Category Archives: Patience

Supercharge Your Life with Powerful Flexibility

So I was sitting there, waiting for the train. When I looked up the times on the internet, I mistakenly wrote down the train going the other direction, instead of the one going in the direction I wanted to go to. So I got on the train going the other direction, seeing I didn’t have any big plans, just to head downtown and maybe find a new coffee shop to hang out in. Funny how that works. You plan something, and then based on mistake or a whim, you can easily change your plans, that is if you can be flexible enough with your plans.

Some people make plans, but forget to dig deeper and uncover exactly why you are making your plans. Some people plan to do things because they think it is what other people expect them to do. Others plan based on what they did yesterday. I think It’s important to know the reasons for your plans, so if your plans don’t come through, you can always hold on to your reasons and put them someplace else that can be convenient. 

For example, my plan today was to find a nice quiet place to hang out, do some reading, some journaling, and dig into my thoughts to see if I can find something interesting that I’d forgotten was up there. Or maybe have a look around to maybe do re arranging or some general housekeeping type maintenance, which I’m sure you know is good to do from time to time.

But since I looked up the wrong time on the internet, I decided to catch the train going the other direction. I’d heard that there was a pretty decent shopping area that way, and since I’d never been there, I figured what the heck. I still had my backpack with my notebook, and pencils and pens to write with, so as long as I found a table that didn’t shake too much when I wrote, I’d be ok.

Turns out I was way more than OK.  I found a really cool little cafe that just opened a few months ago. They had some really tasty bagel sandwiches, and a really friendly staff and some pleasant background music against which I could easily write and think and arrange thoughts into more resourceful patterns.

Now had I gone in the right direction, I would have gone to the same coffee shop I’d already been to. I probably would have sat at the same table and eaten the same thing. Instead, I was able to discover something new, which was really there all the time. So when you think about it, I doubled a lot of things today. Before, I could only go one direction, but since I can now choose a direction, I have twice as many places to go. And because the new place I went to today is filled with restaurants, I now have twice as many restaurants to choose from. And because I can catch trains going both directions, I can be more flexible when deciding what time I have to leave.

It’s amazing how much the world opens up when you simply allow yourself to make mistakes, so that the unknown can become familiar and friendly. Because there are a lot of places in the world you can discover, and make friends with as you become used to doing new things for the first time. And one of the coolest things about that is you get to meet lots of new people along the way.


Increase Your Abundance Through Focused Communication

One of the best ways to increase your influence with others is to be a secret agent. I learned this from a Dale Carnegie self study course I bought a long time ago. For those of you that don’t know, Dale Carnegie the guy who wrote the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which if you haven’t read, I can’t recommend it enough.

Now when I say secret agent, I’m not talking about sneaking around in a trench coat like in “Spy vs. Spy,” but I mean using your latent psychic abilities to really understand what it is that the other person in question wants. Of course you don’t need to use any psychic abilities if you don’t want to, as some people don’t have their paranormal powers tuned in as much as the rest of you.

The secret to influencing other people boils down to giving other people what they need, and they will naturally want to help you any way they can. And you already know the secret to what it is they want, even without turning on your ESP. This is because underneath all of our surface desires, is really the same thing.

To feel wanted. To feel needed. To feel recognized. To feel approval from your peers. And this is the easiest thing to give to somebody. All you need to do is engage them in a simple straightforward conversation, and listen, really listen to what it is that they have to say.

Most of the time when we listen, we are too busy thinking of what we want to say next, or thinking of what we are planning on doing later, or wondering why whatever we did before didn’t turn out as well. Try this little experiment. Next time you are talking to somebody, just listen. And watch carefully for how they speak, and pay close attention to certain words that they use with certain emphasis.

And just simply repeat those words back to them, exactly the same way that they said it, and ask them to elaborate on it. When you do this you will naturally begin to realize not only how easy it is to make somebody feel good, but how to have a really positive effect on another person. And when you do that, you will naturally create an aura of charisma that will make it easier and easier to move through life and create the reality that you want.

