No, How? vs. Know How

“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.  The old skin has to shed before the new one can come.”                                      Joseph Campbell

“Pick yourself up and start all over again.”   Good grief that sounds sooo vacuous and superficial.  It disregards the cruel, intractable and unforgiving nature of life today.  The mere utterance of that expression morphs quickly into a noxious fusion of the absurd, the sappy and the contemptible.

Although it might be right, it ain’t real.   Life is tough.  It’s not just a matter of accepting change it’s more about what course of action should actually be undertaken.

When desperation is added into the equation, all that does is cultivate a breeding ground for unwise choice. Throw in distraction along with a scarcity of time and the pressure of hopefully making the right decision and voila, all components are there awaiting a crash and burn situation..

It’s the same with New Years resolutions.  There has to be some illogical rationale why most of us find it almost impossible to follow through on our proclamations for the future.

Maybe it’s the way we are hard wired.  Let’s say that most year- ending forecasts are replete with best of intentions.  OK.  But somewhere along our neural pathways, the fervor, dedication and execution of the resolutions are rendered defective, incomplete and call for mentally re-booting.

All that does is either delay implementation or, erase all memories of and the commitment to promised change.

Hey, you never know.  Perhaps, I’m wrong. I’m certainly no scientist.  But, on the other hand, maybe Elvis really is alive and well and living in Seacaucus, New Jersey.

Starting over and being 50 Plus are two compounds that don’t naturally lend themselves to compatibility.  In fact, the older we get the more hard-wired we are to the same old, same old.

Unfortunately, that state of mind is considered highly undesirable and certainly unemployable in an environment that exacts unconditional tribute at the altar of The “What Have You Done For Me Lately” sanctuary.

The past is the past and quickly disregarded by those who have no past nor experience.  In order to conceal their deficiencies, they attempt to fuse together the unstable alloys of hubris, tenacity and theory.  Believe it or not, that’s their problem.  The truth comes out eventually. We cannot let it fester within us and allow it to become a hindrance to our achievement.

We have already too much on our plate.

Author/Speaker/Broadcaster Dennis Prager is a thought leader.  If you haven’t listened to his Radio program or read any of his books, you are missing out on something extraordinary.  Prager is gifted with a far above average intelligence.  He does not pander nor does he patronize. He uses his mental horsepower in a very entertaining manner to simplify the complex and clarify the complicated.

I interviewed him for my book, “Out of the Fog and Into Focus.”  He told me about a death that occurred that had deeply affected him.  Now, it was not an actual death.  It was his divorce which at the time, he had recently experienced.

He said that divorce is like a death.  It takes time to recover.  A part of you is missing.  But, you must go on and live through the pain.

Eventually, the pain subsides, the memories recede and supplanted hopefully by more loving and meaningful designs.

The point is don’t give up.  Change takes time and change can be excruciating.  We have to shed the past to appreciate the present and revel in the expectation of a prosperous future.

And, life is fluid.  Each day is different.  We are different.  Whether we want to admit it or not, we don’t look as we did 30 years ago.

Celebrating pain, reversals and dissolution gets old.  So get with it.

Even if you are not in a particularly positive mind frame, you owe it to yourself to fake it until a more positive outlook actually becomes a part of you.

Fake it till you make it.  What’s the alternative?  There is no recourse.

If that provides but meager comfort, then be grateful for what there is right now and find solace in that.  Things could be worse.

If all else fails, forget pride and get professional and clerical help.  The obligation to yourself right now is urgent.  It’s incumbent upon you to rise above your current circumstance.

Now, let me ask, what is important to you?  What is your plan?  Do you even have one?

Commit to the realization that you are no longer imprisoned by the past.  It is time to stop “going through comatose motions” and allow yourself to be liberated by your dreams.

For too long, your dreams have been a blank state because the past possessed a strangle-hold on any meaningful vision for the future..

This isn’t fuzzy BS.  Dreams beget Aspiration. Aspiration creates Strategy.  And Strategy engenders Tactics and Tactics demand Implementation.

Right now, it’s absolutely critical to create an action plan.   This is not a New Years resolution soon to be forgotten. This is your life.  Don’t put it on hold.

What are you telling yourself?  Are you saying  NO. HOW as in NO WAY, NO HOW or are you communicating  KNOW HOW as in finding a way of taking greater control and outcome of your life?

It takes focus and conviction to start over.

I remember working in Sales for a magazine.  I knew nothing about Print Sales.  I asked the owner what do I do?  He gave me the greatest advice, which at the time, I didn’t really appreciate nor fully understand.  Ah, the wisdom of the ages.

Even now, his words are so relevant and yet so simple.

He said. “just do it.”  And this was years before Nike’s adoption of the phrase.

