 quotes to keep you moving forward. #LifeLessons #Motivation #Quotes

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

4 Ways to Beat Procrastination – With Frogs

Have you had your frog this morning? That probably sounds a little insane, unless, of course, you are someone who likes to have frogs for breakfast.

Hey, it’s possible. Maybe.

Let’s try another question.

Are you buried in to-dos today? If you are a blogger, writer, mom, worker, etc. most likely you are. There is ALWAYS something to be done. If you are like me, you have a post that is due today or tomorrow that you have not started. This post goes out Saturday morning and I am working on it at 6:20 PM Friday night.

It could be worse. At least it’s not midnight. Yet.

Procrastination is a curse that most of us contend with on a daily basis. Why do today what can be done tomorrow? So goes the procrastinator’s motto. The only problem with that philosophy is that now you have added additional stress to tomorrow.

Stress is never good. You know that.

So stop procrastinating! How? Learn this lesson about frogs.

Now you are thinking, “But what does procrastination have to do with frogs?”

Good question. Bear with me a moment while I give you some background for this post.

In the last two months, I have been spending copious amounts of time reading advice online and off about blogging and working as a freelancer. In one of the posts, and forgive me that for the moment I can’t remember which one, the writer referred to this quote by Mark Twain:

The quote has been stuck in my head ever since I read it. Mr. Twain, or Mr. Clemens as the case may be, was not really advocating for the eating of live frogs.

Well, at least I don’t think he was. Not having known him personally, I can’t say with certainty what he meant.

I have chosen to believe that the point he was trying to make was to stop procrastinating. If we would tackle the worst thing we need to do first thing in the morning, everything else would be downhill from there.

Read Lesson 1 in the I’ve Learned series

Are you guilty of procrastinating on the tasks you don’t want to do?

I know I am. In the corporate world, I often had three piles on my desk:

  1. Things that had to be done today
  2. Things that needed to be done soon and
  3. Things that were very low priority.

I often put things in pile 2 that I did not want to do. They would often stay there until I was coming up on a deadline before they made it to pile 1. I spent more time dreading the jobs I didn’t want to do than I did actually doing them.

One day I woke up and realized what I was doing to myself. It was crazy for me to cause extra stress by putting off tasks I didn’t want to do. I made a change that day.


I had not heard the quote from Mark Twain at the time. Perhaps if I had, I would have been moved to action sooner.

The change to my day was undeniable. My stress level dropped considerably. I was still having to deal with difficult people and mundane tasks, but by getting those things completed first thing, the rest of my day went much smoother and with much less dread of the remaining work on my desk.

Back to Mark Twain’s quote. He also supposedly said that if you have two frogs to eat, you should eat the bigger one first or something to that effect. I could not easily find this latter quote on the internet.

Again, the point is, at least in my mind, to do the worst things first. Get that big, ugly frog off your plate.

Nothing against frogs.

Here are four important lessons we can learn from this quote:

1.      Schedule Eating Your Frog

 

You have a million things that need to be done. Besides whatever you do for work, you have a home, family, and friends calling for your attention.

Add to that all the little distractions in your day. That, “Oh, my friend just posted new pictures on Facebook,” that turns into hours of browsing. You know what I mean.

Make yourself accountable. Schedule those tasks you don’t want to do just like you would schedule any other appointment or job. Go ahead and put it on your calendar. And be sure to schedule it early in the day so you can stop dreading it.

When that time comes, do the task. No grumbling or complaining. Do it and move on.

2.      Prepare Your Frog in Advance

 

You can take a lot of stress out of your morning by planning your day the night before. Taking just 10-15 minutes at the end of the day to plan the following day means that tomorrow you can wake up and start the day without having to think about what needs to be done. You have a plan and a schedule.

Many people do this already with lunches or planning outfits. I’m not a morning person so the fewer things I have to do in the morning the better. That means ironing any items the night before is a necessity. Fortunately, now that I am working from home, there’s a whole lot less ironing to be done.