Because when you think about, the whole of our existence is completely dependent on our ability to interact with other people. If you move through life with the easy to develop yet rarely practiced skill of really listening to somebody, you will find your expressed desires being readily filled by willing supporters.

It was Brian Tracy who described this secret agent policy of giving others what they want. By knowing what you want, you automatically have the inside scoop on what others want. And once you understand that by giving to others first you subsequently enrich your own life, your personal abundance will skyrocket to new levels. 



Once upon a time there were two rabbits.  Rupert and Rectangle. They were hanging out, doing rabbit stuff. Looking for carrots, finding turtles to race, and resting from making more rabbits, as it was their day off. Rupert, the younger rabbit, decided he wanted to make a model volcano. Kind of like Peter Brady, only without the electricity. Most rabbit experts will tell you that rabbits generally don’t use electricity.

So this young rabbit was building this volcano, but he couldn’t quite get it to work right. He didn’t have the lava mix quite down. I think he was using a combination of egg whites and mulch, or perhaps some kind of gelatin derivative.  He kept getting really frustrated, and he was about to give up. The wise older rabbit, Rectangle, said “Don’t give up yet, Rupert!” But Rupert just threw down his volcano making tools in dismay.

“Nothing is going right. I want to do this, and instead it does that. I want to make it lean right, and it wants to lean left.”

“Relax, Rupert relax. Go with the flow. Don’t fight against the natural order of things. It will come in time. It always does. Just remember to do things one step at a time. If it doesn’t go the way you want it, change what you are doing. Step back, take a bigger look, and figure out what to try next. It’s only practice, after all.”

Poor ruper was following along, but he didn’t quite understand the last part. “Practice? Practice for what?”

“Why tomorrow, of course. Everything you do today, is just practice for tomorrow. Because if you allow yourself to release your expectations, and let things be just the way they are, you’ll be fine. As long as you learn from what happens, you can do it better next time. Especially because you always have tomorrow to look forward to, right?”

“I guess so,” Rupert replied, “But how will I ever finish, if I only practice?”

“Take a look around you young sir, take a look at everything. Does everything look finished to you? Are all your friends not still growing? Are all the trees not still getting bigger? Does father not upgrade and improve your rabbit hole every winter? Do you not need to learn new things in school every year? Does your Uncle, the carrot farmer, not have to learn new carrot planting methods every year? Practice. It’s all just practice.”

 “Practice for tomorrow. I got it,” Rupert said, getting back to work on his volcano.

“And one of the best parts about realizing that everything is practice for tomorrow, is that no matter how bad you mess up or how well you do, you can always look forward to being able to get better.”

And Rupert proceeded to make the best volcano ever.


Once I Caught One This Big!

I was talking with my friend this morning, and he was telling me about his golf game. He said that he needs a new full set of woods, and perhaps even a new set of irons. I asked him how long he’s had his current set of golf clubs, and he said only about six months. I asked him if his game had improved enough to warrant buying a new set, and he said it didn’t really matter, that his game was ready.  I didn’t know what that meant, so I asked him. He said it had something to do with being on the cusp, or the apex or something else that sounded like an excuse to buy a new set of clubs. Sometimes I think he likes to argue just for the sake of arguing.

Like this other friend of mine that I go fishing with sometimes. He has a gigantic tackle box with about eighteen million different lures. Once when the fish weren’t biting, he gave me the entire history and theory behind each type of lure. All I I know is I usually lose two lures for every fish that I catch. He was telling me that he has this system. He can tell what kind of fish are in the area, and he uses a specific type of lure and other set up (I’m not sure of the proper fishing lingo,) based on the type of fish and their current temperament. I, on the other hand, usually grab the first lure I see, which naturally is the closest. He kept telling that I didn’t know what I was doing. And although I agreed, I suggested a wager to see who would catch more fish.