Necessity is a Mother, and that’s used as a half word.  I needed the job and the money derived from commissions.  I didn’t say NO.  I certainly wasn’t sure HOW.  I had to improvise.  That was my KNOW HOW.

Stop with how or what or where.  Start somewhere and work your way from there.  Life does not come with an instruction manual.  So stop wasting time looking for one.

You are the architect of your life.  It is your blueprint, your brand, your self-actualization put into action without distraction.

Allow yourself to finally bring to fruition those long held concepts now liberated from self-imposed servitude, rooted in past doubt and failures.

You cannot build a solid structure with faulty construction tools.

And that reminds me of an interview I saw recently with TV’s Judge Judy.  She made an interesting observation related to blueberries.  Blueberries?  Yes.  She discussed how in a package of blueberries, you might find one shriveled up and decayed.

So, what do you do with the bad fruit?  You get rid of it.

But, if it’s not removed from the package, the next day more berries will be found to have gone bad.

If the shriveled berries are not discarded,  within a very short time, the whole package of fruit becomes decayed, shriveled and toxic.

The same is true by masochistically celebrating past defeat and fortune reversals.  That is what occurs by inaction.  We become decayed and toxic.

Sure we learn from turn downs but can’t allow those lessons to obstruct a path rich with the opportunity of attainment.

So, Is it NO.  HOW? Or is it KNOW HOW. It’s all up to you

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Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere

   “Our Greatest Glory is not in Never Failing, but in Rising Up Every Time We Fail.”         Ralph Waldo Emerson

All I’m really looking for is Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere.

Sounds like the title of a County song.  Today it’s the clarion call for so many of us over the age of 50.

Let’s get real.  Things just don’t seem right.  Today, we are fed a daily regimen of celebrity absurdity and a torrent of matters inconsequential, all designed for the purpose of diversion and distraction. It’s modern day Bread and Circuses.  But, delusion doesn’t pay the bills nor open many doors. We know in our heart of hearts, things just don’t seem right. The feeling is palpable.

But, we are Entrepreneurs.  We do what we need to do and do it on our own.  We are driven by vision, motivated by passion and guided by experience and intelligence.

It’s very rough out there, but it doesn’t matter.  While others remain on shore waiting for the tides to turn, we take advantage of the lack of competition.

Right now might not be the perfect season for career transition consideration, but that’s a personal decision.  Each of us answers to our own muse.  We understand we must commit to something focused, something concrete.  Wind chimes and marigolds reside in sonnets and do diddly squat in advancing the quest for success.

The same holds true when displaced by circumstance and assigned to the land of  “in-between success”.   Sitting all day in front of a computer hungering for scraps of “opportunity manna “is the personification of aspiration passivity.

Here’s a News Update:  The fortune fairy doesn’t deliver online anymore.

By any calculation, that means acceptance and recognition of the unexceptional and mundane.  That contradicts all aspirations of Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere.

So, turn off the computer, forsake another exciting game of solitaire and get out there and start mixing with humanity.  It is all in the dogged pursuit of reclaiming prosperity and the attendant peace of mind.  Tough times are not virtual. We know that. It’s displacing passive interface with energetic Interaction.  We know it.  We just need a reminder now and then.

At one time or another, most of us have traveled down similar paths and experienced comparable scenarios.

It’s rough out there.  That’s a given.  Being aged 50 Plus only adds to the challenge.

Perhaps this is a time where you find yourself licking wounds from previous ill-fated encounters.  You lose yourself momentarily in reflections of past but brilliant triumphs only to be jolted suddenly back to the cruel reality of life currently filled with unrelenting turn downs.   .

And, you are burned out on Almost, disheartened by Dead Ends and exhausted by the unconvincing Maybe.

Sound familiar?  But, we are survivors.  Sure, we bitch and moan but adjust to the changing marketplace.  Sometimes, it’s easy to do.  Other times, it is insufferable.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers but let me run a few suggestions by you:

1).  Go out there and FAIL.  Yes, fail!  But, fail on the way to success.  Let me explain:  From now on, apply for everything. Everything!  Not that you are going to accept just anything, but you need practice. Get your act down.  You are not failing.  You are Rehearsing.  This is known as “Show Prep.”  So, when the right scenario comes into focus, you are more than ready.  Be thankful that you have the ability to fail.  By failing, you are succeeding.  Plus mingling with humanity is an energizer.

2).  You are over the age of 50.  You have background.  Having accomplished as much as you have in life, you can paint verbal pictures based on past experience.  You  make these visions come alive because you have lived them.  Your frame of reference allows for the anecdotal, not just hypothetical.    You conjure up past undertakings.

You can relate an anecdote that has relevance with or is similar to the situation at hand. Now, compare this to someone younger than yourself. Lacking experience, their frame of reference is hypothetical and theoretical.  They lack experience and come across as a one trick pony.