3.      Don’t Eat Every Frog

 

There are dozens of tasks calling for our attention in a typical day. Lessen some the distractions by choosing to ignore some of them. Not every task deserves your attention. And not every decision is life altering.

Some people find some relief in this regard by making consistent decisions by the day of the week. For instance, many busy moms have a weekly schedule for meals: Monday is spaghetti, Friday is pizza, etc.

Mark Zuckerberg made an interesting comment about unnecessary decisions in this interview from 2014. He was asked why he was so often seen wearing the same looking t-shirt or hoodie. His response?

“I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community.” Zuckerberg felt, at least at the time, that deciding what to wear was a decision he didn’t need to spend mental energy on.

So he bought multiples of the same items. With only one color shirt in the drawer or hoodie on the rack and you don’t have to decide what to put on.

This may be an extreme example, but there are likely little decisions in your life that you can stop making. Take some time to think about it.

4.      Don’t Let Other Frogs Distract You

 

How many social media alerts have you gotten just while reading this post? As soon as you finish reading this, go turn off ALL of those notifications.

Stopping what you are doing every 5-10 minutes to read updates is only causing you more stress.

I’m serious. Go turn them off. You will thank me later.

This doesn’t mean you should give up social media entirely. It’s fun to see what others are doing and to interact with your friends and followers. But set limits. Just like you wouldn’t let a real frog hop everywhere in your house, set boundaries for social media.

Read Lesson 4 in the I’ve Learned series

 

For many people setting a timer helps. Start an egg timer or set an alarm on your phone and give yourself a reasonable amount of time to play, say 30-60 minutes. But, when that timer goes off, so should social media. Get back to work and ignore social media until your next scheduled play-break.

Takeaway

Rooting procrastination out of your life is an ongoing process. Don’t get discouraged if you find yourself frequently slipping backwards. No course to self-improvement is always forward motion.

What’s important is that you keep working on it.

Every time you tackle those difficult tasks first thing, give yourself the right to celebrate a little. Give yourself a pat on the back or a high-five because hopefully the worst part of your day is now over.

Remember that good feeling and remind yourself the next time you are tempted to procrastinate.

What tips do you have for overcoming procrastination? How did these tips help you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time…

Why You Should Always Say, “I Love You”

Why You Should Always Say, “I Love You”

For years I have scribbled short notes to myself regarding life lessons learned along the way. I have a box that is full of those notes. They are the reminders that even in the worst times there are important lessons to be learned.

Many people have the luxury of spending their childhoods and young adult years not thinking about losing people. They imagine that the people in their lives will always be there.

Personally, I only remember one funeral before I was thirteen. I’m sure that I lost other people I knew before that time, but death was not a real concept.

At thirteen, I lost my grandmother, my favorite person in the world.

Death became very real and my luxury of ignorance was forever taken away.

It is one of the hardest lessons for you to learn. That’s why it is so important to tell your loved ones every day what they mean to you.

 

Lesson 8

Tragic Tuesday

It was a Tuesday when I lost my beloved wife, Laramie.

She was out running errands and had called to see if I had any special requests for dinner. We had talked for a few minutes, mostly about a friend of ours that was again doing something stupid with his life.

I was busy, so I tried to keep the call brief. We were going to talk more that night. Tuesday night was our date night, and we looked forward to spending that time together.

It was only 45 minutes later when I got the call that forever changed my life.

Actually, it was the second call.

The first one I did not answer because I was busy and felt the friend calling would not have anything important to say.

When the same friend called again less than five minutes later, I knew I had to pick up. My gut told me something was terribly wrong.

The tone in my friend’s voice only reaffirmed my sense of dread.

Dark clouds

Life Forever Changed

My friend didn’t tell me what had happened. She only asked that I come to her house as soon as possible.

I was out the door before we even ended the call.

In my heart I already knew what I was going to hear, but I prayed fervently on the short drive that I would be wrong.