I am of the philosophy that you can take whatever you have, throw it out there, and then let whatever fish that happen to like that kind of lure come and get it.  Maybe I’m lazy, but I don’t see any reason to change whatever you are doing to try and match the environment you’re in. I think it’s easier just to throw out what you got, and see how much you can attract. 

It’s like an old friend of mine that used to be in door to door sales. He swore by using the exact same sales pitch to every single person that opened the door. Others in his company would try to vary their pitch based on the gender, age, ethnicity, color shirt (I kid you not,) and all kinds of other stuff.  He said it was a lot easier to memorize only one pitch, and then just throw the same pitch time after time. He was able to be more successful than anybody else for quite a while.

So we each fished for two hours with our respective lure methods. And we each caught the same amount of fish. While that sounds like a tie, when my friend was fished with his method, he was studying the lures and prepping his next strategy. When I fished using my method, I read Moby Dick.

And I convinced my friend to only allow himself a new set of clubs after he’d managed to consistently improve his score to lower than a hundred.


You Want Fries With That?

“Dude why does this always happen to me?”
“Why does what always happen to you?”
“They always mess up my order.”
“What’s wrong?”
“I ordered the chicken burger with mashed potatoes, and they gave me the chicken burger with fries. I can’t eat fries, my doctor said so.”
“What does your doctor have to do with this?”
“He told me not to eat too much fried food.”
“I see. So is that why your order always gets messed up, because your doctor told you to stop eating so much fried food?”
“No, I’m just saying. They always mess up my order.”
“Waiters, waitresses.”
“Both waiters AND waitresses?”
“Mostly waitresses.”
“So then they don’t ALWAYS mess up your order, only waitresses?”
“Yea. Yea, that’s it. Waitresses always mess up my order.”
“All waitresses?”
“Well, now that you mention it, usually only cute ones do.”
“Hmm. I see. Do they know they are cute?”
“The cute ones that mess up your order, do they know they are cute?”
“Dude, what?”
“You said most cute waitresses mess up your order. How do they know that they’re cute? Is there some internationally agreed upon scale of cuteness that they have to check themselves against every day to see if they can qualify to mess up your order?”
“Huh? Dude, what are you talking about? Of course not. There’s no standard.”
“You’re not saying that cuteness is subjective, are you?”
“Of course it’s subjective!”
“So they’re psychic then, right?”
“Since there isn’t any international standard for cuteness, and cuteness is subjective, they can only mess up your order if they can read your mind and decide that you think they are cute. Right?”
“Um, I think I’ll just eat my fries…”
“No, no, this is getting interesting. Maybe, they read your mind, and because they realize you think they are cute, it makes them nervous and that’s why they are all messing up your order. Or maybe, they all hoping that because you think they are cute, you might want to ask them out, so they mess up your order on purpose so they’ll have a chance to apologize, and give you a chance to ask them out? Whatta you think?”
“I really just… dude, you wanna fry?”
“Do you have any other explanation?”
“Can we just drop it?”
“No, no, I’d like to get to the bottom of this. Perhaps there is another explanation. Maybe YOU are the one that is messing up your order. Maybe you actually said ‘fries’ when you meant to say ‘mashed potatoes.’ Did you ever think of that?”
“Seriously, these fries are pretty good, you should try one. They have like garlic or something on them…”
“What is cute, anyways? How exactly do you know that a girl is cute? I mean, say look over…there! Is she cute?”
“Dude, you really are starting to embarrass me.”
“Have you ever had a cute waitress that DIDN’T mess up your order? Or did you ever have a waitress that was really uncute, and HE messed up your order? I mean, that’s not really a cute thing to say, you know. Cute people have feelings too. I suppose I could order you to just be thankful you have some pota….dude, what happened to your fries?”
“I finished them while you were rambling on about whatever you were rambling on about.”
“How were they?”
“Great, I think I’ll order them again next time.”