One precautionary note: Don’t get too verbose.   Waxing nostalgia labels you as old and out of touch: That projects a retirement vision. Get to the anecdote that advances your response and then move on.

3).  Getting down on yourself when all doors appear shut and opportunity seems non-existent can place even the most optimistic individual’s trajectory into a downward spiral.  Why is it when things degenerate to such an extent, we seem to join the depredation chorus?

That is self-treachery.   It’s taking perverse joy in the celebration of our existing contraction status.   We hurt ourselves.  We isolate in desperation and cocoon in despair.

Believe this or not, research proves this is normal human behavior.  We actually get a temporary lift from masochist demeanor.

Nobody ever said human nature makes sense

In fact, it’s all part of Mazlow’s study on the Stages of Depression:  Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

As delusional as it sounds, this behavior is part and parcel of life.  Just don’t allow this fleeting but aberrant demeanor to permanently confiscate your normality.

4).  Isn’t it something!  When we want to escape from “funk”, we feel a strange, illogical deference to it.  It’s like over paying on allegiance to a sentence of self-ruin.  And, until  and until such time, we cannot free ourselves from this self-imposed confinement.

On the surface, this sounds like a load of BS to the 10th degree.  But, it’s not

It makes no sense, but what does making sense have to do with anything?  Now here’s the kicker. Any positive action undertaken to change this mindset is viewed with disdain and regarded as an inferior alternative to the current negative status..

Consider this: Imagine reverting back to toddle-hood right now, with your current intellectual capacity.  Do you realize you would probably convince yourself you couldn’t walk.  At a certain point, toddlers stand up instinctively.  They take a step or 2, fall down and cry.  They do this over and over again until they finally get it right.  They get frustrated but they don’t stop.  We do.

So, be a baby.  Again, fail and fall on your way to success.  Look upon this exercise as a rehearsal.

5).  Be grateful.  Unfortunately today, all too many people venerate victim-hood.  Even Entrepreneurs have been known at times to retreat into the throes of anguish and get caught up in the culpability game.

It is celebrating and reveling in despair. As a victim, none of what happens in life is ever due to personal resolve. It is all the fault of others.  No personal accountability whatsoever.  Now, at one time or another, we have all “done and been done in.”   That’s life.  We learn from all our experiences good and bad.  But, abdicating responsibility means relinquishing control of your life to others.

And that brings to mind the old Golden Rule:  He/She who has the Gold Rules.

So, be grateful. Don’t give up. Never cede your power. Don’t allow control of your life into the hands of others. Their interest in you is, at best, peripheral. Get out there and start failing on the way to Success. Remember, it’s a rehearsal.  Mingle with the masses and the Mighty.

This is no time for passivity.  Solitaire, Land Mines, TMZ and Miley Cyrus will just have to make do without you.

It’s all part of Getting to the Other Side of Nowhere..

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Stop Underestimating the Power and Value of You

When was the last time someone told you how important you are?  It’s probably been a while.

Now, this is not some feel good positive spin piece.

In our 50 plus years, most of us have experienced the joys of renown and success as well as disappointment and failure.  We have encountered the unexpected, adjusted our game plan accordingly and moved on.

What I’m saying is we have learned from experience.

We have survived triumphs and turndowns. And, we’re still in the fight. We don’t give up.  We go to our corner.  Nowadays, we need more than a minute to prepare for the next round, but with the sounding of the bell, we’re ready to do battle.

That’s who we are and how we get through life these days. It’s not heroic and it’s certainly not romantic. It’s our reality.

However, it is a differing scenario for today’s younger generations.

They lead their lives with preconceived notions that clash with harsh reality. Of their own volition, they choose to cocoon.

To some extent, we all do this.  Most of us aged 50 Plus, do it to heal our wounds, take a momentary break and then get back into action.  They don’t. For the most part, they lead a monastic existence.

Now the younger demographic have minds with sponge-like abilities that absorb so much more than we can marshal today. And,  they pride themselves in what they think they know.  But, they don’t know what they don’t know and lack real life experience.

Aah, the conceit of innocence.

What’s worse is they buy totally into the snark factor.  Now, growing up, most of us to some degree, would have been placed under the classification of smart ass. 

The difference being we were taught life’s lessons, sometimes the hard way, but we learned.

The 18-49 Adult truly believes no one knows more than they do.  That’s a given.  It’s part of growing up.  But, in our younger years, there were outside influences that steered us back on track, more so than the 18-49 Adult of today.

We did not suffer the consequence of self-imposed isolation precipitated by the confining influence of the web and social media.

So many in the younger generation, how can I say this properly, don’t get out much anymore.  Their real life human connections are select and few.  They are in front of a screen for hours on end.  Their lives are more virtual than real.