I wasn’t.

An inattentive driver had crossed the center line on the highway, and my dear Laramie was gone in an instant.

I don’t remember much of the next few days. I planned a funeral, picked out a casket and welcomed hundreds of her friends to the funeral.

Once the rush of activity was over, I started reliving the last days of her life. I mediated on the conversations we had, the text messages we sent and the quiet moments we shared. I tried to remember every breath, every word, every expression that had passed between us.

Try as I could, I did not remember the last time I told her I loved her.

Disclaimer: Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you.


Missing Piece

That missing piece is probably the most painful. Part of me knows that Laramie felt how much I loved her. She knew me better than I know myself.

We often joked that we shared a brain. Most of our conversations only had half sentences because we generally knew what the other was thinking and going to say.

However, another part of my heart scolds me daily for not having told her more often how much I love her. I never imagined that last conversation would be our last.

I do remember clearly that I did not say, “I love you,” before I hung up.

Months of Tragedy

In the next 18 months, I lost fourteen more friends, seven of them dying in horrifying accidents. It got to the point that I was so numb that I could not cry anymore. In an attempt at levity, I commented to a friend at one of the latter funerals that I had worn out my black suit. It was a devastating period, but it reaffirmed this important life lesson.

Man on bench sad

With each new loss, I struggled with remembering the last time I had expressed affection to my friend. When had we last talked? When had we last spent time together? When did I last let them know that I cared about them?

Too many times I have found that I cannot remember. That is a terrible burden that I will carry the rest of my life.

In time, I gained some relief about Laramie. Some closure came from sorting through the items she left behind.

It was quite some time after I lost her before I felt I could invade her privacy in that way.

One of the things she had kept was a card I had given to her years earlier. She had been going through a difficult time emotionally because a dear friend had let her down terribly.

In the card I wrote, “You might be only one person in the world, but to one person, you are the world. I know who that person is.”

I didn’t even sign the card, but it meant enough to her that she had placed it in her special box of keepsake treasures. After crying new tears at this find, I placed it gently back in the box where it remains to this day.

 

Purple white flowers

 

Lesson Learned

Think about the loved ones in your life: husbands, wives, children, parents, grandparents, and close friends.

When is the last time you told them just how much they mean to you?

How long has it been since you last told them how special they are? how much you love them?

When did you last hug them? kiss them? hold their hand?

Can you remember the last time?

If you can’t, today is the day you need to start telling them. And don’t ever stop.

Read Lesson 4: …to be surrounded with the positive

To my blog friends, who is someone that you lost before you could tell them how much you loved them?

Although painful, this is a great writing exercise. That raw emotion can later fuel a character in your writing. If you decide to create a post to answer that question, please come back and let us know.

Until next time…

For more life lessons learned, be sure to Click Here to read the rest of the I’ve Learned series.

What I Learned From the Cider House Rules

Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

This post contains affiliate links. Any purchase made through such links will award me a small commission (or referral fee), at no extra cost for you

Lesson 7

The Cider House Rules

Tobey Maguire as Homer Wells from The Cider House Rules often comes to visit me in my mind. It has been nearly twenty years since the movie was released, and almost that long since I last saw it. Yet, it lives with me every day.

With its unexpected and often dark storyline, it reaffirmed in my mind a life lesson that I guess I had always known but did not fully resonate with me until I saw the movie. Even when every intention plans to go one direction, sometimes the journey itself chooses a different direction.

The movie, based on John Irving’s book of the same name, first published in 1985, tells the story of Dr. Wilbur Larch, obstetrician, founder and director of an orphanage is rural Maine. The story takes place in the first half of the twentieth century.

Homer Wells is Dr. Larch’s favorite orphan and is never adopted. Homer becomes the doctor’s apprentice and has big dreams of leaving the orphanage and having a life of his own.

Life, it seems, has other plans for him.

Repeatedly throughout the story, Homer makes plans to pursue his goals, but each time, through the people in his life, he is taught that he is already on the path that has chosen him.