Going Deeper, Even Still

I got it in my head once that I wanted to run a marathon. And of course, instead of starting to train slow, two miles a day for a week, and then three miles a day for a week, I decided to jump right in and run 7 miles for my first training run. Let’s just say that walking the next day was a little bit less than pleasant.

My coworker, being the incredibly nice guy that he is, would walk up and pretend he was going to punch me in the leg. Naturally I involuntarily contracted my thigh muscles, causing an unbelievable amount of pain. He did that all day long. I grimaced, he laughed. Even when I saw him coming, and knew what he was up to, I still couldn’t help but to contract my muscles when he wound up on me. Kind of when the doctor hits your knee with that little hammer that he has. Except that is kind of cool. This was rather painful.

I’ve heard from psychologists that stress effects the mind the same way. Something happens in the world, and no matter how much we are expecting it, or see it coming, our mind contracts, causing unneeded and unresourceful mental anxiety. So what’s the answer?  One way to train your mind to relax is through meditation. There are many medically proven benefits to a daily meditation practice. Lower blood pressure, better sleep, more energy during the day, better clarity of thought. When you think about it, all these benefits can easily be explained by a mind that has been trained to be relaxed when you want it to.

And just like when you relax your body by not moving your muscles, you relax your mind by not moving your thoughts. One way to still your mind is to count your breaths. One, breath in. Breath out slow. Two, breath in, breath out slow. Focus only on the numbers. Release all other thoughts. If other thoughts drift into your mind, just allow them to continue drifting, until they float all the way past and fall off the edge of your consciousness. It doesn’t really matter if you sit in a chair, or on the floor, or even lie on your bed when you do this. Breath in, one. Breath out. Breath in, two, breath out. A good goal to aim for is to get to three without noticing any other thoughts. When you can get up to three, shoot for five, and then ten. Slow. In. Out. And it doesn’t matter how long you do it, a few minutes is really all you need.

As you continue to improve your skills, you will notice that because you are able to release thoughts easier and easier, those old ideas that used to cause you anxiety can’t do so as much any more. And sooner or later, you will come to the liberating realization that it wasn’t those ideas at all that was doing it, it was your mind’s reaction to them. And the more you train your mind, the more it seems you can shape your reality.

While you walk through the world with your less reactive mind, you will naturally start to see opportunities that you didn’t see before, so much so you will wonder why you didn’t realize you could do this earlier.


Good Job!

“I don’t know man, I just seem like I’m, I dunno, stuck or something.”

“What do you mean stuck?”

“I mean everything I try, it just seems like I’m in the same place. Like I keep running and running and I’m not going forward or anything. Like if I stop, I’ll fall behind or something. It sucks.”

“So what would you like it to be like?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean what would you like it to be like. If you could snap your fingers, and magically make everything the way you want it, with regard to this thing, what would you see or feel or hear that would be different than it is now?”

“Well, for one, my boss could tell me I”m doing a good job.”

“Are you doing a good job?”

“Of course.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I know what my job is, and I know when I’m doing it right, and when I’m doing it wrong. I’ve been there for over five years, you know.”

“I know. I know. So when you do a good job, and you know you’re doing a good job, how does it get better when your boss says something to you?  Do you think that he doesn’t know you are doing a good job?”

“No, if I wasn’t doing a good job, he would know, and he would ask me what was wrong.”

“He wouldn’t just yell at you? Tell you to do it better?”

“No, he knows I know what I’m doing. So if I started slacking off, he’d think maybe something was wrong, something at home or something.”

“Wow, sounds like a pretty good boss. I wish my boss was like that sometimes.”


“So maybe he doesn’t say ‘good job,’ because he knows that you know, and that would mean that he really respects your opinion of yourself. Do you know how rare that is today? For somebody to know you well enough, and know and respect your own opinion of yourself?”

“Yea, I guess that is pretty cool.”

“So maybe you should tell him, ‘good job,’ huh?”

“Hmm. Maybe I will. Maybe I will.”