They are influenced more by anonymous sources. Anonymity becomes the petri-dish for chaos, disinformation and confusion..  What’s troubling is there is no accountability construct whatsoever.

So what takes shape is a non-judgmental view on almost everything.  It metastasizes to such a degree that right and wrong become irrelevant.  There is no challenge to prevailing convictions and no place for critical thought.

They lack our socialization skills.  They descend into a subsistence based on their belief system formed by their web selections.  Compared to us, they deal so much more exclusively with like minded peers and dwell in their online universe.

Sure, we all prefer the company of like-minded individuals.  That’s natural. But, the 18-49 Adult restricts diversity of thought that creates a constricting and self-indulgent environment; all the while totally believing that they are the sole proprietor of the open mind

However, being 50 Plus, we reject this atmosphere of exclusivity.

Unfortunately for the younger on line generations, being that insulated, they truly believe they are stars in their own world.  And, unfortunately they really are.  They watch the so called “reality shows.”  Online, they read vicariously about the outrageous behavior of today’s “headliners” to which they aspire to emulate.

As a result of excluding differing opinions, they believe they have license to mirror behaviors they see, hear and and read about and position themselves as stars in their own illusory sphere.

Welcome to the new Show Business!

Think I’m wrong.  Take a look at reality show contestants; especially the rejects.  Most of these “wannabees”  are absolutely certain they are worthy of superstar recognition.  They lack portfolio, but why quibble about the small stuff. Right?

Speak to business owners that need help but find themselves in a pool of younger applicants so displaced from reality.  It’s not about the customer, it’s all about them.  And, this is especially true even in this faltering economy.

Now don’t get me wrong, while growing up, we all had illusions of fame and untold fortunes and most of us over 50, still hold out some lingering but dim hope, though tempered by time and experience.

Today’s younger generations immerse themselves in illusion.  What’s more troubling is they reject resources to extricate themselves from self-delusion.  You see, this is their universe, constructed with little regard  nor tolerance for responsibility while dismissing contrary influences beyond their self-crafted orthodoxy.

They are their own judge, jury and executioner.  This mind-set is based on entitlement and indulgence.

Now, this is not a piece about how much better we are compared to younger generations.

However, I do believe we are better off than younger generations.  I feel sorry for them.  It’s always rough looking back on all the mistakes we have made in life.  For me personally, it’s sometimes cringe-worthy.

Here is what I believe are the strengths of being over the age of 50::

1). I believe we learn and have learned from parents, teachers, mentors and forces that didn’t always share our “enlightened” points of view.  They made it abundantly clear we didn’t know what the hell we were talking about.

2).  I believe we don’t see ourselves as masters of the universe but more as stewards of our own realm.  We are responsible and held accountable for our actions that affect us and those who rely on us.

3).  I believe at our age we have better Social skills than younger generations, and that serves us well.  We are so much more open to change than those aged 18-49. Sure, we have strong core beliefs, but have learned that we are not always correct and sometimes need to make mid-course corrections.  We are Social and more flexible because we deal with living and breathing humans every day.  Our relationships are real, not virtual nor anonymous.

4).  I believe life has taught us how to deal with others, even those whose opinions are dissimilar from ours. We evaluate differing views.  We might not agree or accept them but our inner filters do not preclude the option of diversity.

5).  I believe we don’t Interface as much as we do Face to Face.  Living in an online universe that promotes anonymity creates a world of irresponsibility and a false sense of entitlement.  There is no accountability.  Interface is a fertile breeding ground for an abundance of snark.

We do Face to Face.  Now we might not be as web proficient as younger demos but we know BS when we hear it and can smell it a mile away.

6).  I believe life has shown us there is very little quarter for false and unearned Entitlement.  It’s all part of dues paying. More importantly, we know that Entitlement should be employed with prudence and discretion.  If you’ve got it, no need to flaunt it.

7). I believe we know what is needed to get the job done right, the first time. We have experience servicing customers and dealing with the public.  We know how to serve instead of being served.

8). I believe we are not exclusive.  We are inclusive.  More importantly, we are exceptional. Why?  Because we have value and respect values..

9).  I believe we have compassion.  We have life experiences. Life can be one hell of a task master.  Let’s face it, at one time or another, we have all been village idiots.

We have done well and been kicked around a bit by the fates.  We are amused and annoyed by the 18-49 Adults behavior.  We recognize that in our own way, we have been there and don’t that.

What’s different from previous generations is the total lack of opposing criticism.  It’s spiked and  filtered out of their equation. That’s very troubling.

Hopefully  when all is said and done, we’ll be there to comfort and guide the 18-49 Adults when…………….and if…….they ever come out of the ether,

That’s the power and value of being 50 Plus.

So, for God’s sake, stop underestimating the power and value of you.

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