My Journey

My life has not turned out anything like the life I had planned as a child and teenager. I used to tell everyone that I was going to be a writer, living in a small cabin in the mountains of Colorado.

Now, with 50 knocking loudly at the door, I find myself in rural Tennessee, never having been to Colorado, but finally living in my cabin in the woods. However, I am only just now really starting on my writer journey.

Plans change. A common quote on the internet is from John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

How true that is. My life is nowhere close to the life I imagined I would have, or even set out to have, as a young man. I live more than 1300 miles from where I had intended to live. Instead of doting on grandchildren, or even children of my own, I live alone in the quiet mountains of Tennessee. I have spent the last twenty years working in the financial services industry when I had hoped to be writing full-time the entire time.

Snowy trees

Different Isn’t Always Bad

I grew up in the Great White North, as many of us from there refer to the upper Midwest. One unexpected vacation to Tennessee, with its notably smaller mountains but with warm weather and southern hospitality, and I was sold.

Someday I will make it to Colorado, but it is often too cold there. This winter, I am finding Tennessee too cold, and I am daydreaming of living on the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. That is my next dream. I have not made it there permanently, but I do make a point of visiting often.

12 Awesome Motivational Quotes You Should Know

Looking back, had I made it to Colorado, and especially in my early twenties as I had intended to, I would have lived a very different life. That life may have been better or worse, I can’t say. What I do know is that I would have missed the journey and all the experiences of the past 20 years. Those experiences turned into precious memories that I would not want to be without.

Had I never come to Tennessee, I never would have met the love of my life. Meeting her and her family brought me so many unexpected and wonderful life experiences. They are the ones that first introduced me to the white sand beaches I so dearly love, and the ocean itself for that matter. Through them, I developed an intense love for the sea that will never end.

Those journeys and experiences shaped the person I am today, and that is a person I am proud to be.

Twitter banner 2

 

Loss is Part of the Journey

I lost my dear Laramie several years ago. It is a raw and aching pain that I know will never fully go away. Losing her, I felt like half of me died as well. I’m reminiscent to a stroke survivor that has to learn to live without the use of half of my body.

Sad as that is, I would not trade one second of this pain, because that would have mean that I never would have met Laramie. To share in her ever optimistic and deeply empathetic view of the world, for even a short time, is a gift that makes every bit of pain now worth it.

She truly made me a better person, and her influence lives on through those of us that loved her.

Regarding my career choices, yes, I am well behind where I wanted to be in my writing career. In November 2017 I self-published my debut novel, Getting Home. It is a book I could not have written without the experiences of the past twenty years.

Working in financial services for so many years introduced me to an abundance of colorful and unique individuals, many of whom I have stolen traits from to create the characters in my writing. Not to mention it allowed me the opportunity to have a little savings so that in this chapter of my life I can concentrate on writing more than working.

Notebook Coffee

What’s Your Journey?

My dear readers, I would love to hear your stories. What dreams did you have? What life chose you? Please leave your comments, or if you are further inclined, use these questions as a writing prompt on your own blog. Send me a link when your post is published, and I will post that link on this page.

To close today, I will refer to my favorite quote from The Bridges of Madison County, by Robert James Waller, “The old dreams were good dreams; they didn’t work out, but glad I had them.”

Until next time…

Lesson 6: … I don’t know much

I’ve learned that I really do not know very much.

Years ago, I read an illustration about our own perceived intelligence. I cannot remember it verbatim, but to briefly paraphrase it said, as teenagers we tend to think that we know everything. In our twenties and thirties, we still think we know most everything but also start to see the need to get some instruction from others. By middle age we realize we only know half the things we need to know. And finally, in old age, we realize that we know nothing or at least very little in the grand scheme of things.

I am not an old man, at least from my perspective. A sixteen or twenty-year-old might view me that way, but I am determined that I am not old. It’s the whole, “Build it and they will come” mentality. If only that worked.