Grazing Cows or Gazing Anxiety

I was getting more and more worried. Stress was increasing with every 18 wheeler that blew past my 4 cylinder rice burner, going a bit more slowly than I should have been. HONK! Sorry, I mumble under my breath. I should see the turnoff by now, where is it? I check my watch. Still ten minutes. Look around. No turnoff. What if I missed it? I don’t know where the next one is. I’m in the middle of about a million rolling hills populated by grazing cows. They sure don’t seem stressed. Don’t they know what they’re in for? I try to peek up ahead above the speeding traffic. Is that a turn off up there? Could that be me?

Not completely unlike when I was sitting across from Cheryl. Nervous. Shaky. Eyes briefly making contact then quickly escaping into the many available distractions around us.

“So, uh, what do you like to do?”

“Um, play tennis, and uh,” deep breath, “uh, you, know, stuff.”

“Wow. That sounds cool.”

I don’t remember leaving my brain at home. I was able to talk to her ok over the phone. Can’t the waiter come any quicker? Maybe I can spend an hour pretending to thoughtfully think of something interesting, while I’m looking at the menu, or maybe he will spill something on me so I can think of a reason to bail out. It’s not like this is my first time. Why is asking one person a simple question seem so much more difficult than asking somebody else the exact same thing? It works the same way, right? Brain makes thought, thought goes to vocal cords, mouth and lips and tongue move, sound comes out. It’s not like I’m going to do something different this time, am I?

My friend never has this problem. Of course he is a firefighter, and everybody knows that firefighters attract girls like Bill Gates can attract money. He was telling me the other day about this training exercise, where they have this old building set up, and they practice going in and putting out the fire. And I asked him, “why don’t you practice on different buildings?” He told me that most buildings basically have the same structure. They might look different on the outside, but on the inside they are similar enough. And when you train frequently, you start to to realize that what something looks like on the outside doesn’t really matter. All you really need to do is be able to notice the structure. And sometimes I ask  him why he doesn’t always have girls surrounding him. He told me he was tired of having the same conversations over and over and over.  He says that he learned that when you stay with something long enough, you really start to notice the small things that make you realize that this person stands out from the rest.

So anyways, after we ordered, it got a bit easier to talk, because she asked me if I was as nervous as she was. When I gladly said yes, that kind of broke the ice a little bit. I guess we both agreed on some level that it’s ok to embrace being nervous. We actually ended up not having that much in common, but it was an enjoyable conversation anyhow. And after I arrived at my destination on time, (actually five minutes early, because I hit all the green lights after I realized the exit was indeed mine) I was able to have another enjoyable chit chat with the suprisingly cute girl that was working there.


The Girl and the Physics Experiment

So I was at the beach last week with a friend of mine.  It was a beach with a strange wave phenomenom. The waves come in at an angle, and then they bounce off the jetty, and then remerge with themselves. Its kind of like an interference pattern in physics.  The cool part is that the beach comes up really fast under the water, and when the waves rejoin themselves, they double in size, and at the same time, they come up on a beach that gets really shallow, really quickly, so the waves are able to transform their energy to produce this instantly huge and rideable wave.  Most people there don’t surf with boards, rather, they body surf. Because the waves come up and crash onto sand so quickly, it’s too hard to bail out if you have too much junk tied around your ankle. And we were watching this one guy, bobbing around in the water, and it didn’t really look like he knew what he was doing. Suddenly a wave pulled him up, and it looked like he was going to be pitched onto the sand. I looked around to see if there were any ambulances on hand, as people have been known to break their necks here.

Then my friend starts telling about this guy that he knows. It seems he really likes this girl, but he just can’t get up the nerve to go and talk to her.  He said that whenever he sees her, he can think of good things that he wants to say, but when he gets close, he starts to imagine all the bad things that might happen, and those overpower the good things. In his mind, at least. So I say, “Well, next time you see this guy, why don’t you..” and then my friend interrupts me, and says that he hasn’t seen this guy in like two months. And I say “Oh, so he’s one of THOSE kinds of friends.” And my friend nods and says “Yea. Low maintenance.”

