The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
I know you’ll think I’m crazy
or at best a tad insane
But wait, I think I've learned the trick
to winning at life’s game
Seek out stones in numbers
seek them everywhere they lie
small ones, big ones, boulders too
just do it, and here's why
Stones that block and trip you
even stones that cause you pain
are really life's great teachers
though you may think them your bane
Once a stone is found and flipped
then hurled out of the way
excuses that lay hidden
are exposed to light of day
Even stones that others throw
revealing inner wrath
come with some life lessons
you can use well on your path
Make sure no stone is left unturned
for once each stone is gone
what's left to see are just the steps
of paths you should be on
Yes, each stone hides an answer
that removes a bit of doubt
And seeking stones and flipping them's
what winning's all about!
Everyone has aspirations. Everyone has goals. Everyone has dreams they would like to see realized. However, the reason some people take longer than others to meet, achieve and live those aspirations, goals and dreams is that they stroll passively through life avoiding “stones.”
So what are “stones?” Just like the hard, sometimes jagged and rough rocks that exist in many shapes and sizes in nature, the “stones” in your life are the hardships, hardened beliefs, rough spots and obstacles that are often strewn about, or sometimes blocking your life’s path. Stones can also be the hard opinions or rough, hurtful judgments that others throw at you that cause you pain.
Understandably, many people would rather live their lives avoiding the stones in their paths. They recognize the stones are there, but, rather than walk towards them, they take steps around them. Understand, however, that each stone you encounter in life actually hides a necessary step in your path. Furthermore, if these stones appear to be blocking your path (as they often do), then for each stone that you avoid, you miss a step you should be taking in order to move on the most direct path towards your aspirations, goals and dreams.
If you believe that we are here to grow and become, then the best (perhaps the only) way to grow quickly is to face the fears, judgments, beliefs and situations that seem to be our greatest obstacles and sources of pain. It is in dealing with such stones that we become all that we can be. It’s a guarantee that the greatest advancements you will achieve in life are hiding beneath the biggest stones. Rather than address them head –on, most people merely talk about the steps that lie hidden beneath their stone. In other words, they live lives of excuses rather then execution.
Here’s one very powerful example of how to flip a stone in relation to your interpersonal relationships, especially if you find that something about other people’s actions and attitudes cause you discomfort.
1. Ask yourself, “What do I hate about other people? What behavior in other people causes me the most annoyance or anger?” Who are the people and actions that cause me the most distress?” For example, is it discourteous travelers? Is it inconsiderate drivers? Is it loud, disruptive party-goers?
2. Once you identify the source of your anger, then write down what it is about those people and their behavior that annoys you. Ask yourself, “Why does this behavior annoy me? What do I believe it says about these people? Why is this behavior worthy of my annoyance, mistrust or anger towards these people?”
Now, many experts will tell you that we only feel anger and annoyance towards people and behavior that reflects something about ourselves with which we are angry or annoyed! If there were nothing being reflected, we wouldn’t even notice the behavior. Therefore, the flipping stone question to ask is:
3. What behavior in ME, are these people reflecting? How am I behaving exactly like these people I am annoyed with? In what area of my life am I guilty of exactly the same behavior that annoys me in others?
This will be the most challenging part of this particular “Flipping Stones” exercise. It is often hardest or us to see our own faults and flaws, especially those which we accuse others of having. But, look hard and honestly enough and you will find that they are there. Once you make the simple connection and realization that the source and object of the anger you are directing outward actually both exist within you, your world will change. You’ll be surprised how cathartic such a simple realization can be. Once you see yourself in others, it will be easier to forgive them their trespasses, and remove this peeve as a hindrance to your acceptance of and ability to extend love towards others.
That’s just one example of how to flip a stone of discontent from being an obstacle to an opportunity for your own growth and development. To find similar stones to flip, seek out more obstacles. Run towards the distasteful. Embrace the fears. Analyze the limiting beliefs and judgments others throw at you. Meet the challenges. Stretch the boundaries. Do the things you never thought you could do. Seek more sources of anger, annoyance and mistrust. Remember, often the quickest way "out" is "through." Start flipping those stones!
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Breaking News from Walt:
A few weeks ago, a former workshop attendee and coaching client revealed that she nominated me to be considered for this year’s Governor’s Humanities Award here on Saipan. I thanked her, but I didn’t really believe I qualified because...(read why at www.jamaicaninchina.com/humanities-award)