Up until now, I have always considered myself a relatively intelligent man. I keep up with current events and have always been an avid reader. In this digital age, I still prefer to read my news or instruction manuals rather than watch videos. Everyday I make it a point to learn at least one new thing and am always looking for ways to improve myself.

Over the last few years, it has become increasingly more obvious that in reality, I know almost nothing. Never has this truth shined brighter than the last couple months of starting a blog and self-publishing a book. All my dear writer friends, why didn’t you warn me? As I read more blogs, interact with more writers and consider their work, I feel overwhelmingly unqualified and outclassed.

I did not just jump into blogging and self-publishing without any guidance or forethought. I read blogging advice for several years before finally committing and starting one of my own. I perused publishing and writing journals for years contemplating publishing options, comparing traditional to self-published routes, whether to get an agent or editor or not. I felt like I had done all my research and was prepared to move forward. Wrong!

Wrong

Jumping into the arena, or fire as it might be, and getting started has revealed a whole world of things I never thought to include in my preparations. There have been hundreds of questions that I did not know to ask. Should you monetize your site? How do you keep a posting schedule? What social media sites should you use? What should you be posting on them? How should you interact with your followers? How often? And on and on and on. In addition, there have been systems and procedures that I did not know to implement and unexpected expenses I was not fully prepared for. Add to the fact that I was still working a full-time day job for the first two months, and it is amazing that I have any hair on the top of my head. Although it has grown noticeably grayer in the last two months.

I had been in my prior career field for 18 years before decided to leave and pursue writing full-time. I was the go-to person for a lot of my colleagues because I had put in the time and was constantly working on learning more and improving myself. To go from a seasoned veteran to a flailing newbie has been a true test of my mettle.

Please do not misunderstand me. This is an amazing experience and a dream come true. I worked so hard for so many years so that in time I could devote myself to my writing passion. Never was I so naïve as to imagine that this would be a seamless and painless transition. Still, to interact with all the amazing writers I have had the pleasure to interact with, has not only made me feel like I am out of my depth, but that I need to get out of that Olympic pool and go back to the kiddie pool. Probably floaties would not be a bad idea while I am at it.

yellow bath duck toy

On the flip side, oneamazing, heart-warming and completely unexpected lesson I am learning is that writers are true kindred spirits. We are all laboring to bring our wordy offspring into this world. It brightens my day to get on social media and see how writers are constantly supporting other writers, supporting me. In the financial world, it was every man for himself. This sense of community and support has been my biggest buoy to keep afloat as the waves of what I don’t know keep crashing over me. My hope is that in a year or two or five that I will be the veteran writer, blogger and self-publisher that is out in the world encouraging others and convincing them to continue forward.

As I tend to do, I have again gotten completely off track. My life lesson learned is that the older I get, the more I recognize just how much I do not know. I am trying to own that and seek guidance from as many sources as I can find. I will never know everything, but tomorrow I will know more than I did today.

Until next time.


Lesson 5: …to be flexible

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Lesson 5

Lesson 5

Dear readers, let me start today’s post by saying I am a little OCD. {Pause for comedic effect.} Okay, if those of you that know me personally would stop laughing now, I will admit that I am perhaps a lot OCD. I have mellowed some with age, but I still prefer most things to be done a certain way. I am also a big fan of schedules and routines. Think Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. Thursday night is laundry night and Chinese food.

When I was a young man it was much worse. I liked training people to do things because then I knew they were being done the right way. Most of the jobs I have had throughout my adult life have involved some form of teaching or training others.

The little things are very important. The toilet paper should come over the top. The toilet lid should always be closed when not in use. The shower curtain should always be closed. When cooking, most of the prep dishes should be cleaned before the meal is ready to be served. Shoes should not be worn in the house unless they are house-only shoes. The house should be quiet by 9:00 PM to give everyone some quiet time to unwind before going to sleep. And do not even get me started on the big things.
Toilet

It is no wonder that my first and only roommate was an utter and total failure. We lasted about seven months, and our friendship did not survive the experience. Though in that instance, I am confident that our friendship would not have lasted regardless. But I digress. My point was that I was a difficult person to live with, to date or even be friends with.