Like the kind of person that you can go for three or four years with out seeing this person, and then next time you happen to bump into them, you are able to instantly remember good times, like you just got off the phone, chatting and talking about remembering good experiences. And then when you see them, you can just pick up where you left off, and everything is cool. And my friend said, “yea, just like that.”  So I asked him if he knew or had met the girl, and he said he did, and I said “so is she cool?” And he said “Yea, she’s totally cool.” “So it’s all in his head?” “Yea, it’s all in his head.” And I suggested that maybe he should just relax. Because I’m sure you know that good things happen when you stay out of your own way.

So anyways, the guy takes off on the wave, and it instantly becomes clear that not only does the guy know what he’s doing, because he expertly barrel rolled himself out just at the right moment, but it turned out he was the guy we’d been talking about. And right after a great ride, he came up to his spot on the beach where his girlfriend, apparantly, was waiting. “Is that her?” “Wow, yea it is,” he said with a chuckle. He waved, she waved, then I waved. Then we went and got some tacos, which is another story.


Once Upon a Time There Wasn’t a Chinese Donut

I dart around the corner, sure I’d get there first this time. Dropped my bag in the place where we drop our bags. Run down steps, almost losing my balance. Turn left again, slipping on the slick surface. Making sure I don’t crash, not because I don’t want to get hurt. Because I’m in the library. And if I crash, It’ll make a lot of noise, and I’ll get in a lot of trouble. I’m a kid, and the last thing I want to do is get in trouble. I see the seats. Still open. Surely I’ll get there before Tommy.  Tommy alwasy beats me. He’s the teacher’s pet. Well, not the teacher, the lady that reads us stories. He always manages to sit right in front of her. He can see the pictures the best when she turns the book around to show us. Stupid Tommy. I’m almost there. Four rows back. Two rows. Almost there. NO! Not again! That rat!

Like when I was at the donut shop the other day. I always buy the same donut from the cute Cambodian girl that works behind counter. Chocolate with chocolate frosting with pink and white sprinkles.  Cute AND delicious.  Not today, as soon as I walk in, I see another customer. He’s taking MY donut! Does he have any idea? There aren’t any left. What to do? I can’t just stand here. Maybe I’ll go talk to her. Strike up a conversation. Ask her something. Maybe about Cambodia. Then she’d wonder why I’m here. I need to buy someting. I hate this. When you don’t know what to do. Confused. Bewildered. Perplexed.

The same thing happened at the chinese restaurant last week. I drive to the shop, the whole way eating Kung Pau Chicken in my imagination. You know how you can really imagine something, right? Someting you really want. Like you can just see it in your mind?  I get there. I walk in. No Kung Pau Chicken. Only a few left over pieces of moo shoo pork that looks like it was cooked last week. In a microwave.

Why does this alwasy happen to me? Why do I alwasy get the leftovers? It seems like the more I focus on something, the more it moves out of my reach. Maybe I’m focusing too hard. Like when you really want something bad, and you can’t see all the good stuff around it. Like when you try too hard to do one thing, you neglect to do the important things.

As I contemplate this, I see the cook walk in from the back. He has a freshly made pot of Kung Pau Chicken! Lord Have Mercy!

“I’ll take the three dish combo please…uh, Kung Pau Chiken, and , uh, Kung Pau Chicken, and uh, um, yea, Kung Pau Chicken.”  All it took was a little patience.

And not only that, while I was thinking of something to say to that cute Cambodian girl, she recommended their apple fritter. “Are these new?” I ask. “No,” she said giggling. “There always here.” I try it. I like it. In fact, I’ve gotten it ever since. Who would have thought? And while Tommy was gloating because he got to be story readers pet and look at all the pictures up close, I got to sit next to the new girl. Debbie.

Funny how things work out.