I cannot say when it was that things finally started to click in my mind of just how insane I was acting. We all know that there is more than one way to do most things. It was not a problem of not having the knowledge. I was just particular. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Particular. Except that it would probably be more accurate to say that I was exacting and inflexible and, sadly, at many times, unreasonable.

What was probably the craziest thing was that when someone did something differently than I might have, it not only frustrated me, but tended to make me very angry. It felt like something was wrong with the universe, or like a personal affront to me. Now you can see why my wife sometimes called me, “The Beast.”

angry-1297540

Credit for my change must largely go to her. My dear wife had a way of training me in such at way that at the end it felt like it was my idea from the beginning. That seems to be a skill that God only gave to women, and maybe that is why as men we are so often frustrated with each other.

The details of what had happened are long forgotten, but her words to me still echo loud in my head. Something had been done in a manner I did not like. My wife reasoned with me that the important thing was that the task was now complete. That should have been the important thing, but once again I found myself fixated on how it was completed. When she finally got me to admit that, yes, having the job complete was all that mattered, she moved on.

“Now as to how it was done,” she had a sparkle that would appear in her eyes when she was accomplishing a goal and a little hint of a smile that always melted my heart. “Does it really matter?”

“No,” I answered begrudgingly, “I guess not.”

“Because, as you can see, the task was completed, and the world did not end.”


She turned around and walked away from me then to give me a chance to mull over her words. She knew I was a wordsmith even with the spoken language, and that sometimes those words too quickly became vicious. She seldom allowed any conversation to get to a point where negative words would even start to be spoken. That might have been the secret to our marital success.

It took a lot of effort, but in time I was able to assign tasks to people and celebrate the fact that they were completed even if in a manner different than what I preferred.

Don’t get me wrong. There are still days when I would much rather take over a job than to watch someone do something the “wrong” way. For the most part, though, I hear my wife’s voice in my head, and it holds me back. When the task is complete, I can tell myself, “And the world did not end.”

Couple Bench

Lesson 3: …to not say, “Just kidding”

I have a friend, and, in this instance, that is the broadest definition of the word, who is infamous amongst those of us who know him for being the Just Kidding guy. You know the type. I am confident that all of you have at least one in your midst.

They are the ones that find an abundance of ways to disparage you but always do so with a smile and a postscript of, “Just kidding!” Even though he is a senior citizen, he still will punch you in the arm or try to put you in a headlock after he delivers one of his zingers.

As a young man, I frequently laughed along, even when I was the butt of the joke. I honestly believed that the people thus attacking me cared about me. At the time, I believed that people should be taken at face value, and that the things they said should be trusted as being sincere.

Age and experience has taught me that yes, the things that are spoken should be trusted, but not all of them. I was putting faith in the wrong words.

Just Kidding guy was quick to tell you he cared about you or was interested in your best interests. Time proved that the words he qualified with, “just kidding,” were the true ramblings of his heart. It was a hard, painful lesson to learn.


When I first met Just Kidding guy, I had recently moved and was many miles from my home and family. His family took me in, in a manner of speaking, and introduced me to people and included me in their social circle. On the outside, things looked very genuine. Indeed, for several years I enjoyed their company.

In time, other messages reached me of the things Just Kidding guy and his family would say when I was not around. Reality began to dawn on me that the things he said he was kidding about were how they viewed me. I was devastated. I am not one to cry. In fact, I probably can list the number of times I have cried as an adult in a matter of a few seconds. This truth, this lesson, made me bawl like a toddler for most of a night.

The lesson was a good one, though, and for that I do have to thank Just Kidding guy. It taught me to listen to what was really being said by people. As I paid closer attention, it became more evident that the people who said, “just kidding,” rarely were. That, in turn, taught me to choose to avoid those people in my daily life. There was some time where my social calendar did have quite a few openings, but the relationships I did develop have proved to be enduring, quality relationships.

I also learned to be vigilant with the words that escaped from my mouth. Internally, I ask myself, Am I sincere in what I am about to say? How will my audience interpret my words? Are they kind and upbuilding? Those questions taught me to keep my lips in check and not rattle off hurtful things, even under the guise of kidding.

Read Lesson 1 in the series

It is more than twenty-five years since I first met Just Kidding guy. He and his wife still live a few miles from me. I rarely see them, and we run in very different circles. When he does chance upon my path, I always maintain how great it is to see him, but in my mind I cannot help but think, “Just kidding!”

Do you have a “Just Kidding” experience. Please share it below.

Until next time…

Why You Should Always Be True To Yourself

No matter how long you’ve lived, you’ve learned important life lessons. I’ve Learned is a collection of lesson learns by one writer. This post looks at why you should always be true to yourself.

Lesson 2: I’ve learned that no matter what I do, someone will find fault with it. Therefore, I need to always be true to myself and my beliefs.

Much of my adult life has been spent in the pursuit of gaining others approval. In fact, the reason I have waited until now to share my writing with the world is due to the foreknowledge that some will disapprove. This is a lesson I am perpetually working on.

Good Samaritan Law

To prove my point today, we will consider the Good Samaritan Law. That this law even exists is a testament to today’s society. If you are not familiar, in the United states all 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of Good Samaritan law. This law was enacted to protect those responding to life-threatening situations from being held liable in the event of unintended harm caused by their assistance. In other words, they cannot be sued.

Let me illustrate. Imagine I am driving home from work and involved in major traffic accident. I am pinned in my vehicle and unable to extricate myself. Paramedics arrive and smell gas leaking from my car and fear the possibility of fire. To save my life, they yank me from the vehicle, cutting my leg and breaking my shoulder. Under the law, I should not be able to sue the paramedics.

Why should you always be true to yourself? Read one blogger's personal experience that highlights the importance of this topic. | #LifeLessons #BeTrue #LifeHacks #SelfImprovement #PersonalDevelopment

 

This is an extreme example. If I found myself in this situation, it is unfathomable to me to imagine that I would then want to sue the paramedics. If they had not arrived and rescued me from my car, I would now be charcoal.

Unfortunately, many people have done exactly that. Some kind-hearted individual helped them in a time of extreme need, and they, in turn, filed suit against the person that provided said assistance. Does that make any sense to you? Me neither.

Even with this law on the books, thousands of lawsuits are filed every year against doctors, hospitals and first responders who are guilty only of trying to provide the appropriate care in a difficult situation.

My Grandmother Said

Meditating on this and the many other instances of acts of kindness being met with anger and hostility have reinforced this lesson.

My grandmother often said, “Some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope.”

“Yes, I would,” I used to tell her. “I would want an old, brittle one.”

Even as a child I could not keep my mouth shut, but that is not the point. Have you heard the expression, “No good deed goes unpunished”? The words are generally credited to Clare Boothe Luce. She understood that in every situation, someone would complain. Spend a few minutes on any social media site, and you will quickly see this to be true.

What next?

What course of action does this leave for us? Should you be true to yourself? Do we stop doing good deeds? Do we stop saying good things? No, we learn to accept that negativity permeates much of the world, and we stay true to ourselves and our beliefs. Ignore the naysayers and complainers. Do what you know is right. Make the world a better place. Hopefully, if enough of us make positive steps forward, we can produce real change on a global scale.

In closing, if I ever see you trapped in a car about to burst into flames, I promise I will pull you out, even if you do choose to sue me afterwards.

Until next time…
Why should you always be true to yourself? Read one blogger's personal experience that highlights the importance of this topic. | #LifeLessons #BeTrue #LifeHacks #SelfImprovement #PersonalDevelopment